By Karen Whiting
Got a pet you love? Maybe it’s a fluffy fur-ball of a feline or a squiggly-wiggly goldfish. It’s fun to play fetch with a dog, watch a guinea pig run through a maze, or see how other critters move, eat, and play. But the animals you keep as household pets are only a few of the amazing creatures God made. He also created small fluttery butterflies, huge humpback whales, chatty climbing monkeys, and thousands of other critters that fascinate us…and need our care and respect.
Those who do what is right take good care of their animals. Proverbs 12:10
Do what you can to help God’s creatures and ecosystems. Whether or not you own a pet, here are some things you can do for our furry and feathered friends:
Photo credit: Hold 10 038 by fo.ol – Flickr
- Leave water outside in a shallow dish for thirsty critters, since animals need more water than food to survive. Use warm water in winter.
- Put out nesting materials for birds, such as animal fur, yarn, or dried grass.
- Put bells on cat and dog collars as a warning for birds and small animals.
- Leave an area uncut in your yard so it grows naturally with weeds, woods, tall grass, or wildflowers for animal habitats.
- Leave an old log or tree stump in your yard for animals to build homes.
- Plant berry patches for animals to eat.
- Clean boots before hiking in new areas to remove any non-native seeds.
- Plant native plants to restore native ecosytems.
- Use natural and organic pesticides and insect repellants.
- Make dog gifts, such as homemade treats and toys, for a local animal shelter. Oh, yeah, and your pet will love them too! Here are how-to instructions:
♥ Whole-Wheat Doggie Treats ♥
When donating these dog biscuits, be sure to pass them on to an appropriate staffer at the animal shelter. Don’t just go in and feed the dogs, since many of them are on special or restricted diets. This recipe makes two types of treats.
What you need
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cheese
Crumbled bacon bits
1 teaspoon olive oil
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup peanut butter
What to do
1. Mix the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder in a bowl.
2. Divide the flour mix in half, into two bowls.
3. To one half, add the cheese, bacon, oil, and 1/3 cup of the water.
4. To the other half, add the peanut butter and remaining water.
5. Roll out dough, and cut into 1-inch-by-3-inch strips.
6. Fold over ends of each strip, and press with fingers to form ends of dog-bone shape.
7. Place treats on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degreesf or 20 to 30 minutes. If harder biscuits are desired, turn off heat at end of cooking and leave treats in oven to harden.
♥ Fido, Fetch! Roll Over, Rover ♥
Make some simple toys for dogs to help the animals shelter cut down on costs.
What you need
Scraps of rope
Polar fleece fabric
What to do
1. Cut rope 6–10 inches, depending on the dog’s size.
2. Make a large knot in the center of the rope.
Knotted Dog Blanket
1. Cut two squares of fleece, each the same size (larger than the dog’s body when lying down).
2. Match the pieces up, and cut off a 3-inch square from each corner.
3. Keeping the fleece matched up, fringe the edges 3 inches deep and 2 inches apart.
4. Using matching fringe from each piece, tie fringes in knots.
Excerpt from Nature Girl: A Guide to Caring for God’s Creation © Karen Whiting and Rebecca White. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted without the prior permission of the publisher (www.zondervan.com). Go to karenwhiting.com for more information on Nature Girl and other titles by this author.