I hope all is well with you. Niko & I are having a good summer, but recently we learned of a situation that as dog lovers, we find very unacceptable and we intend to do something about it. I know you love dogs too, so I hope you will consider joining us in our effort to help save more than 200 dogs this summer.
S.T.A.R.T. is a 501c3 charity that goes into Southern California’s highest kill shelters and pulls out 60, 80 even sometimes close to 100 animals at a time and transports them in a large, converted RV to pre-approved, no-kill shelters and rescue groups in the Pacific Northwest.
Here is a video about the group.
S.T.A.R.T. is doing wonderful work but they have hit an obstacle that unless solved will severely limit the number of dogs they can save this Summer/ Fall.
The truck that S.T.A.R.T. uses does not have sufficient air conditioning to cool a full transport of dogs during the searing summer heat. This leaves S.T.A.R.T. to either send half empty trucks or to rent smaller vans–both options waste precious resources and mean fewer dogs are saved.
I would like to try and help them raise the money to install an air-conditioning unit which would be roughly $5,000.00.
This is a large sum of money but when you consider how many dogs can be saved, the return on investment is enormous; for most rescue groups the average cost of rescuing a dog is between $300 and $600 dollars (I have rescued dogs that have cost me into the thousands). When operating at full capacity, S.T.A.R.T. cost per rescued dog is just $36.00!
Please help me raise the $5,000 needed to install the AC and together we can save hundreds of dog this summer!
To donate using Paypal please click below:
Or… checks can be made to S.T.A.R.T. I am happy to come pick up a check if you are here in L.A. or they can be mailed directly to S.T.A.R.T. with the words “Air Con” in the memo.
PO Box 4792
Please contact me with any questions or if you want to come with me to see off a transport in person.
In rescue there is a saying…
Saving one dog may not change the world, but surely the world will change for that one dog.
Through this donation we have the chance to change the world for hundreds of dogs.
With a Labrador in your house, you have to be beyond careful about leaving any food around…anywhere.
While we try–counters are kept clear, garbage cans have air-tight lids, and food is never left lying around–our Lab Ranger has the uncanny ability to swoop at the precise moments when we have let down our guard.
In the almost-three years that we’ve had him, here are a few of the highlights of Rangers “hunting” spoils:
4 lbs of Hershey Chocolate Chips- found in a visiting relative’s suitcase.
A pack of Sugar Free Gum- found in the couch cushions.
1 Bag of Ricola Cough Drops- swiped from the back of my desk.
A WHOLE Gym Sock- who knew he’d eat a whole sock!
I’m sure Ranger has eaten countless other things that I am either blocking out or unaware of and yet he is still alive. The only items that required stomach pumping were the Sugar Free Gum–Xylitol, the key ingredient in sugar-free gum is highly toxic– and the Large Gym Sock which had the potential to bind up his intestines…yum.
You’re probably thinking what about the the chocolate; isn’t that extremely toxic? Yes you’re right, chocolate is highly poisonous to dogs, but thankfully the chips were of the milk chocolate variety and moreover most Hershey Chocolate Chips are relatively low in actual chocolate content. Had the chips been something gourmet or of a higher cocoa content, we’d have been in trouble.
The vet advised us to watch for any lethargy or shaking. He showed neither and in fact was scheming for more food. So while not a pretty site (read heaps of chocolate poop and vomit) Ranger survived without a trip to a vet. NOTE: if your dog eats chocolate do not take my word on this one…CONTACT YOUR VET ASAP because every situation is different.
Stomach pumping or not it’s always scary when your dog eats something foreign. So how do you know if what you’re dog has eaten is dangerous??
2. Contact the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680. There is a 35 dollar charge per call–there isn’t any public funding for something like this–but that a small price to pay for your dog’s safety and your piece of mind.
I could not be any more proud of my friend and rescue buddy Lesley Brog.
Lesley & a newly saved puppy
In just the last few months she has gone from being a dedicated, but casual dog rescuer to having her own fully functioning rescue, Wags and Walks.
