When my oldest son was five, he asked when we were going to throw a birthday party for our dog, Summer. He wanted to invite her doggy friends (basically the neighborhood dogs), bake her a cake, and play some games. So, that’s what we did!
Out of the mouths of babes, comes the love and honor we should give to our pets, and to all animals. Our pets deserve to be recognized on their birthdays. Animals deserve to be treated with respect. Our pets should be greeted with a smile and a hug at the start of each day and when returning home. All animals’ lives matter, no matter how big or small.
Be Kind to Animals Week is May 7-13. In honor of the longest-running commemorative week in U.S. history, let’s talk about some ways we can be kind to animals, to give back to them since they give us so much.
- Celebrate your pet’s birthday. This doesn’t have to be over the top, just let your pet know his birthday is a special day. Take him to a dog park, bake him some homemade dog biscuits, or play an extra game of tug of war or catch.
- Be a responsible pet owner. Take your pet to the vet for regular checkups, vaccinate, socialize, and train your pet. Be kind to your pet. Our pets need to be spoken to with kindness when they’re obeying, and gentle correction when they’re naughty.
- Appreciate wildlife. In her blog post, Stop and Appreciate Our Animals--Before They Are Gone, Dr. Jessica Vogelsang mourns the loss of endangered animals through poaching and mentions that although there have been only five mass extinctions (periods of time where there is a massive die off of 50-90 percent of Earth’s species), those extinctions were due to massive disasters. Presently, scientists believe we are at risk of a sixth mass extinction event, caused by people instead of natural disasters. We have an incredible responsibility to protect the creatures, big and small, around us.
- Report Animal Abuse. Abuse includes leaving a pet in hot or cold temperatures, physically hurting, starving or neglecting an animal. If you see an animal who is being abused, it is your duty to report the offense. You may feel like you need to rescue the animal, but PetMD’s blogpost, What to Do When You See a Pet Being Abused or Neglected, recommends, “The best advice is to temper one’s concern with careful thought and consideration. Unless an animal’s life is in immediate danger, it’s best to report the situation to humane authorities and let them pursue it through the proper legal channels.”
Other actions you can take to honor animals are to buy humanely raised products and to adopt from or volunteer at an animal shelter. When it comes to being kind to animals, no act is too small. As I sit here in my “office” aka back deck typing this blog, I observed my dog removing a bird’s nest from inside my son’s playhouse. I immediately ran barefoot, through the wet grass and pine straw to rescue the nest from her curious paws. The nest is now resting safely inside a bucket on top of the playhouse, where hopefully mommy bird will come back and tend to her eggs. And I am sure she will appreciate the love and respect shown to her babies.
How will you be kind to animals this week?