kinds of drugs and its side effects

Pet Adoption Videos That Don’t Make Me Want to Kill Myself (But Do Make Me a Little Sad)

Shelter Pet Project 2014First things first.

I love the Shelter Pet Project, a joint effort of the Ad Council, Maddie’s Fund, and the Humane Society of the United States  to end the euthanasia of healthy animals.

I wrote a three-part series about it a couple of years ago.

In Part 1, I covered the first phase of the project, which produced and distributed a series of videos aimed at changing the perception of shelter pets as being inferior. The message: Human problems lead to pets being sent to shelters, not problems with the animals.

You can see one of the videos that I highlighted, below.

In Part 2, I discussed how the Shelter Pet Project came under the aegis of the Ad Council, which was enormously influential in helping to spread the word.

In Part 3, I showcased the new (as of late 2011) series of videos and discussed the role that the shelters and the American public need to play in order for the campaign to succeed.

Here’s one example:

I think it’s clear what a huge supporter I am.

But now there’s a new series.

Can we talk?

We’re among friends. I love the new posters that the Shelter Pet Project put out; the one at the top of the page reminds me of a certain shaggy someone.

But the videos that are centerpiece of their new campaign?

And the feline version:

I get it: the sound and visual effects put appealing pets up close to your computer, phone or TV screen. But the bare room? The tapping against the glass? The frenetic running around? They all make me a little sad.

Maybe it’s me. I’ve been in a sad mood lately. I’d love your feedback. What do you think of this new campaign, especially in relation to the earlier ones?

Posted in Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Frankie’s Fund: When You Can’t Do, Give. When You Can’t Give, Share.

Old Dog Haven's Hank: The Real Face of Frankie's Fund

Old Dog Haven’s Hank: A face of Frankie’s Fund

It hasn’t been the best last week for me. Well, really, month. Okay, year. But I’ll save the whining. Because whatever I’ve gone through, it’s a heckuva lot better than what’s happening to a lot of senior dogs this time of year.

‘Tis the Season

Olimometer 2.52
Goal: $3128
Left to Raise: $50


Sickening but true: Lots of people dump their old, sick dogs at a shelter because they want a newer model. Or — perhaps sadder, but not as sickening — they leave them there because they can’t afford medical care for them, and they may not realize that it’s very unlikely that their old dogs are going to get adopted, that they will spend their last days confused and scared.

This is where Frankie’s Fund comes in. It’s administered by the Grey Muzzle Organization, a 501 (c) (3) charity — so yes, donations are tax deductible — specializing in senior dog care of all sorts. I chose to commemorate Frankie, who got a great sendoff, by channeling all contributions to hospice care. The money will go to Forever Fosters, people who take in dogs that may not have long to live and provide them with palliative care and, above all, the comfort of a loving home.

If You Can’t Do, Give

Right now I can’t imagine being able to care for sick senior dogs, knowing what the outcome will be sooner rather than later, even if later is as long as a year or more. Who knows? When I get over the pain of Frankie’s loss, I may be able to. Or not.

That doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me grateful for those who are able and willing to provide this crucial care. And it makes me a fund-raising zealot.

Which is why I’ve extended the money-raising deadline from the original Christmas to the end of the year.

So far, so great

As the thermometer, above, shows, I’ve raised nearly more than $2,000 in a month during which I had two — count ’em — major computer meltdowns. I couldn’t have done it without the support and generosity of the pet blogging/social media community.

Two thousand dollars is an amazing amount of money. It’ll be a great help to some senior dogs at the end of their lives. But there are so many of them out there. And why not aim high?  So I’ll stick to the original goal of $5,000. Who knows? Maybe there’s a major donor out there who is just waiting for the right cause to touch her or his soul.

If You Can’t Give, Share

imagesNot everyone can afford to give at this time of year. You’re tapped out with buying gifts, with spending money on necessities, with donating to other charitable causes that are near and dear to your hearts. I completely understand.

