I caught the new Animal Planet commercial the other night. You know, the one asking viewers to ROAR — "Reach Out. Act. Respond."
Stars from many of the channel's hit shows pitch the difference one person can make when it comes to helping animals and saving habitat.
Almost two months after the death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, the man who launched Animal Planet to unimagined heights, it's as if his words, his mission are now part of a massive campaign to improve the lives of animals and, ultimately, ourselves. Were he still with us, he'd have led the pack on the commercial.
Animal Planet is partnering with leading animal organizations to inspire people like you to make the world a better place for animals. Together, we have the power to improve the lives of animals in our communities and in the wild. Simple things like volunteering at a local shelter, spreading the word about conservation, supporting a favorite animal cause or walking an elderly person's dog can make a difference. Even the smallest act has an impact. Join us in our passion to help animals.
While this new endeavor may well have been in the works long before Irwin's death, the actual commercial seems to echo his philosophy with stunning clarity. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you. Efforts to protect our natural world benefit us as much as they do the animals.
About the campaign itself, viewers are encouraged to pledge their time, voices, energy, money, whatever one is able to do to aid our natural world. Suggestions for involvement include:
• Adopt or Foster a Pet
• Donate to R.O.A.R. Partner Charities
• Find an Animal Charity Nearby
• Educate Yourself on Global or Local Conservation Efforts
• Volunteer on an Earthwatch Expedition
• Find Out About Animal Heroes
• Raise Awareness in Your Community
• Create a Backyard Habitat
• Start a Dog Park
• Promote Responsible Pet Ownership
• Celebrate the Human-Animal Bond
• Increase Awareness About Veterinary Medicine
• Volunteer at Shelters, Zoos, Animal Hospitals
• Get Involved With Animal Assisted Therapy
The options are endless. Chances are, an animal lover could easily find some level of participation to fit any schedule, budget, or area of interest. Activities for families to work on together are also outlined, practically ensuring success for the program.
The family activities are particularly appealing. Thinking back to my childhood, I can easily identify from where my own love of fauna stems. The turtle in the creek behind the house, the many pets we had, the neighbor with the spider monkey, the babysitter with the raccoon, the bat and crow our family rehabilitated are all a part of early life. So, too, were the snakes, lizards, and tarantulas I collected a few years later, the family friend with a trained mountain lion "actor", the animals I tended on a ranch, and many other opportunities I had to interact with animals. Each animal left a lasting impression in my memory and on my heart. It's something my parents shared with me and something I share with my children, something you can share with yours. You get more than happy animals by working together – you build a better world, strengthen relationships, and you create memories that last a lifetime.
I'm ready to ROAR. Are you?