Animal Safety and Protection Month – October, is to promote the well-being of both wild and domestic animals.  You’d have to have a pretty hard heart to not be touched at the site of a newborn animal.  They are a very important part of the circle of life, and without them, our lives would be pretty dull.  Let’s set aside talking about safety at home, work, or play, and focus on our furry, four-legged friends today. 

Our cities are growing at a rapid pace, and as they do so, they are destroying the habitats of wild animals – coyotes, foxes, rabbits, deer, and many other species.  It makes one wonder where they will eventually wind up?  When the weather is extremely dry, these animals return to private homes, looking for water and/or food.  Building of homes, roads, and businesses are taking their homes away from them.  The wildlife in our oceans are being harmed by sewage, industrial waste, and oil spills.  How can anyone forget the site of those poor birds covered by oil during the recent tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico?  Thanks to several dedicated workers, many birds’ lives were saved by hours of cleaning them, and then moving them to other habitats.  We even have rainforests in the United States, in the Pacific Northwest, where clear cutting is endangering wildlife in that region. 

On a trip to Alaska this past spring, we visited a bear sanctuary in Sitka.  We were shown a cute black bear cub, and informed that he was being sent to our home state, Texas.  When a fisherman discovered him, he was barely alive and his mother was already dead.  At the time we saw him, he fit into a carrier that most middle-size dogs could fit in.  He was soon flown to Texas, to live out his life in an exotic animal sanctuary.  It was fun to read the newspaper accounts about his journey, and see him featured on Dallas television.  He is a very lucky little bear, who happened to be found and taken to a place where he could be cared for until he could make the trip.  He is in a safe place where visitors can observe him and other wildlife. 

There are many things we can do to protect animals.  If you suspect that an animal is being abused, report it to your local ASPCA or law authorities.  There are many organizations that rescue animals, finding homes for them, after they are spayed and neutered and given their shots.  These animals can be adopted and what a reward adopting one of them can be.  You are saving a life, as well as gaining a faithful companion. 

There’s nothing more fun than taking your children to the zoo, so they can learn firsthand about nature’s gifts of wildlife.  Children are fascinated by seeing animals, reptiles, and sea creatures; just watch their faces while they are visiting an aquarium or zoo, if you don’t believe it. 

When children ask for a puppy or kitten, it’s an exciting time – until the new wears off.  They want to play with them, but when time comes to feed them, it’s often left up to Mom or Dad.  So they should learn how to feed and take responsibility for their new pet.  When we welcome an animal into our home, they are part of our family, and deserve to be treated that way.  We have to feed them, make sure they have their shots and take them for treatment when they are sick.  

It’s hard for me to hide that I love animals……..we have had many dogs during our marriage, as well as cats, too.  Our kids brought a few strays home through the years, and they made great pets.  One was a little pointer-mix puppy that had been thrown out beside the road with both her front legs broken.  We took her to the vet, and because they had already begun mending, he suggested that we leave them alone.  Because we had a very active little Cairn Terrier, and they played every day, her legs healed just fine.  She turned out to be one of the sweetest dogs we ever had.  Now, we have a 10-year old Jack Russell, who has been the most challenging breed of dog we ever tackled, but what a pleasure he is.  Buddy and I walk every day, rather, he walks me everyday! 

Remember to be wary of those animals that don’t know you, or dogs that are sitting in the back of a pickup truck.  You don’t want to risk getting bitten.  Leave wild animals alone, as it’s tempting to want to touch them, but they might be dangerous, especially if they have little ones around. 

Do what you can to protect the critters of the earth, keeping them safe and protected.  Most domestic pets such as dogs and cats will be your best friends until they take their last breath.  To quote Dereke Bruce, “In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.”