Random acts of animal kindness, one pawsome act at a time…
The inspiration behind this initiative started with a recent encounter my dog, Kensy, and I had at PetSmart. I stopped to buy dog food, nothing unusual there, but when I was checking out there was a visibly distraught older woman talking to the cashier. She was holding her cat, explaining to the clerk that she had taken him to Banfield Pet Hospital located within the store to get checked because he was sick. Unfortunately, the woman only had a few dollars and Banfield (not owned by PetSmart) refused to look at the cat. While walking back to my car the woman was standing in the parking lot in tears, she didn’t know what to do.
It was heartbreaking to see someone with their beloved sick pet not being able to afford treatment. I looked at Kensy and the thought of not being able to afford to get him necessary medical care in case of an emergency was unbearable to think about. I started talking to woman and she told me she was on disability and only had $8 to her name, that her cat was in distress and she was afraid he would die. I told her about my vet down the road and let her know she should stop there and they may be able to help her out. When I got home I called my vet and let them know what just transpired, and that if the woman stopped by with her cat to call me and I would cover the bill. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I knew I could pay to get the cat examined. I could never live with myself if I did nothing.
Shortly thereafter I got a call from the vet’s office to confirm I would pay for treatment. I couldn’t afford x-rays but I told them I would cover the examination and meds. After the cat was taken care of the vet’s office called back to take care of the bill. The woman of the phone told me how much this meant to the lady and that she had asked what she could do for me. I simply replied, “Tell her she’s welcome, and to pass it on when she is able.” That was the moment Just Paw It Forward was conceived in my mind.
Because Kensy and I were at the right place at the right time, I hopefully made a difference and changed the outcome of a very sad situation. It not only made me feel good, but hopefully inspired this person to help someone else. I knew then that I needed to share this with other animal lovers and set-up a place where we can make a difference one animal related random act of kindness at a time. There is no big or small act, this is not about money, and you don’t need a penny to get started. It’s all about doing something, anything, and inspiring others to go out and do the same.
My goal is to spread the word using this blog, get pet lovers everywhere to join in on project Just Paw It Forward, and hopefully a chain reaction takes place. In other words, what starts off with one person, one act, soon becomes two, and eventually takes on a life of its own. I’ve come up with a few ideas to get you thinking….
1. Adopt a shelter. Pick any shelter and make it your mission to help them out. Call them and ask what’s on their wish list, help find the items they need. Volunteer to walk the dogs or clean cages.
2. Ask your veterinarian if they would be willing to dedicate a few hours a month to help out those pet parents who may not be able to afford shots or other necessary care.
3. If you have any elderly neighbors who own a dog and have trouble getting outside offer to walk their pup to help out.
4. Donate dog/cat food at a drop off location, leave a post- it on the food sharing your mission and hope you inspire the recipient to do the same.
5. When Petco or PetSmart, or any shelter you know, has their pet adoption day stop by and drop off lunch or a treat for the volunteers.
6. Sign up with your dog to become a pet therapy team so you can visit nursing homes, hospitals, etc. and share joy and love with those in need.
7. If you see abuse or neglect taking place become a Good Samaritan for animals. Call any authorities you trust to uphold compassionate animal welfare standards. Start a neighborhood watch with your children; it’s a wonderful way to teach them about compassion for animals and how to help prevent animal abuse. Go to Sunbearsquad.org to get a Neighborhood Watch Kit and get started.
8. Help with rescue dog transport. You can help get rescues to a safe location or to their new forever home. Dogs are being transported across the country everyday and drivers are always needed.
9. If a rescue is having a fundraising event offer to donate an item for their auction.
10. Help spread the word via the internet about dogs that need homes, it really does make a difference.
This is just the start of what will hopefully become a huge list as people join in with their ideas. Once you’ve completed your random act of animal kindness this is the place to share it with others, write about why you chose to do what you did, and how it made you feel. Tell us about your dog and what makes them special. Whatever it is you’ve chosen to do let the person or group know about Just Paw It Forward, challenge them to go out and do the same.
Each month we’ll be featuring a Good Samaritan of the month who’s made a difference. Please tell me about yourself or someone you know who deserves to be featured.
Let’s get barking, no time to waste, there are random acts of animal kindness just waiting to happen.