(Article source: petsmart.com)
Need suggestions for things you can do to show kindness to your furry, finned, or feathered friends? Here are 101 possibilities for all creatures, wild and domestic, large and small. Consider being kind to animals all year-long.
1. Convince local lawmakers to establish dog parks in your community and offer to raise money to help maintain them. The country's oldest dog park opened in 1979 in Berkeley, California. These fenced-in areas allow well-behaved dogs to romp and run off-leash.
2. Bid on a celebrity photograph or piece of artwork at PAWS/LA's annual auction to raise money for pet-owning people with HIV/AIDS. For more details, contact Pets are Wonderful Support/LA, a nonprofit group in Los Angeles, at (323) 876-7297.
3. Renovate vacant city-owned buildings and convert them into pet adoption centers. Just follow the footsteps of Merrill Chernov, M.D., a physician who led the fund-raising drive for a pet adoption center in the Mesa and Phoenix, Arizona, area.
4. Practice what you've preached. Contact your local humane shelter and place of worship and organize a day to bring adoptable shelter dogs and cats to your church or synagogue after worship service.
5. Buy a federal duck stamp offered by the National Wildlife Refuge System. For your contribution, you benefit more than 200 species of birds at the nation's 92 million acres of wildlife refuges. And displaying this stamp admits you free to all national wildlife sanctuaries. For details, call the Federal Duck Stamp office toll-free at (877) 887-5508 or check out their web site at www.duckstamps.fws.gov.
6. Create a pet-care plan in your will to guarantee a happy and secure future for your animal pal in the event you die before it does. Remember, cats have nine lives, and some birds can live beyond 100.
7. Walk the dog of an elderly neighbor twice a week, especially at night or during inclement weather.
8. Volunteer to bathe dogs at local animal shelter one day a month.
9. Help a friend find a lost pet by posting flyers with the animal's picture at supermarkets and shops. Also give a call to Petfinders (800) 223-4747 to help in the search.
10. Spend a few extra dollars and buy a specialty license plate that raises money for endangered animals such as the manatee in Florida or the tiger in Pennsylvania. Drive with pride knowing you're doing your part to help them.
11. Erect a bird feeder in your yard with a baffle to keep squirrels from raiding the seed supply. (Skip the baffle if you want to be kind to squirrels too).
12. Build a bat house in your rural backyard. If you give bats free housing, they'll return the favor by eating hundreds of mosquitoes and other winged pests each night so you can sit on your porch in peace.
13. Donate old towels, blankets, and pet toys to your local animal shelter. Or make a trip to the pet supply store and buy bags of food, collars, leashes, and toys to drop off at the shelter.
14. Switch to pet-safe antifreeze. Sierra, made by Old World Industries, Inc. Conventional antifreeze contains propylene glycol that carries a tempting but fatal taste to animals. Just one teaspoon can kill a cat, and two ounces can kill a dog.
15. Ensure your pet's safe return if it scoots out of the house by putting an ID tag, license tag, microchip, or tattoo on it. Offer ID tags as gifts for your pet-owning friends.
16. Patronize pet-friendly hotels when you travel with your dog or cat. Don't try to sneak them in. Let them feel at home in a hotel that caters to their needs. Forget about taking your dog along on your Hawaiian vacation. The state is rabies-free and wants to stay that way. Under state law, all dogs and cats arriving in Hawaii must be quarantined between 30 and 120 days. Stick to the mainland for your treks with your furry pals.
17. Place a sticker on your window to alert firefighters that pets are inside in the event of a fire or other emergency. Make sure the sticker indicates how many and of what species.
18. Raise your cat indoors, limiting its outdoor exploration to 5 to 10 minutes each day on a leash with you. Indoor cats are at less risk for contagious diseases or injuries due to fights or cars.
19. Show true love for your older dog or cat by requesting your veterinarian do blood and urine tests on it by age 7. These tests can identify the early stages of diseases that can be treated more effectively than in later stages.
20. Dedicate a drawer or box in your house for pet-grooming supplies and pet medications that are safely out of paw's reach.
