Monday, April 25, 2011

They are all Patrick

If you are an animal lover, you'd had to have been living under a rock for the past month not to be aware of Patrick, the dog who was starved nearly to death and thrown down a garbage chute, only to be rescued at nearly the last possible moment. His story has dominated animal blogs, Facebook news feeds and discussions about animal maltreatment. People around the world are invested in his recovery and his fame has led to disagreements about everything from the use of his images to what happens to him when he's ready for adoption.

I've followed his case, too. Seeing the outpouring of support for him reminds me of the local case of Lacey, the small terrier-mix who was seized by animal control and placed in foster care pending the outcome of the criminal case against her alleged abuser. In both cases there was an enormous outpouring of support from people all over the world, including dozens of offers to adopt these dogs. It seems assured that regardless of their difficult beginning, both of these dogs will eventually be able to live out their lives in safety and comfort, as is fitting.

But what about the rest? How do we make every shelter animal as wanted as Patrick and Lacey?

In the end, Patrick is a young male pit bull --- one who, unlike the thousands of other young male pitties sitting in shelters across the country, has people lined up wanting to include him in their homes and lives. What about those pitties, and the thousands of other dogs and cats waiting for a chance to have a safe, loving, forever home?

Are their stories of abandonment less compelling, their eyes less soulful, their hearts less loyal? Aren't the companion animals in our shelters right this very minute worthy of a toy, a treat or a soft blanket upon which to rest their body?

Of course they are. The shelter animals in our community are worth every photograph we can take and share, every treat we can buy, bake or bring for their enjoyment, every towel or blanket we can donate, and every effort we as a community can make to get them out of the shelters and into loving, forever homes.

Because regardless of their size, shape, breed, species, age or circumstance, when it comes down to it, they are all Patrick, relying on the kindness of strangers to give them a better life.

As we follow Patrick's story and cheer for his recovery and eventual adoption, let's not forget that.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blog the Change: Anything you do is good enough

You want to know the truth?

I don't care what you do.

Any single, small thing you are willing to do to help secure a better life for animals, be they companion, livestock or wild, is enough for me. Just do something.
  • Write a letter to your legislator about a law you'd like to see implemented or changed.
  • Buy an extra bag (or can) of food and donate it to your local pet food pantry.
  • Help sponsor the spaying or neutering of a companion animal waiting to be adopted at your local shelter.
  • Attend a local government meeting when animal issues are being discussed.
  • Help organize a bake sale, with proceeds to be donated to your local shelter.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper about the importance of spaying and neutering.
  • Thank a local restaurant for allowing dogs to sit on the patio with you.
  • Sponsor a tree to be planted at your local dog park.
  • If the animal cruelty laws aren't strong enough for your liking, help work to make them tougher.
  • Offer to help one of your local organizations, even if just for an afternoon.
  • Get a few friends together and start your own Operation Happy Sock.
  • Bake some dog treats and deliver them to your local shelter.
  • Bake some people treats and deliver them to your local shelter to thank the staff and volunteers for their work.
  • Add your signature to a petition here or here that addresses an animal issue about which you feel strongly.
  • Put a change jar at your desk or your business to collect funds to donate to your favorite local animal group.
See? I'm not picky at all.

 "I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."  ~Edward Everett Hale

Today is one of the four "Blog the Change" dates set aside each year for pet bloggers. Thanks to Be the Change for Animals and This One Wild Life for the inspiration. Check out what other bloggers are hoping to change:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Travels with Doodle

We don't travel much. A large part of the reason is that with three cats and a dog, it's tough for us to be gone. At one time we had my parents, who could come down and house-sit for us when we felt the need to get away, but with their ongoing health concerns that option is no longer available to us.

We could kennel Darby if we had to, but everything we know about his constitution says that would not be a good experience for him, plus we'd still have to hire someone to care for the cats. They cannot be boarded because I refuse to vaccinate their aging selves, firmly believing that they have all of the immunity they need from previous vaccinations. Until I find someone who can be a good live-in for us, our travel schedule is mainly limited to going north to see my parents, which we did this weekend.

The Doodlebug is always welcome at "grandma and grandpa's house". His bone-shaped puppy bag causes whines of delight when he sees it being pulled from the closet, because he knows an adventure is coming. Once he's packed, we leash him up and hit the road.

"Finish getting the gas, Dad, so we can GO!"

Going somewhere with Darby almost guarantees fun. His excitement manifests itself in small whines of delight, while sneaking up behind us for quick kisses of appreciation. The Doodle is not a terribly "kissy" dog, saving his unbridled love for moments like these.

We stop at the exact same Starbucks every time we go, it being conveniently located at the halfway point and possessing a nice outdoor seating area where we can hang with Doodlebug while swilling some caffeine. He's come to know this break in the schedule and now acts like the patio dignitary, checking out fellow highway travelers who might drop something edible while passing by.

At my parent's house, he makes himself completely at home, cruising the yard from end-to-end before settling in for some treats and conversation. Seeing him so calm and well-mannered, so pleased to be in the middle of the conversation pit on the patio, makes my heart happy.

All too soon it's time to make the trip home again. The cats are surely plotting our demise for having them indoors and servant-less for so long, and the trip home will take the same three hours as did the venture north. Doodle, knowing this leg of the journey well and tired from all of the fun of the day, settles into the backseat quickly, quiet other than the occasional snort of discontent from a bump in the road jostling his rest.

Darby, like the day itself, was picture-perfect.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

How did your legislator score?

The Humane Society Legislative Fund recently released their Humane Scorecard for the 111th Congress. The report card shows the issues that were up for a vote and how each legislator voted on a state-by-state basis.

I always find the report card quite interesting, both in terms of how various members voted and in which animal-related issues made it all the way through the maze that is the legislative process and came up for a vote.

To view the PDF yourself, click here. Did your legislators surprise you?

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