Monday, December 31, 2012

A Very Happy New Year to All!

 This is a very happy time for many WARL alums, including three very recent adoptees.   I was thrilled to learn this morning that Sailor (pretty white cat) and Skipper (Sailor's very best friend) moved into  their forever home over the weekend.   Sailor is an outgoing fellow, but his timid friend, Skipper, rarely peeked her head out of the hidey-hole in the cat tree.  No one worried about Sailor, he is a cat with an abundance of personality.  But Skipper, though gorgeous, could rarely be seen. When their new person came to the League looking for a pair, Sailor must have known this was it -- he persuaded Skipper to come out for a quick introduction, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Their adoption was Skipper's holiday miracle.

More good news.  Judy, a rather round and extremely lovable cat had been a staff favorite for some time.   People were drawn to Judy because of her size, but no one applied to adopt her -- until this weekend.  Judy is starting out 2013 with a family of her own.   We hope that they will keep us posted on the weight loss program that Judy started while living at the League.   Four months ago, Judy tipped the scale at 24 pounds.  By her adoption day she had slimmed down to 22 pounds. 

And, what a treat to read about Carnival and see the picture of her at home with a huge rope toy of her very own.  Pretty Carnival came to League as part of a terrible hoarding case.  She was very protective of her newborn litter.  The pups were outgoing, and people-centered.  But Carnival remained fearful of people and came back to the shelter where she stayed for months.  Even though staff and volunteers worked with her, she remained hesitant. That all changed shortly after she moved into her forever home.  She is doing great - I hardly recognize her as the scared dog at the shelter, wrote a friend of Carnival's guardian. 

Skipper, Sailor, Judy and Carnival were among the  1,713 dogs and cats who left the League for permanent, loving forever homes in 2012.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE updates.   And, look who we heard from the other day.  I miss having Donny or Jules sit on my desk, next to my keyboard while I'm working, but I am thrilled that they've not only found their forever home, but  have completely settled in.  Cats and beds go together like peanut butter and jelly.  And, we heard that Donny and Jules slept with their new person from day one.  During the day they tend to lounge wherever is most comfortable.  My guess, from the look of Donny sprawled on his perch, his forever person had to do a little redecorating in order for Donny to fit comfortably.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

IPad Games for Cats are Nice, But the Cat Dancer is Top Toy in My House

Yes, I uploaded games on my IPad for Merl and Charlotte.  And, yes they play with them sometimes.  Merl is a fan of Cat Fishing 2.  Charlotte likes the Jitterbug game, but would much rather play with the Cat Dancer.   The Cat Dancer is all about packaging.   You can barely see the toy, which is described on Amazon as the original interactive cat toy. Spring steel wire and rolled cardboard create an irresistible lure for cats...  It is the cheapest toy I've ever bought, and yet I resisted purchasing one for the longest time.  I refused to spend money on what is basically a piece of steel wire with four tiny roles of brown paper.   The cat room at the League has several Cat Dancers.  And, when the brown paper lures are pulled off of the wire, we get more.   We get more Cat Dancers because the cats love them.  I hesitated buying a Cat Dancer for home because I figured I could make my own, for about $3.80 cheaper than the $3.99 price tag.  After trying a number of combinations, and tiring of yelling at Charlotte to stop whatever improper behavior she was engaged in, I broke down and bought a Cat Dancer.  And, when that one was misplaced I bought two more.  The home Cat Dancers are pure entertainment for all.  Merl and Charlotte leap, twist and pounce on the waving wire and I, the controller of the Cat Dancer, break into hysterics watching their aeriel twists.  And best of all, when Charlotte is sharpening her nails on the sofa, or knocking photos off of the piano or  chewing on electrical cords, all I have to do is pick up the Cat Dancer and wave it.  Charlotte stops her naughty behavior immediately and leaps for the Cat Dancer.   At $3.99 a pop, the Cat Dancer is much less expensive than a new sofa!  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fourth graders at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington, D.C. did some quick calculating and learned that caring for an animal companion can be costly.  They want to make sure that every cat and dog has plenty to eat this holiday season and beyond.   They also learned that the Washington Animal Rescue League's Rescuers' Food Bank helps people care for their cats and dogs.  Income qualified guardians apply for food assistance and then are eligible to pick up cans or bags of food every month.  Food in the Rescuers' Food Bank is donated to the League by generous patrons -- like those in the Lafayette Elementary School community.  The food drive is an all-school effort; the school's artistic security guard Officer Nicholson, created the drop-off boxes and Cozy Girl, a WARL alum and companion to school psychologist Harriet Kuhn, eagerly to lent her "Please feed my friends" pose in front of glittery donation box for a promotional photo.  Food will be collected between now and December 21st.    

