Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Came Early....

For the dogs and cats at WARL.  When Mila and Freya popped into WARL on Monday they were loaded down with bags of  toys.  The girls went shopping and picked out just what the WARL dogs wanted, BIG bones and squeaky toys -- and lots of them.  They also donated cash  to help care for the cats and dogs in the shelter.  The girls, totally embracing the season of giving, said that the donations were in lieu of their own gifts.   They have plenty and wanted to make sure that the animals had enough, too.   This is not the first time that the young animal welfare advocates have forgone gifts so that a generous donation could be made to WARL.  Check out the June 2, 2014 blogpost to read about the girls 7th birthday celebration donation.  Thank you Freya and Mila and happy holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Helping Animals is a Community Effort!

When Owen and his parents brought their dogs,  Tipsey (left),  Finn (Center) and Mosey (right) to Fitzgerald Auto Mall for a family photo with Santa, Owen also brought his savings to donate to WARL.  One of the holiday elves mentioned the generous donation to the folks at Fitzgerald who, in the spirit of the season, doubled Owen's donation on the spot.   
Surely Tipsey,  a senior dog rescued from Montgomery County Humane Society two years ago, who may be 17, according to Owen's dad, Mosey and Finn, the youngest of the threesome,  are not only enjoying a happy holiday season, but are treated like Santa's special guests everyday!   
Thanks Owen and family for your kindness. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thankful for Kind Students & Camera-Friendly Cats!

In this season of thanksgiving, I like to reflect on all of the reasons why I love my job.   One of the very best things about directing the Humane Education program at the Washington Animal Rescue League is meeting students and hearing about the animals in their lives.  It's even better when I get to see those animals.  Maya, a student at D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School, sent me a photo of her cat, Tallita. She explained how the kitty got her name,  "We named her that because I wanted to name her Tye-dye, but my mom wanted something kind of Spanish like, so we combined the two and got Tallita!" 
Looks like Tallita is one relaxed cat who enjoys getting her picture taken.  Thanks for sharing Maya!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Be Prepared! Read This Book

Weathering a catastrophic event can be made easier when there is a safety plan in place. Author Howard Edelstein walks readers through disaster planning for animal companions. In his book, Ready or Not, Here it Comes, Fanny, the family dog hunkers down to ride out the hurricane with the narrator and his mom in a small, secure room in the basement only to get lost after the storm is over! Happily, Fanny is quickly reunited with her family thanks to the microchip under her skin and Mom's up-to-date contact information.
This book is a great tool to start a disaster planning discussion. What disasters are possible in your area, what would you have in YOUR disaster kit, where would you meet if you got separated, what special needs should be addressed? Hopefully, a disaster kit is never needed, but Edelstein's straight-forward text will leave readers ready and able to start making a plan, just in case.

Buy it here, http://www.amazon.com/Ready-Here-Comes-Howard-Edelstein/dp/1480917567/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448308628&sr=8-1&keywords=ready+or+not+here+it+comes

Friday, November 13, 2015

Giving is the Best Part of THANKSGIVING

WARL's wish list --

Halloween 2015 is long gone.  Less than two weeks until Thanksgiving!  The animals at WARL would like to celebrate Thanksgiving with toys, treats, and forever homes! This is the perfect time of year to collect kongs for dogs, mice (toy) for cats, and crunchy treats for all of the homeless cats and dogs waiting at WARL!   

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bat Mitzvah Biscuits Benefit WARL

Emily and Quigley pose before a display board and a container full of money!
Helping animals is easy when you have a cute mascot like Quigely, home-baked dog treats, and information highlighting the good work that WARL does every day on behalf of the animals. It's making it all come together that takes a huge effort.  When Emily decided to support WARL by raising money and awareness as part of her bat mitzvah project, she reached out to us to help gather information. Emily took it from there, creating an information-packed display board and baking dog biscuits, to sell in packages of three and five, at the Westover Elementary School  Fall Flea Market. The booth was a huge success, netting $125 for the cats and dogs at WARL. Thank you, Emily!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ailey's Community Service Project Recycles Towels and T-Shirts to Benefit Shelter Animals

When Ailey chose to help the animals  by collecting towels to donate, plus making dog and cat toys from discarded t-shirts, her service went beyond WARL.  By recycling the towels and t-shirts she was re-purposing items that are often discarded.  Her efforts were good for the animals and good for the earth.   Animals don't care if towels match or have a spot here and there.   And, homemade toys are not only favorites among shelter animals, but they are often far more durable than store bought toys.   In addition to  helping the animals at WARL, Ailey wrote about her efforts and shared the information in a Prezi  presentation with her classmates at Westland Middle School in Bethesda, MD.  Thanks, Ailey, for helping the animals and acquainting others with the Washington Animal Rescue League's mission.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy Friday Photo!