21. Animal-proof your trash cans. Fasten lids with rope, chains, or bungee cords or tie the handle to a stake driven into the ground to stop scavenger snacking by neighborhood dogs, raccoons, and other critters.
22. Devote a week's vacation to being a volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, caring for homeless dogs and cats. The world's largest animal sanctuary features Dog Town and Wildcats Village. For more details, call (435) 644-2001 or visit its web site: www.bestfriends.org.
23. Adopt a seal at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausilito, California. Sorry, you can't take it home and let it swim in your pool. But for $25, you will provide enough herring to feed a malnourished seal or sea lion for a day. For $50, you will provide enough antibiotics to heal a marine animal injured by a fishing line or marine debris. Splurge and donate $100 to pay for a diagnostic x-ray for fractured-flipper surgery. For details, call (415) 289-SEAL.
24. Donate money to the Delta Society, an organization that trains volunteers and screens their pets to provide therapy to 350,000 people each year in hospitals and nursing homes. Based in Renton, Washington, the Delta Society can be contacted by calling (425) 226-7357 or by going to its web site, www.deltasociety.org.
25. Attend a fashion show featuring a line of faux fur fashions or observe "Fur Free Friday" held every year in late November. You'll literally save the hides of foxes, minks, raccoons, and other fuzzy friends.
26. Keep your dog or cat in a quiet, safe place inside your home on the Fourth of July. If you'll be away, turn on the radio or television to offset the exploding noise and close the drapes and blinds to block the light-up-the-sky fireworks. Leave a pile of favored toys and food treats for solace.
27. Buy heated water bowls for both migrating and local birds during cold winter months and refresh daily.
28. Practice good dental hygiene on your dog and cat. If you can't maneuver a toothbrush inside their mouths, try rubbing specially designed pet toothpast gels onto their gums with your finger at least three times a week. Have your veterinarian professionally scale their teeth to remove stubborn tarter.
29. Plant trees and shrubs in your yard that will attract birds and butterflies. North American native birds flock to evergreens, hawthorns, junipers, and mulberries. Butterflies flutter to bee balm plants and apple trees.
30. Avoid using chemical-loaded pesticides on your lawn to kill weeds and insect pests. They can harm visiting birds, squirrels, and other critters. Consider using botanical insecticides such as neem and pyrethrins as well as natural approaches such as pulling weeds, roots and all, before they flower and seed.
31. Learn how to raise puppies that will grow up to become assistance dogs for the disabled. Or volunteer to help the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners. For more details, contact them at their headquarters in Sterling Heights, Michigan, at (810) 826-3938.
32. Delay adopting a dog or cat until a couple weeks after Christmas. Just like other gift returns, far too many dogs and cats offered as Christmas presents find their way back to the local animal shelters. And with the holiday stress and hectic pace behind you, you'll be able to devote more quality time to bonding with your new pal.
33. Select a dog breed that matches your personality and lifestyle. Size doesn't matter as much. If you're a major TV watcher, a bull mastiff is more appropriate than an energized Jack Russell terrier.
34. Enroll your puppy in a local socialization school starting at 8 weeks of age. The sooner you can expose it to strangers, friends, costumes, vacuum cleaners, cars, and cats, the better chance it will grow up to be a well-adjusted dog able to adapt to change.
35. Weigh your dog and cat each week to check against obesity as well as rapid weight loss that may be due to a medical condition. A couple of pounds weight loss in a dog or cat is comparable to 10 to 20 pounds in a human.
36. Give your pet weekly mini-medical exams at home. Open its mouth and check for bleeding gums, chipped teeth, or (yuck) doggie breath. Take a close peek at its eyes and ears for signs of discharge or infection. Finger its paws and massage its torso to detect any cuts or lumps. Conditions caught early have a better rate of recovery. And there's a hidden bonus: Your pet will become used to being handled, making for more harmonious vet visits.
37. Slow to five miles per hour in wake areas while boating to protect manatees and other mammal life. Manatees are slow-moving sea cows that can't dodge boat propellers quickly.
