Ideas For Individuals

If you’re not involved with any particular group or animal organisation, there are still plenty of things you can do to make World Animal Day a special event.

  • Adopt an animal – if you have been thinking about sharing your home with a new animal companion, today would be a wonderfully symbolic time to do so. Arrange to visit a local animal shelter on the day to set things in motion. But you must be 100 per cent sure that you want to take on this commitment, and remember to ask the shelter whether the animal has been neutered, vaccinated, etc. The shelter might want to check out your home to make sure that it is suitable.
  • Sponsor an animal – many wildlife organisations have sponsorship schemes for animals in their care, whereby individuals can pledge a certain amount of money for a specific animal and receive regular updates, photographs, etc, and in some cases visit the animal. World Animal Day would be a great day to make a pledge to sponsor a wolf, whale, lion, gorilla, etc.
  • Organise a fundraiser for a favourite animal charity, such as a coffee morning or garage sale. If possible, get together with some friends to make the event that little bit more fun – for example, a coffee morning could be enlivened by sharing photographs, videos and anecdotes about pets and other animals.
  • Contact a local wildlife or conservation group to offer help in creating a wildlife habitat, putting up bird or bat boxes, conducting a wildlife survey, or whatever other projects they might be running.
  • When you’re out shopping, buy a few extra tins and packets of cat and dog food and donate them to a local animal shelter. Blankets, toys and feeding equipment also make useful donations.
  • Look at how you can make your own garden more wildlife-friendly. For example, in the UK, a ‘wild corner’ with a few nettles where peacock, tortoiseshell and red admiral butterflies can lay their eggs; a log pile for woodlice, snails, and other small creatures (while you might not think they are particularly appealing, they play a vital part in our eco-system, and will attract predators such as frogs, newts, hedgehogs and thrushes to your garden); a water feature to attract frogs and dragonflies; a bird table and bird bath; butterfly- and bee-friendly plants such as buddleia, ice plants, lavender and lemon balm.
  • Treat your own animal – make the day special for the animal(s) in your life. Take your dog for an extra-long walk with plenty of ball-throwing; buy your cat some new toys; look at how you can make your caged animals’ homes more interesting, with additional ramps, tunnels, etc. If you don’t have an animal at home, volunteer to take a neighbour’s dog out for a walk.
  • Spread the word – write to your local paper and tell them about World Animal Day.  Pick a few of the ideas from this website and suggest that readers might like to get involved. Don’t forget to include the website address in your letter.
  • Offer to help out at a local animal shelter. Or even better, volunteer your services on a long-term basis, not just for World Animal Day.
  • Are you an expert on tropical fish, horses, reptiles, rabbits, or any other kind of animal? Share your knowledge with others and offer to give an illustrated talk to a local school or youth group.
  • Organise your family and friends in a litter-picking session. This might not seem to have much to do with animals, but remember that animals’ feet are frequently cut on broken glass, hedgehogs often get their heads stuck in discarded plastic cups, dogs can make themselves ill by eating fast food packaging, and the plastic drink-can holders are a particular menace to all kinds of birds and animals. If you choose to organise a litter-pick, keep a careful eye on children, remember to wear gloves, and above all avoid discarded needles or any other kind of medical waste.
  • Say ‘thank you’ – to the staff at a local animal shelter, to your vet, to your boarding kennels/cattery, to the person who walks your dog, or to anyone you know who cares about animals – by writing them a letter.
  • Visit a local wildlife centre and brush up on your knowledge of the animal kingdom.
  • If you can’t get out and about for World Animal Day, curl up with a book about animals and improve your knowledge. Alternatively, the Discovery Channel always produces special television programmes for World Animal Day.
  • Contact some favourite animal welfare organisations and offer to hold an information stall in your local town centre, library, shopping mall or college/university campus.
  • Whatever you do, don’t forget to sign the World Animal Day pledge board and make a personal promise for the animals.