Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Makes an Animal Rescue GREAT??

As you may already know, I am on the board of directors for an up-and-coming Iowa no-kill rescue called Wags to Riches.   While the founder is still waiting to receive paperwork granting us non-profit status, the rescue is now officially an incorporation!  Though some animals have already been adopted out successfully, it's really exciting to see the organization coming together.

The founder of Wags to Riches is my coworker and friend, and she has allowed my husband (the techie) and I to create the website for the rescue.  We are trying to tackle small issues like the logo, the color scheme, the different links, etc.  And what better way to brainstorm great ideas than to reach out to my pet blogging community?!

(Photo from here)

I have a couple of questions that I would just LOVE for you all to comment on and discuss.  I am forever in your debt if you give me some suggestions and tips :)  Hugs all around!  Here we go!

What makes a truly great rescue, in your eyes?  What turns you off?  (For example, I love seeing positive, happy stories and great customer service...and I don't like it when staff members don't seem to truly love the animals.)

What do you think makes an eye-catching, effective website for a rescue?  

Do you prefer a foster-based or in-house rescue??

Got any great fundraising ideas?

And finally, what can WE do to make YOU want to adopt one of our animals?  Is it a sweet story on a Facebook page?  A professional photograph?

Any suggestions are more than welcome - we very much value your input!  (And, if you'd like to donate to this worthy cause, please click here.  Wags to Riches is still in need of donations for things like dog runs, cat condos, and beds.  Accountability is super important to us, so you will be able to know exactly where your donation is going.)  Thank you so much! <3

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Riley's Secret Hideout: (Mostly) Wordless Wednesdays

Riley here, reporting to you live from underneath Mom and Dad's bed!  It is pouring down rain out there, and even though I'm not afraid of thunderstorms, that bright lightning is interfering with my beauty sleep!  To get away from the annoying flashes of light, I like to come under here to get some shut-eye.  Sometimes Mom and Dad can't find me and start to yell my name - Teehee! :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tuesday's Tails: Kiara

Underdog Rescue, MN  is a wonderful non-profit rescue group that depends solely on volunteers and fosters to temporarily care for animals in need.  Their goal is to rehabilitate and rehome homeless dogs and cats of any age and breed; many of their adoptable dogs right now are senior dogs who have been rescued from puppy mills.  Underdog Rescue's adoption process is designed to find only the best, most loving homes for their animals.  The organization has been running strongly since 2000, and since then, they have adopted out over 2100 pets!  Since they don't have a building in which to house their homeless animals, they must depend on the kindness and generosity of volunteers, who foster the dogs or cats in their homes until the right home has been found.

The organization is mostly dedicated to "underdogs" - the pups who might be passed by or overlooked if they were in a regular shelter.  These include:  black dogs (and cats!), special needs animals, pit bull breeds, and puppy mill survivors, who, due to the trauma they have likely experienced, require some special love and care.  The fosters who temporarily care for these animals come to every adoption event, ready and willing to share stories about the dog's rescue, personality, and any special needs the animal might have.  Without these dedicated fosters, these homeless animals would likely be put into a city shelter, which tend to be pretty crowded in a metropolis.

I wrote about Underdog Rescue and a lovable Japanese Chin named Kiara way back in April.  Unbelievably, this sweet girl is still looking for a forever home.

Kiara back when she first arrived at Underdog Rescue and still had one of her eyes (photo courtesy of Underdog Rescue website)

Kiara after having both eyes removed (photo courtesy of Underdog Rescue website)

At 7 years young, Kiara still loves to go for walks and have playtime...but what she loves even more is snuggling!  Quiet but full of love, she is both kennel and house-trained, and being blind doesn't seem to slow her down - she adapts to her surroundings and is able to easily navigate a house.  

When Jared and I attended an adoption event in April, Kiara was one of the featured dogs that made an appearance.  She doesn't attend many of these events, since the chaos can be a bit much for a blind dog - while many of the dogs were running back and forth, greeting potential adopters, Kiara was huddled under a metal folding chair in the corner.  I imagine all of the noise and smells were quite overwhelming for her.  I knew she would be at the event, so I sought her out immediately, eventually scooping her up and putting her in my lap...where she remained happily for nearly the entire time!

