Be Kind to Animals
Everyone with a pet raise your hand! We all love our dogs, cats, goldfish and birds. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households include a dog, and thirty-four percent include a cat, and spending on pet supplies and over-the-counter medicines for 2007 was projected at $9.9 billion. To celebrate the unique bond between animals and humans, the American Humane Society sponsors Be Kind to Animals Week.
GFWC members not only love their pets, they also assist organizations that provide pets to people with disabilities, help children who want to learn about kindness and how it applies to animals, and donate animals that help lift families from hunger and poverty.
GFWC clubwomen have supported Canine Companions for Independence for many years. In fact, CCI counts GFWC as one of its most generous donors. Every year, GFWC members donate thousands of dollars to the group. But that’s not all. Clubwomen all over the country act as puppy raisers, people who care for, provide basic obedience training and socialize puppies. Other members volunteer their time at CCI’s regional centers. The dogs, in return, become the hands and legs of their human partners. They also act as goodwill ambassadors and, frequently, best friends opening up new opportunities and new possibilities. People with dogs find greater independence and self-esteem, a gift that money surely can’t buy.
Another group that is supported by GFWC is Humane Society: Youth, formerly known as NAHEE. This group has worked since 1973 to educate young people about kindness and respect for all animals and their natural habitats. To achieve their goal, they provide materials, professional development and other support to teachers and humane educators. Through the Adopt-a-Classroom program, civic groups like GFWC and others “adopt” elementary school classes by providing them with gift subscriptions to the award-winning classroom newspaper called KIND News. KIND News emphasizes pet care, wildlife appreciation, and environmental conservation in a way that makes values like compassion, citizenship and responsibility come alive. Visit www.humanesociety.org/youth or call 860/434-8666 to learn more about how your club can get the newspaper into local classrooms and about other materials that are available through Humane Society Youth.
Finally, GFWC members are also supporters of Heifer International, a group that has helped more than seven million families around the world improve their health, nutrition, education, and income. Their main purpose is to help families lift themselves from hunger and poverty. Most are familiar with Heifer’s donations of cows, goats and a number of other animals to families around the globe. The animals provide food and more including offspring; each family that receives an animal signs a contract to pass along the first female offspring to another family in need and also agrees to pass on to others the training and skills that they have acquired. For many, this has meant enough to eat and improved lives in the entire community.
VOLUNTEERS IN ACTION
GFWC Pennsylvania found an ingenious way to support CCI. When assuming office in 2006, State President Judi Stankowich challenged each state chairman to choose a focus project. Mary Jeanne de Groot, GFWC Helping Hands Program Chairman, chose CCI as her focus, named it Project Puppy Love, and set about raising $6,000, the amount needed for training of a CCI dog. She used the CCI logo, an outline of a dog, and divided it into parts, charging a certain amount for each part. Paws were broken down into toes when members couldn't afford an entire paw.
It worked, $6,000 was presented to Judi at the state convention. The puppy, named Night (pictured above), is being shipped from California to Pennsylvania as this article is being published. He will first go to a puppy raiser for about 18 months, and then be returned to California for his training. For information about the project contact Mary Jeanne de Groot.
»Find out how you can get involved in GFWC's work with the organizations mentioned above
»Meet the winners of American Humane’s 2008 Be Kind to Animals™ Kid Contest
»Sign up to receive action alerts about issues involving animals
»Get involved in American Humane Society programs