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Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays

December 2nd, 2009 2 comments

Open Your Heart and Home to a Shelter Animal This Holiday Season

Open Your Heart and Home to a Shelter Animal This Holiday Season

Participate in Petfinder’s First-Ever Foster a Lonely Pet Program

Inspired by the book A Dog Named Christmas, by Greg Kincaid, Petfinder has introduced the Foster a Lonely Pet program.

A Dog Named Christmas is about a developmentally challenged young man who, in spite of objections from his father, decides to foster a dog from a local animal shelter during the holidays.  His relationship with the dog, a yellow Labrador Retriever he names Christmas, influences others in the community to open their hearts and homes to animals in need.  And his bond with Christmas changes perceptions that others have about him and his capabilities.

Motivated by this inspiring story, Petfinder is working with a network of thousands of shelters and rescue groups across the United States to give families an opportunity to share their homes with an adoptable dog or cat during this holiday season.

Fostering a shelter animal for the holidays is a great idea for so many reasons.

  • It could give the dog or cat a chance to spend the holidays in a loving home during the holidays instead of in a crate at the shelter.  Animal shelters are often overflowing and understaffed during the holidays.
  • It could provide a break for someone, like my friend Valerie with Animal Friends Society (a program participant), who is currently fostering a number of animals.
  • If you are thinking of adopting a dog or cat, fostering one for the holidays could provide you with a chance to see how a pet will fit with your family and lifestyle.
  • It is a good deed, and those are just worth doing anytime, but especially during the holiday season.

Fostering an animal through the Foster a Lonely Pet program is not a forever commitment.  You may choose to provide a loving and safe environment for a lonely animal for a few days or for the entire holiday season through the New Year.

Lucy Still Loves Her Foster Mom

Lucy Still Loves Her Foster Mom

Go to Petfinder.com to locate a shelter or rescue organization in your local area and celebrate the holidays in the company of an animal who needs you.

Incidentally, the aforementioned Valerie was our Lucy’s foster mom before we brought Lucy to her forever home.  Lucy still remembers Valerie and has plenty of love for her former foster mom whenever we see her.  So, even though fostering a shelter animal is not necessarily a permanent commitment, it is certainly possible to build a permanent bond with an animal through fostering.

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Categories: Dogs in the News

Pets Get Left Out in the Cold When Homes are Foreclosed

November 19th, 2009 1 comment

The Housing Foreclosure Crisis is Leaving Many Pets Homeless

Hard Times for Pet Owners Can Mean Hard Times for Pets

Hard Times for Pet Owners Can Mean Hard Times for Pets

Although some experts say the American economy is slowly showing signs of improvement, there are still many people out of work or otherwise facing financial hardship.  And in many instances, family pets are suffering the consequences.

Since the economic meltdown began in early to mid 2008, animal shelters around the country have seen a surge in people having to give up their pets because they have to move.  Sadly, there has been a corresponding drop in adoptions because people cannot afford to take on the financial responsibility of pet adoption.

Some shelters have been forced to turn abandoned or unwanted animals away because they simply lack the facilities or funding to care for them.  This situation leads to more pet abandonment and euthanasia.

How to Help Overburdened Animal Shelters

If you can’t adopt or foster a shelter animal, there are still ways to help.  Several reputable charities work to assist animal shelters in various ways to provide housing and medical care for so-called foreclosure pets.   The following organizations utilize over 80% of their revenue for program activities:

  • American Humane Association.  This group is offering Foreclosure Pets Grants which go directly to shelters so they can help pet owners in need and provide housing and medical care for displaced animals, so the shelters never have to turn an animal away.
  • PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’ Program.  The Rescue Waggin’ partners with local animal welfare agencies to help save the lives of homeless dogs and puppies.  Since the program began in 2004, it has helped save more than 30,000 dogs.
  • Petfinder.com Foundation.  This organization “works with shelters, rescue organizations and animal welfare organizations across the country to ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a good home.”

