October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month.
October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month. This observance helps not only pet owners but also all of us as guardians of God’s creation to keep domesticated animals safe. This program will serve to raise awareness and provide ideas for keeping pets safe, such as serving at a local shelter, or showing any struggling pet owner how to care for their animal. For more information on this month–long observance, please visit: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-animal-safety-and-protection-month-october/.
In October 1981, the PALS Foundation launched the “National Animal Safety and Protection Month” to encourage people to care for and handle animals in a safe and respectful manner. Since then, pet lovers in the United States have been encouraged to raise awareness about treatment of both domestic and wild animals (dog.com). Even those who do not own pets can be part of this campaign.
What Is Our Responsibility?
God’s people should lead the way in caring for all animals. Even if we don’t own a pet or are able to adopt, there are ways to assure their well being. (Adapted from dog.com):
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
- Foster a pet until it finds its new forever home.
- Donate money or needed supplies to your local animal shelter.
- Plan a trip to the zoo.
- Educate children about animal care so that they gain a healthy appreciation of animals.
- Spread the word about National Animal Safety and Prevention Month. Call your local public radio station and ask them to feature this topic.
Discuss with group leaders which one of the following projects best fits your group. If the group is large enough, they may want to do all the suggestions:
- Collect and deliver items to a local animal shelter. During the month of September, contact the local animal shelter and ask about their specific needs and if they accept in–kind donations. Make a list of these items and pass it out a month in advance. These items could be delivered as a group during a visit or tour of the facility.
- Invite a shelter representative to meet with the group to accept the gifts and share about the facility.
- Check to see if a member of the women’s ministries group is having difficulties caring for their pet. Ask the women to bring items—food (beforehand, check what brand the pet is used to), toys, non–prescription meds such as heart-worm preventive, flea/tick prevention.
If you have any bakers in the group, ask them to make cookies in the shape of dog treats or cakes. There are ideas on Pinterest. This could be a contest with small prizes for the winners.
Invite the women to bring pictures of their pets to be displayed around the room. Oriental Trading sells plastic paw print tablecloths, plates and napkins.
- Did you have a pet as a child?
- What is the most unusual pet you had?
- Share with the group an interesting story about a pet.
Pet Trivia Games
Check the following websites for trivia pet games:
Safety Tips For Animals
Check the website: https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/general-safety-rules/ for safety tips.
“He’s Got the Whole World” (with a little variation)
“He’s got the dogs and the cats in His hands.”
The Godly Take Care of Their Animals
When my son was little, he watched the movie, All Dogs Go to Heaven. This is an animated movie in which a “dog angel,” Charlie, sneaks back to earth and befriends a little orphan who can speak to animals. When the movie ended, my son asked the question that I knew was coming, “Do dogs go to heaven for real?” I answered in the best way I could by saying that although I did not remember any Bible verses that talked about the subject, in my heart I believed that yes, our pets go to heaven.
Many years ago, while serving in Clearwater, Florida, a large group gathered together one evening to watch the movie Left Behind. As the scene of the rapture ensued, we watched in horror to see that among the left behind were the dogs of those taken to heaven. As the scene changed, a lady next to me said, “That cannot be true. I would like to believe that my pet will one day be in heaven.”
Why do we feel this way about our dogs and cats and turtles and bunnies? Because God cares for His creation, and since we were made by Him, we too share that love for all of God’s creatures. Well, almost all. I’m not too sure about alligators!
At the beginning the book of Genesis, after God finished His creation, Adam was given this command: “Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” At first glance, we do not see any commandment to take care of creation, but if we look a little bit closer we can discover a great truth. The first word in the command is “reign.” Reign means “to govern, to lead.” God reigns over us. He is our King, and He lovingly cares for us. In the same way, we are encouraged to govern over creation by protecting and providing for it. Human reign over creation was not meant to be a rule of senseless, selfish power, but a deliberate and coordinated effort among all peoples to care for one another and all of God’s creation. And this, of course, includes animals.
Remember the writer of the Proverbs reminds us, “The godly care for their animals” (Prov. 12:10). Let’s make this our goal this month and forever.