Time to celebrate our pets…even MORE

In May, we honor the immense benefits of pet guardianship and, likewise, the great impact we have on our cherished pets. We recognize all the good things they bring to our lives and remember our collective obligation to treat them well. Devotion goes both ways, and with it brings the responsibility to care for and provide for our furry family members.  

Pets are stress-relievers. When we cuddle, play with, or even just look at our pets, we get a hearty boost of oxytocin, our body’s naturally occurring feel-good, calming, and emotional-bonding hormone. Animals get this same boost, so it’s a win-win for everyone! More relaxed, happy, and deeply bonded feelings provide a sense of security and connectedness.

Pets fulfill our need to nurture. The human need to nurture is universal. Many people prefer to consider themselves pet parents, instead of pet owners, and think of their animals as their children too. More and more, people are having fewer kids and adopting more animals. Some pets even have their own wardrobe and social media accounts! No matter where you fall with your pet love expression, the point is to give them the best love and care possible.

Pets provide unwavering companionship. Animals see us through the darkest of days, as well as joyfully sharing the happiest moments of our lives. They sense our needs and provide accordingly. Dogs, for example, encourage connections in abundance, getting us outside socializing at the park or simply on a neighborhood walk. Cats, on the other hand, may opt for snuggling in your lap after a long day at work, being lulled to sleep listening to you vent your troubles away. In turn, we can tune into their needs and even adjust our busy schedules to go on that extra walk or finally sit down to enjoy some quality cuddle time after a hectic day.

During National Pet Month, it is also very important to reflect on ever-increasing pet homelessness. Above all, we can start in our own homes by spaying and neutering our pets. A majority of states have implemented mandatory spay and neuter laws to address the overpopulation of homeless animals. Most rescue organizations require all their animals to be spayed and neutered prior to any adoption. It’s a significant way to decrease the homeless population, or at least not add to it. One routine procedure can save many lives! 

Within our communities, there are many ways to get involved in this cause. Check out the local humane societies, shelters, and animal rescues in your area. Below are ways you can be an active part of the solution!

Adopt: If you are looking to add a pet to your family, consider adopting from a local shelter or rescue.

Donate: Although beneficial, donations don’t necessarily have to be monetary.  Offering your time, skills, or supplies is always extremely helpful.

Educate: Helping others to understand the vast problem of pet homelessness is a major step in ending it. Not only is promoting spaying and neutering our pets so important, but also knowing the many health benefits it offers them throughout their lives.

Share: Social media is a wonderful way to quickly spread the word on behalf of local shelters and rescues about upcoming adoption events. You can also promote individual pets looking for their forever home.

Train: If you feel confident in teaching dogs different commands or have extensive dog training skills, share your expertise at a rescue or shelter! Knowing the basics can help many dogs to be more adoptable.

Play: The more socialized animals are, the more likely they are to find their forever homes. Offering one-on-one attention, affection, and playtime for sheltered cats and dogs speeds this process along and lets their personalities shine! 

Foster: It can be a wonderful first step into the world of pet ownership if you’re not quite ready to adopt a pet of your own. It is a great opportunity to see what having a pet is all about before making a lifetime commitment yourself.  Many animals have endured a traumatic past upon being rescued. Healing wounds, building trust, and enjoying the comforts of a loving home will help them on their path to adoption. Foster homes for litters of kittens and puppies are always needed. 

Volunteer: Volunteers are a vital force in aiding shelters and rescue organizations at every level. Together, the mission of finding forever homes for every pet can be achieved!

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