Wednesday, October 28, 2015

SeaWorld Bites!

A cardinal rule of blogging is to post on a regular basis... and often. When I started my blog I knew I wouldn't be following that rule because I want to post only when I have the time to put into writing something I consider worth your time to read.

Most of my previous blog posts have been about dogs. I have always felt a deep connection to them and most of my hands-on volunteer work is with dogs. But this doesn't take away from the love I have for all #animals and my passionate belief that every living creature deserves to be treated with compassion.

People who use animals to make money regardless of the suffering that it may cause the animal are the epitome of greed and selfishness. Some of the people who do this even claim that the animals are happy. An example that immediately comes to mind is the orcas at SeaWorld. Orcas living their entire lives in a small cement pool instead of the ocean is comparable to a person living their life in prison... but without friends, TV, a phone, a computer, or any other form of entertainment. Courts use prison as a punishment for serious crimes. It is hoped that by being deprived of their freedom, offenders will be more likely to abide by the law in the future. But orcas held in captivity are there for one reason only: someone is making a lot of money at their expense. And unlike most criminals, orcas don't get released once their time is served or they are paroled.

#SeaWorld continues to claim their orcas are healthy but the evidence I have read implies otherwise. Consider this article on, a website for animal lovers ( In response to the many accusations that #SeaWorld mistreats its animals, CEO Joel Manby says, "The facts are on our side." The article addresses some of the false statements #SeaWorld makes in its efforts to hide the truth. I will only mention a few but I hope you will read the article for yourself.

According to, "Last year, SeaWorld tweeted a picture of a mother orca and her calf to illustrate their respect for the 'mother-calf bond'. They neglected to mention that the baby in the picture had been shipped off to Spain." John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld trainer who has since become an advocate against the corporation, states that he knows of at least 19 calves that have been separated from their mothers while still dependent. In the wild, it is not uncommon for orcas to spend decades alongside their mothers. In response to SeaWorld's claim that it has never used food deprivation to make its orcas perform, John Jett, another former SeaWorld trainer counters, "I have both seen and have been a part of depriving whales of food too many times to count."

In April 2015 Joyce Kuhl filed a class action lawsuit against SeaWorld in Florida for misleading the public by claiming their orcas are "healthy and thriving". The lawsuit also states, “captive orcas are also subject to drugging by #SeaWorld personnel with antipsychotic and psychoactive drugs, including benzodiazepines such as Diazepam (generic Valium), which are given to calm the captive #orcas which react against their conditions of confinement.” ( Yet Manby continues to assert that their orcas are "healthy and happy". I'm sure he doesn't want the public aware of the drugs because the fact the orcas need these drugs makes it very clear that they are neither happy nor healthy.

So how likely is it that SeaWorld will stop breeding orcas and let them live out the remainder of their lives at a marine #sanctuary simply because it is the right thing to do? Highly unlikely as long as they can make a profit. But there is hope. After years of mounting pressure, #RinglingBrothers has succumbed to public protest. #FeldEntertainment, Ringling’s parent company, said they are “adapting” to the changing climate and “mood shift” among their customers. By 2018, all of their traveling #elephants will be retired to a conservation center in Florida. When we buy tickets to go to #SeaWorld, a #circus with animal acts, or any other organization that makes a profit from the suffering of animals, we are funding this abuse. Ringling Brothers didn't make this decision because it was the right thing to do but rather because it was taking a toll on their image.

As people who want to put an end to #animalabuse we must speak up. Speak up to SeaWorld, speak up to pet stores that support the #puppymill industry by selling puppies, speak up to any organization that causes animals to suffer. But especially speak up to your local, state, and federal representatives. They need to know there has been a "mood shift" and that if they don't step up to #protectanimals, we won't we be stepping up for them on election day. Speak up!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Consumer Fraud at Pet Shops

