Archive for the ‘Animal Welfare Charities’ Category

Last week I received a distressing email from a friend of mine who wrote to tell me that her friend’s dog was missing. “Lucy”, a 10 year-old American Husky mix, had disappeared from a boarding facility. Her “Mom” Ann was in Texas, when she received the call that no pet guardian ever wants to receive.

I immediately posted the alert on Tiny Growl’s Facebook page and hoped that the power of social networking would help spread the word.  Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.  Ann recounts the traumatic sequence of events on her beautifully written blog with such detail and includes such of a wealth of information, that I encourage everyone to read Lucy and Ann’s story.

An Emotional Reunion

I also encourage everyone to support The Missing Pet Partnership, an organization that I have blogged about a couple of times before. They do amazing work, have a wonderful website with specific and effective information on how to find lost pets (which Ann used in creating her plan to find Lucy) and are always struggling financially.

One piece of proactive information that I would like to add here is to remind everyone to follow the Missing Pet Partnership’s advice about keeping a sample of your dog’s scent and DNA on hand, just in case you ever need to hire one of their tracker teams to search for your dog. Here’s what they recommend:

Wearing a pair of rubber gloves, wipe your pet’s body with a sterile gauze pad – wipe its back, tummy, and mouth. Place in a ziplock bag. Write the date and your pet’s name on the bag. Along with the scent, you should collect a sample of DNA, in case it is needed for making a positive ID. Collect a whisker, some toenail clippings, and a few hairs that you have pulled from your pet, including the root. Shed hairs alone are no good, as you need the root, which contains the DNA. Add these to the ziplock bag and put it in your freezer. (If you have multiple pets, you will need separate bags for each.)  Recollect scent and DNA samples once a year.

And finally, make sure you have a really good picture of your buddy ready for copying, in case you ever need to post “Lost” posters, you don’t want to spend time searching for pictures, when you need to be searching for your dog. Let’s hope that you never have to go through what Lucy and Ann experienced.  But if you do, having learned what to do in advance will save time, help you to focus on putting together an action plan and help bring your Lucy home as quickly as possible.

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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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There are so many worthy animal charities in need of donations, it’s always a difficult decision to try to figure out who is truly struggling and who might be able to make a dollar work the hardest for their particular organization. Certainly our local shelters are a good place to start, but I tend to think about those even smaller non-profits that struggle on a day-to-day basis. Many of these little organizations exist completely through donations from people like you and me.  They can’t afford to advertise, or would rather put whatever funds they receive directly into helping those animals in their care.

One such place that you may not have heard about is The Animal House of JamaicaA non-profit, non-government organization that operates a shelter in Lydford, St. Ann, just outside of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, The Animal House of Jamaica was opened in the 1990s by British-born Maureen Sheridan. The shelter provides food, shelter and medical care and more for Jamaica’s stray, injured abandoned and feral animals.

Sheridan’s is working hard to overcome generations of accepted behavior that can include mistreatment of animals, and is focusing on Humane Education as well as being a proponent of spay and neuter, and immunization programs. Here’s a bit of video with a voice-over by Sheridan, introducing you to some of the shelter’s dogs, as well as telling some of her success stories.

The Animal House is one of only two shelters in Jamaica and is the only no-kill shelter on the island. For more information, including an interview with executive director Maureen Sheridan, please click on this link.

100% of donations made to The Animal House of Jamaica go directly to their animals. Sounds like a pretty good return on your dollar, if you ask me. So, when you are making your year-end contributions, I hope you will consider donating whatever you can to this amazing non-profit.  You can become a fan of their Facebook page as well, and help spread the word about the important work that they are doing.

Some final words from Sheridan herself: “If you love animals, and if you love Jamaica, please help us. Donations can be made via our website through Paypal or mailed to us. If you can’t donate, but can send supplies we also are always in need of almost everything. And if you can’t do either of the above, please just spread the word of our work. Our animals are worth it!”

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Answer: When It’s From RescueChocolate.com

It’s the holiday season again, and as usual, most pet-related sites have been reminding us of all of those goodies that we love, but that can be a potential risk to our pets. Top among these is chocolate, but here’s a twist: the people at RescueChocolate.com while certainly not suggesting that you serve their chocolates to dogs, are donating 100% of their net profits to animal rescue organizations around the country.

I'm very happy that you will be supporting rescue dogs by buying some chocolates from RescueChocolate.com, but I'll be even happier if you don't give any to me.

Located in Brooklyn, NY, they manufacture  assorted flavors of 100% vegan chocolates including Peanut Butter Pit Bull and Foster-iffic Peppermint, all reasonably priced and all ready to make any of your animal-loving friends very happy this holiday season. (Chocolate is always a hit gift with me, but any product that also supports animal welfare is right in line with the philosophy behind my ScooPup Pockets.)

