(almost) Wordless Wednesday

I really can’t say enough good things about Joffy.  Just look at him, he’s stunning!

Joffy 2

Joffy is a long-time resident of the kennel and I know that this is because he just isn’t seen by enough people.  Not only is he a looker, but he’s got the greatest personality.  Big and strong, but sweet and gentle.  Smart and willing to please, but goofy and full of personality.


Can you all help me help Joffy find a home for the holidays?  Please share this so everyone can see his gorgeous mug.  If ever I were going to bring a fourth dog him, this would be the man, and that’s really saying something!

Contact me at morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com for more information or if you are interested in this fantastic boy!

{Take Action Tuesday} Your Community

Last week’s post was more, how do I put this, controversial than I anticipated it would be.  I really can’t imagine anyone will find fault in today’s topic though!  I read through countless articles and petitions over the past week trying to decide what I wanted this week’s post to be about, but after Sunday afternoon, I knew what I wanted to focus on: reaching out to your community.  It’s all about how you can get involved in your community.

Spunky Harley is the Queen of the kennel and she knows it!

Spunky Harley is the Queen of the kennel and she knows it!

It is incredibly easy for one person to make a difference.  My “Take Action” challenge this week is to find one simple way to do something for homeless or needy animals in your community.  Perhaps the simplest way would be to donate money.  I highly, highly recommend looking for a local rescue.  If you don’t know of one, try googling “(name of your city) dog rescue”.  Have a favorite breed?  Search for “(favorite breed) rescue”.  You want to make sure that it is a 501(c)3 because that means they are non-profit, and operate off of donations, with no money going to fund political ventures like lobbying.  Take a few minutes and look over their site.  Often times they will even have a “wish list” of some sort with items that they are in need of.  Who knows, they might just be desperate for blankets and you happen to have quite a few extras that are crowding your hall closet.  You could clean out your closet, make a needed donation, and not even spend a penny!


Daddy is quite possibly one of the most eager-to-please dogs I have ever met!

Speaking of blankets, did you know that most Animal Controls are operated on extremely limited funds?  Some only have enough money in the budget for the salaries of officers, utilities, and euthanasia.  You know what’s missing from that list?  Food, toys, veterinary care, and even blankets for cold winter nights.  No, not all are that bad, but some are and they might just be in your back yard (this was true for me, and let me tell you, it was quite a shock when I learned it.)  Try googling “(name of your city) animal control”.  Look for the budget, it’s public record, and you might just be surprised at what you find.  They will appreciate your old blankets.  Or maybe you plan to get your dog a new bed for Christmas?  Give them your old one!  Notice a sale on dog food at your grocery store?  Pick up a bag or two.

Elliot is truly the complete package: smart, handsome, eager to please!

Elliot is truly the complete package: smart, handsome, eager to please!

Another great way to help at Animal Control’s is to volunteer your time, just to do something as simple as walk the dogs.  Did you know that often times the only way the dogs get out of their kennel is if volunteers come and let them out?  It’s a sad reality, but most of the time these places have employees that are overworked.  Simply walking the dogs is sometimes a luxury that they don’t have time to for.  And it’s the dogs that really suffer in these situations.  Imagine the pent up energy and stress that many dogs could be relieved of simply by getting them out into the fresh air and a little exercise.  While you are walking them, maybe practice a few basic commands like “sit”.  Knowing a few tricks, not to mention being calmer and less stressed, is PROVEN to make dogs SIGNIFICANTLY more adoptable!


Joffy is something else. SO athletic and smart. If I could take one home, it would’ve been this stud.

Planning to stay home for the holidays?  Been considering the idea of fostering but just not sure if you’re ready for that commitment?  Reach out to the local rescue that you just found and offer to temporary foster for them.  What does that mean?  Often times foster families travel for the holidays and the rescue needs a family to take the dog from anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks while the normal foster is traveling.  The beauty of this is that while fostering is temporary in the sense that the dog will only be with you until it is adopted, there really is no way to know exactly how long that will take.  By “temp” fostering, you will actually know exactly how long you will have the dog!  Plus, it’s is a great way to see if you are actually up for fostering or not.  If you don’t enjoy it, it’s just a few days out of your life, but who knows?  It might inspire you to become a regular foster and save countless lives!


