Adoption | Adoption Adoption en-us Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:40:00 -0700 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:40:00 -0700 Orion <![CDATA[Does Looking Like Steve Buscemi Get a Dog Adopted Faster?]]> Dogs and Steve Buscemi seem to have a very special link in the public mind. For some reason, people have this tendency to every so often say, "That dog looks like Steve Buscemi."

Actually, I may be making a mountain out of a molehill. But while I can find the occasional page that compares various celebrities to dogs, I have yet to find any examples where, for instance, dogs bearing a strong resemblance to Ron Perlman or Matt Damon suddenly became viral phenomenons on the Internet.

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Does looking at this dog really conjure up memories of Reservoir Dogs, Fargo, and Boardwalk Empire? Maybe not, but she is awfully cute. Image via Go Dog Safe Paws

The most recent dog to be declared Buscemi's canine avatar is Ari, a 9-month-old Pug and Beagle mix. Natasha Vargas-Cooper was the first to identify her as the actor's incarnation in the dog world in an article she wrote for Jezebel last week. Vargas-Cooper is a volunteer at Go Dog Safe Paws, a nonprofit in Southern California that pulls at-risk dogs out of high-kill shelters and tries to find them homes. "I think Ari would be great for long sunny naps, smelly kisses, and shrewd judge of potential lovers," she wrote.

Until the Jezebel article, Ari was just lingering with with the organization, hoping desperately for someone to give her a home. Now she's the hottest thing to hit the Internet since sideways smiley-faces because she's become known as the dog who looks like Steve Buscemi.

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The actual Steve Buscemi. cinemafestival /

Now, it looks certain that Ari will have a forever home. Beth Lavigne, the director of Go Dog Safe Paws, told the Huffington Post that prior to the Jezebel article, Ari got the least number views on their adoption site. "I thought, what is wrong with people?" she told HuffPo. "She's, like, the cutest dog I've ever seen."

Now, people from around the world want to bring Ari home, but the rescue will only give her to a home in the Los Angeles area. That's standard policy for all of their dogs -- the group checks the homes before adopting them out, so they have to be local.

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Image via Go Dog Safe Paws

I don't see the resemblance, myself. Looking at Ari, I don't suddenly start having flashbacks to Boardwalk Empire or Fargo, but if it gets Ari into a forever home, I say go for it. I just wish that people didn't suddenly want to adopt from a shelter because they read one article that tugs at their heart. The fact that the group is getting calls from all over the world shows the problem: All of those people have shelters within a few miles of them that also have scores of dogs and cats for adoption, but they want the one that was on the Internet.

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At Go Dog Safe Paws, volunteers think Ari looks more like Grumpy Cat. They even made a movie poster for a team-up between the two. Image via Go Dog Safe Paws

As I said before, the Buscemi link isn't new: Last year, Michael Leaverton wrote right here about Chuchi, a dog who had also been declared to look like Steve Buscemi. After spending eight months living at a no-kill shelter, Chuchi was adopted out to a forever home. Coincidence? I think not. Maybe the solution is that we just declare that shelter dogs all look like Steve Buscemi.

Or maybe we just keep on reminding people that there are a lot of lovable dogs at the shelter near them, even if they haven't become Internet memes. That's a much harder and slower process, but in reality, it's all we have.

Good luck to Ari in finding a comfortable new home. We'll let you know when the next Buscemi doppleganger comes around.

Via Jezebel, Huffington Post and Go Dog Safe Paws

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Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:40:00 -0700 /the-scoop/does-looking-like-steve-buscemi-get-a-dog-adopted-faster
<![CDATA[Retired U.S. Greyhound Racers Find Forever Homes in Canada ]]> April is the official National Greyhound Adoption Month, but for the many dedicated Greyhound advocates across North America, every month should get that label. This is especially true for Deb Ward, president of Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption Association in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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Deb and her husband John have brought hundreds of retired racing Greyhounds to Canada and placed them in loving adopted homes across the prairies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

“Every time we see a dog happily in his home, it makes all the hours on the road, all the hours we spend -- moving them into foster care, getting them to the vet, getting them out to meet people, doing home visits -- it makes every single hour worth it,” says Ward.

And the hours certainly do add up. Last summer, the Wards made eight trips to Iowa, one of seven states where Greyhound racing is still legal in the U.S., to pick up dogs. That's a 26-hour drive, each way.

The couple have made countless road trips over the last decade, but their love for the breed was sparked years before they got involved in adoption or even had a Greyhound of their own.

“In 1997, my husband and I went to Arizona for a holiday, and I walked past a Greyhound track,” recalls Ward. “I fell in love right then, and I said my next dog is going to be a Greyhound.”

When the Wards got back to Canada, they started looking around for local rescue groups, but came up empty-handed. The couple contacted rescue groups in the United States, but many were reluctant to adopt to the Wards because of the geographic distance. It took five years before Deb Ward’s wish was finally granted.

“I was driving home one night, and I saw a sign that said 'Greyhound Adoption Day," says Ward. "I said, 'Jon, we’re going to that.' That was on a Friday night, and on Saturday we went to the meet and greet. On Thursday, our first Greyhound came home.”

That first Greyhound was Zinny, a beautiful and sweet-tempered retired racer who came up to Canada through a group called Chinook Winds Greyhound Rescue.

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Zinny's smile was infectious. (All photos courtesy Deb Ward)

“She was a racing-school dropout,” explains Ward. “She only ran four races and didn’t do well in any of them, so she retired when she was just under two years old. She was placed in a home before she came to us, and that home didn’t work out. She’d just been returned when it happened that we were at that meet and greet.”

Zinny was the perfect match for the Wards. She fit right in with the couple, their cats, and their Miniature Pinscher/Chihuahua cross. Zinny inspired the Wards to start working with Chinook Winds to help other Greyhounds find homes, and she also inspired them to expand their own Greyhound family.

“We adopted our second one about four months after that, and we have just kept going ever since.”

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Sam was the second Greyhound to join the Ward household.

And they kept going in a big way -- the Wards currently have eight Greyhounds of their own, but they say it’s not as chaotic as people would imagine.

“It’s like having two of any other dog. Everyone thinks that they’re such high-energy, busy dogs, but they’re absolutely not. Greyhounds are much more cat-like than they are dog-like. They sleep 18 to 21 hours a day,” says Ward. “They are the most chill, laid-back dog ever.”

Unfortunately, the Wards lost the founding member of their Greyhound pack on Christmas Day 2014, when Zinny passed at 13 years old.

“We were very lucky,” says Ward. “We had almost 11 years with her, and for a retired racer that is absolutely incredible.”

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The late Zinny's legacy lives on.

Zinny may be gone, but the impact she had on the Ward household lives on. The beloved dog inspired the Wards to form Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption Association when Chinook Winds decided to stop bringing retired racers up from from the States.

“Over the time we worked with Chinook Winds, we probably adopted out 300 to 500 dogs. And since we’ve been Northern Sky, we’ve brought in and adopted out 130 dogs so far.”

Over the years, the Wards have watched the Greyhound racing industry in the United States change and shrink, and the type of dogs who need help is also changing. According to Ward, Greyhound rescue and adoption groups are no longer a dumping ground for injured racing dogs; now, the dogs are more likely to come off the track having had appropriate veterinary care before heading to adoption groups. That’s why Ward takes a neutral position on regulated Greyhound racing, but she still steadfastly opposes the underground world of field and match races.

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All the dogs adopted through Northern Sky between January and December 2014.

“Not all Greyhound groups will take a Greyhound cross, but we’ve taken 26 dogs from the American Lurcher Project,” explains Ward, who says the dogs known as Lurchers are used in underground, unregulated racing, and they suffer miserably.

“The Lurchers, unlike the Greyhounds, have not had the vetting care,” says Ward, adding that bringing up a Lurcher costs her about twice as much as bringing up a retired racer.

“These dogs who come in through the Lurcher project are so grateful and so happy to have the attention and the love," says Ward. "They don’t take any longer to house-train than the retired racers do, and they share many of the same traits.”

Ward says the Lurchers also tend to be more responsive to commands than their Greyhound cousins (who still make up most of Northern Sky’s adoptable dogs). According to Ward, the Lurchers are like Greyhounds "with a little extra.” She recommends them to adopters who want that extra bit of dog-like personality -- although she still perfers the cat-like personality of purebred Greyhounds.

“I’ve always been a dog person -- I’ve never had a day in my entire life without a dog -- but the moment I met a Greyhound, it was like something inside me just changed completely," Ward says. "Looking into the eyes of a Greyhound is like looking into the soul of the world, and I was just sunk.”

To learn more about Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption Association, follow the group on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at

Read more on Greyhounds and Greyhound racing:

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

Tue, 28 Apr 2015 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/northern-sky-greyhound-adoption-retired-racers-lurchers
<![CDATA[Watch the East Bay SPCA Parody Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" ]]> Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the East Bay SPCA has come up with a clever way to get the word out about dog adoptions. Last week, it released a video parodying Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' number one hit, "Uptown Funk." The parody, titled "Oaktown Pup," features staff members and rescue dogs frolicking and showing off in genuinely funky style. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also makes an appearance, playing with a bunch of German Shepherd puppies. All of the dogs appearing in the video have already been adopted from East Bay SPCA shelters.

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Image via YouTube.

Admittedly, the video is a little bit corny -- okay, more than a little bit -- but it's charming as well. The people and dogs are defintely having fun, and it not only gets across the message that adopting a pet is the way to go, but the video puts in several plugs for spaying and neutering your pet as well.

