Monday, December 19, 2011

Busy Boxes Continue to Entertain

 Six months after the pizza box carton busy boxes were created by Tuyet and Tra My during Caring Kids -- Animals & Art --  Camp,  League alums, Allister Moody and friend, continue to be engaged by the colorful toys.  Allister (white and orange kitty), who underwent eye surgery while residing at the League, was a staff favorite.   Nice to see that, not only does he see perfectly well, but is loved bunches by his four-legged and two legged forever friends. 

Thanks to Papa John's of the National Capital Area for donating the boxes for the camp projects and thanks to artists Katherine Leonard and Bonnie Branner for coordinating the project.

Information about the Washington Animal Rescue League's Caring Kids -- Animals & Art --  Camp, and two other  2012 summer camps will be posted in February.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thank You Friendship Hospital for Animals

Nearly two years ago three Rottweiler pups were rescued from a horrible situation -- their "caretaker" put rubber bands on each of the pups.  When the threesome were removed from the situation by a humane law enforcement officer and admitted as to the League's Medical Center our team immediately went to work removing the rubber bands.  It was soon determined, because the damage was so severe, that Riley's left front leg would be amputated. The other pups recovered once the heavy bands were removed from their necks.   Kara,  Riley's primary caretaker in the medical center, fell in love with her patient and adopted the good-natured pup. 

Hailey, the dog standing on all fours in the picture, was adopted  by a rather unconventional family -- she is a member of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department.  She quickly became the most popular member of the squad, and takes her role as fire prevention expert seriously -- she often  accompanies the firefighters to community events. During the summer Hailey made a guest appearance at our Caring Kids -- All About Animals -- Camp.   She and Rylie took part in a presentation focusing on the horrors of animal abuse. 

All was great until recently.  While playing, Hailey suffered an injury to one of her back legs. As a volunteer organization the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department relies on  donations. Hailey’s care is paid for from proceeds from the firehouse soda machine. At 50 cents per can, it was going to take a lot of soda to get Hailey the surgery she needed to repair a torn ligament in her knee.

Worried about their loyal companion, the firefighters contacted Kara.   The League's Medical Center is not equipped to perform such specialized surgery.  We contacted our very good friends at Friendship Hospital for Animals and the rest, as they say, is history!   Dr. Mat Glassman, worked with Hailey and the members of the Fire Department to make sure she got the help she needed. Both Hailey and the members of the HVFD are grateful for their assistance. Hailey is recovering nicely and is expected to running and playing in no time.  

To read more about Hailey and see pictures of her at the firehouse and xrays of her knee, click on the link  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Very Intelligent Readers (VIR) -- Celebrate Because of Winn Dixie

Four Takoma Education Campus fifth graders read Kate DiCamillo's award winning book, Because of Winn Dixie, as part of a Washington Animal Rescue League first quarter weekly reading group.  The Very Intelligent Readers (VIR) welcomed Nigel, a Very Important Listener (VIL) to the literary group.  The readers unanimously recommended Because of Winn Dixie.

 "I would recommend this book because it's really entertaining, and there is a funny part. But it comes with sad parts, like when the dog gets lost in the rain.  It's great how it shows how you can make best friends forever, " shared Leslie.

"It was a great book, it made me cry at one part and happy at another.  It has a lot of strong feelings in it," wrote Kahlil.

"I would recommend this book because it might inspire you to get a dog or a pet.   This story will make you cry, laugh and smile.  This book has a dog character and his name is Winn Dixie.   In the beginning of the story he was like all of the other homeless dogs, then he became a happy dog who had a family who loves him," recommended Gelila.
After completing the book, Because of Winn Dixie,
 Kahlil, Gelila, Leslie and Nigel get comfortable as they prepare to watch the movie.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

HOME! for Thanksgiving

Sammi is spending her first Thanksgiving in her forever home.   Who knows where the little poodle spent Thanksgiving in years past, but this year we know that she is with her favorite person, Katherine, and the rest of her new family --  including Jingle, a big, 10-year-old bunny. 

Katherine attended the third session of our  Caring Kids summer camp, the one that focused on dog training.    At the end of the five days Katherine told her pup good-bye, but she continued working on her family about adopting the tiny P-pup.   She must be quite persuasive because after a couple of days her mom called from their vacation and asked if the pup was still available.  "No, " she was told, the puppy was already in a new home.

Soon after their return, Katherine and her family visited the League.  And, there was Allison Krause!   A pretty autumn-colored poodle who had just been returned.   To the best of our knowledge the little dog had lived in at least three homes, probably more.  Katherine's would be her FOREVER home.

Katherine's mother sent a recent update --
It's been 2 1/2 months. We renamed her Sammi. It was 2 weeks before she barked. It was another few weeks before she would not cower around men. She is still afraid of most new people. We took her for her first grooming and she trembled most of the time.  I expect her to become more confident with time. But with us, she's just a sweet, good tempered pup. We just love her.

She gets 2-3 walks a day during the week and more on weekends.  Sammi goes to soccer with us and we've taken her to Great Falls Park.  Sammi is somewhat interested in our rabbit. She sniffs him but that is about it.

