As we honor mothers, godmothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, stepmothers and others this coming weekend, the discussion of important people in our lives dominates the conversation.
And sometimes, the companion animals get in on the action by “giving” gifts to their human “mothers”.
Not always an acceptable concept.
“I am NOT that animal’s mother!” my colleague, Kathy, vehemently insisted as we inquired as to the health of her “baby”: a black Labrador Retrievor one afternoon in the newsroom. “This is my child,” she said, pointing to a photo of her youngest daughter, Megan.
Another reporter, Kelly, and I chuckled.
“Let’s see: you shelter your dog, you feed your dog, you bathe your dog, take your dog to the doctor …” Kelly said, ticking this list off on her fingers with a smile. “You just didn’t give birth, but everything else resembles motherhood.”
It’s the concept of motherhood that perhaps allows us as humans to relate to the animal kingdom in a way that perhaps protects them. By humanizing this connection – giving them names, celebrating holidays and birthdays with gifts and toys (Kae’s 14th birthday is May 11, but I doubt she is expecting any of the toys in the growing pile of gifts) – we can and imagine their attachment to us goes beyond their instinct to protect, seek food, and enforce the household’s routine.
On Mother’s Day, we have a chance to honor this connection in an alternative way. Consider honoring the moms in your life by showing love for our animals: purchase a Symbolic Gift from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to support any of five categories of life-saving programs for animals in need across the country.
➢ Care for a Rescued Horse
➢ Transport of an Animal from Cruelty or Disaster
➢ Community Outreach & Adoption
➢ Animal Health Services
➢ Area of Greatest Need
Each category of gift has many subcategories of gifts. For Example: Animal Health Services offers: IV for Recovery, Post-Op Pain Medication, Spay or Neuter Operation, Repair of a Broken Bone, EKG to Monitor Heart Function, and more. Area of Greatest Need is a gift to the entire mission of the ASPCA in varying amounts.
If you would prefer to honor mom with a physical gift, then still look to a nonprofit. The ASPCA is stocked with options: the online gift store offers jewelry, mugs, shirts, keychains, and of course petcare items – perfect for Junior or Fido to give “Mom” on this special Appreciation Day. Be sure to check out the Pet Survival Kit (wildfire season has started early but it’s still raining!) as well as the Clearances page.
Other organizations offer a celebration of motherhood in an alternative way with gifts that send your dollars to worthy causes. Follow the link to “Shop & Help More” on Breastcancersite.org, theanimalrescuesite.org, theliteracysite.org. You will see a link “Mother’s Day Specials”. This group, Greater Good, also offers a Clearance section.
However Mother’s Day is defined, it is possible to do good while celebrating Mom.