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Archive for the ‘Animal Advocacy’ Category

Really, it’s rather hard to believe, but apparently dogs with black coats are the least likely to be adopted from a shelter. I only just found this out myself today. A neighbor of mine had been fostering a beautiful Black Lab/Dane mix, and recently had to return him to the shelter, since they were going to be traveling for six weeks.

Waiting To Go Home

“Stallone” had been rescued at the end of 2010 ago from a deplorable hoarding situation. Despite suffering neglect and possible abuse, this dog has a very sweet nature, loves people and other dogs. I was lucky to have met him, before he returned to his rescuers at Valhalla Canine Shelter. His foster mom told me that in the six weeks she’d had him, she had heard him only quietly “woof” twice. He was also very well-behaved, had loved going on off-leash adventures with her, and would always come promptly running back when called.

 

Stallone has a gorgeous shiny black coat, and a very handsome face to add to the package. I began posting his info to my Facebook page immediately upon learning of his situation. This dog is a gem, I thought. I’m sure someone will see his pictures and read about him and bring him to a good home very quickly.

 

What A Handsome Boy

That was last week. Today I called the shelter to learn if anyone had called to inquire about Stallone. Not one call. That’s when I learned that black-coated dogs are hard to place. For whatever reason, people tend to adopt the fluffy white ones first. Ok, maybe. But what’s so unappealing about a black dog? One of the first dog friends I ever had as a child was a beautiful black lab named Penny, whose coat was so shiny, I swear I could see my reflection in her fur. From the time I met Penny, I bugged my parents for a black lab. (They eventually got me a Beagle, but that’s another story.)

 

I don’t get it, but I don’t get lots of things, like hoarding animals, mistreating animals, not adopting a pet from a shelter, I could go on and on. Look at that face and tell me how anyone could overlook him? I wish I could take him myself, but I will continue to champion his cause and try to find him the good home that he deserves. If you’d like to help, please pass this on. There are many more photos of Stallone on his blog. That’s right, maybe black-coated dogs aren’t very adoptable, but who says that they can’t blog?  (PS. Here’s a link to his info page on Petfinder.com.)

 

Dreaming Of His Forever Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year to all of my readers. You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted anything for a while. Quite frankly, 2010 was a hard year for most businesses and unfortunately, Tiny Growl was no exception.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might know that I decided to take my invention The ScooPup Pocket from an idea to a saleable product, because aside from never wanting to wonder “what if…?”, I had really hoped to create a successful business that would make enough money to enable me to help dogs. Good product, good intentions = great idea, right?

While I have had great feedback on my product, my website, my blog, the cold hard truth of the matter is that ScooPup Pockets just aren’t hanging off of too many leashes. Oh sure, I’ve sold a few and they continue to sell, but hardly at numbers enough to do any good for either my business bank account or the animal causes that I was hoping to be able to support. I’ve tried very hard to make it work, including lowering the price, contests, giving them away and of course, blogging. And speaking of blogging, that brings me to SEO.

For those of you with web-based businesses of your own, you know all about SEO (search engine optimization, for the rest of you) and how important it is in this age of doing business on-line. You also know the importance of networking with everyone in your line of business and in my case, all of the animal advocacy groups. Unfortunately, that opens you up to a flood of information that someone like me just doesn’t have the psychology to deal with. For some reason, I am unable to process the sad stories and move on, the way that most people can. I even refuse to see (almost) totally “vanilla” movies like Marley and Me because I know Marley comes to a bad end.

Another part of my problem, or what makes up my particular pathology, is that I worry about every dog on the planet and feel somehow that I have the power (or have been charged with the responsibility) to make their pain and suffering disappear, heal them, save them, feed and them and give them all loving and happy homes. Obviously, that isn’t possible for anyone, not even Bill and Melinda Gates. But I thought that by going into business with a usable product, I could at least take comfort in the knowledge that I was making a difference, quietly or otherwise, via donations.

While I was hoping to sell sell sell! and donate donate donate!!! to help as many dogs (and other animals) that I could, what actually happened was that my work days turned into too much time spent reading sad story after sad story, trying my best to flash past the truly horrific ones and finally coming to the realization that I really am quite literally unable to do any good at all for most of these poor creatures.