In a way, the Oakland SPCA's video was inevitable. If they hadn't done it, someone else surely would have. The original song has become so ubiquitous that parodies have been popping up all over the Internet, including "Suburban Funk" and the Harry Potter-themed "Dark Lord Funk," which is performed by Voldemort and his cronies.

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Image via YouTube.

In addition, shelters are almost always in a state of crisis trying to get people to adopt, and playing with pop culture is a great way to remind the public that they are almost literally giving away pets who need forever homes. (Not including a few medical and processing fees, of course.)

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and friends. Image via YouTube.

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Image via YouTube.

A few months ago, when Pharrell's "Happy" was all the rage, the hosts of Life in the Dog House showed off their love for their eight rescue dogs by making a parody called "Yappy." Naturally, it was a big success, and "Oakland Pups" is doing really well, too. Since it was uploaded last Tuesday, it's been viewed over 730,000 times and stands a good chance of hitting the 1 million mark. The Twitter tag #OakTownPups is also getting a lot of coverage, helping to spread the word about the video and pet adoption alike.

Check out the video below, then pass it on to your friends.

Via YouTube

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Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:50:00 -0700 /the-scoop/east-bay-spca-bruno-mars-uptown-funk-shelter-dogs
<![CDATA[Hungarian Short Film Makes Powerful Statement About Abandoned Children and Pets]]> The video below is very powerful, but also very intense. Just a warning: Brace yourself if you decide to watch it.

Produced by Zoetis, a Hungarian company that sells medicines for livestock and pets, the film, "Gift," makes a statement both about abandoned children and abandoned pets.

Without words, it tells the story of a family that adopts a redheaded girl and brings her into their home. As time goes on, she starts to seem less adorable and more ... bothersome. She gets in fights with the older daughter, bothers the father while he's working on the computer, and messes up one of the rooms while playing -- apparently from a combination of boredom, loneliness, and resentment.

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The "redheaded stepchild" after messing up the bedroom. Via YouTube

That's apparently the last straw for the family: The father takes her and her stuffed doll for a long drive and stops somewhere out in the countryside where there's no one around. They could conceivably be the only people around for miles. He throws the doll, and when she runs frantically to get it, he drives away.

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Via YouTube

In the last shot, it's not a redheaded little girl sitting on the road, watching the car drive away; it's a dog. The final captions say (in English) "Be Responsible. Give, adopt wisely."

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Via YouTube

That, of course, is the flip side of pet adoption. We strive to get across the message that people should adopt pets from shelters instead of buying them from pet stores or breeders, but in either case, it's important that they know what they're getting into. Having a dog or other animal is a huge responsibility, and it's not all beer and Skittles (or more appropriately, kibble and Frisbees). Sometimes it takes a lot of patience and time that you'd rather spend doing something else, just as with any other member of the family. The fact that a lot of people see only the cuteness and not the responsibility when they get a pet is why so many animals wind up back at the shelter or worse, stranded alone on the roadside.

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Via YouTube

Director Zsofia Zsemberi shared her thoughts about the film at Bored Panda:

We made this short movie in order to draw attention to the abandoned, abused animals on the planet. I truly think that it is just as important to understand that whatever happens to an animal could also happen to a child. It is also a known fact that someone who abuses animals is likely to abuse human beings as well. This is why we thought that this strong resemblance between child and dog is important in this movie.

We cannot turn our heads away from brutality and abusement in the world, and it doesn’t matter if it’s something that’s happening next to you, in your neighborhood, or in a far away land. As a filmmaker and human/animal rights activist, I think it’s important to make movies that could influence others to rethink or even change things for the better in their own lives or in the way things are happening around them.

There can't be any better reason for making a movie. It's a beautifully made film, but once again, be careful and brace yourself before watching it. It has a kick.

Via YouTube

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Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:50:00 -0700 /the-scoop/hungarian-short-film-gift-makes-statement-abandoned-children-and-pets
<![CDATA[Breed Fads Are Bad for Dogs. Just Look at the Tibetan Mastiff]]> From Lassie to Rin Tin Tin, Frank the Pug to Beethoven the Saint Bernard, dogs in popular culture have always had a way of capturing the public’s imagination. Thanks to starring roles in Hollywood movies, their affiliations with certain celebrities, or their images as status symbols, breeds such as Poodles, Dalmatians, Cairn Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russell Terriers have all done their time as pop culture fads. But for purebred dog breeds, being popular is often not a good thing. For the Tibetan Mastiff in China, it’s been a curse.

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Tibetan Mastiff by Shutterstock.

According to a recent New York Times article, these huge, majestic canines, which were the must-have dog for status-conscious elites just three years ago, have fallen out of favor due to indiscriminate breeding, large-dog bans in some cities, and fickle, irresponsible owners. But unlike what happens to dogs when canine fads fizzle in Western countries, these majestic giants aren’t just being dumped in shelters, they’re ending up on dinner plates. In fact, just two months ago, 20 Tibetan Mastiffs were rescued from a dog meat truck, headed for slaughter. All were saved from their terrible fate, with eight of the dogs ending up at Luckier Animal Shelter outside of Beijing.

“Ten years ago, it was German Shepherds, then Golden Retrievers, then Dalmatians and then Huskies,” says Mary Peng, founder and chief executive of the International Center for Veterinary Services, in the NYT article. “But given the crazy prices we were seeing a few years ago, I never thought I’d see a Tibetan Mastiff on the back of a meat truck.”

But before we start singling out China, it’s important to remember that breed fads are a worldwide problem, especially in Western countries.

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German Shepherd by Shutterstock.

When people run out en masse and acquire dogs just because they’re trendy, the consequences for dogs can be devastating. Fads lead to canine overpopulation and inbreeding, as indiscriminate breeders capitalize on public demand, churning out mass quantities of dogs with little regard for health, temperament, or quality. As a result, many of our most beloved breeds have turned into “genetic nightmares,” with the greatest number of inherited disorders compared to less popular dogs.

For example, thanks to Rin Tin Tin’s popularity in movies and TV in the mid-20th century, German Shepherds were used by mass-production breeders profiting on the soaring popularity of this intelligent, protective breed. As a result, the GSD we know today is a breed plagued with serious congenital health issues such as hip dysplasia, heart problems, gastric disorders, and cancer.

Besides the genetic destruction of breeds, dog fads are terrible for animal shelters and rescue organizations. Since most impulse shoppers do little or no research before running out and buying a dog who has caught their fancy, it’s only a matter of time until they realize that the trendy pup doesn’t behave anything like that canine movie star or the furry fashion accessory a pop culture icon carries in her designer handbag. And that’s when rescue organizations and animal shelters become flooded with popularized breeds, dumped for not meeting human expectations or simply because they’ve fallen out of favor in the popular culture.

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Dalmatian by Shutterstock.

Hollywood definitely plays a huge role in this canine crisis. Whenever a movie starring a particular breed of dog is released, U.S. rescues and shelters brace themselves for the deluge of discarded dogs to come.

“When the 101 Dalmatian movies were released, many animal shelters experienced a huge increase in unwanted Dalmatians,” says Susan Feingold, shelter director of Dekalb County Animal Services in Georgia. “Currently, many California animal shelters are overwhelmed with Chihuahuas. In fact, some Chihuahua buyers seem to be purchasing them almost as a fashion accessory. The biggest current fad I’m seeing is with Pit Bulls, which in some communities are seen as a ‘macho’ status symbol. Any time an animal shelter is overwhelmed with any one breed of dog, it is the dogs who pay the price because it’s very difficult to find homes for all of them.”

While there are countless rescue groups and shelters working tirelessly to save dogs, fad breeds or otherwise, these valiant organizations simply can’t rescue their way out of this problem. Educating people about the responsibility of pet ownership, stressing the importance of doing research before acquiring a certain breed, promoting spay and neuter, and making rescue more attractive than buying are key to stopping the plethora of unwanted dogs overwhelming our shelters and rescues.

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Chihuahua by Shutterstock.

We live in a disposable society, but dogs are not widgets or gizmos, fashion accessories or status symbols -- they are living, breathing, sentient beings who depend on humans for their care. By falling prey to trends and giving less thought to acquiring a dog as one would a stereo, people are directly contributing to the needless deaths of one of our world’s most loving, loyal creatures -- almost 2 million of them per year in the U.S. alone.

Don’t be a “sheeple,” especially when it comes to dogs. Shelters and rescues are packed to the gills with purebred dogs of all shapes and sizes, so be part of the solution by saving a life and adopting your next canine companion. And if you have your heart set on a certain breed, do your research to make sure it’s the right fit for your lifestyle. Dogs are for life, not for a whim or a fashion season.

What do you think of breed fads? Have you ever followed one? What do you think we need to do to combat the negative effects these trends have on dogs?

About the author: Lisa Plummer Savas is a freelance writer, journalist, devoted dog mom, and animal activist. In an effort to help make the world a more compassionate place for non-human species, she is especially focused on using her writing to spread awareness about controversial animal welfare issues, including the dog and cat meat trade in Asia and Africa. She lives in Atlanta with two spoiled German Shepherds, one very entitled Pug, and a very patient, understanding husband. Read more of her work by visiting her blog and website.