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

So much good news!

Javi and Hachi settled in China
What a great couple of days.  The holiday spirit is in full swing.

Donny (and Jules)  will get lots
of brushing in his forever home
Best News # 1 -- Jules and Donny went home!    Their new person was looking for an older pair of cats and it was love at first sight.  

Best News # 2 -- We got an update from Hachi in China.   He is loving life and is thrilled to be spending so much time with his favorite boy, Javi, and all of his friends.

Sachin and Sidharth prepare for the
onslaught of book buyers at the
League's Holiday Open House.
Best News # 3 -- Sachin, and family including brother Sidharth and the ever rambunctious Sparky, came to our holiday event where the young author sold a lot of books.  Proceeds from Get A Clue benefit the Washington Animal Rescue League's medical center.  If you didn't get a copy at our event, the book is for sale through Amazon.

Best News # 4 -- Jeremiah, the older dog, who came here from West Virginia in hopes of finding a forever home just did -- two minutes ago his adoptions papers were signed and finalized.   

Can't wait to report more best newses!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Animal abusers often get away with their crimes.   Not so in the case of Sean Delontay Branch.  He was sentenced to 120 days in jail for brutally killing a puppy.  The 24-year-old admitted to dropping a cement slab, that weighed more than 90 pounds, on King Tut.  The six-month-old sleeping puppy was tied to a neighbor's fence.  Branch's reasoning?  He was mad at the pup's guardian. 

Kudos to D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon, who told Branch, ""I don't think you understand the depravity, what it says about someone who does that." The sentence was one month more than what was sought by prosecutors.  The judge who handed down the sentence didn't stop with jail time -- Branch will be placed on three years of supervised release after his jail time. And, he was ordered to pay $450 to a crime victims' fund and complete a class that teaches anger management

Friday, November 23, 2012

We are Thankful for caring kids!

Generous Janney Elementary School friends
The day after Thanksgiving has become a shopping frenzy -- but not for all.  At the League it looks like Santa made an early appearance and several second grade elves brought toys and treats for the dogs and cats. Ms. Da Silva's 2nd grade class at Janney Elementary School decided  to bring a little fun to the cats and dogs currently housed at the League.  Jack, Ben, and Tomas delivered a basket full of awesome gifts for the animals.  And, classmate Henry is here right now visiting the dogs in hopes of adopting a new family member! 

Sailor checking out the toys
During this season of goodness and gluttony, we are grateful for young people who care about the animals.   In addition to the basketful of toys and treats, the students dropped off colorful artwork.  The caption on a drawing of a cat and a fish reads, "I hope you get adopted.  I really hope so.  love Liam."  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Young Author Finds Healing in Writing & Adopting a Rambunctious Pup!

Sachin Muralidhar, a student at Great Falls Elementary School, asked his parents for a dog for his tenth birthday.  Sachin did his research and his family agreed that the time was right to add a pup to their family.   They travelled to the Washington Animal Rescue League where Sachin, his brother, mom and dad fell in love with a sweet, quiet and gentle pup.  The tan-shepherd-mix  dubbed Clue went home to grow and play with two growing and playful boys.  That was not to be.  Unbeknownst to our medical team, the puppy, with the soulful eyes, had a congenital liver defect that  would become obvious in a short time.  Little Clue was euthanized within weeks of moving into a home where he was loved and adored.   
Sadness overwhelmed the family.   Reminders of the little pup were everywhere.   Sachin dealt with his grief by writing a poem.   The poem, Get a Clue, is now a book complete with photos of Clue's brief life.
Sachin and Clue

Sachin includes a postscript to his poem that reads, Please tell your parents to take you to WARL – they do a such a great job rescuing abandoned animals and giving them a safe place to live until someone adopts them – and, they have the cutest puppies, like Clue, just waiting for you!
And that's what the Muralidhar family did.  They adopted a rambunctious retriever-mix, Sparky, who has so much energy that it is hard to get a photo of the energetic pup that isn't blurred by motion. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Racking up those frequent flier miles!

