little girl pats a puppy as a random act of kindness

10 Random Acts of Kindness for Pet Lovers


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Random Acts of Kindness Day isn’t just for people – it’s for pets too! From small to great, there are endless ways pet lovers can help companion animals have an even better day than usual on this special day.

If you’re someone’s favourite furball, imagine how great a random act of kindness would make you feel. If you’re an unwanted companion animal living in a shelter, one random act of kindness can be life-changing!

In this article we’re sharing how this day got started in the first place and who’s the person behind the idea. Then PD has rounded up several ways for pet lovers to add some sparkle to a special pet’s day.

What day is Random Acts of Kindness Day?

New Zealand has not one but two Random Acts of Kindness Days! That’s right, we celebrate the international Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 17 February every year but we also have a local one in September.

That’s twice as much random kindness – bring it on, the more the merrier!

Of course, you can have a Random Acts of Kindness Day any and every day of the year. The official random acts of Kindness Day on 17 February is a reminder that acts of kindness regardless of how great or small can make the world a better place.

How did Random Acts of Kindness Day start?

When did this day get launched and who was the mastermind behind it?

Like many great ideas, Random Acts of Kindness Day was founded by an author. Anne Herbert is the author in question, having written the young readers book Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty. Although she only published this inspiring book in 1993 she’s known for having come up with the phrase 11 years earlier in 1982.

There’s a bit of a backstory to the phrase too…

You’ve probably heard of both ‘random acts of violence’ and ‘senseless acts of cruelty’. Well Anne Herbert wanted to work on this so she changed the phrase around like this:

  • From. Random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty
  • To. Random kindness and senseless acts of beauty

Neat, huh? Certainly sounds good to us pet lovers.

man takes his dog to a new park to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day

How to do random acts of kindness?

Random Acts of Kindness Day is all about doing simple selfless acts that make someone else’s life better in however big or small a way.

An interesting aspect of doing something kind but selfless is that often you don’t get thanked and sometimes you’re not there to see the results of your kindness. For instance if you donate dog food to a shelter you won’t necessarily be there to see the puppies and dogs that benefit from the meal but you get positivity from the act of kindness itself.

Because PD is all about the wellbeing of companion animals, that someone who benefits from kindness could be your pet, someone else’s pet or even a shelter pet.

Of course a random act of kindness could be something as big as giving an abandoned puppy a new home (yours!) or as simple as asking someone if you can pat their dog. On the flipside, here are some pet parenting mistakes to avoid.

How do you celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day?

There are endless ways of being kind. Although the word random implies being spontaneous and unplanned you can of course do planned acts of kindness too. You might decide to do something kind on the spot or you might decide on it but need to take several steps to implement your plan.

Because we’re animal lovers, PD has put together 10 ways to show random acts of kindness to companion animals this February.

woman spends extra playtime with her cat as a random act of kindness

#1 Pamper your pet

What better random act of kindness for pet lovers than to pamper your pet! There are oodles of options in New Zealand for having fun and entertaining times with your pet while pampering them.

Pet spa days or a visit to a pet friendly café – especially one with a tail-ored menu for pets – are great examples. Or if you’re not feeling the idea of pet makeovers and eating out then another idea is simply getting your dog or cat a new gift.

Here are several top-notch options for pampering pets with random acts of kindness:

If your favourite feline enjoys catnip, that could be a great gift too. Read more on why cats like catnip.

girl plays with her pet cat

#2 Add onto your playtime for pets

Time spent with pets is time well spent so why not add an extra 20 mins to your regular playtime.

This random act of kindness is so simple yet so meaningful for two reasons. Firstly, spending more quality time together helps strengthen your bond. Secondly, playtime for pets is a form of training.

That’s right. During playtime, pets often get to practice agility and they spend time learning to listen to you better and understand your instructions more easily. Whether you’re teaching them new commands or reinforcing old ones they get to also learn you better and how you communicate.

Find out more about why playtime is so important for cats and dogs.

Woman volunteers at cat shelter for Random Acts of Kindness Day

#3 Volunteer at a shelter

Animal shelters are in themselves a random act of kindness. Usually they’re founded by animal lovers that put all their efforts into helping pets get that second chance in life they deserve.

Every animal shelter has its fair share of daily responsibilities and usually the workload is huge and sometimes also thankless. From caring for new arrivals to managing paperwork for those who’ve found their furever home there’s lots to do. Then there’s also feeding, cleaning, animal health care, taking photos and managing online platforms.

Just imagine what one pair of extra willing hands can do. You could be that one person who makes all the difference to the lives of the pets and people who work there.

puppies in a cage at a shelter go up for adoption

#4 Donate to a shelter

Busy schedule? Can’t volunteer? That’s fine! Because shelters also need enormous quantities of supplies that you could donate as a random act of kindness. From cat and dog food and food bowls to toys and bedding there are so many things you can donate.

