Remember our animals this holiday season with holiday gives that support animals!
There’s a story that my mom likes to tell, and has re-told over the years. Apparently, when I was a kid, she walked into a room and found me sitting perfectly still, with my eyes closed, and my index finger placed on the center of my forehead. She watched me for a few minutes to see what I would do, and eventually her curiosity got the better of her. So she asked, “What are you doing, anak (child)?” Without moving or opening my eyes, I responded, “I’m calling the animals”.
Now I can’t say for sure why I thought a telepathic summon for animals would work, but I think it illustrates how much I, like many people, love them! I see animals as majestic, innocent, mysterious, adorable, and hilarious. So when I saw an opportunity to write a blog about holiday gives to support animals, I jumped on it!
As I went through a mental list of various organizations that we can all give to, it occurred to me that 2020 has been a year of challenges. For many of us, our wealth and abundance has to be redistributed. Granted, regardless of the amount, all financial contributions are welcomed by these organizations (and a number of them will be listed at the end of the post). However, in the spirit of accessibility, this list will also include gives which support animals that have little to no cost.
Straight from the runways of Paris and Milan, the must-have accessory this year is the facemask! They’re fashionable, functional, and for goodness sake, please just put one on! Most people are wearing reusable masks, though sometimes, a disposable one is necessary. Here’s an easy way to give to animals this season: cut the mask straps before throwing them away. It has been observed and documented that the straps can have adverse effects on animal life. Much like the plastic six-pack rings of the past, the straps can wrap around an animal’s body, resulting in a harmful quality of life up to, and including death. So cut those straps, please.
A few years ago, an image circulated online that profoundly affected me. It was a seahorse with its tail wrapped around a plastic cotton swab. It made me realize exactly how polluted the oceans are, and how even the deepest and darkest parts of it have been affected by plastic waste. Thankfully, this was a wake up call for most people. These days, cotton swabs, toothbrushes, and other plastic items can be made from biodegradable bamboo. Toothpaste and deodorant can come in reusable and refillable glass jars. Laundry detergent can come in the form of tiny strips packaged in cardboard. Have a look around your home and see what household item purchases can be modified so that we can give animals a better shot at life.
There’s no doubt that having a pet is a rich and rewarding experience. As I type this post, my little shih tzu is looking at me with his massive eyes, begging me to play with him and procrastinate a little bit more. Ugh! Fine. I give in. I’ll be right back, everyone.
Okay, I’m back. Anyway, pets are awesome and unfortunately in many large cities, the local animal shelters are full of ones in need of a good home. If giving the gift of a family pet is within your grasp this holiday season, please consider adopting. Here is a list of animal shelters. While most of them are in North America, there is a search function to see if there is a reputable shelter near you. (https://www.bringfido.com/resource/animal_shelters/).
All puppies are cute! However, they grow up to be dogs with very specific temperaments and needs. So before giving someone a pet as a holiday gift, do a thorough examination of what that will look like for the recipient. Here’s a personal anecdote. My brother-in-law bought a hamster for my niece, and he did some minor legwork to prepare for it. It’s a hamster, after all. How hard can it be? It turns out that it’s not as easy as it seems. The hamster was suffering from anxiety due to the insufficient size of the cage, and its nocturnal habits were waking the family up in the middle of the night. Thankfully, everyone was able to adapt, pivot, and modify so these challenges were overcome and the outcome was favorable. So if you’re giving someone a pet this holiday season, please do the work and give everyone the chance to live a life of comfort and ease.
I love hiking, and there is a local wildlife preservation center in my area that is open to the public. It’s very common to encounter animals such as herons, beavers, and hares, OH MY! It really is beautiful, and each hike is memorable and different because of the animals I encounter. Recently, it’s been very hard to ignore the large amount or trash that has shown up on the trails – bottles, bags, and face masks with the straps intact. I’m reminded of something that a wise teacher once told me: “Let’s leave this place cleaner than when we found it”. So if there is a park, or a conservation site, or some kind of trail near you, I invite you to give to the animals that use the space, by maintaining its cleanliness. Anyone can do it!
For those of us in the position to do so, a donation to an organization that helps animals is always welcome. Here are a number that you could consider:
Do you know of other organizations that help animals? Were you looking to help our animals this holiday with some great gives that support animals? Maybe you’ve donated to or volunteered for one. Help us expand this list by adding to the comments below. Or you can sign up for your 365give membership to share your giving stories, meet like minded givers, and keep up this community and culture of giving.