By Stephanie Johnson
Here at the Animal Protective Foundation (APF), we are privileged to provide resources to our community and humane care for the companion animals in our shelter.
But you don’t have to be in the animal welfare field to help. Be Kind to Animals Week, May 1-7, is a great opportunity to point out that everyone has a role to play in making sure that all the animals in our lives are being treated with kindness.
First celebrated in 1915 by the American Humane Association, the mission of Be Kind to Animals Week remains unchanged more than 100 years later: Show kindness to animals, anywhere, anytime. It is the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history and the nation’s longest running humane education campaign.
Kindness is a key component in the care received by each of the hundreds of homeless animals who find their way to us each year. “Caring for animals can be a very emotional yet rewarding job,” said client service manager Debbie Jennings. “Watching them overcome their challenges to get a second chance at finding a loving home makes everything worth it.” The community can help our animals by donating items the shelter needs for enrichment or other purposes by visiting www.animalprotective.org/wish.
For animals that have found their forever homes, this week is a also good time to remember how important it is to show kindness to them as well. Pets are social creatures and love playing and interacting with their humans. Exercise your dogs physically and mentally by going for daily walks or playing fetch. Cats love interactive toys and benefit greatly from exercise with mouse teaser toys, feather wands and cat tunnels. Being kind also means helping your pet find its way home if it becomes lost. Remember: Keep your dog’s license up to date and ensure that both your dogs and cats are micro-chipped and wear collars with IDs attached
“Providing needed veterinary care is one of the kindest things you can do for your animals,” said Jackie Kucskar, DVM, veterinary medical director at APF. “In addition to nutritious food and comfortable shelter, it is important that your pets have regular veterinary visits, are up to date on all recommended vaccinations and, if they go outside, have current preventive treatments for fleas, ticks and heartworm.”
Spay and neuter clinic manager Laura Weiner adds: “When you spay and neuter your animal, you are showing kindness to your community and to your pet. Spaying and neutering helps to control overpopulation and minimizes future health concerns for that animal.”
The APF also offers a donation-driven pet food pantry offering nutritious food for animals whose families might be struggling, as well as other resources that serve pets and their guardians throughout our community.
Another way to show kindness and support to animals can be as simple as speaking for those that have no voice. If you see an animal in need or are concerned about neglect, reach out to your local animal control office. The Animal Protective Foundation does not directly handle cruelty reports but can provide you with the appropriate contact information for your specific area.
Finally, beyond the walls and resources of the APF there are countless other ways to show kindness to animals. Among them is to ensure that you only support certified zoos and aquariums, which can be verified with the “Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums” logo on websites, in advertisements and at the gate. Learn more by visiting www.aza.org.
We hope you and all the furry friends in your lives have a great week.
Stephanie Johnson is director of operations at the Animal Protective Foundation, which contributes Animal Chronicles articles, and welcomes animal-related questions and stories about the people and animals in our community. Visit animalprotective.org, follow us on social media @AnimalProtectiveFoundation or email [email protected].
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