It’s Be Kind to Animals Week and my camera is in the shop and can’t document how good The Compound Canines have it. Will it be back before the week is over? Should I just go ahead and plan to be kind to animals next week, too?

Seriously, if you want to be kind to animals, here are some ideas.

  • Never give an animal as a gift–in particular, an unexpected gift. It’s shocking how many animals adopted from shelters and pounds are no longer living in their new homes within six months after adoption.
  • Teach children to respect animals. Don’t let them tease your dog or cat. It’s not cute, and it could be dangerous. Don’t leave small children unattended with dogs. Dogs are not people, and their behaviors are dog behaviors. Be a responsible pack leader and stay in charge of the situation. Also, oversee children as they interact with cats, rabbits, hamsters, etc.
  • If you can’t have an animal in your home because of lease restrictions or allergies or expense, there are still plenty of animals who can benefit from your attention and affection. When rescue groups have adoption days, hang out, walk a dog. Volunteer to walk dogs or spend time with cats at your local animal shelters. Help out in whatever way works best for you: donate time, money, supplies, food. There will always be animals and organizations who need your help. You will be repaid a million times over for kindnesses toward animals, in ways you may not even think about.
  • Yes, your pet is perfect and never misbehaves. But as a responsible dog owner, follow leash laws. And clean up after your pets. That way your neighbors will love them, too.
  • NEVER NEVER NEVER leave an animal unattended in your vehicle. NEVER.
  • If you see or suspect mistreatment or neglect of any animal, report it. At the minimum, animals kept outside need shelter from weather (heat, cold, rain, snow) and access to water.
  • Don’t buy animals from irresponsible breeders. In fact, if you’re looking for a specific breed, do Internet searches on rescue groups for that breed. Consider adopting older dogs and cats. You may find the best friend of your life.
  • If you choose to eat meat or use animal products, try to find cruelty-free sources. If you must wear fur, check resale or vintage shops. Let corporations know your feelings about animal testing and animal cruelty for food, drugs, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics.
  • Try to use animal-friendly cleaners, lawn and gardening supplies, and pest control substances. If at all possible, make your yard a little sanctuary for any creatures you don’t mind having around (butterflies, birds, squirrels). Be wary of wild or feral animals. Find healthy ways to coexist.
  • Be careful with plastics. Consider shopping with reusable bags instead of getting more plastic bags that can end up harming wildlife on land or in water. Cut the plastic rings that hold soft drinks before you put them in your trash or recycle bin.
  • Spay and neuter your pets. Keep them up-to-date with vet visits and shots. If you can, get them chipped; at the least, make sure their collars have up-to-date identifying information in case they get lost. Keep them inside during thunderstorms or fireworks so they don’t become frightened and run away.

I’m sure there are lots of things I’m not thinking about; feel free to add more in comments!


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