Little Mr. Radar is 100% goofiness!

       Heard of a friend, coworker, or member of your church that might be down on their luck?  Maybe it’s your cousin’s-hairdresser’s-mailman’s-sister.  Instead of just gossiping over the water cooler, figure out how to get in touch with this person and offer to help.  It might take nothing more than a couple of bags of dog food, some flea preventative, and help finding a veterinary clinic to keep a family intact and a dog out of a shelter.  Can’t afford to buy these things yourself but still want to help this person?  Reach out to that rescue that you found and see if they would be willing to help you help that person.  Seriously.  It is SO much easier to help a family that already loves their dog keep it safely in their home rather than hope to find that dog a new home after the family has turned the dog over to a shelter where it can suffer emotional trauma.


Atlas is mellow and easy to please. Just needs a little love and he’s happy!

None of those sounding up your alley?  What about contacting that rescue and asking for a printable version of their foster brochure to pass out at work or leave on the counter at your local coffee shop?  Maybe they have printable flyers you could hang at your favorite pet store.  What about asking for a magnet to put on your cars thus rendering yourself a mobile advertisement?


I dare you to look into Joffy’s eyes and not fall in love.

Still nothing jumping out at you?  How about the all-time easiest way ever to help out: hit the share button!  If you live in the northern part of Florida, you could share this post which is full of adoptable dogs.  Share a picture from the Facebook page of the local rescue you found.  But please, keep try to keep it local.  Everyone wants to share that picture of a terribly sad dog located on the opposite side of the United States, but think about it, if you are seeing it, how many other people have already seen it as well?  This is called “going viral”.  Sure, it’s fantastic for that dog but lots of times by the time you have seen that picture, the dog has already been adopted!  I’m not saying never to do it, just keep in mind that there are so many dogs in need that never make it to the lime light because their story just doesn’t have the drama to “go viral”.  This certainly doesn’t make them any less deserving though, does it?  Remember, sharing is caring (not to mention quick, easy, and free!)  Take action!

If any of these gorgeous dogs caught your eye, please email me at morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com.  They would like nothing more than a home of their very own for the holidays! 


A little over a week ago I was approached by someone I work with asking if I might be able to help with a friend-of-a-friend that was trying to re-home their dog.  I got their information and reached out, sure that I would not actually be able to help, but wanting to try anyways.  The young girl was nearly in tears as she told me about her recent breakup that left her a struggling single mom and how she loved her dog but felt she couldn’t afford him anymore.  She was having a hard time even affording food and was struggling with a flea infestation.  I was so thankful.  Hear me out!  So often people want you to come and just take their dog; their mind is made and they are resistant to any sort of help outside of what they have decided they want.  Here was a girl that really, really wanted to keep her dog and was willing to accept help.


Over the weekend I was back in Tallahassee for a friend’s birthday and to meet with the president of Last Hope Rescue (more on that soon!) and we were able to get together enough supplies to last this girl about four months.  On the way back to town I stopped at a Home Depot and got her some things to try to get rid of the flea infestation in her home as well.  While dropping off everything the girl also asked for help finding a veterinarian.  Her dog wasn’t neutered and I was more than happy to oblige!  Here in Jacksonville there is actually a clinic that performs free spay and neuters of pit bull type dogs so I got her all of their information.

Florida Wildlife

I am thankful that the person I work with thought of me to ask for help.  I am thankful this girl wasn’t too proud to accept my help.  I’m thankful Last Hope Rescue was willing to help me help this girl keep her dog in her home and out of the shelter.  I am thankful there are low cost spay and neuter clinics.  Most of all, I am thankful to have met so many other people that are willing to work together to save lives.  What are you thankful for the most this year?

Moss and Palm TreesOk, fine, I’m also thankful to live in Florida where it’s still in the 70’s and I can take the dogs for gorgeous walks with scenery like this!

