ANIMAL SCENE ALMANAC: What are the interesting animalrelated observations and events this month?
8: National Iguana Awareness Day: How much do you know about iguanas? Not much? Well that’s why this day is important! This large lizard can be found in Mexico, Central America, Brazil, and on the Caribbean Islands. Different species of Iguanas live in different habitats. Some iguanas prefer life in tropical rainforests, some in the water, while others enjoy life in desert conditions.
11: National Hug Your Hound Day (Second Sunday of September): Founded in 2014 by Ami Moore, also known as the Chicago Dog Coach, the holiday was created to increase the bond between dogs and their owners and to help dog owners see the world as dogs see it. Moore said, “National Hug Your Hound Day is about truly observing your dog (from their point of view) in their environment and everyday life and for just one day to see the word as your dog sees it. As you celebrate your beloved dog, remember that today is about keeping our dog’s healthy, happy and safe at home and in our hearts.” (http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/doc-1180342)
National Pet Memorial Day (Second Sunday of September): Did you know that there’s an International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association? For this observation, they have a few suggestions for remembering your dearly departed pet, such as reflecting on pleasant memories with them, contributing or volunteering at an animal protection group, or donating money or time to a charity or organization in honor of your late pet.
15: International Bat Festival at Carlsbad Caverns National Park: From March to October every year, bats inhabit the Carlsbad Caves of New Mexico. First celebrated in 1998, this festival features a sunrise breakfast with the world’s smallest mammals, music, a street dance, costumes, and lectures.
17: Puppy Mill Awareness Day (Third Saturday in September): Did you know that some puppies in pet stores (and sadly, some of those sold online by bad breeders) come from puppy mills, or commercial dog breeding facilities? These places are usually overcrowded, and there is a severe lack of basic veterinary care, in addition to poor food, lack of clean water and lack of adequate exercise space. PMAD started in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 2004. You can do something locally by making sure the puppies you buy aren’t from puppy mills and are from reputable breeders—or just adopt! (http://www.lcanimal.org/index.php/campaigns/puppymills/pmad)
17-24: National Farm Animals Awareness Week: Founded in 1994, NFAAW celebrates and promotes the unique and sometimes overlooked qualities of farm animals, and explores their complex nature and behaviors. (thehorse.com)
18-24: Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week (last full week of September): Adopt, don’t shop! But even in animal shelters, some adorable creatures are deemed “less adoptable” because of various reasons: age, disability, color, and other reasons. That’s why Petfinder. com launched this campaign, to urge prospective pet owners to look beyond these “problems,” and instead to see the lovable animal in need of a home.
National Dog Week: In case you needed another reason to show your dog some love! Bring your pooch to a park for some play time, or give him or her a nice treat!
National Deaf Dog Awareness Week: It isn’t easy to be deaf. The best way to diagnose the problem and help your pet is to go to a veterinarian, then to learn, as Petparent.me says, how to communicate with them using hand signals, body language, and facial expressions, adding, “Most deaf dogs prefer to be close to their owner or a familiar face, often times napping at your feet, needing some sort of physical contact or keeping you in eyesight.”
Sea Otter Awareness Week: According to defenders.org, sea otters were nearly hunted to extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries by fur traders then threatened by oil spills in the 1980s. “Sea otters finally gained protections with the signing of the International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, and became listed under the Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered Species Acts in the 1970s.” Why not learn more about these fascinating sea mammals this week?
National Farm Safety & Health Week: Farms are full of all sorts of animals, from cows and pigs to chickens and cats. Unfortunately, they’re also full of machinery, tools and chemicals that can be harmful to different forms of life. Now is a good time to learn how to stay safe on a farm; the US National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) recommends the Farm First Aid Kit. You can find out more at http://www.necasag.org/.
19-26: National Estuaries Week: Metro Manila has dozens of estuaries or water passages where tides meet river currents, usually at the lower portion of a river. Southeastee.org says “Estuarine ecosystems serve as natural barriers to buffer against storms and floods, absorb and store carbon, and provide critical [habitats] for commercial and recreational fisheries. The need to protect and restore these critical places has never been more pressing.”
19: International Red Panda Day (Third Saturday of September): The Red Panda Network began observing this in November 2010, and since 2011, IRPD has been officially observed on the third Saturday of September. Read about IRPD activities worldwide on redpandanetwork.org.
20: Henry Salt’s birthday: This English writer, born in 1851, and campaigner for social reform in the treatment of animals, is credited with being the first writer to argue explicitly in favor of animal rights, in his “Animals’ Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress” (1894). He was a vegetarian and an antivivisectionist. Read more about his life and work on www.henrysalt.co.uk.
22: Elephant Appreciation Day: Did you know that elephants are one of the few animals with self-awareness? “Like humans, apes, and dolphins, elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror.” And apparently “their trunks have 40,000 muscles and tendons, and it takes about a year for them to learn how to use it.” Start learning more here: http://www.learningliftoff.com/10-things-you-shouldknow-on-elephant-appreciation-day/#.V5m4h7h97s0
World Rhino Day: There are five species of rhino: black, white, greater onehorned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos, and this observation was first announced by Wwf-south Africa in 2010, and now encompasses both African and Asian species, according to worldrhinoday.org.
23: Dogs in Politics Day: This commemorates Checkers, a black and white Cocker Spaniel who belonged to Richard Nixon, President of the United States from 1969 to 1974. Checkers was the subject of a speech Nixon gave on this day in 1952, and the dog was apparently a donation that Nixon had no intention of returning! Read more at http://dogtime.com/ dog-health/general/18395-dogsin-politics-day-nixon-checkersspeech#x2vhuwhzphui87jz.99
26: International Rabbit Day (Fourth Saturday or Sunday in September): Rabbits are adorable creatures! On this day, in addition to thinking of their furry faces and cute little noses, take some time to read up on the many ways they are harmed, “by hunting, eating, medical experimentation, product testing, fur-farming, and living isolated lives in outdoor hutches.” Start with http://www.rabbit.org/hrs-info/worldrabbitday.html.
28: Caroline Earle White’s birthday: This American philanthropist and antivivisection activist was born in 1833, and she founded the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) on June 21, 1868, after she met with Henry Bergh, founder of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), in New York. She also founded the Women’s PSPCA, also known as the Women’s Humane Society, in 1869.
World Rabies Day: Started in 2007, this day highlights efforts in rabies prevention. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), rabies kills more than 55,000 people worldwide every year. In the Philippines, rabies caused the deaths of more than 220 people in 2015 alone. To curb the problem, the Department of Health started offering free anti-rabies shots nationwide, starting January 2016. You can read more about the disease in this month’s Vet Visit feature.
29: Happy Goose Day: This holiday is rumored to be 1,500 years old! According to HNGN.COM, “Happy Goose Day traces its roots to the year 480 and is sometimes called Michaelmas Day. It was created by Pope Felix III as a celebration for the Archangel Michael. Fast forward to the 15th century and Michaelmas gets a new purpose; it is a day when people paid their rent to the landowners. Oftentimes this was done with a goose, and if you were fortunate enough to pay your rent with a big plump goose that you got your hands on, your lease was renewed another year.”