Be Kind to Animals Week & National Pet Month – A Simple Request for a Lifelong Commitment…

love-commitment

When it comes to animals, there is no shortage of special days, weeks, and months devoted to either celebrating or promoting awareness about them in one fashion or another. For example, this week happens to be “Be Kind to Animals Week” and it is also “National Pet Month.”

In the social circle I am part of, I am quite certain we really don’t need any particular daily, weekly, or monthly reminder to know that every day is pet day and that animals should be treated with kindness. But, the point of these tributes is much larger in scope because not everyone understands the love and companionship a pet can provide and not everyone understands that animals have feelings and deserve kindness and compassion. That is why it is so important to take advantage of these national and worldwide events to promote awareness to a broader audience when we can.

kind catBe Kind to Animals Week (May 5 – 11) was founded in 1915 by the American Humane Association (AHA) with the intention of promoting several key messages about animals, such as reducing the numbers of animals euthanized in shelters by encouraging pet adoptions, increasing awareness on proper pet responsibility to ensure pets live long and healthy lives, to respect wildlife, and by reporting cases of animal abuse.

National Pet Month began over twenty years ago and originated in England where it is celebrated in April each year. We now celebrate it here in the United States in May and very similar to the intentions of the AHA, the five specific goals of National Pet Month are to promote the benefits of pet ownership, support pet adoptions, promote responsible pet ownership, increase public awareness of services available from professionals who work with animals, and raise awareness of the role, value and contribution to society of service animals.

service_dogs_2

Service animals provide an invaluable service and irrevocable bond with their human companions by allowing them to live a more fulfilled and productive life. It is wonderful to know as well that many service dogs are rescued from shelters to be given their own second chance at life. Photo courtesy of servicedoghouse.com

So, what message do we take from this if we are already loving, compassionate, and devoted animal lovers who understand each and every day the joy having a pet can bring to our lives? How do we make the most out of a national event so that it becomes so much more than a catch phrase of the day, week, or month to those that might not know about animal abuse, or that there are millions of animals in a shelter waiting for a forever home, or that a commitment to an animal is for a lifetime and includes full responsibility for the pet, as in proper diet, exercise, toys, visits to the veterinarian, and a warm, safe, and loving home.

All I can ask is what I always ask. Please do me a favor and have the message catch on like the wave at a national sporting event. If we only do one thing today, let’s do it collectively and with intention. If each one of us reading this post were to grab the icon of the graphic I created for National Pet Month, or the graphic from AHA and use it as their facebook profile picture, for example, that would start to send a very strong message of solidarity (AHA has other great images that include a dog, a bird, and a rooster if you prefer that). Share my post, or write one of your own, or share someone else’s, but share it somewhere you normally wouldn’t so that if each one of us does that, maybe we can start to reach that mainstream audience outside of our animal box that doesn’t know as much about animal advocacy, kindness, compassion, and responsibility as we do.

It may not make a huge difference, but then again, you just never know…

Editors Note:  I also wanted to thank all of you who stopped by to comment on last Saturday’s post -Making the Grade – What Makes a Blog Post Successful?”  The feedback and response was incredible and I really enjoyed hearing everyone’s unique perspective on the subject. The one thing we all had in common, however, is that we are all respectfully “imperfect bloggers” and proud of it!

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  1. I feel it should be every day as many people said when I posted about it earlier in the week. I shared both of their photos on both blogs. Have a great day!

  2. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    we like ta think St Francis said it best when it comes ta kindness two animals

    dood…ewe rock….

    N did we miss a post bout postin success full posts……

    =^..^=

  3. Marg says:

    We love celebrating national pet week. We need to celebrate that every day. Have a great day.

  4. Deb, thanks for creating such a beautiful graphic for National Pet Month and allowing us to use it on our blog site or Facebook page. I am doing just that with my next blog post (with a link back to you, of course!). You’ve inspired me. Now I want to inspiire others. –Bev

    • Deb says:

      Beverly – what wonderful news! That’s what I love about inspiration… it is contagious! I look forward to your next blog post!

  5. Thanks for another thought-provoking post. We all know you are preaching to the choir, but if we all become good stewards and pass this message around to non-pet bloggers and others, a chance to make a difference really does exist. We’ll definitely try to do our part as will Mom. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

    • Deb says:

      Janet – thank you and I agree – the only way we can start to chip away at bringing attention to the larger picture of pet responsibility is to introduce this message to people who have not seen it a hundred times before.

  6. We shared your beautiful post on our Glogirly Facebook Page. We wanted to create more engagement, so we borrowed your wonderful love & commitment image for it and credited you. Hope that’s ok : )
    xoxo

    • Deb says:

      Glorgirly – thank you for that. My reach can only go so far, so I appreciate you sharing it with your friends and readers.

  7. CATachresis says:

    Very well said, Deb. However, Austin has just informed me that you are mistaken!! Apparently it is National Pet Month every month!! ;)

    PS I actually didn’t know it started in England!

    • Deb says:

      Austin is right, CATachresis – National Pet Month is every month for those of us that love our pets, but until we can get the rest of the world to understand that, and until we can get more pets adopted and off the streets and out of shelters, I am sorry to say that posts like this will have to continue… :(

  8. As usual, your post has made me reflect on how lucky I am to be able to share my life with my two feline friends and all of my fellow pet caregivers. I have always felt that setting an example for others and sharing the joy you feel about something will have a trickle down effect. By this I mean that those around you will want to follow your example and share your joy. Every post like this one works in this way. The happiness you feel as a cat caregiver flows through your words and into the hearts of your readers, inspiring them to action. Thank you for reminding us of how important our pet friends are to our lives and encouraging us to spread this message to those people who need to be reminded of it.

    • Deb says:

      Elizabeth – there you go again putting a lump in my throat and bringing me close to tears! I appreciate your support and truly do hope that the example of myself and other devoted pet lovers will trickle down to others. You are a treasure and please give your kitties a kiss from me.

  9. Lovely post and photo. Whose paw is it? I’ve scheduled my “be kind” post tomorrow and feel like we’re preaching to the converted in our community and wonder how the message can reach a new audience.

  10. meowmeowmans says:

    Our wish is that one day, everyone will care for animals so well and so much that there will not be a need for special awareness weeks. But until then, we will help spread this wonderful message. Thank you for such a beautiful post, Deb!

  11. Every week should be “be kind to animals week.” But if one week a year is chosen to focus on this topic, then let’s make the most of that week!

  12. It is hard for me, a die-hard animal lover, to imagine anyone who doesn’t see their value and understand that they have feelings and deserve to be treated kindly and respectfully … but I know they are out there. If a special week, month or day dedicated to pets will help, I’m all for that.

    Nice post!