For the second year, a group of bloggers and pet lovers are dedicating their lives to providing toys and treats to shelter animals all around the world.

“We know pets with homes are often showered with gifts and treats for Christmas, and we believe that shelter animals deserve a little holiday love, too,” the organizers say.

“The inspiration for our drive was Toys for Tots and other similar programs that collect donations and distribute them to the needy — and we wanted to do the same for animals.”

The Santa Paws Drive was dreamed up by Dorian Wagner, founder of the Your Daily Cute blog. Although she had the idea for the program, she didn’t know how to carry it out, so she reached out from her Florida home to friends around the world.

And a small group of devoted pet lovers in the US and the UK came together to help turn Wagner’s inspiration into a reality.

The “elves” who organize the Santa Paws Drive are Wagner; the owners of Nip and Bones pet supply store; Twitter canine celebrity Dougal and his mom Lynn Haigh of PawPawty.com; and The Kitten Crew, a group of volunteers that take in underage kittens from the Montgomery County SPCA in Pennsylvania and care for them until they are old enough to be adopted.

The Santa Paws Drive begins with nominations from fans around the world, from which the organizers choose six shelters based on need, location, and the short notes people submit about them. “We wanted to help smaller charities that don’t otherwise have much opportunity for funding,” they say, “and we wanted to make sure we covered the globe as best we could.”

Last year’s Santa Paws Drive raised approximately $7,000 in toys, treats and donations for six shelters worldwide. This year’s selected shelters are the Animal Rescue League of Laurel, Miss.; Big Dog Ranch and Rescue in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Harmony House for Cats in Chicago, Ill.; K9 Tenerife on the island of Tenerife, off the coast of Africa; Southern Ontario Animal Rescue in Canada; and Chestnut Cat Sanctuary in the south of England.

People who wish to support the Santa Paws Drive can donate toys and treats or cash. At the close of the drive, the organizers will divide the donations equally and ship them off to each shelter in time for Christmas.

Facebook users can keep track of Santa Paws’ progress by becoming a friend of its Facebook page, and website owners or bloggers can place a special Santa Paws Drive widget on their sites to raise awareness and help to gather donations.

“We want to shower shelter animals with love and gifts at a time when they might otherwise be forgotten,” say the organizers.

“Every animal should get extra love and kindness, whether they have a home or not.”

[Source: Santa Paws Drive]