SNIFF NOTES: From Jump Starts to Purrs: Why Kindness Matters in a Divided World


You know, in this day and age, I think kindness really is something to be admired.

I had to jump the battery in my car recently and I was using one of the hand-held models that works like a charm. Despite that, an older couple stopped on the street and asked if I needed help if that didn’t work.

I told them that would be nice, so they waited to see if I could get it to work and it did, but I thanked them profusely.

They certainly didn’t need to stop and in fact, most people didn’t, but I’ll tell you, it left me with a warm feeling in my chest.

If there’s one thing this world could certainly use more of, it’s kindness. We’re definitely a country divided at the moment and that’s why it’s so important to be kind to each other each and every day as we go through our routine – just like the couple did for me and my dead battery.

I found a quote online a few years ago that said, “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

It’s so true and I found it works rather incredibly well with animals.

Just last week I had to get a photo of a cat in our adoption area that I didn’t know terribly well. He’s an older boy and I’m always careful when I first meet an animal in our shelter.

I discovered that talking to him in a soft voice, cooing at him a little really helped. The tone of your voice is incredibly important when meeting an animal for the first time.

Because I was kind to him, he warmed up quickly and even started purring before I touched him.

The same principle works incredibly well when dogs first come into the shelter. It seems that dogs, in particular, are able to sense what this place is. I’m sure it smells like the vet’s office to them and as a result, some dogs don’t want to walk through our front doors.

Sometimes it takes a lot of coaxing, but a kind voice goes a long way to making a scared dog more comfortable when coming into a new place.

In both of those situations, we could have done things quickly, just got the dog inside or in my case with the cat photo, I could have grabbed a quick picture, but taking the time to be kind really does pay off in the end.

I got an awesome picture of the cat and the new dog knows that he can trust the people behind these doors.

I do the same with the stray cats outside my house. There are a number of different felines who live outdoors in my area and when I see them, I immediately use that kind tone when I talk to them and it makes a world of difference.

Some of them even act like they want to be friends.

I’m careful with the outdoor felines, though, because I’m never too sure what they might have in terms of disease I could pass on to my babies in the house.

But still, I’m kind to them.

Kindness really is key for animals and humans alike and it’s important to remember that as we’re going through our day to day moments.

I know it seems like lately a lot of people would rather fight than agree today and that’s why kindness can be such an important linchpin to dealing with difficult situations.

It really does go a long way to making life a little easier – for both two-legged and four-legged folks.


Jennifer Vanderau is the Publications and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at [email protected]. The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at 263-5791 or visit the website CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.

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