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Why Deaf Dogs Rock – Interview with founder Christina Lee

Deaf Dogs Rock Logo

‘Oh, that one, he’s not going to be adopted anytime soon, he’s deaf’. This is what a worker at one of the rescues where I have volunteered said, when I asked her why a particular dog wasn’t being shown to the public. ‘Nobody wants to deal with a deaf dog, they all want ‘perfect dogs’.

Some dedicated dog rescue organizations show that this statement is simply not correct — and we’re glad we can introduce our audience to one of them: Deaf Dogs Rock.

Through my volunteer work at different animal rescues I was always amazed by the deaf dogs at the shelters. I always wanted to learn more about their personalities, ways of communication and why some dogs are born deaf or become deaf with time. After we interviewed Blind Dog Rescue Alliance last year, I always had it in mind to find a reputable organization to add to our ongoing serious of interviews. Fortunately, we found a wonderful rescue dedicated to deaf and hearing-impaired dogs.

Deaf Dogs Rock is dedicated to helping and advocating for deaf  or partial hearing-loss dogs by rescuing dogs in shelters, assisting deaf dog owners, and educating the public about these wonderful, capable animals. Deaf Dogs Rock is a non-profit corporation in the state of VA run by a group of dedicated volunteers. We had the great pleasure of interviewing Christina Lee, the founder of Deaf Dogs Rock, and learned a lot of important facts about deaf dogs.

How did your adventure in dog rescue begin? It all started with my first deaf dog Nitro. A friend of mine worked at the City of Salem Animal Shelter here in Salem, Virginia. The AC officers spotted an 8 week old skinny white deaf boxer puppy at the Salem River. They knew they could not adopt it out to just anyone so they called me and asked me if I would adopt this pitiful little deaf puppy. I told them I would ask my husband but I thought it would be a long shot. We already had 3 dogs and we weren’t really looking to adopt another dog, especially a “special needs” puppy. When I asked Chris what he thought after showing him a photo of the puppy he said “yes” and I was shocked.

We ended up adopting our Nitro the next day but we ended up staying up most of the night learning as much as we could about ASL and training deaf puppies. What we discovered was most of the information on the internet was slightly outdated so we ended up going into training for the first year at Field of Dreams Training Center in Vinton VA. Although they had never had a deaf puppy in their classes they were pleasantly surprised how well Nitro excelled in all of his classes. Before long the local TV station did a story on him and it went National and my email box started filling up with questions and deaf dogs in need of homes so Chris and I decided to launch Deaf Dogs Rock to help others to have one site to go to and feel like part of a special community who can help with deaf dogs and the challenges they face, and to also list deaf dogs up for adoption.

Why did you decide to help deaf dogs in particular? What continually fascinates you about them?

Nitro 1

I adopted Nitro and when I realized most shelters put deaf dogs to sleep the minute they walk into the shelter, then it sort of hit me like a brick. I would look at Nitro and just think about all the deaf puppies and dogs just like him that were never ever given a chance so I knew Nitro and I had to do something to change people’s perceptions about them. They are not hard to train, just different to train.

You have many cute dogs on your website available for adoption. Approximately, how many dogs in total do you have listed on your website?

Right now we have about 125 deaf dogs listed. We have had as many as 200-300 listed at one time (in the beginning). We are getting a lot more traffic these days so a lot more dogs are being adopted because of our Deaf Dogs Rock Website.

Approximately, how many dogs have been adopted through DDR? It’s hard to say at this point because I only stared keeping track (the best I can) about six months ago. Six months ago I added an “Adopted Deaf Dog” section so I could start moving our adopted deaf dogs over to the Adopted Deaf Dog section so I would at least get some idea of how many are adopted off our website. On a good month, 30 deaf dogs are moved from our available for adoption to our adopted section. This month right now I think we are right at 24 for the month of May. For 2013 I estimate the number will be between 250 and 300 deaf dogs going to new homes from being listed and networked from our website.

739987_10200557651090032_1879114279_o-001What happens to dogs that don’t have the chance to be adopted?

