Now more than ever, you are needed to donate your old blankets, towels, and sheets to your local animal shelter. With financial cut-backs, repairs on shelters are often put off, so if it's drafty, the animals suffer. I know my shelter uses rags to stuff under doors. No kidding! Empty out those closets... this is your chance to get rid of stuff and do something useful!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To All

I'm away for the holiday until Dec. 30th, so blogging will be very light. It's a good time to wish you all a blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy, and great new year.  Thanks for stopping by and for all your support of shelter animals.



Georgie-George (Mom's little angel)


(Renaldo the Red, thrilled, once again, to be dressed up!)





One final funny:



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xoxo

Monday, December 21, 2009

Don't Give a Puppy For Christmas

Just a word on this subject:

Rescue groups across the country are gearing up the the annual uptick in need for foster homes for dogs that someone got as a present but they weren't quite prepared to live with. Getting a dog is a personal decision, one that people make after considering their availability, the costs involved, and the fact that it is a lifetime commitment (we hope).  Please don't buy the cute puppy in the window (which is probably bought from a puppy mill -- terrible, terrible places that breed sickly dogs). Let people get their own dogs, and parents - don't succumb to your kid's promises about taking care of the dog, unless you're prepared to pick up the slack, and that WILL happen. I've done it myself (many moons ago), and I've always loved dogs.

Shelters all over fill up after the holidays with the leftovers from people who start with good intentions, but haven't thought the whole thing through.  If you want a dog, adopt a dog from a shelter and save a life.  I have nothing against pure bred dog-breeding and buying, by the way, though it's not my thing. I'm talking about "puppies for sale," as advertised in your friendly neighborhood storefront or mall.  Don't get a puppy to fulfill the traditional Christmas "look" of a young cute dog in a red bow that seems like a good idea, unless you've really given it thought. They need to be fed, housetrained, taken to the vet yearly (today I spent $330), have monthly heartworm preventative meds, be tested for lyme disease, get periodic vaccinations, teeth cleaning (those costs will open your eyes!), and don't forget all the crap you'll need to buy at Petco et al, and the one cost that no one ever considers -- dog care for when you go away on a trip (about $40 bucks a day in my neck of the woods). It's a big commitment and if you're not in it for the long haul, please reconsider.

http://www.cravenherald.co.uk/news/4797722.___Think_before_you_give_a_dog_this_Christmas___/?ref=rss

Sorry to be a grinch, but shelters are filled with dogs already. Puppies that get left there (after six months, when their cuteness wears off and you're mad they peed on the rug again, because you didn't train them properly or couldn't stick to a schedule for them) only makes less room for older, less cute dogs, and then that's when dogs start getting euthanized.

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xoxo

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Please Vote For Rolling Dog Ranch by Sunday Dec. 20th!

There's $20,000 in it for the sanctuary for disabled pets in Beautiful Montana. Please cast your vote today. Deadline is tomorrow, Dec. 20th and right now Rolling Dog Ranch is in the lead. This is a place that spends over $60,000 a year in vet bills for dogs other people didn't want or couldn't take care of.  So please, take a moment and give them a hand.

http://blog.rollingdogranch.org/rolling_dog_ranch_animal_/2009/12/48-hours-to-go-please-keep-voting.html

Thanks.

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xoxo

The Next Time Hollywood Makes A Dog Movie, Boycott The Movie

Here's what happens when Hollywood makes a dog movie.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091219/ap_on_en_tv/us_chihuahua_overload

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xoxo

Doggie DNA Testing

I keep hearing about having DNA tests performed on dogs. Various blogs have posted about it. I'm adding the link here of a neat blog that is run by veternarians and which provides a lot of good info. They had a post about it yesterday. I may get the little man done!

via Pet Connection:

http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2009/12/18/dna-dog-breed-testing-fun-and-useful-too/
Now, knowing what breeds make up your mixed-breed dog won’t make you love him any more. It won’t make it easier to scoop up after him, either. But it can help owners of a new pet make a better guess about his potential behavior issues and traits, and it can also put them on the lookout for possible breed-related health problems.
Of course, for most pet owners, the main appeal of these new DNA tests is finding out if their guess is right. I know when Wisdom Panel asked me to be their spokesperson last year, I couldn’t wait to test my dog Quixote, who we’d been told was a mix of Papillon, Poodle, and Yorkie.
As Pet Connection readers might remember, whoever told us that was wrong. Turns out his DNA came from a Pomeranian, a Chihuahua and a Yorkie. In other words, a Porkahuahua.



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xoxo

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some Funny Pics


I'm thrilled, Mom.


He has an amazing way of looking sideways when I am trying to take a picture.


I did not pose this!


Look who found the four inch hole in his bed!
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xoxo

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dog Bakery Donates Percentage of Proceeds to Rolling Dog Ranch in Beautiful Montana

You can still buy holiday presents!  Check this out:


Love of Dog Bakery is committed to helping animals in need. That's why 5% of all online sales are donated to a local or national charity each month, to benefit homeless animals.


The "Charity of the Month" for December is:

Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Montana is a 160 acre ranch dedicated to rescue and rehabilitation of disabled animals. Founded in 2000, the Ranch is home to about 70 animals (dogs, cats, horses, birds, etc.), including approximately 40 dogs. All animals at the Ranch are "disabled" - but don't let that label fool you! These are the animals who are the least likely to be adopted and among the most likely to be euthanized in traditional shelters.

"...Rolling Dog Ranch is one of our favorite organizations (shhhh...don't tell the others!) and we are honored to make them our Charity of the Month for the third year in a row. This has been a big year for them though, as Rolling Dog Ranch received the ASPCA's 2009 We Are Their Voice Award, a great honor! They are also currently in 1st place nationally in the Animal Rescue Site/ Petfinder's Shelter Challenge - in line for a $20,000 grant thanks to the daily "clicks" from fans and supporters!"


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xoxo

Doing Dog CPR

via The Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter:

http://www.findafriendforlife.org/findafriendforlife.org/Dog_CPR.html

Go to the link for a video demonstration of conducting CPR on a dog.
The American Red Cross offers emergency first aid classes for dogs. Brian Wnek is demonstrating here the proper technique for dog CPR which will also be covered in class. Classes are held at the American Red Cross chapter located at 703 Whitney Ave., New Haven, CT. For more info about this class and when to register for the next one please call 787-6721.
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xoxo (I always wondered how this worked!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Euthanasia By Shooting In Head, And Its Legal? And What About The Six Unexplained Dog Deaths?

via Alaska Public Radio Network:

(This is an audio tape and you must listen to it. The quality is good, but the story is bad.)