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Puppy Mill Awareness Day is Saturday Sept. 19

September 17th, 2009 6 comments

Saturday, September 19 has been set aside as Puppy Mill Awareness Day, and events are planned in England, Ireland and across the United States to draw attention to the plight of animals who are victims of puppy mill abuses.

Puppy Mills are a Growing Problem Everywhere

Puppy mills (called puppy farms in some countries) are a growing problem.  The profits associated with breeding large numbers of popular dog breeds are too tempting for some unscrupulous and greedy people to resist.  The ASPCA defines a puppy mill as a “large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.”

The Focus is on Profit at Puppy Mills

Because the focus at puppy mills is on profit, little care is given to producing healthy puppies.  Rather, the emphasis is on producing quantities of puppies, regardless of the problems involved.  As a result, puppy mill dogs are over-bred and inbred, leading to genetic abnormalities and a range of health problems.

Moreover, breeding dogs are often subjected to lives of constant captivity in small, unsanitary, crowded cages without access to adequate food, water, exercise or veterinary care.

Puppy Mills do not Produce Healthy Puppies Like Daisy

Puppy Mills do not Produce Healthy Puppies Like Daisy

Puppy mill dogs usually end up in pet stores.  According to the ASPCA, these dogs are sold through brokers when they are as young as eight weeks of age.  Furthermore, the “lineage records of puppy mill dogs are often falsified.”  Thus, the unwary consumer is not getting what he or she pays for.

Puppy Mill Laws:  Anti-Puppy Mill Legislation

Many states across the USA are attempting, with mixed success, to put legislation in place to prevent some of the worst abuses of puppy mills.  And with the assistance of groups like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society of the United States and their local affiliates, law enforcement agencies are stepping up raids on puppy mills.

Puppy Mill Awareness Day

Although some progress is being made in the fight against puppy mills, the problem persists.  For instance, concerns remain about whether new anti-puppy mill laws can or will be enforced.

And if consumers remain ignorant about the living horror that is a puppy mill, they will continue to inadvertently support puppy mills by purchasing dogs from pet stores.  That is why events such as those associated with Puppy Mill Awareness Day are so important.  The best way to put puppy mills out of business is to educate the public.

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Tributes to Senator Ted Kennedy, Dog Lover

August 27th, 2009 1 comment

Senator Edward Kennedy passed away August 25, and many eulogies are being offered for his public service by people on all sides of the current political debates.  But some people are remembering Senator Kennedy for his legendary love for dogs.

Author Christy Keith at Pet Connection has a lovely tribute to the late senator in which she describes his devotion to his dog Splash – a devotion all true dog lovers will recognize in themselves.

In the National Journal Online, Senator Judd Gregg recalls spending hours negotiating with Senator Kennedy on policy matters in Kennedy’s office.  And Senator Kennedy’s dog Splash would always be there, locked away with the lawmakers as they debated the issues.

A Seattle Times piece recalls Senator Kennedy’s final days, including his “sacred” morning ritual that included “scratching the bellies of his beloved Portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Splash.”

The Los Angeles Times notes that Senator Kennedy is remembered by many as a dog lover and an animal advocate, stating that the senator was influential in passing animal welfare legislation, including laws aimed at preventing dogfighting and cockfighting and legislation that protected farm animals.

Senator Kennedy penned the children’s book “My Senator and Me:  A Dog’s Eye View of Washington, D.C.” which the Times calls “an introduction to the political process aimed at elementary-aged kids” told from the viewpoint of Splash.

And of course, Senator Kennedy recently gave us our new First Dog of the United States when he presented Bo, a Portuguese water dog, to President Obama and his family as a gift.

The Los Angeles Times piece sums it up very well:

Say what you will about Sen. Ted Kennedy — he certainly had his share of faults — but the man sure did love animals.  We’re thinking today not just of the human family he left behind, but also of Sunny and Splash, who we’re sure are among those who will grieve the most for their master.

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Categories: Dogs in the News