But if you spend any time on Facebook or Twitter, I know you can give up the time you’d spend on reading one political article that would only make your blood boil to post about Frankie’s Fund. It’ll make you feel better, I promise.

Here’s a good link for you to post (rather than this one): The Faces of Frankie’s Fund. It explains what the fund is and how to give. I’m not going to tell you how to write introductory text to a Facebook post (or, better yet, a blog post); you’re better than I am at knowing what works with your readers.

Amnesty!

Consider this an amnesty post, for a final week of Frankie’s Fund. Hey, in spite of your promises, you’ve been busy and forgot to donate or share. And then you got guilty and just wanted me to go away. Again, I completely understand. I’ll pretend I didn’t notice. You’ve still got time.

I already suggested ways to share. Here’s…

How to Give

Please go over to Grey Muzzle’s donation page and keep scrolling down past the Payment Information section until you get to the box with the header “If you have a special purpose for your donation, please let us know” and enter “Frankie’s Fund” in the slot under “I want my donation to be dedicated:”

My email address, to be put in the slot that asks for it, is writestf at me.com

And then be sure to check the box to the right that says “Please send an acknowledgement to the individual or organization to whom I am dedicating my donation.” If you don’t want me to make your name public, I won’t. And I will never post the amount of the donation. But I need to able to tabulate and showcase the donations total.

I’m not going to lie. The donation site has been glitchy. Please persevere. Or let me know if you’ve been having problems, in this comments section if not via email. I’ll get it sorted out, I promise.

If You Already Gave and/or Shared

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have already done enough — to the point when I will start feeling guilty if you do more. Play with your dogs. Eat more Christmas cookies. Bask in my gratitude. You deserve it.

Posted in Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Portuguese Water Dogs & Pit Bulls: The Politics of the President’s Pets

Anything that President Obama does is news, which goes with the Leader of the Free World territory. And when the President does something warm and fuzzy, like getting a pet for his family — as opposed, say, to making recess appointments of agency heads —  more sections of the blogosphere than just the usual political ones pay attention.

Bo and Sunny

Bo and Sunny, First Dogs (actually, first and second First Dogs)

The official announcement on the White House blog on August 19 read:

Today the Obamas welcomed the newest member of their family – a little girl (puppy) named Sunny!

Sunny was born in Michigan in June 2012, and arrived at the White House today. Just like Bo, she’s a Portuguese Water Dog, which works great for the Obamas because of allergies in their family.

Sunny is the perfect little sister for Bo – full of energy and very affectionate – and the First Family picked her name because it fit her cheerful personality.

In honor of Sunny, the Obamas are making a donation to the Washington Humane Society.

Lots of people had something to say about this.

Normal people’s reactions

Here is the typical normal pet lover’s reaction to the following film, released by the White House along with the article:

Awww!! She’s so cute! She plays so well with Bo, who was lonely for doggie company before Sunny came along. It’s nice that the family got a breed that Melia, who has allergies, could enjoy. It’s nice that the Obamas donated money to a shelter.

Awwww!! Ooooh!

Reasonable and useful reactions from the pet community

This is a teachable moment. The Daily Beast had a sensible article by a veterinarian that includes information about whether you should get a second dog, introducing the second dog to the first dog, etc.

All good things to know.

Well intended but misguided reactions from the pet community

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled New White House pup Sunny: Why not a rescue dog? is typical of the reactions of the “should have adopted” community. After a feel-good introduction, so as not to antagonize everyone who had the above-mentioned “awwww” reaction, such pieces cite a well-known figure in the animal welfare community to make the case.

Cue Wayne Pacelle, director of the Humane Society of the United States:

[Pacelle]  noted on his blog Tuesday that the Obamas made little reference to exactly where Sunny came from, other than to note that it’s the Great Lakes State.

But given her pure-bred status, it’s unlikely that Sunny came from a rescue organization or a shelter. [emphasis mine, and not sourced to Pacelle]

“As we always say in such circumstances, we hope the Obamas considered adoption or rescue as the first choice in obtaining a pet,” wrote Mr. Pacelle.