Dillingham Police Investigating Dog Deaths
http://aprn.org/2009/12/14/dillingham-police-investigating-dog-deaths/?dsq=25818641#comment-25818641

The tape is not that long, but it does state clearly that the method they use of euthanizing dogs is to shoot them in the head, at the landfill.  The whole thing is bad enough but must those dogs must be panicked at the end? This, on top of the shelter being investigated for the unexplained deaths of six dogs there -- the purpose of the audio tape on public radio to begin with. Necropsies are being conducted. I will report on more as I find it.

If you feel this needs to change, as I do, please make a few phone calls today. Always be courteous. The fact that people will begin calling from all over is enough of a shock; let's not add to it by being less-than-professional.

Here is where to make some polite noise:  (please be courteous)

The animal shelter:  http://www.ci.dillingham.ak.us/shelter.html

The City Manager:
Janice Shilanski
P.O. Box 889
Dillingham, AK 99576
Phone 907- 842- 5211 ext. 208
Fax 907- 842- 2060
manager@dillinghamak.us

The Mayor:
Alice Ruby, Mayor
P.O. Box 889 Dillingham, AK 99576
Phone 907- 842- 5211 Fax 907- 842- 5691
City Council Members

Carol Shade - cashade@starband.com 907-842-2336

Keggie Tubbs - tubbs@dillinghamak.us 907-842-3799

Bob Himschoot - bhimschoot@gci.com 907-842-1384

Tim Sands - sands@dillinghamak.us 907-842-4624

Sue Mulkeit - mulkeit@dillinghamak.us 907-842-5539

Steve Hunt -  dealernt@nushtel.com 907-842-5558


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xoxo (We'll be watching, and posting it all over.)

RIP, James Delorey

via CBC News:  I wish I had better news to share.
Hundreds of people — many of them strangers — gathered Monday in Sydney, N.S., for the funeral of a seven-year-old Cape Breton boy who died after wandering away from his home just before a snowstorm.
...The boy's dog, Chance, was led into the church behind the casket. Chance sat in the front passenger seat of the hearse and could be seen poking his head out the window as the funeral procession made its way through the neighbourhood.


There was an imprint in the snow next to where James was found, where Chance had apparently huddled with the boy to keep him warm.


An emotional Paul Vienneau, the search commander for Cape Breton Search and Rescue, could barely speak as he described the funeral as "very sombre, very heartbreaking."
"I believe there was a miracle, yes. There was a miracle and then … he became a Christmas angel."
For full story:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2009/12/14/ns-delorey-funeral.html


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xoxo (Rest in peace, sweet child).  Please send up prayers for this family.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Series on Soldiers and Dogs, Part One - Interview With Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet



Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet is a registered 501c3 that relies on the generosity of volunteers and whose main purpose is to support our military service members, veterans, and their beloved pets to ensure that the pets are reunited with their owners following deployment to harm's way (combat or peace keeping mission) or emergency hardship overseas. This is a big commitment and finding volunteers who are up to the task cannot be easy. Each time I look at their website I see the organization is present in another state and is fostering even more animals. Please give them a thorough look, tell people about them, give money if you can, or see if you are suited to help them in their mission by being a foster parent to an animal while their owner is called to duty.

Here are their objectives, as stated on their website:
Objective 1: Establish a network of foster families providing a loving and healthy home environment for the pet(s) until they can be reunited with their owner throughout the United States.

Objective 2: Recruit and appoint "State Volunteer Directors" in states outside of Arkansas to promote the organization, recruit/interview potential foster homes, and volunteers to promote the organization, our "Foster Home" program/service, and recruit volunteers in their state

Objective 3: Establish and maintain the first Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet "Military, Veterans, and Pet" (MVP) Sanctuary in Arkansas to ensure there is a caring, loving, and safe home-like environment for these pets when individual foster home caregivers are not available.

Objective 4: Establish a network with various military locations, Family Readiness Groups (FRGs), military based veterinarians, volunteer pet transport groups, other military support organizations, and animal care facilities (humane societies, animal shelters, and rescue groups).
Objective 5: Establish a network of news media contacts to keep the public informed about our organization and our progress in accomplishing our mission.

Objective 6: Establish communication with the appropriate government agencies to ensure compliance with all regulations (federal, state, and local).

Objective 7: Provide financial assistance for the caring of the pet in regards to food and required medical care as needed, while the pet is in the care of the Guardian Angels For Soldier's Pet approved foster home caregiver where funds are available.

Questions & Answers with Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet:

Q: How did Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet (GASP) begin?
A: Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (GASP) incorporated in the natural state of Arkansas on January 28, 2005 after the founders (Linda Spurlin-Dominik and Carol Olmedo) learned that military service members across the country had pets that needed a caring, loving, and safe home to care for them during the pet owner’s deployment to fight the global war on terrorism (combat and peace keeping missions), but had not been able to find someone to care for them.
This left the deploying active duty military pet owner with only one option, which was to relinquish their beloved pets and pet ownership rights to an animal shelter or rescue group never to see their pets again, know if they got a new good home, or ended up being euthanized.
GASP initially started with 2 non-foster home volunteers (founders) and 5 potential foster homes in the state of AR. Five years later the organization has grown and become recognized as a national 501c3 ALL volunteer military support organization with 1100+ potential foster homes across the country, approximately 100 pets in our approved foster homes by end of 2009, and volunteers at the national and state level involved with the administration/coordination efforts of the organization.

Q: How many animals are being fostered now and how does fostering work?
A: As of end of Sept '09 there are 83 pets fostered through our organization and 55 pets have been reunited with their owners following a deployment or emergency hardship over the past 2 years. We operate in all states through volunteers and our programs/services are available in all states to those military service members deploying to harm's way (combat or peace-keeping mission).

Q: What makes an ideal foster family or household?
A: An ideal foster home is the one that meets the needs of the pet they will be fostering.

