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Dogs Welcoming Home Their Military Pet Parents

August 15th, 2011 1 comment

Here’s a collection of videos to make even the most stonehearted Monday hater smile.  Watch as these returning servicemen are greeted by their dogs.

In the first one, Emmitt Thunderpaws (great name!) welcomes home his military dad:

 

Watch this Boxer’s excitement when his military dad comes home:

 

 

And you’ll have to see and hear this one to believe it. These two pooches cannot contain their joy over their returning Soldier.

 

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Check Out Elecam at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary

March 7th, 2011 1 comment

The Elephant Sanctuary was founded in 1995 in Hohenwald, Tennessee, with the following two goals in mind:

  • To provide a haven for old, sick, or needy elephants in a setting of green pastures, hardwood forests, spring-fed ponds, and heated barns for cold winter nights.
  • To provide education about the crises facing these social, sensitive, passionately intense, playful, complex, exceedingly intelligent, and endangered creatures.

With the generous help of the George Connor Trust, the Elephant Sanctuary recently updated its system of solar-powered cameras (the Elecam system) throughout their 2,700 acre tract.  The Elecams are used by caregivers to locate and monitor the “Girls” and  to host educational video conferences.

Watch Streaming Video of the Elephants

Best of all, though, the Elecams also to allow internet fans to watch as the elephants roam around, nap, play and generally enjoy life in their habitats. 

There are 14 cameras located throughout the three different habitats.  Clicking on the habitat will take you to streaming video of that area of the Sanctuary. 

The caregivers post updates on the activities of all the Girls throughout the day.  And clicking on the photographs of each elephant will give you each Girl’s biographical information.

So take a few minutes to watch Winkie and Sissy and Tange and the other Girls as they go about their day.  It is guaranteed to make you smile.

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Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet: Helping Military Members Keep Their Beloved Pets

March 25th, 2010 1 comment

Military service members who get deployed often face the harsh prospect of having to give up their pets simply because there is nobody at home to take care of them while the service member is away. 

For those of us whose pets are very much part of our hearts and families, this seems unthinkable.  Our military personnel already sacrifice so much to serve the country.  They should at least be able to look forward to being reunited with their best friends when they return home again.

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (or “GASP”) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization whose mission is to support “military service members, veterans, and their beloved pets to ensure the pets are reunited with their owners following deployment or emergency hardship.”  Toward that end, GASP has established three programs:

  • The Foster Home Program provides an “alternative to the unwanted surrender of beloved pets of our deploying service members.”  The group has a network of volunteers all over the country who open their homes to provide a loving and healthy environment for the pets until they can be reunited with their owners.  This program is provided at no cost to the military service member. 
  • The Military Pet Assistance Program assists those involved as foster pet parents through the Foster Home Program.  When funds are available, the program will also assist military service members, military spouses and veterans facing emergency hardships.
  • The Military & Veterans Pet Sanctuary Project is working toward setting up facilities throughout the country to provide temporary shelter for pets until a foster home can be found. 

Anyone interested in fostering a pet, contributing or volunteering in some other fashion will find all the information they need at the group’s website.

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How to Make Wise Choices About Charitable Donations

November 25th, 2009 No comments

Donating to a Shelter?  Make Sure Your Money Goes to the Dogs

Donating to a Shelter? Make Sure Your Money Goes to the Dogs

Make Sure Your Charitable Donation Really Helps Those in Need

During the holiday season, many people feel moved to open their hearts and wallets to try and help those who are less fortunate.  There are many wonderful charitable organizations that do a lot of good work with the monetary donations people provide.

There are other charitable organizations that end up spending most of the money they receive on fund-raising and other expenses.  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with administrative spending and fund-raising.  After all, there are expenses involved in running a charity, and fund-raising plays an important role in helping many charities stay alive.

BBB Says at Least 65% Should go to Charitable Activities

But how much is too much for a charity to spend on telemarketers and other fund-raising efforts?  The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability suggests that charitable organizations should spend at least 65% of their total expenses on program activities (the actual “charity” part of the equation), and no more than 35% of the money you donate on fund-raising.

Want to Know Where Your Money is Going When You Donate to Charity?

If you want to know how your donations of money are being used by a charity, there are a couple of easy ways to find out.  Charities that meet all of the BBB’s Standards for Charity Accountability can receive accreditation through the BBB.  The website provides a National Charity Report Index that makes it easy to search for information about charities that are BBB accredited.

Charities are not legally required to submit information and seek accreditation through the BBB, but many reputable charities do so.  If a charity has received BBB accreditation, you can be sure that most of the money you donate to the charity will be going to the actual work of the charity.

Charity Navigator is an independent charity evaluator that provides information about many of the largest charities in the United States.  They have a searchable database that gives a detailed breakdown of each listed charity’s revenue and how that revenue is used.  Charity Navigator evaluates only public charities in the U.S. (that is, charities that are tax exempt under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that must file IRS Form 990).

Another good source of information about public charities can come from your state’s government websites.  Many states require that all public charities that solicit donations within the state comply with the state’s charity registration laws.  For example, Florida’s Solicitation of Contributions Act regulates the solicitation of public contributions and requires full disclosure of certain types of information from those who solicit charitable contributions in Florida.

The Florida Division of Consumer Services website has a great deal of valuable information, including a Gift Giver’s Guide that allows Floridians to access information about specific charities registered in Florida.

Incidentally, we decided to check the State of Florida registration for Animal Friends Society, Inc. The rescue organization from which we adopted Lucy, devotes an impressive 89% of its total revenue to program services.  By doing a little homework, I know that when I give to Animal Friends Society, the money really goes to the dogs.

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