Pet column: Celebrating 98 years of kindness
May 2, 2013
For almost a century, "Be Kind to Animals" has been a basic learning and character building tool for children. Representing a movement to nurture kindness and compassion for a better world, "Be Kind to Animals" still rings true. Children taught to respect all living things are less likely to harm animals or other humans as adults, resulting in a basis for more peaceful coexistence. This year, Be Kind to Animals Week is celebrated May 5-11. Here are simple yet important activities to demonstrate empathy for those who depend on the kindness of others to survive — both pets and Tahoe wildlife.
10 ways to be kind to animals every day of the year
1. Spay or neuter your pets for their good health and to prevent surplus population. (It's a bargain when divided by 15-18 years of loyal, long and loving companionship!)
2. Find your next best friend at a local animal shelter. Then include him or her as part of your every day activity. You are the center of your pet's life. Animals have feelings, too.
3. Show zero tolerance for abuse, including neglect. Educate others. Report suspected abuse immediately. Teach children to report to parents or other adults.
4. Respect our shared habitat and be a good neighbor. On the trail or beach and at the dog park, pick up after yourself and your dog. A discarded pop tab cuts animal paws. Birds get caught in plastic rings. Dog waste harms the environment.
5. Respect all wildlife and be "bear aware." Educate weekenders about enjoying wild neighbors without teasing, handling, or tempting them with food. The animals will be healthier, your neighborhood will be safer, and our community can remain that rare place where people and animals live together in balance and harmony.
6. Help a senior or ill neighbor keep and care for their pet companion. Offer to walk a dog or play with a cat. When needed, offer a ride to the veterinarian.
7. Educate yourself about your pet's social and health needs. Budget for vaccinations and emergencies. Provide mental stimulation for your pet. Strengthen your bond with new tricks and gentle training.
8. Plan ahead when traveling with your pet. Make sure he or she is welcome and stress-free. Plan ahead for emergencies. Free pet kit available from the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 530-542-2857.
9, Keep current identification on your pet, and a current photo in case he or she gets lost. Ask your veterinarian about microchipping.
10. Teach children to feel the same compassion that you do. Even a non-threatening spider or mouse deserves respect, to be humanely trapped and taken outside rather than instantly or painfully killed. Bats eat 1,000 mosquitoes per night and are fascinating to watch from a deck chair. In the yard or on a hike, observing without disturbing provides valuable lessons about how to live harmoniously and with mutual benefit on a shared, crowded planet.
Both kindness and violence start early and last a lifetime. Every day, remember that if you are uncomfortable or in danger, your pet is, too. Practice the golden rule in the company of animals as well as with human friends.
— Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help "Keep Tahoe Kind". Dawn Armstrong is the executive director.
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