I know that you love animals, otherwise you probably would not be reading this blog! So I know that I’m preaching to the choir here. But I think my message today is something that all of us need to hear; not necessarily to change our daily behavior to do more to help animals, but maybe so that we encourage others. So what is that message?
One act of kindness … everyday! No exceptions.
Whenever I say this, I hear so many people (including people who LOVE animals) tell me But Allie, I’m so busy that I barely have enough time to eat lunch or I wish I had a lot of money/time to donate to help animals, but I just don’t!
I’m not asking you to unload your wallet (although feel free to do that at your local animal shelter, rescue group or animal sanctuary at any point while reading this); I’m not asking you to quit your job and spend your life volunteering to help animals in need (unless you are independently wealthy and want to do that, to which I say GO FOR IT!); and I’m not asking you to completely alter your lifestyle by not consuming/wearing animal products (although if you do that already, you are truly leading the pack!).
So what I am asking? I’m asking you and everyone you influence to do this one simple thing.
One act of kindness … everyday. That’s it.
So what would that look like, you ask? Here are 10 super simple examples of some of my daily kindness activities:
- Each morning I pick up my kitties (Lucy, Jacob and Rudy), hug them, kiss them, tell them that I love them, and then tell them what my day looks like (am I going to the office, working from home, traveling, etc.). I treat them like a two-legged family member. And they totally understand.
- When I brush my teeth, I smile (not just to get my pearly whites pearly white), but because my toothpaste (and all of the ingredients) are NOT tested on animals. I go to great lengths to make sure that all of my beauty and household products are certified on the Leaping Bunny site. Because of consumer pressure, there are now a huge amount of cruelty-free products to choose from that do not cost much more than products that are harmful to animals. So this one is an easy choice to make every day!
- When I put creamer in my Creme Brulee decaf coffee, I use coconut creamer (delish!) and give Bessie the cow a break!
- When I am driving to the office, I am not distracted by the radio, my schedule for the day, or heaven forbid my smart phone. Instead, I am focused on the road to make sure that no little creature runs into my path and perishes. And what I find are lovely birds, butterflies and even an eagle or two who grab my attention and brighten my day.
- If someone is amenable to a discussion about how their turkey sandwich came to be, I’m happy to oblige (and not in a snarky way, but in an educational way about the life of farm animals and how a meat-based diet is controversial in the medical community these days). No need to turn off anyone’s listening ears by going wack-a-poodle on them. A rationale discussion goes a long way to change mindsets.
- Spending even just a few minutes playing with, cuddling or walking a homeless shelter pet who is grieving the loss of her family. When I’m having a particularly stressful day, this is a fantastic way for me to instantly rebalance and is a beautiful gift to the shelter companion, too.
- When I’m at a store that has a donation canister for an animal protection group, even just putting my spare change in the canister will add up and help out an animal.
- I do not lecture people about eating meat; but if you do, consider having 1-3 days each week as meatless days. There are so many wonderful vegetarian and vegan recipes online these days that it is easy to fix up a great breakfast, lunch and dinner that is healthy.
- When I hear someone discussing the possibility of “buying” an animal, I see that as an opportunity to educate about “adopting” from a shelter and saving a life!
- And last, when I perusing social media at the end of a long day, I look for stories about animals to share. Stories of animals who need help and heart warming stories of amazing people who help animals. This only takes a few seconds to share these stories on your page and who knows … you may help a shelter animal find a new home!
You don’t have to do all of these on the same day; just pick one each day and DO IT! When you do something to help an animal, you will feel good. And then you’ll want to do more, and you’ll feel even better! Next thing you know, you’ve quit your job, opened an animal sanctuary, authored an animal protection book, and transformed your life! Okay, you don’t have to go that far, but I know many people who took small steps and eventually took a big leap. You never know what one act of kindness everyday will take you. I’m one of them!
So what will you do today? Drop me a comment about it! For even more ideas, check out my book Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets!!
Allie Phillips is a nationally-recognized author, attorney and animal advocate. As a prosecuting attorney volunteering in her local animal control shelter, she exposed the barbaric practice of pound seizure and has gone on to eliminate the practice in numerous shelters. That started her path as a strong, effective and respected animal advocate. Allie has been a federal and state animal protection lobbyist and nationally trains criminal justice professionals on animal protection and prosecution issues. She has written the award-winning and only book on pound seizure: How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation: Understanding Pound Seizure and the go-to guide on getting involved to help animals: Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets.
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