"It's been almost a month and I just wanted you all to know we absolutely love Gus (formerly known as Nino)! We couldn't have chosen a better dog for our family. Thanks so much for everything,"  wrote Gus' adopter.  Actually, the old adage, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words,  is applicable here.    Gus' forever family sent a mini-album with lots of cute shots, but this back-end picture is the sweetest thing to flash on my computer screen in some time.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dodger Right at Home!

This is one lucky pooch who didn't take any time to settle in.  Adopted on Saturday, a photo of Dodger (formerly Cha Cha) shared with WARL less than 48 hours later!  Looks like Dodger, a.k.a  Artful Dodger as in Dickens' Oliver Twist fame, knows how to make himself quite comfortable.  Lottie, his new BFF is looking pretty content herself.

The matriarch of Dodger's new clan said if Dodger was a singer, he'd be belting out, "Consider myself at home, consider myself one of the family!"

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

GREAT Dog and GREAT show!

When Harley, who at the time was dubbed Flacco, was at WARL during the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, he often posed right in front of the Animal Planet Puppy Cam camera.  That's when his people first fell in love with him. Now, securely in his forever home, Harley enjoys tuning in.  And, the ever-present entertainment gives him a chance  to reminisce about his early days at WARL. Thanks Harley's family, we love the great action shots of the very photographic internet star!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy Monday!

Have a good day at school.   Elias, a recent WARL adoptee, stands with his new brindle best friend.   Hurry back, kids!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ready for the Weekend!!

Jacky is HOME!  She was adopted from WARL in July and her family has  kindly sent us regular updates.   A lot of the pictures and videos show a very busy Jacky -- gnawing on a bone, taking a walk, but the newest group of Jacky photos capture my sentiments exactly --  snuggling under the covers is the perfect way to end the LONG school week. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It Takes a Community Effort! Thank you Garrett Park Elementary School and Fitzgerald Auto Mall

The Garrett Park Elementary School PTA
coordinated the tug-toy making workshop.
 Back to school is such a hectic time -- earlier bedtimes, packing lunches, and homework!   The  Garrett Park Elementary School community recently included a service project for WARL in their back to school scheduling.   A large box filled with crafty, homemade t-shirt tug toys was dropped off at the Rockville  Fitzgerald Auto Mall's recent WARL wish-list collection event.   
T-shirt tug toys are not only a WARL dog and puppy favorite, but they are good way to start that back-to-school closet cleaning.   So many of those cute t-shirts that fit back in May are just a tad bit short by September.
Nigel  really admires the colors  and the many different braids.
Ever heard of a fishtail braid?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Remembering Hurricane Katrina

Published just three short years after the devastating disaster, Two Bobbies : A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival. by Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery and Jean Cassels is both heartbreaking and heartwarming.  The true story chronicles the struggles of Bobbi, the dog, and BobCat, the blind cat, post hurricane Katrina.  Having lost everything in the deadly storm, the unlikely duo depends on each other to survive.   The book’s epilogue, complete with photos of the real life Bobbi and BobCat, details the real-life happily ever-after ending.
M.H.  Herlong's Buddy, does not sugar coat -- there is no fairy tale ending.   Lil'T, the story's lovable protagonist,  and his family might be poor before the hurricane and  totally wiped out after the disaster, but they are survivors -- they have each other, their faith, and their unwavering determination to persevere.  That resolve is what keeps Lil'T working to get Buddy, his beloved three-legged dog, back long after the levees break.  While there isn't the happy ending that readers may  be hoping for, it's the right ending. 
This is the perfect time to read, or re-read, Two Bobbies : A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival and Buddy.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fabulous Finn!

Is this a face, or what?  So pensive.  So expressive. If  Phineas and I spoke the same language, I'm sure he'd have quite a story to tell.  See the clipped ear?  That's typically the sign of a cat living in a feral cat colony.   A feral cat has had little or no contact with people, therefore is unsocialized and fearful of humans.  But Phineas is not fearful of people, he's a love -- he nudges, he purrs and sidles right up to anyone and everyone.  And, if he's out of his kitty condo and someone sits down on the floor, Phineas goes right for the lap, and that's where he stays until he is encouraged to move.    Best  guess he was a stray who was trapped, neutered, ear-tipped and released.  But, smart guy that he is, he managed to get caught again, taken in and then brought to WARL where he is just hanging out waiting!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Happy Wednesday!