Foster Home volunteers (known as Guardian Angels) generally foster a pet for 6 months to 17 months depending on the military service member's branch of service and their deployment term. Emergency hardship situations where a foster home is needed can range from 3 to 12 months.

From a monetary perspective, the service member pet owner covers normal/standard pet related costs (food/treats, veterinarian care, grooming), however in many cases the foster home may choose to cover the food/treat costs.

Where funds are available GASP will assist in emergency/unforeseen pet related expenses via our "Military Pet Assistance" fund.

How the pet care related costs are paid is determined via our written agreement between GASP, the pet owner, and the approved foster home prior to placement of the pet into a specific home.

The approved foster home is agreeing to open their heart and home to a beloved pet(s) to provide a caring, loving, and safe temporary home environment until the owner is reunited with their pet(s).

Q: Is it difficult to foster a pet emotionally? I would think this is probably the biggest consideration for people, after the money required.
A: The biggest consideration that our foster homes seem to have relates to the safe return of the pet owner from harm's way so they can be reunited with their pets. These beloved pets are placed in caring, loving, and safe homes similar to the environment the pets are used to.

Q: How do soldiers find Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet?
A: Soldiers find out about GASP through many avenues. We have volunteers in many states who “spread the word” by building relationships with local business and posting information in those stores. We are also actively communicating with newspapers and radio stations on military bases throughout the county.

We are even on social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and MySpace!

The Guardian Angel caring for the pet(s) are encouraged to communicate with the pet owner whether via email or snail mail. Each situation is different. From the organization perspective, we maintain contact with the foster home to ensure the pet is doing well.

One woman tells her story of discovering GASP, “I heard about your organization through Military.com and think this is a wonderful idea. My husband is active duty Navy and we had never heard of the services you offer.”

Comments from our website "Feedback" page:

T.R., Spouse of Deployed Hero (Arizona) — "I would have lost one of my family members (my puppy casino) if it weren't for Guardian angels helping me save him...it's hard enough when your husband is deployed its harder to be away from your animals while he's gone, guardian angels supports and protects, I couldn't have done it without them...thank you!"

B.S., Deployed Hero (Tennessee) — "This is the organization that found a foster home for my dog for my upcoming one year deployment. It is an organization of volunteers. If you ever wonder how you can contribute to supporting our troops it may just be by supporting an organization that takes care of soldiers' pets for them. I am certainly thankful for them."


Q: How do you get your volunteers and how should people let you know they are interested in fostering a pet for a deployed soldier?
A: Our volunteers are the heart of this organization and we could not do what we do without the generosity of people all over the country. Potential foster homes primarily are recruited through our flyers, word of mouth, and various other avenues such as news articles. Other volunteer type positions (non-foster homes) are primarily recruited through volunteer positions posted on our "Volunteer" page and through http://www.volunteermatch.org/.

Those interested in being a possible foster home through our organization may do so by visiting our website www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org/ and (clicking on “How can I help" and the "Foster A Pet" links).

Q: What things are upcoming for GASP?
A: Currently others will be holding various events during the holiday season where net proceeds will be sent to Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet.

The known events being planned at this time are:

Colorado - Good Sam Camping Chapter will be holding a Christmas party on 12/6 for their members with a raffle where proceeds are being allocated to our organization toward our MVP Sanctuary project.

Georgia - Collier Chiropractic in Atlanta will be holding a fundraising event during the week of 12/7 where proceeds are being allocated to our organization toward our MVP Sanctuary project.

Q: How can people make a contribution to GASP and how do you use the money?
A: Visit http://www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org/ and click on “How can I help” (Contribute link). Donations can be made online via the "Donate" button or by sending a check/money order (payable to Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet) to our national office.

Unless a donation is earmarked for a specific program or our MVP Sanctuary project, we allocate donations as follows:

Programs – 75% (25% Foster Home, 25%-Military Pet Assistance, 25%-MVP Sanctuary),
Administrative – 15%,
Fundraising – 10%.

Donations earmarked for a specific purpose is allocated 100% toward the identified program (Foster Home or Military Pet Assistance or the MVP Sanctuary project).

Q: Is there anything you’d like the public to know about GASP?
A: We are the first 501c3 ALL volunteer military support organization established specifically to support our troops and their beloved pets. We are unique since we have combined the best of 2 worlds (troop support and animal care) by providing assistance to our deploying military service members with their pets so they can be reunited with these beloved pets following a deployment to harm's way and not have to relinquish their legal pet ownership rights to a shelter/rescue group because of the deployment. We are not an animal shelter or animal rescue group, our mission/purpose is to help our military who want to be reunited with their pets and not have to surrender their legal pet ownership rights to an animal shelter or animal rescue group because they had no other option.

We do not accept animals from shelters/rescue groups or involved with permanent re-homing of pets turned over to shelters/rescue groups, since the legal pet owner is the shelter/rescue group and not a military service member.

It is an honor to serve our military who sacrifice so much to keep us safe in the US by caring for their pets.






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For other stories on GASP, check out their news page:
http://www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org/index.phpoption=com_content&view=article&id=77&Itemid=115

For a look at some awards they've won:
http://www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org/index.phpoption=com_content&view=article&id=84&Itemid=175


xoxo (Thanks to Jessica T. Semon, National Communications Director for GASP, and to Linda Spurlin-Dominik, Co-Founder of GASP and Angel Extraodinaire).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Series On Soldiers And Dogs, Introduction

This post begins a series of stories about the connection between dogs and our deployed personnel. The first story will be an interview with Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (GASP), an organization that fosters dogs and other pets for soldiers while they are deployed overseas. Next will be the Soldiers’ Angels K-9 Support Team, one of thirty support teams of Soldiers’ Angels and one which adopts K-9 units in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the globe. Third will be a story about a soldier who adopted a dog out of Iraq and what they both went through to make the adoption work (with the help of many people on both sides of the globe), and last will be a look at various organizations that assist soldiers with the help of therapy dogs once they return from being deployed.