Like all the other should-have-rescued articles I came across, this one misrepresents or ignores one bit of important information: That about 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred.  There is a breed rescue for Portuguese water dogs, as there is for most breeds.

The fact is, the Obamas went through a reputable breeder for both Bo and Sunny. If they had ordered Sunny over the internet or bought her at a pet store, the pet community would have something to squawk about. But reputable breeders play an essential role in the world of animal lovers. It would be a good thing to emphasize that more, and scold less.

Off-the-wall reactions from the pet community (or an ostensible member)

Yes, pit bulls can be sweethearts

Yes, pit bulls can be sweethearts

This article from Salon.com titled Another Portuguese Water Dog? The Obamas Should Have Made A Different Statement is likely just link/click bait because it is both ill-informed and wildly off kilter. It starts:

Bo Obama, America’s first dog, has a new playmate named Sunny and the first family is getting criticized for not adopting a mutt from the animal shelter. If the Obamas had gone to their local shelter, the Washington Humane Society, they wouldn’t have found a purebred Portuguese water dog. Instead, they might have come home with a pit bull — and that would have been a good thing.

There are three problems right off the bat.

  • The link in “the first family is getting criticized” clause directs us to PETA. A writer who knew anything about animal welfare would know that criticism from PETA means diddly squat — and especially in the context of an article related to pit bulls. PETA advocates that all pit bulls that turn up in shelters be put down.
  • What part of “the Obamas need a certain breed of dog because Melia has allergies” doesn’t the author understand?
  • As I noted above, 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. You cannot say with authority that the Obamas would not have found a purebred Portuguese water dog at the Washington Humane Society.

I have written often here about how pit bulls are unfairly demonized. But bringing a rescued one into the White House is a ludicrous idea, for many reasons; they are detailed in the 300 plus comments that this piece drew. I couldn’t have summed it up better, however, than commenter “Schmoopi”:

You are fucking kidding me, right?  You want the president who can’t do anything without it being made political and a “Black thing”… to adopt a dog that is the stereotyped official dog breed of the ‘hood?…

I like pits. They are a much maligned breed. They are naturally sweet-natured, loyal and affectionate….Pitbulls are also heavily abused and over bred by idiots…. Nevertheless, I find the suggestion that my President, our first Black president, a man who spends every day being “nibbled to death by ducks,” should deliberately do something that would enable the racist trolls of our country to hit new heights of asshattery to be the dumbest thing I have heard all summer.

This leads me to…

Bat-shit crazy political reactions

The supposition that the name Sunny was chosen because it’s close to Sunni, the sect of Islam to which Obama purportedly belongs, may be a joke, but the observation made by the right wing Daily Caller wasn’t:

With the addition of Sunny, the Obamas now have two black Portuguese water dogs.

The Obamas do not have any white dogs.

For more about how diabolical the decision to get Sunny was, see  Atlantic.com’s Best Conspiracy Theories About the Obamas’ New Dog, Sunny.

Boring but important political pet news that got lost in the Sunny fuss

While the President was busy not adopting a pit bull, he was actually doing something much more important. The White House responded to a petition asking it to “Ban and outlaw Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in the United States of America on a Federal level!” with the following statement:

We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.

The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.

For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate. You can read more from them here.

As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.

That’s a far better use of the President’s bully pulpit — pun intended — than making the family dog into a political statement rather than a pet.

Posted in Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Underdog to Wonderdog: Frankie!

The face that launched a thousand– okay, 556 — blog posts and a book

People who are involved in the animal welfare community are oddly insulated. We tend to think that everyone knows about the importance of adoption, the evils of buying from pet stores. But according to the Humane Society of the United States, “Nationwide, only about 20 percent of dogs in homes come from shelters—the rest come from other sources.”

That’s pretty shocking.