38. Purchase calendars, stationary, and address labels from nonprofit organizations that contribute a portion of the proceeds to help endangered animals.
39. Visit Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and stop by the area that houses injured eagles. Singer Dolly Parton contributes some of her amusement park profits to nurse eagles back to health so that they can be re-released into the wild. For more details, call Dollywood at (423) 428-9488.
40. Use glow in the dark collars and leashes when walking your dog at night to heighten your visibility, especially with motorists.
41. Give your little dog a break from trying to match your strides by carrying it in a kennel stroller. This pet carrier offers safety, comfort, and mobility for dogs under 13 pounds.
42. Give your animal a spirituality boost by taking it to a local place of worship that conducts annual Blessing of the Animals services, usually around Easter. Among the blessed last year at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Long Island, New York, was Molly, a black bear cub brought in by members of the Long Island Game Farm.
43. Hire a professional licensed pet sitter to take care of your pets (and your mail and plants) while on vacation or business trips instead of boarding the animals at kennels. Nothing beats home, sweet home to a dog or cat. To find a licensed sitter in your area, call the National Association for Professional Pet Sitters Referral Network at (800) 296-PETS or visit www.petsitters.org.
44. Seek a veterinarian who makes house calls to care for the skittish cats or dogs stressed by car rides and visits to veterinary clinics. These vets also handle households with many animals.
45. Participate in the local beach cleanups to remove debris that can harm birds, sea turtles, and other beach critters.
46. Slow down on curves on winding roads in areas frequented by deer. Each year, 500,000 deer are killed, and 29,000 people are injured in deer-vehicle collisions. Deer roam at dawn, dusk, and the first few hours of darkness.
47. Cap your chimney to prevent wayward birds from nesting or getting trapped inside your flue.
48. Car shop with your dog in mind if the two of you like to travel together. Certain models of Saabs, Fords, Audis, and Subarus offer optional pet-restraint harnesses or dividers to confine dogs in the cargo area.
49. Buy a first-aid kit specifically designed for your dogs, cats, birds, and horses. Must items: bandages, antiseptics, eye and skin wash, antibiotic ointment, cotton swabs, plastic forceps to remove splinters and ticks, and scissors.
50. Enroll in a pet first-aid class and learn how to perform CPR, stop bleeding, and carry out other medical treatments.
51. Donate $1 at PETsMART stores during their twice-a-year "Just-A-Buck, Change Their Luck" campaign. Proceeds go toward animals at shelters. Last year's two campaigns raised $3.5 million nationally, according to Joyce Briggs, executive director of PETsMART Charities.
52. Memorize this phone number: (888) PETS-911. The next time you've lost your pet, found a pet, need to locate your nearest animal emergency care center, or want directions to a local animal shelter, dial this number. This new national pet hotline is in operation all across the country. Or tap into its web site: www.1888pets911.org.
53. Treat your indoor felines to wide TV screens filled with videos of chatty, flying birds once a week. It's virtual reality for cats.
54. Widen narrow windowsills by adding cushy cat perches so your friends can peer out at the world in comfort.
55. Wash your pet's bedding in warm to hot water once a week. And clean the slime off rubber and plastic toys with disinfectant; rinse thoroughly in hot water.
56. Cut plastic rings from six-pack sodas and beers into tiny pieces before putting in recycle bins. These connected rings can choke birds and animals.
57. Scoop out litter once a day and wash the litter box once a week in disinfectant. You like clean toilets; so do your fastidious felines. Hate poop-scoop duty? Spend extra money for a motorized automatic cleaning litter box that needs your attention only once or twice a month, depending on the number of cats in your home.
58. Place one of your used T-shirts or sweatshirts at the foot of your bed for your dog or cat to sleep on while you're away. Your scent brings them comfort.
