Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New Year's Resolution -- Keep Charlotte and Murphy on a No-Weight-Gain Diet!

I took Murphy to the animal hospital for his first post-adoption, get to know the veterinarian, visit.  She said all was great, but she did offer a word of caution -- watch Murphy's weight.  

When Murphy was admitted to the shelter he weighed  a slim 11 pounds.  This morning, after a full breakfast, he weighed 14.1 pounds.   Charlotte has been instructed to eat less, exercise more, too.   

My New Year's resolution is to make sure that Murphy and Charlotte stick to their diets (less food in the bowl) and more exercise. They have each other  for support and I expect them to run laps around the house all day when I'm at work.

Murphy's trek to the vet reminded me of a book, Milton Goes to the Vet,  I used to read to Max.  Milton, a very opinionated cat,  tries to maintain control at all times. After his futile attempts to escape the dreaded carrier fail, Milton narrates the horrid journey every step of the way from the car ride to the lobby, to the meeting of the veterinarian.  The trip home is a joy ride and Milton's home reentry is uneventful.  

I could change the book title to Murphy Goes to the Vet.  Getting Murphy into the carrier proved difficult for us both.    After re-positioning the carrier and Murphy numerous times, he was packed into the large plastic carrier and on his way.  He voiced his resentment the entire ride, was feisty during the exam, and a complete gentleman on the way back and walked out of the carrier, once home, as if he had just returned from a planned vacation!

Check out Milton and Milton Goes to the Vet at https://www.amazon.com/Milton-Goes-Vet-Hayde-Ardalan/dp/0811828433/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1482856008&sr=8-2&keywords=cat+goes+to+the+vet

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Meet Murphy!

Murphy is Charlotte's new best friend.  She's  not yet so sure about the title, but one thing is for certain, Murphy has moved in for good and claimed the house as his.  I think Charlotte  likes him better now that he has a proper name.  His shelter name was JR and he didn't seem to know it, nor did it fit. We tried on all sorts of monikers -- Fin, Finnegan, Phineas, Reuben.  Nothing stuck.  For ten days he was NewCat or Buddy.  And then Max came home from college.  He said, "NewCat needs a name".  I told him, "Fine, you find a name for him. a really good one!" And, within minutes, Murphy became Murphy.  Inspired by Daniel Murphy, according to Max, the 'Clutch' second baseman for the Washington Nationals". Murphy NewCat is one clutch cat.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Relaying a Serious Message with an Abundance of Cuteness!

The poster can be purchased at
I saw this poster hanging in a classroom at Lasalle Backus Education campus.   I snapped a quick picture to share with a coworker who LOVES the chubby little pooches.  However, the sentiment bears constant repeating.  Not only is bullying NEVER okay, but we need to feel safe in reporting bullies and knowing that situations will be dealt with quickly and appropriately. I subscribe to the National Link Coalition's monthly newsletter, http://nationallinkcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/LinkLetter-2016-November.pdf.  In the  November issue were several heinous examples of animal cruelty. that  like scores of others, lead to additional violence against people.  
Bullying people or animals, hurting people or animals, is never acceptable and should not be tolerated in any form. The poster is adorable, the subject is not -- Bullying is NEVER ok. 

Monday, October 24, 2016


This blog can still be found by searching warlkids.blogspot.com, but the Washington Humane Society and Washington Animal Rescue League's brand new name, the one that will last at least another 150 years, is the Humane Rescue Alliance.   Humane because we are kind, compassionate, and responsible; Rescue  because that's what we do; and Alliance because our organization is inclusive, not exclusive.  We are all about Animals, People and Community.  Check out our new website, it is AWESOME http://www.humanerescuealliance.org/!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Let Dogs Be -- Don't Chop and Crop!