Katherine's mom reports that the family cat is not quite so sure about Sammi.   But I am guessing that by next Thanksgiving the update will include a photo of the cat and Sammi in close proximity of one another.  

There is much to be thankful for -- Caring Kids campers, animals in forever home, and for parents, who have never had a dog, but who make the plunge to adopt and then fall in love. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting Decked Out for the Holidays!

My cats don't wear hats.   I can't imagine trying to put a hat on Micky, Merl or Charlotte.  They definitely would not allow it.  Not all cats, however,  are so uncooperative.  Meatball, who was adopted from the League nine years ago, got into the celebratory spirit just long enough so her person could take one good picture.  We know who will be featured on Meg's holiday cards this year!

With Thanksgiving just 8 days away, photos, like this one, reminds us at the League just how grateful we are for adopters who make their animals do silly things so they can share their cats and dogs with everyone they love!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gypsy Sheds Pounds and Years; Acquires BFF & Permanent Home

It is common knowledge that staff loves adoption updates.  Some animals stay at the League just a short time, typically puppies and kittens get adopted more quickly than adult animals.   Senior animals, and those with "special needs" can reside her for months.   Lately we have heard from folks who have adopted some of those dogs.   The word special comes to mind when I think of the adopters and the updates.  
In this week before Thanksgiving, it is a pleasure to share Gypsy's story sent by her adopter.  The update highlights how animals not only befriend us, but help one another.

Our 15-year-old, blind Aussie, Molly,  died in June.  My wife and I WANTED a new dog, but it became apparent Snickers (our puppy mill survivor dog) NEEDED a dog.
When we met Gypsy at the League, her temperament and confidence shined through in spite of the discomfort from being extremely overweight.  We recognized that Gypsy was exactly the dog that Snickers needed -- a dog who  knew who she was; was used to people, places and dogs... a dog like Gypsy - to serve as a new model for Snickers.
Since coming home, we've continued the weight loss diet started at WARL. We live in an apartment, so our dogs are walked three times a day. While we started slowly to allow Gypsy to acclimate to her new home, new diet, and new activity regimen, we have yet to tire her out with a long walk. Her hunched back and bunny hop has smoothed into a stiff legged trot. Her gait is visibly affected, but not her pace; she keeps up with  much younger dogs. She  LOVES playing with plush toys - the squeakier the better! And who would have thought that  a 7-year-old dog would be so into tennis balls?.
Gypsy's favorite position? Middle of the room, flat on her back, all four feet straight up in the air, watching what's going on from her upside down point of view. She even sleeps that way!
Adopting Gypsy was almost like getting two new dogs!  Since Gypsy has come home, her exuberance and playfulness has re-awoken the same exuberance and playfulness in Snickers that we have not seen since Molly passed away.

We are grateful for adopters who recongize the best in their new friends!  Check back soon, more Thanksgiving updates to come.......

Monday, November 7, 2011

Responsible Student Does the Right Thing!

Pictured right to left -- Gisselle and Charlie and Jocelyn and Pelusha
When Gisselle toured the Washington Animal Rescue League with her summer program she saw many cats and dogs who needed homes.  She learned that there are too many animals and not enough homes, largely because cats and dogs multiply so quickly.  Gisselle learned that responsible guardians spay or neuter their cats and dogs.  Gisselle went home that day and told her mother that they had to get their cat spayed.   Although their cat gave birth before they made an appointment, Gisselle was determined to not only get her cat spayed, but she urged her mom to call the League to make appointments to spay or neuter the mom cat AND her kittens! That way, when the kittens go to their new homes there is no risk that they, too, will be adding to the overpopulation crisis.  GREAT WORK GISSELLE!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dobi is HOME!

Dobi at the shelter
This is a remarkable adoption update that reads like an action adventure.   In order to get the full picture I am posting excerpts from a series of emails sent to Natalie Kahla, our adoptions manager, from Dobi's adopter.  Dobi's rescue, post-adoption, shows the importance of acting immediately, networking, and following every lead when an animal goes missing.   We are ecstatic that  Dobi is now safe and sound in his forever home!

OCTOBER 23 -- As of 5:30, Dobi has been missing. While I was out my friend opened the front door for another person and Dobi dashed out of the house. They took off after him for three blocks before they were out run. I contacted 24PetWatch and filed a report on them, giving them his microchip number. After searching for over three hours with the help of friends and neighbors and local police officers who notified other officers via radio, we ended the search contacting Animal Control and the Washington Humane Society.

Dobi is wearing his collar and his blue harness. He has eaten a little today and has had a little water as he was still skittish and shy this afternoon. He slept with me under my arm last night and has responded a few times to a specific whistle I was in the process of teaching him.

He was seen running past Georgia Avenue and up Rock Creek Church Road NW (towards the direction of Columbia Heights). I have notified neighbors and everyone I have come upon tonight. I will continue to look for him tomorrow morning.

