Saturday, November 29, 2014

Operation Santa Paws

Your help is needed.  During the holiday season, extra help is needed for the thousands of abandoned and abused animals in local animal shelters and rescues all over the world.  One grassroots organization from Long Beach, California, "Operation Santa Paws," is helping by spearheading a canine/feline toy/treat drive to benefit less-fortunate pets this season.

Operation Santa Paws was established in 2001 by Justin Rudd.  From there it has quickly spread to communities across the country.  Animal lovers are encouraged to purchase a new dog or cat toy, treat or supply to drop-off/donate at their local  animal shelter or rescue in time for Christmas.

Operation Santa Paws seeks donated pet toys for shelters and rescues to improve the health and demeanor of those pets while reducing their stress to increase the animals' chances of being adopted. The simplest toys can make the animals much more comfortable. Cats enjoy rolling toys, such as small plastic balls or other "batting" toys that can be hung from cage doors, while dogs tend to prefer items like the heavy-duty Kong rubber chew toy.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia currently host an Operation Santa Paws toy/treat drive.  If your community doesn't participate, 2014 is a great year to start!  It's really easy.  Simply place collection boxes in key locations.  Encourage all animal lovers to donate a toy by dropping it in one of the collection boxes.  At the end of the drive, deliver the toys/treats to your local shelter or rescue.  You can even get help from the original Operation Santa Paws organization.  They will supply you with downloadable posters, "wish lists," and will list information about your drive on their website. 

I'm lucky. I have a wonderful Mom and Dad.  I have other dogs to play with.  I even have a cat of my very own.  We all get good food and care and lots of love.  Once we come to our new home, we get to stay until we are old and cross over the Rainbow Bridge like Bob.  And on holidays, we get special treats and toys.  But not all animals are as lucky at I am.  They don't know love or security.  And toys or treats are a rarity.  Will you collect toys, treats, food and supplies for local shelter dogs and cats?  Let's give every shelter dog and cat a special day this holiday season.  Wouldn't it be great if there was a drive in your home town?  Let's make it happen!  Merry Christmas! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas Shopping Reminder

Hello!  My name is Austin!  I am a 6-year old Yorkshire Terrier.  I live with my Mom and Dad in a big house in the country.  You probably know my Mom and Dad because they were also Bob's Mom and Dad.

Bob crossed the Rainbow Bridge several weeks ago.  We all miss him a lot.  He was my friend.  We slept together in the sun in the summer and shared a soft warm bed in the winter.  Some nights he would let me share Mom's lap with him.  Mostly he would snap at me until I got down.  Bob didn't like to share Mom much.

Mom has said that I can take over Bob's old blog.  I know I can never be as good as Bob.  Bob was one of a kind.  But I will try to honor his memory while telling my own stories here.  I don't think I will travel as much as Bob did.  But you never know.  Mom and Dad are looking at RVs so there may be some travel in my future!  Meanwhile I will spend some time doing what Bob loved best - working to be sure every dog, cat, rabbit, bird, guinea pig, horse, or other pet has the best life possible.  Which is why I'm writing this story today!

It's only a month before Christmas!  I know many of you have gotten much of your Christmas shopping done.  And those of you that haven't have a list ready for something that Mom calls "Black" Friday.  I'm not sure exactly what that is.  I know that Mom hates it!  She says there are too many people all acting crazy!  But Dad says he always finds good prices at the stores and I know that is important when shopping. 

Since there are such great prices on this black day, I want to give everyone a shopping reminder.  When you are out getting presents for you Moms and Dads, your children, your aunts and uncles - don't forget your pets.  We are family too!  And if you could - maybe get an extra gift or two for a shelter pet.  They would like to know that someone cares about them too, especially at Christmas.

If you don't know what to get us, I have a list!  Whether these gifts are for your own furry family members or for shelter pets, we would all love any of these!

1.  Durable toys.  Think Kong.  One of my favorites is the Extreme Treat-Dispensing Dog Toy!  It gives treats when you play with it!  And all of our cats love the furry mice Mom gets them every year.

2.  Speaking of treats - they make great gifts.  Milk Bones, jerky treats, beef sticks.  My favorite is Pup-a-roni.  And the cats like the little treats in the pouch that Mom gives them.  But mostly she makes us eat treats that are good for our teeth.  But that's okay because they still taste good!

3.  New food and water bowls.  Mom has a bunch of them in her store!

4.  Brushes and combs.  Nothing feels better than a good brushing!  I hate when my fur is all matted and tangled!

5.  Blankets or beds for us to sleep on.  We like to be warm and comfortable too!

6.  Exercise toys.  New leashes and collars.  I love going for walks with my Mom and a leash makes sure she doesn't get lost.  Balls for cats to chase.  Wheels for hamsters to run on.  Anything that gets us up and moving and keeps us engaged.

