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3-Dog Roadside Rescue This Weekend!
Oct03

3-Dog Roadside Rescue This Weekend!

This weekend, I was teaching teenagers at Pima County Juvenile Detention Center. Among the activities, we did some poetry reading and writing, and I taught them some breathwork that they could use in the future to calm themselves down and reduce stress:  it was wonderful to spend some time getting back to my literary roots and flexing my yogini muscles. And, naturally, we talked about animals and animal law quite a bit, too. At the end of Saturday, I was escorted out of the building, where I waited for my husband Seth to pick me up. Apparently, he was running  a little late. So I waited for another fifteen minutes while the sky grew darker and the raindrops started falling. Hmmm… Finally, I saw Seth walking towards me from a distance. In his arms, a little scrappy terrier. By his side, without leashes, two larger dogs followed. All three dogs had been wandering around the parking lot together, less than fifty yards from a very busy road. The freeway was just a little further on up the road. Seth had been unable to get all three dogs into our car but realized they would follow him; the first step was just about getting them as far away from the street traffic as possible. Together, we were able to coax the three dogs into the entrance of the detention center. However, with visiting hours approaching, the staff couldn’t keep them in the area. We urged them not to call Pima Animal Control Center,which euthanizes up to 70% of the animals that come its way.  So we called Humane Society of Southern Arizona. The Humane Society’s office wouldn’t close for anouther twenty minutes, but we needed to get them into our own car and take them there. Unlike Animal Control, the Humane Society ensures adoption for animals given to them in good health (and of good temperament). These dogs were not only beautiful, but they were also very gentle and love-y. In the backseat of our car, the little guy actually climbed onto the back of his reclining big sister and started falling asleep. Unfortunately, these dogs had no collars, no tags, and no microchips. We had to pay a fee when we dropped off the dogs, but it was well worth saving them from the horrors of the pound. It breaks my heart that this little family most likely will be separated. But at least I know that tonight they are safe, that none of them will find death on the freeway, and that they will be given the time for their new families to find them. These dogs will have...

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Petfinder.com
Sep12

Petfinder.com

A few years ago, I became active in some town council meetings in my community when there was discussion about the creation of  a no-kill program. Before I got up to speak, I did my homework and discovered some startling facts about the local Animal Control, which euthanizes up to 70% of all animals that come its way. I’ve also done countless roadside rescues and reunited lost dogs (and, recently, a cat!) with their guardians. Thank goodness they didn’t get picked up and taken to the pound, where the clock starts ticking and the time runs out much too soon for most of them. I have friends who feel an affinity to a certain breed, and a couple of them have even adopted beagles partially in honor of my own beloved beagle Pushkin. However, the urgency to put an end to dog breeding while we have so many shelter animals in need of loving “furever” homes cannot be overstated. Adopt, don’t shop — Please! Petfinder.com makes it easy to find animals locally. The site is a hub for more than 13,000 adoption groups, offering more than 300,000 adoptable animals. This year is the site’s 15th anniversary, and they’ve facilitated more than 17 million (!) adoptions! In addition to facilitating adoptions nationwide, Petfinder.com is a terrific resource for information about Pet Care, Health, and Training. And its Online Partner Store, The Animal Rescue Site, has a whole host of items, with proceeds from each sale going towards a great cause. Petfinder.com reminds us that there are millions of homeless animals looking for loving families. So please remember, whenever you’re considering adding a nonhuman member to the family: ADOPT, don’t shop! Petfinder.com makes it so easy to find a companion animal that’s a perfect fit for your home. And please spread the word to your extended family and friends. Lives are depending on it....

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Fireworks & Fido
Jun29

Fireworks & Fido

The Fourth of July is right around the corner! For those of us with nonhuman family members, taking a few simple steps can make the holiday a lot easier on them and also keep them safe. Some tips to keep in mind this holiday: Better to keep your companion animals at home (a familiar environment) and indoors. Close all doors and windows. Turn on the television or put some background music on softly to muffle sounds outside. If you’re in an area with fancy, flashy light-shows happening, also close the curtains/blinds. Distract your animals if you’re able to, using their favorite toys or games. Please! Make sure your animals are microchipped or, at the very least, have their collars with tags on. Sometimes frightened animals will run away. And, especially if you’re hosting an event, it will be even easier for them to slip away unnoticed. About a month ago, my husband Seth and I made several roadside rescues: five dogs and one cat in as many weeks. Had it not been for accurate ID tags, we would not have been able to reunite the lost animals with their families. If you have a backyard pool, please watch your animals carefully throughout the day’s festivities. A good idea for the whole summer season: train your pups so that they know the way out of the pool, just in case they ever fall in when no one is around. Homeopathic remedies Although I haven’t tried it with our own pups, Bach’s Rescue Remedy is a product I’ve heard several people swear by, and I’ve seen it on the shelf at the Whole Foods market. I’ve used several products by Azmira Holistic Care and been pleased. Among its Flower Essences, Azmira offers Fear drops geared to counter specific instances that might overwhelm a dog — namely, fireworks and thunderstorms. Currently in our pantry, we have the supplement Relax, a stress and tension supplement for dogs made by Dr. Harveys. However, the Relax supplement is more of an ongoing approach to calm a dog, rather than a remedy for a specific situation. Feel free to ask your veterinarian for other suggestions if your companion animal has in the past exhibited some serious fireworks fear....