Dogs are not only our best friends, they help us in various ways and I hope to highlight a few of those in this series. This idea for this series began out of my interest in both supporting soldiers and advocating for dogs (mostly shelter dogs). I’ve been a volunteer for the past five years for Soldiers Angels. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I have gotten back far more than I’ve given or sent. I’ve had the honor of supporting hundreds of individual soldiers, and each one has been special and has garnered my respect and admiration for doing the job they do on behalf of us all. More recently and in the pursuit of an even-more immediately evident fix, I’ve begun walking dogs at a nearby animal shelter, Yonkers Animal Shelter. There we mainly have dogs that would make great pets but are homeless for a variety of reasons. This series is my way of bringing the two interests together and highlighting some important work that is happening that I think the public ought to know more about.

First, a word about the group that started it all, so to speak, at least for the first two parts of the series. Soldiers’ Angels is an organization whose 200,000 volunteers send support via packages and letters to deployed personnel until they come home. It began in the living room of a woman whose son was deployed and who was supporting him and his unit with regular packages, since he mentioned to her that only he was getting mail. She started a blog to communicate with friends and family so they could support his unit, too. The woman was Patti Patton-Bader, founded of Soldiers’ Angels, and great-grand niece of General Patton. What began in her living room has developed into an international organization (501c-3) that everyday supports many tens of thousands of soldiers, through almost thirty support teams all who have a special focus (http://www.soldiersangels.org/ -- click "Team & Projects - How to Help" for full list). It has received hundreds of awards (including the Army’s highest civilian humanitarian award,) enlists an army of volunteers in every state and several countries (the most notable of which is the extensive effort of our team of volunteers at Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany), had books written about it, and has created a network of volunteers that make life a little easier for soldiers. Thousands of people like me have had an opportunity to make our support of troops active and normative, making our own lives more fulfilled and worthwhile in the process. It has been an amazing experience.

Of the many dedicated angels who make Soldiers’ Angels almost a full time pursuit is Linda Spurlin-Dominik. Between 2004 and 2008 Linda and Sara Ehrlich co-led the Letter Writing Team and today Linda continues as a Letter Writing Team "Team Leader" (a seven day a week enterprise). Both Sara and Linda developed it into a team that sends over 250,000 individual letters per year (one letter, one time). These letters were meant to give a soldier a boost when he or she was first deployed, and for their assigned angel (who will write to them until they come home) to have time to send that first package. Nothing brings a smile to the face of a soldier like getting their name yelled out at mail call and when you are first deployed to get 20 or 30 letters is quite a high! Linda made sure that the mechanical back-room part of overseeing nearly 50 individual letter writing teams (each with about 40-50 writers and some with up to 100 writers,) ran smoothly, kept our soldier’s information discreet, and trained the many volunteer that signed up to work on the team. This was no small feat, let me tell you. The letter writing team is Soldiers’ Angels largest team to this day, and it generates a literal ton of mail regularly.

At a certain point, and I’ll let Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (GASP) explain it, Linda saw a need and met it with the exceptional dedication she brings to whatever she does. GASP’s main purpose is to support our military service members, veterans, and their beloved pets to ensure that the pets are reunited with their owners following deployment to harm's way (combat or peace keeping mission) or emergency hardship. As a shelter volunteer, we see pets be dropped off for numerous reasons, including eviction, the need-to-relocate, and financial duress. Though we have been fortunate in the time I’ve been there to not have any be left because someone is being deployed and cannot find a temporary home for their pet, I am sure it happens far too often all over the country.

Tomorrow, come back for the Q&A with Guardian Angels for Soldiers’ Pets, the first of a multi-part series about soldiers and dogs.

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xoxo

Monday, December 7, 2009

7 Year-Old Nova Scotia Boy, James Delorey, Found But in Critical Condition

via CBC News:
A seven-year-old autistic boy who disappeared from his Cape Breton home two days ago was found alive, unconscious, suffering from hypothermia and huddled in an area of thick brush and snow on Monday.
Searchers found James Delorey in the woods about 1.3 kilometres from his home in South Bar, near Sydney, N.S., at approximately 12:15 p.m., said Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Myles Burke.

"James is in a very serious situation at this point," he said.

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xoxo (many prayers still needed)


7-Year Old Boy Missing in Nova Scotia With His Dog

Folks, major prayers are needed.  I went to bed thinking about this one last night and woke up hoping they'd have news to share, but he hasn't been found yet.

From the article, via The Chronicle Herald in CA:

Storm hampers searchers
Volunteers scour C.B. woods for autistic boy, 7, and his dog

By LAURA FRASER Cape Breton Bureau

James was last seen playing with Chance in the backyard of 41 Kennel Lane at about 2:15 p.m. Saturday. Both the boy and the Dalmatian-mix were gone shortly after that and police believe the pair is still together.
Added to the difficulties is the fact that James is autistic and does not speak. Everyone is hoping the dog and he are together, and volunteers are calling out for the dog, Chance, because they are afraid James will not answer them when they call.

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xoxo (Prayers up for James Delorey and his dog, Chance. God bless them and their family, and may the search be successful).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Two Funny Dachshund Moments

The first is via Rolling Dog Ranch (in Beautiful Montana):

Daisy the Dachshund looks all nice, doesn't she? Sharing her chair with the blind and deaf dog, Spinner.



http://blog.rollingdogranch.org/rolling_dog_ranch_animal_/2009/12/what-is-she-doing-on-my-chair.html

Read the story; it's worth it.


The second dachshund moment is my own dog, Renaldo the Red, who found the four inch hole in his bed (under three blankets and another floppy bed, mind you) and decided to climb in to keep warm.  Doxies are known for their burrowing and mine is no exception.



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xoxo (gotta love 'em)

Can you Imagine?! Ha-Ha!

This is VERY funny, though temporarily terrifying, I'm sure.

via: dogster.com:

http://dogblog.dogster.com/2009/12/04/brit-dog-jumps-into-moving-car-wont-leave-why/


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xoxo

Our Pack Inc., Calendars

I guess I have a theme going here! Here is another great holiday gift to give.  I have posted information on this fine organization before. 

Our Pack, Inc., are the proud owers of Dexter, whose work has been featured here before, though here is "his latest":





Check out Our Pack, Inc.'s 2010 calendars:




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xoxo

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Great Note Cards Featuring Pit Bulls, by Animal Farm Foundation



Through my various searching and saving-of-links each day, I found these wonderful note cards. I ordered two three-packs of the "Hooray for Shelter Dogs" and am completely pleased.  I just noticed the historic postcards and am now ordering those. If you need a gift for someone who likes shelter animals, this is a good one.  They are high quality, very attractive, and each card has an explanation on the back of what the Animal Farm Foundation is accomplishing.