7.  Cat scratching posts.  Mom does not like them clawing on the furniture.  A scratching post is the perfect solution.

8.  Peanut butter!  I know I already listed treats but peanut butter is my favorite thing ever!  All of us have special treats we like.  The cats like cheese.  The fish like dried shrimp.  Our special treats make the perfect gift.

9.  ID tags.  Just in case Mom gets off the leash and gets lost, an ID tag will help me find her!  Or better yet - a microchip!

10.  Of course, the best present is spending time with us.  If you have pets, please remember we are members of the family.  If you don't have a pet yet, now would be the perfect time to give the best give ever to a shelter pet - a forever home!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Older Pets in Need of Forever Homes

It's been three weeks since Bob passed over the Rainbow Bridge.  I have missed him - especially in the evenings.  Evenings were our special time together.  And I have given much thought as to whether to continue his projects such as this blog.  At first, I just couldn't see what direction it could take without him.  I don't travel as much as I used to and when I do, Austin is not inclined to go with me.  But then I realized that Bob's story was about more than his adventures on the road.  It was about our love for all God's creatures.  Austin shares that love I think.  Watching him play with our foster dogs or the cats  and seeing his fascination with a little chipmunk that got in the house reminded me so much of Bob, I almost cried.  And so I think Austin and I will continue this blog but perhaps from a new perspective.

I was reminded yesterday that November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month.  Normally, Bob would post a story about the joy of owning a senior dog.  However, Austin is only 6 years old, which doesn't quite qualify for senior citizen status.  So, I have decided to repost one of Bob's earlier stories.  Enjoy - and then adopt a senior pet!

"I am a senior citizen. In dog years, I am older than my Baby Boomer Mom. I admit, that's a bit weird at times. But it's nice to know she's still young enough to take care of me!

Now that I am a bit older, I admit there are some things I cannot do as well as when I was a puppy. Mom needs to help me get up in my chair sometimes. And I sleep more now than I used to.  But there are some advantages to being older.  Mom seems to enjoy my company more now. She laughs at Austin's antics and likes to play with him outside and take him for walks. But in the evenings, she likes to sit in our chair and read or watch TV and I will curl up in her lap and just be with her. She will scratch my ears or sometimes give me a belly rub. It's pleasant to just spend quiet time together. Austin is constantly jumping up and down and Mom finally gets tired of it and tells him to stay down. But she seems to really enjoy having me laying quietly in her lap.

Now that it's getting colder at night, she often lets me sleep with her. We lay quietly next to each other snuggled under the quilt. Sometimes Dad's snoring wakes me up, but Mom will nudge him and he quiets right down. And sometimes Austin will try to squirm his way in. But he can't ever lay still long enough so Mom makes him sleep at the food of the bed or he would keep all of us (Mom, Dad, and me) awake all night.

I remember my puppy years. There was so much to learn. How to go outside so I didn't mess in the house. What toys I could chew on and some things (like shoes) are not chew toys. Mom was often stern with me while I struggled to learn the rules. Now I watch Austin going through the same thing and I am glad that I am old enough to know all the rules. I'm done teething so Mom and I don't have any differences of opinion over what makes an appropriate chew toy. And while Austin needs to run and play A LOT, I'm content to walk quietly with Mom or just sit in the sun on the porch with her or in our comfy chair. Being an older dog is much less stressful than being a puppy!

There are lots of senior pets in shelters all over the country that would welcome the chance to share their golden years with a special Mom and Dad. And there are lots of advantages to owning a senior dog. We are already grown so you know exactly how big we are going to be. We are done teething so you don't have to worry about us chewing up your favorite slippers - or the rockers on your antique rocking chair (sorry Mom!). Most of us have been housebroken already so once we know where we are supposed to go, there aren't the usual puppy messes to clean up. Some of us have even been trained to do other things. When Ginger came to live with us, she soon showed us that she had been trained to herd. She used that training to round up everything from grandkids to cats for Mom. Our older cats have years of experience hunting. So while neighbors complain of mice coming in their houses for the winter or finding snakes in their yard, Mom relaxes knowing that her four-legged mouse traps and snake deterrents are on the job. (I don't have any special tricks or skills. I guess it's a good thing I'm so cute!)

At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be put to sleep. When you save the life of one of us senior dogs, you will be rewarded with unconditional love and devotion every day. If you don't believe we can know and express gratitude, just talk to someone who has adopted a senior pet.

Ready for some good senior pet companionship? Check out these programs that specialize in senior pet adoption.

Berkeley East Bay Humane Society
H.A.R.T. (Humane Animal Rescue Team),
Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends (AARF)
The Hinsdale Humane Society
St. Louis Senior Dogs Project
Senior Dogs 4 Seniors
Posh Pets Rescue
North Shore Animal League
Warwick Valley Humane Society
The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs (SSD)
Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon

Mom has said I can do something to help these adoption programs for senior pets!  How exciting!  We have a design in my CafePress shop celebrating senior pet adoption.  And for every item purchased we will make a donation to one of the shelters listed above.  Check out our Senior Pet Adoption design and let the world know that you can teach an old dog new tricks!"