As you can see, she is quite the snuggle-bug!  It is clear that Kiara has so much love to give...if only someone would give her a chance.  Underdog Rescue adopts only to those in the Twin Cities region, in order to keep track of the well-being of their adopted dogs.  So if you're in the Minneapolis area, or know someone who is, please share this post and help find sweet Kiara a forever home.  Thank you so much for reading <3

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Riley's Famous!!!!

You might have already heard through various social media...but Riley and I have made it into the October issue of Dog Fancy magazine!!  The story is on the very last page, just a page long...but it's the most exciting thing that's happened around here for a long time!  The issue hasn't hit newsstands yet, but it will in only a few short weeks.

Nearly a year ago, I checked out a bunch of back issues of Dog Fancy from the public library.  Paging through them all, I took notice of the "Share" page in the back of the magazine, where readers could submit their dog-related stories.  Though all of the stories were inspiring and moving in their own ways, there didn't seem to be any pieces focused on adoption and animal rescue.  Since that is what me and my blog are all about, I decided to email Dog Fancy and see if they'd be interested in printing such a piece.

They seemed open to it, so I wrote up a short essay about how working in an animal shelter changed my life and goals and submitted it.  Around six months later, I was told that my story had been approved and would be published soon!  It really was just an amazing stroke of luck.  I wasn't paid for this, and I certainly wasn't sought out in any way to write something for them.  But I am so happy because it will really help promote the importance of adoption and rescue...and I'm hoping that it gets the animal shelter I wrote about some attention!

Everyone has responded so positively, both in the BlogPaws community and out, and I am so grateful for that.  I'm grateful for YOU GUYS, whoever reads this!  Thank you for reading, and, if you're a regular buyer of Dog Fancy magazine...look for Riley and I in the October issue! :D

To see more wonderful posts in today's Pet Parade blog hop, please visit our hosts M.K. Clinton, Owned by a Husky, Bionic Basil, Jan's Funny Farm, and Rascal and Rocco!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Beagle Freedom Bill

(original Beagle photo from here)

Have you heard of the Beagle Freedom Project?  It was founded in 2010 to rescue laboratory beagles and find them forever homes.  Before I became a part of the pet blogging community, I had no idea that beagles were commonly tested on in labs - because of their friendly and people-pleasing attitude, the research industry decided to use them for pharmaceutical and cosmetic experiments.

These dogs are not free.  They are not happy.  They are routinely tested on, kept in cages, and ignored.  They will often be euthanized once the researchers are done with them.  Beagle Freedom Project works with cooperative labs to rescue and transport beagles to new homes.  

Recently, Minnesota (our neighbors to the North) became the first state in the country to pass the Beagle Freedom Bill.  This allows the dogs and cats used in research facilities to be put up for adoption once they are of no use to labs.  It's a great start to what will hopefully be a nationwide movement - rather than being put down, the dogs will have their chance at a life as a pet, not as a test subject.

My friend and coworker recently showed me this video of research beagles stepping onto grass for the first time.  The video is rather old (I'm a bit behind the times!), but it is incredibly moving.  These dogs have no idea what grass is or what it means to play!  Definitely watch the video...but have a tissue or two handy.

So, how can we help?  Click this link to read more about what you can do to help promote the Beagle Freedom Bill!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Watchdog: (Mostly) Wordless Wednesdays

This is my sister's dog Gidget waiting faithfully by the door - I'm not sure who loves whom more. :)  (Note:  This was taken this past winter; trust me when I say there is no need for a coat these days!)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tuesday's Tails: Freckles and her Pups!

If you're involved in animal rescue, you know how important transports can be in saving the life of an animal.  There are many different transporting organizations around the country, each one like a "freedom train" of sorts for animals in need.  Dogs and cats are whisked out of high-kill shelters and passed - from vehicle to vehicle, person to person - across the state or the country to safe rescues and forever homes.

Since I am currently unable to foster, I think that volunteering with transports is the next best thing.  When we have the time and funds, my husband and I love to help bring homeless dogs to their eventual forever homes - it is extremely rewarding, and it's surprising how close you can get to the dog in such a short time (check out another of our transporting experiences here).

Freckles and her two female puppies were our latest passengers, and all three of them were absolute angels during the ride!  They were eventually brought to Ruff Life Rescue in Wisconsin, where they are now up for adoption.

