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Tough Love Pit Bull Rescue
Dec09

Tough Love Pit Bull Rescue

My involvement in animal advocacy has brought so many incredible people into my life, and Gemma Zanowski and Kris Carlson are two of them. Gemma founded Tough Love Pit Bull Rescue (formerly Revamped Rovers) as a small network of foster homes and advocates incorporated in the state of Washington. However, Gemma — a recent University of Arizona Law graduate — already had worked for several years on breed-specific rescues in Arizona. Kris, also a graduate of the law school, now serves as director and the regional liaison for Arizona operations. With the help of many others, they are really making a difference for so many dogs who just need a chance to show that they can be loving companion animals. The non-profit organization has two main goals: to rehabilitate, train, and permanently re-home pit bull type dogs with a high risk of death in shelters to educate about and advocate for pit bulls and other misunderstood breeds Tough Love pays all medical and major expenses for fostered animals; fostering guardians usually cover food, provide a crate, and also toys. Meeting Kirby I’m also elated that a third friend has become a part of the Tough Love team: Ashley Brown, who co-directed the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter with me during our first year at the law school, is now fostering here in Tucson. Ashley has a soft spot for pit bulls, having worked with a rescue in Los Angeles before moving here. I introduced her to Tough Love’s Facebook page and Gemma… and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship! Recently, I met a rescue on his first day in Ashley’s home. Kirby was found as a stray, severely undernourished. When I met him, he was all cozy on a blanket, ready for dinner — my heart melted instantly. He’s still on the road to recovery but getting the care he needs until he’s ready for a forever home, thanks to Tough Love. Tough Love Pitbull Rescue on Facebook The organization facilitates rescues and fostering through Facebook: its page is filled with pictures of rescues that will warm (and sometimes break) your heart. Please help spread the word by “liking” this page and sharing with your friends. And you may consider getting more active in this network, if your circumstances are right for fostering. Tough Love currently has volunteers in Arizona, Oregon, California, and Washington. Lots of happy endings (or as I like to say, beginnings) waiting to...

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Toy Drive!
Dec06

Toy Drive!

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, so let’s talk about toys! Whether it’s for human or nonhuman kids, organizing a toy drive, or just donating some toys on your own, is a wonderful way to bring the joy of the season to those less fortunate than ourselves. At school, the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund once again has been collecting toys from law students to will go to  Hope Animal Shelter, Tucson’s only no-kill shelter. Last year’s drive was a huge success, and this year we have another box filled to the brim to deliver. Yay! A couple people have asked me why toys rather than food and necessities. First, I want to say that we also contribute to food and clothes drives happening this time of year. But shopping for toys to donate is such a fun activity — I love making the trip to the store!  And, from an organizer’s perspective, it’s very easy to get others to participate in something so fun and inexpensive. It’s also nice for the animals or children on the receiving end: the holiday season is something special for everyone and, while core provisions are always appreciated, a toy brightens a little one’s day in a different way. I encourage everyone to look into local shelters or children’s services to find out some options for giving. Perhaps you can put a donation box out at your school or workplace and watch the act of kindness multiply. In the spirit of St. Nicholas, with minimal expense and effort, we can bring holiday joy to so...

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Unleashed, NY: Young Girls Helping Puppies
Nov30

Unleashed, NY: Young Girls Helping Puppies

As a former educator, I get super-excited whenever I hear about programs that are empowering children and teens. So Unleashed, an after-school program in NYC that pairs middle-school girls and puppies who need help finding their “furever” homes, is something I’m overjoyed to spread the word about! This 12-week program gets the students involved with all aspects of puppy rescue. In doing so, the girls are becoming aware of the need for animal advocacy at an early age, and they are  learning how to be effective advocates. In addition, they’re gaining confidence and upping their own self-esteem at an age when girls typically start becoming overcritical of themselves and look to society’s superficial values for self-validation. A young girl participating in this program will look into a puppy’s eyes and see the unconditional love and trust, and she will know she’s made a difference in that puppy’s life. What an amazing way to to help young girls realize they each have the capacity to contribute, and to encourage each of them to demonstrate compassion throughout their lives. The positive impact of a program like this, therefore, is both immediate and far-reaching. And, of course, there is the life-changing impact the program has on all the lucky pups that are rescued and adopted. The Unleashed program started by partnering with a few different New York schools, including The Nightingale-Bamford School in Manhattan. Having taught several years ago at another Upper East Side private school, I have to add that I’m especially pleased to find out about this program happening in the old neighborhood. Here’s a quick look at the program that’s sure to brighten anyone’s day! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pDP4fyYvjME&noredirect=1&w=600]...