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:30:00 -0700 /lifestyle/dog-breed-fads-tibetan-mastiff-pug-saint-bernard-dalmatian-chihuahua-jack-russell-terriers
<![CDATA[Having a Stressful Week at Work? Order Up Some Adoptable Dogs]]> A stressful work environment needs just one thing to boost employee satisfaction: furry visitors! At least that’s the theory behind the new Snuggle Delivery initiative at the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

When Adam Goldberg at the animal welfare organization first floated the idea of bringing puppies and kittens to visit local offices, his boss was somewhat skeptical. Goldberg had seen the SPCA of Texas do something similar by surprising people at their workplace with a crate full of kittens. Although it was just a one-time event, the moments were captured on social media for all to see (and swoon). Soon enough, Goldberg's superiors were on board and decided to include a fundraising element as part of the program.

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Pups like Princess will make office visits as part of the Snuggle Delivery initiative.

There are probably plenty of office jobs that could use a little four-legged love somewhere in the 9 to 5 rush. And the Humane Society is ready and willing to show up armed with animal babies and adults alike. All a company needs to do is make a donation of $150 (more is always welcome, of course, as are Wish List items) and set aside a quiet place for 60 to 90 minutes where workers can interact with the adoptable animals. In the time it takes to enjoy a lunch break, employees get a little respite from daily stresses, shelter animals are given the chance to socialize, and the wonderful benefits of adoption are made clear.

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Animals up for adoption, like Bruiser, get socialization and exposure to potential adoptive owners.

Last year, the Humane Society adopted out 7,500 animals, but there is a constant stream of new arrivals in need of homes. "If we can increase adoptions from this, that would be great," Goldberg says, adding that Snuggle Delivery helps strengthen relationships with local community members and businesses while bringing in vital funds for the privately financed organization.

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Rocky hopes to be one of thousands of animals who find new families every year.

The first office visit took place on April 3, when five pups visited a Fort Lauderdale accounting firm with 35 ready-to-snuggle employees. As a result, at least two pups found forever homes. The plan is to do one a day. At the moment, there have been 12 inquiries and nine bookings for a Snuggle Delivery, mostly from law firms.

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The first office visit at a local accounting firm was a snuggly success.

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Employees get a chance to meet adoptable dogs in return for a company donation to the Humane Society.

The organization is hopeful that the new program will give its deserving residents some much-needed attention. Spreading the word beyond Broward County would just be a bonus. "If we can inspire other places and make it easier for them to do the same thing, that’s great," Goldberg adds.

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A face like Gracie's can bring a little sunshine to any work environment or forever home.

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About the author: Whitney C. Harris is a New York-based freelance writer for websites including StrollerTraffic, Birchbox, and A former book and magazine editor, she enjoys running (with Finley), watching movies (also with Finley), and cooking meatless meals (usually with Finley watching close by).

Tue, 14 Apr 2015 08:10:00 -0700 /lifestyle/snuggle-delivery-shelter-dogs-cats-humane-society-broward-county
<![CDATA[Photobooth Pictures Help Shelter Dogs Find New Homes]]> The Humane Society of Utah came up with a great way to show their animals off to the world and bring people through the door: Put the dogs in a photo booth and take their pictures. That produced some of the most adorable pictures you're ever going to see, but it also has real practical value: It shows people exactly why they would want one of these dogs to become part of their family. "I was hoping that it would help change people's options and perceptions of shelter dogs," social media coordinator Guinnevere Shuster told Time Magazine. "Showing off the individual personalities of the dogs, instead of the sad 'behind bars' images that have become associated with shelter animals."

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Kita, a 3-year-old Pit Bull mix. (Via Facebook)

It seems to be working. Many of the dogs have been adopted after their pictures showed up on Facebook and Instagram. Special event manager Rachel Kelly told Time, "Since we have started utilizing social media, we had a record-breaking number of adoptions, placing over 10,000 animals into homes in 2014. We are already set to break that record this year … We definitely attribute this photo campaign as a large part of this success, as they capture the unique personality of each animal."

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Nero, a 6-year-old lab. (Via Facebook)

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Russo, a 7-year-old Lab mix. (Via Facebook)

It's an ingenious solution to the same problem that almost every shelter in the world faces every day: How do you get people to fall in love with your dogs and take them home? Thousands of dogs linger in shelters for months or years waiting for someone to come in the door and give them a forever home -- and that's if they're lucky enough to have landed in a no-kill shelter. Shelters are competing with peoples' pre-conceived notion of what they want in a pet -- usually small puppies of certain breeds. Solutions like the Utah Humane Society's photo booth pix help people break free of those notions. After all, who could look at one of these charmers and not want to take them home? They're not just cute pictures, but portraits of what people love about dogs, and why we welcome them into our families.

Via Time, Facebook, and Instagram

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Mon, 13 Apr 2015 10:35:00 -0700 /the-scoop/humane-society-utah-photobooth-dog-pictures-rescue-adoption
<![CDATA[Wings of Rescue Takes Flight This Weekend to Rehome 250 Pets]]> You may remember the group of volunteer pilots called Wings of Rescue. We've written about them before as Dogster Heroes for the great work they do. What that is, in a nutshell, is to transport dogs and cats from places where they are likely to linger in shelters -- and maybe wind up being euthanized -- to places where they're more likely to be adopted.

It's one of the strange, horrible ironies of pet adoption: While some places are crammed with so many animals that they have no hope of adopting them all out, others have more people wanting to adopt than they have animals. The volunteer pilots at Wings of Rescue help even out the difference.

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Image via Wings of Rescue.

This weekend will provide an excellent example of the organization's work. Starting tomorrow, Wings of Rescue will fly 250 dogs and cats from southern California to no-kill shelters in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho in a two-day event called "Spring to Life."

"A lot of shelters in southern states have no space in their shelters, and so many pets are at risk of being euthanized," co-president Cindy Loan said in an interview with ABC News. "So our pilots take them to no-kill shelters mainly in the North, where more shelters and people are looking for dogs and cats to adopt."

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Image via Wings of Rescue.

Spring to Life is just part of a larger push by Wings of Rescue to relocate more animals than ever before. In four years, the organization has flown 12,000 dogs and cats to new homes. At the beginning of this year, they announced that their goal for 2015 is to transport another 6,000.

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Image via Wings of Rescue.

That's pretty ambitious, and if you want to help that goal out, Wings of Rescue really needs donations. The Spring to Life Flight alone will take $20,000, of which they've only raised $17,000 at this writing. They're still taking donations specifically for Spring to Life, but it's a long year, and any contributions are welcome. For a better look at Wings of Rescue and what they do, check out the video below and consider sending them some money to help fly dogs and cats to places where they can find new families.

Via Wings of Rescue and ABC News

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Fri, 10 Apr 2015 09:10:00 -0700 /the-scoop/wings-of-rescue-volunteer-pilots-dog-transport-rescue-adoption
<![CDATA[A Social Media Campaign Helps a Pit Bull Find a Home After 5 Years]]> Until this weekend, Chester, a six-year-old Pit Bull, was facing a problem very common in the United States. For the past five years, he has languished in shelters, waiting for someone to take him to a forever home. His most recent home was at the North Fork Animal Welfare League in Southold, New York, on Long Island.

Chester was beloved by the shelter volunteers and staff, and the inability to find anyone who wanted to give him a home was heartbreaking. Finally, out of frustration, shelter manager Gabby Stroup used social media to make a plea on Chester's behalf. Last Wednesday, she posted a photo of Chester with a cardboard sign on the group's Facebook page. The sign was plaintive:

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Image via Chester's Facebook Page

Why doesn't anybody want me? I've been waiting five years. Everyone at the shelter tells me what a good boy I am. So why has no one adopted me? I promise to be good and love my new family. Please maybe you are my new family. I sit and wait for you to come. Chester.

The sign might have been a little corny, but it worked.

"It was crazy. I posted the original photo on the league's Facebook page and by later that day there were over 6,000 shares," Stroup told the Southold Local. "Someone suggested I make him his own page and I did, at about 3:30 p.m., and that evening there were close to 2,000 likes."

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Chester with his new family and friends. Image via Chester's Facebook Page

As of today (April 6), Chester's Facebook Page has 6,521 likes, and Chester himself has a home at last. He wound up going home this Saturday with Dana and Adi Dor of Lake Ronkonkoma.

"They came and met him and it is just a perfect match," Stroup said. "It was by far the most amazing thing I have ever seen -- the amount of people who shared and called or emailed was amazing. This was one of the happiest days."

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Chester with the Dor family. Image via Chester's Facebook Page

So now Chester has a home, but there remain plenty of dogs -- in the North Fork Animal Welfare League and elsewhere -- who are still waiting. Chester's breed probably played at least some part in people's reluctance to give him a home. The unfair stereotypical image of Pits as a vicious breed favored by dog fighters, drug dealers, and white supremacists continues to persist, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. It may be changing, but it's changing slowly.

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Image via Chester's Facebook Page

But also, people are very reluctant to adopt older dogs. When most people go to a shelter, they go with the intent of getting an adorable puppy, not a dog who's four or five or six years old. Between his breed and his age, Chester faced huge odds, and it's good to see that the rescue group was able to overcome them.

Chester's page is staying up, and the league plans to try the same thing with other dogs who have been with them for a long time. Fiona, below, is one of their first. She's been in the shelter for two years and has bad knees, but she offers lots of love.

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Image via Chester's Facebook Page

If you don't happen to live near Long Island, the examples of Chester and Fiona offer some great lessons. There are lots of older dogs who have been waiting for years and years to get a home, and your local shelter would probably be happy to introduce you. For those in the San Francisco Bay Area, Muttville specializes in adopting out senior dogs.

