Monday, April 30, 2012

Generous Friend of the Animals Shares her Allowance

What a nice way to start a Monday.    Grace's note  was
sitting on my desk this morning.   It is not every day that
someone shares her allowance with the animals!   The animals
will definitely benefit from Grace's generosity.

Friday, April 27, 2012

West Education Campus Fourth Graders Celebrate National Poetry Month with Their Own Poems

West Education Campus students in Ms. Outten's fourth grade recently had two special visitors in their class.   Kevin Johnson, and his WARL adoptee Ava, shared tales of their adventures.   Ava, a very small football-shaped dog, was passed from student to student as Kevin told of their many escapades.  Ahureda wrote an acrostic that, in just seven words, captures the essence of Ava.
Awesome in any clothes
Very Courageous
Other students created poems about their own animal companions.
Mittens, by Dayja
My Pal
Is ready for the prey
Takes care of me
Takes care of family
On the go
Nice Cat
Safe with Me.

Janaye wrote about her cat, too.
My cat's name is Mimi and she is shy,
she runs away like saying bye.
sometimes Mimi runs like crazy
She is so amazing.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Only Five More Days of National Poetry Month!

Cythintha Rylant has a poem for every month in Bless Us All-- A Child's Yearbook of Blessings, a collection that celebrates the joys of every day life. The much-loved author of more than 100 books including both the Mr. Putter and Tabby and Henry and Mudge series, is often pictured with one of her rescue dogs. The April poem is fitting for today.
Bless the raindrops
from the sky,
Bless the babies
rolling by,
Bless all papas
                                           with their pups,
                                              Bless the cats and buttercups.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The National Poetry Month Celebration Continues!

I've read Cat Poems by Dave Crawley hundreds of times, but somehow never really spent much time on the last poem in the collection, Tandy Is Twenty. I happened on the poem this morning just as I was updating my photo file with recent picture of Max and Micky.  We adopted Micky more than 10 years ago, and for all we  know he could be 20 -- he was a seasoned adult then, and is definitely a very senior cat now.  Max, just four when Micky moved in, could have written a similar poem for his regular bed buddy.
Tandy is Twenty
by Dave Crawley
Tandy is twenty years old today.
Her shiny black coat is speckled with gray.
She no longer scampers with kittenish glee.
She's not up for leaping or climbing a tree.
I was just a young boy the day she was born.
The toys I gave her are tattered and torn.
Though games we played have come to an end,
she's still my companion , and I'm still her friend.
Tandy is twenty years old today.
Her shiny black coat is speckled with gray.
but stroking her neck still brings back the joy--
when she was a kitten and I was a boy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Picture is Truly Worth a Thousand Words!

 I was hurrying through the lobby to my office last week and stopped to smile.   A family had just adopted a puppy, and  they were posing for their first post-adoption photo.   I grabbed my camera and snapped a picture, too.  Obviously, little Rocket (christened by his forever family) was happy to sit and grin for the portrait. 

The love and joy that emanates from this photo is why we do what we do at the League.  Every time a once cast-off pup -- or dog, cat, or kitten -- charms his way into a family's heart we are reminded that, we don't just come to work, we carry out a mission -- to rescue, rehabilitate and  rehome animals who have nowhere else to go.  

Undoubtedly, Rocket -- with good company -- will be going lots of places!  First stop, HOME.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Jonah with the food donations
 that were donated, at his request,
 by guests at his bar mitzvah.

Jonah visiting with
a puppy at the League.

The word mitzvah refers to a good or worthy deed.  Jonah, a local seventh grader, who recently celebrated his bar mitzvah  accomplished a MEGA -MITZVAH.   Jonah, and several religious school classmates visited the League in October 2011, a couple of months before Jonah's bar mitzvah ceremony and celebration.  It was during that tour that he decided that he wanted to share his important day with the animals.  Not just any animals.  Jonah decided to ask his bar mitzvah guests to  contribute to  the Washington Animal Rescue League's Rescuers Food Bank.  The Food Bank enables under-served members of our community to pick up dog or cat food from the League on a monthly basis.  
Since the economic down-turn several years ago, more and more animal guardians have found the Food Bank to be a tremendous help.   Many of the folks who rely on the food contribution are elderly, some are people who have fallen on hard times -- all are people who love their companion animals and want to care for them properly.  Clinic clients often tell staff that they are feeding their dogs instead of themselves -- it should not be an either/or situation. 