It's been a little over a year since Javi picked Hachi and Hachi picked Javi.  Readers may remember that Hachi, formerly named Encore, a survivor of a horrible hoarding case  in Ohio, lived at the Washington Animal Rescue League for several months before finding his forever home.  He became totally depressed and shut down.  It didn't seem to matter what enrichment activitity he was offered, who took him out, or what treats he was given -- he looked sad.  And, then one day Javier and his mom came to the League to adopt a best friend.  The connection between boy and dog was immediate.  The two quickly became inseparable.  Javier even teamed with Hachi to report on Old Yeller for a creative book report presentation (see right side of the page).

In July I received an email from Dana, Hachi's other best friend, and Javier's mom.  "I just wanted to let you and the staff at WARL know that I've accepted a job in Beijing, China. Therefore, Hachi (aka Encore) is off on a new adventure. Although I'm worried about the stress of the trip, I've gotten us a direct flight from Washington to Beijing, and Hachi will fly on the same flight. After a 7-day mandatory quarantine, he'll be ready to come to his new home."

A recent email confirmed that the family has adjusted to life nearly 7,000 miles from Washington.  "Hachi is well. He lost 10 lbs in quarantine, but I was prepared for that. He has adapted to high-rise apartment living and no longer has his "eating disorder" where he freaks out at his food and barks at it. Our apartment complex is very large and dog friendly, so Javi and Hachi frequently socialize with other dogs in the small parks in our development. It's common to hear a little girl saying, "Da gou," meaning big dog. I find it curious because there are many  larger dogs in our community, such as huskies, chows, and retrievers. Nonetheless, I guess they still think he's big compared to a typical Chinese pug or Pekingese. At this moment, Hachi is asleep and snoring on my bed with me. He is taking up a third of my queen-sized bed."

Dana promises another update as soon as she has a working battery for her camera.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Welcome Stone Ridge Students


The Washington Animal Rescue League's social action partnership with Stone Ridge of the Sacred Heart started as scheduled.  Unlike some Sandy-stricken areas, schools in Montgomery County, Maryland resumed classes on Wednesday, October 31st.  Ten Stone Ridge sophomores spent the day learning about WARL.  Meeting, Jeremiah, an older pooch, was a highlight of the two hour visit.  He did his best to promote the notion that adopting an older dog is best!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pre-Halloween Weather Tricks Leave a Welcomed Treat for the League

Power!!  We have power.  We anticipated the worst and was pleasantly surprised.   Lucky for the League we never lost power.  We've got some leaky spots, but the cats and dogs are fine and their quarters aren't directly impacted.  We were fully staffed the entire time.  Staff and volunteers are here today.  I left extra food and water for Jules and Donny last night-- just in case --  they ate what they needed and left the rest.  They were happy to see us this morning, but not overly ecstatic.

We did okay at home, too.  The power is on.  Nigel braved the outdoors around 8:00 p.m. for a quick potty break and went on a long walk before 9:00 a.m. this morning.   Merl slept with Max and Charlotte, well Charlotte, was Charlotte.  When I got up this morning at 8:00 a.m. and opened the front door for Nigel Charlotte dashed out.   I got my boots and plodded out in the rain to get her.   She would have happily continued exploring the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy! Once again, I reminded Charlotte that cats live indoors.

Our shelter is full, so for all of those folks who have been thinking of adopting a forever friend, we will be open for business tomorrow, so please stop by.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hunkered Down!

 Do you know what is more amazing that the span of hurricane Sandy?  The incredible dedication of the Washington Animal League staff!   The League's shelter and hospital are fully staffed today.  We have emeregency supplies on hand, and plans in place.  Jules and Donny, my office friends, are on my desk serving as the my able body feline assistants!  Keep checking our web site, www.warl.org and our Facebook page for updates on possible power outages at the League and special requests.  We are set for now.  Everyone be safe.    