Via Southold Local

Read more news about dogs on Dogster:

Mon, 06 Apr 2015 11:00:00 -0700 /the-scoop/dog-pit-bull-rescue-adoption-5-years-facebook-viral-pictures-photos-chester
<![CDATA[Greater Sedona Pet Rock Rescue Clears the City of Stray Rocks]]>
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Editor’s note:
Simply put, rocks are the new dogs. To meet the needs of this growing population of pet parents, we are switching our focus to become your source for all things rock related. Rockster will deliver the latest care info from experts in the mineralogy field, the best training advice from leading rock behaviorists, and the most helpful tips from our team of rock lovers, who will help you navigate life with a not-so-furry friend. Also look for inspiring stories of rock rescue and adoption, as well as profiles of Rockster Heroes. And be sure to create a page in our Community area -- we want to see your pets, pebbles and boulders alike! We hope you enjoy Rockster. -- Pamela Mitchell, Senior Rockster Editor

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Three years ago, the streets of Sedona, Arizona, were swarming with stray and abandoned rocks, cast aside like yesterday's trash or the physical evidence of thousands of years of geologic processes. 

"They were all along the interstate, scattered in vacant lots, some just lying on sidewalks," said resident Ted Hawk. "To be honest, we didn't think there was a problem with it."

But today, thanks to the hard, selfless work of Greater Sedona Pet Rock Rescue (and Landscaping Services), the rocks are now off the streets, hoping for a chance to be adopted by a loving family and spend the rest of their lives in a forever home -- or a path running around that home, if you go that route. 

"I just thought it was wrong," said founder Jeanie Raddish. "All these poor rocks just strewn about. I wanted to give them a chance for a better life as a member of a loving home -- or as part of a weed-resistant border to that home."

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Pet Rock Rescue's Jeanie Raddish spending quality time with Larry Bob, Melon, Peabody, Mr. Chips, and Solange, all of whom would find a forever home bordering Mr. Henderson's pool. (Via Shutterstock)

So Jeanie and her team of volunteers began getting the rocks off the streets. All told, they've rescued 867,098 rocks, in all shapes and sizes, from a tiny pebble no bigger than your average pebble to a giant boulder called Big Red, who sleeps in Jeanie's bed along with seven other rescue rocks. 

But one little rock is close to her heart. 

"Peanut was found on the sidewalk outside a fast-food restaurant," recalls Jeanie, tearfully. "She'd been getting stepped on for weeks, sometimes kicked into the street. When we saw her, we knew we had to do something."

So Jeanie walked over and picked the little rock up. 

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A rock would be very happy inside that home -- or outside it.

"I put her in my pocket, and she didn't make a sound, not a peep, even when I was finishing my shake and the straw made the GARRRHHHHGH sound. She'd found her home."

Jeanie drilled a hole into Peanut and now wears her around her neck as a reminder that all rocks deserve a chance to be pet rocks. 

"We've got like a half million rocks back at the yard, if anyone needs one," says Jeanie, brightly. "Take a handful. Really, come on by. You can change a life -- or thousands of lives, if you've got a truck." 

"Rocks are a great alternative to mulch!" she added. 

And now, a special offer for Rockster readers!

Greater Sedona Pet Rock Rescue (and Landscaping Services) is offering a special 5,000-for-1 deal for Rockster readers. That's right: Adopt one pet rock, get 5,000 -- or however many you want, really. Just enter the code WHATDOWEDOWITHALLTHESEROCKS? at checkout. 

Read more about pet rocks on Rockster:

This is our first Rockster Hero, but you can read about Dogster Heroes:

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/greater-sedona-pet-rock-rescue-clears-city-stray-rocks-rock-adoption
<![CDATA[Born With Deformities, Chuda the Husky Puppy Beats the Odds]]> In honor of National Puppy Day, this week's Monday Miracle is a pup who has been beating the odds since the day she was born. Her name means “miracle” in Russian, and little five-month-old Chuda has certainly earned the title as the sole survivor of a litter plagued with severe birth defects. 
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“She is astonishing us on a daily basis,” says Lisa Decker, the director of MisUnderstood Siberian Husky Rescue (MUSH) of Indiana.

“We weren’t expecting her to walk,” she says. “It’s not a productive walk, it’s not a normal walk, but it’s definitely the Chuda walk.”

These days, Chuda is a headstrong puppy, but when Decker first met her, she was just a lucky little newborn in need of rescue. The pup was only a few hours old when Decker got a message from a fellow rescuer who’d noticed a concerning posting in a community garage sale group on Facebook.

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Chuda won't let anything stop her from getting where she wants to go. (Photos courtesy Chuda's Facebook Page)

“Somebody was offering a Husky they’d found who had just given birth that morning to four puppies. She couldn’t keep them and wanted somebody to pick them up,” says Decker, who contacted the poster, despite the fact that she was in another city.

Decker explained why such young puppies shouldn’t be separated, and the dangers of giving dogs away for free online. The woman said she suspected something was wrong with one puppy's mouth, and from what she described, Decker believed the puppy probably suffered from a cleft palate.

“I said if she would allow our rescue to take them, I would contact the vet, and she could drive them directly to the vet,” she remembers. As a MUSH foster home began preparing for a litter of puppies, the Facebook poster arrived at the vet clinic to drop off mama dog Juneau and her babies.

"The vet texted me to say, 'I want you to sit down. I’m getting ready to send you some photos,'" Decker recalls.

"She said, 'You were misinformed when you were told about the puppies problems. I need you to sit down, and these are going to be hard to look at.'"

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Chuda's siblings were very sick, and they suffered from several very severe birth defects.

When the pictures arrived, Decker was shocked to see two puppies with severe cleft palates, missing limbs, and deformed hindquarters.

“The severity of the deformities was pretty breathtaking. None of the vets at the clinic had ever seen a litter quite this severe.”

According to Decker, several vets have since come to consensus that Juneau must have gotten into something toxic very early in her pregnancy.

On the advice of the vet, Decker and the team at MUSH made the heartbreaking decision to euthanize the two most severely deformed puppies. Another pup had died before even arriving at the vet's office.

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Chuda was the only one of Juneau's puppies who came home to foster care.

“And then we had Chuda. At that point, taking pictures of her, we didn’t appreciate any other deformities. Other than her flipper paw we were good to go.”

Little Chuda and mom Juneau were whisked off to a MUSH foster home, where they were in the care of an experienced Husky handler.

“It’s a 24-hour-a-day job with Juneau and Chuda. Mom herself has some behavioral and emotional issues,” Decker says.

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Sleepy Chuda and smiling Juneau share the bed in their foster home.

As Chuda grew, it became apparent that she was not developing normally and was suffering from more birth defects than previously thought. Her spine, ribs, back, legs, tail, and hips were all affected.

MUSH needed to get Chuda in to see a specialist vet, and it started a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for some of Chuda’s medical costs as the list of physical challenges got longer and longer.

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At first, Chuda needed a sling to help her stand.

“She has a mild form of spina bifida. The shape of her chest is part of the spina bifida,” says Decker, who adds that Chuda’s chest deformity isn’t obvious in photos, but is clear to anyone who pets her in person.

“Her ribcage severely bellows in and is flat. It pushes her heart and other organs a little lower, towards her diaphragm, so everything she does takes a lot of energy. It’s more work for her heart, it’s more work for her lungs.”

Because Chuda also has a condition known as "swimmer puppy syndrome," she cannot stand or walk normally. MUSH has been helping Chuda get the physical therapy she needs and has helped her get into custom carts -- but Chuda (who is half Siberian Husky, half Golden Retriever) definitely inherited some Husky stubbornness and would rather walk than roll.

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Chuda is not a fan of her cart. She would rather walk her own way.

“She’s figured out that if she stands up and she leans on a wall for her bad hip, she could hop along that wall and not fall down,” explains Decker, who adds that Chuda’s walk has eventually evolved to not involve walls.

“As she’s starting to use her back legs more, we want to see if that’s not maybe a realistic option. Maybe with more physical therapy, maybe she can use her back legs until she gets to an age or a weight where she can’t.”

Unfortunately, due to the way Chuda’s chest cavity is situated, it’s not safe for her to go under anesthesia now. Even if surgery would help her back legs, Chuda likely wouldn’t survive it. It’s possible that her chest may shift as she grows, making surgery possible, but the vets can’t guarantee that will ever be an option.

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No one knows what her future holds, but right now, Chuda is a happy little girl.

“They don’t know what the future holds,” says Decker. “She could be with us for 10 more years, she could be with us for 10 more weeks. We don’t know.”

Chuda’s long-term health may be a question mark, but one thing is certain -- this little puppy is determined. Recently, her foster mom got the shock of a lifetime when she walked up a flight of stairs and turned around to find little Chuda right behind her, climbing away.

Read more Monday Miracles on Dogster:

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 02:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/chuda-husky-puppies-birth-defects-special-needs-dogs
<![CDATA[DNA Testing Lets Shelter Rebrand Chihuahuas and Boost Adoptions]]> Ever since Watson and Crick discovered the double helix back in 1953, the benefits of DNA testing have transformed the medical, judicial, and law enforcement fields.

But we know where DNA is put to its best use: Helping pups find their forever homes, of course.

The Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA in Burlingame, Calif., not far from San Francisco, has certainly embraced the technology, particularly when it comes to its large population of Chihauhuas. According to the Associated Press, roughly 25 percent of the dogs in the PHS’ shelter are Chihuahuas, with many of the same characteristics. So in order to help distinguish the pups from each other -- and make them more individually attractive to potential forever families -- the organization turned to DNA testing.