OCTOBER 24 --Still no word on Dobi. I put up about 300 posters around the area he was last seen and all over Columbia Heights.   I posted ads on craigslist and the MPD allowed me to post his flier in front of the main desk so everyone entering the station can see it. A very caring person who saw my flier recommended I join a facebook group called Columbia Heights Dog Park which is a popular dog park nearby. The group has almost 200 members of very involved dog lovers in the community. I have checked with the Humane Society of Washington and Animal Control. 

OCTOBER 25 -- Today was looking up a little better. I was putting up more fliers at a gas station on Georgia Ave posting when I ran into a UPS guy and asked him if he had see a dog. He asked me if Dobi was very small. I said yes. He asked if he was very scared and skittish. I said yes. He asked if he had a "blue thingy" and made a gesture around his chest imitating a harness. I said yes. He said he saw him at 50 Irving (Veterans Hospital at Washington Hospital Center) with a man around 3:30 pm (today) who looked "nervous like he wasn't supposed to have the dog with him" which is why he caught the UPS man's eye in the first place. I went straight there with a friend. We talked to a security guard who confirmed seeing the exact description of Dobi and I gave them a stack of fliers and spoke with an officer who refused to double check the security footage because there was "no way of confirming that dog is really yours".

NOVEMBER 1 --After one week, my baby is home!!! Dobi was found around 11pm tonight by a man on his nightly run on Rock Creek Church Road. Dobi was dodging in and out of the fence and he recognized him from the posters and called the number on the flier. A woman walking her dog came by shortly after, and it was her dog that lured Dobi.  She was able to pick him up and called the number on the flier. Dobi was in my arms by 12:37am. He has lost 5-7 lbs but has his appetite and enjoyed a peanut butter treat on top of his food. I removed 17 ticks from his chest. He has a small scratch on his nose and tip of his ear. The collar he had on him was a very worn and dirty one, NOT his original. His bright blue harness was also not on him. HE IS HOME!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Let's Keep in Touch

Best Friends!
 Our adoptions department sends a questionnaire to adopters once they and their new-found friends have had some time to adjust.   Usually we get an update about a month after the adoption. This photo of Midnight recently came to us; she obviously has had time to settle in and has done so quite nicely.  

Midnight  was adopted from WARL in 2009. She has grown up a lot and has turned out to be a loyal dog who is equally loving & caring. As you can see she gets along very well with our other pet Morning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Heavy Drama Sequels

Two of my very favorite books are Dog Lost by Ingrid Lee and A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin.  Both stories are compelling page turners that cause the reader to root wildly for the horribly mistreated canines.    Both books have those "Oh No" scenes that are like a severe blow to the gut.   Recently I read Martin's  Everything for a Dog, the 2009 sequel to A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray.   It, too, is a page turner but the set-up of the story is much different.  A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray is a tragedy told by Squirrel, a cast-off pup separated from her sibling Bone.   Everything for a Dog is Bone's story, but he shares the spotlight with two other narrators -- Henry and Charlie -- boys whose stories are intertwined with Bone's in an unexpected, jarring  plot twist.   Both stories end happily, but the structure of A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray is far more statisfying than Everything for a Dog.  That said, neither book should be missed.

Ingrid Lee's 2011 book, Cat Found, is written in a similar fashion to her gripping, highly acclaimed Dog Lost, but it can't quite live up to Ann Martin's praise of the first book, ""Much more than a breathless page-turner. It's a brutally honest novel depicting the world of dogfighting in a wicked light but tempering any scenes of cruelty with an entire community of positive characters. And Lee brings together her winning, motley cast, human and animal, for a wonderfully heart-rousing ending. I loved it."  Lee's descriptions of the feral cat colony in Cat Found is accurate, but her characterizations of the many cold, heartless working class people are wooden and stereotypical.    A more accurate and engrossing read about a boy trying to do right by feral cats remains the absolutely perfect story, The Nine Lives of Travis Keating.

Thursday, October 20, 2011



 Yesterday I promised a happy shelter story and today I am delivering not only happy, but cute -- MAJOR CUTE -- thanks to an adopter's adorable update. Little Bocci recently left the shelter for his forever home, and already has a bed full of toys. I don't know for certain, but given that the League is hosting a Howl-O-Ween event on Saturday, October 29th, complete with a really, really spooky haunted hospital, I wouldn't be surprised if our next Bocci photo update is one of the little guy in costume. What should he be?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I was driving to the League this morning when I heard a radio report that I hoped was a bad- pre-Halloween prank.   The reporter said more than 50 wild animals were running loose in an Ohio community.  Apparently the large cats, bears, wolves, giraffes, camels and other exotic animals were let go or escaped from a local wild animal park.   When I got to the League I did a quick Google search and found that it was no joke.  According to an Associated Press story, "Police warned people to stay in their homes, and ...officials hunted down and shot nearly 30 of the 48 of them overnight under orders to shoot to kill."  

What reason could there be for a wild animal park to be located in a residential area in Ohio?    It is doubtful that cheetahs and  Bengal tigers would live in the wild with wolves, grizzly bears, giraffes and camels.  Do wild animal parks serve any purpose? This was a horrific tragedy waiting to happen.    