The Food Bank is stocked entirely by donations.   Jonah's collection will go a long way to help people and animals in Washington.  His mom's SUV was packed to the roof with bags, boxes and cans.  In addition, Jonah brought an envelope with cash and checks donated by several of his guests. 
I often show student groups through the shelter and wonder what impact their tour will have on their views concerning animal welfare.   In Jonah's case, I know -- one Sunday morning visit to the League sparked a MEGA mitzvah that will fill the bellies of many much-loved animal companions and the hearts of their devoted  guardians.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Third Graders Welcome Nigel

Nigel enjoys multiple pats while posing with his third grade friends.
Nigel and I recently visited Ms. Nolan and Ms. Kennedy's third graders at John Burroughs Elementary School.   The girls and boys learned about domestic animal care, and they introduced me to a story about living harmoniously with wildlife, Two Days in May by Harriet Peck.

In the story, Two Days in May, the people showed respect toward the animals because they were trying to get the animals a new home.   I think the people didn't want to upset the animals.  They did not want to harm the animals.  They love the deer.  They showed that they were being kind because they were taking care of the deer.   -- Antoine.

In the story Two Days in May, the people showed respect and kindness toward the animals because they didn't hurt or kill them.  The people took very good care of them.   The animals are very loving and sweet.  The animal control came and shot the deer with a tranquilizer.  The animal control took the deer to their parents..  -- Henniya

Based on Antoine, Henniya and others' recommendation, I definitely want to read Two Days in May. Based on our discussion on companion animal care, some of the students realized that, although they would like to live with a cat or dog, they may not be in a position to do so.

I can't take care of an animal because I don't have money for food, leash, collar, a microchip and toys. -- Michael

I don't know if I could take of an animal because I have to spend a lot of money on food, toys and a place to sleep.  -- Elmer

I wish that more adults would consider the cost and time involved in caring for a companion animal.  Perhaps then they would make more responsible decisions.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Springtime is Bird Time!

On the way to ordering one of my favorite Bob Graham books, "Let's Get a Pup," Said Kate, I found How to Heal a Broken Wing, the perfect springtime read.  While taking in an injured bird, and nursing it back to health, is not typically a practical way to help, the premise of the story -- that it is OUR responsibility to help -- is the essence of the book.  While the busy commuters rush by an injured pigeon, a child stops to help the fragile bird.   Through a series of compassionate illustrations, accompanied by few words, readers will feel the power of one.   The child and his mom take the injured bird home and nurse the pigeon back to health. 

This is baby bird season.   Since we barely had a winter, we may see more baby birds fluttering about sooner than in years past.  Sometimes, baby birds on the ground appear injured even though they are not, they are just learning to fly with mama bird watching from a safe distance.   Observers of baby birds should do the same.   If the area is danger free, more than likely theparental  instructions provided wil, before long,l help baby bird maneuver a safe flight.  But, if the bird truly appears injured, as the pigeon does in How to Heal a Broken Wing, call your local animal control agency or wildlife rehabilitation organization for instructions on how to help the bird.  Some agencies will send an officer to retrieve the injured bird, others will ask if you can transport it to their center.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Little Poem by Ogden Nash

The Dog
by Ogden Nash

The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state that the dog is full of love.
I've also found, by actual test,
A wet dog is the lovingest.

National Poetry month continues -- write a poem, read a poem, sing a poem!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Happy National Poertry Month!   In honor of this  Illustrious event I reread So, What's it Like to be a Cat, a fun book written in verse by Karla Kuskin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Click Clack Moo).   The boy asks his friend, "So, what's it like to be a cat," and the feline narrator replies "I'm very glad you asked me that," and goes on in great detail to explain his preferences and actions.   In one of my favorite passages the cat answers the boy's question in this exchange,

We know you live with people. 'Ah yes...a few'  Do you like them? Do they like you?
With my catlike dignity
it never has occurred to me
to wonder what they think of me.
At times they're dumb.
At times they're sweet.
they balance nicely on their feet.
I do not think that I could do
as well on merely two.