You could even donate money to a shelter from the comfort of your computer. That’s a win-win for anyone who can’t get away from their desk.

Read our National Pet Day article to find out what type of goods really are useful to donate to shelters. That way you won’t end up giving something that can’t be used – instead you’ll simply give what’s needed.

Girl receives an adopted kitten from mum and dad on Random Acts of Kindness Day

#5 Adopt a pet

This is a biggie. In fact, it’s less a random act of kindness and more of a planned act of kindness.


Adopting a pet is an incredible act of kindness. You’ll be helping reduce the number of abandoned and unwanted pets and alleviating some of the pressure on animal shelters. You’ll also be giving a companion animal the chance in life they deserve. But more importantly you’ll become a parent (albeit to a furry kid) with new responsibilities.

Adopting a pet is a wonderful way to become a pet owner if you do it right. Be sure to find out what your future pet’s health and activity needs are so you can ensure these fit your budget and your schedule. You’ll be building a bond and a relationship so plan ahead to ensure it’s a healthy one.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

this pet lover is fostering this cat because he's not in a position to keep a pet permanently

#6 Foster a pet

Many pet lovers wish for their own fur kid but for some reason can’t have one permanently in their lives. For example, if you’re a student and may be moving abroad soon or you’re a temporary resident. Or it could be that full-time pet ownership doesn’t sit well with your current budget.

Whatever the reason, why not consider becoming a foster cat or dog parent? You get all the benefits without the full level of permanent responsibility.

Fostering a pet can have an enormous impact on the pet and on you. Pets that have a foster parent often transition from shelters to their new adoption home better because they’ve had the support of a surrogate pet owner.

Fostering a pet is another random act of kindness that’s kind to both the pet and the shelter that facilitates the process. By taking some of the pressure off the shelter with the number of animals they need to house, you could actually prevent an instance of euthanasia.

Find out what’s involved if you foster a dog or cat in New Zealand.

pet lover sponsors a shelter pet online

#7 Sponsor a pet

Did you know most shelters welcome pet sponsorship? This is a more personalised way of donating where your money goes towards the needs of one specific animal.

Sometimes shelters have a photo gallery where you can browse and choose which pet you’d like to sponsor. If not then you might be able to email or phone them to let them know you’d like to sponsor a kitten or a puppy or an older dog or cat etc. You might tell them, for example, that you’d like to be the sponsor for the most forlorn pet or the one with the most to learn.

Sadly though the admin of having an up-to-date online photo album can be a luxury for any pet shelter because with caring for pets there often isn’t time.

pet lover spends time caring for his neighbour's cat and dog

#8 Give a little time to someone else’s pet

As pet lovers, why not give a little of your time to someone else’s pet. Visit your neighbour’s dog for a game of fetch, ask your gran if you can be the one to feed her pet cat or even consider becoming a pet borrower (more on this in a mo).

Often people with pets yearn to give them more time spent together because, after all, pets are usually quite social. They thrive from the company, attention and love and you can step up and fortify the attention someone else’s pet gets.

An option available to New Zealanders is also pet borrowing and lending. We’ve written an article about it to explain how pets and people can benefit. Read all about pet sharing in New Zealand.

pet owner lets dog sleep in bed

#9 Let your pet sleep in your bed as a random act of kindness

If you don’t already let your fur kid sleep in your bed this could be the random act of kindness that changes your life and theirs. Why? Well aside from being a great way for pet lovers to carve more time into a day to spend with pets, there are health benefits too.

Sleeping with your cat or dog can reduce anxiety, lower cholesterol and in some cases improve your sleep. We need not mention that your fur kid will probably also help you wake up early sans an alarm clock. That may be good for weekdays but not so much on weekends. Unless of course you have a fun pet outing planned!

As an animal lover, do you often dream about cats and dogs? Did you ever wonder what that meant? Check out this ‘How to Interpret Dreaming about Cats and Dogs‘ article to find out.

pet lover hugs her maltese poodle

#10 Give the gift of pet health insurance

The gift of pet insurance is a safety net that has value to your pet’s wellbeing and your peace of mind. If you don’t have pets of your own you might gift a period of insurance to someone you know, like a friend or family member with pets.

Pet insurance is a soft landing in times of need such as during illness or after an accident. Depending on the level of cover, a pet plan can also cover dental treatments on top of unexpected vet visits, diagnoses and treatments.

As a Random Act of Kindness, PD will also provide one or more months of free pet insurance when you sign up online. Click below to find out more.

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