For many of us, every week is “Be Kind to Animals Week." And that is a good thing. But this coming week, May 5-11, is a time set aside every year by the American Humane Association to give some special consideration to the matter.

After all, aren’t we on the receiving end of our animals’ kindnesses to us on a daily basis? They love us unconditionally no matter how miserable we are feeling or how much we may have neglected them or how distracted we might be by the demands of our busy lives. Our pets never give up on us.

And it shouldn’t surprise us that we could learn a thing or two from our animal friends such as:

*Live each day to the fullest.

*Nap when necessary…or when it just feels right.

*Trust your instincts.

*Think big. Be fearless. Defend your friends.

Ways to be kind

Yes, we owe them so much, and Be Kind to Animals Week is a great time to show it. How, you ask, can we do so? Here are a few ideas:

*Adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue. Of course, we would like you to start your search at the Beatrice Animal Shelter. You can help animals get a second chance at happiness and enrich your own life forever.

Adoption counselors at the shelter will help you find just the right companion for your situation. And don’t forget to check out our shelter cats and kittens at the two PetSmart locations in Lincoln.

*Donate supplies to your local animal shelter. Any donation of cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, cat litter, paper towels, office supplies, collars, and leashes, and more is like money in the bank. It enables us to do more for animal care and medical matters.

*Volunteer at the shelter. We are always looking for more help with cleaning cages and kennels, helping in the front office, doing laundry and washing bowls. Kittens need to be socialized; dogs want to be walked; and there are potential adopters waiting to meet a forever friend.

*Promote the shelter by showing your support on social media. Share your story about finding a pet at the local animal shelter and post a photo of the two of you enjoying life together.

Backyard friends

*Remember there are animal friends in the great outdoors. Don’t forget to keep those birdbaths filled, and if you feed the birds year-round, remember to keep the feeders filled. Some backyard birds love to set up housekeeping in a birdhouse, so you might consider hanging a few houses. Your feathered friends are counting on you.

Plant flowers and shrubs that attract butterflies and bees and other pollinators. Be respectful of animals in the wild. Remember…opposums are our friends!

*Be informed about proposed legislation concerning animals. There are several bills in our Nebraska Unicameral this session that impact the lives of companion animals and their owners. Study the bills and contact your state senator to express your concerns.

*Report animal abuse and neglect. If you are not an advocate for a dog that is chained outside day and night or a starving cat or a puppy that is beaten for acting like a puppy, then who will be? They cannot speak out, so we must do it for them.

*Educate youth. Be a role model and mentor to the young ones in your sphere of influence. Help them to understand that hitting or abusing a pet is never right. Teach them by example how to be a responsible pet-owner.

Kind caregivers

Staff and volunteers at the Beatrice Animal Shelter are great examples of how the animal/human bond works on a daily basis. Being kind to animals is standard operating procedure.

Their patient care helps to calm the lost and homeless animals that come into the shelter feeling anxious, frightened, suspicious, and confused. Kindness and compassion win out, and before long the furry friends are interacting with their human caregivers. These humans know the importance of being kind to animals every day.

Please give some thought as to how you can promote kindness to our animal friends every day of the year. As French poet, Anatole France said so well, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

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