I’m guessing you forgot to send me the Hallmark but this is officially the start of Be Kind To Animals Week. Yes, I know, it seems like everything gets its own special time on the calendar: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is January 29, April 4 is International Carrot Day, and Ford Pinto Week begins later this month (two of those are real things) – but Be Kind To Animals Week is not only real, and in my mind important, it is also where it all began. BKA Week is the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history. First declared in the dark shadows at the start of World War I in 1914, a war that saw the deaths of some 10 million horses used in fighting across Europe, President Warren G. Harding issued the official proclamation – the first of its kind – in 1922.
Although its luster has somewhat faded over time, it has been a big deal. Still a child star, the biggest of her era, Shirley Temple chaired the event back in 1936, as did Leave It To Beaver’s star Jay North in 1960. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote about it in her syndicated newspaper column in the midst of World War II (May 1943). Perhaps there’s no parade this year but it’s still something we should note, don’t you think?
The animals in our homes (at least in the homes of folks who pay attention to columns like this one) get a lot of love and attention, but they’re not the only animals deserving of our kindness. I propose that each of us take some actions this week to help. Some ideas..? This would be a good night for one of those meat-free Monday dinners, or going on-line to download a volunteer application for helping out at this or some other local animal shelter. Perhaps easier for some, but no less important, donations to your local animal welfare organization (this or another) certainly help spread kindness. Be Kind To Animals Week should happen 52 times a year!