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Some Insight on Cats and Vegan Diets
Nov21

Some Insight on Cats and Vegan Diets

Today’ guest-blog is by my friend who also is an amazing advocate for all animals. In many discussions, Kelly brings her background in Animal Science to the table, as she does for this post. When she shared with me her thoughts and personal experience regarding cats and totally vegan diets, I just knew it was a perspective to share with the rest of you. I recommend that anyone planning to substantially change the diet of a companion animal first consult with a veterinarian. If a completely vegan diet is not appropriate for your nonhuman family members, perhaps consider letting them participate in “Meatless Mondays.” Enjoy today’s post. Thanks, Kelly! I wanted to share with you my knowledge and experience with vegan cats.  To be clear, I am not of the opinion that cats can never subsist on a vegan diet, but I would like everyone to be aware of a cat’s nutritional needs. Let me start with some background information. Dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores. Cats have evolved to eat a low carbohydrate diet. They don’t even have the ability to taste sweetness! (Which always makes me wonder why my cat Mori likes mint ice cream.)  Cats have many biological issues with being vegetarian or vegan. Their protein requirement is very high, being 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.  Cats should have a diet that is 26-30% protein.  (Dogs only require a diet of 18-22% protein.)  When a cat is fed a diet that does not contain enough protein, she will lose weight and muscle and her growth and development will be impaired. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein, and some animals can produce them in their liver. Cats however cannot produce (or cannot produce enough of) the amino acid taurine and have an unusually high metabolic demand for it.  Therefore, cats require a constant intake of taurine to maintain adequate levels.  Taurine is only found in meat, eggs, and milk.  With taurine deficiencies, cats can become blind and have heart problems. Arginine is another amino acid that is essential in a cat’s diet because it cannot be produced in the liver.  Arginine is part of the urea cycle (which converts ammonia to urea) and without it, a cat’s ammonia levels will become very high, which will result in rapid kidney failure, coma, and death.  A cat can even have dangerously high ammonia levels within hours of consuming a single arginine-free meal.  Arginine is found in most protein sources, animal and plant, so as long as the cat is fed a diet containing adequate levels of protein, this would...

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Halloween Treats for the Pups
Oct27

Halloween Treats for the Pups

The canine family members of the household deserve some Halloween treats, too! In our home,  “Mother Quinoa’s Pumpkin Patch” mini-bites by Max & Ruffy’s are a favorite. These little treats are made with organic pumpkin, molasses, brown rice flour, olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The pumpkin in them makes them not only appropriate for Halloween time, but also a perennial healthy snack: pumpkin is a great source of vitamins and fiber. So especially for older dogs like our Otis, who ,need a little extra help with the digestive system, Mother Quinoa’s Pumpkin Patch treats get two paws up. And quinoa (keen-wah), a grain dating back to the Incas, is a wonderful source of protein for humans and nonhumans alike, so I’m extra enthusiastic about having a box of these treats on the pups’ pantry shelf. Other Max and Ruffy’s treats include “Molasses Explosion” and “Powerhouse: Potato & Alfalfa.” All the treats are made with only human-grade ingredients, so feel free to sample them yourself and taste how delicious they are!  A  grain-free line is also available.   ***Facebook Page Vote — Last Day To Vote!*** Vote now for your Halloween Candy favorites on the Cruelty-Free Faves Facebook...

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VeganCats.com
Oct12

VeganCats.com

I enjoy seeking out cruelty-free products for our canine family members. I have been pleasantly surprised to find several vegan dog food options to incorporate into Otis and Galileo’s diet; and, for those who remain skeptical about switching companion animals to a vegan diet, I always suggest that letting the pups participate in Meatless Mondays is a great way to get started. However, I’m less acquainted with options for felines — in part, because we don’t have any in our home; and in part because there seem to be fewer products on the market. That’s why I’m super-excited to share this discovery with all of you who have cats as part of your family. VeganCats.com is a terrific online store that has food, treats, vegan dietary supplements and vitamins, as well as bath care products, books, and toys and accessories. There are also “starter packs” available, which makes it easy and inexpensive to try some new things. The Vegan Cats site also offers products for dogs, which makes it a convenient “one-stop shop” for those of you with both canine and feline family members. This Week: National Feral Cat Day is October 16th! There are approximately 50 million stray and feral cats in the U.S. Local humane organizations do a great job of offering trap-neuter-return programs. More information about feral cats and TNR is available on the The Humane Society of the United States web site....

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