Friday, October 9, 2015

Adopt Unconditional Love - Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

I want to tell you a story about a little dog. This dog was a good little dog. Yes, he chewed on shoes and piddled on the floor. But he didn't mean it. He was just a puppy after all. He wanted to be good. But the man and the woman who lived with him and his 4-legged mom said they had too many dogs already and that the little dog was too much trouble. So they took him to the animal shelter. The little dog was put in a small cage with no friends to play with and no one to pet him. He had food and water and sometimes he got to go outside and walk around, but most of the time he was in the cage - alone. It was very scary! Sometimes the people who worked at the shelter would come and get a dog for a walk - and the dog would never come back. The little dog heard that they were put to sleep. Sleep was good, but somehow sleeping and never coming back didn't seem right. The little dog worried that might happen to him and he was afraid. Sometimes, people would come in to the shelter and take a dog from the cage. These dogs also never came back. But the little dog heard that this was different. These dogs were going to new homes where they would be loved and be part of a family. The little dog wished every night that someone would take him home.

One day a man and woman came in to the shelter. They stopped at the little dog's cage and talked to him. The little dog sniffed at the woman's fingers as she reached through the cage. She asked if she could hold the little dog. When she picked him up, the little dog reached up and kissed her on the chin to say thank you for taking him out of the cage. The woman cuddled the little dog, looked at the man, and said, "I want him." That's was all it took! The little dog couldn't believe it. Someone was going to take him home.

The little dog came to live in a great house in the country.  There was a big yard for him to run and play in and two other dogs for company.  There was a soft comfy bed for him to sleep in during the day and at night he slept in a big bed with the man and the woman.  He had toys and treats.  He even had a cat!  But his favorite thing was to curl up in the woman's lap in a big chair they shared.  Sometimes she would read or watch TV.  Sometimes she would just sit with him.  It really didn't matter what they did, because he knew he was loved.

As the years, went by the little dog got older.  It became harder for him to see.  He couldn't always jump up in the chair.  Sometimes the woman had to carry him up or down the stairs when his legs were stiff.  Sometimes he couldn't always make it out the pet door in time and would have an accident.  He was scared that he would have to go back in the cage.  But the woman still loved him and cared for him.  As he got older they spent less time walking and playing and more time just sitting in the chair together. 

In case you haven't figured it out, the little dog was Bob and the story is how my Mom and Dad found him at the shelter. He was lucky. He have lived here for 21 years and was loved and cared for every day. I only spent a few years with him.  He was already old when Mom brought me home.  But I know he had a great life. And when it was time for him to go to sleep, Mom and Dad were with him so he wouldn't have to be alone even then.  But there are thousands of dogs and cats who aren't so lucky.

I am not a shelter dog.  Mom bought me from a breeder.  But the Yorkshire Terriers she has owned are the only dogs she has ever bought.  All of my playmates here at home are shelter dogs.  And they are all great dogs!  They love Mom and Dad with all their hearts.  They guard the house, cuddle with them on cold winter nights, walk with them on warm summer evenings.  They keep mice and snakes and all the other assorted country critters out of the house and yard.  They play with me when Mom is too busy.  Mom and Dad rescued them and brought them home and they respond with unending loyalty and companionship.  Mom says they are unconditional love! 

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.  So this month, I am asking you to think about adding a furry friend to your home.  If you have room in your house and your heart for one more thing to love, please visit your local animal shelter and adopt a dog.  Go to your local shelter, find the perfect dog for your family and give another little dog a forever home.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Talking About Hunger

Many of you who remember Bob know that he had several issues that he supported through this blog.  Pet adoption, responsible dog ownership, and conservation were just a few.  And Mom was very willing to let him use this space to promote action in support of those causes.  So today I want to repay her by using this space to talk about a problem that Mom is very concerned with - hunger in America.