Check back soon for a happy shelter story.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Busy Weekend

Friendship Hospital for Animals celebrated their 75th anniversary with an absolutely awesome adoption event.  Their goal was to place 75 homeless cats and dogs into permanent, loving homes.  From 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Saturday & Sunday  a steady stream of special folks opened their hearts and homes to kittens, cats, puppies and dogs.  Some of the animals were even adopted by Friendship staff!  The mom cat and kitten who visited me  in my office  last week went home to a mom and daughter duo.   I think that the kitten's forever name is now Clementine, mom's new name was still  being discussed at the time of the adoption.

Charlotte Van Gogh

Our shelter is nearly empty.   But, as always, we will be full by tomorrow.  League staff are traveling to other shelters today to pick up animals ready to move into their forever homes.   Hope those homes are safer than mine.    Here is a recent picture of Charlotte relaxing on the piano bench.   I am happy to report that no major mishaps have occured since Charlotte's mysterious ear hacking episode last month.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not Just One Happy Home -- But Two!

Boo Radley posing
Sometimes adopters write long missives, sometimes they send a sentence of two that says it all -- this is forever!  Such is the case with  Boo Radley's (formerly Humm) update.  Not only does the handsome tabby have a new name, but being named after a classic literary character is bound to make him just a tad more regal -- why, just look at this handsome pose. 

Boo Radley (formerly known as Humm) is very happy in his new home and is the best cuddler on the planet. I am so grateful! I am absolutely head-over-heels in love.

Who is Boo Radley?  Besides being a much loved tabby, Boo Radley is an important character in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird.

Tamale on the steps at HOME!
We heard from another tabby living a happy life  in a perfect, forever home.  Tamale was a staff favorite.  Tamale was here for a long, long time.  When he first came to the shelter in February 2011 he had a tumor that was removed by a veterinarian in our medical center.  While in the hospital, Tamale endeared hmself to everyone.  He was a model patient during treatment.  And now he is the perfect  cat in his perfect new home playing not-so-perfect cat games with another possibly perfect cat!

Tamale  and Pepper are doing very well, and have graduated to the 'thundering' stage of play and chase together, up and down the stairs, and we often can't imagine how some of the rugs got into the the state we find them in.

We have many more cats and the shelter looking for their perfect forever homes.  Two of them, a mom cat and her rambunctious kitten are in my my office.  They will be at our BIG adoption event at Friendship Hospital for Animals this weekend.  Stop by and visit Autumn and her wild mini-me kitten.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And They Lived Happily Ever After....

Okay, so how many time have I written WE LOVE ADOPTION UPDATES?    I am going to write it again.  WE LOVE ADOPTION UPDATES!   Recently we got an update from Denise detailing Emmy's new life.   It is a beautifully written, happily ever after tale that is sure to have many more chapters.  I thought of Denise's update when  I attended a lecture at the League Monday night where Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), emphasized the importance of providing lots of enrichment to guarantee an animal's emotional health -- in other words, doing fun stuff. 

Denise' update highlights lots of fun stuff...
Within six weeks, Emmy began greeting dogs on leash and playfully swatting at beagles in our complex corridors. Two months later, she attempts to enter any silver sedan we pass, as she assumes Danny is behind the wheel and ready to take her on our next adventure. She adores prowling after geese on the National Mall, trail walks through the forest of Dumbarton Oaks, or splashing through the water of the Shirlington Dog Park’s river. She’s put on ten pounds of pure muscle and can outrun any dog except a Vizsla. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Good News From Camper Pup

Ronnie and Petey snoozing.
The only really hard thing about our Caring Kids Dog  Training 101 -- Tricks, Treats & Tips Camp was saying good-bye to the pups.  The eight campers not only taught the four pups to sits, lie down, stand and a couple of tricks, they bathed them, cleaned up their soiled areas and loved them like they were their own.   One of the pups was adopted by the pair of brothers who trained her.   Their good-bye, was more like "See you in a couple of days."   But the other three pups were adopted into new homes the weekend after camp ended, leaving  the six remaining campers wondering about their pup's post-camp life.    

It looks like all is well.  Our campers received the following update --

Pickle is doing great!  Her new name is Rhonda Pickle but we call her Ronnie for short, sometimes just Ron :) Ronnie has a brother named Petey that she loves to play and wrestle around with.  Ronnie is growing everyday and can now jump up on the couch and the bed.  She loves long walks and just started having fun at the dog park.  Ronnie loves to snuggle up on the couch.  Her favorite thing to do is chew on her bully bones.  You kids did a great job teaching Pickle how to sit and to use the pee pee pads....Ronnie Pickle is almost potty trained.  She is such a sweet dog and we love her so much.  I have attached some pictures of her for you to enjoy.  Thanks for taking such great care of her.  She loved her time at the Rescue League.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Creative Cats Toys at a Fraction of the Cost

Does the title sound like a commercial?   There are lots of cat toys out there.  If you google best cat toy you  get 23,400,000 hits including 1,240,000  home made toys.  Most do-it-yourself toys  are simple like --
 Brown paper grocery bags and boxes make great cat caves.
 Toss a ping pong ball, cat toy, or one of the recycled toys from above, into the bag or box.
 For a fancier cat hide-away, cut holes in a large box and hang long ribbons from the openings and pitch toys into the openings for kitty to find.
Others require a little more imagination, like the toy Zack Scott, with the help of his feline friend, Otto,demonstrates.  Check it out.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A bed and a buddy -- What could be better?