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No New School Visits for Nigel!

Nigel, flat on the floor, making his pitiful "I'm not getting in the car" face.
I am totally baffled.  Until four or five months ago one of Nigel's absolutely favorite things to do was to ride in the car.  Short rides, longs rides; to the shelter, to Max's  baseball practice -- it didn't matter the destination, the treat was the ride.  And then, suddenly, Nigel refused to get in the car.  His apparent car-terror is so severe that if he even thinks that he is being lured to the car he will go flat to the floor.  And, if he makes it out the front door and then realizes that there could be a possible road trip, he glues his bottom to the porch and won't budge until he can successfully turn around and skedaddle back into the house.

I have absolutely NO idea why the dramatic change.   I've tried luring Nigel to the car with peanut butter, cheddar cheese, pasta, and bully sticks.  He hungrily eyes the the treat, but won't take the bait.    I can say the magic words, "Let's go," and these days he drops to the floor. 

There is a chill in the air on my morning  drive the League.  It's perfect Nigel travelling weather.  Nigel, however, has become a recluse and watches me leave from his pitiful belly-to-the-floor pose. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good Deeds Make a Difference

Lots and lots of young people are helping animals.  I try to spread the word when area students help the animals at the League.  Many of those good deeds are listed at the very bottom of the blog.  Scroll all the way down to read about some of those generous efforts. 

We could  host a
Pet-A-Thon at the League.
It would undoubtedly be
a huge success!
Today, I read about a number of students helping animals in other communities.   One of my favorite publications BARK --Kids Speaking for Animals, published by the BCSPCA, http://www.spca.bc.ca/ always highlights kids doing good deeds to help animals.   One that was totally new to me was a "pet-a-thon."   It's not what I initially thought.  For every dog Stella was able to pet, her parents donated $.50 to the BC SPCA.  Somehow, Stella, armed with a sign promoting her one-person event, in what I think is a public park, managed to pet 101 dogs in five hours!  Including donations from friends and family, Stella raised more than $2,000 for the local shelter!  What an interesting and fun fund-raiser.   It could be done locally, but remember to never go up to a strange dog without permission to pet the dog.  Even the friendliest looking dog may not want the attention.

Closer to home I read a story showcasing Sandy Spring, Maryland Girl Scout Troop 681.   KIND News, a publication for kids by The HSUS, humanesociety.org/kindnews, described how the girls researched the horrors of puppy mills and decided to do something about it.  They testified before the state House and Senate and were present when Governor Martin O'Malley signed a bill that would identify the number of puppy mills, the first step toward regulating the money making torture chambers. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Jules and Donny Move into the Office -- Temporarily

The only thing better than living with cats, is having cats in the office.  Donny, a striking long-haired gray tabby, and Jules, a portly round black kitty, are hanging out with me until a permanent home can be found.  They are seven-years-old, like to be brushed, and love to sit on  or near the keyboard.   And, I believe that this reserved duo must party-hardy all night long.  I wish I had an office cat-cam because I am certain that Jules and Donny are enjoying all sorts of adventures when no one is around.  I notice when I come in in the morning that they have done a  little redecorating -- moving books and pictures.   Lately, the last thing I do before turning off my light  at bedtime is check the kitten cam, http://animal.discovery.com/tv/too-cute-kittens/kitten-cam/ and I see five snoozing kittens.   If I could peer into my office with the click of a mouse, I'd probably see Jules and Donny having a grand ol' time.   Hopefully, before too long, they will be enjoying a new and forever home.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Guided Tour Through Congressional Cemetery

Callie contemplates her next move.
Thanks to Callie, a very lucky WARL alum, I spent this beautiful fall day learning how fast a squirrel can run from a herding dog -- VERY FAST.  Not only that, but Callie's person, Diane, gave me a an insider's tour of the Congressional Cemetery -- a cemetery with a history that is more than 200 years old!  I saw where John Phillip Sousa is buried as well as Herbert Hoover and some lesser known,but no less important  people, like baby Clara.  The main reason that we were visiting the cemetery is because it serves double duty -- it is a members-only dog park, where dogs can run and play and chase squirrels right in the heart of the District of Columbia.  Obviously, some of the people buried would be very happy to know that dogs and their people congregate in the cemetery.  Congressman Tom Lantos, a champion for animal welfare is buried there.  For in more information on the cemetery visit www.congressionalcemetery.org for information about the wonderful dog park hosted by the cemetery click herehttp://www.cemeterydogs.org/.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Really, Too Cute!

