Home
humane
News: Guest Posts
A Few Legislators Cross the Aisle to Defeat Puppy Mills
Track and support the PUPS bill

While state legislators duke it out over efforts to regulate breeding, with the specific aim of shutting down puppy mills in states like Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois, four U.S. Representatives are going after unregulated, large-scale commercial breeding operations on a national level. On February 28, two Democrats and two Republicans introduced H.R. 835, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act.

  The legislation closes a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that currently allows large, commercial breeders, selling more than 50 puppies per year online or directly to the public to escape licensing and regulation.   “Dog breeders have taken advantage of this Internet loophole to increase their profits at the expense of the health of thousands of dogs,” said Congressman Sam Farr, D-Calif. “The result of breeders’ ability to bypass regulations has led to widespread abuses of dogs that are crammed into small cages with no exercise or social contact. We have a responsibility to close this loophole, because it is simply unconscionable to allow this abuse to continue.”   Track the bill. Take action to support the legislation at the Humane Society of the United States.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Canine Corps Cares For Dogs of People Deployed
Free help to military families

Matthew Chapman, an explosives specialist in the military, and his wife Debbi were alarmed when they learned about a policy that could have a big effect on them. If they had to be evacuated from South Korea, they would only be allowed to take two dogs with them. That presented a huge problem because the couple has three dogs and tensions between North Korea and South Korea are increasing, making evacuation more likely.

  Unwilling to risk leaving a dog behind, they chose to foster one of their dogs with the Canine Corps at Paw Prints Dog Sanctuary. They delivered their dog Dehlila to the facility, which is in Pennsylvania and serves military families whose dogs need a place to live when they are deployed or otherwise unable to keep their dog with them. Including Dehlila, the facility has 13 pets belonging to members of the military. They care for these military pets until their guardians are able to come back for them.   The Chapmans asked how they could help the organization, which provides free care for the pets of military people from Pennsylvania. The founder of the Canine Corps, himself a veteran, answered, “Come home safely.”
News: Guest Posts
Twice Euthanized Puppy Survives
Once unwanted, now hundreds clamor to adopt Wall-e
shelter dog mixed breed adoption euthanasia rescue social media

I keep telling myself this is supposed to be a feel-good story. An animal control officer found a stray puppy. No one claimed him. No one wanted him. The shelter was full. Somehow, the puppy survived two euthanasia injections. When his incredible story was posted to a pet adoption website, he got a name (Wall-e), donations toward boarding and hundreds of offers to foster or adopt him.

  Wall-e beat the odds. What about all the other stray mixed breed puppies who are not so fortunate? If hundreds of people could be so easily moved to adopt Wall-e, how do we motivate them to adopt that unwanted puppy at their local animal control?   Last year, I posted a shelter dog in need on my Facebook page. She had puppies and they were in danger of being euthanized, too, simply due to lack of space at the shelter. One of my friends was horrified at the thought. “They don’t kill puppies,” she wrote.   They do. And before animal lovers start to vilify shelters or their staff, let’s think about the people whose job involves euthanizing unwanted cats and dogs. In reading Wall-e’s story, I was surprised to see the name of the animal control officer whose initial attempts to euthanize him failed. Even though it was a part of his job and he then spread the word about Wall-e’s remarkable survival to a community of potential adopters, the public will likely never see him as a hero.   I will never forget my friend telling me how it felt to euthanize a perfectly healthy kitten when she was on staff at a shelter. Normally, it was not part of her job. She was an “intake counselor.” The person who heard the most ridiculous excuses and sometimes tragic stories as the owner handed their cat or dog off to her behind the counter.   She was asked to help with this kitten because a staff veterinarian had stayed late and no one else was available to assist. In that split second, she almost told her no, toying with the idea of adopting her. But she couldn’t, for reasons with which we’re all familiar: our houses are full, too.  

If Facebook or Twitter had existed back then, and my friend had posted that kitten to her page, would she still be alive today? It's hard to say, because that kitten, and puppies like Wall-e, end up at shelters by the thousands every year. Are there really not enough homes for them all? Or are there thousands of untapped potential adopters who simply don't know that an unwanted cat or dog needs them?

