Kindness begins at home, making sure your own pet is well cared for, with healthy food, fresh water, and good veterinary care.
However, kindness is not so much an action as it is an attitude. Treating our pets and other animals with care and compassion is a way of showing our respect for the creatures who share our lives and our world.
In 1915, the American Humane Association launched the first Be Kind to Animals Week to encourage kindness toward animals and to publicize the hard work of the country's animal welfare organizations. Always held the first full week in May, Be Kind to Animals Week is the oldest continuous observance of its kind. Today marks the end of the 105th celebration of this national tradition, which has included a wide variety of events for adults, children and – of course – animals.
I’d like to hope that people would be kind to animals all year long, but this is a special time for all of us to consider how much animals, and especially pets, enrich our lives.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits we receive from our pets is companionship. A friend whose husband died said she doubted she would have been able to get through it without her two dogs and two cats. Her children are grown and can take care of themselves, but pets are like children who never grow up. They needed her. Because of them, she had a reason to get up every day. She had to walk the dogs, clean out the cat litter, feed them, make sure they had water, all the daily things that pets rely on us to provide. In return, they reminded her that life goes on – theirs and hers, together.
Although Be Kind to Animals Week is coming to an end for 2019, you can still find ways to be kind to animals throughout the year. You could do something easy, like putting a bird feeder in your back yard. Another way is to help your local animal shelter. You can make a monetary contribution, or even contribute your time as a volunteer. Donations of things like food bowls, blankets, even office supplies can help the staff make life better for the homeless animals in their care.
One more thing – you might consider adopting one of those homeless dogs or cats, giving it a second chance for happiness. You would be saving a life and enriching your own at the same time. In the bargain, you’ll discover that “LOVE” is a four-LEGGED word, when you’re speaking of pets.