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Mother's Day for Pets?

bradleyolin [Flickr]

Being kind to animals is something that we (hopefully) learn from our parents, especially our mothers.  Spaying or neutering your pet ensures your furry buddy won't contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.  So to all the female dogs and cats, here's wishing you a Happy Un-Mother's Day!


In 1915, the first full week in May was designated as Be Kind to Animals Week. Theyear before that, the second Sunday in May was set aside to honor mothers. So after considering how we should be kind to all animals, we spend a day honoring the women who have nurtured and cared for us, protected us, supported us, guided us and loved us.

Interesting – the things for which we honor our mothers are a perfect outline for the way we should take care of our pets. A friend once told me that the goal with children is to take a helpless, defenseless infant who is totally dependent on its parent and help it develop into an adult who can go out into the world and make it on its own. But, my friend continued, with pets, you take a totally helpless, defenseless puppy or kitten and turn it into a great pet, but it will always be as dependent on you for food, care, support and protection as the day you brought it home.

Human mothers raise their babies to become strong and independent adults, who can then take what they learned and raise their own babies to be strong and independent.

Pets – well, as my friend said, pets will always be dependent on us. If we allow them to have babies then those puppies and kittens will also be dependent on us.

Most folks don’t really want to raise litters of puppies and kittens, only to have more and more litters. Some give them away to neighbors and friends as soon as they turn eight weeks old. And if they can’t find other homes for them – you guessed it, those puppies or kittens end up at an animal shelter. All the while, their mother remains at home, separated from her babies, unable to raise them, nurture them or teach them much of anything because they were taken away so young.

Maybe one way to combine the spirit of Mother’s Day with being kind to animals is to make sure that your own pet does not become a mother to one more litter of puppies or kittens. Having your female dog or cat spayed is yet another way to show your love, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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