If you love animals you probably would never buy a puppy from a pet store because you refuse to support the commercial dog breeding industry (otherwise known as puppy mills). Dogs living at puppy mills are "protected" under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) but the standards required are simply minimal standards for survival. One example of how low these standards are is with regard to living space. The requirement is that there be at least six inches on each side of the dog and above its head. This is akin to a beagle spending its life in a cage the size of a dishwasher! Will it survive? Probably. Will its life be in any way comfortable? Absolutely not.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), "Inspection records obtained by The HSUS show that many USDA-licensed breeders get away with repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act. These violators are rarely fined and their licenses are rarely suspended. Facilities with long histories of repeated violations for basic care conditions are often allowed to renew their licenses again and again." The standards are already dismally low so allowing chronic violators to continue operating makes a mockery of the AWA. If the USDA truly enforced the Animal Welfare Act there would be a lot of puppy mills shut down and the ones that remain in operation would be more compliant.

Please watch this three minute video by Best Friends Animal Society ( to gain a clearer understanding of what life is like for dogs living in puppy mills and why so many puppies sold in pet stores are genetically inferior and often have illnesses that are not immediately apparent.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Angels Among Us

Those who love animals know how much happiness they can bring. Nala, the little poodle in the video, brings it on a grand scale. Watch the short video below and perhaps you will agree that this little dog was heaven sent.

#animaltherapy #dogtherapy #nursinghome #rescuedogs #animalrescue #poodle #Nala #pettherapy

Monday, July 13, 2015

Inside a Puppy Mill

Many of you have probably heard that you should never buy a puppy from a pet shop because it is very likely that it came from a puppy mill. The same is true about buying a puppy online or off Craigslist. When you think about it, this really shouldn't come as a surprise. Would a person who cares even a little bit about their puppies sell them to a stranger or pet shop, knowing full well that the pet shop will hand them over to anybody who will pay the sticker price? No way! And let the buyer beware: Dogs from puppy mills usually come with health problems (which may not be evident at the time of the sale) due to the substandard conditions they have lived in since birth.

One of the problems with puppy mills is that they are businesses in which animals are the commodity. Like all other businesses, the objective is to make money. In order to keep the profit margin as high as possible, the mill owners must keep the costs down. This is done by putting as little money into the dogs as possible. They receive low quality food, little (if any) veterinary care, inadequate housing, and often filthy conditions, all of which contribute to health issues.

Puppies from puppy mills will often be genetically inferior because quality pups are not the priority-- profit is. If you are set on a specific breed, you should buy directly from a reputable breeder (or better yet, contact a breed-specific rescue organization). A reputable breeder will let you come to their property and see not only the puppies but the puppies' mother (and the father, if it is on site). The breeder will be proud of their dogs and the conditions in which they are raised. If you are denied your request to see the puppies with their mother in the facility in which they were raised, the smartest thing you can do is turn around and walk away. Here is a tip that I consider to be common sense: A reputable breeder doesn't have a lot of breeding females. Who can provide clean food and water and a clean living environment to all those dogs and their puppies? Who has the time to socialize all the puppies so they will be used to interacting with people? The more dogs at the facility, the less attention each one will get and needs will go unmet.

The female breeding stock in puppy mills have a very sad existence. They are bred every heat cycle and have litter after litter until their bodies wear out. When they can no longer produce puppies (i.e. profit), they are no longer useful and many are killed. When you buy a puppy from a pet shop, the internet, or Craigslist, you are most likely keeping a puppy mill in business and condemning these breeder dogs to a life of misery.

By working together to spread the word about the origins of most puppies in pet shops and those available to buy online, I believe that in time we can put an end to the puppy mill industry.

#puppymill #puppymillraid #craigslist #petshop #petstore #puppiesforsale

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015: The Wall of Shame

There are estimated to be over 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. Missouri and Kansas take the prize once again in the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) Horrible Hundred 2015 report on some of the worst puppy mills in the country. According to the report, for three years running these two states have had the highest number of problem puppy mills, with 23 in Missouri and 16 in Kansas. Below is a sampling of what can be found in the report:

Quoting from page 17 of the report: "Mary Foster and Cathy Griesbauer, Country Pets- Montgomery City, MO: Massive Puppy Mill Has More Than 1,000 Dogs; Received Official Warning From USDA For Failure To Provide Medical Care To Ten Dogs. Country Pets is one of the most massive, substandard puppy mills in the country, with more than 1,000 dogs. It has been repeatedly cited by the USDA for multiple problems at the facility, including failure to let inspectors in on multiple occasions, and health, safety and sanitation issues."