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As DNA testing shows, there are many different and interesting mixes of Chihuahuas available for adoption.

Under the slogan “Who’s Your Daddy?” the humane society performs DNA tests to determine the exact breeding of the Chihuahuas. The purpose is two-fold: It gives potential owners a more complete background profile of the dogs, complete with potential behavioral traits, and allows the shelter to give the dogs their own “designer” breed names, to make them more adoption-attractive.

Consider: A Chihuahua-Australian Shepherd-Jack Russell Terrier-Collie mix is now a "Kiwi Collier," a Yorkshire Terrier and Beagle mix is a "Yorkle,” and a Golden Retriever-Miniature Pinscher-Chihuahua is a "Golden Chinscher."

The testing and re-branding paid immediate dividends, according to Scott Delucchi, the shelter's senior vice president. Of the first 12 dogs to undergo the testing, 11 showed unique mixed breeding and were placed in forever homes within two weeks, twice as fast as untested dogs.

According to the AP story, one owner, Lynn Mazzola, found the DNA testing of her rescue Lily -- a Chihuahua-Yorkie terrier mix called a “Chorkie,” helped her identify cues to Lily’s behavior.

"It explains why she goes after birds and mice and she's not nervous like a Chihuahua," Mazzola said.

While Delucchi said the DNA “gimmick” has boosted adoptions, it’s still a small part of the solution to the booming Chihuahua population in California.

"Another part is making spay-neuter low-cost or free to the community," Delucchi said. "If you have a lot of one breed, you target that breed and those owners and make it easy for them to do the right thing and get them fixed."

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at PHS:

Via AP News

Read more dog news on Dogster:

About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:20:00 -0700 /the-scoop/dog-dna-test-chihuahua-peninsula-humane-society-spca
<![CDATA[How Colwyn Went From Puppy Mill Survivor to Pampered Pet ]]> To see photos of Colwyn, an adorable Shih Tzu-Maltese mix, you would never know this spotlessly coiffed and costumed dog was ever anything but adored, but his early life was certainly not picture perfect. 

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“Here’s this little puppy mill dog who was scared to death, and now he’s like this little model,” says Colwyn’s human, Lisa Murphy, who frequently photographs her fashionable pup for his Facebook page.

Murphy is no stranger to the realities of puppy mills and backyard breeding. Prior to adopting Colwyn, she brought home another shy puppy mill rescue, a beautiful Shih Tzu named Macy. Murphy was also a close friend to Rosie the Chihuahua, who was born into a backyard breeding/hoarding situation and suffered from almost every congenital defect possible. She created the Everything Rosie website and helped manage the dog’s Facebook page. Murphy was devastated when Rosie and her own senior dog, Diva, both crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2013.

“After a little bit of time, I decided to adopt in Rosie’s name,” she remembers.

Meanwhile, Colwyn was in the care of Hearts United for Animals (HUA), a Nebraska-based organization Murphy was familiar with because of her connection to Rosie’s social media sphere. The no-kill shelter and sanctuary has devoted many resources to rescuing puppy mill dogs.

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Colwyn never went outdoors before HUA rescued him from a puppy mill. (All photos courtesy Lisa Murphy and Colwyn's Adventures.)

“I went and checked out their site, and I found Colwyn. By the dates that I saw on his page, he had been at HUA for at least four years, and no one was adopting him,” she recalls. “I couldn’t understand that because he was pretty adorable.”

HUA had rescued Colwyn from a Missouri puppy mill in 2009, but he’d clearly been traumatized by the cramped and filthy cage he lived in for his first year of life. The team at HUA worked patiently over the years to socialize Colwyn, who grew very attached to fellow resident, Alani -- a female Shih Tzu. Despite making a friend, Colwyn still didn’t show well to potential adopters.

“They told me that he was kind of unadoptable because he was really skittish,” Murphy says. “When adopters in Nebraska would come by to to see the adoptable dogs, he would run away. Nobody would ever really get to see him.”

Luckily for Colwyn, Murphy has been through a similar situation with her previous rescue dog, Macy, and was used to dealing with dogs who need some time to build trust.

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Like Colwyn, Murphy's Macy is a puppy mill rescue.

“I usually go for the shy ones,” she says. “I know they’ve got the personality in there, they just don’t have that loving home yet to bring it out.”

Murphy applied to adopt Colwyn and was accepted. She drove four hours from her home in Illinois to meet the HUA transporter, who had brought Colwyn halfway from Nebraska. Colwyn was almost in his forever home, but it wasn’t an instant happy ending.

“And then he came home with me, and he was scared to death. It was really bad,” she recalls.

Colwyn’s fear kicked into overdrive less than 48 hours after his arrival at Murphy’s house, causing him to panic and injure himself. It’s something she will never forget.

“I just walked by him -- not even touching him -- and he flew and ran and bashed his head into the corner of a door, and he ended up needing corneal surgery. So his first few months here, he was in the cone of shame.”

Luckily for Colwyn, his new home came with a built-in best friend. He took to Macy the same way he had fallen for Alani back at HUA.

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These days, Colwyn and Macy are BFFs.

“He wouldn’t leave her side for six months,” Murphy says. “He was her shadow.”

The comfort he felt when curled up next to Macy helped little Colwyn adjust to his new household, and as his eye healed, he realized the humans in his new family were not out to hurt him.

According to Murphy, it took about a year for Colwyn to become completely comfortable with his new surroundings, but eventually he started gaining confidence.

“He still loves his sister and still follows her around, but not like he did. He’s really come out of his shell and shown his true self,” she says. “He has such a personality -- he’s the funniest little dog.”

These days, Colwyn is feeling safe and secure in his new home and is busy playing with the squeaky toys he carries with him everywhere. Unfortunately, a recent medical problem sent him back to the vet for another surgery.

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Colwyn needed some pretty serious surgery to deal with a mysterious mass.

“I felt this big lump on his neck and ran him to the emergency room on a weekend,” Murphy explains. When Monday came, Colwyn went to see his usual vet, who determined the little dog would need an operation to remove the mass and insert drainage tubes. Murphy says the veterinary team had almost finished the surgery when Colwyn’s heart stopped.

“He had pretty much died on the table for like three minutes, and they just kept trying to do everything they could, and out of the blue, he came back out of it.”

Colwyn’s resuscitation wasn’t the only medical miracle that his family would be grateful for in the coming weeks. Thankfully, the lab work done on the mass proved it was cancer-free. While the exact cause of the lump is unknown, it is possible that he ran into something that caused blunt force trauma, which caused the mass, but that’s just one of many possible factors. His family will never know what caused the lump that almost cost Colwyn his life, but they do know that he is safe and sound now and surrounded by love.

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Pampered Colwyn loves his toys (especially his carrot).

Once upon a time Colwyn lived in a dirty cage, but now he is living his happily ever after.

Read more Monday Miracles:

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

Mon, 16 Mar 2015 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/shih-tzu-maltese-puppy-mill-survivor-hearts-united-for-animals
<![CDATA[We Talk to Buzz Osborne of the Melvins About His Rescue Dogs]]>
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One of the things I enjoy most when writing about animal rescue work is how one story often leads to another. I interviewed jme thomas from Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, a Washington state-based organization that networks with rock stars to promote animal adoptionOne of those musicians was Buzz Osborne of the Melvins, a legendary sludge metal band, also from Washington, who were early friends with and influences on Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. 

I was delighted to talk to Buzz about the passion he has for his own pack. Here is an edited-for-length version of our email interview.

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Buzz Osborne. (Photo courtesy Buzz Osborne)

Kezia Willingham for Dogster: So, I hear you have dogs. What are their names? What breeds/mixes?

Buzz Osborne: We now have three dogs: two Jack Russells and an English Staffordshire Terrier. Their names are Buster, Coco, and Gigi. Coco is a Jack Russell and the oldest of the three at 18! Buster is also a Jack Russell and is five years old, and Gigi is a rescued English Staffordshire at six.

My wife and I have had dogs for most of the 21 years we’ve been married. I can’t imagine not having dogs. When I was growing up, we had a few dogs, but they were family dogs and not mine in particular. One of them lived to be about 16, one disappeared, and one was smashed flat by an 18 wheeler right in front of me when I was four years old. The truck driver didn’t even stop and just left me there to deal with our now very dead dog. It was a heavy trip for a four-year-old; in fact it would be a heavy trip for me now. I can’t imagine something that terrible happening to one of my dogs.

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Gigi, Buster, Itchy, and Coco. (Photo courtesy Buzz Osborne)

How did your current dogs enter your life?

The first dog my wife and I had was a rescue Pit Bull-Whippet-Lab mix named Itchy. He lived to be 17, and we had to finally put him down a little over a year ago. That was tough. He was pretty much the best dog ever. 

When we got him, he had been severely abused and had never been indoors, never slept on a dog bed, and never eaten or drank out of a bowl. He was malnourished and extremely skittish. The people who had him before us used to let their children throw baseballs and other assorted garbage at him while he ran around terrified and helpless in their backyard. People who behave like that should be in jail. They ended up abandoning him to a neighbor of theirs, who told us the whole story.

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Buzz Osborne of the Melvins with Hannah Levin and jme thomas. (Photo courtesy Motley Zoo's Facebook page)

He didn’t trust us at first, but once we started treating him right he warmed up and became a wonderful companion for the better part of two decades. I can’t imagine a better dog. The first time he ever tasted steak, I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head.

