President’s Message:

Acknowledge Acts of Kindness and Humaneness

Pat Valusek, president of New York State Humane Association
Pat Valusek, President of New York State Humane Association.

This year we are fortunate to have gained two new members to our Board, who are introduced in this newsletter, and we also have a new officer line-up. Harry Hovel is now the Board Chairperson, Dr. Holly Cheever has retained her position as Vice-President, Laura-Ann Cammisa is Secretary, Jean Daniels is Treasurer, and I have become President. I want to thank all of the Board members for their years of service in their former roles and to welcome them in their new positions to continue their work for the animals.

Looking around the country and the world, many of us find what we see as troubling. And we wonder what we can do to make things better.

My suggestion is that we employ the “broken windows” concept in an alternative way. The “broken windows” approach to crime prevention means that police address minor infractions in hopes of preventing more serious ones. But what if by contrast, we looked for minor acts of kindness and humaneness and actively noticed them and praised them. Could not that positive attention lead to the increase in such acts? I think many parents and teachers do this now, but what if all of us, as individuals, took this to heart and each time we witnessed a kind and humane act, especially toward an animal, rather than just think to ourselves, “wasn’t that nice of him or her, wasn’t that kind,” we took a minute to comment on it to the person and compliment the behavior.

If nothing else, it would make for a more pleasant world, at least in our corner of it. It may sound simplistic, but many things that have made a difference in the world have started out as small gestures, such as people who started bringing their dogs to brighten the days of patients in a nursing home, an action which has grown into well-respected pet therapy programs across the country.

I am not suggesting that noticing and complimenting kind and humane actions will lead to some sort of organized movement. I am simply saying, that it is one small way that we can make the world a kinder and less fearful place.

Always be kind to animals,

Patricia Valusek

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXX Fall 2016.