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!