I know that I have to come to terms with the fact that the world is good and bad and bad things happen all of the time to good dogs and good people. I know that I’m not giving up on my idea or the idea that Tiny Growl still has the potential to grow into the business that I’d hoped it could be, but I also know that I have to back away a bit from that level of involvement.  Both the reading and the writing have taken a toll on me.

In the coming weeks, I will be re-evaluating things, including the point of this blog. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on my wonderful rescue dog Riley and try to get through another dreary Seattle winter.  Thanks for your support and Happy New Year!

Bette & Riley

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Yesterday, Riley and I spent a few hours driving to those parts of Seattle that still hadn’t been covered with posters for the November 7th, 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk .  I’m not crazy about taking him with me when he’s not really getting any exercise as I drive from pet store to vet to pet store, but at least he’s not home alone and bored.

When we hit the road for long trips, I stuff a couple of pillows behind the front seats and put his blanket on top, which creates a nice little nest for him in the back seat. Of course, he’s also securely seat belted. I’m sure some people would look at us and think that he was pretty spoiled, or that I was a little over-protective, but I could care less what they think. He’s my boy, and I’m all about keeping him safe, comfortable and happy.

As we drove onto the West Seattle Bridge, I noticed a dog in the back of a pickup truck. He was excitedly moving all over the back of the truck bed, obviously not restrained in any way.

In my opinion not safe, but better than nothing.

The truck was going about 50 MPH. You can imagine how angry that made me. If they hadn’t headed toward the exit for the Alaskan Way Viaduct (a safety risk in its own right), I swear I was thinking about trying to pull them over to give them a piece of my mind.

I just don’t understand how some people can be so stupid. If this is so safe, why don’t we transport our children this way? I’ve blogged about this before, but I think this issue bears repeating. Currently, only California has legislation on this practice, but I would like to see the day when every state has a law in place that would subject anyone caught doing this to a hefty fine.

Once again, to me this practice only confirms the fact that while some of us treat our dogs like spoiled rotten kids, far too many people with dogs are truly “owners” who still consider their pets to be their property, rather than creatures to love, protect and care for.

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Sadly, over four million dogs wind up in shelters in the United States every year. PEDIGREE’s Adoption Drive is trying to make a difference to these homeless dogs. Their TV commercials have  featured shelter dogs and advocating the adopting of shelter dogs for a couple of years now.

Right now, the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive is also using social media to their advantage by donating a bowl of food to shelter dogs for everyone who becomes a “Fan” or “Likes” The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive on Facebook. To date, over one million bowls have been donated–it’s a simple, fast, and free way you can contribute to a homeless dog’s dinner!  The Facebook promotion is going on now through December 31, 2010. For new every fan, shelters selected by PEDIGREE will receive  8 oz of PEDIGREE® Brand dry food for dogs, up to a total of $1,000,000 retail value.

From the Facebook fan page, you can also donate money to help find homes for these dogs. A portion of the money raised will will be matched by PEDIGREE up to $500,000.  (All donations go to The PEDIGREE Foundation, a non-profit, organization benefiting 501(c)(3) status animal shelters and breed rescues nationwide.)

There is also a special Blog Hop featuring the posts about the drive this week For each blog publishing a post about the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive now through Sunday, September 19, PEDIGREE will donate a 20 pound bag of their new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide. Why Longevity? Most shelter dogs are 3 years old and older. If you Twitter, be sure to look for the #dogsrule hashtag to see other posts!

Dogs Rule!