Page thirteen shows: "Marilyn Soukup, Wilson, KS- Unlawfully failed to let inspectors in for ten different visits since 2011." The report goes on to say "On the occasions the inspectors were able to access the facility between 2011 and 2015, Soukup was cited at every USDA inspection for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act" and "During her most recent USDA inspection in April 2015, eleven different violations were found, mostly related to unsafe housing and unsanitary conditions."

Why would anyone buy puppies born and raised in such unhealthy conditions? Because when they see the freshly-bathed and groomed puppies in pet store windows and look into those pleading eyes, they don't realize that most puppies sold in pet shops come from puppy mills.

What about buying puppies on the internet? As an example, I encourage you to go to the website of Heaven's Gate Kennels in Georgia at The first thing I notice is two awards, one of which was given by To earn the award bestowed upon Heaven's Gate, it simply says, "Please fill in the form below as [sic] and you will win the award." It goes on to say that people who see it "will understand that you take great care in the breeding of your dogs." Wow.

The owner of the kennel writes, "Being a breeder is my life's calling that I have pursued since I was a little girl. I am so blessed to be able to fulfill my dream of caring and nurturing God's creatures all the while, bringing joy, happiness, and a little bit of God's love into your life in the form of 4 furry legs and a wet nose!" The site also states "We have a reputation of excellence and quality companion animals."

The first time I heard of Heaven's Gate Kennels was in HSUS' Horrible Hundred 2015 report. Following her name and the name of the kennel is the headline "Owner Charged With Animal Cruelty After Botched Do-It-Yourself Surgeries On Puppies' Tails". The entry goes on to say that the Georgia Department of Agriculture ordered a "stop sale" order shortly after the charges were filed, which allowed the owner "to sell some animals currently on the premises, but not to breed any more litters." It is important to note that it is unknown if or when the order expired but that HSUS staff noticed that puppies were still being offered for sale on Heaven's Gate's website, it's Facebook page, and on (noted in the report as "a notorious site for unlicensed and questionable breeders"), as of March 2015. The last sentence of this entry says, "It also appeared that (the owner) did not have a USDA license to sell puppies online, even though her page on PuppyFind listed 16 puppies for sale as of April 14, 2015 and offers worldwide shipping." (UPDATE: Today I went to the Heaven's Gate website listed earlier in the article and it is no longer up).

I chose not to include the name of the owner of Heaven's Gate Kennels in this post because I do not feel it is necessary in order to make my point. You can go to the website at the address provided above (or by Googling it like I did) and form your own opinion. I encourage you to go to the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 report and perhaps Google a couple of other kennels on the list to see how they present themselves on their websites as well.

You can read the full report of the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 by going to the web address below. There are descriptions of dogs suffering in such deplorable conditions is heartbreaking to read. But I hope you WILL read it because once you are aware of how puppy mills are allowed to operate I believe that you, like me, will want to be part of the movement to put an end to this cruel business.

Disclaimer: I have no personal knowledge of Heaven's Gate Kennels. The information presented in this blog post was taken directly from the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 report and from the Heaven's Gate website.

#puppymills #HSUSHorribleHundred2015 #HorribleHundred

Animal Welfare In Your State

Although all states must meet the minimum standards set forth in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), each can enact additional laws and policies governing the treatment of animals within their state. According to the Animal Welfare Information Center website, "The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard."

I want to stress that the standards required by the Animal Welfare Act are so low that many consider them to be minimal standards for survival. If you take the time to read the AWA you may, like me, wonder how animals CAN survive in some of the conditions allowed--many don't. What makes me REALLY angry is that many puppy mills are repeatedly cited by inspectors for violating even these minimal standards, yet they continue to operate and their dogs continue to suffer. Oftentimes they are committing the same violations over and over, flagrantly thumbing their nose at the law. If someone is repeatedly cited for driving while intoxicated, are they allowed to keep their driver's license?