Here is a link to their foundation:   (They give grants! - kudos to this Hudson Valley dog-supporting organization!)

Here is the link to buy some cards (or click their "merchandise" link):


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xoxo (Thanks, Animal Farm Foundation, for all your good work!)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Trip Up The Puppy Mills

via LoHudBlog's Paws and Claws:
This just in from the Humane Society of the United States: “To help end the misery associated with large-scale dog breeding operations known as “puppy mills,” the Humane Society of the United States has launched a national telephone tip line and encourages callers to report suspected cruelty or unlawful activities involving such breeding facilities.


The hotline, 1-877-MILL-TIP, is available to anyone with information of a possible crime involving puppy mills – but particularly welcomes information from those with “insider” knowledge, or from law enforcement officials who might be aware of such operations.

“Puppy mills are a national scourge,” said Justin Scally, manager of The HSUS’ Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force. “Hundreds of thousands of dogs across the country are trapped in constant confinement their entire lives, producing puppies to profit the puppy mill owner. This tip line will be a vital tool to help free these dogs from a life of abuse.”

The Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force investigates puppy mills and works with law enforcement, animal shelters and other agencies to stop abuse and to ensure enforcement of existing laws. The task force also provides expert guidance to local, state and federal agencies in the prosecution of animal abusers as it relates to the operation of puppy mills. Since its launch in June, the Task Force has assisted in the rescue of more than 1,200 dogs and puppies from abusive situations at puppy mills.

The announcement of the new national tip line comes during The HSUS’ 3rd annual Puppy Mill Action Week, which is dedicated to educating the public about how to find a new best friend without supporting the abusive puppy mill industry. Puppy Mill Action Week runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 6, at the start of the peak holiday puppy buying season.

The Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force is named in honor of Kenneth and Lillian Wilde, who donated a portion of their estate to The HSUS to help dogs. Thanks to the Wildes, The HSUS was able to expand the organization’s capacity to rescue more animals from the inhumane puppy mill industry and to raise national awareness of the pain and tragedy that can lurk behind the inviting visage of a young puppy for unwary buyers.


Puppy Mill Facts

· Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles.

· Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog’s health, genetic history or future welfare. Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site; instead visit an animal shelter, breed rescue group, or visit a breeder’s home and meet the puppy’s parents.

· The HSUS supports compassionate breeders who provide for their dog’s physical and mental well-being. Quality breeders don’t sell puppies through pet stores or over the Internet.



More about puppy mills: www.humanesociety.org/puppymills 

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xoxo (I don't always agree with the Humane Society, but I am glad for this effort on their part.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Free Rabies Shots

via LoHudBlog's Paws and Claws:
This just in. Here’s the news release….The Westchester County Department of Health, in conjunction with the Sleepy Hollow Animal Hospital, will sponsor a free rabies vaccination clinic for cats, dogs and ferrets, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the animal hospital, 340 N. Broadway in Sleepy Hollow, NY.
Appointments are necessary.
Residents attending the clinic are asked to complete the client registration form at www.westchestergov.com/health and bring it with them to the clinic. To make an appointment, or for more information, residents should contact the animal hospital directly at 914-631-0606.

All county residents are eligible to bring their dogs, cats and ferrets in for rabies vaccinations free of charge. No exam or other vaccinations will be given. Cats and ferrets must be brought in carriers and dogs must be on a leash. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled.

“Rabies is an extremely dangerous disease to humans and many animals,” said Westchester County Health Commissioner, Dr Joshua Lipsman. “Vaccination against rabies is essential for the protection of your pet and yourself and is required by law.”

Under New York State law, dogs, cats and ferrets must receive their first rabies vaccination no later than four months after birth. A second rabies shot must be given within one year of the first vaccination with additional booster shots given every one or three years after that, depending on the vaccine used. Owners who fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep the vaccinations up-to-date may be fined up to $1,000.

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xoxo

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Adoption Events in the NYC Area - December

Pass it along!

Social Tees Animal Rescue Foundation:
Adoption Van at The Bean Coffee & Tea

Saturday, December 5, 2009
1:00–7:00 p.m.
The Bean Coffee & Tea
49½ First Avenue (at East 3rd Street), Manhattan

Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside The Bean Coffee & Tea.

For more information, contact Robert Shapiro at (212) 614-9653 or robert@socialtees.com, or visit the Social Tees Animal Rescue web site.

SaveKitty Foundation:
Adoption Van at Chelsea Market
Sunday, December 6, 2009
11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Chelsea Market
9th Avenue (between 15th and 16th Streets), Manhattan

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside Chelsea Market.

For more information, contact Rosary Immordino at (718) 507-6843 or adoptions@savekitty.org, or visit the SaveKitty Foundation web site.



Empty Cages Collective: Adoption Van at NYCPet.com
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Noon–5:00 p.m.
NYCPet.com
218 5th Avenue (between President and Union Streets), Park Slope, Brooklyn

Come and meet our adoptable cats and kittens available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside NYCPet.com. All adoptions require a completed application and minimum $75 donation per cat.

For more information, contact Empty Cages Collective at (347) 515-9533 or emptycagescollective@gmail.com, or visit the Empty Cages Collective web site.



Animal Center of Queens: Adoption Van at PETCO
Sunday, December 6, 2009
11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
PETCO, 2601 86th Street, Brooklyn

Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside PETCO.

For more information, contact Laurie Carpio at (347) 400-4641 or angeleyes121473@aol.com, or visit the Animal Center of Queens web site.



Tavi & Friends: Adoption Van at Best in Show Pet Resort
Saturday, December 12, 2009
10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Best in Show Pet Resort
244 Herricks Road (at Jericho Turnpike), Mineola, Long Island

Cats, kittens, and some dogs will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside Best in Show Pet Resort.

For more information, contact Mary Bruce at (646) 872-1533 or Tavi2@earthlink.net, or visit the Tavi & Friends web site.



Posh Pets Rescue: Adoption Van
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Noon–5:00 p.m.
Broadway and 73rd Street, Manhattan

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van.

For more information, contact Linda Vetrano at (917) 319-4304 or mslondonspets@aol.com, or visit the Posh Pets Rescue web site.