If you think hunger is only a problem in third world countries you couldn't be more mistaken.  Today, right here in America, 1 in every 5 children faces hunger.  Think about it!  15 million children right here at home struggle to get enough to eat.  They are here - in your schools, in your churches, in your communities.

Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but it is particularly devastating to children.  And I love kids!  Proper nutrition is critical to their development.  Not having enough of the right kinds of food can cause serious problems with a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement and future career potential.  The future of America lies in our children.  When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens the future of our nation as well.

It's time we join with Mom to fight hunger in America.  She is a supporter of Feeding America, an organization that helps feed America's hungry.  And every September, they sponsor Hunger Action Month.  Feeding America and member food banks ask everyone in America to take action to fight hunger in their community, all month long.  Hunger Action Month is your opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our effort to feed more Americans than ever before. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, or volunteering, you can find the way that’s right for you to make a difference during Hunger Action Month.

So, on behalf of Mom and Feeding America, I'm asking you to get involved.  Donate.  Host a food drive.  Take a "spoon selfie."  Volunteer with your local food banks or Feeding America.

I have never been without food.  Mom makes sure of that.  But I know how it feels on days when she gets home late and my dinner isn't served on time.  So I can't imagine how it would feel to not have enough to eat all day long!  Won't you help?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Responsible Dog Owner Days Are Here!

Are you a responsible dog owner? Take the AKC Responsible Dog Owner Pet Promise!

1. I will never overlook my responsibilities for this living being and recognize that my dog’s welfare is totally dependent on me.

2. I will always provide fresh water and quality food for my dog.

3. I will socialize my dog via exposure to new people, places and other dogs.

4. I will take pride in my dog's appearance with regular grooming.

5. I will recognize the necessity of basic training by teaching my dog to reliably sit, stay and come when called.

6. I will take my dog to the vet regularly and keep all vaccinations current.

7. I will pick-up and properly dispose of my dog's waste.

8. I will make sure my dog is regarded as an AKC Canine Good Citizen® by being aware of my responsibilities to my neighbors and to the community.

9. I will ensure that the proper amount of exercise and mental stimulation appropriate for my dog’s age, breed and energy level is provided.

10. I will ensure that my dog has some form of identification (which may include collar tags, tattoo or microchip ID).

11. I will adhere to local leash laws.

Post your name and your dog's names in the comments if you are a responsible dog owner.


For more information visit or call 212-696-8228.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy National Dog Day!

Do you know what Wednesday, August 26th is?  It's National Dog Day!  Let's celebrate!

National Dog Day was founded in 2004 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate, Colleen Paige.  It is a day to help remind people of the number of dogs that are in shelters and need to be rescued.  You know how important that is to Mom and me.  And so we encourage everyone to celebrate National Dog Day.

Here are some ways for you and your dog to celebrate on Wednesday:

1.  Check out the official National Dog Day website and consider becoming a partner or sponsor!

2.  Is your fur baby an only child?  Adopt a playmate from your local shelter! 

3.  Can't adopt?  Volunteer!  Shelters can always use an extra helping hand.

4.  No time to volunteer?  Donate blankets, food, or cold, hard, cash to your local shelter!  National Dog Day urges everyone - even non-dog owners - to donate $5 to their local shelter on National Dog Day.

5.  Have a party and invite all of your friends and their dogs!

6.  Post your favorite dog photo in the comments section!

7.  Buy an official National Dog Day T-shirt!

8.  Spend some time with your fur baby!  Take them for a walk.  Bathe them or at least brush them.  Buy them a new toy, or leash, or collar.  Teach them a new trick. 

9.  Spread the word about National Dog Day!

10.  Remember - we love you!  All we want is for you to love us back.  Share the doggy love!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's Dog House Repairs Month!

July is National Dog House Repairs Month.  Now, I admit I don't know much about dog houses.  I stay in Mom and Dad's house.  I have a bed downstairs that I use during the day, and I night I sleep in the big bed with Mom and Dad.  But I know that some dogs do have dog houses.  I have seen them when Mom and I go for walks or drives.  And I have to admit that some of them look like they could use a bit of work!