Okay, guilty pleasure,  we have  a kitten-cam at the Washington Animal Rescue League.   Animal Planet designed one of our kitten windows to reflect the nation's capital, complete with a scratching post in the shape of the CAPITOL!   And, when I heard that the kittens were going to be broadcast 24/7, I thought I should check it out.  Trouble is, I can't turn it off.  They are really just, too cute!  I find myself talking to the kittens, asking the tortishell to move a bit so I can see the brown tabby, or tell the black and white one to cuddle with the skinny orange tabby.  I should be reading my book, it is due back to the library in three days.  And, I should shut down the kitten cam on the computer  because I am on my son's machine  and he still has homework to do.  But I can't, these little guys,  are just too cute.  Check it out -- http://animal.discovery.com/tv/too-cute-kittens/kitten-cam/

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Like a Wonderful Birthday Surprise -- Another Box of Books from Amazon Arrived

I am really looking forward to working with Ms. Chamber 4th graders at West Education Campus.  Ms. Chambers is building her classroom library with all sorts of animal books, and thanks to a very generous mystery donor, I'll be adding a number of new titles to that collection next week.  A heavy  box came on Tuesday filled with an assortment of titles inluding Mrs. Katz and Tush.  This is a beautiful story about, not only the rescue of  tiny abandoned kitten, but about cultural, racial, and religious differences.  Author and illustrator Patricia Polacco (http://www.patriciapolacco.com) has written many of the books many that I read to my children when they were small, including Mrs. Katz and Tush.   I love giving her books to teachers and students -- they quickly become beloved favorites.  The mini-library included  Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by U.S. Marine Brian Dennis, with Mary Nethery,  and Kirby Lawson and  Mary and Kirby's earlier book,  Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival -- both of these nonfiction tales illustrate the incredible bond that animals form with people and with each other. 

We have many wonderful volunteers and donors -- without them we wouldn't be the Washington Animal Rescue League. I don't which one of them to thank for this generous donation, but I do know that this kind gift will benefit students and animals for years to come. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Indoor Cats Are Hunters, Too!

I have often written about outside cats killing wildlife.  In fact, as recently as last week, I wrote about a study that confirmed what was always suspected -- cats permitted to roam outdoors are skilled hunters, killing far more birds, rodents, lizards and other animals than previously thought.  

My indoor cat, Charlotte, was home alone last Thursday.  I brought Nigel and Merl with me to the League.  Before leaving the house I said, "Be good Charlotte, stay out of trouble."   Eight hours later I noticed she was lounging in the basement near an unfamiliar toy.  When I went to toss the toy, I quickly realized that it was no toy -- Charlotte murdered an unsuspecting intruder.  Charlotte killed a mouse. 

I did what any mother of a nearly 15-year-old son would do,  I asked Max, to PLEASE remove the mouse.  He did, but not before staging and editing the photo of Charlotte and her poor victim.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thank you Anonymous Book Buyer

A couple of years ago one of our wonderful volunteers, Frank D., gave  me a book, May I Pet Your Dog? -- the How-to Guide for KIDS Meeting DOGS (and DOGS Meeting KIDS), by Stephanie Calmesnon.  Harry, a long-haired, chocolate-dappled dachshund takes a nameless  boy, and readers, on a walk in the neighborhood where many dogs, and their people are properly met. Harry is forthright with sound, practical  advice -- When you see me coming, ask my owner, "May I pet your dog?"  
I decided to purchase the book for every school that I visit.  May I Pet Your Dog? -- the How-to Guide for KIDS Meeting DOGS (and DOGS Meeting KIDS), and many other wonderful picture books, and chapter books, highlighting relationships between companion animals and people are featured on the League's recommended reading lists.   The reading lists are given to educators.  Many of the books on the lists are posted on our wish list.   Yesterday, for the first time ever, a box came from Amazon for me.  In it was a copy of May I Pet Your Dog? -- the How-to Guide for KIDS Meeting DOGS (and DOGS Meeting KIDS) and a copy of one of my all-time favorite books, My Big Dog by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel.  My Big Dog is a fun read about friendship and it is narrated by one very cantankerous cat named Merl.  My cat, Merl, who just happens to be in my office today, was named for the bossy brown tabby in the story.  We adopted Merl nearly 11-years ago, and at that time, I was reading My Big Dog to my then nearly 4-year-old son, Max.   Both of these wonderful books will be given to West Education Campus, where the principal, Ms. Caruthers, is working very hard to build an extensive library for her students.  Thank you kind book angel for surprising me with two of my favorite books that I can now pass on young animal-loving readers.  

