Part I: Volunteers feed and save abandoned, scared dogs — big and small — in Redland, Florida

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Please note: This article was originally published on ShelterMe.tv in 2016.

The Problem:

Redland, Florida; it’s a rural area southwest of Miami. A place that is haunted with the despair from the many animals who are abandoned there every week. Daily, cars and trucks stop on one of the streets or highways, open a door, shove out a confused animal, then drive away quickly.

The Redland area is not a safe place for the animals who are left there. Most are dogs, and while some learn quickly to stay away from humans, others are shot, poisoned, hit (on purpose) by cars, stolen by dog fighters; or they die from starvation and dehydration in the Florida heat. The lucky ones hide during the day, coming out as the sun goes down as a group of dedicated volunteers bring the food and water they need to survive. Join the volunteers, Jessie, Yleana, and Ramsey, on a hot July evening as they bring me along to witness the sad situation.

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Part II: The Solution to “The abandoned, scared dogs — big and small — in Redland, Florida”

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Please note: This article was originally published on ShelterMe.tv in 2016.

The Solution (Part II to “Volunteers feed and save abandoned, scared dogs — big and small — in Redland, Florida”):

It appears that any solutions to the huge problem of stray and abandoned animals in the rural areas of Miami-Dade County, like Redland and the Rock Pit Quarry, will have to be addressed by the volunteers. Rescues have approached the shelter, asking if there is a process for pulling stray dogs from the county (not the shelter, the stray dogs). According to Jennie Nicholas of Pennsylvania, the shelter never responded to her email. She said that when she wrote Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS), “I got zero response. I wrote an email asking if I needed any special permission to take the dogs and the email went unanswered.”

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‘Our Symphony with Animals: On health, empathy and our shared destinies’ by Aysha Akhtar is filled with science and affirmations about the importance of animals in our lives

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First posted in Bookreporter.com.

“Our Symphony with Animals: On health, empathy, and our shared destinies” by Aysha Akhtar, M.D., is a memoir, an informational text, and a paean to the joys of sharing our lives with animals. Akhtar shares that she was abused as a child. She writes about her childhood dog, Sylvester, whom she loved with all her heart. She also shares that it wasn’t until she finally stood up to a family member who was abusing Sylvester that she was able to stand up to her abuser, as well.

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What does a wonderful shelter director look like? Memphis Animal Services knows.

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Three years ago, the Memphis Animal Services was known as one of the worst city shelters in the country. Now, three years later, things are very different thanks to Alexis Pugh. In three years, she has turned the shelter around. Do they still have to euthanize dogs for space? Yes, but only after a concerted effort has been made to publicize the dogs in danger and try every avenue to save them. Here is what she just posted on Facebook:

Pugh statement on FB copy

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Devastated adopter after shelter allowed his dog to die, “They take dogs away from people for being treated like that and then they do it themselves right here.”

What happens when a shelter allows a dog to suffer in agony for days before the staff veterinarian bothers to check on the dog, then finding that his intestines had perforated, and he had to be euthanized? What happens when after surgery, another dog is allowed to bleed to death, found two days later dead in her kennel? If the shelter is in Tampa, Florida, namely the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center (PRC), and the director is Scott Trebatoski, nothing happens. And according to the latest Target 8 report by Steve Andrews, “Shelter woes blamed on county commissioners’ refusal to listen,” the county board doesn’t care, either.

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‘Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too’ by Carol Novello could just change your life (and the life of a rescue animal)

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Many Americans love their dogs and cats, but almost three million companion animals are killed in shelters every year. If more people adopted cats and dogs, that number would be smaller, just as it would if more people spayed and neutered their dogs and cats. Perhaps if people knew the benefits they would get by saving the life of a shelter animal, more would do so.

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‘Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible’ is a primer on making your dog happy

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“Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible” by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce is a primer for dog owners who love their dogs but aren’t sure that their dogs are living the best life possible. Why should people care about their dogs having the best life possible? Those of us who have dogs and love them as parts of our family know the answer: By making our dogs as happy as possible, we in turn will be as happy as we can possibly be with them.

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The future of stray and unwanted animals in San Bernardino, CA, appears bleak and deadly thanks to a rushed decision by several city council members

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Photo by Alice Chow, volunteer San Bernardino shelter

The San Bernardino City Animal Shelter was always the little shelter that could. While they couldn’t save all the abandoned animals that crossed their doors, the fervent volunteers worked tirelessly to try to save as many as possible. And they did this in spite of little support from the shelter manager, who at times almost seemed to work against the volunteers.

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‘Pets on the Couch’ Explores Animal Psychiatry and the Treatment of Emotional Disorders

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“Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry” is written by veterinarian Nicholas Dodman, who also wrote bestsellers, “The Dog Who Loved Too Much” and “The Cat Who Cried for Help.”

Dodman breaks new ground with this book; he details how animals and humans share many of the same emotions and emotional disorders. He writes that animals can be depressed and feel grief and loss. It’s now known that pets can have post-traumatic stress disorder, and Dodman has asserted that this affects dogs who have served in the military in combat zones. Dogs can also have other “human” emotional disorders like anxiety and compulsive disorders.

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Florida dogs abandoned in rural shelter desperate for rescue or they may be killed; shelter is packed

There are 39 dogs in Sebring, Florida who have a deadline. That means that if they are not adopted or pulled by rescue before then, they are in danger of being killed. Don’t blame the shelter — blame those who dump their dogs with no thought of what will become of them. These dogs are wonderful, and the shelter is very transparent about what they do and don’t know. They often know if the dogs will not get along with other dogs and cats and will indicate that. Many of these dogs have lived outside and never known a soft bed, while others were family dogs discarded when they became inconvenient.

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Great Giveaway of Picture Book ‘Fiona the Hippo’ by Richard Cowdrey

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Hey, folks! Zonderkidz is partnering with me for a fabulous giveaway!

Here’s a chance to win a copy of Richard Cowdrey’s fabulous picture book, “Fiona the Hippo,” about the plucky premature hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo. (Read my glowing review here.) In addition to the picture book, you’ll receive an adorable Fiona stuffed animal, and a Fiona sippy cup! All courtesy of partner Zonderkidz.

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“Fiona the Hippo, by New York Times bestselling artist Richard Cowdrey of Bad Dog, Marley fame, tells the story of Fiona, the adorable internet sensation from the Cincinnati Zoo who captured hearts around the world with her inspiring story and plucky personality.

Born prematurely, at only 29 pounds, Fiona was not expected to live. But her spunk and determination helped her thrive and become a happy, healthy hippopotamus. With every challenge she faced, Fiona let out a snort, wiggled her ears, and said “I’ve got this.” And she did! In this delightful story, inspired by the real adventure of this heroic hippo, join Fiona and her lovable animal friends at the zoo as she is introduced to the world in this whimsical and inspiring tale of perseverance and friendship.”

During a very recent trip to Kenya, I had the opportunity to see many hippos at Masai Mara. Most were in the Masai Mara river, but we caught sight of one walking along the dirt road. She was huge and pink and grey, and we loved getting to see her!

Be sure to enter to win your own “Fiona the Hippo” book and more!

Fiona’s fabulous giveaway!