Our house has a pet door so I can come and go as I need.  So when it's hot out like it is now, I can stay in the nice air-conditioned house.  When it's raining, I can go out just long enough to tend to business, then come right back in.  And when it's cold and snowy, I can warm up by the fire after a trip outside. 

Outdoor dogs need the same.  (Okay, maybe not the fire).  But they do nee a place where they can stay cool in the heat of the summer, dry when it's raining, and warm when it's icy and cold.  That means it should be waterproof and insulated.  And big enough for some bedding in the winter with enough space for your dog to stretch out or stand up and turn around without being cramped.

Now is the time for all owners of outdoor dogs to inspect their dogs' houses and make any necessary repairs.  You wouldn't let other members of your family sleep in rundown, leaky, cold houses would you?

If you're not sure what to look for, here are some tips.

Look for any wood that is worn or chewed and replace it.  Never use pressure treated wood.  This wood contains arsenic which is poisonous. 

Check for nails and screws that are sticking out.  These could cause an injury.

See if the bedding needs to be replaced.  Don't use blankets or rugs.  These can get wet when it rains or freeze in the winter.  Use wood chips, straw, or even newspaper.

Check the roof for leaks.  If it has been raining as much as it has here, that's easy.  If not, use a garden hose and spray the roof.  Then look for leaks.

Make sure the roof extends at least 8 inches past the doorway to keep rain and snow from blowing inside the house during a storm.

Take a walk around the outside of your dog's house.  Is the location suitable?  Is it located near shade for the summer?  Is the surrounding area safe and clean?  If there are problems, remember - dog houses are portable.  So move it if necessary.

I love being able to spend most of my time with Mom and Dad.  But I know that not every pet owner is able to keep their dogs in the house.  So celebrate National Dog House Repairs Month and make sure your best friend has a house that says he is family too!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Mobilize to End Extinction of the World’s Most Vulnerable Species

The 229 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced a bold new effort focused on saving species from extinction and restoring them to healthy sized populations in the wild. SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction will deepen the already substantial science and conservation work on endangered species occurring at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums by engaging the 180 million annual aquarium and zoo visitors and partners across the world to protect habitat, decrease threats, and restore populations to sustainable levels. 

 “At its core, SAFE represents a new and unique opportunity to combat the extinction crisis and save vital species,” said Jim Maddy, President and CEO of AZA. “With thousands of scientists and conservationists--more than any other single conservation organization--750,000 animals in their care, and more access to the public to the tune of 180 million visitors annually, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are poised to make a tremendous difference.”

The leadership of the AZA-accredited zoo and aquarium community has worked intensively over the past two years, reviewing the science to identify more than 100 species that are facing serious threats. These species are critical to maintaining overall ecosystems, and zoos and aquariums have unique scientific expertise and resources to improve their conservation status. In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 key species from that list: African Penguin, Asian Elephants, Black Rhinoceros, Cheetahs,   Gorillas, Sea Turtles, Sharks and Rays, Vaquita, Western pond turtles, and Whooping Cranes.

Every year for at least the next decade, 10 or more species will be added to SAFE based on the most current science and the availability of resources. 
For more than 100 years, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have been leaders in species survival and are already working to restore more than 30 species to healthy wild populations, including the American bison, the California condor, the black footed ferret and a number of aquatic species. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums collaboratively manage more than 450 Species Survival Plan® programs, as well as are investing more than $160 million each year in field conservation work in more than 100 countries across the globe. The worsening and accelerating extinction crisis, which many scientists refer to as the “Sixth Extinction,” challenged AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to significantly increase their efforts.

“In many cases, the science and conservation community knows what must be done to save these species and many independently managed efforts have been initiated to tackle one or more areas of focus at a time,” said Dennis Pate, AZA Board Chair and Executive Director and CEO of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.  “We will convene all partners working on saving the AZA SAFE species, who will collaboratively identify and prioritize the essential conservation actions needed. We will then provide the resources and mobilize our 180 million visitors to help save these species and restore them to sustainable populations in the wild.”