Somehow, many, many people still believe that dogs adopted from shelters or rescue groups are inferior.

Frankie and I are here to tell you otherwise, in a nod to the Animal Planet show featuring Andrea Arden, dog smoocher extraordinaire. This post doesn’t have the production values of the TV Underdog to Wonderdog, but it would be hard to beat Frankie’s success story for dramatic impact.

Underdog

Frankie is an International Dog of Mystery. At age four or five, he was found wandering the streets of Tucson (I suspect amnesia) where he was noticed by Pima Animal Care Center. He was plucked out of obscurity under the aegis of Arizona Schnauzer Rescue by my friend Rebecca, who sent me his headshot. She clearly had an eye for a diamond in the rough.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Muse

After Frankie and I got over a mutual period of adjustment, the creative juices began to flow (well, in his case, it was pee). I wrote about our adventures together for The Bark, Tucson Home, and Your Dog, the Tufts University veterinary school newsletter.

But in spite of his diminutive size, Frankie was too much dog to be contained in a few magazine articles. He needed his own book.

The result: Am I Boring My Dog: And 99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew.

Book spokesdog

I was responsible for the drudge work part of the promotion, sending out letters, trying in vain to get Oprah’s attention. Frankie got the glamor job, the world book tour.

Blog Star

One video and promotional tour just didn’t cut it for Frankie.   Threatening to go on strike and refuse to appear in any additional promos, he presented me with a list of demands, including top billing by name in the header of my blog and a commitment to write about him once a month, minimum. He had me under his little paw.

Inspirational icon

Blog, shmog, Frankie said next. He had a message to spread and needed a larger national presence. Greeting cards, cocktail napkins, refrigerator magnets… he did it all.

He’s one determined — not to mention photogenic — pup.

Frankie says, Live the life you have imagined. Rescue a dog.

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The Dog, the Butcher and the Big Picture

Ask and ye shall receive. At least that’s been my experience with a lot of pet bloggers. On a recent post that included a video of hot dudes with kittens, I mentioned that a nice transition between this blog and my soon to debut one, Freud’s Butcher, would be hot butchers with puppies.

Karen Friesecke of DoggieStylish.com came through with the following (not hot but cute):

The Dog and the Butcher by Jonathan Holt from Jonathan Holt on Vimeo.

I was going to leave you with just that fun video — what with trying to wind down this blog and all —  but something has been nagging at me for a while and wanting to thank Karen brought that to mind.

She recently posted about Lennox, the dog that was killed in Belfast because he was a pit bull, and gave a big picture perspective. I’m not here to argue about whether BSL laws or the lack of spay and neutering by owners are more responsible for the death of pit bulls; I think both are necessary and Karen made her case for spay and neuter very well. I’d like to talk about how easy it is to focus on the details and lose the forest for the trees.

This forest-losing often leads to a putrid level of discourse in the comments section of big picture posts. Karen can — and does — take care of herself, but I know what a good and generous person she is. I’ve often written about how she has sent Frankie insulin from Canada. It upsets me to see her being called names and being accused of being a bad, sad — and old! — person for being rational, and to have her credibility undermined because she used “the f-bomb” and smiley faces. I chose not to use that language on my blog for a variety of reasons, but I would have zero credibility if I got points taken off every time I cursed in real life. And although I’m not generally an emoticon fan, I have found myself using them — not to mention multiple exclamation points — in the comments section here as shorthand. Big deal.

But back to Lennox and, even further back to Patrick, the abused pit bull. I get that we need to put a face on problems like BSL and animal abuse; Lennox and Patrick are effective poster dogs for those issues. But all the time and energy and money that go into obsessing about those particular dogs could be better spent on things like volunteering at shelters, campaigning against puppy mills, helping to get stronger laws against animal abuse enacted… big picture stuff.

I’m not saying that talking about individual cases and doing something about larger problems are mutually exclusive; these egregious, very public cases often lead to legislation, some of it thoughtful and well written, some reflecting the hyperbole of the people who took up the causes (remember, BSL laws themselves are the result of blowing a problem out of proportion).