Klaus, a staff favorite, lived at the League for a very long time.  I am happy to report that the friendly fellow finally found his forever home with people and cat buddy, Abby.  Well, buddy may be too strong of a word.   We are told that the two cats are still working out the balance of power.    By the looks of the pics, Klaus is not  the slightest bit bothered  by Abby's initial slight.  Obviously Klaus is, if not King of his new castle, at the very least chief inhabitant  of the big blue bed!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Serendipitous Meetings With League Alumni

Early spring I noticed that a really cute, familiar-looking  dog was living in a house around the corner.     Recently, I saw my neighbor walking the happy, little dog.  Nigel and I caught up to her and I asked about the energetic little beagle mix.  She said that she adopted him from the League nearly a year ago.

Herbie's not the only WARL alum I've come across recently.   Nigel and I went to watch Max and his new baseball team play their first game this past weekend.  One of Max's teammates' parent was also holding the the leash of a big black dog.  Nigel and Gertie liked each other instantly.    I  asked about Gertie and found out that she was one of the G pups adopted from the League nearly four years ago. 

We do our best to find the animals wonderful, forever homes.   It is always nice to get an update from an adopter -- a holiday card, an anniversary update, a returned adoption questionnaire -- and it is always a pleasant surprise to run into  those well-cared for, happy-go-lucky pups and baseball-loving black labs who were adopted from the Washington Animal Rescue League.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hooray for Hachi!

Sometimes it takes a while to find the right home.   Such was the case with Encore who came to the League in March after being removed from a horrible hoarding situation that included more than 300 dogs.  The small cream-colored  husky mix, with the soulful eyes, finally found his forever home earlier this month.  Now named Hachi, the dog who once had to fight for his food is showered with love and attention, and shares his bed with boy of his own.   His guardian reports that Hachi is the ideal school alarm clock -- Up and ready to go no later than 7:15 a.m. every morning, days off included! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Noah Update from Forever Home!

Remember Noah, the spectacular tabby who flew to Washington after his home was devastated in Joplin Missouri? Enjoy the update sent by his loving guardian.

 I am writing to update you on Noah who came home with me on Saturday August 27th. It was a very lucky day for both of us! 

The first thing to tell you is that I renamed him Cherubino after the character in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. My other cat is named Figaro (also FIV positive like Cherubino) so it seemed fitting. He of course does not care about his name and he'll come whether I call him or not, he's such a people-oriented cat.

The second thing to say is that he has adjusted perfectly to his new home. I followed instructions about keeping him segregated at first in a separate room. Well, someone forgot to tell him about it because he quickly made himself at home in the entire apartment and Figaro's food, water dish, and litter box.
The third thing to mention is that Cherubino has discovered his inner kitten. Remember the quiet, sweet Noah sitting patiently in the Tower room? Meet Cherubino the whirlwind! He runs around as if pursued, climbs everywhere, and insists of checking out inside closets, drawers, cabinets, boxes, and whatever else tickles his fancy. This behavior leaves both Figaro and myself exhausted.
Finally I want to say thank you for rescuing such a lovely creature. He is sweet and gives back so much love that I'm sometimes speechless (this is not easy to do). He has taken over my bed, my heart, and me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Happened, Charlotte?

When Max and I walked into the house yesterday he immediately noticed something different about Charlotte, "What Happened ?"he asked.   "To what?" I said.   "To Charlotte."   "Nothing happened to Charlotte," I said, "What do you mean?"  "Part of her ear is missing."   "WHAT!!"  Sure enough the tip of Charlotte's ear was gone.   Her perfect little symmetrical face, with two pointy ears, was perfect no more.    How could this happen?  She lives inside, we touch and play with her constantly -- when did this happen?

Charlotte on her way to the Medical Center
 I immediately called the Washington Animal League's Medical Center to make sure that a veterinarian could see her right away.  Max put Charlotte in the carrier and the three of us zoomed to the League.  I was sure that Merl ate part of Charlotte's ear.  Dr. Shillito said that it was possible that Merl bit Charlotte, but not so probable.  He said that these things happen -- maybe Merl hooked a nail on the tip of Charlotte's ear and it ripped off.  YUK!  Or maybe she caught it on some object and ripped it off.   EEEEK!  --  How can I Charlotte-proof everything, including Merl?  In any case, Dr. Shillito said that the ear tear was not life threatening.  In fact, he didn't even stitch it (there's nothing left to stitch), or  send us home with antibiotics.  He said that, although not perfectly pointy, her ear is fine; however, he said that she should lose weight.   Little Charlotte, he said, is FAT.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Take Two!