News: Guest Posts
Risky Puppy Rescue
An illegal transport spread parvo, killed four puppies

Shelters and rescue groups transport adoptable dogs and puppies across the country every day in hopes of saving more lives. Sadly, in the case of four adult dogs and 12 puppies, what should have been a happy ending in new homes has become a nightmare.

  Earlier this month, the dogs and puppies had been gathered from various locations in the Midwest and placed together in a truck for travel to Massachusetts for adoption. Tragically, the rescuers did not follow interstate animal protocol. Per the Department of Agriculture, all dogs and cats for sale or adoption must be isolated for a minimum 48 hours then examined and pronounced healthy by a licensed veterinarian before transportation.   This oversight resulted in the spread of the highly contagious parvovirus, the suffering and death of four puppies, and an enormous burden on the staff and financial resources of MSPCA-Boston.   The shelter continues to care for the survivors, who remain in quarantine. Costs have already exceeded thousands of dollars. If you would like to donate or serve as a foster parent, please go to MSPCA.   You can also help by adopting a pet in your own community, so animals no longer have to be transported great distances in order to find homes. Please contact your local shelter or rescue group through Petfinder to find out how you can help.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Mass. Dogs Help Homeless Shelter
Pups find a foster home while aiding Bostonians

I think that dogs have an innate ability to bring out the best in us. Over the last year, I’ve written about dogs calming humans testifying in court, putting patients at ease in the doctor’s office, and even helping people meet new significant others. Now, dogs are helping residents open up to staff members at a Boston, Mass., homeless shelter, while increasing their own adoptability in return.

About a year ago, Barbara Davidson, head of a homeless shelter and support organization in Massachusetts called Pine Street, was working with a man who suffered from paranoia. He refused treatment, but knowing he loved dogs, Barbara began volunteering with him at the local animal shelter to help him feel more comfortable. He loved the work so much that he asked Barbara to let him bring one of the dogs back to Pine Street.  

Barbara soon found that having a dog at Pine Street helped residents to open up and build trust with the staff. Now, Pine Street fosters six dogs.

The residents at Pine Street can relate to the homeless dogs, developing a strong bond. They also provide the dogs with socialization and training, making the pups more attractive to adopters. A very cool win-win for all involved.

News: Guest Posts
Unrest in Egypt Leaves Many Dogs and Cats Homeless
Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals needs help

Headlines around the world have tracked the recent upheaval in many parts of the Middle East. What started in Tunisia spread like wildfire; demonstrations and protests have crippled many countries in the region.

  When demonstrations and clashes erupted in Egypt, chaos and disorder ensued. Looting, theft, violence marred the country, effectively putting an end to the tourism industry, damaging an already fragile economy, and pushing many expatriates to evacuate the country.   When faced with the decision of leaving or staying in the country at potential risk to their own safety, many expats were forced to evacuate, leaving behind their homes and, sometimes, their family pets. Dogs and cats were abandoned on the streets or euthanized as worried owners struggled with the burden of what to do next. Cairo is notorious for the numbers of stray cats and dogs that run the streets, but these animals stood out. Healthier and evidently well-fed, volunteers at the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA) were seeing many cats and dogs that had been abandoned.   ESMA is a non-profit animal rescue shelter based in the heart of Egypt, the capital city Cairo. It was founded by a few dedicated Egyptians and expatriates in response to mass shootings of dogs and cats in 2007 and has been fighting for the rights of animals in Egypt ever since.   These three weeks of unrest had a devastating impact on organizations, such as ESMA, which is in urgent need of help to provide food and shelter to an increasing number of stray cats and dogs. In the beginning of this year, ESMA’s shelter provided refuge for more than 600 cats and dogs. Run entirely on donations and volunteers, the rescue society relies on the generosity of others. This need today is greater than it has ever been.   During the period of unrest, ESMA volunteers picked up more than 26 abandoned cats and dogs left in the streets to fend for themselves. As the country works toward rebuilding its future, the future of these animals remains uncertain. To this day, nobody has stepped forward to claim the animals taken in by the rescue shelter, and ESMA struggles with the burden of feeding more than 600 cats and dogs on a daily basis.   “We are continually struggling to locate/buy food, medicines, pay the rent and the workers’ salaries, and even find detergents and disinfectants,” says Susie Nasser, a founding member of ESMA. “We are only able to offer our animals one meal, instead of the usual two meals per day.”   Animal lovers worldwide have banded together to help ESMA during their times of dire need. Donations from pet owners throughout the world have helped in keeping the rescue shelter afloat, but the light at the end of the tunnel is still far away. ESMA is sending out a plea for help from every dog, cat or animal owner throughout the world. Even a small donation can help to feed an animal for a few days.   For more information or to find out how you can help, please visit ESMA’s website at www.esmaegypt.org. In addition to general donations, ESMA offers sponsorships for specific animals. When you sponsor an animal, you will receive pictures of your furry friend and updates as they increase in strength and health.   From all of us at ESMA—both two-legged and four-legged—thank you for your consideration. We hope to welcome you all back to a better and brighter Egypt!  