  1. Houston Dog Blog
  2. Two Little Cavaliers
  3. Boulder Dog
  4. To Dog With Love
  5. Boccis Beefs
  6. Life With Dogs
  7. Fearful Dogs Blog
  8. I Love Rescue Animals
  9. Grouchy Puppy
  10. BlogPaws
  11. Sense to Save — blogging for dog food
  12. khyraskhorner. blogspot. com/2010/09/thankful
  13. It’s a Dog’s Life!
  14. Jennie B. Goode Collars
  15. Ultimutt Pet Sitting
  16. The (mis)Adventures of Sage
  17. Snotface and Twiggy
  18. Frugal Scrappin Mammaw
  19. My Brown Newfies
  20. Musing from my life, mostly with our animals.
  21. Dog Blogging With Luna
  22. Lindy MacDuff
  23. HollyAndKhadyLyn
  24. Just A Country Dog
  25. Blog Hop: Write a Post Help a Dog
  26. help a dog
  27. Dive Life
  28. Curious Cavorting Cavoodle
  29. The Doggie Stylish Blog
  30. Write A Post, Help A Dog
  31. Pei Days
  32. I Still Want More Puppies
  33. Catladyland
  34. Tales and Tails
  35. Blog Hop
  36. RiverDog Prints
  37. Pip Gets Back in the Game
  38. everythingnothinganddogstoo
  39. Games newly adopted dogs can play
  40. Red Rocks and Sunflowers
  41. marianne’s art blog
  42. Cooking, with Dogs – Dogs Rule edition
  43. boise trail dog blog
  44. Littlebirdiedesignstudio
  45. The Hobbit Habitat
  46. Coie & Sparky Help a Dog
  47. Who’s Driving? (greyhounds)
  48. The Road Dogs
  49. This One Wild Life
  50. soman’s blog
  51. Helping to Cure Doglessness
  52. Greyt Friends – Life with 3 retired greyhounds
  53. The Kool~Kittie~Krew
  54. Mrs. Sassy Crafter
  55. Living Well on Less
  56. houndgirl
  57. Write a blog, Feed a Dog!
  58. Oh, Corbin!
  59. Nubbin’ Tails
  60. Pet Peeves. My pets are annoying. How about yours?
  61. Cult of the Greyhound
  62. Bunny's Blog
  63. Virtual Ephemera – Write a Post, Feed a Dog!
  64. Hailey the dog
  65. Backcountry Photography
  66. Dog Eared Tales
  67. DOGS RULE
  68. Buddy Wilson – Doberman thoughts
  69. Brian's Home
  70. Mellow Yellow-Musings of two young at heart Labs
  71. Write a Blog, help a homeless dog!
  72. Oscar Writes to Help a Dog
  73. . . . from sophie's view. . .
  74. Brudabaker
  75. Choppy's Dog House
  76. The Circus Dog
  77. Reuben wants to write a post and help a dog!
  78. Daily Dose of Jack
  79. Doggylove86 Adventures – Donate a 20lb bag!
  80. Pet Blogs United Pedigree Post!
  81. Dogs of the Week
  82. BabyDog
  83. Minnie and Macd
  84. Start The Change
  85. Pedigree: Write a Post and Help a Dog
  86. Joie Of Life
  87. Write a Post and Help a Dog
  88. This is for my puppy who died and all the homeless
  89. Screaming Mimi Pedigree Post
  90. i too, have pound puppies
  91. Trials of an Agility Neophyte
  92. Roxy's Adventures
  93. We Love Dogs
  94. Kelly @ In Real Life: Our dog May
  95. Short dogs need love too!
  96. Retrieving My Soapbox
  97. Hey Its Mallory
  98. Golden Samantha 'n Lil Sis Avalon
  99. Dianes Mixed Art
  100. Wellness Words
  101. Park Avenue Chihuahua
  102. K9Care
  103. This is Who I Am
  104. Labrador Retriever Dogs Blog
  105. Better Gardens Than Home
  106. Bookish Penguin
  107. The Super Bongo
  108. Can't think of a name yet
  109. DogTipper: Help a Homeless Dog – Write a Post
  110. Critter Sister Journal
  111. Random Thoughts
  112. Give a dog a bone!
  113. Dog-lovin graphic designer
  114. To Blog or Not to Blog: Pedigree Adoption Drive
  115. Murphy's Law
  116. Wellness Words by Custom Fit Wellness
  117. Wrote a Post to Help the Pups
  118. Safe is the greatest word I know !
  119. Arca Noah Espana is helping street dogs is Spain !
  120. I'm Not Small, I'm Fun Size!
  121. Blogging Has Gone to the Dogs
  122. Lancer & Me
  123. Tails from the Dog-side
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A word of caution, the following post may be hard for some of you to read.

