It's that time again. Be Kind to Animals Week. I'd like to think it was every week. It isn't but it's a good time to think about what you can do, not just for your own pets but for others who are in need of help.
Need a few ideas? Okay. Donate food to a local animal shelter. If you can afford it, make a donation, not to one of the big associations but to a grass roots organization, a rescue group, a local shelter. Or ask what they can use. Most need paper towels, pet food, safe toys, bedding. How about donating your time? Help out at a shelter. Foster a dog or cat. If you're a positive trainer, spend a little time each week training the dogs and cats. You can make the dogs so much more adoptable if you spend a little quality time teaching them to walk nicely on a leash, sit, down, stay. And maybe a trick or two like shaking hands. They'll appreciate the attention. Cats can be clicker trained and it's especially important in a shelter setting where they tend to become depressed and shut down. You can make life much more interesting for them which will bring out their personality and make each kitty more adoptable.
Now for my pet peeve. This applies all year round and certainly comes under the heading of Be Kind to Animals. I get very upset every time I hear of dogs or cats being thrown out of their homes because their elderly owner has died and no one wants that person's beloved companions. Often they themselves didn't come to visit and the only form of affection and attention that person had was from a pet or two. But as soon as they die, the family members show up to claim the home and get rid of the pets who are often elderly and are headed for near-certain death in a shelter if someone doesn't step up and give them a home. It's so little to do for beloved companions who have given so much love all of their lives and provided so much needed affection and attention. The same thing usually happens if the elderly person has to go into a nursing home or an assisted living situation where pets aren't allowed. It's cruel both to the person and to the pets. I often pass along e-mail posts trying to get homes for more pets than I can count at this point. They're usually older and their stories break my heart.
Please be kind to animals. Treat them like the family members they are and if you can't have one of your own, please consider helping out. Time is a precious commodity. So are the necessities of shelter life that are gone through very quickly. Whatever you can supply, however little, is more than they had before. And if you are looking to adopt a pet, please consider choosing an older one. They deserve love, too.