My family always had pets. Cats, dogs, birds, fish, and a hamster named Lucky. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love animals. I vividly remember my first trip to the shelter. We adopted a kitten, who became my best friend. But I left wondering why we couldn’t take them all home … “Who will take care of them if I don’t?” When I got older, I made my first donation to the ASPCA, and 10 years later I’m still an active member.
Animals enrich our lives in countless ways. They provide security and safety to those with disabilities, comfort and companionship to young and old. A recent article by The National Institutes of Health featured the health benefits of owning a pet. “The bond between animals and humans is part of our evolution, and it’s very powerful,” says Dr. Ann Berger, a physician and researcher at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Every May since 1915, the Humane Society celebrates “Be Kind to Animals Week.” It has become a month-long campaign to raise awareness about the profound connection between animals and humans. Join me in taking action to protect, defend and celebrate the lives of all animals, large and small. There are many ways you can help:
In response to the current housing crisis, the Humane Society set up a “foreclosure pet fund” to provide financial assistance to pet owners facing eviction. This fund has distributed more than $100,000 to 57 regional shelters and animal rescue clinics. Your $10 or $25 donation helps set up pet food banks, assists with the cost of temporary boarding, and reduces the costs of emergency medical care. Or you can support your local animal shelter, or give to an organization that prevents cruelty to animals.
In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 2 – legislation that will prevent farm animal cruelty, ensure health and food safety, support family farmers, and protect our air and water. I recently called my state representative to urge a yes vote on two important bills – CA A.B. 241, to crack down on puppy mills, and CA A.B. 233, to offer a tax deduction for adopting shelter pets. Find out about current legislation in your state, and vote to give animals a voice.
Every other weekend I volunteer with FOCAS. My local pet store lets the organization set up an adoption center for shelter cats. Even if you only have a few hours a month, Volunteer Match makes it easy to find an animal organization near you.
Share your love of animals with children, and they will grow up knowing what it means to care and be compassionate towards others. Read through 50 Ways to Save Animals with your kids today and make a difference for animals tomorrow.
Pass the message along to friends with furry, feathered or fishy family.
– Sarah Myers