To date, Wags and Wags has rescued 32 dogs that would have otherwise certainly been left behind and most likely put down. And for those of you who have admired HOOCH, the mastiff I helped to rescue earlier this year… that was a Lesley dog. (On a side note HOOCH now not only has a new daddy who loves him to pieces, but HOOCH also has his own website…GET SOME HOOCH…more on that later)
While I would be proud of Lesley for these feats alone, I am even more impressed that Wags and Walks Dog Rescue was chosen this week by Dog Time Media to be the recipient of a $10,000 donation aimed at allowing Lesley to continue her mission of saving and promoting Los Angeles’ shelter dogs and preventing of cruelty to animals through education, awareness, and advocacy programs.
On Tuesday, Lesley, flanked by her daughters Macy (3) and Jesse (7), was presented with the check at LA County’s Baldwin Park shelter.
Wags and Walks Wins 10,000!
All rescuers are amazing, but what I love about what Lesley is doing, besides that she picks dogs that really otherwise wouldn’t get out—she’s got a soft spot for the pitties—is that she has incorporated her kids into her rescue work. Lesley’s girls are hands on in the process and help her through the often-arduous procedures involved in getting a dog out of harm’s way.
Izzy & Macy
Together the Brog girls work to help as many of LA’s unwanted dogs as possible by visiting shelters, taking pictures of the dogs (often with her girls to show that just because they’re pits doesn’t mean they are bad dogs), getting to know the dogs temperament, working with shelter staff, partnering with other rescue groups, networking the dogs that are the most in danger and putting plans in place to avoid dogs being put to sleep.
“We don’t just talk the talk” says Lesley. “I am a take action kind of girl! And I am also proud to teach my little girls empathy, compassion and kindness to animals first hand. This is what every mother wants to teach her children.”
It’s no wonder that so many of my early posts were about her battle and my loss. As a result of putting my experiences with Bella out there, I have been lucky enough to connect with other dog owners struggling with the loss or pending loss of a best friend. And while lucky sounds like an odd word to associate with that statement, I do feel lucky because people have shared with me the most wonderful stories of the love that they have for their dogs.
There is of course profound sadness that comes with the territory; I have often found myself sobbing about dogs I have never even laid eyes on but it’s worth it to be able to connect to the pure love we humans can share with a dog. It’s a beautiful if not painful thing, and apparently we are not alone in our ability to connect to man (and woman’s) best friend…
So while I can’t pretend to know what an elephant thinks or feels on most days, I think I can imagine what Tarra, an elephant living at in a Tennessee sanctuary, is feeling today.
You may remember Tarra from the news a while back. She is the rescue elephant who befriend a stray dog almost a decade ago. The two were inseparable and were such an incredible story that CBS news profiled them in 2009.
Unfortunately their story took a sad turn this week…
For nearly a decade, Tarra had been best friends with a dog named Bella, a mutt who wandered onto the sanctuary grounds and into the heart of the gentle giant. Tarra clearly loved her little dog and Bella obviously bonded right back.
They were so close, in fact, that when Bella got injured a few years ago and had to spend three weeks recuperating in the sanctuary office, guess who held vigil the entire time? Twenty-two hundred acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner waiting. Home video of their reunion shows how inseparable they’d become and remained, right to the end.
Last week, sanctuary workers found Bella’s body. By all indications she’d been attacked by coyotes. Whether Tarra witnessed it, tried to intervene or was too late – no one knows. All they do know is that where they found Bella is not where she was attacked.
“When I looked around and saw there was no signs of an attack here. No blood, no tuffs of hair, nothing,” said director of elephant husbandry, Steve Smith. “And Tarra, on the underside of her trunk, had blood – as if she picked up the body.
Tarra moved her?
“Tarra moved her,” Smith said.
Steve’s theory is Tarra carried Bella possibly a mile or more to bring her home.
Whether it really happened that way or not, no one doubts Tarra was that devoted.
“There’s nothing we can do to take away her pain,” said Atkinson. “The only ones who can help now are the elephants. And that is already happening.”
Atkinson said the elephants are “stepping in and stepping up.” He said they’re spending more time with Tarra and being extra nice – making gestures like giving her a portion of their food.
Of course, anyone who’s lost a dog knows you can’t eat your way out of the grief – as much we might try — but still nice to know at least Tarra’s not alone in this.
It’s also nice to see that compassion is much more than just human.
