‘Be Kind to Animals Week’ gets under way Sunday
Word of Life Academy eighth-grader Tania Tsuha's essay reflects the caring and compassionate spirit of "Be Kind to Animals Week":
"When I graduate from high school and go to college, I want to become a veterinarian/writer so I can help people make the right choices for their pets. This year I'll be 14 and I'm planning to volunteer at the Humane Society so I can help animals. I'll never forget all the pets I've spent time with and I'm looking forward to helping more animals soon."
This special week, Monday to May 13, is a fitting time to remember the basic components of responsible animal care.
Exercise: Pets need both physical and mental exercise. Animals confined indoors might entertain themselves with destructive scratching. Dogs that are tied up all day often become bored and might dig or bark excessively. The solution is simple: take long walks, play fetch and engage in other activities that let it burn off energy.
Pet owners who are away during the day should provide toys to keep their pets occupied. Another act of kindness would be to arrange for a dog walker to visit your pooch in the middle of the day.
Nutrition: Provide your pet with lots of fresh water, especially if they live outdoors. Dehydration can be fatal. Be sure your pet receives a balanced diet that consists of pet food designed for its size and species. Table scraps might seem like a treat, but some human foods can cause digestive problems for pets. Check with your veterinarian before feeding leftovers.
Shelter: Pets should have access to the house, garage or have their own small structure to protect them from sun and rain. Failure to provide an animal with food, water and shelter causes suffering and is considered neglect under law.
Sterilization: Spayed and neutered pets live longer, are protected from certain diseases, are less likely to bite and won't have unwanted litters. For cats at least 6 months old that spend time outdoors, there is another reason to spay or neuter: It's the law. Oahu's Neuter Now program provides low-cost sterilization from participating veterinarians.
To learn more
» For information on animal care, the Neuter Now program or to update microchip information, visit the Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends and holidays. Brochures and microchip forms are available.
» For online information, visit the Web site www.hawaiianhumane.org and check out sections for Pet Care, Spay & Neuter Services or Pet Identification.
» To report animal cruelty or neglect, call the Hawaiian Humane Society at 946-2187, ext. 1, 24 hours a day.
Identification: Lost pets are prey to all sorts of dangers. Securing an ID tag to your pet's collar can ensure a quick return. A microchip ID means added protection if the collar is lost. For years it provides a unique number tied to a database with your name, address and phone number. Keep your microchip information updates with the humane society.
Education: Few lessons that parents impart are as rewarding as teaching children to be gentle with animals. The strong bond that grows between kids and pets is so nurturing that it often improves other aspects of their lives. A child who learns empathy for a pet could begin to treat siblings with more compassion. Learning to be responsible for feeding, bathing and exercising a pet teaches children important values.
Being kind to animals is mainly its own reward. During the quality time we spend petting and playing with our pets, worries and stress disappear.
To describe his bond with his dog, Rusty Boy, Jordan Herring-Kamaka, a 10th-grader at Waianae High School, wrote, "My pet helped me by giving me the love that nobody else could fill in my life. Rusty showed me joy when things went wrong in my life. When I was having a bad day, he would come up to me and start licking on my face. It was Rusty's way of saying, 'What's wrong? Can I help make you feel better? I'm here for you.'"
Many other children shared their love of animals through essays and posters delivered to the Hawaiian Humane Society. The winners will be on display at the society's booth at Pet Expo, May 13 and 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Blaisdell Center. Admission is free.
"Pet Ohana" runs the first and third Fridays of the month. The Hawaiian Humane Society is at 2700 Waialae Ave. Call 946-2187.