“I Created You”

“I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter, the cast offs of human society.  I saw in their eyes love, hope, fear, dread, sadness and betrayal.  I was angry.  “God,” I said, “Why don’t you do something?”  And God replied, “I did, I created you.” – Jim Willis

FUR 035-(ZF-1860-91697-1-007)

The first time I read this, I burst into tears.  It’s like it was written just for me.  I never understand why no one, God included, did anything about all of the suffering?  I have started trying to live up to what I believe God’s plan for me is.  And after this weekend, I hope to be able to make a big announcement that will take everything to the next level.  I know, that was vague, but keep your fingers crossed that everything goes as well as I think it will.  And have a fantastic weekend, friends!

{Take Action Tuesday} Greyhound Racing

It’s the first-ever installment of “Take Action Tuesdays” and after all of the positive feedback I received, I have to believe you all are as excited as I am!  This weeks topic may come as a surprise to you, as it’s not a topic I have ever really discussed here: Greyhound racing.

We all know my passion lies with pit bulls, but despite the fact that greyhounds and pit bulls have polar opposite physiques, they share a trait that links them and therefore makes me passionate about their well-being as well: they are animals suffering at the hands of selfish humans.  (I should hope you all know by now that things like head shape aren’t what I truly care about, and my real passion lies with animal advocacy as a whole; from pit bulls to greyhounds to mice all being of equal importance!)

Image from Google Images

Image from Google Images

Pit bulls are commonly used for dog fighting, a form of entertainment for low life scum.  Greyhounds are commonly used for dog racing, another form of entertainment for low life scum some people.  Both are also forms of income for said individuals.  At the very core, the issue lies in the fact that many people view animals as property that are on Earth simply to serve us in some manner.  This is an entire post for another day though, and for now we shall focus on the topic at hand.  To say it simply, greyhounds are bred to profit the breeders, then the racers, while living in cruel conditions, all to then ultimately need rescuing–that is if they aren’t killed first.  I will refrain from going into the gory details but you can click here for concise explanations of why greyhound racing is wrong and should be ended.  Should you care to read more, trust me, a simple Google search will give you more details that you would care to have.

Image from Google Images

Image from Google Images

In Florida, law requires that if you are going to have gambling onsite, you have to have live racing.  Almost always that means dog racing.  This means for anyone that wants to open any sort of gambling venue (usually poker rooms) they have to also bring with it this cruel sport.  Most venues house around 1,000 dogs at any time!  Decoupling the racing from the gambling would mean that racing is no longer required and these gambling facilities could now legally operate without racing. As it stands now, the racing industry is being subsidized by the other gambling. Without this subsidy there would likely be a decrease in racing activity in the sport as it is forced to rely on its own market.  Additionally, at this time Florida and Alabama are the only two states that do not require injuries be reported.  It is proven that by reporting injuries, the number of injuries will decrease.  Perhaps because no one wants to have to admit that what they are doing is actually very dangerous and harmful?  Seems like it to me!


  So, while this is a brief overview that is fairly specific to Florida we can all still get involved!  If you live in Florida, click here and you will be brought to a form that you can personalize and then easily submit to the Senate Gambling Committee.  Session isn’t until March, but now is a good time to act because together we can flood their inboxes with our opinions on this barbaric matter.  Don’t live in Florida?  Click here to visit the Grey2k website (where the map above is from) and you will see a plethora of ways to get involved.  Take Action!

Update!  I quickly learned that this is topic is even more heated than I realized.  I want to be clear about something: I welcome all comments and views, even if they oppose mine, IF they are presented in a respectful manner.  If you bash another person, on either side of this debate, you will be banned.  Period.  This is my blog and while I am fully aware that I frequently write things that people disagree with, I will not tolerate rude or disrespectful behavior.  Additionally, my blog is simply not set up to handle videos in the comments.  It causes it to crash and I have therefore had to delete nearly all of the videos that have been posted.  I am not “hiding” anything, I am simply trying to keep my blog operational.  Thank you.  

Update #2: While I am thrilled to have written a post so that so many people are passionate about, the comments left by a handful of people, who could not respect my requests to keep this space mature and respectful, have gotten completely out of control I have elected to disable any further comments on this post.  Thank you.

Zeutering: Good, Bad, or Ugly?

The “If-I-Had-Millions-of-Dollars” game is one that I frequently play with my friends (ok, fine, and with myself when I’m bored.)  There are a lot of things I would want to do with it, not shockingly I’m sure, all related to animal rescue and advocacy.  My favorite idea of all is to create a trust fund for the inventor of a 100% oral sterilization pill.  I won’t bore you with all the of the detailed ideas I have surrounding this miracle pill, but the reason I’m sharing it with you is I have recently learned of something similar that actually exists: Zeuterin!