From The Associated Press
HILLSBORO, Ohio – A southwest Ohio couple, who adopted a Saint Bernard to save him, said the dog returned the favor just a few hours later, saving their home from burglary.
Rubert and Elizabeth Littler adopted the 135-pound dog from the Highland County Dog Pound to help him get back to full health, so they could find him a permanent home.
The dog had been found, bloody and dehydrated, by hikers on Oct. 31, likely the victim of a coyote attack, according to a local veterinarian.
The Littlers didn’t know when they named him Hercules, that he would live up to that name just six hours later.
Rubert Littler told The Times-Gazette that he was taking Hercules outside Wednesday night when the dog started growling, and then charged through a screen door to chase a man running out of their basement.
The dog bit into the man’s ankle as he climbed a fence and got away. Police investigating the break-in said the home’s phone and cable lines had been cut.
The Littlers, who already have four other dogs, said Hercules has earned a permanent home as their hero.
Halloween night my friend Amy sited a beautiful what looked to be German Shepherd puppy darting in and out of traffic on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. With thick fog, drunk, costumed bar patrons and fireworks, Venice was not exactly the ideal spot for a stray pup.
In her car, and at times literally getting out of her car with the lights flashing to stop traffic to try to get him, Amy tracked the dog for a good 30 minutes during which time she called me. And while we’ve been friends for an eternity, we usually communicate by email of Facebook chat or text. So, knowing that she was basically as dog-obsessed and I, as soon as I saw her name pop up on my phone I knew…I bet there’s going to be a dog involved in this call. In fact I think I answered, “So what did you find?”
She was still mid-pursuit when we spoke and while I encouraged her to continue, I also wanted to put her at ease in case she was unable to catch the dog. Dogs on the run are often hard to convince that you’re their best option and I’ve almost killed myself and embarrassingly, some pedestrians in coming to that truth.
Thankfully with Amy’s determination and the help of another Venice dog lover she was able to wrangle the little guy, get him on a leash and into her car. And while that is always a huge victory, it’s also when the real challenges begin.
Found German Shepherd Puppy
Finding a dog can be a somewhat intimidating process even for me who to has found a lot of dogs including my own angel Bella who I found running in downtown LA. Is the dog going to be nice? Is he going to have tags? What if he does have tags and the owner is puke? Does this mean that I’m going to have to go to the shelter (p.s. I don’t’ do shelters because I’m wussy) and bottom line how much is this going to cost me. I was relieved to have a partner in this rescue; I knew Amy would step up to the plate. There is nothing worse than when someone finds a dog, calls me and then won’t do anything to help me deal with the aftermath.
Once the dog was safely in her car, Amy and I went over the options. She would of course work to find the owner if there was one (Craigslist, flyers, Pet Detective etc), but what would she do for the right then and there…where would she take the dog for the night?
She could take him to the shelter, keep him for the night or board him at the vet. While her dog Bernard, a Katrina rescue, is sweet and gets along with most dogs he can be a little edgy unless he’s properly introduced so we opted for a night at the vet. Moreover we needed to take him there to be scanned for a Microchip. Microchips are just as they sound small chips that are implanted underneath the dogs skin, usually on the back of their necks, and upon these little magic chips can be recorded all of the owner’s contact information. They are essential in the
With that we were each off, she from street corner in Venice and me my bed.
When Amy opened the car door the sweetest faced, scared little shepherd mix slinked out. He clung to the floor but as soon as we made it inside, he immediately started to warm up, let his tail out from between his legs and give us and the techs kisses, kisses and more kisses.
As I assumed would be the case, the little guy wasn’t chipped. Part of me was relieved though. One of my biggest fears is finding an owner only to hate them and still have to give them back their dog.
At that point again we could and some would have said should have brought him to the shelter (people will often look at shelters as their first option when looking for a lost pet) and as shelters go the West LA shelter is pretty swanky. But neither of us could do it. Amy wasn’t too keen on the idea and even having done rescue for almost a decade, I am somewhat shelter-phobic. So seeing that the little guy was in relatively good shape, we hoped that he was just a neighborhood dog that got spooked by the fireworks and weird Halloween energy prompting him to escape his yard.