Any of the books listed throughout the blog would be TERRIFIC  additions to any personal or lending library.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Evidence Incriminates Roaming Cats

Charlotte & Merl
lounging on the cat tree
GUILTY! A new study administered by scientists from the University of Georgia and the National Geographic Society's Crittercam program confirmed what we already suspected. Cats permitted to roam outdoors are cold-blooded killers.
Sixty outdoor house cats in Athens Georgia were volunteered, by their human companions, to participate in the study. The cats were fitted with tiny “kittycams” so that their 5-6 hour daily hunting adventures were recorded.
The incriminating results were startling. According to Kerrie Anne Loyd of the University of Georgia, the lead investigator of the study, 1/3 of the cats successfully captured and killed prey. And, those skilled hunters averaged about one kill for every 17 hours outdoors! Sometimes they brought home their victims, but more often than not they didn’t share their kills which included birds, lizards, voles, chipmunks, frogs, and small snakes. The cold-blooded killers chowed down on 30% of what they killed and left 49% of their causalities to rot where they died.
Charlotte and Merl are skilled basement cricket killers. As indoor-only cats their favorite targets are each other, but they’ve both been known to pounce on a cotton mouse now and then.   I like to think that they enjoy lounging, like me, on the screened-in porch listening to the birds chirping. But I know them both too well. If either had the chance to spend 17 hours outside, they’d definitely munch on a cardinal or a mouse!
For additional information about the study contact kloyd@uga.edu.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nigel in the Basement!

No, Nigel is not being punished. Being in the basement is a good thing.   In the nearly eight years that Nigel has lived with us, he has adamantly refused to go down the stairs.  So, when we watch TV, Nigel sits looking forlornly down from his perch at the top of the stairs.  Yesterday, however,  Nigel was in the basement.  He entered the basement three times!   He didn't actually go down the stairs  but, entered through the outside door.  Mx came up with a brilliant idea -- he took Nigel into the backyard,  and  opened the basement door from the outside and invited Nigel in -- AND,  HE WENT!   Nigel was so excited to be on the carpet.  He ran around, wagged his tail, even barked at us with his "I'm thrilled to be here" voice.   And then, he sprinted up the stairs back to the kitchen, and looked down from his usual spot.  Max took Nigel outside twice more; and, each time Nigel walked straight into the basement through the outside door.  He enthusiastically repeated his "I like it here" wiggle and then quickly headed right back up the stairs.  Later that night Max was watching the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays.  He invited Nigel to come join him in the basement.   Nigel, as usual, politely refused.    

Monday, September 10, 2012

How About Those Baltimore Orioles!

Charlotte, a devoted Baltimore Orioles fan, hopped on the tv stand to get a better look at CC Sabathia.  The highly paid Yankee pitcher, and team, lost to the O's on Saturday night 4-5.   The next day, the Os suffered a humiliating loss to the New York team, but they will always be #1 with Charlotte and me.  The Orioles' 2013 Pet Calendar, benefiting the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter  (BARCS), is filled with lots of BARCS adoptable animals' tales, stories of incredible rescues, plus great photos of the Baltimore Orioles team players with their own companion animals as well as BARCS cats & dogs.   To find out how you can order your very own copy of the  calendar, go to http://baltimoreanimalshelter.org/

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

241 Animals in New Homes-- 182 Waiting!

 August can be a slow month for placing animals in forever homes.  People are enjoying vacations and families are focusing on back-to-school shopping.  But, that must not have been the case last month. 

