This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

I love animals! They (mostly dogs) have always been an integral part of my life. Growing up as an only child my dogs were the only siblings I needed. We didn’t fight, didn’t compete for attention—they gave their love unconditionally, and I did the same. In my teenage years my dog Jewel was my best friend. When I was sad she’d listen and let me rest my head on her.
Now my mom has 6 hilarious dogs in Atlanta. The oldest, Bertucci, has been in our family since 1999! And while I could go on and on about my dogs for days, the real purpose of today’s post is to inspire you to love all animals—not just pets—this Valentine’s Day and beyond.


Me & calfs at Catskill Animal Sanctuary
We love our pets every day of the year, and like the rest of our family members, they get extra lovin’ on holidays. But love is infinite, and on this day that we celebrate love, there are plenty of non-pet animals who could use some. Below are some fulfilling ways that you can get involved in changing lives for all animals.

1. Support an animal sanctuary, shelter, or welfare group.

There are soldiers fighting for the betterment of animal welfare, and they need your help. Getting involved with an animal sanctuary, shelter, or welfare group is a great way to share your love for animals. Of course you can donate money––this Friday (Valentine’s Day 2014!)
Beyond monetary contribution, you can also support these animal groups by doing outreach, like getting other people involved, or by volunteering your time to care for the animals. My boyfriend Maxx spent 2 months at a wild animal sanctuary in Bolivia taking care of a big brown bear and he loved it!


Animal welfare groups like Compassion Over Killing, Best Friends, Sea Shepherd, and the Humane Society are doing great advocacy work for animals. And whether you want to help wild animals, domesticated pets, farm animals, or aquatic animals, there is an organization out there that could use your help. If you have any favorite organizations, please leave them in the comment section!!
I wish I could say I took this, but I found it online 🙂 

2. Think twice about supporting zoos, aquariums, circuses or any other businesses that hold animals in captivity for our viewing pleasure.

My mom has always had a problem with zoos, so I guess it’s only natural that I have too. I remember going to the San Diego Zoo as a kid, and my mom saying that was the best zoo she had ever been too. The animals weren’t in small confines, and it felt more like what their natural habitat may be. Still, most zoos and aquariums aren’t like the San Diego Zoo, and even that zoo isn’t necessary. While it may be fun to see wild animals in the middle of big cities, it is unnatural, unnecessary, and arguably cruel. “Studying” animals in captivity is no substitute for studying them in the wild. These places are businesses, in it for profit.


Have you heard about the recent controversy with Sea World? Watch Blackfish.
My dog Peaches as a puppy in 2007.
Found with her brother running along side a busy road in Atlanta.


3. Rescue an animal.

There are over 4 million homeless pets killed in American shelters each year. According to Best Friends, an estimated 90% of them are adoptable (I don’t know what would be wrong with the other 10%). Yet, somehow Americans are still compelled to buy animals from breeders and pet shops.


If you’re set on having a certain breed or age, you can rescue one. There are pedigree dog rescue groups too, just Google what you’re looking for. No need to support breeders. (The selective breeding that goes on with dogs is inhumane in its own right, as it encourages genetic defects that cause disease and other health problems.)


Can’t have a pet? You can always volunteer, or donate to a group like Best Friends, or your local no-kill rescue group––there are many!


Photo from Animal Place Sanctuary in California

4. Become a conscious consumer.

So much of what we use every day is made with animal products. We wear leather, fur, wool, silk, down, etc., and we put on makeup, lotion, soap, perfume, and other self-care items that contain animal by-products like lanolin (sheep’s wool), tallow (animal fat), and keratin (hair & feathers). Many are tested on animals as well. These products and ingredients are derived from cruel circumstances of animal exploitation, and some of the skincare ingredients can be harmful.


I still wear clothing from my pre-vegan life, a down winter coat, and a couple cashmere sweaters, but I’ve made the decision to not purchase these things in the future. I just don’t think it’s necessary with so many great animal-free alternatives.


My VEGAN sweet potato bars! 


5. Go Vegan!

This might be the most important thing you can do to honor animals. Stop eating them and their by-products.
The sad truth is that animals raised for food in our industrialized agriculture system live in inhumane conditions and they are confined together in their own filth for years before slaughter. They are fed low-dose antibiotics just to stay alive long enough to reach slaughter. In the dairy industry, female cows are impregnated—babies taken from them immediately, eventually to be slaughtered themselves—and then milked for human consumption. Tell me that’s not inhumane.


There is little truth in the myth of humane farming. Animals are still exploited for human consumption, there is little if any regulation, and they’re still slaughtered. We think the idea of eating our companion animals is crazy; why don’t we feel the same about equally sentient cows, pigs, goats, and chickens?


Going vegan is not only good for the animals that would be raised for food, but also for your own health, the health of the planet, and for other human animals too!


And it doesn’t have to be difficult or bland. As you can tell from reading my blog, it’s really yummy and fun.


Do you have any ideas about how we can show more love to the planet, and its animals? Share in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you 🙂


About Jenne

I’m a Georgia Peach living in Los Angeles (by way of NYC), with an insatiable love of sweet potatoes, travel, animals, and cooking. On Sweet Potato Soul you’ll discover hundreds of delicious and easy-to-make vegan recipes.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I absolutely loved this article! It’s so true that our pets teach us many invaluable life lessons, such as unconditional love, patience, and joy in simple things. Just as we learn from them, we should ensure that we reciprocate by providing them with the best care possible. An essential part of this is investing in pet insurance. Services like those offered by Pet Insurance Australia help us provide for our pets’ health needs in any eventuality. With pet insurance, we can rest easy knowing that we’re prepared to provide the best medical care for our pets, should they need it. It’s just one more way we can show our love and gratitude for all the lessons they teach us.