Since 1972, National Pet Memorial Day has been recognized on the second Sunday of September as a time for remembering beloved pets who are no longer with us.
That day was yesterday, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than I did, volunteering at the Pet Rock Festival, one of the largest annual pet fund raising activities in Massachusetts. Pet Rock Festival proceeds have gone to benefit many local shelters and other animal welfare organizations and have raised thousands of dollars to help pets all across the state.
Although I didn’t know yesterday was National Pet Memorial Day, I did remember my Oliver – killed by the food I fed him during the 2007 pet food poisoning massacre – just as I remember him every day. Barely six months old, his passing was a painful and completely senseless tragedy that changed my life profoundly.
It’s possible CatCentric would have been born without the impetus of Ollie’s loss, but my efforts would have lacked the depth of the conviction the sorrow at being a participant – however unknowingly – in his painful death caused me.
Nothing will ever balance Ollie’s death. No amount of railing at the pet food industry’s greed and lack of ethics, no number of kitties I personally have a hand in helping back to health, no heartfelt and tearful thank yous from grateful cat owners – as touching and inspiring as they are – will ever make his ending a ‘worthwhile sacrifice’.
But since I can’t change the past, it is only fitting I harness my anger and bend my resources towards the future. By increasing the cat-owning public’s awareness of the critical importance and true definition of healthy feline nutrition, I am helping to ensure fewer owners will have to experience what I experienced, and fewer cats will suffer the maladies and deaths associated with the poor quality products foisted on us by a largely uncaring pet food industry.
Yesterday, I spent the day passing out Pet Rock Festival event schedules to visiting pet owners, but I also distributed just as many packets of feline nutrition and CatCentric.org information. I think Ollie would be pleased that’s how I spent a day marked for remembering our beloved pets.