“For years, we have worked closely with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, but SAFE is really a game changer for us,” said Dr. Stephen van der Spuy, Executive Director at SANCCOB, the South African non-profit that is leading the effort to protect African penguins and other sea birds in South Africa. “By strategically focusing the work of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, by bringing new resources, and by engaging the millions of zoo and aquarium visitors in saving African penguins, we’re confident that SAFE can help make a real impact at saving these birds from extinction.” 
This bold, comprehensive approach is already attracting significant support. Initially, SAFE launched with a $1 million challenge grant from noted conservationists Mark and Kimbra Walter. Since then, the challenge has been successfully matched and their gift has continued to generate additional philanthropic interest and investment in this critical initiative
SAFE has also drawn significant corporate support from ALEX AND ANI, FishFlops® and Frito-Lay North America. ALEX AND ANI, the Rhode Island based eco-conscious lifestyle brand, created a penguin charm as part of their award-winning CHARITY BY DESIGN® program, and it has already become a top seller, generating funds that support conservation work at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. In the same spirit of giving back, 17-year-old entrepreneur Madison Nicole Robinson, creator of the popular children’s line of shoes FishFlops®, is creating a special line of flip flops and slippers to benefit SAFE, with a portion of her sales going directly to SAFE conservation projects. As an AZA partner, Frito-Lay North America is rallying families’ support for SAFE with a commitment to match every dollar donated to the cause through, up to a maximum of $100,000, through June 15, 2015. In addition to matching donations made through the site, Frito-Lay will donate $1 for each social share, per person, per day, of an endangered animal fact made through the site in an effort to encourage families to spread awareness about the important cause. Donations for social shares will also count towards Frito-Lay’s maximum $100,000 donation.

"Fun is at the heart of everything we do and it’s what we hope to inspire with our variety packs of snacks,” said Ryan Matiyow, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay. “Through our partnership with AZA, we’re able to bring families around their shared passion for animals and to support a cause that will help ensure families can experience the wonder of wildlife for generations to come.”

About AZA
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and seven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

About SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction
SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We're Ready. Are You?

It's been raining here a lot lately.  Mom says it's one of the wettest springs we've ever had.  And there is more rain coming this weekend!  But it's not as bad here as it has been in other areas.  Mom's sister and her cats live in Texas where there have been floods.  Of course she is ready in case it gets bad enough that she has to leave.  But Mom was worried about the cats.  Were they ready too?

That is a question that every pet owner needs to ask.  Are you ready to take care of everyone, including your pets, in the event of an emergency?  Mom has an emergency kit for her and Dad.  She calls it her "go bag."  I sneaked a peek in it the other day and was upset when I didn't see any supplies in it for me and the other pets.  But then Mom explained that we have our own go bags - one for the dogs and one for the cats.  I feel better now.  Mom is ready!

But are you ready?  Just in case you're not sure, Mom and I are providing the list of what's in my "go bag."  The contents are based on recommendations by the American Humane Association and have everything I need to be safe in an emergency. 

  1. My food
  2. Water
  3. My leash and collar
  4. My bowls
  5. Photos.  Photos of me and photos of me and Mom
  6. My vet records and shot card
  7. My carrier (actually my bag is stored inside my carrier!)
  8. A first aid kit
  9. Contact list of pet-friendly hotels, veterinarians, American Red Cross, American Humane Association and out-of-town friends/family
  10. Irene and Lady are older dogs and need medication so we also have their pills in the bag.
  11. One of my favorite toys
  12. Rope
  13. Pooper Scooper and disposal bags

Additional links to help keep animals safe before, during and after a disaster can be found on American Humane Association’s website.  Mom and I urge every pet owner to prepare before problems arise to keep your entire family, including the fur babies, safe and healthy.