Be Kind to Animals Week, which is observed during the first full week of May every year, was first established in 1915 as a way for individuals to help create a better a world for animals. Our pets are wonderful at being kind, selfless and loving companions to us, so it is our responsibility to return the favor by showing them compassion.

Why Show Compassion Toward Pets

Pets depend entirely upon their owners for their every need and desire, and this goes far beyond just food and shelter. Pets are calmest when they form some degree of dependent relationship with another (in this case, their owners) because they understand that at the very least this relationship will provide them with the comfort and support they need. Since pets have no voice of their own to speak out about what worries or troubles them, they can experience a feeling of insecurity and anxiety if they don’t have a close, dependent relationship with another. A close, compassionate relationship with their owner can allow them to feel that they are safe and protected and that no matter what happens everything will actually be alright.

Homeless animals depend upon the compassion of caring humans in order to have a chance at a healthy, happy, and fulfilling future. Whether these pets came to the shelter as owner surrenders, seizures or for some other reason, chances are that they feel scared and lonely, and they would benefit greatly from some compassion. Shelter volunteers provide a great amount of compassion by spending time with shelter pets–playing with them, walking them, cuddling with them and more. When shelter pets are adopted into their forever homes, they receive the constant compassion and security they need to move forward into a healthy, happy life.

Some other ways to show compassion toward pets include:

  • Providing them with all necessary veterinary services. Pets may not jump for joy as a result of a trip to the vet’s office, but the fact is that ensuring they remain healthy is one way to ensure they also remain happy.
  • Spaying or neutering them. Pets that have not been spayed or neutered have a strong, instinctual drive to procreate. They don’t actually enjoy this “freedom,” as it is truly an overwhelming urge that can cause them quite a bit of trouble, both physically and mentally. It’s a wonderful show of compassion to sterilize your pets and thereby allow them a calmer, healthier life.
  • Interacting and playing with them. Pets love to interact and play with others; it stimulates their mind and exercises their body.
  • Making sure they are properly identified. Pet owners often do everything they can to prevent their pet from wandering off or getting lost, but unfortunately, accidents can and do still happen. By ensuring that pets are properly identified through I.D. tags and microchip implants, you are securing their swift return.
  • Teaching your pet basic obedience is a great way to bond with your pet. Dogs especially love having the opportunity to learn and perform new behaviors, especially when this is followed by praise and reward, but even cats can enjoy simple training exercises. When a pet learns discipline, not only do they become a more pleasant companion but they also tend to feel more calm and relaxed in general.
  • Knowing animal abuse signs and doing something about it. Some pets simply are not fortunate enough to be placed with caring, compassionate owners and therefore suffer every day as a result. Their only hope is that a compassionate individual will become aware of their situation and will do something about it.

Be Kind to Animals Week is the perfect opportunity to take a moment and consider how one can show compassion to pets–any pets. Even a small gesture can go a very long way, and you will feel good knowing that you are contributing to their healthy, happy life.