When it got to the point where he couldn’t walk anymore and we had to put him down, my wife didn’t want to show him how upset we were and stayed cool until after he was gone. That was the single hardest thing we’ve been through together. He always hated going to the vet, so we had him euthanized in the back of our jeep. It was really tough, and it’s hard to write about. Afterward we went home to the three dogs we still had, and they helped us feel a whole lot better. Dogs always make you feel better.

We rescued a VERY severely abused 100-pound American Bulldog named Baccus who we had for about 10 years, until he died of natural causes. He hated everyone until he got to know you, which took forever. He was covered in horrendous scars from terrible beatings he’d received in his horrible past. The American Bulldog Rescue had found him in the Los Angeles dog pound, and we ended up with him.

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(Photo courtesy Buzz Osborne)

We gave him a great home, but he was a real challenge. I don’t know if I’d take on another dog who’d been that abused, but I feel like we did our part for the great abused dog spirit, so it’s all good. As long as he was alone with us and the other dogs he was fine, and you could see what an amazing dog he really was. Big heart and very appreciative. We saved him and finally gave him the good life he deserved. I miss him a great deal.

Our dog Coco, my wife bought from a friend, and she’s the first Jack Russell we ever had. To this day, I can’t believe she sold her to us because she’s such a good dog! My wife has a saying that our dogs are not for sale. For any price. And she means it.

Coco showed us just how cool, smart, and special Jack Russells are. Now I can’t imagine not having a Jack Russell. So much fun. We’ve had a wonderful time with Coco for over 16 years. Now she’s in the twilight of her life and basically deaf and becoming blind, but she still gets around pretty good for such an old girl. As old as she is, she still runs around like a young dog after she gets a bath. It’s really cute! At this point we’re just trying to make her comfortable.

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(Photo courtesy Buzz Osborne)

Buster is a young Jack Russell we got as a gift when he was still a mischievous puppy. We’d never raised a puppy before, and it was a pain in the ass, but that’s how it goes with puppies; it was never really a problem.

Buster is the poster dog for what makes Jack Russells my favorite breed. He’s a wild man in need of exercise, and that’s exactly what we do. A tired Jack Russell is a good Jack Russell. Those are words to live by with these dogs. If you might be thinking of getting a Jack but you’re not sure if you can run their ass off every day, DO NOT DO IT. A Jack Russell without exercise will destroy your house.

Buster is a great hangout dog and will follow you around the house all day, studying whatever it is you’re doing. If he can do it he will do it, so you have to keep your eye on him all the time. Jack Russells are hunters and vicious killers and will do so whenever possible. They cannot be trusted around small animals. Killing is what they were bred to do, so you have to keep that in mind.

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Buzz with his dog Buster. (Photo courtesy Buzz Osborne.)

Gigi is an English Staffordshire Terrier we got from a rescue online, but she wasn’t a rescue in the traditional sense. Gigi is a prize-winning former show dog whose owner had died of cancer. She loved Gigi and wanted her trainer to find a good home for her. When my wife contacted them, they had to come to our house and see exactly how we treated dogs before they would give her to us. They were extremely impressed with how healthy and old our dogs were and remarked that it was obvious that we didn’t give up on dogs. 

Gigi is a great dog who almost never barks. She loves food and adventure. I’ve taken her to the recording studio with me a number of times, and she likes to lie on the couch there -- that is, when she’s not trying to con someone into giving her food. Ha!

What are your favorite parts about having dogs?

My wife says who needs cable TV when you have two Jack Russells to take care of? Boy is that true. We don’t have cable TV, and a lot of that has to do with the pooches. I don’t mind at all. Dogs are always happy to see you when you come home, which I love. They stay in the moment and seem to be spiritual giants, as silly as that sounds.

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Photo courtesy Melvins' Facebook page

If you sit on the couch at our house, then you immediately have a dog sitting next to you. I love that, and as a result I’ve become used to being perpetually covered in dog hair. The drummer in Napalm Death pointed this out to me like it was a bad thing. I’ve tried to ignore that comment.

I love dogs, and I love living with dogs, and I’m sure that the human race has developed for the better as a direct result of our association with dogs. They’re day hunters just like us; I saw a documentary that says you can trace all dog DNA back to day-hunting gray wolves.

I can’t imagine all the things they’ve given us, AND they’re amazing burglar alarms! Remember it was the DOGS who warned the Indians that Custer was attacking! Good dog!

I find Buzz's devotion to his dogs inspiring, and it's nice to get to know a different side of a rock star's life. To get more familiar with Melvins, follow the band on Facebook

Read more by Kezia Willingham:

About Kezia Willingham:  Also known as the Breadwinning Laundry Queen, Kezia lives with her family, which includes a pack of rescued cats and dogs, in Seattle. A regular contributor to Catster and Dogster, her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Seattle, and Literary Mama. You can follow her on Twitter

Thu, 12 Mar 2015 04:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/buzz-osborne-melvins-interview-dog-rescue-adoption-motley-zoo
<![CDATA[Old Man Red Gets a Loving Home for His Final Years]]> Two years ago, Old Man Red was 15 years old with a face full of white fur, a single tooth, and the kind of health issues one would expect to see in a little dog who had spent time living on the streets as a stray. He was not what most people would consider adoption material, but Cheryl Adler couldn't wait to bring this elderly Miniature Pincher-Chihuahua home.
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"He's just a real love, very affectionate, very sweet -- and I think, thankful," she says, adding that she is grateful for the opportunity to give Old Man Red love and dignity in his final years.

Red's connection to Adler and his forever home began back in 2013, when he made a new friend at Synergy Animal Rescue, a San Diego-based sanctuary and rehab for special needs animals.

Red was awaiting adoption at Synergy when the rescue pulled an emaciated Pit Bull mix from a high-kill shelter at the last minute and named her Ladybug. Thousands of Facebook supporters -- including Adler -- watched as the folks at Synergy gave Ladybug the love and care she had never before received in her short life.

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Old Man Red kept poor Ladybug company in her final days. (Image via Synergy Rescue)

Many of the pictures Synergy posted of Ladybug showed Old Man Red right there beside the much larger dog as she received treatment. It seemed like Old Man Red wanted three-year-old Ladybug to know that he was there if she needed him, but unfortunately, Red and the folks at Synergy couldn't save Ladybug. The extreme neglect she suffered before she was rescued left her body in ruins, and in April of 2013 she was sedated and euthanized as advanced diabetes and kidney and liver problems ravaged her poor body.

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This four-pound dog offered plenty of empathy to poor Ladybug.

On the other side of the country, in New York state, Adler was crying while reading the Facebook updates detailing Ladybug's journey over the Rainbow Bridge. In the days that followed, she couldn't stop thinking about the little old dog who showed Ladybug so much love in her final days.

At first, Adler was sure someone from California would come forward to adopt 15-year-old Red, but when no locals wanted the old dog, Adler -- who was still quite upset about Ladybug's death -- asked her husband what he thought of adopting Red.

"He said to me, 'Would you stop crying if I said yes?'" she recalls. "Then he said, 'Okay, if nobody in California adopts him, we can adopt him.'"

With her partner on board, Adler started making calls to Carla Naden, founder and director of Synergy.

"At first I think she thought I was crazy because I said I would fly out to California to pick him up, and she was really very, very cautious," explains Adler, who spent weeks providing proof that her home was the right place for Red, even sending videos of her house, her backyard, and her other dogs.

"Eventually I guess she realized that I was serious and that I really would like to adopt Old Man Red, and she agreed. This took probably a month or two."

According to Adler, the wait for Red was well worth it, and in the end, she didn't even have to travel all the way to California to pick him up. When the founder of Synergy needed to fly to Baltimore to see family, she brought Old Man Red with her, and Adler drove four hours to Maryland to meet the dog she'd fallen in love with online.

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Tiny little Old Man Red travelled a great distance to meet his new family.

"He's been a joy to us ever since," she says. "He's a happy, happy dog, and gets along quite well with the other three in our home."

Adler's 10-year-old Boxer, Ruby, her Black Lab-mutt, Ralph, and little Lilly the mini Dachshund accepted Old Man Red into their pack as the humans in the home accepted the elderly dog into their hearts.

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Little Red with his big buddies, Ruby and Ralph.

"My family was very, very nervous about me getting him, because of his age," says Adler, who can understand why her loved ones were hesitant to endorse the adoption at first.

"When something happens to him -- as with any of my pets -- it's going to be very very difficult, emotionally, but I would still highly recommend adopting a senior dog to anyone."

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Old Man Red enjoys the company of his fur sibling, Lilly.

According to Adler, adopting Old Man Red was worth any future emotional cost, but it's also been a lot of work. Because he only has one tooth, Old Man Red requires special food. He will also be on medication for the rest of his life to prevent sinus infections, as food can travel through the holes in his mouth left vacant by his missing teeth.

"It's a constant effort to keep him as healthy as possible and keep his quality of life as good as possible."

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Old Man Red is getting the care he needs in his golden years.

Old Man Red's health issues don't stop him from loving life -- a life Adler documents on Facebook for almost a thousand of Red's fans.

"He had a lot of people that were following him through Synergy when I adopted him, and I think I was probably one of the first people from that rescue who adopted so far away," she explains, adding that she created the Old Man Red’s Facebook page so that Red's California friends could keep up with him.

"I find that if for some reason I don't get a chance to post very often, people start to worry about him, which is really very sweet."

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Red loves to snuggle with Cheryl Adler.

Old Man Red has made many connections thanks to his Facebook page, including one with a Canadian couple, who even flew to New York State to meet Adler and Red. The couple ended up staying for a week, and Adler is sure they'll be friends for life.

