Happy October! Along with celebrating Halloween, Oktoberfest and all things autumn, pet lovers can celebrate pets almost every day of the month. So we start the celebration with World Animal Day (Oct. 4).

As human beings, we are neighbors, roommates, and friends to all types of creatures, and it’s our responsibility to help protect them so that their future generations can grow and thrive. In turn, our future generations can be blessed with the joy of sharing their lives with them, too.

World Animal Day began in 1931 as a way to highlight the plight of endangered species. This day has since evolved into a day to honor all the animals of the world, regardless of the celebrators’ nationality, religion, faith, or political beliefs.

The mission of World Animal Day is to celebrate animal life in all its forms; celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom; acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives; and acknowledge and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives.

This day is not linked to any person, organization, or campaign. It belongs to all of the citizens of the world and all of their animal neighbors. It is a day for advocacy, education, unity, involvement, and the raising of awareness for all of the animal issues that exist throughout the world.

How can you get involved on World Animal Day? You can….

• Educate people about the animals of the world, the many unfortunate plights some animals suffer through, and tell them what World Animal Day stands for! Many people are not aware of puppy mills and illegal dog fighting, and they need to have knowledge about such issues in order to take positive action.

For some, they also don’t know just how awesome a no-meat lifestyle can be. You can also help dispel the negatively held beliefs about specific breeds and animals, and let people know how important it is to “adopt, not shop!” But remember not to nag, nobody likes that.

• Expand your own knowledge and broaden your own horizons by picking up a book by an animal expert such as Jane Goodall, or a children’s book of the same style which you can share with some of the younger people in your life.

• Write a letter to The Spirit, or put up a post on your favorite social media site, or blog informing people of the day and the meaning behind it.

• Donate to a local animal charity or shelter. Local shelters are always in need of food, litter, and supplies. Check with your local shelter before going shopping as many have a giving tree/wish list.

• Volunteer at a local shelter or look into fostering an animal.

• Make your garden more animal friendly; add a birdbath, and include bee-friendly plants.

• Say “thank you” to all the people who spend day in and day out helping protect and save animals. Stop by a local veterinarian’s office or no-kill shelter and leave some sweet treats for the volunteers who celebrate “World Animal Day” every day. (Make sure you leave them in an animal-free zone.)

• Surprise your own favorite animal companion with an unexpected treat and carve out some extra time during the day to enjoy their company. If you know somebody who doesn’t have that same opportunity, volunteer to spend some extra time with their companion, too!

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