Although Amy was a little teary at the idea of leaving him behind at the vet, we knew it was the right thing to do. Amy went home and posted a somewhat limited (i.e. without a pictures) ad on Craigslist. Only worse than giving the dog back to a bad owner would be giving him to some unscrupulous person pretending to be his owner. And the pup was so cute you never know what you’re going to find.
Within an hour of Amy’s posting she received a desperate email from a man in her neighborhood that his dog must have gotten out while he went out for the evening and he had been desperately searching for him since. He attached a picture and indeed it was a match.
Click here to order your own ID Collar! Proceeds go to Wags & Walks!
The dog’s name was SWAY and thankfully he had a nice owner who I am hoping has by now gotten Sway micro-chipped and for that matter a new collar with his information prominently displayed. And while tags are good place to start, to be sure your dog is traceable back to you, tags are often come off when a dog goes on the run. So a good back-up means of identification are embroidered dog colors like these :
The proceeds from these collars go to support what else but dog rescue, in particular it’s a group I’m proud to be working with called Wags and Walks. Click here to find out more about Wags and Walks!
So the morals of my little Halloween story are the following:
-Get your dog mircro-chipped, and if you find a dog get it scanned for a microchip at your local shelter or vet.
-If there are fireworks or other craziness in your neighborhood, be sure to keep your dogs safely inside. You can even talk to your vet about giving your dog a light sedative. Checking for dosage of course, something as easy as an over the counter Benadryl can make them just the right amount of dozy.
-If you find a dog be sure to post it in the Lost/Found section of Craigslist.
-If you find a dog and you call me, you’d better be like Amy and be willing to help!
It is always difficult to say goodbye to a beloved pet, and explaining how you feel to non-dog-crazy people is like adding insult to injury; not everyone understands how much our dogs mean to us.
Through the magic of the internet I have met a wonderful, dog-loving woman named Judy. She is a friend of my sister’s who lives in Singapore with her husband Russel who is a photographer (hence the amazing pics) and a pack of beloved Golden Retrievers.
Golden's at Christmas
Sadly, Sidney her first boy, his health had begun to deteriorate in recent months. Knowing that her friend Cynthia’s sister was a crazy dog person, who might understand her situation, she reached out and we began chatting online.
Judy wrote me the most beautiful emails about her beloved Sidney and her fight to keep him healthy and vital. Unlike the US where vets are abundant and understanding of the desire to keep dogs alive and well at almost any cost, Singapore was somewhat behind. And yet Sidney was born in 1994! Certainly Judy was quite a dog mom to have a Golden live strong for 15 plus years.
Sydney wearing Louis Vuitton Sneaker
But last week, it was time to let Sidney go. I asked Judy to write something about Sidney because if we honor our family and friends with obituaries, we should do the same for our four-legged family member who we love so dearly.
Here is what she wrote:
There is such a strange void and silence in my house after Sidney died. I can’t explain it. Even though I still have 3 dogs, I think his aura was really big.
My husband, Russel, brought Sidney home about 15 and half years ago. We were dating, not married yet. I named him Sidney (after Sidney Poitier) and he was the finest blonde I’d ever met! Like people, some dogs have a presence that cannot be explained and Sidney had that X factor. Everyone always remembers Sidney. It’s not that he did special tricks or anything uniquely special, but people have always gravitated to him. Even when we finally settled and with 4 adorable goldens, Sidney was always the one that stood out.
Sidney also remembers people really well. He adored Russel’s father (who passed away on 28 Aug, exactly 2 months before Sids) who took care of him when he was a sick puppy. Russel’s father, Dr Wong, would take time out of his rest to nurse and medicate this special doggy every hour on the hour and feed him soft white bread to encourage Sidney to eat. Up to today, Sidney’s favorite food is a loaf of baguette! Whenever Sidney saw Dr Wong, he would just go nuts! He would want to snuggle up close and put his lap on Dr Wong, like he was forever grateful to Dr Wong for saving his life and caring.
During Russel’s photo shoots, Sidney would walk over to the studio and sit down and posed. It was really funny because Russel always had to shoo him out of the studio. Sidney liked posing with people! He really did enjoy taking pictures! But more than anything, he loved being around people and people loved him. He was a sensitive soul, my boy, and he had a lot of friends. So many were in tears when I announced that he died, so many.