Linda's Feral Cat Assistance: Adoption Van
Saturday, December 13, 2009
Noon–6:00 p.m.
186 First Avenue (between 10th and 11th Streets), Manhattan

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van.
For more information, contact Linda Bryant at (718) 205-1792 or teabag_1@earthlink.net, or visit the Linda's Feral Cat Assistance web site.



Liberty Humane Society: Adoption Van at City Hall
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Noon–4:00 p.m.
City Hall, Washington Street (at 2nd Street), Hoboken, NJ

Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside City Hall.

For more information, contact Janet Russell at (201) 577-4385 or janet@libertyhumane.org, or visit the Liberty Humane Society web site.



Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals: Adoption Van
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Noon–4:00 p.m.
186 First Avenue (between 10th and 11th Streets), Manhattan

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van.

For more information, contact the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals at (212) 252-2350 or info@AnimalAllianceNYC.org.



K9Kastle: Adoption Van
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Noon–5:00 p.m.
86th Street and Stillwell Avenue, Brooklyn

Cats and a few small dogs will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van.

For more information, contact Tara Ciabattari at (917) 748-2504 or MaddieK9@aol.com, or visit the K9Kastle web site.



In Our Hands Rescue: Adoption Van at UA Stadium 12
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Noon–6:00 p.m.
UA Stadium 12, 106 Court Street, Brooklyn

Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside the UA Stadium 12 cinema.
For more information, contact Jennifer Lamb at (718) 836-4023 or jennifer@inourhandsrescue.org, or visit the In Our Hands Rescue web site.



Liberty Humane Society: Adoption Van at City Hall
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Noon–4:00 p.m.
City Hall, Washington Street (at 2nd Street), Hoboken, NJ

Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside City Hall.

For more information, contact Janet Russell at (201) 577-4385 or janet@libertyhumane.org, or visit the Liberty Humane Society web site.



Anjellicle Cats Rescue: Adoption Van at Columbus Circle
Sunday, December 20, 2009
1:00–6:00 p.m.
Columbus Circle and Central Park West, Manhattan

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van at Columbus Circle.

For more information, contact Angelica Lema at (908) 577-4816 or info@anjelliclecats.com, or visit the Anjellicle Cats Rescue web site.



SaveKitty Foundation: Adoption Van at Chelsea Market
Saturday, December 26, 2009
11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Chelsea Market, 9th Avenue (between 15th and 16th Streets), Manhattan

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside Chelsea Market.

For more information, contact Rosary Immordino at (718) 507-6843 or adoptions@savekitty.org, or visit the SaveKitty Foundation web site.



Animal Center of Queens: Adoption Van at PETCO
Saturday, December 26, 2009
11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
PETCO, 15720 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach, Queens

Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside PETCO.

For more information, contact Laurie Carpio at (347) 400-4641 or angeleyes121473@aol.com, or visit the Animal Center of Queens web site.



Posh Pets Rescue: Adoption Van
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Noon–5:00 p.m.
Broadway and 73rd Street, Manhattan

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van.

For more information, contact Linda Vetrano at (917) 319-4304 or mslondonspets@aol.com, or visit the Posh Pets Rescue web site. Nancy Potts 917-699-4017



For Animals, Inc.: Adoption Van at NYCPet.com
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Noon–6:00 p.m.
NYCPet.com, 218 5th Avenue (between President and Union Streets), Park Slope, Brooklyn

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside NYCPet.com.

For more information, contact Theresa Bachu at (917) 257-6759 or spotty_11420@yahoo.com, or visit the For Animals, Inc., web site.



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xoxo

Welcome News!

via WEAU 13 News Staff:


Governor Doyle signs bill to regulate dog breeders

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Jim Doyle has signed a bill designed to eliminate puppy mills where dogs live in abusive and neglectful conditions.
The law will require dog breeders who sell more than 25 dogs annually to get a license through the state.

Breeders will have to meet standards of care, such as providing each dog with enough food, shelter and opportunity for exercise.

The state will investigate the breeder's background before issuing a license and can suspend or revoke it for violations.

Animal rights activists have been pushing for regulations in Wisconsin for years, saying the state's hands-off approach has made it a magnet for large-scale puppy mills


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xoxo (Much thanks to Gov. Doyle!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Video of Rolling Dog Ranch

You must see this video!  These folks are angels on earth and I am grateful for their work, the example they set, the love they give to the animals in their care, and for the comfort of knowing that such a place as Rolling Dog Ranch exists.


ASPCA Video "Rolling Dog Ranch" from V K on Vimeo.

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xoxo (Much thanks to Steve and Alayne!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Shop To Help Shelters

This is very cool!  You buy your stuff for the holidays, and the vendors donate a portion of your sale (some as much as 12%!!) to animal shelters across the country.

http://www.bringpetshome.org/shop/shop.aspx

Some examples: (the top ten stores)

FetchDog - 6% contribution

Wal-Mart - 4% contribution

Macys.com - 4-5% contribution

Sephora - 5-7% contribution

Apple iTunes - 5% contribution

NORDSTROM - 5% contribution

Gaiam - 8% contribution

Office Depot - 1-6% contribution

Netflix** - $9-16 contribution
Sierra Trading Post - 1-10% contribution

COOL!


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xoxo

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dog Scouts of America

In the Now-I've-Seen-Everything category:




Yes, it seems the dog wears the badges.



xoxo

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lucky Fay

Remember Fay, the pit bull who was fought and had her lip torn off, so her dumb owners took the rest of them off?

See her post-lip transplant and eating turkey out of her new owners hand:






xoxo (A wonderful ending to a hard life)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Upcoming NYC - Area Adoption Events for November

via The Mayor's Alliance for Pets:


Social Tees Animal Rescue Foundation
Adoption Van at The Bean Coffee & Tea
Saturday, November 28, 2009
1:00–7:00 p.m.
49½ First Avenue (at East 3rd Street), Manhattan

Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside The Bean Coffee & Tea.

For more information, contact Robert Shapiro at (212) 614-9653 or robert@socialtees.com or visit the Social Tees Animal Rescue web site.


Sean Casey Animal Rescue
Adoption Van at Willie's Dawgs
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Noon–5:00 p.m.
351 5th Avenue (between 5th and 6th Streets), Park Slope, Brooklyn

Cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside Willie's Dawgs.