A big grin crossed my face when I opened this photo of Edgar, formerly known as Doc.   Not only is this pooch, who has been enjoying his forever home for since January, adorable, but the accompanying note confirmed what I already knew, that WARL staff  are magnificent matchmakers.   What impressed us most about WARL was how you set new dog owners up for success with all the great information and support, wrote Edgar's adopter.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Projects to Help Shelter Animals During the Waning Days of Summer!

Kids  often ask about volunteering at the Washington Animal Rescue League.  We love volunteers, however, our Junior Volunteer program requires that students, ages 12 -17, attend an orientation with a parent/guardian and volunteer a minimum eight hours a month with that parent or guardian.   Essentially, our Junior Volunteer program is a parent/child volunteer tag-team commitment.  That pairing may not work for all families.  But, there are plenty of things that kids, who care about animals, can do to help the animals at the Washington Animal Rescue League.
  • Create a cat scratching circle  (or two) for the cats housed in WARL's Kitty City,  http://www.designsponge.com/2009/01/diy-project-recycled-cardboard-kitty-pad.html
  •  Hold a Bake Sale/Lemonade Stand/Yard Sale -- donate the proceeds  to WARL or use the funds to buy something needed from our wish list,  http://www.warl.org/support-us/donate/other-ways-to-give/wish-list/ 
  • Make really cool dog toys from things that you already have on hand are always welcomed at WARL, http://barkpost.com/3-dog-toys-you-can-make-from-things-around-the-house/ 
  • Bond with friends while making soft, fluffy cat beds without sewing, http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Sew-Pet-Bed/.  
Once you've planned and implemented a project, schedule a time  to drop your donation off at WARL. The best way to reach me to plan  a visit is debbie@warl.org.   

Monday, July 27, 2015


Tallahassee chillin' in his condo at WARL.  Click on the video.  What a love.  Enjoy your forever home, big guy!!
It's hard NOT to have a favorite animal when you work in an animal shelter.  Different shelter staff have different strategies.   I find it easiest  to focus on ONE  shelter animal at a time.  Most recently my love interest was Tallahassee.   If I had an opening in my house, he definitely would have filled it.  But, imagine adopting every animal who you fall head over heals for, it can't be done.  It's not realistic.  Even so, this guy was really making it hard not to fill out the adoption application.  Lucky for him, his forever family did fill out the application.   Tallahassee left the shelter on Friday and by Sunday I had  received a report.  ...We’re finding him to be curious, loving, goofy, and wonderful company. He spent most of the first night under the bed, then last night was busy lounging on a bookshelf, whacking the window blinds, and doing biscuits at length on me. He also has shown a playful side, chasing a wand mouse toy and grooming/killing a furry bunny..., wrote his adopter.  And, that update confirmed that the big snuggler is right where he belongs!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Animal Enthusiasts Camp at WARL

WARL 101Campers participated in a
spay workshop led by Medical Director,
Dr. Jan Rosen.  All surgeries were successful.
The beanie cats and dogs recovered
and went home with the campers!

All About Animals campers
got up close and personal with
snakes and other reptiles & amphibians
during a hands-on Reptiles Alive
Our  three Caring Camp 2015 sessions each had a different focus, but all brought campers who love animals to  the Washington Animal Rescue League.   Several campers visited the animals weeks after their sessions ended and there were numerous parent/camper discussions about volunteering and adopting.   We expect that the 45 campers who attended WARL 101, All About Animals and Animals & Art will be life-long animal advocates.

With four weeks left until school starts in D.C., there is still plenty of summer left.  We are expecting other camps learn about our work during shelter tours in the coming weeks.
Animals & Art campers worked all week, painting  a full-room mural.
 WARL future campers, staff and visitors will enjoy the
 artwork, designed by area artists, for years to come.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ask, and You Will Receive

Erica with bat mitzvah donation box
and donations, including a much
appreciated hand-truck.
When Erica decided to help the Washington Animal Rescue League as her bat mitzvah project, she gave her guests an option as to how to help the animals.  She directed them to WARL's wishlist which emphasized the usual donations -- food, treats, toys and linens -- but also featured those  items that were more costly and not nearly as typical.   One such item was a hand-truck, a much needed an often used piece of equipment.  Moving large bags of food and boxes becomes a much easier task with a hand-truck.  When Erica and her family showed up at WARL post bat mitzvah with food, treats,  toys, AND a hand-truck, staff became giddy!  Thanks Erica for encouraging your friends and family to support WARL on your behalf.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The 2014-2015 School Year Comes to a Close -- Camp Just Around the Corner!