Sydney in his favorite spot
I knew he was going to die when I woke up on the morning of the 28th. He was so tired and he was having a hard time breathing. I carried him downstairs (they ALL sleep with me in my bedroom, no matter who is sick) and saw that he probably had hours or another day at most. I finally made the decision to call the vet to the house (I would not have wanted him to die at the vet’s, I had to respect Sidney’s wishes. I know how much he hated the vet’s office) because I just couldn’t bear to see him suffer anymore. What really hurts is that his eyes were so alive and well, but the rest of him was not. That makes me feel so guilty! The logical side of my brain understands that it was the best thing for him, but my heart was just in pieces.
Please God take care of my Sidney and forgive me. I’m trying to make myself remember all the wonderful years and be grateful for every minute of them, to have had the opportunity to love such a wonderful companion and get loved back. But it’s still hard. it’s going to take a while…. a long while.
Meanwhile, I’m just trying to give attention to the other 3 doggies. But there is a huge void in my home and in my heart.
What a beautiful letter Judy wrote and I’m glad we were able to connect and share about Sydney.
If you need to share about your dog, I’m always here at firstname.lastname@example.org or there are some amazing Pet Loss support resources online, including the ASPCA’s website and Petloss.com which has a lengthy list of grief hotlines.
In rescue, people tend to have their things. Some do transport, some raise money, some do adoptions, some foster and some do all of the above. I’ve been a money raiser/money raiser/transporter who doesn’t love doing adoptions and who certainly never fostered–my beloved Bella had a certain disdain for pretty much anything on four legs.
But now, with my boy Ranger being the congenial happy-go-lucky boy that he is, I realized that I could consider temporarily inviting a second dog in my home. (Fostering is really one of the most helpful things you can do for a rescue btw for anyone considering it.)
Marvin is for Adoption
At the same time, a long-time rescue friend, on whom I have foisted many a dog, found herself with 3 spirited young pups. She has been doing rescue for a long time and had been trying to wind down her pack to just lifers–older dogs who were basically unadoptable whether for behavioral or health reasons. But as a tender-hearted sucker, she couldn’t say no to the puppies; each with a story more terrible than the next. And while they were independently quite wonderful, together, the puppy energy was driving her nuts!
In a recent conversation I could hear the exasperation in her voice–remember god made puppies cute for a reason. Feeling like I wanted to pitch in and realizing I could actually try fostering at this point, I offered to foster one of the pups with a focus on finding him a home. She was ecstatic.
Within a few hours I was driving away from her house with Marvin..the absolutely cutest 22lb poodle mix you’ve ever seen. He’s steel gray with a bit of white on his chest and a light gray soul patch under his chin. It’s unclear what’s he’s mixed with, maybe a Lhasa Apso perhaps or a Tibetan Terrier? Whatever is in there, is incredibly affectionate and smart.
This dog just loves love. He wants to be next to you, in your lap or even better in your lap curled into your armpit. He is also quite playful with Ranger and with us; not annoying so, but he definitely makes things a bit more lively in the house. And the best part is that Ranger, who can be a little aloof is learning from Marvin how to be more affectionate.
There are people interested in him already and I hope we find him a perfect home–one where he will be cherished and loved and one where he can spend a good deal of time cuddled up like the baby he was born to be!
I came across the Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho and I’m now somewhat obsessed.
Its a Bed & Breakfast guesthouse inside the World’s Biggest Beagle. Guests enter the body of the beagle from a private 2nd story deck. Some of the dog’s decorative furnishings are carvings by Dog Bark Park chainsaw artists Dennis & Frances. Inside and up another level to the head of the dog is a loft room with additional sleeping space plus a cozy alcove in the muzzle.
The Beagles have names too: Toby and Sweet Willy. Toby, a 12-foot tall beagle statue, was built by Dog Bark Park artists Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin.
Sweet Willy, officially known as Dog Bark Park Inn, is one of America’s latest additions to the type of roadside architecture popular in the early days of automobile vacation travel when travelers would often buy gas, eat meals or stay overnight in a building that looked like something else. Remember coffee pot or teacup gas stations, milk bottle shaped restaurants or the shoe and duck houses? For today’s travelers Dog Bark Park Inn offers a glimpse into those bygone days with all the comforts of our modern days.