For more information, contact Charles Henderson at (718) 436-5163 or charles.seancaseyanimalrescue@gmail.com or visit the Sean Casey Animal Rescue web site.



Posh Pets Rescue
Adoption Van at Barneys Co-Op
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Noon–5:00 p.m.
2151 Broadway (at 75th Street), Manhattan

Cats, kittens, and possibly a few dogs will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside Barneys Co-Op.

For more information, contact Linda Vetrano at (917) 319-4304 or mslondonspets@aol.com or visit the Posh Pets Rescue web site.



Tavi & Friends
Adoption Van at PETCO
Saturday, November 28, 2009
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
31 Middle Country Road, Lake Grove, Long Island

Cats, kittens, and some dogs will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside PETCO.

For more information, contact Mary Bruce at (646) 872-1533 or Tavi2@earthlink.net or visit the Tavi & Friends web site.



Tavi & Friends
Adoption Van at PETCO
Sunday, November 29, 2009
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
31 Middle Country Road, Lake Grove, Long Island

Cats, kittens, and some dogs will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside PETCO.

For more information, contact Mary Bruce at (646) 872-1533 or Tavi2@earthlink.net or visit the Tavi & Friends web site.




Posh Pets Rescue
Adoption Van at Fairway Market
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Noon–5:00 p.m.
2127 Broadway (between 74th and 75th Streets), Manhattan

Cats, kittens, and possibly a few dogs will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van outside Fairway Market.

For more information, contact Linda Vetrano at (917) 319-4304 or mslondonspets@aol.com or visit the Posh Pets Rescue web site.



Anjellicle Cats Rescue
Adoption Van at Columbus Circle
Sunday, November 29, 2009
1:00–6:00 p.m.
Columbus Circle
Central Park South and 58th Street (across from Whole Foods), Manhattan

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van at Columbus Circle across from Whole Foods.

For more information, contact Angelica Lema at (908) 577-4816 or info@anjelliclecats.com or visit the Anjellicle Cats Rescue web site.



Liberty Humane Society: Adoption Van
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Noon–4:00 p.m.
Central Park Parking Lot, Hoboken, NJ

Cats and kittens will be available for adoption in the North Shore Animal League America adoption van.

For more information, visit the Liberty Humane Society web site.

Puppy-Mill Puppies Making Their Way to Long Island for Adoption

Dogs rescued from Missouri puppy mills arrive by bus in Chicago, will be flown to Long Island


CHICAGO (AP) — More than 50 dogs rescued from puppy mills in Missouri are flying to Long Island in the hope of finding loving homes.
The dogs were taken by bus Thursday to Chicago, where they were given a rest break and special Thanksgiving meals.
On Friday morning, Pet Airways was scheduled to fly the dogs from Chicago to New York's LaGuardia Airport. They will then be taken to the North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington, N.Y., where they will be put up for adoption.
Missouri launched an aggressive campaign last summer to investigate and prosecute unlicensed dog breeders.
In September, more than 100 dogs were removed from what officials called an unlicensed puppy mill in mid-Missouri where dogs were living in filthy conditions.
Go see what you can see:
http://www.nsalamerica.org/


xoxo (and Thank You, God!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

The following dogs have homes this Thanksgiving, and for that I'm pretty thankful!

Rusty (Adopted by volunteer Shauna)

June
Baxter
Joffe
Butch
Coco (Joffe's daughter)
Maybelle
Simon
Mitzi
Scout
(Joffe - another pic)
Sandee (aka Floppy Ear)
Wiggles


xoxo (Thanks to the wonderful families who adopted these fur babies!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cool Fundraiser For Yonkers Animal Shelter, Dec. 3rd, Armonk, NY

If you live in the area, you might consider coming to this event...

Cool fundraiser for Yonkers Animal Shelter. I can tell you that the house is BEAUTIFUL.

http://www.newyonkersanimalshelter.org/news.html

Fundraiser for
the New Yonkers Animal Shelter
Hosted by the Domenicali's of Armonk, New York

Thursday, December 3
6:00pm

The Domenicali's of Armonk are hosting a three-course, sit-down dinner with wine, and a silent auction with pet-and non-pet-related items at their home. Requested donation is $150 per person, with all proceeds doing to the shelter. Donations are fully tax deductible.

The event is sponsored by Fiduciary Trust Company.

RSVP by November 20th to rsvp@newyonkersanimalshelter.org.

Seating is limited and only pre-paid reservations will be honored.

Can't join that evening? Consider buying a brick in honor of your pet, spouse, children or whomever.
Go here: https://www.newyonkersanimalshelter.org/tribute-brick.php


About the Yonkers Animal Shelter:
The current shelter was built 50 years ago to act as a short-term holding facility for lost dogs and cats. It is a cramped, depressing facility that was not built for the animals’ comfort or health, as adoption was not the goal.
A new, modern facility is critically needed to house the constant flow of abandoned and homeless pets that arrive, and to help showcase them for adoption to potential families. We’re more than halfway there — with over $2 million having already been raised. We need your help to reach the final goal.
xoxo

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Homeless Dogs Help Our Vets

This article kicks off my soon-to-be posted series on soldiers and dogs. There are so many organizations taking advantage, finally, of the bond that forms between dogs and soldiers, and how the dogs are helping soldiers heal from their wounds.  Here is an article that shows dog and soldier are healing each other.

via Fred W. Baker III for http://www.army.com/:

Homeless Dogs Help Healing Troops

Army Capt. Lawrence Minnis sits with his two adopted pit bulls at the Washington Humane Society’s Behavior and Learning Center, Nov. 12, 2009. Minnis met the dogs through the humane society’s Dog Tags program, in which soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center sign up to help teach animals housed at the shelter learn how to behave. DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III

WASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Lawrence Minnis never met a dog he didn’t like.
“I want just about every dog I see,” the Army captain said with a laugh.

Minnis is especially fond of pit bulls, and he somewhat resembles his favorite breed -- broad-shouldered, stocky and muscular. He sat on the floor in the back of a classroom at a Washington Humane Society shelter here recently, stroking his adopted black pit bull, Ebony.

