Have a Heart March 26, 2015

In a perfect world, dogs and cats must have a home. They should be pampered. They must feel what it's like to be part of the family. Alas, not all are that fortunate. In fact, there are 600 million stray animals in the world.

World Stray Animals Day wants to give special attention to these poor creatures, but let us not forget that everyday must be April 4.

Raising a pet is a lifelong commitment. Not everyone can do it, though. The reasons are varied, from domestic problems to illnesses. It can be costly, but it shouldn't be an issue if you truly care. So what must we do?

Here are five ways:

Don't ever think of breeding your pet. A puppy is such an adorable creature, but raising one can be challenging. In fact, taking care of your adult dog and her pups can give you sleepless nights. It's worth it after you remember how cute they are. Unless you're really serious about breeding, such that you'll study the bloodlines and make sure that the dogs are healthy enough, then it will be better to have them neutered or spayed. Not that you're incapable of providing them, not that you can't find them good homes either. This is not about the money.

Visit the shelter. If you're serious about having a pet, then don't buy from a breeder. Find the nearest shelter in your area. There are lots of dogs and cats who need a second chance. They're adorable too. Keep in mind that the old ones are easy to train, if not aware of basic commands. You only need to spend more time with them.

Be a volunteer. If you don't have the time for a pet, then visit the nearest shelter. Spend time with the rescued dogs and cats, who really need human interaction. You can even join the search for strays. You'll not only save precious lives, but it will also make you feel good.

Don't hesitate to report on animal abuse. Unfortunately, there are some who won't look at pets affectionately. The sight can break anyone's heart, so don't let a deplorable act go unnoticed.

Try to find a home for the stray animals. If you can't adopt a stray dog/cat, for whatever reason, then the next best thing to do is to help on finding a new home for these poor souls. You only need to look at their eyes and see what they can offer. Although it will be challenging to find a loving parent for the senior pets, be patient about it. Someone will fall for them.

Do you have other suggestions? Let us know. It will be nice to see a shelter without stray pets. But that is far from happening. It's not the end of the world, though.

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