On many days, its rough being involved in a business that brings all sorts of news about dogs to my desktop. Yesterday, for instance, I read a horrific story about a poor stray lab mix in Dallas, Texas who, after suffering the fate of being hit by a car and having his legs shattered, was then “rescued” by an animal control officer who tried to force the dog to stand up and walk, and then began to drag it to an animal control vehicle while it whimpered in pain.

The Dallas Morning News reported “Seeing that the animal control officer was causing the 55-pound tan-colored dog ‘unnecessary pain,’ (Dallas police Senior Cpl. Joshua) Merkel intervened and helped place the injured dog into the animal control vehicle.” Merkel’s supervisors instructed him not to talk to the media.

Sadly, the poor creature had to be euthanized a short time later.

To add to this heartbreaking story, The Dallas Morning News article added that “The dog in Tuesday’s incident was microchipped, indicating that it was someone’s pet.”

If any good news can be found here, it’s that Charles Jackson, the animal control officer responsible for this barbaric act, “has been pulled off the streets after Dallas city officials concluded he acted inappropriately”. Pulled off the streets? Huh?

The question that jumps out at me is why wasn’t this monster fired immediately, and what was he doing working in an animal shelter in the first place? And how will he be punished for such a thing? I’m sure that I’m not the only animal lover who thinks that in cases such as this, the old “eye for an eye” punishment, while certainly barbaric, would also be completely justified.

According to the article, this is not the first such incident of animal cruelty at the Dallas animal services department. Tiny Growl’s friend and supporter Penny Eims of Examiner.com writes “individuals involved in animal rescue, especially those that are active in the Facebook community, will notice a disturbing trend of animal control employees, across the nation, that are repeatedly involved in acts of animal cruelty.”

What’s going on here? While I want to believe that the majority of shelters across our country are run by caring, compassionate animal advocates, is there something about shelters that attracts a certain type of sicko who enjoys making animals suffer? Are these people hired without any sort of screening, or do those in charge of a shelter with a tarnished record have no regard for the animals themselves?

I hope that animal advocates across the country will do whatever it takes to make sure that their local shelters are run as humanely as possible. Write to your representatives and ask how shelters and shelter workers are evaluated. If we need to put laws in place to protect these poor animals from their “protectors” then let’s work to make our local politicians to step up to the challenge.

Become the voice for those that have none. Become an animal advocate

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This week I am celebrating the one-year anniversary of Tiny Growl’s on-line store. Truth be told, the actual anniversary was a couple of weeks ago, but forgive me. It was summer, the weather was great, and there was a week’s vacation back east to enjoy. So, yesterday, I finally got around to launching an anniversary sale on the website. Obviously, I’m hoping it will encourage more people to buy a ScooPup Pocket, but while I was working on my “store” and tweaking the site a little bit, I started thinking that so much has happened and so much was learned this past year, it really does feel more like seven.

Riley celebrates Tiny Growl's One-Year Anniversary with a delicious Jerkytini

The day I launched my website, I sat back and waited for the inevitable flood of sales. Who wouldn’t want to purchase a product that not only made picking up dog poop cleaner and smarter, but made donations to animal charities? Lesson number one: You may invent a better mouse trap – the proceeds of which might go toward a happier life for all mice everywhere – but you shouldn’t really expect that the world will beat a path to your door.

I foolishly believed that if I emailed family and friends and told them about my new business, they would be great customers and would convince everyone they knew who had a dog to buy one as well. Lesson number two: Don’t take rejection personally. While some of my immediate family members and closest personal friends stepped up and have been big supporters, others – not so much. I came to realize that while the success of my business is of paramount importance to me, it is not on the top of anyone’s list but my own.

But I did think that if they understood that I didn’t get into this just to make money, that I wanted to make money so that I could give money to animal welfare charities, that would convince any potential customers who might be on the fence. Lesson number three: Everyone has their own personal charities. I get it. I personally get asked for money for worthy causes no less than a half-a-dozen times a day – through emails, snail mail, phone calls, etc. Since I have dedicated myself to animal welfare, most specifically dogs, I find it fairly easy to “delete”, “toss out” and “hang up” on causes that I support, albeit not monetarily.