 

News: Guest Posts
Rescued Pit Bull Loves Bunnies
A St. Louis stray recovers among chicks, lambs, rabbits and more.

As you can imagine, we get loads of fabulous dog images from Bark readers—handsome, adorable, funny and inspiring dogs of every stripe. But when Parfait arrived over the transom, we stopped in our tracks: Who is this recovering beauty with a harem of rabbits?

  A little more than a month ago, Parfait was a feral, starving dog living on the streets of North St. Louis, a neighborhood known for dog fighting. She was found trying to keep her newborn pups warm in the cold and snow; they had already frozen to death. She was also near death, due to an infection from an embedded collar that was strangling her.   “She was originally saved by Randy Grim of Stray Rescue of St. Louis. Randy has spent many years going out daily to feed and save the suffering street dogs in his city. I admire him greatly,” says Janice Wolf of Rocky Ridge Refuge in North Central Arkansas. “I named her Parfait because she needed a sweet name to reflect her nature, especially being a Pit Bull off the streets.”   Wolf continues, “I specialize in helping animals with special needs and medical [issues], and at the holidays I always try to take on a special case for another rescue to help them out. When I learned of Parfait … I offered to bring her to my refuge.” A friend volunteered to drive her the five hours to Rocky Ridge.   “She was initially quite shy, but soon came around with the help of my other dogs,” Wolf says. “She is a young girl, no more than 18 months old. She will have no handicaps really. She does have a severe neck wound with a lot of scar tissue there, and will never be able to wear a collar. Her voice is a little funny because of it too. If I can figure a way to get the funds, I am going to see about having the vet reduce and modify the excess scar tissue to make a smoother and less restricted skin area there. Otherwise a healthy, smart girl that will be up for adoption.”   For now, Parfait is keeping company with a menagerie. She met the bunnies a few days before Wolf took the photo she sent to us. She has also cuddled with lambs and chicks. Check out more of the multi-species healing at Rocky Ridge in our slideshow.   “I don't know that there is an 'advantage' per say in having all the species together, it just kinda has to be this way here due to lack of space to do it differently!,” Wolf told us when we asked about her crazy-mixed-up soup of a refuge. “I love that the many different species do form a family and look out for each other though. For the most part it works amazingly well and some odd relationships have developed.”   She is careful to respect individual boundaries and tolerances, and she doesn't expect every animal to automatically love every other critter. Some of her rescued dogs will not safely live with fawns or lambs or chicks, due to their breed prey drive or past experiences.   Wolf, who is writing a children's book about Parfait to raise money for her refuge, told us she’s been rescuing animals since she was a child. She says, “There’s nothing better!”   Visit Rocky Ridge Refuge’s Facebook Fanpage to learn more about the refuge and to follow Parfait. Also, check out Bark’s story about Gateway Pet Guardians, a grassroots rescue group caring for the strays of East St. Louis, across the Mississippi River from where Parfait was discovered.

 

News: Guest Posts
Rescuing a Rescue
Puerto Rico pup lost—and found—in Logan Airport during transport

Have you heard the story of Pedro, a Beagleish-looking former stray from Puerto Rico who escaped from his crate at Logan Airport in Boston last week during his transport to a shelter in Maine? Frequent Bark contributor Twig Mowatt, co-founder of All Sato Rescue, which helps find homes in the United States for Puerto Rico strays, including Pedro, told us the amazing behind-the-scenes story of his big adventure.

