Animal Chaplain May 2023

In the United States, May is Kindness to Animals Month.  Being kind to animals is not just the right thing to do; it is a spiritual practice.  As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.  As this Seventh Principle expressly states, we humans are a part of that web.  Another part of that web is the vast animal world, a world to which we have the power to bring suffering or lovingkindness.  This is a choice we make a number of times each day.  

Several national humane organizations have suggestions about specific ways to celebrate Kindness to Animals Month. 

Watch for worms in distress. Worms belong in dirt, where they can absorb the moisture they need to survive.  If you pay extra attention, you’ll probably notice a worm on a sidewalk, driveway, street, or somewhere other than dirt.  If you see a worm out of place, please scoot him back over into the grass or dirt.  Even a worm who looks dead might still be able to survive. If you are a little squeamish about picking up a worm, use a piece of paper or look for a handy stick nearby and gently move the creature.  The worm will be grateful.  

Spay and neuter your companion animals.  On average, 1.5 million companion animals are killed in the United States each year because there are no homes for them.  Most are dogs and cats.  By spaying and neutering your animals, you can reduce that number.  

Adopt or foster a shelter animal.  If you have room in your heart and home for a new friend, please adopt or foster from Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services, the Jacksonville Humane Society, or Clay County Animal Services.  You’ll save that animal’s life, and you’ll open up a shelter space for another homeless animal.  

Cook or purchase a special treat for your animal companion.  Variety is the spice of life, and your animal friend would enjoy a special treat to celebrate Kindness to Animals Month.  Not all human foods are ok for animals, so please buy a special treat at an animal supply store, or stuff and freeze a yummy Kong to keep your dog both well-fed and entertained.  Learn about frozen stuffed Kongs at

Go vegan.   By far the greatest kindness you can do for animals is to stop exploiting them for food, attire, cosmetics, and consumer products.  It’s easy, delicious, and so affirming to you and the animals.  Here’s where you can start.

Happy Kindness to Animals Month to you and all the animals!