A group of  fourth graders from Capital City Public Charter School (CCPCS)spent one of the last days of the 2014-2015 school year touring WARL.  The year-long CCPCS partnership enabled eight small groups -- which included every fourth grader --  to participate in Animal Advocates, a five week program designed and facilitated by Jamie Peterson,  the lower school's counselor.  The four in-class sessions included: Building background knowledge on animals and advocacy; Identifying Community Service and Careers; Taking Action for Animals; Preparing for Service/Learning and the visit to WARL.   The fifth and final group meeting was a visit to WARL; students toured the shelter and medical center  and distributed brightly colored tug toys that they made for shelter dogs.  The rising fifth graders are kind, compassionate and thoughtful young people who will, undoubtedly, continue to advocate for animals.   Thank you Ms. Peterson and CCPCS 4th graders for a fabulous year.

Monday, June 8, 2015

One of the Family!

Lucy and Larry
Sydney and Larry
June is ADOPT- A- SHELTER Cat Month, and lucky little Larry was adopted!  Larry appears to be ambidextrous when it comes to cuddling.  He looks equally comfy cradled to the left or right.

Monday, June 1, 2015

West Education Campus 4th Graders Give Back

While  showing off the colorful tug toys that they made for the dogs at WARL, West Education Campus 4th graders, along with their teacher, Ms. Cole, pose behind the donation  boxes that they placed in the school lobby,    
West Education Campus fourth graders  spent a good chunk of the 2014-2015 school year learning about animals.  And, as the school year draws to a close they spearheaded projects to help the cats and dogs at WARL.   During the school year the class went on a field trip to WARL, had a very special dog visit their classroom, read books about animals and learned what they can do to help cats and dogs in the community.   The students retained lots of information and happily shared their new knowledge on the final evaluation and in thank you letters. "I would like to thank you for spending your time with us,...The fourth graders next year are so lucky." wrote Keyon,  When asked what the students learned  during the year La'Sha,  Tynesha, Litzy and Moses mentioned the importance of spaying and neutering;Simeon, Donnie and Alexis referenced animal cruelty.  Undoubtedly, Ms. Cole's fourth graders will take their new found knowledge and make the world a better place for animals. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Adoption at Any Age

Hank, the second from the left,  a recent WARL alum,
enjoys a treat with his new best-buds.  

Finding a  home for a "senior" dog can be difficult at best.  But, when you have a super-terrific foster home with a stellar placement record, you know that it is just a matter of time before the perfect home is found.  Hank is a prime example --  an older abandoned dog finds himself in a shelter, endears himself to shelter staff, loyal volunteer/fosterer agrees to take the little guy, and the rest as they say is "history".  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

One Person Can Make a Difference!

Thanks to Sandy Spring Friends School student, Miriam Gardsbane,  How I Became an Elephant, a brutal, truthful documentary will be screened, and open to the public,  Saturday, May 23rd at Sandy Spring Friends School, 16923 Norwood Rd, Sandy Spring, MD 20860.  Seats are limited!

Miriam is proof that one person's efforts do make a difference. check out the video about Miriam.
http://www.howibecameanelephant.com/2015/04/nine-year-old-takes-action-after-being-inspired-by-our-film/ And, then register to attend the screening!
RSVP at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/they-deserve-to-be-free-screening-of-how-i-became-an-elephant-tickets-16604077242?aff=es2

Monday, May 4, 2015

Aidan Montessori's Girls on the Run Team go the Extra Mile to Help the Cats and Dogs at WARL

 L to R: Betel, Anna, Eliza, Charlotte, Catherine, Joy, Lucy, Hannah
 Back row – Coach Tyler, Coach Megan
The Girls on the Run web site (www.girlsontherun.orgadvocates Power through Service -- 
What a great way to kick-off the 100th Anniversary of Be Kind to Animals Week, May 3-9.  When asked to  "brainstorm institutions in our community that could use our help,” the Aidan Montessori School Girls on the Run chapter decided to fund “pets that don’t have homes”.  WARL is the recipient of the group's very successful bake sale.  Tomorrow, the eight take-charge animal advocates and their dedicated coaches will visit the shelter and present WARL with the $250 they raised during a successfully, delicious bake sale.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Say That Again, Please

"You want me to do what?" asks Mackenzie of her guardian.  If ever there was an expression that deserves to go viral, it's this one.   Mackenzie, formerly Eskimo, is celebrating her first month in her new home.   She has a kitten bff  named Edgar and a  two-legged friend who insists that Mackenzie become something called housebroken.  To emphasize the housebreaking thing, the two-legged takes Maclenzie for plenty of walks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Everyone Can be a Poet