Cleo models in profile her silky,
soft natural right ear.
(Her left one is natural, too)
An odd title isn't it?  But not so when you consider that some dogs, born with beautiful long, silky ears and happy, wagging tails, are subjected to surgical mutilation  all in the name of appearance and breed standards.  
Karin Brulliard's  September 27th Washington Post Health Section article titled, Dogs are born with ears and tails. They should get to keep them, cited a study that found people who were shown photos of Doberman Pinschers, both with natural ears and tails and with cut tails and ears, believed that some of the dogs were born tailless with pointy ears while others were not.  To read the entire article go to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/09/08/what-many-americans-dont-understand-about-designer-dogs/
Seems to me that we need to do a better job of educating the public about the antiquated, cosmetic practice known as ear cropping and tail docking.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Nigel, the Best Dog in the World

When my son, Max, was in first grade he asked almost daily, “Is this the day that we are getting a dog?”  My answer remained the same,   “No, not until I find the right dog.”   After all, adopting a dog might be precipitated by a boy’s love for dogs, but ultimately it is the MOM's task to care for the dog.  

And then on December 2, 2004 we adopted not just the right dog, but the perfect dog.  Nigel, the best dog in the world, 

Dog years go by much too fast.  Recently, it had become difficult for Nigel to stand – his back legs often gave out. He was falling all of the time – he fell in yard, on walks and in the house.  He fell in the night when he tried to get up from the bed in my room to go to the bed in Max’s room.  He no longer got up for breakfast. 

On August 13, 2016,  Max and I made the difficult decision to ask the veterinarian to come to our home to humanely euthanize Nigel. 
Max left for college  three days later.  My house is now sadly silent.  Not because Max is gone – I hear his text message chirps often in response to my many questions.  But there are no Nigel sounds.  No tags jingling, no nails scraping, no old bones creaking while attempting to stand when I come home. 

I have many, many wonderful Nigel memories.  And pictures – I have lots and lots of pictures. But what I don’t have is time.  I don’t get to spend any more time with Nigel, the best dog in world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Special Guest and his Special People Visit Caring Kids Camp -- You Can Make a Difference

When Pony and his people, Alejandro and Doug, walked into our Caring Kids -- You Can Make a Difference -- Camp the campers were struck by the alum's beauty.  But, when they learned that Pony is deaf, and that he responds to more signs than a lot of hearing animals do words, they were spellbound.   And, while Pony is super bright, it is the commitment of his adopters that struck me as extraordinary.  
According to the ASPCA -- 
The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
Therefore, 70% of animals living in homes are NOT adopted from shelters.  Potential adopters considering adopting a "special needs" animal account for an infinitesimal minority of folks who walk through the shelters' doors.  Obviously, Alejandro and Doug saw that Pony is indeed special.   And shelters need more adopters like Alejandro and Doug.

Monday, July 18, 2016

An Early Morning Stroll in the Neighborhood

Guess the family of seven (I only caught four in my viewfinder) decided on a walk before it got even hotter.  The Capital Weather Gang says no end in site to this oppressive heat.  Certainly the deer know best.   We need to make sure we do right by our animal companions and keep them cool and comfortable.
  • Keep companion animals  indoors when temperatures are extreme and in the shade when they are outdoors.
  • Walk dogs  early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. (Nigel's walks are before 7:00 a.m. and after 10:00 p.m. with short potty breaks throughout the day.)
  • Provide plenty of water at all times, especially on walks, to avoid dehydration. 
  • Never ever, ever leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle.  Temperatures in cars can increase rapidly and become lethal. 
  • As always, if you think your companion animal  is in distress due to the heat, call your veterinarian or the local emergency animal hospital immediately.

Monday, June 27, 2016

DC Scores at Powell Elementary School Win Big for the Animals

After an emotional discussion about the prevalence of animal cruelty and what students can do to help the animals currently housed in the Oglethorpe Street shelter, DC Scores students went into action.    
The students, whose after school program is offered at Powell Elementary School, learned that the shelter uses lots and lots of towels every day and can always use more.  So, they appealed to local hotels and asked for their discarded, but usable linens and collected 15 bags of towels for the shelter!
In addition, the students understood that better communication is needed so that folks in the community not only know how to properly care for animals, but where to report  animal control issues and incidents of animal abuse and neglect.   The students' flyer, Saving and Caring for Animals, was handed out to other soccer teams.  
Thank you DC Scores students at Powell Elementary School!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Vamoose! Vinegar Discourages Unwanted Visitors