Pisa and Austin
One of the best things about taking a couple of days off is coming back to the League to find that lots of animals  found their forever homes.   Our back-to-school Labor Day weekend event was very successful.  Pisa and Tampano were two of the lucky cats who went home.  Not only did they get adopted, but they got adopted together.   I am a firm believer in the notion that two cats are better than one.  They often play together.  Watching two cats interact is better than even the very best reality tv!  Pisa and Tampano not only have each other, but they each have their very own person!
Robert & Tampano

Dear Employees and Volunteers of the WARL,

My husband, son and I attended your Back to School Event on Saturday, September 3rd and left with two new feline additions to our family.  We adopted Pisa and Tampano, both who quickly established their roles in our house within hours of their homecoming.Tampano is the perfect playmate for my son Austin, both of them having an amazing amount of energy, and Pisa is the sweetest lap-cat who’s taken to my husband Robert.....


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Still Waiting

Meet Goldrush.   She is a sweet, middle-aged, medium sized dog who has been waiting for a home at the Washington Animal Rescue League since before our record-breaking Adopt-A-Thon held in early August.   She was one of only four dogs left after the  mass exodus that had adopters lined up all along our walkway waiting to choose their forever companion.   Goldrush, who loves the name Ruby, is more than likely housebroken and has obviously been around kids.  She greeted the Caring Kid Campers every day and basked in the attention they showered on her.  Since camp, WARL staff and volunteers have walked and visited Goldrush daily, but that special someone, who will love her unconditionally, has yet to walk through our doors.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

After Earthquake and Hurricane, Shelter Animals Still Need Homes

The Washington Post ran a front page article after the August 23rd earthquake reporting that the animals in the National zoo acted a bit strange before the earth rumbled.  Had folks known what they were looking at they may have predicted the earthquake based on the behavior of the flamingos and the great apes. 

Nigel and the cats, according to Max (I was not home), reacted during the event, but not before; however, Max, too, may not have known what he was looking at since no seismic occurrence was predicted for the day.  I watched the cats and Nigel during the pre-hurricane hours.  Merl went out on the screened-in porch with me just as the wind was picking up.  We sat together, but when I got up to come inside he did, too.   Typically, he may take over the chair and stay out there awhile longer, but not always.  Nigel went out for the last time Saturday night around 10:00 p.m.  The wind was really gusty and the rain was constant.   He never likes going outside in the rain and he was not thrilled to go out this time either.  He then slept in his bed as usual.     It was a loud storm, branches hit the roof and gutter, the wind howled mimicking a full speed locomotive,  but in did not seem a lot different than a typical summer storm -- except there was no thunder or maybe we just couldn't hear it with the roar of the wind.  And, it lasted longer -- a lot longer

Shelter staff reported that the dogs appeared anxious during the peak hours of the hurricane and seemed unusually calm on Sunday.  That could have been because we did not have electricity forcing us to close to the public so there weren't as many people around.  

I don't know what the animals felt during either of the two recent  natural disasters.  But, I'm glad that my crew is safe and un-bothered and the shelter animals appear the same.  The major difference is that my foursome are home, and the cats and dogs at the League are still waiting for theirs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Blogger -- Pearl Updates the League

