With 2009 just around the corner, we were inspired to create a list of New Year's resolutions for animals. Feel free to add your own and share them with us!
1) Do your part to reduce pet overpopulation - spay and neuter you companion animals and encourage others to do the same.
2) If you encounter a stray dog or cat, stop to help. You could very well save a life. The Humane Society of The U.S. has some good guidelines for rescuing strays: click here to check them out.
3) Please don't patronize pet stores that sell puppies! The overwhelming majority of these dogs originate in puppy mills, inhumane breeding kennels that sacrifice canine health and comfort for profit. Remember, reputable pet shops and supply stores don't sell puppies!
4) Turn your trash into treasure by donating items to your local animal shelter. Old towels and blankets, baby gates, bedding, and even cardboard paper towel tubes can all be put to good use helping animals.
5) Familiarize yourself with Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) programs for feral cats.
6) Report cruelty. Because animal cannot speak for themselves, we must advocate for them. Trust your instincts - if you suspect that an animal in your community is being neglected or mistreated, speak up.
7) Adopt your next furry friend from a shelter or rescue group. With millions of homeless cats, dogs, and critters in our country, you are certain to find the perfect companion. Petfinder is a great place to start; you can search by zip code and narrow the results by breed, age, gender, etc. There's even a feature that allows you to find special needs pets, which is an option we always encourage! (Check out the Rebound Hounds' Top Ten Reasons To Adopt A Disabled Dog).
8) Forgo fur. The Majority of fur sold in the U.S. comes from unregulated farms in China where animals like foxes and raccoon dogs are kept and killed in agony. If you don't want to support cannibalism, electrocution, and commercial cruelty, chose faux or forgo.
9) Be an advocate for a chained dog. In far too many circumstances, dogs are kept chained outdoors, ostensibly to guard the home in which they should live. Dogs are pack animals by nature, so depriving them of companionship, exercise, and interaction is especially inhumane. Furthermore, chained dogs often end up becoming anxious and aggressive. If there is a chained dog in your neighborhood, please consider sharing a letter from Dogs Deserve Better with the owner. There is a Spanish version along with an English one.
10) Make 2009 the year that you microchip your companion animals if you haven't already. Although microchips are not entirely foolproof, they significantly increase the odds that your pet will be reunited with you if it becomes lost.