You can help animals by working to change the laws in your state. The following link will take you to the website of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Information Center. I encourage you to go to this site and become familiar with YOUR state's animal cruelty laws.

This next link will make it easy to find the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) director for your state. You can sign up to receive action alerts and to learn how you can help animals in your state as well as nationally.

One important way we can all make a difference for animals is by calling our elected representatives to ask them to vote in favor of the humane treatment of animals. It is especially important to make a call when a bill affecting animals is coming up for a vote. Legislators know that their constituents put them in office and can also vote them out. If you are age 18 or older and currently not registered to vote, please don't wait any longer! Use the power of your vote to help animals.

#animalwelfare #puppymills #animalwelfareact #animalcruelty #HSUS #humanesocietyoftheunitedstates #helpanimals

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ag-gag Bills: Making It a Crime to Expose a Crime

Ag-gag bills are bills that have been introduced in some states by the agribusiness industry to deter—and in many cases, criminalize—the act of reporting animal abuse in factory farms. Although not all bills are the same, their purpose is: to keep the American public in the dark about animal abuse that occurs in agribusiness facilities by silencing potential whistleblowers and protecting the abusers.

To those of us who believe animals have the right to humane treatment, these ag-gag bills are just plain WRONG on so many different levels. But even those who callously claim, “They are just animals” should be concerned about these bills. Why? Because they affect the safety of our food supply.

A June 18, 2012 article by the Humane Society of the United States ( cites as an example their investigation of a slaughterhouse in California that prompted the largest recall of meat in our country’s history. The case also led to the implementation of a federal regulation banning the slaughter of adult downer cattle. In addition to animal cruelty and food safety issues, whistleblowers have also exposed unsafe working conditions and environmental problems on factory farms.
In my opinion, if the agribusiness industry has nothing to hide, why are they working so hard to make it a crime to report these abuses? Instead of putting money and effort towards correcting the problems, the industry is directing their resources towards keeping acts of cruelty hidden from the public.

Numerous studies show that there is a link between cruelty towards animals and violent crimes against humans. As a result of a decision by the FBI, animal cruelty crimes will soon be included within the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) - National Incident Based Reporting System. This will serve to better law enforcement officials’ understanding of this link and as a result, increase the likelihood that other crimes may be prevented. According to Sherry Ramsey in her article FBI Targets Animal Cruelty As a Serious Crime (, “...these cases may serve as an early warning to alert the criminal justice system to individuals who pose a future danger to the community.”

People who get pleasure from intentionally causing pain to another living being need psychological help. Making it a crime to report their abuse of animals while at work would serve to hide the red flag that so desperately needs to be exposed. Armed with the knowledge of a person’s history of animal abuse, law enforcement will be alerted to a person that should be on their radar.

Agribusiness does our society a great injustice by pushing bills meant to shield animal abusers from being held accountable for their actions. By protecting individuals that hurt those who have no voice and who feel no empathy for their victims, it in many cases enables them to continue abusing their spouse or children or commit other violent crimes. I am not saying that every individual who hurts animals also commits violent crimes against people, but I am saying there is a strong correlation between these behaviors. There is no place in the United States criminal justice system for laws that make it a crime to report a crime.

#Ag-gagbills #Ag-gaglaws #whistleblowers #animalabuse

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dog Fostering

There are many ways to help dogs and cats in need and fostering is one of them. If your lifestyle isn't suitable to have your own at this time, fostering may be for you. As a foster, you would take in a dog or cat and provide it with a safe, loving home until a permanent home can be found. Watch the two minute clip below and see how one couple has made a difference in the lives of many dogs by being fosters. I'm not sure who is happier, the dogs or the couple!

There are a lot of organizations that are looking for fosters but one great organization I would like to highlight is Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA). A friend of mine has fostered for them and says great things about the organization. I encourage you to check out their website ( to see the ways in which they are making a difference for homeless animals.

