25 Ways to Help Animals & the Humane Society International

From helping animals affected by disasters, providing care for starving street dogs in India and elsewhere, making strides for animals in laboratories, factory farms, puppy mills, and so much more, Humane Society International (HSI) is working to protect animals around the world Please visit their site and consider a small holiday donation in honor of someone you love.   Thank you.  http://bit.ly/1g9QZhL

child with dog ID-10023413

25 Actions to Help Animals and HSI

There are many ways to show that you care.  Get involved, make a difference.  Here are 25 ideas for ways you can help animals locally and around the world.

With so many widespread problems facing animals, it takes all of our collective efforts to confront cruelty and change things for the better.

Get involved in your community

  • Write letters to the editor on animal protection issues and encourage radio and television talk shows to cover these topics (hsi.org is a great resource for information).
  • Approach your place of worship about engaging in animal protection issues. See what the HSUS Faith Outreach team has been doing for ideas.
  • Help feral cats in your neighborhood with the HSUS’s Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) resources.
  • Ask your local restaurants and grocery stores to switch to cage-free eggs, and to protect seals by boycotting Canadian seafood.
  • Take a stand against puppy mills and encourage local stores that sell live animals to stop. Ask pet stores to work with animal welfare organizations to promote animals available for adoption.
  • Promote Meatless Mondays in your school, workplace cafeteria, or in your favorite restaurant. It’s a campaign that’s good for animals, the environment, and our health.

Help animals in your everyday life

  • Be a responsible pet owner. Have your pet spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted births. Put a collar and visible identification on your dogs and cats and encourage others to do the same. And keep your cats safe indoors.
  • Avoid supporting cruelty as “entertainment.” Do not attend bullfights, bull fiestas, or marine mammal shows.
  • Add an HSI video to your website, blog, or social networking page.
  • Educate yourself by signing up for email action alerts and news from HSI. Share emails with friends.
  • Adopt a friend for life from a local animal shelter or foster an animal waiting for a permanent home. Search World Animal Net’s directory and choose “Pet Adoption” or “Foster Homes” under “Select Focus or Activity.” If you live in the U.S., search The Shelter Pet Project.
  • “Like” HSI on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  • Eat with conscience. Practice the 3 Rs of eating. Reduce your consumption of meat and other animal-based foods, refine your diet by avoiding animal products derived from factory farming, and replace meat and other animal-based foods with vegetarian options.
  • Pledge to be cruelty-free and only purchase cosmetics that are certified [PDF] to be non-animal-tested.
  • Support compassion in fashion by consulting the Fur-Free Retailer program’s list of fur-free retailers, designers, and brands and The HSUS’s guide [PDF] to telling real fur from fake.
  • Prepare a disaster kit for you and your animals.
  • Make compassionate purchasing decisions while traveling and at home with the help of our Don’t Buy Wild guide.
  • Ask restaurants that serve shark fin soup to stop by providing restaurant managers with our Consumer Cards.
  • Make a personal annual gift to HSI or sign up for an automatic monthly pledge using your credit card.
  • Share this list with family members and friends so they can learn how their actions can help animals, too.

Participate in trainings and events

Volunteer for animals

  • Offer your time and skills to your local animal welfare/protection organization. A useful resource is the World Animal Net directory. Do make sure you are comfortable with the positions and actions of any group you volunteer for. You can also volunteer ”virtually” for groups anywhere in the world!!
  • Some ways you may be able to help animal protection organizations: fundraise, manage their website or social media presence, design and produce flyers and/or advertisements, set up a community education booth [PDF], or take photographs of animals available for adoption.

Reach out to youth and schools

  • Teach children and teens to respect animals with humane education activities and lesson plans. Lead Mission: Humane projects for students and animal clubs who want to help animals.
  • Provide classrooms and youth clubs with our How to Avoid Dog Bites booklet [PDF]
  • Give talks at local schools about factory farming and how students can help animals at every meal by avoiding factory farmed products, and by choosing cage-free eggs and plant-based foods. Encourage them to ask their cafeterias to go cage-free and to adopt Meatless Monday.

Information from http://www.hsi.org and letter from Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of HSI Canada on My Life’s Work – Helping Animals

Photograph of Child with Dog courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and photographer Ashley Cox

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The Raleigh Dama

raleighI was born under a porch where I nestled with my mother and siblings in the cool, shaded dirt.  We stayed put when she left each night; she didn’t tell us to do so, but she made it clear somehow.  We weren’t inclined to wander anyway—there were odd sounds at night beyond the latticework that separated us from the world.  So we chewed on each other, and climbed on top of each other, and silently curled around each other, awaiting her return.  She came back before first light.  We nursed happily and slept.

One morning there was commotion outside our hideaway.  Our mother stepped in front of us, tense.  There was a wrenching sound, then the latticework fell away and sunlight streamed in.  A man and woman stooped down and peered at us, making friendly little sounds.  My mother, wary, moved toward them, her thin body silhouetted against the glare.  She sniffed their hands then allowed them to pet her.  She turned to us and meowed, and we came to her.  The man gently scooped all four of us kittens up at once in his arms and placed us in a crate.  He called to my mother, who looked at us in the crate, glanced to the side toward freedom, looked at us again, then climbed into the crate.  We pressed against her body on the jostling ride.

We came to a place of meowing cats and barking dogs and talking people.  A woman carried us to a cage in a back room.  Another woman draped our mother across her shoulder, petting her, and brought her to join us.  There was a bowl of water, into which I dipped my nose and sneezed repeatedly.  There was a bowl of food that my mother ate, all at once.  There was a soft blanket on which we slept and passed the time together.

People came and went—tall people and little people, high voices and low voices, kind hands that pet us and fed us.  My mother grew less boney.  We grew bigger.

An older man came one day, white haired and angular.  He opened our cage and petted each of us with exquisite tenderness, then the spoke to our mother.  They regarded each other for some time, as though something was passing between them.  Before he took her away, he held her near each of us.  We touched noses with her, and then she was gone.

Two days later, two of my siblings were adopted by a young couple, and three days after that, my remaining sibling was adopted.  The cage had a lot of space to move in, but I missed the sense of belonging and deep comfort that came from my family’s nearness.  The people who cared for me were kind, picked me up, and spoke to me, but mostly they were bustling about caring for so many cats.

At night the shelter grew quiet and peaceful.  The moon came through the bars of my cage, bluing the floor and my black fur.  In its soothing light, I slept deeply.

One day a woman came and paused before each of the cages.  I liked the way she moved, like a blade of tall grass in the wind.  She lay her open palm against the door of each cage and talked softly to the cats.  When she came to my cage I stretched my arm out toward her and blinked slowly—the language of cat love.  She asked someone if she could hold me.

When the door swung open, I walked into her outstretched arms, settled in, and reached up and touched her face with my paw.  She laughed, a lovely, silvery sound, stroked my fur, and said something to the shelter person.  I went home with her.

Sometimes I dream of my mother and siblings, a far-off memory now.  In my dreams each of them has someone to love.

Some have the mistaken belief that shelter cats aren’t adoptable, that they’re in the shelter for behavioral and other problems.  Generally this is not true.  Cats land in shelters because 2% of lost cats ever find their way home… because unscrupulous owners abandon them…because their people die…. Please consider adopting from a shelter.  There are 70 million homeless cats in the U.S.

About www.untoldanimalstories.org —We tell animals’ stories from their perspectives.  Gentle in our approach rather than shocking, we invite connection, compassion and, from that, action.  We also provide tips on what you can do to help animals, and seek new action ideas, as well as animal and rescue stories, from you….  Please write to us at untoldanimalstories@gmail.com