My name is Pearl. When I stayed at the Washington Animal Rescue League, they called me Virginia. But my name actually is Pearl.  Let me introduce you to my people; they are all in the photo with me.
 The lady’s name is Kathryn. I wake up at the exact same moment as she does every morning before the sun comes up and we go downstairs together. She puts two cups of kibble in my dish. I would prefer eggs and sausage, but she keeps giving me this other stuff. I step into my purple harness and we run off to the big field. At the big field, she takes off my harness and I just run and run and run. I also jump and leap and chase. Sometimes other people arrive and I check with them to see if they want to play. Some do. Most don’t. But the best times are when other dogs show up. Daisy is fun because she chases me. And there is little Princess. Princess weighs eight pounds, so I have to play really carefully with her.
Kathryn is a college professor, so we spend a lot of the day together. She holds my cuddly face and pets my velvet ears and tells me I’m a beautiful Pearly-girl and a sweet Girly-pearl. She reads books and clicks a computer and walks around the house all day. I have to get up and escort her whenever she moves, so I don’t always get good sleep when she’s home. When she rides off on her bike, I can finally lay down by the front door and get a decent nap.
The big man’s name is Walt. He’s my hero. When we come back from running each morning, I head straight up the steps to check on him. I am crazy about him. I am trying to learn not to jump up, but I can’t help it when I see him. When I hear his car in the driveway, I have to bark and bark. When Kathryn opens the door, I run crazy with my tail chopping like a helicopter blade. I just want to get close to his face and his hands. He’s wonderful. Every evening, we all go for a walk together. Walt holds my purple leash, and makes me sit down and stay at every corner. I’m not sure why he wants me to do that. But I would do anything for Walt.The shorter kid is Justin. Justin loves all over me. Justin talks to me all the time, and pets me, and kisses me, and plays with me, and walks with me. He tells me he will miss me when he goes out the door. Justin is always calling my name to get me to leave wherever I am, to come to wherever he is. Everyone should have a Justin in their life.
The tall kid is Trey. Trey would rather have three cats than one Pearl, so that’s why I sit near Trey as often as possible. When we ride in the car, I sit at Trey’s feet. When Justin and Trey sleep on the floor of their room, I curl up by Trey’s back. When everybody comes home in the evening, I report directly to Trey and stare into his serious eyes, or sniff his long legs.
The little one’s name is Bella. She comes over a lot. We have a special bed for her, and some of the stuffed animals around here are, apparently, just for her. I really like to squeeze my teeth around that panda and that hippo, but my people are always telling me to give them back to Bella. Bella likes to lay on my back, just singing and singing. I get up and move to another spot. She follows me and sits down next to me and leans her back up against me again, still singing and singing. What I like best about Bella is her lunch. Kathryn feeds Bella lunch while Bella walks around the sunroom playing with all her toys. So what I do is walk around behind them. I’ve scored quite a few sweet morsels off the floor with this particular strategy. Last week, we packed up and took a road trip. I am always ready for an adventure, but I’m not crazy about driving. I prefer the earth to stay still. But if everyone else is going, I’m in. I tuck myself under the back seat as far as I can go, and just wait for the car to stop.
Our trip was to the Outer Banks. I do love an adventure, but I do not love water. I am proud to be a mammal, and I prefer to keep four dry feet on firm ground. I watch other dogs dive into the surf, fetching objects thrown by people. I don’t understand why they pursue those things into that crazy water! There are so many sticks and balls on land. Why follow them into the sea?
But when the sun sets and the waves calm, the shore becomes more interesting. There are no dogs on the dark beach, but other entertaining animals come out. I chase sand crabs back into their tiny sand holes.
One night, while I was tracking those little scurrying crabs, another scent took hold of my nose. I poked at something lying at the water’s edge. Was it alive? It wiggled weakly. When I stepped back, the moonlight revealed the fin on its back. It was a shark! I had caught a shark! It was twelve inches long and half dead, but it indeed was a shark!
So I’m a shark-hunter and a crab-chaser; what else can I tell you about me? I don’t like thunderstorms. But there is a big bed that I crawl under; it makes me feel much better. I wish they would serve more bacon and hamburgers around here, but I don’t seem to be getting much of those. I’m not a fan of baths. I’m good at burying bones in the dirt. Every once in a while I dig them up to rebury them. My best friend’s name is Rocky. He is huge and lives around the corner. I love to stop at his lawn and just run and chase and run and chase. Rocky is great.
So, basically, that’s me and my life. I’m happy I was able to spend time at WARL so that the friendly folks there could introduce me to my people. Nice people should go to WARL and find their Pearl. There are many Pearls at WARL waiting for nice people.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Super Happy Ending! Noah is Going HOME!

Noah, a two-year-old tabby, is going HOME.  We are always excited when animals are adopted, but Noah's adoption is particularly exciting.  Noah came to the League after tornadoes devastated his hometown of Joplin, Missouri. He flew to D,C, with our Director of Adoptions.  Noah, who  is FIV positive, was the only cat still available after a big adoption event in Missouri where more than 700 animals found homes!  Jamie, who helped out in Joplin for two weeks after the tornado, couldn't leave Noah behind.  He is such a special cat -- friendly and super affectionate.  He shows no outward signs from the disease, but he does need to be an only cat or go to a home where another FIV cat resides.  And, that is exactly where he is going.  A loyal WARL donor read about Noah and concluded  that she could offer Noah the perfect home.  We couldn't agree more.  The adopter has a long history of providing a wonderful home for cats, including her 4-year-old FIV positive cat.  Noah's life reads like an adventure story, complete with a happy ending.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Training Camp 101 Concludes with Campers & Pups Graduating with Honors

Pepe is an A+ student during training time with Satchel, Abe
and Frank, a loyal WARL volunteer.
Friday marked graduation day for four adorable nearly 8-week-old pups -- Pickles, Pita, Pepe and Pier (also know as Pepper).  The wee-little ones sat, stayed, touched markers and even did tricks.   The fast little learners were taught by eight very able campers who spent the week at the League's first-ever Caring Kids -- Dog Training 101 -- Camp. 

Four pairs of campers were assigned a pup for the week.  The campers prepared the pups' special training space, cleaned up after their accidents, and worked with our Behavior & Training staff to have the little terrier mixes ready for adoption at the end of the week. 

All four pups were quickly adopted, including Pepe who now lives with  Abe and Satchel, the camper brothers who fell in love with their protege during their five days at the League.   When  mom, dad and sister met Pepe they, too, fell for the biggest pup in the litter.  But, there was one deciding vote yet to be cast.  Mookie, the family's 14-year-old lab, had final say.   After a successful meeting it was unanimous.   