The League placed 241 cats, dogs, kittens and puppies in new homes.   That's reason to celebrate.   Maybe August turned out to be a great month for adoptions because many folks were home enjoying a staycation -- instead of travelling to the beach or backpacking in a national park, people decided to stay put, adopt an animal, and get their new friend really accustomed to home-life before the September back-to-school, back-to-work rush began.  

As wonderful as that 241animals-placed number is, today's 182 animals currently waiting for their forever homes at the League are a reminder that there are far too many animals and not enough permanent loving homes.  As soon as space opens up in our dog rooms and cattery, animals from other shelters are brought in to take their place.  

September can be a great time to remind people that animals are not  the same as outgrown shoes or discarded toys.  They are a lifetime commitment.   Tell your friends that an animal companion is for keeps.  And, the League makes a great topic for thoughtful discussion and projects -- creating students service learning projects to benefit the animals, writing persuasive essays, debating issues.   Let me know if I can help.    

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Real Life Hero Inspires Mom to Write a Book

Okay, young readers and young readers' book buyers,  I have a fun recommendation that will appeal to animal lovers who enjoy humor and mystery.  Pick up Mimi and Maty to the Rescue!: Book 1: Roger the Rat is on the Loose! by Brooke Smith and illustrated by  Alli Arnold.  I predict that Mimi will become the beloved hero of many books, maybe even a movie!  She is bold, kind, super responsible and extremely proactive and shares her adventures with a really awesome dog.
According to an official book description --
Descriminating office book critic gives
Mimi and Maty to the Rescue!:
Book 1: Roger the Rat is on the Loose!
four paws up!
Mimi is an animal-loving girl and Maty is her three-legged dog. Together, this fantastic duo sets out to rescue any animal that needs help. When their friend George calls and needs to find a missing rat named Roger, Mimi and Maty jump into action! Keeping track of all the clues in their trusty rescue notebook, Mimi and Maty embark on an adventure that involves their nasty friend Icky Vicky and her brother Dicky, the Pom Pom Pie Place, and one smart dumbo rat!
What is even cooler than the book, is that the author was inspired by her real-life bold, kind, super responsible and extremely proactive daughter, Mimi Ausland (founder of FreeKibble.com) and her special three-legged dog friend, Maty.  This book just goes to show  that kids can do anything!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

By My Feet

Well, unnamed kitty came out from under the desk and is sleeping by my feet.  He is not always by my feet; much of the time he is rubbing my legs, begging for pats, and somersaulting for attention.   His mangled ear may give him the appearance of being a fighter, but he is really a clown cat.  And, a very sick clown cat at that.  This is what I learned about him.  Before coming to the League, he spent two months at another area shelter.  He was surrendered because he was "too old."  

Our shelter director brought him from that shelter to the League, where a veterinarian examined him and heard a very distinct heart murmur.  A blood test was done to find out if the the murmur was an indicator of something worse.  Unfortunately, that is what the test confirmed -- debilitating heart disease 

Now, I am noticing that my lovable friend isn't as thick in the haunches as he should be, and  he doesn't jump up on the furniture -- maybe he doesn't want to exert the energy.  His paperwork said that he is at least 9, I'm guessing he is a few years older than that.  

Unnamed and under my feet, this is one sweet, albeit sick, marshmellow cat. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The View from Under My Desk

I walked into the cat room on Saturday and fell madly in love with this big bruiser.  You can't see all of him in the picture, but by the size of his ginormous head you can guess that he is not a petite little thing.  This mellow, street-wise tom cat, obviously lost his share of fights.  His left ear is nothing but a stub and he tends to find a safe spot, like under the desk, to chill and observe.   But, give him your balled up fist and he is all over it --  nudging away.  He likes belly rubs, too.  Not a very cat-like behavior.  He came to the League without a name, so for right now he has been dubbed "the Dude" but I certainly think he needs a much more classy, hunk-like name.  He's blond like Brad Pitt, but way cooler;  more George Clooney-like in the debonair department.   Humphrey was suggested, maybe like the former senator -- Hubert --or the iconic film star -- Bogart.  
For right now, I call him kitty and buddy, and am enjoying having a temporary office-mate. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Happy Endings! New Beginnings!!