So, while sales of my ScooPup Pockets have been less than stellar, I have had a great year networking with so many amazing animal advocates and charities that it would take pages just to mention them all. But I must mention a couple of the charities that I championed so far. When I began, the idea was to support local charities that were doing great work. So, my first check went to the Seattle Humane Society, who this year put 82% of their donations directly into their programs, 63% of which went to animal care and adoptions. That’s the way to do it!

After the January 12th earthquake in Haiti, I felt compelled to try to help the animals that were affected. It was then that I learned about the tremendous work that The International Fund for Animal Welfare was doing. I was lucky to have been featured on our local Q13 Morning News, but unfortunately, the size of the check that I sent to the IFAW was less than I had hoped for. Lesson number four: Publicity doesn’t necessarily translate into sales.

And last, but by no means least, I have to mention a woman in New Jersey who I “met” through social networking. Melissa Peterson is a champion for animal rescue and created This Good That Bad as a unique fundraising model for raising donations for companion animal charities. Melissa has been a huge Tiny Growl supporter and her tireless efforts to help companion animals have been especially inspiring to me.

So, in closing I just want to thank all of you who purchased a ScooPup Pocket, “like” us on Facebook, read this blog and told friends and family about Tiny Growl. It’s been a hard road, but we remain steadfast in our mission that Tiny Growl keep on “Quietly Making a Difference”. There’s no way we’re going to stop now. (Psssssssst: Please pass it on!)

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Torturing animals, neglecting animals, dog fighting rings, puppy mills – any type of animal cruelty – I’m appalled by it and I don’t understand it. If you’re reading this blog, you are probably as outraged by the way some humans treat animals as I am. Don’t worry, I will not be citing about any particular horror stories in this blog. Unfortunately, we’ve all read too many of them.

Part of what drove me to go into business selling my ScooPup Pockets to dog “guardians”, is that I was determined to make a difference by creating a way to make continuous donations to animal charities. I find it very hard to read or listen to stories about animal abuse. On the one hand, there is a part of me that feels compelled to, if only because I believe that I owe at least that much to the animal who suffered. But another part of me knows that I can’t process these stories the way that most people can. They never leave me. And because of the nature of my business and the outreach and research I have been doing, I seem to be subjecting myself to too many of them.

For instance, there was an interesting article by Charles Siebert in the New York Times Magazine of June 11, 2010 that I was compelled to read. In it he stated that “In the world of law enforcement”, “animal-cruelty issues were long considered a peripheral concern and the province of local A.S.P.C.A. and Humane Society organizations”. Siebert goes on to say that this is changing and that “The link between animal abuse and interpersonal violence is becoming so well established that many U.S. communities now cross-train social-service and animal-control agencies in how to recognize signs of animal abuse as possible indicators of other abusive behaviors.”

One of the more compelling issues brought to light by Siebert’s article is that: “The dynamic of animal abuse in the context of domestic violence is a particularly insidious one. As a pet becomes an increasingly vital member of the family, the threat of violence to that pet becomes a strikingly powerful intimidating force for the abuser.” In other words, some people would rather subject themselves to continued abuse then let their beloved pets suffer.

But is there really anything we as individuals can do to stop animal cruelty? Absolutely. We can report animal abuse as soon as we see or suspect it. (I have met many police officers who are some of the biggest animal lovers around. Believe me, most of them are happy to respond to a call to help an animal in harm’s way, even if it’s a dog left to suffer in a hot car by a thoughtless “guardian”.)

We can educate our kids and speak out against animal abuse in our own communities. We can also start or get involved with grass-roots movements in our own neighborhoods. One of the best I’ve seen is a group from New York city who describe themselves as “tattooed, motorcycle-riding street guys who have zero tolerance for animal abuse and neglect.” The call themselves Rescue Ink.

Unfortunately, the world being the way it is, it’s easy for some of us to ignore cruelty to animals – and people – as long as it doesn’t directly affect us. However, I believe we are all connected. As hard as it is for me to know that this suffering goes on, it’s harder for me to ignore it. And I, for one, sleep a little better knowing that we’ve got guys like Rescue Ink out there making a difference.

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