#fostering #dogfoster #catfoster #animalrescue #dogrescue #catrescue #dogadoption #catadoption #euthanasia #nokill

Sunday, March 29, 2015

My Testimony at a Public Hearing

I just finished writing and sending in this testimony that will be read at a public hearing on April 1, 2015 concerning two bills that, if passed, would ensure a better justice system for animals in the state of Connecticut.

HB 6187 would establish a system to provide an abused animal with a designated individual who will communicate the animal's interests in cruelty cases. The court advocate would volunteer their time, launch an independent investigation of the cruelty case, and present findings to the court. An advocate can speak to the gravity and seriousness of the crime, and emphasize the connection between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans.

SB 1128 would eliminate Accelerated Rehab as a penalty option in animal cruelty cases.

HB 6187, also known as "Desmond's Law", is named for a boxer/pit bull mix who was beaten, tortured, and strangled to death. The killer's only punishment was Accelerated Rehab, a two-year program for crimes deemed not serious in nature. WHAT?! How can such a violent crime be considered "not serious in nature"? An unpaid parking ticket is not serious in nature. A person who commits such violence should be sentenced to prison and receive mandatory psychological treatment.

Every state needs to have laws in place that condemn animal abuse and neglect and they need to be strictly enforced. In order for this to happen, we have to get involved. In Connecticut we are lucky to have a great organization called Connecticut Votes for Animals. Members receive emails from CVA when there are important votes coming up that pertain to animal welfare issues and we are given friendly reminders to contact our state representatives to ask them to vote pro-animal. I am posting the testimony I submitted in hopes that it will encourage you to look for a similar organization in your state to join or to periodically contact your state representatives to encourage them support animal-friendly legislation.

Testimony Concerning HB 6187 (“Desmond’s Law”) and SB 1128

Judiciary Committee
April 1, 2015
Ellen Wilson

I would like to thank the Judiciary committee for the opportunity to express my support of HB 6187 (“Desmond’s Law”) and SB 1128.

I care very much about animals and believe that as a civilized society we must treat animals humanely. As a former Spanish teacher at Canterbury School in New Milford, I led a service trip to Puerto Rico for students in the summers of 2013 and 2014 to work as volunteers at Save a Sato, a street dog rescue organization and shelter on the island that rescued my dog from the streets fourteen years ago when she was just a puppy. Although Canterbury offers other service trips, the students I took chose this trip because they love dogs and wanted to help those that have been abused, neglected, or thrown out into the streets. Besides wanting to volunteer at the shelter myself, I offered the trip to give students the opportunity to experience the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing service work and to educate the younger generation about our responsibility to speak for those who can’t protect themselves.

My support of these bills goes beyond my love of animals, however. People who are violent towards others or neglect those for whom they are responsible often face criminal charges. We teach our children that hurting others is wrong. But what message are we sending to children when we allow animals to be treated by humans in ways that cause suffering? We are showing them that either we are saying one thing but doing another or that there are those that matter and those that don’t.

To some people, either consciously or subconsciously, there are those who matter more and those who matter less. If we aren’t members of one of the latter groups we may not pick up on the subtleties around us although members of those groups certainly will. No person is inherently better or worse than any other person due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnicity. All people feel pain and fear and so do animals. We must send the message that it is wrong to hurt others, no matter who the others are or how we feel about them.

Desmond, the dog for which SB 1128 is named, was beaten, tortured, and strangled to death. I am appalled and angered that Desmond’s killer got off with Accelerated Rehab because the crime was deemed not serious in nature. This bears repeating: committing battery, torture, and murder was labeled “not serious in nature”. The fact that these acts of violence were committed against an animal rather than a person does not change the scary reality that the perpetrator lacks a conscience and this makes him or her a danger to society.

Finally, people who hurt other people often start by hurting animals. By adopting and enforcing punishments that more accurately reflect the seriousness of their actions combined with mandatory psychological treatment rather than waiting to punish violent behavior until it is directed at humans, it would make a statement that as a society we will not tolerate cruelty of any sort and as a result, fewer offenders would go on to abuse people.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to testify and I urge you to strongly support these important bills.

