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.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gabe & Rome Made My Day!

A mature Rome tolerating the
flash a WARL update photo

We love mail!   It's great to get updates from adopters.  We often hear from them  a week, a month or even a year after they've adopted a cat or dog.  Rarely, do we get an update from someone who adopted from the League 10-years ago.   I've been corresponding with Gabe, a 15-year-old, animal lover and WARL supporter.   He wrote, "My family adopted our dog from WARL when he was 6 months old.  He's now 10 and we are extremely grateful we were able to adopt him. His name's Rome and he's an essential component of our family.  Endless thanks to WARL for allowing us to adopt him!"  Thank you Gabe and family!  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy/Sad -- Conflicted

It's kind of odd.  I have the good fortune to walk into work in the morning and see a window full of kittens.  They make me smile.  And, they make me sad.   We have three windows in our lobby.  All three windows  have kittens living in them.  We have 40 cat condos in our cat room.  Each one has a cat, or two, living in it.  No doubt, kittens are cute.  But, in just a few short months they grow up to be cats.   Cats are beautiful.   But, no matter how cute kittens are, or how beautiful cats are, there aren't enough homes for all of them.  When I look at them I can't help but smile; when I think about them -- all of them --I feel very, very sad.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Charlotte and Merl Tackle the Catpod

Who needs television when you have Charlotte and Merl.     Enjoy the show.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Campers and Critters -- Oh My!

Think Washington Animal Rescue League, and you probably think cats and dogs.   That's mostly true -- unless it is Caring Kids --All About Animals -- Camp week at the League.   For five days in late June,  17 campers were introduced to, and visited, with snakes, turtles, bunnies, bats, hissing cockroaches (true!), goats, sheep, horses, chickens and a number of other animals including a baby alligator.   The campers learned about companion animal care, habitat destruction, and a myriad of other issues concerning companion, exotic, farm, and wild animals.  We were fortunate to have Joyce Davis,a WARL supporter and photographer, chronicle our adventures throughout the week.  To see many more of Joyce's pictures click on the group picture of campers to the right. 
The two remaining sessions of Caring Kids Camp 2012, Animals and Art and Training 101 are completely full.   To attend camp at the League during the summer of 2013, check back with us in February.

Monday, July 9, 2012

One Last Good Day

Micky reclining on the sofa several years ago
When an aged  beloved animal friend begins to decline, eventually a decision will need to be made.   I made the decision to euthanize Micky on Friday, July 6th.   It was not an easy decision, but it was the right one.  Micky showed signs of kidney failure in early spring.  We changed his diet and  pumped him with fluids.  The fluids helped  Mick's kidneys to function the best they could -- he needed them every day.  

But, Thursday night Micky looked really bad.  The once roly-poly Garfield-look-alike was a skeleton.  I brought him to the Washington Animal Rescue League Animal Medical Center first thing Friday morning.  I knew we were out of time.   I have the good fortune of working with the kindest, most caring group of people assembled anywhere.  We collectively decided to pump Micky with fluids and give him an appetite stimulant -- that way he could eat one last really good meal.  And, he did.  I found a really stinky can of something that claimed to be "ocean delight" and Micky ate it.  He purred, too.  He was feeling better.  But the good feeling wouldn't last.  Maybe a day, maybe less.  And, when Micky, who was always a solid 12-pounder barely registered on the scale at  less than 6 pounds, I knew that we could not buy any more time.  I'm not going to anthropomorphize  (big word that means projecting human thoughts and feelings onto my cat) but I know that Micky was feeling really crummy and there was no hope of him feeling better. He wasn't happy getting fluids and didn't feel like eating.  So, I made the decision to euthanize Micky that afternoon after a really nice day.  He was in one of his favorite spots, my office, with one of his favorite people, Max.  
Micky in my office several
weeks ago. 
We adopted Micky in January 2002.  He was said to be 6-8, maybe 10-years-old then.  He had been an outside cat with crusty paws and bad teeth.   His paws improved soon after his move to an indoor-only cat and his rotten teeth were pulled by a veterinarian who specialized in dentistry.   Micky feared Merl, the house bully cat -- although Merl came to live with us after Mick.  He loved Natalie and Max and slept with one or the other every single night that they were home.  On the rare occasions that they were both gone, and I was home, I'd encourage Micky to climb into bed with me.  He always declined, electing to sleep on the sofa instead.  Micky was dearly loved, and is sorely missed.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I am away, but have been keeping up with the AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, WONDERFUL WARL staff and volunteers who kept the animals comfortable and safe while the building was without power for MORE THAN 4 DAYS.   Check out the League's facebook page for details.   More from me next week -- camp updates and more!