photo courtesy of The HSUS
I attended a Humane Wildlife Conflict Resolution workshop the other day and was surprised to learn that a kitchen staple is an effective way to "uninvite" raccoons who might move into the garage or attic. Turn up the tunes and place rags soaked in household vinegar near the den and be sure to leave a pathway for an easy exit .  A mama raccoon will not want to expose her babies to blaring rock and roll or the overpowering odor of vinegar.  
Years ago folks were told that ammonia and/or moth balls would serve as a quick deterrent; in fact a quick google search brings up numerous sites that say just that.  But according to the Humane Society of the U.S. and multiple government sources, that school of thought is not only outdated, but possibly hurtful or even lethal -- both ammonia and moth balls emit toxic fumes.  The goal is to get the masked intruders to move on, not to make them sick.  And, both ammonia and moth balls are toxic to people, too.  When encouraging wildlife to exit, always opt for the safest deterrent.  For more information check out wildneighbors@humanesociety.org.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Daisies Do Good!

When Daisy Troop 4839 decided to support the animals they did it in a BIG way; they collected within the troop and posted requests on their school and neighborhood list-serves.  The result of their collection campaign netted bags and bags of much needed toys, treats and linens.  They even raised enough money to sponsor a cat in Kitty City.  
Thank you Troop 4839

Friday, May 20, 2016

Caring Kids -- All About Animals Thursdays Brought Friends Together

For three weeks, eight area young animal enthusiasts visited the  shelter on Thursday afternoons.   We  laughed during a puppy party, got up close and personal with ferrets and rabbits, and clicker trained cats.   And, that's not all -- the students took a crash course in caring for bottle-fed  foster kittens and questioned Cpl. Meg Holeva about her many animal control rescues, including a bird stuck in a tree (long story).  While the program  may be over, the students' commitment to helping animals is undoubtedly a life-long commitment. 
Come back and visit  friends!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ask and You May Receive

WHS/WARL's wish-list is long.  Toys and treats are always needed and often generously purchased for the animals  in our care. Less glamorous, but  needed just as much, if not more so, are the things that we use, and use-up, everyday -- paper towels, dish and liquid soaps trash bags and Ziploc bags,
Brightwood Education Campus' pre-k, kindergarten and first grade counselor Senovia Hurtado, a long-time Washington Humane Society supporter and proponent of  humane education, guides her young learners through a  series of lessons promoting civic engagement, placing particular emphasis on all acts of kindness -- no matter how big or small --  make a difference. The enthusiastic Brightwood "bucket-fillers" and their families recently completed a supply drive for the animals -- filling boxes and packing my car to the point where I could not see out  the back window.   
Once unloaded, a member of the  WHS/WARL animal care team commented, "This is just what we needed."  Helping shelters to care for the animals encourages kindness throughout the community! Thank you Brightwood Education Campus Bucket-Fillers!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reading Does Not Need to be a Solitary Event

 As evidenced by the persistence of recently adopted Rozco.  His new BFF seems to be managing reading and puppy-love all at once.   Reading to dogs is good for everyone.   WARL/WHS volunteers read to dogs in the kennels.  It helps the dogs to settle down and enjoy a little quiet time with someone special.  Obviously, little Rozco has the enjoying time with someone special nailed down, not so sure about the quiet time. J

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy EARTH Day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Can't Let National Poetry Month Slip Away Without a Jack Prelutsky Poem!

My Neighbor’s Dog is Purple  by  Jack Prelutsky
My neighbor’s dog is purple, 
Its eyes are large and green,
its tail is almost endless, 
the longest I have seen. 
My neighbor’s dog is quiet, 
It does not bark one bit, 
but when my neighbor’s dog is near, 
I feel afraid of it. 
My Neighbor’s dog looks nasty, 
it has a wicked smile….. 
before my neighbor painted it, 
it was a crocodile. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Max and Katie -- Nearly Two Decades of Togetherness!

When Lisa, one of our Behavior and Training Specialists, was in Kitty City last week she spoke to a visitor who shared one of those heart-warming stories that bears repeating.  

Katie told Lisa that Max, who was adopted by her family when he was just a kitten and Katie was just 3 years old, was celebrating his 19th birthday!  As promised, Katie forwarded a BFF picture to Lisa; Lisa shared it with all staff, and I am happily sharing it (with Katie's permission) with the world!  My guess is that Max and Katie's common history could be the catalyst for an entire library of stories.   Imagine the secrets they have shared.  

