That's a free product-placement thing. I don't get a dime from Timex. Though, of course, we do sell ads here at Readlarrypowell.com and people who visit this site do need to know what time it is. So, if you know an ad exec with Timex or any other business that appreciates consumer loyalty...
We're going to continue our Readlarrypowell.com campaign in 2009. You may have seen the phrase on the shirts and caps in the ads -- the slogan is my witspouse Martha's clever take on adoptions: END PETLESSNESS.
What a lonely feeling petlessness must be. If you know someone suffering from petlessness, help them today. Tell them about this website, rescue groups, city animals shelters. Help them. Petlessness -- it's just not necessary.
For example, right away we have an opportunity to end petlessness for someone by getting them to go to the animal shelter in The Colony and get 6-week-old Samantha. That is her sleeping upside down in the arms of a shelter worker. She is so comfortable with humans that she doesn't know she's in any danger at all.
Patricia Barrington, The Colony's Animal Control Division Manager, says, "This sweet girl has been here for WAAAYYY too long. Pending adoptions have bombed twice now and her chances keep getting slimmer. She’s a great little girl. ... Samantha is a heavy sleeper and a dedicated player; she does everything to the fullest. Guessed to be a Chow Weimaraner mix or maybe even a Pit Bull Terrier mix, we assume she will be a large dog when she’s all grown up. This puppy breath packing cutie is the perfect way to brighten even the dullest of days!" (To ask if your heart and arms will be a good fit for Samantha, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-370-9250.)
ART LOOKS BACK: The folks at Animal Rescue of Texas sent out a note this morning that sort of sums up the group's efforts. Included was a photo of big dog Jazzy and little dog Bobby. Here's the note (and I hope you folks who say you can read our site without crying find something to smile about in this report from ART):
"As 2008 comes to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our donors for your generous contributions this year. Without your support, we would not have been able to save beautiful Jazzy, our 70- pound Great Dane mix, or Bobby, our teeny 4-pound Chihuahua.... Two of the 100 animals ART pulled from shelters or the streets this year and brought back to health and wholeness. This year some of the challenges we have faced include broken bones, snake bites, heartworm positive doggies, ear infections, diabetes, embedded collar wounds, burns, senior animal issues, OCD behavior, abuse cases, kittens with upper respiratory infections, mommy dogs with litters of puppies, and sadly, distemper.
"From all the volunteers and foster homes of Animal Rescue of Texas, we humbly say thank you for your continued support of the homeless animals we serve."
That's the way ART sees the year -- opportunities to make things better for animals.
THE FIRST BIG YEAR: Just as the ART note arrived, we got this update from the West Side Animal League in White Settlement, the little town on the northwestern edge of Fort Worth. I think this may give some of you rescuers a boost. It shows what can happen when people engage their hearts in a worthwhile project. (Oh, and that is a photo I gleaned from the White Settlement Animal Shelter site -- it is of Dixie, a young Heeler/Border Collie mix who was a scared stray when she was brought to the shelter. She's now living in a foster home and is "very smart and learning basic commands." You can ask about her by calling 817-921-9265 or visiting the White Settlement site HERE.)
Here are some thoughts from WSAL's Carole McFarland: "Well it’s been quite a year for WSAL. Just over a year ago the league was started to help out here and there at a little shelter hardly anyone even knew existed. Three people wanted to stop by and walk dogs, do some cleaning and get the word out. Well they sure did get the word out didn’t they! The first adoption I went to I just stopped by to see the dogs. ... There were 4 or 5 people and 4 or 5 dogs. While some adoptions still happen that way, most now have 15-20 volunteers and as many as 30 dogs. People have driven from hours away to adopt a White Settlement shelter dog or cat. We’ve hosted adoptions at many locations and even have businesses that contact us asking the WSAL to hold an adoption at their location. We’ve had up to 50 animals in foster care at one time and weeks with 30 or more animals adopted. Hundreds of animals have been vaccinated and thousands of dollars spent on vet care to save animals that may never have had a chance without us. The city has approved construction of and broken ground on a new shelter. Thousands of hours have been spent by our dedicated volunteers and hundreds of animal lives have been saved through all your hard work!"
In 2009, the West Side Animal League will do some restructuring to meet non-profit requirements, Carole says.
As veterans of these efforts know, that means there'll be some changes -- as in most groups there are always changes. There will be tweaking and there'll be discussions and there'll be growing pains. These things all happen. But, the bottom line is, animals will benefit as long as the group doesn't lose sight of the mission: help the animals.
LOOKING INSIDE: We get to look inside shelters without visiting them because of shelter walkers such as Russell Posch, the noted photographer of the down-on-their-luck critters at the Irving Animal Shelter.
It is a city-financed shelter, so euthanasia is a tool that keeps the shelter population at a certain level. Russell takes photos of animals that are on "death row" in the shelter and publicizes them so that rescue groups and individuals can step up and save lives. You can see many of those animals by clicking HERE. For people who've never paid attention to the types of dogs that wind up in shelters, we present this fellow, 5-year-old Rusty, a cocker spaniel, currently in the custody of the Irving shelter. There are other purebreds. There are many mixes. There are cats. Sometimes in municipal or county shelters, you'll find a goat or a pig or a bird of some sort. Maybe even horses or cows. They all need one thing: help.
MOST PERSISTENT EFFORT OF 2008 MOVES INTO 2009: Seriously, can you think of the last time Dallas experienced such a sustained drive by a very focused group of people? I'm speaking, of course, of the Concerned Citizens for Jenny group. These people, organized by Margaret Morin, have spent their time and energy on trying to persuade the City of Dallas to move the Dallas Zoo's lone elephant, Jenny, to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. Earlier in the year, the group's pressure blocked a plan to move Jenny to an animal park in Mexico. The Zoo now is planning on expanding its elephant exhibit, but the CCFJ folks still want her moved to the big sanctuary.
And, from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on New Year's Day, the Concerned Citizens for Jenny will be at the entrance to the Dallas Zoo (next to the giraffe statue adjacent to I-35), with a birthday card you can sign to mark "Jenny's 32 years." She's been at the Dallas Zoo for 22 years. the 40-by-30-inch card reads "Jenny's Birthday Wish, A Long and Happy Life at The Elephant Sanctuary." The first 50 kids signing the card will get an "educational comic book" called An Elephant's Life.
CONTEMPLATIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR: Some people are spot-on when asking for help for animals. But some of you must like to see the ol' newshound playing detective and trying to figure out your name, the name of your rescue group and how to contact you -- I'm wearing out and so is my patience. Maybe in 2009 you can give the who, what, where, when and why in your desperate requests for help. (The preceding passage will explain why there isn't a picture of a specific cat in today's report.) ... In 2009, maybe no one will send me a note that begins "Due to the economy, we are having to leave town and we need help placing our four pit bulls/momma cat and kittens/Clydesdales by noon today." Seriously, people, let's move "helping living beings" up higher on your priority list than "cancel cable service." ... People who "forward" animal situations to exhaustive e-mail lists -- every now and then, check on the status of the crisis before you forward the notice. Sometimes these things have been solved before you ever hit the "send" button and clog inboxes all over America. Oh, and remember, those of us who write about animals do indeed appreciate your hard work. But it would be better for the animals if you looked before you made the rest of us leap. ... Most oft-used cry of disgust in 2008? It wasn't "Oh, no, Romo!" It was "Oh, no! My 401K!"
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