Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Return to Normal --Sort Of

The snow horses were killed by the plows. But an odd looking fellow with a bucket for a top hat has taken up residence around the corner. Nigel considered decorating the base of the visitor, but I quickly lured him away. Well, it's been two weeks since the second blizzard hammered the area . And, while most things are back to normal, I don't think I'll ever be able to walk Nigel without washing his paws and brushing him off after every single outing. The roads are still topped with sand and salt. The salt can burn pads, and the sand, with the melted snow, turns into teeny clumps of mud that stick to Nigel's legs and belly. The after-walk routine does not phase Nigel --he likes the paw-soak and rub down. In fact, now that the record-setting amounts of snow have melted into more manageable piles for dog walking, Nigel is eager to be outside. He romps on trampled paths and is still eager to munch on clumps of snow -- just not the yellow stuff.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Interesting Animals Come to Visit After the Snow!

It's always fun to go exploring after a storm. Earlier today, I sprinkled bird seed on the snow so the birds, who aren't lucky enough to fly south for the winter, will have something to eat. Then, Nigel and I went for a walk. We were surprised to see new neighbors resting at the corner --a pair of snow horses! With below freezing temperatures expected tonight, and for several nights to come, I think these magnificent visitors will be around for awhile.

Hunkered Down Inside the League

Round two of the blizzard started as a light snow Tuesday night, but by mid-morning Wednesday visibility was almost non-existent from INSIDE the League! Six staff members hosted a two (and in some cases three) night slumber party with nearly 200 cats and dogs! During the day, an additional three loyal Leaguers walked to work so the animals could receive the very best of care. If you've ever wondered what it's like to sleep in an animal shelter, I can tell you it's much quieter than you would think.

Most of our time, however was not spent sleeping -- cleaning, feeding, and medicating animals is time consuming. Of cours, there was some down time late at night --three of us managed a nightly game of scrabble while two others focused on a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. We were fortunate to have a real meal during the height of the blizzard -- Wah Luck Chinese Restaurant delivered!!! We were very, very grateful.

Like our dogs at home, the dogs living at the League need to go outside -- some liked the snow, others like me, are ready for spring.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow Storm of the Century Brings Out the Best, Worst, and Just Plain Fun!

HEROES --We live in Washington, DC, not the North Pole. The weekend weather made some kind of once-in -lifetime mistake. Even the President, who lived many years in Chicago, acknowledged the blizzard in the nation's capital, calling it Snowmageddon. The most snow ever recorded during one storm in our area happened on the weekend. And, three wonderful, loyal Washington Animal Rescue League staffers managed to care for all of the animals. Thanks to Eugene, Ehuniz, and Oscar, the cats and dogs were kept fed and clean. You are my heroes -- AMAZING!!!

DUMB MISTAKE -- Not everyone is so responsible. My neighbor, who has two dogs for his "kids", opened up the door at 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning to see if a plow had gone down the street -- why would a plow have gone down my little street ? -- and one of the dogs ran out. The dog has yet to come back. The dog, an unneutered male, older chocolate Labrador retriever, is not wearing any identification tags and is not microchipped. Not only did record breaking amounts of snow fall, but bitter cold is bearing down on the region. The dog is super unruly. I'm hoping, however, that he let some kind soul take him in or somehow got to the Montgomery County Animal Shelter.

FUN-- Dogs LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the snow. check out the picture of Nigel. Why would a dog want to just park in the snow? Seems to me he'd be a little chilly, guess not. The first time out, while the snow was still falling, was a little tricky. It had already mounted so high that Nigel needed a path to comfortably go to the bathroom. Once that was taken care of, the rest of the outtings have been all fun. Nigel played with his buddy Jackson and another dog who met us in the street. At that time, you couldn't tell the street from the yard. Notice the snow on Nigel's snout? He loves using his nose to tunnel through the snow like a gopher.

HEROES REVISITED -- When I was watching the news on Saturday I saw a a shot of a church that had collapsed in Washington. The reporter mentioned how it was believed that no one was injured, however an Urban Search and Rescue team, who had just returned from Haiti, was in the building checking for anyone who may have been trapped inside. Sounds like D.C. Fire Department Sgt.Christopher Holmes and his partner Cazo were hard at work on their home turf. Thanks. So glad to hear that both are in top form. When I spoke to Sgt. Holmes earlier in the week he told me that Cazo had been injured while looking for survivors in the rubble in Haiti. Cazo's injury was so severe that he underwent a 90 minute surgery to remove the foreign object that was lodged in his flank. Cazo finished a round of antibiotics and was cleared to go back to work right before the storm. Obviously, search and rescue teams don't get snow days!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I've been thinking about an article that I read yesterday -- Anacostia River shows decades-long failure to improve water quality, ecosystem . According to David A. Fahrenthold, In the District, 15 miles downstream, the Anacostia is burdened by tons of floating trash, millions of gallons of raw sewage, and deposits of toxic chemicals. Forty years ago, when Earth Day was established, people were told that ignorance and negligence was destroying rivers, and that immediate clean-up was critical to the life of the Anacostia as well as other bodies of water throughout the U.S. And, today, we are still looking for ways to improve the quality of the Anacostia. What simple things can individuals do?

The obvious, don't pollute -- not one gum wrapper, plastic baggie, or bag of dog poop. And, don't shop unless you are prepared -- Bring a bag. One part of the renewed cleanup effort is already in place: The District's "bag bill," which requires that retailers charge customers five cents for every paper or plastic shopping bag. The funds will go for cleanup measures, but the real hope is to cut use of plastic bags, the most common kind of trash found in the Anacostia's tributaries.

How quickly will things improve?
The District government has stuck by the goal of a fishable, swimmable river -- but set a deadline years over the horizon, in 2032. "We wanted to be realistic," one city official said.

I wonder, does it really need to take 21 more years to turn things around?

Read the article in it's entirety.

Think of ways that you can help now. Share the article with friends. Write letters -- let people in positions of power know that you care and want to be part of the effort to save the Anacostia. What will you be doing in 2032?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow Again! This is DC, not Michigan!!

Well, according to those who keep records the average snow fall in the D.C. area is less than two feet per winter. The six plus inches we got on Saturday took us beyond our average. The snow is beautiful and lots of fun to play in, but with it, particularly this winter, comes cold -- extreme cold. Dogs and cats should not be left outside. Report any animal unattended to the proper animal welfare agency in your community.

Be an animal hero. Speak up for animals.