"They plan on coming again this year to visit with us."

Adler can't guarantee that Old Man Red will still be around when that visit happens, but she can guarantee that Red won't be her last senior rescue.

"I will definitely do it again. Even though I know it's going to be really, really hard to lose him."

Read more by Heather Marcoux:

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

Mon, 09 Mar 2015 02:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/old-man-red-senior-dog-rescue-adoption
<![CDATA[Actress and Advocate Elaine Hendrix Launches "The Pet Matchmaker" Podcast]]> Actress Elaine Hendrix is best known for her roles in Romy & Michele's High School Reunion, Superstar, and The Parent Trap, as well for her parts on Two and a Half Men and 90210, but she's also a passionate animal advocate and pet lover. Her affinity for animals has the screen actress adding audio storytelling to her resume with the launch of the weekly The Pet Matchmaker podcast.
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"It's something that I've been wanting to do for a few years now, and I am going to bring in other advocates, people working with animals, experts, celebrity friends, people who've adopted -- a whole range of people who work with, advocate for, and love animals," Hendrix explains.

A proud human to two dogs and two cats, the actress founded The Pet Matchmaker website in 2013 as a resource for pet parents, and she made her first foray into pet-centric audio with her Pet Care Minute reports.

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Hendrix's rescue dog, Ellie, keeps her company during hair and makeup. (All photos courtesy of @elaine4animals on Instagram)

The first episode of The Pet Matchmaker podcast came out Feb. 17 and featured guests Lisa Ann Walter, an actress, writer, comedian and film producer, as well as Bill Crowe, director of the Pet Care Foundation. The Feb. 24 podcast included Nikki Carvey, the founder of Road Dogs & Rescue, and Married With Children's David Faustino. True Blood's Kristin Bauer van Straten and Randy Grim, Stray Rescue of St. Louis founder, were on this week's episode.

"It's a really fun podcast; it's informative, but mostly it's entertaining. I want people to enjoy the experience of it," says Hendrix, whose latest acting role is on Denis Leary’s new television comedy, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, premiering on FX in the summer.

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Ellie chills with actor Denis Leary.

Between acting, advocacy work, and caring for her animals, Hendrix is busy but makes time for The Pet Matchmaker podcast through smart planning. "I'm picking up interviews whenever I can, and then we're going into the studio and assembling them all into one show."

Although her own household is home to both canine and feline companions, Hendrix says the podcast won't be limited to just dogs and cats.

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Hendrix's dogs from left to right: the late Tiloc, Ellie, and Rossmore, who Hendrix found on the side of the road many years ago while she was driving to a set.

"I've got a guest coming on who has a whole group of rescue chickens," she explains, adding that she plans to tackle the topic of rescue horses as well.

For Hendrix, the creation of this podcast follows a decade-long journey of animal adoption and advocacy work that began when she starting receiving invitations to charity events.

"I was doing all these things because I like helping other beings and other people, but I didn't feel like I was making an impact anywhere," says Hendrix, who sat down at her computer to try to figure out how she could focus her charitable work to make the most of her efforts. Having been an animal lover her whole life, she began researching various aspects of animal advocacy and experienced a life-changing moment online.

"I saw an undercover fur video, and I was not expecting to see what I saw, and I definitely wasn't expecting to have the reaction that I did. It was so visceral. I doubled over. I was sobbing uncontrollably," Hendrix says. "I had no idea what was happening to animals, and from that moment forward, it changed my life in such a huge way."

Hendrix purged her home of products tested on animals, and she got rid of her car because of its leather interior. She committed herself to the issue of fur, stopped wearing leather, and became a vegan.

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Hendrix is passionate about helping animals, including her darling dog, Ellie.

"I do everything I possibly can to help animals, and I have since that day," explains Hendrix, who adds that while she never preaches or pushes people, the topic of animals and their welfare seems to inevitably come up in conversation wherever she travels.

"This has become my life's passion and my life's purpose, but helping animals doesn't have to be as extreme as I've made it."

Hendrix says one of the easiest things people can do, especially if they're not ready to commit to adopting an animal, is simply volunteer with adoption organizations. Working in animal adoptions was one of the first volunteer activities she took part in herself -- because it was an easy activity to do no matter what city she found herself shooting in.

"That's just been my primary activity. I've rescued a lot of animals. I've fostered a lot of animals. And I've helped a lot of people adopt animals."

Hendrix's three-year-old dog and travel companion, Ellie, was supposed to be adopted out after the actress rescued the pup, her littermates, and their mom.

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Hendrix has plenty of experience fostering. She never intended to keep Ellie, but the little pup stood out from the pack.

"I had no intentions of keeping any of them. I rescue and foster regularly, so to pass along animals to other good homes is actually something that is easy for me to do because I feel like more animals get helped that way, but it was something about her," says Hendrix, who keeps Ellie with her as much as possible.

"She came to New York with me, and that was her second time to New York. She been across the country four or five times now."

In the coming months, Ellie will no doubt be racking up more frequent flier miles as both Hendrix's acting career and her work on The Pet Matchmaker keep her busy.

"Later this year, we have a web series coming out, we have our own app coming out and other programs in development. I'm really excited. I feel like this is kind of a banner year for us," says Hendrix.

New episodes of The Pet Matchmaker podcast are available for download every Tuesday at The Pet Matchmaker website.

Read more from Heather Marcoux:

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

Thu, 05 Mar 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/elaine-hendrix-pet-matchmaker-podcast-dog-rescue-adoption
<![CDATA[Operation ResCUTE Teaches Kids the Importance of Pet Adoption]]> As animal lovers, we all know the importance of supporting responsible pet adoption. But less than 30 percent of pets are actually acquired through adoptive means. That's why it's up to us as adults to teach the next generation of children about the value of rescue dogs. And what better way to do that than with a kid-friendly book-and-toy set, with all of the author's profit going to shelters in need?

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Founded by adoption activist Laurie Brown-Nagin, Operation ResCUTE has created a limited-edition book-and-stuffed-animal set that will warm the heart of any dog lover, young or old. The Story of Jingles is an illustrated book about Brown-Nagin's rescue dog, whom she discovered on the streets of Manhattan just as an animal control officer was taking the puppy to receive some pro-bono veterinarian care. Jingles had been found with a broken jaw in a garbage can in the Bronx at just four months old.

As someone who grew up with purebred dogs and owned Wheaten Terriers for years, Brown-Nagin hadn't been directly exposed to the world of pet adoption before. She's always supported organizations such as the Humane Society and the ASPCA. But with two dogs already at home, the Brown-Nagins weren't exactly looking for another pet. Still, Laurie didn't hesitate to make Jingles part of the family.

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Operation ResCUTE founder Laurie Brown-Nagin hopes to get families talking about pet adoption. (All photos courtesy of ResCUTE)

Like so many adopted pets, the beautiful, mixed-breed dog was incredibly lucky to have found her forever home. "She's loyal beyond what I've ever known from a dog," Brown-Nagin says of Jingles. "She's just heartfelt. She's never been afraid of anyone. She loves everybody."

She's also what inspired Brown-Nagin to leave her career in marketing and product development to launch a nonprofit centered around putting a happier, friendlier face on shelter dogs. "If a kid walks by a pet store, they think that's where dogs come from," she says. "My goal is to change the conversations about pets. One way to do that is to educate the new generation of kids, because they typically prompt the purchase or adoption (hopefully) of a dog."

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The limited-edition book-and-toy set also comes with a special Operation ResCUTE Club Membership sticker.

Three years in the making, The Story of Jingles came out in September, and it aims to get kids and parents talking about pet adoption. It's the first in a collectible series of children's books "authored" by the dogs themselves, with each plush being in that particular dog's image. "With each purchase, a child is empowered to know that they helped a dog be adopted somewhere," Brown-Nagin says.

Readers, especially children, will gain an appreciation for animal adoption and also learn empathy. In fact, kindergarten teachers have been using the book as a tool to teach that all-important emotion in the classroom. Alongside the book is a stuffed-animal version of Jingles and a special Operation ResCUTE Club Membership sticker. For just $29, the purchase of this unique set can make a difference in the life of shelter animals across the country. And an impressive 100 percent of profits from sales goes toward adoption services in shelters.

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The real-life Jingles cuddles up with her plush puppies.

The next book in the series, The Story of Tanner, is set to launch in a few months and will similarly share the true-life tale of a three-week-old shelter puppy who tries to escape and ends up finding her forever home with a loving couple. The third book in the series is about a dog who's overcome a disability; it will publish at a later date, dependent upon book sales. After that, Operation ResCUTE will look to its ongoing contest, through which people can enter their own adoption stories. Periodically, the organization will select a group of contestants whose respective shelters will receive donations, plus one ResCUTE pup to be featured in an upcoming book and toy set.

"Entrants frequently say they didn't just rescue their dog, their dog rescued them," Brown-Nagin says. Of course, for every wonderful adoption story, Operation ResCUTE hopes that many more great lifelong connections will take place. But the realization of this noble goal relies upon spreading adoption awareness through educational channels such as Operation ResCUTE. You can help by buying The Story of Jingles through its website and by following Operation ResCUTE on Facebook and Twitter.

Read about more Dogster Heroes:

About the author: Whitney C. Harris is a New York-based freelance writer for websites including StrollerTraffic, Birchbox, and A former book and magazine editor, she enjoys running (with Finley), watching movies (also with Finley), and cooking meatless meals (usually with Finley watching close by).