Thursday, August 4, 2011


This week Caring Kids -- All About Animals -- Camp campers have met cats, dogs, snakes, alligators, owls, bats, turtles, and other interesting animals -- even a pair of hissing cockroaches.  Today we are journeying to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, MD where we will meet rescued farm animals.   Check back later in the month to see pictures of the campers and animals. 

Many thanks to camper, Ariana, for showing up the first day with a check for the League.  She asked that her friends  make donations to help the animals rather than give her birthday presents!  The animals, and WARL staff, greatly appreciate her generosity.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Chambourcin, the terrific cat who visited my office a couple of weeks ago, who desperately needed a new name, was adopted!   For sure he will be given a name among lots of other new stuff -- a new bed, new bowls, and new people to love!   Our adoptions team is AWESOME.  

The League is hosting a special ADOPT-A-THON August 6th & 7th.  We will be placing lots of terrific cats, like Chambourcin, and wonderful dogs in permanent, loving homes around the clock.  If you've ever wondered what it is like to be in an animal shelter at midnight, next Saturday will be the time to find out!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From Devestation to Devotion

I just happened to walk by the medical center yesterday and saw a staff favorite in the waiting area with her forever home family.  Known as Cocuzzi at the League, she was one of the dogs who travelled from tornado stricken Alabama to D.C. in our brand new rescue truck.  I interrupted Dr. Shillito so I could ask for permission to post Jade's heartwarming update.  She said yes, so here it is.

Hey this is Jade from the Smith family, the people that adopted Kakoozie (we changed the spelling) and just want to give an update and keep in-touch! I would like to thank all of you so much! She is so happy and so are we! I sleep next to her every night and she loves her toys so much!  It seems like she was meant to be here! Thank you so much and I can`t even express those words enough. You are all so kind and really are so amazing! Kakoozie (Koozie) sorry but we tried to change it but we couldn't agree on a name so we kept it lol! She is such a smart girl and stays with us every second of the day!! Thank you so much Dr. Gary Weitzman and Mandy and everyone else there for everything!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Best Friends

Delia and Luna -- a post adoption hug!
Caring Kids Camp - Animals & Art was lots of fun.  Not only did the 17 campers produce exquisite arts and crafts (pictures on our website, www.warl.org), but I learned that one of my favorite dogs was adopted by a camper.   The dog, known as Naomi at the League, bares a striking resemblance to Nigel.   I visited her often in her den.   I heard that she was adopted by a lovely family, but did not meet them, nor did I see Naomi leave the shelter.  On the first day of camp, the incredibly artistic Delia told me that her recent adoptee, lovely Luna, was named Naomi at the shelter.   I was thrilled to learn that these two wonderful spirits are enjoying life together.   Thanks Delia and family for giving a beautiful black dog a loving home!

Friday, July 1, 2011

First Session of Caring Kids Camp Concludes

Masterpieces, that's what were created by our 17 campers during Caring Kids Camp Session 1 -- Animals and Art.   The compassionate campers designed busy boxes for the cats, adoption posters promoting cats and dogs, and created the most awesome paper mache' like animals ever seen in the Washington Animal Rscue League!  Pictures of the entire menagerie will be posted soon, but in the meantime, go to www.warl.org and click on flicker pictures to view photos from the first days of camp.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's in a Name?

An office is an intersting place!
Meet a tabby cat without a name.  Well, that's not completely true.   It's hard naming every cat and dog who comes into the shelter; many of our animals end up with awesome names like Daisy Ann or Bradley while others are a bit of a stretch, like when we name animals after stuff.  Recently a whole slew of cats were named after wines --  not all wines lend themselves to good names.  Like Chambourcin -- what a mouth full.  He's the cat who is visiting my office.  He's a spectacular cat -- gorgeous, curious, affectionate.  Why has he not been adopted?  I think it's the name.   How do your pronounce Chambourcin?  I'm not even sure if I spelled it correctly.   It definitely does not lend itself well to high-pitched baby talk.   Since he's been investigating my office for the past hour, I've come up with several more fitting choices.  What about Stanley, Louis, Nat, Rutherford,  or Irving? 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Back Home from Missouri

When I pulled into the parking lot this morning I was surprised to see Lisa, one of the League's loyal volunteers, playing with a young beagle in the dog park.  It's not unusual to see a volunteer in the dog park with one of the dogs, but what surprised me was that the volunteer was Lisa.  She, along with three League staff members, had just spent more than a week in Joplin, Missouri.  The ASPCA was called in by the Joplin Humane Society to lead the emergency animal sheltering operation after the May 22 tornado decimated the community;  in turn, the ASPCA asked  the League and other organizations to come help with the care of the animals.  Lisa told me that the destruction in Joplin was beyond any possible description.  I really can't imagine what she saw and the nightmare that people continue living weeks after the twister hit.   She, however, was quick to point out  that there were  many emotional highs, especially when she was able to reunite an animal with a searching guardian.   Imagine losing everything you own and wondering if you would ever see your beloved animal companion again?   And, then, after days of searching, there he is at the makeshift shelter in the arms of a caring volunteer like Lisa!