Wishing Max and Katie many more years together!  

Friday, March 25, 2016


This picture is too cute not to share!

Luke, adopted from WARL nearly eight years ago and Jane, a recent WARL adoptee, are best buds who, could not only pass for twins,  but mirror each other's mannerisms. 
See Luke.  
See Jane.  
See Luke and Jane!   
See Luke and Jane look!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Music Benefits the Animals Thanks to Troop 4672

When the Highland View Elementary School Girl Scout Troop, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, decided to earn their pet care badge they began gathering information on how to help animals in need.   They sponsored a cat and dog toy drive at their spring choir concert netting a large basket full of enrichment toys that they brought to the shelter last Friday.  While visiting, the girls helped to socialize several pit bull puppies, met adult dogs waiting for their forever homes and walked through kitty city.  In a addition to the toys, the girls donated $193, the proceeds from the after concert bake sale .  Thanks Troop 4672.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Animals Benefit from Historic Merger

It's official!  The Washington Animal Rescue League and the Washington Humane Society, long-established animal welfare organizations, merged to become one dynamic organization providing exemplary care and services for all animals in the District of Columbia.   The historic merger on February 10th was possible, in part, because of cooperation between the two organizations, community support and the need for truly comprehensive services. Joined forces makes for a stronger, more united front to protect animals, place them in loving forever homes, and provide a multitude of services and  programs for animals and the people who care about and for them.  And, with the merger comes a new masthead for warlkids.blogspot.com!  

Monday, February 8, 2016

ABCs at WARL! -- Animals, Brownies and Chaperons

A week after the blizzard a Girl Scout troop of caring Brownies visited WARL. Volunteer extraordinaire, Roxanne, greeted the girls and their moms and introduced the group to the many cats and dogs waiting for their forever homes.   The group brought donations for the animals and their troop leader followed up declaring a new family obsession -- Animal Planet's PUPPY and KITTEN cams housed at WARL.  We would like to send a HUGE Thank You to WARL and Roxanne! The tour was great, and the girls and parents both learned a lot about how WARL serves the community. The puppy and kitty cam are now fixtures in my house. My daughter and son love it!  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mega Snow Pile Up Can Cause Dilemma for Dogs -- Take Precautions to Prevent Pain and Suffering

Nigel mid-way through the storm.
Although I was out of town for the big one, there was plenty of snow to shovel when I got back yesterday, two days later than planned.  Nigel was home safe and sound and quickly adapted to short outings in the dug-out trenches.  Walking in the street is definitely not an option -- especially with the ton of salt spread thickly on my street.   
Be sure to wash your dogs paws after a trip outside.   Salt and mini-snowballs that lodge in dogs' pads can be painful .
Three days after the last flake fell -- warmer temps, more trenches.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Young Philanthropists' Birthday Celebration Collects Cash for the Animals

Eleanor, Melody, and their mom, Saundra, stopped by WARL last week with a jar full of money!   At each of the girl's recent birthday parties Saundra set-up a party-goers choice game -- either take two dollars to keep or place the two dollars in a charity jar.  Eleanor and Melody pre-selected two organizations to benefit from the birthday-bash donation activity.   Saundra, reported that almost all of the attendees donated their loot to help others.   More than $100 was brought to WARL.  Thank you Eleanor and Melody for including the cats and dogs in your birthday celebration! 

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Large Extended Family for Olivia

Olivia was one of those WARL dogs that EVERYONE was crazy about --  staff, volunteers and visitors.   Finding the right home for her, however, took some time -- Olivia loves people so much that every time her previous guardian left the house, Olivia became anxious and destructive.  This behavior is known to behavior and training experts as separation anxiety.  
And then, a holiday miracle -- the  kind folks at Malta House (an assisted living facility) came to WARL interested in fostering a dog.  The after Thanksgiving foster turned into a New Year's adoption.   One administrator reported that Olivia is the perfect fit. "She has an uncanny knack of knowing which resident needs a little extra TLC, laying at their feet, snuggling up and staying at their side."  Looks like Olivia enjoys the extra attention from the visiting grand kids, too.