So remember, chocolate contains theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, which is highly toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities. While it does take a large amount of the stuff to cause a toxic reaction, you must always consider the animal’s size, the concentration of the chocolate and the individual animal’s sensitivity. For instance, 2 oz of bakers chocolate can be very toxic to a 15 lb dog, but the same amount of milk chocolate would most likely only cause digestive problems. If you suspect that you dog may have ingested chocolate, or any other toxic substance, call your vet or the ASPCA’s National Animal Poison Control at 888.426-4435.

For more great information about dogs and chocolate visit dogownersdigest.com. For a comprehensive list of 25 human foods that are toxic to dogs, visit the animalpetsandfriends website.

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It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post.  Other than when I first began blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever been quiet for quite so long.  I do apologize to my loyal readers, but it’s taken me all this time just to feel “normal” again.  The 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk was Sunday, November 7th and I can honestly say that I’ve never worked harder on anything in my life.  I’ve organized events before, but never for charity and never with a crew of less than a dozen people.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fundraising ain’t no place for sissies.  You can quote me.  One nice side-effect is that I’ve lost nearly 10 lbs.  I call it the 501(c)3 diet and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.


Puppy Up! Walk, Seattle's Seward Park, November 7th 2010

Eight-odd weeks ago, when I signed on to organize the inaugural 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk for Seattle, I was more than pessimistic.  That’s my nature, but I was also being a realist.  Seattle had just had two major fundraising events for dogs, the PAWS Walk and the Seattle Humane Society’s Walk for the Animals.  Not to mention, our walk was going to be November 7th, and as anyone from the Pacific Northwest will tell you, November isn’t the best time to be outdoors in Seattle, unless you are a duck.


However, what I hadn’t anticipated, was the passion that Luke Robinson’s cause had ignited in the people of Western Washington. The ugly truth of the matter is that far too many people have lost their beloved companions to cancer, or are currently facing the disease.  Sure, we all love dogs and we will always support the walks that help the shelter dogs, but losing a dog to cancer cuts deep.  The people that came to support Luke’s cause and walked with us on November 7th were there for those that they had lost.  They carried pictures of their dogs, held leashes that once connected them to their boys and girls and carried the memory of that loss with them as they walked.

It poured all day and all night on Saturday while we prepared for the event.  But early Sunday morning, I woke to the sound of no rain, something that you immediately recognize here in Pacific Northwest.  By the time our caravan of five vehicles headed out toward Seward Park, dawn was breaking and there were patches of blue in the sky.  Incredibly, the sun came out and we had not a drop of rain fall on our Walk.

While the official final count has yet to come in, it’s looking like Seattle’s Puppy Up! Walk managed to raise over $22,ooo, which puts us ahead of the 12 cities that participated this first year.  So while I might be very tired still, I’m incredibly proud of what I managed to pull off, and incredibly proud of my fellow Seattleites for their support.  Thank you all, and we’ll see you next year.

If you would like to host a Puppy Up! Walk in your city in 2011, please visit 2MillionDogs.org for information on how you can become a part of this great organization.





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It’s the final push here at the Seattle office of the 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk.  It doesn’t seem possible, but 48 hours from now, our Walk will be coming to a close.  I can’t take the time at this moment to tell you all about what an unbelievable rollercoaster ride this has been for me, but I promise to reflect and write a proper blog about my experience next week.

In the meantime, please watch this video that KPCQ reporter Brian Callanan put together.  It really says it all.

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This afternoon, while taking a work break to toss a ball with Riley and his sister-in-law Bailey (who, by the way, took second place at COLA’s Dog-O-Ween this past Saturday!), I realized that I hadn’t been down to the lower yard in a few days. This is the part of our property that became known as “New Poolandia” when we decided to fence it in, and give Riley and his pals a little more room to run around (and poop) in. There were so many gifts left in the yard that hadn’t been picked up, it had gone way beyond ScooPup Pocket time. I’m talking backhoe here. Don’t want to get too graphic, but maybe you’ll remember this blog while tossing a 10 lb sack of rice into your cart, the next time you are at Costco.

Why so busy you might ask? I’ve been spending the better part of the past few weeks organizing Seattle’s 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk. It’s hard work, and while there are 10 ten days to go until November 7th, I’m proud to say that as of this minute, greater Seattle has managed to raise close to $9,500.

I promise the blogs will be a bit longer and back to my old frequency, after November 7th. (I might even have a surprise or two.) At the moment, I’ve got to get back to work. (Don’t even want to think about reality of picking up after 2 million dogs!) In the meantime, please help me spread the word about Luke Robinson’s mission to find a cure for canine cancer, by funding cutting-edge research in comparative oncology studies – which, by the way, benefit people as well as dogs. Please visit 2 MillionDogs.org to learn how you can get involved. Thanks, and Puppy Up!

in Dragon Slayer Sydney sneaks up on Bailey the Dragon

Normally, I'm a flying cow. Today I'm a dragon.

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