Her name is Freckles for a reason! :) (Photo courtesy of another Paws on Wheels transport volunteer)

These dogs are a mishmash of breeds (most likely Shepherd/Border Collie/Lab); Mama Freckles is 1.5 years old, and her two little girls are about 10 weeks.  Before we set off on the road, we were warned that Freckles seemed very timid and scared - and sure enough, while she accepted scratches behind the ears, she was pretty fearful...she even wedged herself in behind the passenger seat and refused to sit beside us!  

Camera-shy and in such an awkward position!  However, she was fast asleep like this!

Toward the end of the trip, however, Freckles had warmed up and was giving a few shy kisses.  She seemed like such a sweet girl with a loving, mellow personality.  There is no doubt she is going to make someone a great pet!  The puppies, in contrast to their mama, were noisy and playful - as most puppies are, of course!  

This gal was the more outgoing and rambunctious of the two puppies...

While her pink-collared sister was sweet but subdued.  The girls were playful at first...

But they snuggled up together for a nap once we hit the road!

While waiting for the next volunteer so we could make the "hand-off", Jared and I got in some quality cuddle time with the puppies - can never get enough of those big bellies and puppy breath!  When I brought Freckles outside to jump into the next vehicle, she turned into a different dog:  She sprawled herself across my lap, nearly knocking me over, and proceeded to smother my face in kisses!  It was SUCH a sweet moment...kind of like she was thanking me for the ride and saying her goodbyes. :)  I was, quite honestly, sad to see her go, though of course hopeful for her bright future!

If you'd like to give Freckles or one of her puppies a forever home, please contact the Ruff Life Rescue to fill out an application.  Also, if you're interested in volunteering for transports, check out the Paws on Wheels transport organization.  Though there are many different organizations out there, Paws on Wheels is one of the most efficient and reliable!

If you're involved in animal rescue, have you ever participated in a transport?  How did it go?  Please let me know in the comments, and, as always, thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Riley the Piglet

So.  I rarely have content to post on the Monday Mischief blog hop, as Riley is normally a well-behaved (if spoiled and greedy) boy.  But Jared and I arrived home to quite the surprise over the weekend.

Remember that PetBox we reviewed last week?  And how much Riley adored his new Loving Pets beef jerky treats?  Well...turns out Riley had himself a little feast while we were gone!

It looks like he attempted to bite it open at the top like he's seen us humans do...then, when that didn't work, he gnawed right through the middle to get to the good stuff!

The empty bag was in a partially-hidden corner of the living room, so here's how we think it went down:  Riley, unable to resist the rumbling in his tummy and the yummy scent coming from the dining room, climbed up onto a chair to reach the PetBox on the dining room table.  Dragging the good-smelling bag out from the box, he slunk into the living room, devoured every single one of the treats...and then put the shredded bag in the corner so as to attempt to hide the evidence.

What do you think?  Should sneaky Riley be tried for theft and pure greed?  Or should he be acquitted due to extreme hunger...or just because he's so darn cute?  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Riley's PetBox Review!

Hey there, everybody...Riley here!  I have something exciting to tell you today.  When we were on our walk this morning, Mom stopped at the mailbox.  While I was sniffing all the wonderful smells nearby, she pulled out a big blue box - and it smelled even better than the grass I was sniffing!  Would you like to know what was in the blue box?

Well?  Would you?

PRESENTS for ME!!!!!!

My mom told me it was called a Petbox and that we won it from a lady named Ann who writes a blog called Pawsitively Pets.  (What is a blog?)  I don't really care what it's called, Ma, just it!

Here is what I found in the blue box:

Aussie Naturals Duck Toy - Mom took this away from me after a while because she said she was worried I would kill the duck.  "Duck is already dead, Ma," I tried telling her with my saddest eyes, but she did not hear me. :(

Out of the way, Duck, I smell treats under there!!

Aussie Naturals Reloadable Dolphin Toy - This toy crackles just like Mom and Dad's bottles of water, but even noisier!  I love to rest my chin on it and fall asleep!  It makes for a comfy (if noisy) pillow!

Aussie Naturals Aussie Ear - I was intrigued by this big white rawhide thing...but Dad put it in my Treats Closet and told me, "We'll save that for later."  But I want now, Dad. :(

Alcott Essentials Travel Bowl - Mom and Dad say that this bowl can come with us on trips and it can even snap onto my leash!  I got distracted because I heard them say "leash" and thought maybe a walk was coming!