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/operation-rescute-dog-book-toy-shelter-dogs-pet-rescue-adoption
<![CDATA[Birdee, the "Chicken Wing Chi," Helps Other Special-Needs Dogs]]> Last summer, Dekalb County Animal Services in Georgia answered a call about a vacant house with possible abandoned animals inside. They found three dogs, one of whom was a Chihuahua with deformed front legs. According to DCAS director Susan Feingold, they examined the little dog and gave her the medical attention she needed, including deworming and vaccinations. Because of her birth defect, though, the Chi was transferred to Society of Humane Friends of Georgia, a nonprofit rescue, to get additional care and attention.

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The society enlisted Jacki McDonald as a foster for the little Chi, now dubbed Little Miss Birdee Smalls. "The kennel supervisor called me when Birdee came in specifically because I had a 'chicken wing' dog foster previously," McDonald says. "She hopped around like a baby bird, so that's how her name came about."

When McDonald had to go out of town, she left Birdee in the care of Brian and Christina Cribbs. Although the Cribbs had sworn off more dogs when they adopted No. 4, those few days with Little Miss Birdee was all it took to win them over. 

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Foster Jacki McDonald with Miss Birdee Smalls.

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Little Miss Birdee Smalls and her new parents.

The Cribbs were already dog parents to two other Chihuahuas, one Pit Bull/Dachshund mix, and a deaf Pit Bull. Little Miss Birdee Smalls fit right in with their family. Brian and his wife affectionately refer to her as a "Chi-rex," due to her short front legs and habit of hopping around on her back feet. At just over a year old, Birdee weighs a surprising 3.8 pounds and gets around by "hopping around and bracing herself on her more formed arm," Brian says. "We call it her beefy arm." The Cribbs wanted to make it easier for Birdee to get around, though, so they started doing some research on carts.

They met with Alicia Williams, a vet tech at Duluth Animal Hospital. She also had a special-needs Chihuahua, named Roo, who uses a cart and shares his life with a chicken. Williams offered some very useful insight on cart types and fitting, and the Cribbs decided to get one for Little Miss Birdee. Initially, they were going to build their own, but it proved more cost-effective to use Eddie's Wheels for Pets. After taking molds of Birdee's chest and legs, they sent her measurements off to have her own cart specially made. 

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Miss Birdee taking it easy. (Photo courtesy of Brian and Christina Cribbs)

The Cribbs created a Facebook page for Miss Birdee so others could follow as she adjusted to her new life and, particularly, to her new wheels. Although she adapted to the cart very quickly, as shown in many adorable videos, Birdee did need some help with the change in height it created. She loves her chew bone, so the Cribbs made a small wooden block for Birdee to prop it on, and they raised her food bowl. Her cart also enabled her to sit on her side, which, according to Brian, "might not seem like a big deal, but this is pretty huge. The wheels are about so much more than walking. She can sit like an average dog, though she's way better." 

When not wheeling through life, Little Miss Birdee (along with her humans) gives back to the community by volunteering and shares her home with fosters from Laskey's Lucky Ones and Volunteers. She and Christina also recently visited inmates through the Canine CellMates program at Fulton County Jail. Christina is a certified therapy-dog handler through Atlanta Pet Partners, and Brian is going to get his certification soon. And now that Birdee is old enough, they are going to move forward with getting her certified as a therapy dog, like her fur-sibling, Emilio, so that she can do even more in the community.

"We love our dogs and love that other people get something out of visiting with them like we do," Brian says. 

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The whole Cribbs fur-family. (Photo courtesy of Brian and Christina Cribbs)

Through sharing Little Miss Birdee's pictures, videos, and accomplishments online, the Cribbs quickly found out they were not alone in having a little "chicken wing dog" or "Chi-rex," connecting with others such as Bunny Angel and Ellie May and Madi. They've also amassed quite a following from fans who have just fallen in love with the little quirky Chihuahua.

"We like helping special needs dogs," Brian says, "because we like for other people to know they're just like every other dog, they just need some help learning or moving around." 

Paws up to Little Miss Birdee Smalls and the fantastic family she has found!

Read more Monday Miracles on Dogster:

About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it's in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I'm a former quiet nerd who's turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/little-miss-birdee-smalls-chicken-wing-chihuahua-dog-birth-defects-wheelchairs
<![CDATA["Home Is Where the HeART Is" Pairs Artists With Adoptable Dogs]]> Earlier this month, a bunch of artists from the San Francisco Bay area took part in a project to honor 25 dogs in the Oakland Animal Services system. Each painter or illustrator was paired with a dog looking for a forever home and given free reign to interpret the pup's personality in the artist's own style. Even better, anyone adopting one of the dogs also received the accompanying one-off artwork.

The full range of art is currently on display in Oakland -- but if you're unable to check out the Home Is Where The HeART Is exhibition in person, here are five of the best to peruse here on Dogster.

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Oakland-based Bar Davi has built up a spirited portfolio of pooch portrait paintings. Here the artist has turned her touch to Carmelo and accentuated the dog's distinctive black splodge around the right eye.

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The art of printer and illustrator Michael Wertz has been lauded by galleries and corporate clients alike. When given the task of creating a portrait of Dahlia, he spruced up her photo with a thoroughly contemporary process.

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Painter Adrienne Simms decamped from New York City to San Francisco when a teenager. These days, her artwork looks to explore the "tension between the macabre and the humorous," although I like to think her brushwork on young Bauer here imbues him with a stately sheen.

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Kim Roth is an illustrator who also runs a boutique stationery studio. Fittingly, her interpretation of Sally-Jane uses typography to turn the dog's beaming face into a tenderhearted motif.

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Frolicking in the field of mixed media, David Polka bills his art as an attempt to reveal "the lines connecting different facets of our existence with irrevocable patterns of life and death, destruction and rebirth." Frankly, I just think his treatment of lil' Pepper here looks kinda slick and cool.

See more Pix We Love on Dogster: 

About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world's foremost expert on rappers' cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it's not quite what you think it is.

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 08:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/dog-portraits-paintings-oakland-animal-services
<![CDATA[Meet the Pug Who Has Her Own Coffee Shop]]> When Tom Cash and husband Mike Zukoski opened a coffee shop in Asheville, North Carolina, they named it after their prized Pug, Edna. The idea of a business owner looking to a pet for titular inspiration might not be a revelatory one, but in Edna's case it was apt after the dog got caught trying to sneak sips of coffee while Tom and Mike weren't looking.

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These days, if you stop by Edna's of Asheville, you will likely see Edna holding court on the patio while customers slurp their way through cups of java.

Taking a break from his bean-roasting duties, I spoke to Mike about the origins of this coffee adventure, Edna's own java antics, and how the coffee shop works with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.

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(All photos via Edna's of Asheville's Facebook page)

Dogster: When did Edna come into your life?

Mike Cash: We got her in Long Beach when we lived in California, before we moved to Asheville. We had two Golden Retrievers that were littermates, and Tom decided we'd like another dog in the house, so we got Edna. Then, of course, we discovered that she loves coffee! She really goes crazy for coffee. I remember when we left a coffee mug on the table and saw her getting into the coffee.

So when we decided to move to Asheville to reinvent our lives, we opened up a coffeehouse and called it Edna's, named after the Pug.

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When did you first realize that Edna likes to sneak sips of coffee?

She was probably not even a year old, still a puppy. We drink coffee without any sugar in it, and we found out she really likes Americanos and sometimes coffee with a little cream. But she only drank coffee a couple times before we caught her -- we don't let her drink coffee, but she did enjoy it when we were not looking.

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Do you think Edna is a coffee snob at heart?

Oh, yeah, for sure. We roast our own coffee [at Bad Puppy Roasting] twice a week, and she definitely knows if the coffee is fresh or not. She's pretty good about it. For instance, she's in the shop on a regular basis -- not every day, but she's around -- and she checks up on people. She loves visiting with people while they have their coffee. She loves to dress up -- she has a couple of dresses that were made specifically for her. In our second year at Christmastime, we put [her in] one of those red and white muffs with a little belt on it, and she got excited and ran around, and then when we attempted to take it off of her, she would become depressed. She ended up wearing it until nearly March!

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Do any other customers buy coffee for their dogs?

I don't know if too many people order coffee for their dogs, but we do have a drive-through area, and every dog in the drive-through gets a Milk-Bone. It's pretty funny when you get to know who the regular customers are because their dogs are at the window for their cookie while they're waiting in line. They learn that they're gonna get their cookie pretty quickly. Then, if you come to the patio area, for every dog that comes in, there are always water bowls and free cookies laid out for them.

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If Edna was in charge of the coffee shop for a day, what changes would she make?

Well, we can't actually allow dogs inside the restaurant because of the health code, so we have a big patio, but Edna would definitely let dogs in for the day, and they would get to order from the proper counter. She'd really want a walk-up counter for the dogs.

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You're also involved with the Brother Wolf Animal Rescue organization. How did that come about?

When we started the coffee shop, we really wanted to be active in the neighborhood and the community, so we wanted to work with a charity, and because we love animals and own a coffee shop named after a dog, it was logical for us to work with an animal organization. Brother Wolf is spectacular -- they do such good work. We do pet adoption days at Edna's, and a couple of times a month, we do meet-up days for people with their dogs, just to give people a chance to socialize their dogs and meet with other people. Then we also do pet-food drives twice a year to help get food and supplies for Brother Wolf. 

Read related stories on Dogster:

About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world's foremost expert on rappers' cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it's not quite what you think it is.

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/ednas-coffee-shop-asheville-north-carolina-pug-dog-friendly-restaurants