My problem is that a lot of people get too riled up about the details, the ins and outs and the nuances of the cases, to do anything useful. The emotional energy invested in those individual dogs would be far better directed towards trying to change things. And, as I started out by saying, such emotional investment can lead to the type of misdirected rancor that good people like Karen experienced by trying to be rational and to provide some perspective.

And that’s a fucking shame.

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Dog Bloggers Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Guilt

I may be winding down this blog, but I’ll never stop caring about dog rescue. How could I when one small rescue dog, Frankie, made such a huge change in my life?

And I’m pleased that I’ll still be around to participate in a big push that some of my fellow bloggers are making on July 23 to call this issue to widespread public attention. Inspired by Blog Catalog, Dog Rescue Success, and the Be the Change for Animals community, we will do what we do anyway — write about the animals we love on our blogs and social media sites, only in a more focused way. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or anything formal. You can do anything from talking about how much you adore your rescue pup to donating supplies or money to your local shelter and inspiring others to do the same.

Of course if you want to go out and adopt or foster a dog, no one will have a problem with that either.

July 23. Put that date on your blogging calendar.

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Pet Adoption Videos That Don’t Make Me Want To Kill Myself: Men with Cats Edition

Mark Twain was a cat guy — who knew?

To finish off a week that somehow got hijacked by cats…

Let’s face it: Men and cats don’t go together in the popular imagination — and especially not macho guys. We know it’s only lonely single woman who are feline fanciers  (hey, why do think I got a dog? Just kidding, Frankie.)

This means that many loveable furballs go homeless.

Working against stereotypes — and for adoption — is Los Angeles’ Much Love Animal Rescue, which created a series of “It’s Okay to be a Cat Guy” videos. This is my favorite of the four.

This next link from the Funny or Die folks isn’t really about adoption. It just fits with the theme. And I thought it would make many people I know happy.

Hot Dudes With Kittens

If you liked it, please show your appreciation by going over to like Freud’s Butcher, the Facebook page for the new blog that is going to debut on August 1 — not coincidentally the last day of this blog. There is absolutely no relationship between hot dudes with kittens and my new FB page — unless you have pictures of hot butchers with cats, in which case I promise to post them there — but I figured it was worth asking while you were in a “liking” me mood.

 

Posted in Animal Welfare | 15 Comments

Pet Adoption Videos That Don’t Make Me Want to Kill Myself: Cats!

Will my dog hate me* if I blog about cats? Not if you don’t tell him.

In looking through my draft files for the blogs I’ve always meant to post, I found several feline-oriented ones. This pet adoption video isn’t really funny, but that was never my sole criterion for the series. It’s charming, it (almost) makes me want to adopt a cat, and it definitely doesn’t make me want to kill myself.

So here you go with this PSA, brought to you by the Denver Dumb Friends League. Enjoy.

*In case you’ve forgotten, or were wondering: My blog’s name is short for Will My Dog Hate Me if I Dress Him, an alternate title for Am I Boring My Dog. Maybe I’ll be posting blog factoids in this final month of pet blogging. Maybe not.

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Pet Adoption Videos That Don’t Make Me Want to Kill Myself, 6/23

This video was made for No-Kill Los Angeles, an initiative of Best Friends Animal Society along with a coalition of animal organizations across Los Angeles. I like Kevin Nealon, and of course I like the message, but I thought a little too much time was spent on the lead in to the money shot: A cute dog.

Do you agree?

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Pet Adoption Videos That Don’t Make Me Want to Kill Myself 6/16

This touching and laugh-out-loud funny video was brought to you by Lane County Animal Services — and a Facebook or WillMyDogHateMe commenter who shall temporarily have to go nameless. Please identify yourself. I found this in my blog’s drafts file without any notes about its source and I want to give credit where it’s due.

Posted in Animal Welfare | Tagged , , | 16 Comments