Petkin PetWipes - Daddy always makes fun of me for my dirty face and paws.  But now he won't be able to, because they will be sparkly clean 'cause of these wipes!

Loving Pets Pure Beef Jerky Bars - FINALLY!  That delicious smell I sniffed was coming from these!  Mom says "all natural," I just say, "YUM!"

Not yawning...just chewing with extra enthusiasm!

I give this "Petbox" thing four paws way way up!!  (Next time, big blue box, please bring me more treats.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why I Volunteer, Reason 432: (Mostly) Wordless Wednesdays

To see the amazing transformations!
Like Maddie, this sweet little Maltese that was rescued from a bad breeding situation.  My husband was in LOVE with Maddie, and when she was adopted, we prayed it was to a wonderful home.  I had the amazing luck to see Maddie again last week, and her new forever home is phenomenal.  It's rare for me to see shelter pets again once they're was a pretty amazing feeling to see how well this once shy and timid girl is doing now.

Or Shaak-Ti, who - as you can see by this photo - was absolutely miserable in the shelter.  She would wedge herself into a corner and stay there, tinkling on the floor whenever anyone would approach her.  Due to a staff members hard work and loving care, she turned into a sweet and sociable girl, and her new parents are so in love with her!

And I can't forget about Sonja (now renamed).  She was surrendered to the shelter horribly matted, with a broken tail and a cold.  Eventually, Sonja's tail was removed, and she began to recover.  She is permanently kitten-sized (probably due to poor nutrition early in life) and won everyone over with her sticking-out tongue (due to missing teeth) and her love of snuggles.  Every time I worked, I made it a priority to go and visit Sonja - she was so sweet!  I was beyond excited when I found out that a former coworker had adopted her!  I haven't heard any updates lately, but I can only assume that sweet Sonja is still just as happy as in this photo!

These are the happy stories that are the reason I volunteer.  These are the stories that I live for, that make all the hard work, frustration, and sadness soooo worth it! <3

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tuesday's Tails: Sinnah and George

Have you seen Furminator's wonderful ads showcasing adoptable dogs?  I am in love with them - the use of fonts combined with playful phrases and amazing photography?  Awesome stuff.  This week's edition of Tuesday's Tails is definitely inspired by those ads; I decided to mess around with graphics this week and spice up the photos a bit!

Today's adoptable animals are from the up-and-coming Wags to Riches Animal Rescue, a much-needed no-kill shelter in the Midwest.  (So far, they have a building but no supplies or kennels yet - if you'd like to donate, you may click here!)  Kiela, the founder of Wags to Riches, shared these animals' stories with me.  Read on to learn all about Sinnah and George!

"Sinnah is a 6-month-old lab/pit mix puppy.  He was adopted when he was 3 months old, but he was just returned to us because the couple decided they didn't have enough time or money to raise a dog.  Sinnah doesn't understand why his family doesn't want him anymore, and he just needs someone to love him unconditionally.  Many people have shown interest in him, until they learn that he is a pit bull mix.  Again, Sinnah doesn't understand why people are afraid of him without even meeting him!  He loves loves loves to cuddle, and he'd really love another dog around his size to play with!  He will be neutered and caught up on his vaccinations next week.  Please give this sweet boy a chance!  He is sure to steal your heart."

"George is an 18-month-old male cat that is looking for his fur-ever home... He was pulled (along with 2 other cats) from an animal hoarding situation.  He may not have had the easiest start to life, but you'd never know it now!  He is a huge cuddle bug, and wants nothing more than a nice lap to curl up on.  He does struggle with his identity sometimes, as he tends to think he's a dog!  He'll greet you with kisses just like a puppy!  George also seems to have gotten a taste for potato chips... He likes to sit on your lap and try to pull the chip you are holding into his mouth!  He's a goofball that has been socialized with other cats and dogs.  He'll be ready to go to his new home next week."

If you or someone you know might be interested in adopting one of these handsome fellas, please contact Wags to Riches.  And please consider donating to this wonderful cause.  No-kill shelters are few and far-between in Iowa, and with your help, we can get this rescue completely up and running.  Thank you, as always, for reading! <3