What is National Pet Month and How You Can Participate
National Pet Month is all about celebrating the joy of the human/animal bond.
That’s how Carol Novello, founder of Mutual Rescue, a national animal-welfare nonprofit initiative, and author of the upcoming book Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too defines National Pet month
“For National Pet Month, you can shout your love for your pets from the rooftops,” says Novello. While donating to your favorite pet charity is always a good thing, sometimes spreading the word is just as important.
Here are some things you can do this month to help your furry loved ones as well as those looking for homes.
Reach Out to Your Local Shelter
Perhaps one of the best ways to participate in National Pet Month is to connect with and support your local animal shelter. “Follow them on social media, share adoptable pets and articles about the health benefits of pet ownership with your community of friends, and call or visit the shelter to find out how you can help connect homeless pets with their forever homes,” says Novello. “Donating to a shelter is also a great way to make an impact and celebrate the difference the animals in your life have made.”
Some shelters have Doggy Day Out programs that allow dogs a day out with volunteers. “Interacting with homeless pets in these ways helps them feel better, lowers their stress, and increases their chances of getting adopted,” says Novello.
Make the Most of Social Media
Make the most of social media this month by talking about dogs and cats as much as possible. Novello suggests posting something about how your pet has changed your life and sharing things from your local shelter, including adoptable animals and volunteer and foster requests. , “You’ll be raising awareness not only of the ways having a pet has impacted you but also of homeless animals who are just waiting to positively impact the people in your world,” Novello says. “If your shelter has an Amazon wish list, share it on your personal page as well.”
Promote Responsible Pet Ownership
Start right at home by making sure your pet gets the appropriate care and love he deserves, but also share and gently educate others on what a responsible pet owner should do. Some things to keep in mind, according to Novello:
- Always spay/neuter your pet. It keeps them healthier and prevents unintended litters and more homeless pets.
- Engage your pet in healthy activities. From regular walks with your dog to playing cat-toy chase with your cat, your pet will be happier and healthier if they have active play every day,
- Commit to appropriate training. Cats can be trained to use the litter box, but they can also be acclimated to things like scratch posts and cat towers. Providing them the tools they need to be happy without compromising your furniture will keep both of you happier! For dogs, basic obedience classes can go a long way toward helping them behave well at home, on walks, and with new people.
- Make sure your pet has a way home. Make sure they’re wearing an ID with your name and phone number on it. If your pet isn’t microchipped, get them a chip. Most shelters and vets can provide this service for a small fee. If your pet has a chip, make sure the information on it is current and you have an alternate contact person.
Show Your Pet You Love Him
You’re probably doing this anyway but make an extra effort this month and take your dog on an adventure to a new play spot or pick up some catnip toys for your kitty and play dangle and chase. Make your walks just a little longer or toss the ball a few extra times this month—it might be just a few more minutes for you, but your pup will certainly appreciate it.
“Look through the responsible pet owner tips here and see if there’s one or more you can improve upon for the benefit of your pet,” says Novello. “Most of all though, take the time to really acknowledge the impact your pet has on your life and reflect that love back to them.”
Educate People About Animal Issues
The best way to share educational info about animal issues is to be willing to engage in conversation, whether online or out in the world, according to Novello. For example, you can organize a shelter volunteer day with your coworkers. “Ask your local shelter about their spay/neuter events and help promote them in your community, perhaps with flyers at local pet-owner hotspots as well as through social media,” says Novello. “You can even host a Q&A hour at your local library and invite a shelter representative to attend.”
If you know of specific local resources for pets, you can share them on neighborhood boards, both online and off. “Many people don’t know how to find a local spay/neuter clinic or low-cost vaccine event,” says Novello. “Post these on pages specific to your area.”
Volunteer, Volunteer, Then Volunteer Some More
Animal shelters and rescues are always in need of volunteers, so pick up the phone and ask your local shelter what their most pressing current needs are—this could be anything from help during public events to help walking the dogs or socializing the cats. “National Pet Month is at the beginning of kitten season for many shelters, so your local organization is likely to need foster homes for kittens and pregnant cats,” says Novello. “With fostering, all the supplies you need are provided; you just provide a safe haven!”
If you don’t have time to commit to an ongoing volunteer commitment, Novello suggests hosting a fundraiser for a local shelter or rescue. “Or if your local organization needs supplies, host a workplace or neighborhood supply drive for them,” Novello adds.