Gratitude: Caring for Your Pets and Helping Others

Written by A.R.F. Volunteer, Hannah D.

In this season of gratitude, we can all agree on one thing: pets deserve to celebrate with us! They provide us entertainment, companionship, and their own kind of love. Whether your pet keeps you active with their energy or makes you laugh with their antics, this is the best time of year to take a moment and give them some extra appreciation.

The holidays are so full of events that it can be easy for something to slip your mind. Make sure safety is not what goes out the window! When setting the table, ensure that the human food is not accessible to your pets, as turkey, yeast dough, and desserts can all be detrimental to animals’ health. Keep track of the garbage as well – they will sniff out what you don’t want them to find. It is also generally good practice to be careful with plants around the house and to communicate with guests about your pets ahead of time. Visitors might have their own health and safety concerns, so it is important that they know what to expect in your home.

For further information regarding safety, see the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)’s article here. For a list of human foods to keep away from your beloved companions, see this article by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Whether this is your first, fifth, or tenth Thanksgiving with your pet, we hope you take the time to be grateful for all the ways in which they have improved your life. Dedicate ten or fifteen minutes over the next few days to give them extra pets (or an extra treat); they’ll feel the love, and you will too! If you adopted through A.R.F., please reach out with any stories you want to share about gratitude and pets. We can be contacted via If you wish to improve our shelter animals’ Thanksgiving this year, please see our Donate and Other Ways to Help pages for a range of methods of contribution, depending on what works for you. Let’s continue to give thanks past November 23 and pair more pets with people!