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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Support Your Local Shelter

I'm late for posting this. I missed the July 15th date, but our shelters need our help all the time, not on just one particular day.

The local shelter we support is C.A.R.E., Castaway Animal Rescue Effort.

C.A.R.E. is the brainchild of Melissa Sartin. She was dedicated to helping save animals lives for many years before she started and incorporated a non-profit animal rights organization in 1992.

She struggled for years working toward the goal of establishing a permanent No-Kill shelter facility and sanctuary. She purchased the land and a small building where the shelter stands. She and other volunteers dug trenches for water pipes, installed indoor and outdoor drains, put up chain link fencing, created dog walking trails and built out buildings.

C.A.R.E. now has a storefront adoption center and an attached thrift shop for fund raising.
C.A.R.E. does not accept animals from individuals. Instead they rescue dogs and cats from death row at various local kill style shelters. The animals can be seen at the adoption center or at one of the many adoption events the volunteers attend with adoptable animals.

In October the adoption center was broken into and $1000 was stolen. To a shelter that depends on donations to exist, that is an overwhelming loss. Last month some kids were seen on a surveillance tape breaking into a storage shed and stealing dog and cat food.

C.A.R.E has a wishlist, as do most shelters, of supplies they need. They also need volunteers for any number of tasks.

We'd love to hear about your favorite shelter.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A New Little Brother

We want to introduce you to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is a handsome young Chinese Shar Pei who was waiting in a shelter for his forever family to find him.

Now he is in a safe and loving home sharing duties with his big sister Lola. There are lots of things that he needs to learn and Lola will teach him. The boy doesn't know how to play, so that is the first lesson and it's already begun.

Brooklyn is adjusting well to family life and with a teacher like Lola, he'll do just fine.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The final part of my series on helping animals in need is about transport.

Missouri, where we live, is a puppy mill state. It's a shameful thing to keep animals in such conditions and overbreed them till they wear out. The state should step in and help, but politics being what it is and greed being the driving force behind business and politics, laws are made that punish thoughtful, caring pet owners and let the millers go on with their disgusting work.

Occasionally a community will raid a puppy mill or an animal hoarder or just someone who is not caring for their animals. The animals will be seized and put into shelters. A shelter in Missouri may not be able to place five Cocker Spaniels, but they know of a shelter in Michigan that can. How do they get the animals from Missouri to Michigan. It's much too costly to fly them so they put out word that they need transporters.

The transport coordinator will contact shelters and clubs along the way and individuals will volunteer to take part. On the day of the transport, each volunteer knows the route they will drive and the time and place to meet.

Our first transport was last November when we helped a sweet Basset get from Oklahoma to Maryland. She had been owned by an elderly lady who had too many dogs and could no longer care for them. A couple of other people brought her to Springfield where we picked her up and drove her to Rolla, MO, a trip of about 100 miles.

In Rolla, her next transporter was waiting to take her on to St Louis, where she spent the night, then traveled on the next day.

In about three days time, with the help of a number of people, each driving about 100 miles, Bessie arrived at House of Puddles, a retirement home for Bassets. She'll live the rest of her life there surrounded by others like her.

No more cages and filth. Now she plays with other dogs in lovely surroundings.

Our second experience was a little different. This time there were six Chihuahuas that had come from several different shelters. They were all on their way to Indiana.

Because one of the drivers had another appointment, there was a delay and we took the little ones home with us for a couple hours. We fed and exercised them and gave out lots of scratches and belly rubs.

Then it was back into their carriers to resume the trip. This time they were going to spend the night in St Louis and be picked up the next day bu a long distance trucker who would take them to their destination.
This batch of pups were heading to Chihuahua Rescue USA, where they would be evaluated, given medical care and then placed in safe homes to live with a forever family.

Transports are a way of helping to move animals to where the homes are waiting. It takes only a little time from your weekend and gives you a tremendous sense of satisfaction. To get involved, call a shelter or dog club in your area. They probably know who to contact to get your name on the volunteer driver list.


Rescue is probably the most important means of making a difference in the life of an abused, neglected or abandoned animal. Getting them off the streets or out of dangerous situations is essential. Getting them off death row in a 'kill' shelter and finding safe homes with a foster family or permanent family is the goal.

Most of us don't have the time, funds and space to set up a full rescue shelter to keep a number of homeless animals till they find homes. Some people do it on a small basis, taking in a certain number of animals that they can care for while searching for placements, then taking in others.

Many of us do it on a one at a time basis. Even if we have a pet already, we find a place in our homes and hearts for a stray or an animal that was rescued by others. Rob and I have eight PWDs, but we also have Morgan and Tsar in our family. They were neglected and abandoned pups that fit right into our home and became permanent members.

Rob and I have taken in dogs that were strays on the street, dogs that were neglected or abused by owners that didn't want them and dogs that were turned in to shelters.

The public shelters in many communities have adopted a 'no kill' policy over the past few years, keeping adoptable animals alive and using creative ways of finding permanent homes for them. They swap with other shelters to put an animal in an area where it may be more in demand and the use of foster homes has grown tremendously.

Although most of us can't run a shelter from our own home, we can help out local shelters in a number of way.

Most shelters are privately funded from gifts and donations. Money is always in short supply and they have to use their funds carefully. Food, medical care, and utilities are major expenses. Any time they can save precious dollars by using volunteer services, that means more money for the animals and more animals can be helped.

If you've been thinking about volunteering, but you don't know what you could do, there's a job for everyone at the shelter. They need people to answer phones and do paperwork, to meet and greet people and answer questions.

Shelters create lots of laundry. Blankets, towels and bedding must be washed daily. Even kids can fold towels and blankets.

Cages and pens need to be cleaned daily or perhaps more often. Animals also need exercise. Many shelters are happy to have someone who will walk the dogs and give them some exercise.

Our dog training club recently sponsored an event in cooperation with the local shelter called 'walk a hound, lose a pound'. The shelter brought a load of dogs to the park and our club members each walked one around the park. People with dog training experience can work with the dog on improving his manners and walking well on a leash. Those simple things can significantly improve the dog's chances of being adopted.

Feeding can be a fun activity to help with at the shelter. What animals don't enjoy seeing someone coming with a bowl of food in his hand?

A very important activity for the well being of the animal is playtime. It also works to socialize the animal and make it more adoptable.

Another volunteer opportunity is helping at adoption events. We've all seen the dogs and cats at stores and parks and various places. The animals are all cleaned up and sometimes wearing bandanas, all hoping that someone will see them and take them home.

There are many ways to help rescue organizations and they desperately need our help. With more animals than ever being turned in to shelters and many families having trouble making ends meet, the shelters are stretching their funds farther than ever.
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