59. Tour the Cats' House in San Diego for ideas on how to convert your house into a colorful, creative, feline fantasy land. Owners Bob Walker and Frances Mooney customized the interior with catwalks, cat ramps, cat-sized holes in the walls, and floor-to-ceiling scratching posts and perches for their 11 felines. Once a year, they open their home to tours with proceeds benefiting the National Cat Protection Society. For details, check out their web site: www.thecatshouse.com or call (619) 276-3621.
60. Treat cats to tiny pieces of real tuna, stored in the freezer. Fresh tuna acts as a natural toothbrush to rid your cat of tartar buildup.
61. Join a local dog agility club. Both of you will work out together. Beats lifting barbells at the gym.
62. Invest in indoor potties and litter boxes for dogs if you work long hours to prevent them from developing urinary infections.
63. Take your dog to a pet pampering spa once a year, perhaps on its birthday.
64. Wash your dog's paws with a dampened towel after walks during the winter. Chemical salts used to melt ice on sidewalks cam be harmful to your dog's footpads.
65. Sidestep sizzling hot pavements during the dog days of summer. The heat can damage your dog's sensitive footpads. Aim for early-morning or evening walks. Stick to grassy areas for afternoon walks.
66. Stroke your dog and cat instead of patting them. Stroking is soothing. The jarring patting motions can cause nervousness among some pets.
67. Leave your voice on a tape recorder with phrases such as "How's my favorite dog?" or "Hi [pet's name], it's me. I'll be home soon." This is great for dogs with separation anxiety.
68. Quit smoking. One in five dogs suffers from some form or allergy, including smoke.
69. Rely on once-a-month flea and tick products such as Program, Sentinel, or Revolution instead of the unreliable, unsafe, and messy flea baths and flea bombs. Consult with your veterinarian for the right product to meet your pet's needs.
70. Don't physically punish your dog for housebreaking problems. Some indoor soiling is attributed to the wrong diet. Have your dog get a thorough exam by your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.
71. Spay or neuter your dog or cat -- and the sooner, the better for your pet's health. They can be safely altered as early as 12 weeks of age now. You don't have to wait until 6 months anymore to do your small part to address pet overpopulation.
72. Devote at least 15 minutes twice a day giving undivided attention to your pet. Let the answering machine take a message.
73. Provide filtered drinking water for your pet every day. A lot of pets dislike the taste and smell of chlorine and other substances in tap water.
74. Stop feeding fast foods to your dog. Obesity is the Number 1 health problem among canines and can lead to heart disease, pancreatitis, cancer, and a host of other problems for too-plump pets. Keep a small bag of healthy pet treats in your vehicle to distribute when you get that urge for a burger with everything.
75. Resist the temptation to give your macaw and parrot bits of cookies, candy bars, or even avocados. These tasty treats can be toxic to their delicate systems. Treat them instead to corn on the cob (minus butter), broccoli florets, and thinly sliced apples.
76. Sacrifice sitcom each night and spend 30 minutes walking your dog for a mile or more. It will benefit both of you. You can catch up during reruns.
77. Drink tea from a mug purchased from World Wildlife Fund and toast the lions, tiger, and host of other animals whose wild habitats you're helping preserve. Check out their web site at www.wwfus.org or contact them at (202) 293-4800 for more details.
78. Share pet humor that pokes fun at people. Example: "Did you hear the one about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac? He stays up all night wondering if there really is a dog."
79. Resist the temptation to share your Thanksgiving meal with your pet. Turkey bones can choke your pet, and the richness of many holiday dishes may cause upset stomachs. Treat your dog to a toy filled with kibble and your cat to a catnip mouse.
80. Use elevated food bowls for your dogs and cats to prevent them from incurring neck injuries. Try eating off the floor and see how your neck feels!
81. Limit your pet food supply to one month. Even when stored in airtight containers, the food can become stale or rancid.
82. Buy a Greenpeace bumper sticker to slap on your car. Tuna and whales will love you. For more info, check out their web site at www.greenpeace.org.
83. Buy a pet ramp to help your ailing or aging dog or cat get into your vehicle or onto your bed or furniture without jarring its joints.