  “This dog has really had an ‘exciting’ life. He was hit by a car last year and lost one eye. We took him into our program, which is All Sato Rescue because a special needs dog wouldn’t have much luck finding a home in Puerto Rico. So, he arrived at Logan Airport Monday evening to be met by someone from a Beagle rescue group in Maine who has placed a lot of our dogs—and, thankfully, he’s pretty loose about his definition of ‘Beagle,’ as you can tell Pedro probably has some Jack Russell, and a little sausage-something in his stubby legs and long body. I was not at the airport when it happened, but I heard about it immediately and fortunately, I had the cell phone of the state’s most famous animal rescuer—Alan Borgal, sort of the Rooster Cogburn of the animal world. (If you’ve seen True Grit you’ll know what I mean.)   “Anyway, while we (me in Boston, our president in San Juan, and the head of the Beagle rescue group) were basically in little puddles of worry and anxiety, Alan was putting together a SWAT team. He has his own rescuers through the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where he works, but he also knows many people at Logan. He got in touch with the Logan police and then started reaching out to the construction workers and parking lot attendants at the airport. Pedro had—very scarily—made it out of the terminal, crossing a very busy road of buses and taxis and shuttles, and gotten into the central parking garage. It was freezing cold and he had just left 80-degree weather, so we were all terrified that he was going to freeze to death.   “We had one sighting of him Monday evening—about 9 p.m., and Alan was out there late into the night. We didn’t hear anything again until Tuesday afternoon, when we got a sighting of him in a parking area near Terminal B, where he arrived. I went out there after work Tuesday, and papered the garage with flyers, and also handed them out to everyone I could find—maintenance workers, taxi dispatchers, parking lot attendants—and everyone was so kind and concerned. But it was very scary to see where he might be hiding—as it was freezing cold and full of construction equipment and cars, of course, that might run over him.   “Alan said that he thought Pedro was finding cars of people who had just parked, so he could get under them for some warmth. He also said that he knew Pedro was in the area by the reaction of the resident cat who hangs out and catches rodents in the parking lot. Evidently the cat was quite put out.   “Alan told me that the construction workers were so worried that they checked his humane traps every hour all night! When Pedro was finally caught—not in a trap, by the way, but with a pole, I think—he had made it across two more busy streets into a garage quite far from where he was originally.   “It was just amazing to me how everyone got involved and wanted to help and came together for this little dog. The thought that he had been through so much on the streets of Puerto Rico and was finally getting a chance to find a loving, forever home--only to end up lost in Logan airport--was almost too much to bear. But, just seeing how everyone pulled together and helped make this happy ending, made it a really life-affirming experience. Moreover, judging from the looks of Pedro in the TV report, he is pretty unfazed by it all. Alan said that once he got by the initial shock of being caught, he began giving everyone kisses.   “At the moment, he is being held in quarantine at the Animal Rescue League in Boston. We are ready to send him on up to Maine to find his forever home, but, given his local celebrity status, if a highly qualified adopter shows up who wants to add Pedro to their home, we are all for making that happen. We just think it’s time to change his name from Pedro to Logan!”

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Bulletproof Vests For Dogs
A third-grader’s idea saves lives

 

My morning ritual involves Grape Nuts cereal, a cup of tea, and an assessment of the day’s possibilities based on the cover story in my local paper, The Arizona Daily Sun. If the cover story is good news, charming, funny or positive in any way, I consider it a good omen for the day. If it is bad news, depressing, dull, or a downer for any other reason, I take immediate action by temporarily abandoning my quest for news of the world and turning to the sports page instead.   Last week, a story about a police dog who received a bulletproof vest through Project Police K-9 started my day in a better way than any front page story in the last year. The cheer this brought to my morning went way beyond the obvious plus that the cover story had a canine slant.   Project Police K-9 is a non-profit organization whose goal is to ensure that all of Arizona’s police dogs have stab proof and bulletproof vests. Since each of these lifesaving pieces of equipment costs $825, they are beyond the budgets of many law enforcement agencies. And yet any officer will tell you that the dogs are at risk of serious and even fatal injuries from knives and guns just as their human partners are.   This organization was started by Michael Valdez, who was inspired as a third-grader by a story of a police dog names Dax who was shot and killed in the line of duty. His teacher asked who in the class would be willing to call the Tucson Police Department to inquire about the possibility of donating a bulletproof vest for other canines serving in the force. He raised his hand to volunteer.   That was over a decade and 167 vests ago, with the most recent recipient being Kiko, a dog who works with the Coconino County Sheriff Department in Northern Arizona. Valdez is currently raising money for a vest for Viktor, the other police dog in that department.   Inspiring teachers who motivate kids, charitable young people taking action to save lives, a love for and an appreciation of dogs—can you see why this story was such a great start to my morning?    

