Cuteness Picks: 5 Animal Nonprofits We're Elevating This Giving Season

Welcome back to Cuteness Picks, our weekly roundup of the hottest and coolest pet products!

In place of our normal programming, we're shining the spotlight this week of 5 amazing nonprofits in the animal and wildlife space that are working tirelessly to improve their communities and the world at large. With the Giving Season at hand, each and every one of them could use your support to help carry out their respective missions.

So if you have the bandwidth, think about throwing them—or a similar charity closer to you—some support. And if money isn't an option, volunteering time is.

1. The Grey Muzzle Organization

Sad truth: senior dogs often linger far too long in shelters. Working to course correct this is the Grey Muzzle Organization, a nonprofit that raises money for other animal shelters to improve conditions for older pups.

Since 2008, Grey Muzzle has distributed more than $2,000,000+ to hundreds of nonprofits in communities around the country, where these funds are then used to pay for things like hospice care, medical and dental screenings, adoption fees and even orthopedic dog beds to get the recipients up off concrete floors.

As the org's Instagram attests, thousands of dogs are living out their best lives in loving, nurturing homes as a result of its efforts.

2. Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue

Located about an hour's drive east of Toronto, Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue rescues and rehabilitates sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife.

While the sanctuary aims to release as many of the critters back into the wild as possible upon their recovery, some stay on as permanent residents, where they live the good life chomping on fruit — we see you, Vinnie the porcupine — and serve as animal ambassadors, educating the public about their species.

Current residents include a riotous mix of birds (owls, kestrels, etc.) and mammals (foxes, bobcats, badgers, etc.), all of whom take turns hamming it up on Soper's excellent Instagram and Facebook accounts.

3. The Elephant Sanctuary In Tennessee

Home to 28 elephants rescued from zoos and circuses, the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee spans more than 2700 acres in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

On these expansive grounds, the elephants are afforded top notch medical care customized to their individual needs — most suffer from complex physical and mental issues tied to their captivity — and the opportunity to play, explore, frolic and, most importantly, bond with other members of their new herd.

While the sanctuary is closed to the public, fans can keep up with their favorite elephants via a series of solar powered "Elecams" that dot the habitat.

4. Maine Coon Adoptions

Based in Oakland, California, Maine Coon Adoptions is a no-kill rescue dedicated to rehoming abused, abandoned and homeless Maine Coon mixes (and other kitties of all ages).

The all-volunteer operation keeps expenses lean — less than 3% of donations are allocated for administrative functions — and is routinely voted one of the Bay Area's best animal nonprofits.

Since 2004, Maine Coon Adoptions have adopted out thousands of needy cats, many of which resurface on the group's Instagram account as happy alumni of the program and its ongoing success.

5. Xerces Society For Invertebrate Conservation

glowworm munches on something?
Like art, cuteness is all in the eye of the beholder
credit: The Xerces Society via Facebook

The triangle of life is a delicate one and changes at its base can ripple dramatically upwards with grave ramifications for other species that share the same ecosystem—humans included.

Identifying and calling attention to such changes is the mission of Portland's The Xerces Society, which since 1971 has been committed to protecting animals without spines, which includes everything from arthropods (insects, arachnids, and crustaceans) and mollusks (snails, squids, and octopuses) to annelids (earthworms and leeches), and cnidarians (jellyfish, sea anemones, and corals).

As the organization notes on its FAQ page, these creatures form a necessary component of the food chain and serve vital roles like pollinating wildflowers and crops, maintaining water quality, and keeping pest populations under control.

While they might might lack the cute factor of puppies and kittens, these overlooked critters are essential to biological diversity and deserve our protection as much as household pets.

Happy Giving Season!

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