Thank you,

Ellen Wilson
New Milford

Friday, March 27, 2015

HSUS Rescue From a Dog Meat Farm #dogmeat #Yulin #animalcruelty #HSUS #humanesociety

Since you are reading my blog, I am sure you are as sickened as I am by the thought of dogs being used as food. I generally don't want my posts to be shocking or graphic in nature and this video is not, but just the thought of dogs being raised as food is heart-wrenching. This video shows a happy ending for 57 dogs. I am thankful to Humane Society International for the great work they do!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Never Use Craigslist To Find An Animal a Home

If you are someone who is involved in animal rescue, chances are this post will not tell you anything you didn't already know. It is my hope, though, that at least one person will read it who learns something because it is a message that needs to be spread: #Craigslist is not a friend to animals!

People who commit unspeakable acts of cruelty to animals often get them by answering Craigslist postings. People involved with dog fighting frequently get the dogs or other animals they use for bait by answering ads from naive pet owners who place a #freetogoodhome ad. The home many of these animals end up in is anything but good. If the animal being given away is a #pitbull , a dog fighter may want it as a possible fighter or breeder.

I believe that most people who, for whatever reason, can no longer keep their pet want to place it in a loving home. If so, they are not going to hand their pet over to just anyone. If someone with cruel intentions answers a "free to good home" ad, they are not going to show up at the door without a good story. They may even have someone who looks less sketchy and appears more believable get the dog for them. No matter how good the person seems, you can't know for sure what kind of home the pet will really end up in. I have read many horrible true stories about dogs and cats who were given away or sold at low cost to people involved in dog fighting or even just sick individuals who get pleasure from torturing animals. Some of these stories are stuck in my head and I know I will never forget them.

I believe the right thing for Craigslist to do is no longer accept ads for animals being given away or sold at very low cost. Since Craigslist will probably never do this, the next best thing would be to place in big, bold letters above the animal listings section a warning about the unscrupulous people who often answer those ads so at least people aren't naive about the risk they are taking.

It is heartbreaking to think of a cherished pet who must be re-homed due to an allergic child or perhaps moving to an apartment that doesn't allow pets to fall into the hands of someone who would do it harm. If a person must find a new home for their pet, it is best to find someone who would like to adopt it whose character you already know or surrender the pet to a no-kill shelter.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How Can I Help Animals Today?

As someone who loves animals, it breaks my heart to think of the cruelty inflicted upon them each and every day around the world. If you are reading this blog, chances are you feel the same way. The problem is so big and each one of us is so small, right? Well, yes, but small doesn't mean insignificant or powerless. There is so much each one of us can do to make a difference for animals individually and collectively. To read a report of some of the progress made in 2013 alone, check out "Accomplishments" on the website of the #Humane Society of the United States. Good stuff is happening out there!

In this post I will share some suggestions for concrete actions you can take to help animals. Many are ideas you will already have thought of but hopefully you will also see some new ideas to inspire you to take action. I encourage everyone to add to my list by sharing your ideas in the comment section.

* First, the obvious: Donate money. You can give to your local animal shelter, the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, a wildlife rehabilitation center, etc. There are lots of great organizations out there but do your research before making a donation. Make sure you know what percent of donations go directly towards helping animals.

* Volunteer at your local shelter. Shelters need volunteers to clean cages, feed and water the animals, take dogs for walks, give baths, and much more.

* Talk with your children or grandchildren about the importance of treating animals with compassion. Teach children that treating others the way we want to be treated includes animals, not just people.

* One of the most important things you can do: Call your legislators on the local, state, and federal levels and let them know you vote pro-animal... and then do it! This is especially important if there is an upcoming vote on a bill pertaining to animal welfare. If our law makers realize that a large portion of their constituency is made up of people who want more humane treatment of animals and will show up at the polls to vote accordingly, they are much more motivated to vote pro-animal. But how will they know if we don't tell them? The importance of these calls cannot be underestimated.