As happy and healthy as the two appear now, they met when they were both on the mend – Minnis from a near-crippling infection and Ebony from nearly starving and freezing to death. The two shared a companionship that helped them heal and ultimately altered the course of their lives.

Minnis met Ebony through the Humane Society’s Dog Tags program in which soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center sign up to help the shelter dogs learn to behave. It’s a program in which everyone benefits, officials said; the soldiers get out of the hospital and learn to care for and train the dogs, and the dogs learn better behavior, making them more adoptable.

“They’re really loving those relationships with the animals,” said Diana Foley, behavior and training counselor with the Humane Society. “It gives them a way to get away from Walter Reed. They can come here and interact with the animals.”

The program began simply enough more than a year ago. The shelter is located just across the street from the Walter Reed campus. Soldiers out walking would come across shelter staff members walking the dogs. They would stop and pet the dogs and seemed to enjoy getting to know them. Officials at the shelter had the idea to hook the two together through a training program for the troops and the dogs.

The society now offers two classes weekly that teach soldiers about dog behavior and training. Troops filter through the Georgia Avenue shelter learning the basics of dog behavior and how to read dog body language and train the dogs. The mix of hands-on and classroom training offers the troops enough expertise that they can use the skills as a launching pad for a career.

“We want the program to be educational so that if there are servicemembers in the program that want to potentially pursue this as a career, … they’re getting as much information as possible and as much hands-on time as possible with the dogs,” Foley said. “We also want it to be recreational, too, for people who … just love animals and like spending time with the dogs.”

The six-month program is split into three levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. In the beginner class, troops learn basic animal body language and obedience commands such as “sit” and “stay.” In the advanced classes, troops learn to evaluate the dogs’ temperament and how to begin working with aggression issues and separation anxiety.

The skills the dogs learn in the classes translate to better placement opportunities, Foley said. The program has far expanded the amount of training the shelter’s dogs received previously.

“This is another way our dogs are outside of their kennels being talked to and touched and interacting with people,” she said. “That’s extremely beneficial to reduce the stress levels of the animals in our kennels, and at the same time, it makes the animals far more successful in their new homes if they come into it with some basic obedience training.”

But for all of the good it is for the dogs, it is equally beneficial for the recovering troops, Foley said.

“It’s really just an outlet to be social with people and social with the animals and have time away from the hospital,” she said.

Foley described one soldier who came to the class who was having difficulty interacting with people. He didn’t make eye contact and kept to himself. Working with the dogs built his confidence and helped to bridge his shyness with the staff.

“It really helped him develop social relationships with people,” Foley said. “He went from being a very, very shy person when he first entered. [Now] he’s totally not that same shy person that he came into the program being.”

Some of the dogs are at the shelter for a few months, and many of the soldiers develop close relationships with them. Others develop friendships with the staff. Some soldiers remain on as volunteers at the shelter long after the classes end, Foley said. Minnis continues to work with the shelter.

After a viral infection in his brain stem left him temporarily unable to walk and barely able to talk, the Army officer found himself recovering at Walter Reed. He was deployed to Iraq at the start of a promising Army career when he got sick. At Walter Reed, he found out he couldn’t deploy again.

In May 2008, his occupational therapist recommended him to the Dog Tags program. Minnis said he had wanted to get a dog for a pet anyway, so he thought it would be a good opportunity to learn a few skills. The shelter had several of his favorite breed on hand, and the dogs were good companions and good for his physical therapy.

“It helped me while I was still trying to walk, being active, having to walk around with the dog. [During training], I’m not focused on me having balance issues or [not] being able to speak. I’m concentrating on what I need to do to train the dog,” Minnis said. “It takes the focus completely off of me and puts it on the dog and what we’re doing.”

But Minnis’ interests soon expanded, and often he would visit the shelter just to sit and play with the dogs. He said it was his quiet time.

“You don’t have anybody asking you what’s going on. You don’t feel a threat. It’s a just a dog to bond with and have fun with,” he said.

As it looked more like he would be medically retired, Minnis said the training took on a different perspective. He was a business major in college, and always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He figured a dog training business would be easy to start and not require a lot of money or overhead.

“I figured it’s a perfect opportunity,” he said. “I get to learn how to train [and] have a business I can work on, or at least a side business.”

Minnis eventually adopted Ebony, one of his favorite dogs. The two now regularly attend the shelter classes, helping to train others on animal behavior. Minnis also takes Ebony to the Metropolitan Police Department when he speaks to cadets going through training there, noting that he hopes to cast a more positive light on a breed that has captured a lot of negative attention.

He teaches the cadets to read a dog’s body language so they can tell when there is a real threat.

“I would take her with me … so they can get used to seeing a pit bull that’s not what they see on TV,” Minnis said. “Often, officers don’t really know if the dog is friendly, scared or ready to attack.”

In fact, Ebony is one of the friendliest dogs the cadets will meet, he said -- friendly enough that he felt comfortable bringing her home to his two small boys.

“It’s never about the breed. It’s about who owns them and how well you train them and the structure you have around them,” Minnis said. “From Day One, she was perfect around my kids. She respected them.”

In the end, though, it is not a dog-training business that Minnis decided to pursue. It is, however, what he learned from the lessons during the training and while working with the dogs that led to what he hopes is a promising career.

During the training, Minnis said, he began pondering how leadership principles in dog training are the same as with dealing with people.

“Dogs are pack creatures. Humans are pack creatures. It’s the same leadership,” he said. “It’s not about a title, or in our case in the military, your rank, that makes you a leader. It’s if you’re doing the natural things that make you a leader in your pack.”

Now Minnis is researching and writing a book on the principles of leadership and packaging a presentation targeting businesses, the military and government. He already has given a few presentations on his theories, and is refining and expanding on them.

Minnis still is a few weeks away from his medical retirement, and is working to get back to 100 percent. He has joined a gym, started jogging, and adopted another pit bull from the shelter named Nina.

Between working on his recovery and his book, Minnis said, he hopes to help the humane society expand the Dog Tags program. It is worthy, he said, of reaching beyond the Capital Beltway and out to other active duty installations.

“Anywhere you go, there are going to be dogs that need training and soldiers who are going through some type of therapy that will benefit from it,” he said. “I want to make sure that’s going to be able to expand and reach out to a lot more soldiers. It’s a great program.”



xoxo