School started in many area schools last week, and it starts in my neighborhood on Monday, so I was planning to write about the importance of not approaching stray animals on your way to school.  And, if your dog accompanies you to the bus stop, make sure that your dog is properly leashed and doesn't bother kids who may not want Rover licking them or jumping up on their clean school clothes.  BUT, I have to run just one more camp post.   We heard from an adopter who adopted one of the pups from our training camp.  Gaga, who was Luke and Eli's pup for the week, has a new name and a loving forever home.

Her adopter wrote --
It's impossible for me to describe all the ways that she brings me joy -- even when I get up in the early hours of the morning! I decided on a name for the little gal yesterday -- "Mari". She's an incredibly social puppy -- she loves people and other dogs and that got me thinking that she's a bit of a social butterfly. The Spanish word for butterfly is "mariposa" and I thought Mari was a novel enough name for her and short enough that she'd easily recognize it.
Thank you for everything -- Mari is a great puppy and I couldn't be happier to have her in my life.

What a perfect way to end summer break.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Camp Memories!

Lillian concentrates on molding
 her spirit animal in Animals & Art

Miles introduces All About Animals
campers to a young pup.

Sophia & Allegra team teach Gary
 in T3-Training, Tips and Treats.
Some area students started school a couple of weeks ago; others went back today.  Most local students return to school next Monday.   Before I start planning for a busy school year, I decided to make the summer last a little bit longer by spending time today enjoying the many photographs taken during our three sessions of Caring Kids Camp -- All About Animals, Animals & Art, and T-3- Training, Tips, and Treats.   In all three sessions I was thrilled to see returning campers; plus I met delightful new friends who I hope to see next year, if not before.   Because camps were filled to capacity, with waiting lists that never moved, we will add a fourth week in 2013.  Information about four weeks of Caring Kids Camp will be posted on the blog and the League's website, warl.org, in early February. To see more photos click on the pictures on the right-haand side of the page under Dr. Hughes' Friendship Tales.

Friday, August 10, 2012

All Dressed Up in Puppy Training 101

This is the final session of Caring Kids Camp, summer 2012.  Ten campers are working hard to teach five 7-week-old pups the beginnings of good manners in  T3--Training, Treats & Tips.  Part of the pups training is learning that people with hats, scarves, glasses, costumes, and other, potentially our of the ordinary, accessories are not to be feared.  All dressed up, Sophia and Allegra train Gary, their ward for the week, how to sit, touch a target and lie down.   Gary is star pupil when it comes to crate training.   He often prefers napping in his crate during class time.  Before he conks out for aa cat nap, he shows his teachers that, "Yes, I can touch your hand -- before I snooze -- when the reward is a yummy treat!"

Friday, August 3, 2012

Caring Kids-- Animals & Art-- Camp: A week of creativity, kids, cats, and dogs

Caring Kids-- Animals & Art -- Camp campers display their works
Twelve compassionate artists spent the week at the League creating spirit animals, cat busy boxes, animal marionettes, pointillism pictures, exotic family portraits, and lots more!  They also met shelter cats and dogs and  were introduced to several staff members' dogs.   Some of the campers' families were former adopters; several girls  were repeat campers from past Caring Kids Camp sessions.  All are incredibly compassionate, animal-loving, creative kids!    Awesome close-up photos of campers and their art coming next week.  Check back soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dogs in the Workplace

I have the good fortune to bring Nigel to work with me whenever I want.   Nigel has a bed right next to my desk.  I like looking over at him, and I really, really like getting out of the building to take him for a brief mid-day walk.  Turns out, having Nigel here, is probably good for my health.  I hope it's good for his, too.

Juanishia, one of our
Adoption Coordinators,
and her dog, Lady.
According to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study, researchers compared employees who bring their dogs to work, employees who do not bring their dogs to work and employees without pets in the areas of stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and support.

“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” said principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., professor of management in the VCU School of Business.

“The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant.”
To read more about the benefits of dogs in the workplace go to


Maybe a study on dogs in the classroom is in order.   I believe that students will be more engaged with learning if they can take a dog-petting break now and then.