84. Enroll in a dance class with your dog and learn how to do the cha-cha together.
85. Keep ant traps out of your pet's access to avoid accidental poisonings.
86. Show true compassion to homeless cats. Go beyond feeding them and have them spayed or neutered to do your part to stop overpopulation. A pair of mating cats can produce more than 120,000 total offspring within six years if none of them are spayed or neutered. Check with your local animal welfare groups on how to obtain safe traps to catch them, take them to the veterinarian for sterilization and vaccination, and return them to their turf.
87. Buy holiday cards from Dogs for Disabled Americans for $10 for a box of 10. Money goes toward training rescue dogs to serve deaf or physically disabled children and adults. For more information, contact (978) 422-9064.
88. Mix one teaspoon of safflower or other vegetable oil for 20 pounds of body weight into pet food to help outdoor animals maintain their weight during the winter weather.
89. Avoid using metal water bowls outdoors during winter months because a dog or cat's tongue can easily stick to the freezing metal. Remember the kid from the movie A Christmas Story whose tongue got stuck to the flagpole?
90. Custom fit your dog's doghouse. It should be big enough for your dog to stand and turn around in but snug enough to help hold in his body heat.
91. Apply a layer of petroleum jelly to paw pads before taking your dog out on walks during the cold weather to protect them from ice and salt.
92. Keep holiday plants such as poinsettias and mistletoe out of your dog or cat's reach. They are poisonous to them. Consider replacing them with artificial replicas.
93. Make a donation to a local shelter in the name of a friend who "has everything" for a birthday or Christmas present.
94. Pile laundry fresh from the dryer on your bed or sofa and whistle for your dog or cat. The warmth increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood and is comforting for critters with arthritis. A little hair on your sweater is a small sacrifice to provide your pet a bit of pampering.
95. Volunteer to clean up road apples deposited by horses in your town's annual Memorial Day parade.
96. Recognize that dogs and cats require different medical treatments. An aspirin can work wonders on an ailing dog but can kill a cat. Check with your veterinarian first before using over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, and flea or tick products.
97. Go easy on the perfume or cologne use, even if you do have a hot date. The noses of dogs and cats are much more sensitive.
98. Create a resume for your dog or cat that shows it's healthy and well behaved. It's especially handy when you're looking for an apartment. Have your veterinarian and current landlords write supporting letters.
99. Garner a tax break by making gift annuities to animal welfare organizations. Uncle Sam takes less of a bite on your income, and you aid animal victims of disasters, fund spaying and neutering programs, and promote responsible pet care and other acts of kindness.
100. Adopt a lion or a tiger or a bear. Many zoos have adopt-an-animal programs. In exchange for money, you get a photo and bio of your new wild adoptee. Get more details by calling the American Zoo and Aquarium Association at (301) 562-7777.
101. Protect your pet -- and your pocketbook -- by using pet medical insurance. Even vets are buying it.
Arden Moore was a contributing writer for two books, DogSpeak (Rodale Press, 1999) and PetSpeak (Rodale Press, 1999). She is a member of Dog Writers Association of America and Cat Writers Association of America. She is currently a writer and editor who shares her Seal Beach, California home with three dog-like cats. A contributing editor to Dog Fancy magazine and Pets: part of the family magazine, she also regularly contributes to PETsMART.com, Cat Fancy magazine, and Veterinary Practice News.
Information and advice contained on this site is for your consideration only. Please consult your veterinarian for specific advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet.
Technorati: Buddhism Buddha kindness kind to animals Compassion
“Sariputra, if there are people who have already made the vow, who now make the vow, or who are about to make the vow, ‘I desire to be born in Amitabha’s country,’ these people, whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all will irreversibly attain to anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, Sariputra, all good men and good women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, ‘I will be born in that country.’”
~ Amitabha Sutra
When I obtain the Buddhahood, any being of the boundless and inconceivable Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters whose body if be touched by the rays of my splendour should not make his body and mind gentle and peaceful, in such a state that he is far more sublime than the gods and men, then may I not attain the enlightenment.
~ Amitabha Buddha's Thirty-Third Vow