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Recent Finds for the Home
Jun28

Recent Finds for the Home

Last week I blogged about some new discoveries made simply because I was running low on my usual toothpaste. Although it’s easy enough to get comfortable with a few brands, sometimes stepping outside the comfort zone — even when you’ve found a cruelty-free comfort zone of products to rely on — can result in some pretty spectacular finds. A couple of recent finds that now have become “usuals” in my own home: Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Gel Already a fan of Seventh Generation products, I’m now also hooked on this one, too — infinitely better than powder detergents! In addition to sparkling glasses and squeaky-clean dishes, why this product gets “fave” status: the gel is chlorine and phosphate free; it’s made from plant-based enzymes and essential oils; and the formula is biodegradable. Also, the product is “Leaping Bunny” certified, which ensures that it was developed without animal testing. We’ve used the Grapefruit scented gel and also the Fragrance-Free. Method Pro-Chef Multi-Surface Kitchen Cleaner I use the specialty cleaners by Method for my granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and wood furniture pieces. However, my local Whole Foods has not been carrying the Daily Granite Polish as of late; and as the contents of my bottle dwindled, I decided to give the multi-surface cleaner a try. More than just a polish for the counter tops, this product is the perfect clean-up tool after more elaborate cooking ventures, when I need a non-toxic spray that still packs a powerful punch. And Method is certified as “Cruelty-Free and Vegan” by PETA’s Caring Consumer program. Spike’s “Business Bags” for Dogs I ordered these little biodegradable bags from One Lucky Duck, and I LOVE them! As the Tucson summertime temperatures top the 100-degrees mark, daily poop patrol of the backyard is a must. Beyond their utility and the fact that they biodegrade in 45 days (plastic bags are SO terrible for the environment and harmful to animals!), these corn-based bags appeal to the performer in me as well: written across each bright green bag, the line “There’s No Business Like Dog Business.” Cute. So, I’m posting about household products in anticipation of heading home today after a wonderful time in Portland, Oregon! Although the main purpose of my stay was taking a Farmed Animals class at Lewis & Clark Law School, I also had fun exploring the city. Stay tuned for...

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Broadway Barks! NYC Event
Jun23

Broadway Barks! NYC Event

Since my early childhood, I’ve always adored Bernadette Peters. Among the many favorite performances of hers I could mention, I remember her one-woman show that I caught while I was living in Austin, Texas. In addition to the regular showstoppers, she sang “We’re in the Money” from 42nd Street in Pig Latin… in reverse! A voice and a sense of humor. The woman dazzles me every time. When Ms. Peters came out with her children’s book, Broadway Barks, I added extra points to her cool quotient. Not only is it a great little story, but there’s also a CD that comes with it — a song she wrote for her own dog, Kramer. Beyond the book, there’s the Broadway Barks program that she founded with her friend Mary Tyler Moore. The organization brings the Broadway community together each year for an event held in Schubert Alley. Homeless animals from shelters throughout the city — the true stars of the day! — are represented at the adopt-a-thon. Some Broadway actors participating this summer: Edie Falco (The House of Blue Leaves), Nick Adams (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Nina Arianda (Born Yesterday), Kerry Butler (Catch Me If You Can), John Benjamin Hickey (The Normal Heart), Beth Leavel (Baby, It’s You), Judy McLane (Mamma Mia!), Bebe Neuwirth (The Addams Family), Rory O’Malley (The Book of Mormon), and Elizabeth Rodriguez (The Motherfu**er With the Hat). Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore are legendary talents. It’s particularly inspiring to see how these two women have found such a special way to create awareness and change so many animals’ lives. Definitely worthy of a standing ovation! Mark your calendar! The 13th annual Broadway Barks event will take place at Schubert Alley on July 9th,...

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PAW Team: (p)awesome non-profit!
Jun20

PAW Team: (p)awesome non-profit!

There are so many displays of compassion that illuminate our world, countering all the instances of abuse, neglect, and inequity. Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team is among these shining lights — a non-profit organization that helps the homeless people of Portland, Oregon by helping to make sure their companion animals are healthy and fed. Through its monthly clinics, PAW Team enables a group of veterinarians to offer services such as basic health exams and vaccinations; volunteers hand out food and supplies and coupons for spay/neuter services. Animal guardians sometimes line up for hours beforehand, just to make sure their four-legged loved ones receive the care they need. I just learned about this organization from my friend Nicole who is volunteering with them; and, as it turns out, so is another of my Portland friends and recent ALDF scholarship winner (Congratulations, Laura!). I know that some might question whether homeless people should have companion animals at all. It’s a valid concern, but there’s the fact that many of the people had their companion animals before they became homeless, especially in these hard economic times. Can you imagine if a person were forced to lose his or her companion animal, too? Sometimes, Fido is the only thing a person has left. Also, with millions of sheltered animals euthanized each year in the United States, the last place we want these animals to go en masse is the local shelter, provided they’re getting the basic necessary care. In addition, the situations of homeless women raise at least a couple of other issues: first, a dog may be a homeless woman’s only way of staying safe, either on the streets or in shelters where assaults or theft are not uncommon; second, in cases of women who flee their homes because of domestic abuse, they often take their companion animals with them because the animals otherwise would become the target of retaliation by the abusing partner. While I was traveling around Nepal several years ago, I was struck by the number of stray, sick dogs. I was heartened to learn afterwards of an organization in Katmandu, Street Dog Care, comprised of two veterinarians and volunteers that were going out each week to offer these dogs medical care. Now, here’s a a similar coordinated effort by veterinarians in the U.S. and, in Portland, the organization is helping animals and people. WIN-WIN! I applaud PAW Team! I’m looking around now to see what other cities, if any, have similar initiatives going on. If there isn’t one in New York City yet, don’t be surprised if you hear about a “new project” of my own once I’m...

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