{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

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

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!

Radar

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

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?

Joffy

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 Altruism Talk.

It wasn’t all that long ago I wrote a post I personally still really enjoy:  I could have more money, but I wouldn’t be as rich.  It seems to ring truer and truer for me with every day.  I have been feeling deeply altruistic of late, and not just about animals as is normally the case for me.  I keep feeling the need to make my life mean something, and for me, that would preferably be a positive difference for others (human and furry alike.)  I want to be known as “a good person”.  Nothing more complicated, or deep than that; when people mention or think of me, I just want it to be with something like, “Yea, Morgan, she’s a good person” attached to the end of their thought.  This does not come from a place of vanity.  I just really want to make a positive difference in the world.  That simple.

Maggie, a rescued pit bull, appreciates a simple, sunny day.

When an email was sent around my office about “Adopting a Senior” my mind immediately jumped to senior animals (shocking, I know.)  The program was in fact, about senior humans, and not animals.  I decided to adopt not one, but two, seniors that live in my area that have no families of their own.  All the program requires of me is to buy a gift from their “wish list” and either drop it off or deliver it myself.  I’ve decided that these people are certainly not just lonely during the holidays so I have a few different ideas of ways to reach out and hopefully build a little bit of a relationship with them that can last beyond the holidays.  I’m also in the process (no joke, it’s seriously a whole process) of applying to the children’s hospital here.  I haven’t completely decided how I feel about that though, not because I am afraid of how sad it might be, but because it has strict requirements on how much time you must pledge and a minimum of a 6-month commitment.  I’m cautious to take on a hefty commitment because I am hoping for a big development with my rescue efforts in the near future.  I apologize for how vague that sounds, but I don’t want to jinx anything!  Cross my heart, hope to die, I will make the announcement so we can all celebrate together just as soon as I know things are a “Go.”

In addition to “adopting” the seniors, and applying to the children’s hospital, I also decided to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.  It’s a little-known organization that builds houses in low-income areas and provides mortgage assistance to qualifying buyers of said homes.  Have you heard of it?  Yea, I thought so.  I had always thought it seemed like so much fun to go and actually work.  To actually build something.  It’s no secret, I like physical labor and really getting my hands dirty.  I was so excited!  I arrived at 7:30 am on the dot, rocking my oldest jeans, and couldn’t wait to get started.  I was going to help build a house!

Maggie, a rescued pit bull, enjoying to comfort and safety of her forever home.

The crew arrived and once everyone was there the “foreman” gave us a mini orientation and off we went.  Sadly (for me at least) the house was mostly complete already and we were in charge of prepping and painting that day.  I volunteered to spackle the holes in the baseboards and as I got to work I started chatting with the woman that was spackling the door frames.  She was excited because she was a homebuyer and nearing the end of her required 300 hours of work.  It was so cool to interact with a real person, that was really benefiting from this program, and that really appreciated it.  I imagined her as the human version of a dog that was finally leaving the shelter and headed to a real home for the first time.  Pure and simple appreciation.

While my heart undoubtedly lies with animals in need, I also see the importance in helping out some two-leggers as well every now and then.  In a world caught up in the size of Kim Kardashian’s newest engagement ring, I think we could all benefit from ungluing our eyes from the television and going out and helping those that are less fortunate than us.  It makes you appreciate everything you have, and I for one, think we need more of that.

Leo needs a home for the Holidays

Happy Monday everyone!  Boy, what a busy weekend it was.  All I can say is dogs, dogs, dogs.  Saturday and Sunday I was gone basically all day at adoption events, which unfortunately I wasn’t able to bring Maggie to, so she did a whole lot of this while I was gone (pardon the awful red eye):

Yes, Maggie actually sleeps like that, it’s not a quickly snapped shot before she moved into a new position.  She is such a goof.  Tonight we will be going to a Halloween party at her obedience school where I am hoping she catches the eye of a potential adopter!  Everyone cross your fingers and paws for us!

So, backing it up a little, on Friday I went out to take pictures and meet a dog that Last Hope Rescue is trying to help.  We were contacted by a very nice lady named Lynn after she saw this little dog lying in a puddle on the side of the road and stopped to help.  Nearby there were people in the process of moving but they denied the dog being theirs.  The poor guy was in rough shape so she brought him to her house.

As you can see, he is about as cute as it gets.  When I got there he came right over to say “hi” and see what I was all about.  We sat and chatted for awhile then I got Lynn to help me test him out with one of her dogs.  Up until this point she had been keeping them separate since she already has four and two of them tend to be very territorial.  So I put Leo on a leash (which he walks like quite the gentleman on) and she brought out one of her dogs on a leash too.  We spent some time walking around near each other without letting the dogs get too close at first.  As we got closer and closer the boys kind of checked each other out but neither seemed to care at all about the other.  Eventually they both flopped down and laid in the sun right next to each other while Lynn and I chatted some more.

After I left, Lynn and her husband decided to let their dogs out one at a time to meet Leo.  They all got along wonderfully and played chase with each other.  Leo was even happy to share his bones with his new friends.  Lynn said that it was obvious he was very happy to get to be part of the pack.

Leo is such a sweet boy and would make a wonderful addition to any family.  He is very neat and clean, as I am learning Chows tend to be, gets along wonderfully with other dogs, and is just a big old sweetheart.  If you or anyone you know might be interested in either fostering or adopting Leo please get in touch with either me or Last Hope Rescue at lasthoperescuefl@gmail.com.  Let’s find Leo a home of his very own for the holidays!