 

News: Guest Posts
When Rescuer Needs Rescuing
Diane Eldrup arrested for deaths of 20 dogs

A broken family. Foreclosed property. Twenty dead dogs. When I first read the story of Diane Eldrup and her suburban Chicago rescue, Muddy Paws, I cried. Her husband had finally received court permission to enter their property after a year-long absence only to find that his estranged wife and their 8-year-old son were living among decaying animal corpses and 5 to 10 tons of fecal matter. Jail is where Eldrup is likely headed, but it’s not what she needs.

Rescuing animals can be addictive. When I co-founded New Orleans German Shepherd Rescue in the early 2000s, my intentions were noble yet naive. Despite knowing next to nothing about dogs, much less humane work, I was going to save every single healthy German Shepherd Dog that came through the doors of the Louisiana SPCA. Soon, I was getting desperate calls and emails from shelters and volunteers throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and elsewhere. These dogs needed a hero; I could become that person.

Well-intentioned animal lovers and friends fueled the “high” I would get from helping each dog. They praised me, claiming that I was such a good person for doing this. They rewarded me with donations of food, toys and money. They said they could never do what I did. I was a hero in their eyes, too.

If you weren't with me, then I had no time for you. In fact, if you told me I couldn't save a particular dog, I worked even harder to prove you wrong. More phone calls, more emails, more adoption events, more transports, more of my own time and money. It was never enough.

Rescue became a way of life. My 9 to 5 job got in the way of my real, meaningful work. It wasn’t unusual for me to take extra time on my lunch hour and spend it at the shelter in my suit and heels. I took photos to post on the rescue website, introduced dogs to prospective adopters, and checked to see which dogs had limited time. These animals needed me. The shelter staff began to ask me to help them find homes for their favorites because I seemed to have a knack for it. I was addicted to feeling needed and the power of changing lives.

When I got into a heated argument with a friend about how rescue should be important to everyone, she told me I was “self-righteous.” It gave me pause, but at the moment, I was so emotionally wound up that I angrily stomped out of her house and didn’t talk to her for awhile. Why should I? She clearly was incapable of caring as much as I did.

Over the years, I became increasingly isolated from family and friends. My parents lived far away and I remember being on the phone with my mom and hearing her ask if everything was okay. No, everything is not okay! There are thousands of beautiful, loving animals dying needlessly in shelters every day!

She gently interrupted me and tried again. Are you okay? I abruptly changed the subject.

Finally, my husband said enough. We’re broke. We have our own zoo of four rescued dogs and three cats to care for. There is a constant merry-go-round of foster dogs in this tiny house on a city lot. You’re stressed out. You’re not happy. You’re never here. He said all of this in a diplomatic way that got through to me. He was—and still is—a strong, sensitive man who yes, loves animals, but loves me more.

The intervention worked. I quit the rescue group cold turkey. The shelter staff were dismayed but said they understood. One rescue volunteer sent me flowers at work, pleading with me to come back. Another rescuer called and left a sobbing message asking if I could help with just this one dog this one time.

For me, rescue is a drug. I can’t say no. I didn’t call her back.

To all the rescuers out there who are struggling on their own, there is no point in trying to save every single animal if you hurt yourself and the people you love in the process. Get the help you need before something tragic happens. Delegate to volunteers, see a counselor, learn to say no, spend money on something you need for a change. You have value as a person whether you rescue animals or not.

And to those unique individuals who are able to balance life, people and rescue, thank you. Perhaps one day, people will recognize that their irresponsibility toward animals doesn’t just lead to neglect, suffering, pet overpopulation, and euthanasia of healthy, young animals. It also hurts people and can destroy human lives. 

Pages