Imagine my shock when I read the line “New Non-Surgical Neutering Option”.  Was this the miracle pill that I have quite literally dreamed of for years?  Well, not exactly, but in my opinion it is a step in the right direction.

Gracie came from a terrible background but now she lives every dog's dream.

What is Zeuterin?

Zeuterin is a solution, with zinc gluconate as the active ingredient, that is injected into the testicles of male dogs rendering them chemically, and permanently, sterilized.  The zinc gluconate immediately goes to work killing the sperm and within 30 days the dog is permanently altered.  Guys, I know you’re squirming over the thought of an injection straight to the testicles.  According to the manufacturer 97.5% the dogs studied “showed no outward evidence of pain during the procedure”.  Additionally they report that only 1.1% of dogs exhibited pain or an injection site reaction.  Currently it is only approved for dogs age 3-10 months but it is expected that the FDA will soon expand that to include all dogs over the age of 3 months in 2013.  The testicles remain intact (though they do report on occasion minimal “shrinkage”) and the dog is tattooed with a small “Z” to make it possible to visually identify if I dog has been altered or not.  Zeuterin only reduces testosterone production by around 50%.  And last, the average cost is only $5-$25 to sterilize a dog using Zeuterin!

Sweet Gracie is loving life in a home.

The Pro’s:

Zeuterin is cheap and easy.  Seriously, in my opinion those two things are of the utmost importance in tackling the pet overpopulation issue.  By offering Zeuterin as an option, veterinarians will be able to effectively sterilize dogs whose owners may not have previously been able to afford the procedure.  The speed and ease of administration also make it much more viable for shelters and animal control facilities that previously might not have been able to alter dogs before releasing them back out in to the public.  Also, because at most Zeuterin only minimally shrinks the size of the testicles, owners who could not get past the idea of “taking their dog’s balls” now don’t have that excuse.  The dog retains about 50% of his testosterone which has been proven to help reduce the risk of some forms of cancer.

You gotta love a pit bull's smile.

The Con’s:

The dog still retains 50% of his testosterone.  But wait, I just listed that as a “pro”?  Testosterone can lead to “unwanted” behaviors in males such as roaming (although in a perfect world all owners would not allow this to happen!), humping, and even aggression.  Also, the dog still appears to be intact.  I may be the only one that sees it this way, but to me, a clearly altered male sends a positive message: I am a responsible pet owner and care about the welfare of other animals and therefore actively choose not to be part of the problem.  Because a Zeutered dog still appears intact, you are potentially sending a message to strangers that your dog isn’t altered (yes, I know that it is, but a complete stranger can no longer know that at a glance) and possibly even encouraging others not to alter their dog.  Because Zeuterin has only been tested for two years there is also the unknown of true long-term effects.  Personally I am not a fan of chemicals in any shape and form, and it would make me uncomfortable to inject my dog with them.  Lastly, and this one is for you, men, I don’t like that the dog is awake for the procedure.  I acknowledge that they have studied this, but come on, those studies are by the people producing the drug…who want to profit from it after all.  Maybe it really is next to painless, but it still makes me cringe a little.

Gracie with her new mom.

The Verdict:

Personally, I think the pros outweigh the cons.  Do I think it is perfect?  No.  Do I love the fact that veterinarians and scientists are actively working on solutions to the pet overpopulation problem?  YES!  My hope would be that this drug becomes readily available to (trained!) shelter workers who could Zeuter all males dogs before their release back in to the public.  I would also hope that the manufacturers would continue working to perfect the drug and it could one day address some of concerns that exist in it’s current state.  Ultimately, I can’t ever see myself being against something that is working to solve the pet overpopulation issues, even if it isn’t perfect just yet.  What is your opinion?  I’d love to hear from some every day dog lovers like me!  Zeuterin: good, bad, or ugly?

Articles I took facts from (though I did read many more opinion pieces):




P.S. – doesn’t Gracie just look so happy with her family?  I just love it.  Makes my heart happy!