Ever since I was a child I was fascinated by the animals around me and so it was no surprise to those who knew me that I became a veterinarian. What has been a surprise, and a very pleasant one at that, was how far this love for animals would take me, 12,855 kilometers to be exact. That is the distance from my home city of Toronto, to Hyderabad India.
I am a traveling volunteer veterinarian and have been to Hyderabad once, during the fall of 2019. I will be returning this year, during Diwali.
I have traveled to Cairo, Egypt to treat a dog named Salim. His face had been burned when someone threw acid onto him.
I have rescued animals displaced and hurt after a wildfire tore through a small town near Athens, Greece.
And recently I have returned from Kharkiv, Ukraine where together with a local animal rescue, cared for and vaccinated animals affected by the war and its tribulations.
Everywhere I go I learn more and more about the importance animals play in our lives. And each and every time I am reminded how valuable even the simplest animal’s life is.
We must be kind to animals for it is how we treat animals that indicate the type of person we are. Are we selfish and full of disdain, or are we gentle and compassionate?
Animals are honest creatures, they want the same thing we all want – to live in peace and harmony with those around them. Wild animals do not feel hatred, they do not have evil intent. Domestic animals are wonderful companions and only wish to protect us and make us happy.
Treating an animal with kindness does not require you to be a veterinarian, it only requires that you show them respect and appreciation, and consider the following ideas:
Have a voice for those who cannot speak.
If you see an animal that is hurt, or in distress, please don’t ignore it. Contact your local animal rescue.
Adopt…if you are ready.
All around the world, animals are euthanized due to overpopulation. If you have the time to care for a pet, and the room in your heart to make it a part of your family, adopt a homeless animal today.
Donate to or volunteer with your local animal rescue organization.
Your local animal rescue is always looking for more volunteers and greatly appreciates donations. By volunteering you will meet wonderful people, make new friends, and can have an enormously positive impact on the lives of so many animals.
Sterilize your pet to prevent unwanted litter.
Sterilizing your pet not only helps prevent unwanted animals and lowers the number of animals on the streets, but it also keeps your pet healthier and helps them live a longer and safer life.
Provide food and water to those in need.
One of the main reasons animals die in the wild is a lack of food and clean water. Hunger, dehydration, and a lack of shelter when the weather becomes unbearable, lead to times of suffering. Consider leaving healthy food out for street dogs and cats, and clean safe water sources for animals of all kinds.
On behalf of farm animals…eat humanely.
Consider becoming a vegan, vegetarian, or even just reducing the amount of animal products you eat each day. Less animals being eaten means less animals dying, and a diet low in animal products is healthy for humans as well. It is a win-win scenario.
This World Animal Welfare Day, let’s pledge to stay kind to animals and make the world happier for them, for they are an integral part of a well maintained ecosystem.
Click here to read more about Dr. Cliff and his work on animal rights advocacy!
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About the Guest Author: Dr. Cliff Redford is the owner and operator of Wellington Veterinary Hospital, Canada and is an experienced veterinarian, media personality and animal rights advocate. His work spans across the globe where he has rescued and treated animals all his life. He also took part in the animal rescue operations during the recent war in Kharkiv, Ukraine.