* Spread the message that buying from a pet shop or online is what keeps puppy mills operating. It doesn't make sense to constantly be adding to the population of puppies and kittens when thousands upon thousands are euthanized in shelters each year. Nationwide, more than a quarter of dogs in shelters are purebreds and there are countless breed-specific rescue groups so there is no reason to buy a puppy from a pet store. Lab rescue, golden rescue, pug rescue, boxer rescue... try Googling rescue groups for your favorite breed and I bet you'll be amazed at what you discover.

* Sign petitions that demand better treatment of animals. If nothing else, it shows that there is an enormous community of animal advocates...and our numbers are growing!

* Use your own unique skills or job to make a difference. I am a high school Spanish teacher and I decided to use my position to take a group of students to Puerto Rico to volunteer at #Saveasato, the organization that rescued my dog from the streets as a puppy. The trip was such a hit that we went back the following year with nearly twice as many participants. Not only did we bring five puppies back that were quickly adopted into loving homes, but there are now twelve students and three other adults who have seen firsthand the plight of street dogs on the island and their knowledge will be passed on to others.

Be creative! If you are in advertising or marketing you could offer your skills to an organization that helps animals. Librarian? Set up a display of books on animals and include information about how kids can help them. If you are retired, you could volunteer to read a book from the perspective of an adopted shelter dog or cat to an elementary school class. If you are a teacher, you could do a class project to learn about a specific topic pertaining to animal welfare and have it culminate in a fundraiser. I could go on and on but you get the idea. Think outside the box!

* Visit,, or other online stores that sell products with animal friendly messages. I love wearing my "Rescued is my favorite breed" t-shirt because it spreads a message that is important to me and it has been the catalyst for many great conversations.

The possibilities of how we can each make a difference are endless! I hope you have gotten some inspiration to #takeactionforanimals and will share your ideas with the rest of us.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Another Great Quote

"Whoever said money can't buy happiness has never paid an adoption fee." -- Author unknown

(Pictured is Rico, a dog rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico by Save a Sato. He hit the jackpot!)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

National Mill Dog Rescue: Rescuing Dogs From Misery

I have been planning to dedicate a post to this group ever since I started my blog. They are one of my favorite organizations and if I lived anywhere near Colorado Springs, I would love to work as a volunteer. From Connecticut I support NMDR in the small ways that I can from afar-- by publicizing their work, making donations when I have a little extra money, and donating items to their online auctions.

According to their website (, the mission of NMDR is "To rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home discarded breeding dogs and to educate the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry." Located in Colorado Springs, CO., NMDR takes two trips per month to rescue 70+ dogs per month. Most of these are breeder dogs who have been bred over and over again until they are no longer able to produce puppies. At this point they become a burden rather than a source of profit and are either sold at auction or killed.

The best way to explain the commercialized dog breeding industry (puppy mills) is to equate it to any other operation that breeds livestock to earn a living. Dogs? Livestock? That is how they are treated in this industry. The purpose of a puppy mill is to sell puppies for profit: the more puppies, the more profit. Puppies coming from puppy mills typically have had very little human interaction, have been fed low quality food, and are often genetically inferior due to inbreeding.

There are currently more than 5,000 licensed puppy mills in the United States and there are estimated to be thousands more without a license that have managed to operate undetected. The conditions in puppy mills are often so poor that most people would consider it to be animal cruelty. However, under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) many of these conditions are within the scope of the law. In fact, the minimum standards are so low that they are just enough to keep most animals alive. I would argue that the minimum standards should be humane standards.

No matter how hard they work, the National Mill Dog Rescue cannot save all the dogs living in these inhumane conditions. They do everything they possibly can but until there are no more puppy mills, there will be dogs living in misery. Thank you to Theresa Strader and everyone at NMDR for making the world a better place, one dog at a time.

Please take a moment to learn about NMDR by watching this short video and visiting their website.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I See a Soul

I think this is how every animal rescuer feels. I wish I knew who created this so I could give them appropriate credit.