NEW MEXICO'S WEEK FOR THE ANIMALS
By Freddi Hetler
"Hey, wake up, you sleeping hairball."
One gold eye squinted open in annoyance at being so rudely awakened. "Excuse me, but what are you yapping about, you obnoxious mutt?" hissed the irritated tortoiseshell cat.
"Governor Gary Johnson signed the Proclamation for the Second Annual New Mexico's Week for the Animals, beginning September 30th and running through October 6th, 2001, that's what," barked Radar at his feline housemate, Rosie.
Rosie hit him with a blank stare trying to think of a snappy comeback. But before she had the chance, the little black dog continued his story.
"It's good news. The task force, led by Jane Carson, has begun their planning a lot earlier in hopes that this year's event will be more successful than last year's. Everyone who loves animals is being asked to help increase awareness of the need for kindness and care for all animals," Radar told his companion.
"How are they going to do that?" Rosie asked, her always-cool exterior hiding the excitement that was building within. She was all too aware of the need to address the issues of pet overpopulation, animal abuse, and the need for compassion.
"Listen to this line up: To kick off the event on September 30th, there will be the Blessing of the Animals. Statewide, veterinarians are being asked to offer low cost spay and neuter services for the week. Schools are asked to invite their local shelter representatives to make humane education presentations and to participate in projects promoting humane treatment of all animals. Animal humane agencies all over the state will get involved in holding pet adoption fairs. Service organizations, the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and others, are all asked to participate in service projects," Radar yapped.
"What kind of service projects?"
Some ideas are writing and art contests where young people express their love for their pets; making a bulletin board that illustrates the need for kindness using photos of pets; creating a library display with books about animals and pet care; collecting blankets for shelter animals; building bird houses or bird feeders; making sure everyone has an I.D. tag for his or her pet; and conducting discussions on compassion for all animals." Radar listed in a barking frenzy that further irritated the cat.
"What if someone wanted to do one of these activities but needed help. Is there any organization they might call?" asked the cat.
"The Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society has some great ideas for kids. People just need to contact Kate Greenway, the Director of Humane Education, at: (505) 989-3722."
Rosie purred with approval. Then she meowed, "I suppose that in libraries, museums and other places where the general public gathers there will be information on New Mexico's Week for the Animals, right?"
"That's right. Those places are being asked to display posters and to offer lectures to educate people about the plight of many of New Mexico's less fortunate animals. Then the Week's events will culminate with an awards ceremony for Distinguished Service to Animals in the State of New Mexico to be held on the historic Santa Fe Plaza on October 6th. It is hoped that awareness won't just stop there, but will continue year round."
Both animals sat quietly for a moment reflecting on the poor animals in shelters who were hoping to find homes with loving families, and those even less fortunate who were having to fend for themselves without any care or shelter.
"Well, it sounds like all the hard work is done," meowed Rosie finally, as she turned her thoughts to watching the birds outside her window, hoping her canine buddy was finished.
"No, no, no!" growled Radar. "There's so much more that needs to be done. The task force is still looking for appropriate participants, such as a coordinator to make sure the news gets to every corner of New Mexico. Sources of funding are also being sought from the business community. Also, there needs to be coordination between groups."
Since the dog's frenetic barking frightened the birds, Rosie decided to curl up for her second mid-morning nap. She paused, asking, "How does an interested person find out more about what's going on?"
"The best place for up-to-date information is the official New Mexico's Week for the Animals web site at: www.animalweek.org, or those people who are interested in participating can call Jane Carson at: (505) 466-0091." Woof!
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