Dean Koontz, a prolific writer whose books are typically read by adults, collaborated with Trixie Koontz (Dean's faithful companion also identified as a Golden Retriever) and illustrator Janet Cleland, to pen I,Trixie Who is Dog.  The opening of the tale, written in verse, is a perfect reminder that APRIL  is still National Poetry Month.
Dog is the best of the best things to be.
Sorry you are not dog.
Not everyone can be.
I decided to use Dean and Trixie's style to craft a cat's retort
Cat is the perfect creature - true
Want to see a  flawless feline?
Look at me, not you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Puppy Made off with My Slippers

by Jack Perleutsky
The puppy made off with my slippers
and buried them both in the yard.
I now grow remarkable shoe trees-
it isn't especially hard.
(From A Pizza the size of the Sun )
Happy National Poetry Month!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bunnies for Kitties!

A crafty family left a gift for the shelter cats.   Eggs.  Or Bunnies.  Or Egg-bunnies, Bunny-eggs.   They wobble, make a sound (filled with beans or cat crunchies) and tickle your nose. Now, officially cat-tested at WARL. Thank you holiday elves.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Four Years in a Row!

 The local 4-H group stopped by on Sunday armed with a variety of donations -- food, treats, toys and cat litter, plus a money jar filled with cash  The Takoma Park group's annual spring drive for WARL started out as a chapter effort in 2012 and has blossomed into full-blown community event.   The members are getting older and taller and their collections are getting, bigger too!   Thanks 4-H friends!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

From the Pen of a Fabulous Foster

What a sweet face!!  
Nanook's foster wrote, 
Nanook is a charming little gentleman. Poor Nanook lived in a home but his beloved guardian passed away. He enjoys the company of other dogs and he is cat friendly. He shows nice house manners, likes soft comfy dog beds and he is particularly fond of belly rubs. Nanook does have some health issues but that has not stopped him from loving life. help him in his golden years. If you know someone who might interested in meeting Nanook, contact adopt@warl.org. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

SPRING Forward and Warmer Days Will Follow

 Driving is bad enough, but add snow and ice to the mix, and I would much rather spend  my day  like Charlotte and Merl, snoozing in the sunshine.   Better bank a little extra sleep now, we lose an hour Saturday night when we spring forward for the start of Daylight Savings Time.   Could that mean that warmer days are really and truly ahead?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Who Knew Charlotte Could be so Funny?

"You are so funny,"  laughs, Nigel.  
"It's March already and you think it's 
going to snow again?  Go on! Tell me another joke."

Monday, February 23, 2015

WARL Animals Benefit from Market Mania at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School

Second graders, also known as the Ospreys,  in Ms. Camila and Ms. Naomi's class at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School recently studied the ins and outs of markets.   As part of their business plan,  they chose to donate the proceeds from their sales to the Washington Animal Rescue League!  The young entrepreneurs created and sold paper jewelry, origami, bottle cap key chains and metal wind chimes.    Their creative wares were in great demand.  A check for $150 arrived at WARL over the weekend along with a nice, colorful  note from the students.   On behalf of the cats and dogs and the staff at WARL, thank you Mundo Verde Public Charter School Ospreys for caring about animals and using the proceeds from Market Mania to help them. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Birthday Tradition Benefitting WARL Animals

Bella and her friend pose in front of bags of birthday donations.  Julian, an animal caretaker, and Ruby, WARL's  Medical Director's loyal companion, show their appreciation for all of the gifts.
This is not the first time that Bella has asked for gifts for the animals at WARL in lieu of birthday presents.  Last year she and her mom delivered so many bags that WARL staff declared it a colossal donation.  This year's birthday delivery came in two carloads!   Bella, who wants to be a veterinarian like her grandmother, understands that shelter animals benefit greatly from comfy beds, toys and treats -- so that's what Bella asked friends, family, and classmates to give to help celebrate her birthday -- linens, toys, and treats for the animals at WARL.   Thanks, Bella, have a great year!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cats are Better Than Television!

When I get up from my favorite rocking chair, Merl and Charlotte quickly claim the seat for their own.  It doesn't take long before one cat gets a tad bit possessive of the space.   Who do you think will be QUEEN of the chair after this little kitty exchange?   

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy Home Photos

These photo updates are worth more than 1000 words.  
How many adjectives are there for the word HAPPY?   
Ellie, formerly Blanche,
sitting pretty for her  happy home portrait!
Pony smiling for the camera during her snowy walk!
Looks like these dogs may have been adopted by professional photographers!