Be Kind to Animals Week: Good Ideas for Everyday

It seems like every week (sometimes every day!) is a national something-or-other celebration or commemoration. The idea had to start somewhere, though, right? This week, May 1-7, is the oldest and longest running commemorative week in the U.S.: the American Humane Association’s Be Kind to Animals Week.  This year the American Humane Association (AHA) is taking the week to celebrate a century of rescuing and advocating for animals, and they’re inviting all of us to join them. The real goal, though, is to get people practicing kindness to animals every day, rather than just one week a year.

The AHA has four suggestions for “how to be kind” to animals this week, and their suggestions can easily be extended year- round. These suggestions, from their “Kindness 100 Pledge,” are:

1) Adopt pets from shelters like the LA-SPCA and JPAS to help improve the lives of the millions of animals abandoned and taken to animal shelters every year.

2) Buy foods that have the American Humane Certified seal to ensure that our farm animals are humanely raised and kept.

3) Look for the “No Animals Were Harmed” end credit in films and television.

4) Visit accredited zoos, aquariums and conservation centers, like the Audubon facilities, to increase understanding and empathy for wild (especially endangered) animals.

Of course, there’s much more that anyone can do to participate in the week’s celebrations. A very obvious way to incorporate the week’s spirit into our lives (I’m preaching to the choir here, I know) is to be responsible pet owners and keep our own pets healthy, safe and happy! Another way to be kind to animals is to report and speak out against animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse when you see it. It doesn’t stop there, though. In addition to kindness to our companion animals, wildlife can also benefit from humane practices. For example, rather than leaving poison for rats or other rodents, humanely trapping and relocating the animals keeps poisons away from your pets, children, and more desirable wildlife and birds.

Zeke from kitten to adult.

Zeke was found as a small kitten, too small to be away from his mother. His finder knew he was a keeper from the beginning, and a couple of weeks later his 5 siblings and his mother were also rescued. All of them now have wonderful “forever homes.”

Another relatively obvious way to practice the spirit of this week year-round is to give aid to animals in need. See a dog running down the street without a person? It definitely helps the dog if you stop and try to help! Have a stray cat around your house that looks like it hasn’t eaten in a while or might have gotten lost? Leaving some food for the kitty or trapping it could save its life. When you find a stray, you can bring it to the nearest veterinary office or animal shelter to see if it’s been microchipped or reported as lost. If so, the pet’s owners can be contacted. If not, the pet can be surrendered to the shelter in hopes of being reclaimed by his owners or adopted into a new family. While some people do end up keeping unclaimed strays, you’re under no obligation to do so. The act of helping stray dogs and cats off the streets and into a safe environment is, alone, a big step.

Of course, animal-related charities and non-profits are always accepting donations, volunteer help and more! What better way to keep the spirit of Be Kind to Animals Week going year-round? For a list of local shelters and organizations that we recommend, click here.