If they are at a reputable rescue they can remain in foster care for years. We have one listing Ziggy who has been with his foster mom now for 3 years. If it is an Animal Control center then they usually get put to sleep. If a puppy is at an Animal Control many times through our network of rescues we will sponsor the puppy to be pulled, and also we help get the puppy transported to a rescue where we know the puppy can learn basic training, but also a rescue is going to have very strict guidelines for potential adopters looking to adopt a deaf puppy.

How do you locate and rescue dogs?

Ha! How do I find them, well I don’t, they find me! Deaf Dogs Rock has such an amazing group of deaf dog followers and rescue organizations that if a deaf dog is networked on Facebook, I can almost guarantee DDR will be tagged in a deaf dog listing. Once DDR is tagged then I send the organization a message with guidelines of what they need to send me to get the dog listed on Deaf Dogs Rock.

How can I find out if my dog is deaf?

What are the indicators? They sleep deeply and don’t wake up to noise. A person can pull up in your driveway and they might not notice although they do feel the vibration sometimes. Once they are asleep if you jingle your car keys and they don’t wake up that is a very good indicator. If you call your dog and he doesn’t turn around to make eye contact then that is another strong indicator your dog is either deaf or partially impaired.

Why are mostly white dogs affected?

The most common cause of congenital deafness in white dogs is pigment related. If there is un-pigmented skin in the inner ear the nerve endings die off or atrophy and die off in the first few weeks of a white puppies life resulting in the pups inability to hear anything. Sometimes it happens in both ears which is called Bilateral Deafness and sometimes it happens in only one year which is called Unilateral Deafness.

What are the most common reasons people give up their deaf dog?

It depends. Sometimes it is life change like having a baby so a family might worry about a deaf dog being startled by a baby. Sometimes a family thinks they can raise a deaf puppy without fencing so when the puppy comes to live with them and has nowhere to safely run and exercise the high energy deaf puppy resorts to chewing and destroying furniture. Some folks don’t realize how much of a time commitment training a dog or a deaf dog in general takes. Many times a family will adopt an 1 or 2 year old deaf dog and the resident hearing dog at home protests by attacking the deaf dog so the deaf dog is the one who has to go. I do get puppies from breeders who don’t feel right about selling a deaf puppy to anyone because they know a potential adopter needs to be someone special willing to go that extra mile to raise a deaf puppy. DSC_0011

What can people expect from a deaf dog, compared to a hearing dog?

The two are very much the same because when we train a puppy we are teaching them our communications skills. With a hearing puppy we teach them verbally but with a deaf puppy we teach them through visual hand signs. The main focus when training a deaf dog is to make sure the dog is looking directly at you. For this reason we start off all dog and puppies on a leash or a tether so we can tap them, teach them the “watch me” sign and then start teaching them commands through hand signs.

Your website is very informative and a great resource; you give tips and answer many questions. For newbies, can you tell us in a nutshell what are the most important things to know in terms of training and handling your deaf dog? How do dog owners communicate with deaf dogs?

To read up on positive reinforcement clicker training and substitute the sound of a clicker with a visual sign like and open flash of your hand . I start signing “watch me” and every time the puppy makes eye contact I give them an open flash of my hand to mark the correct response to my sign and then treat as a positive motivator. I start by signing for everything I do with the dog. So the first step is learning the simple signs or you can make up you signs but make sure you are consistent by using the same signs for the same commands. We do feature a short video on DeafDogsRock.com by Alisha McGraw where her video can teach you most of the signs you need to know. Also I highly recommend “tether training” you deaf dog the first week you have it because it bonds you to the dog and it also teaches then a lot in a short time. You can go to our Training Blog on Deaf DogsRock.com to learn more about deaf dog tether training.

Can dogs lose their sense of hearing with time or are they mainly born deaf?

Absolutely they can lose their hearing as they get older (senior dogs) or they can lose their hearing from infection or blunt force trauma to their head.

Who is the perfect adoptee and how is your adoption process?

Someone who can offer a safe and loving environment for the dog. Someone who is patient and will not ever punish the deaf dog with his hands but always redirect with a toy or treat. A home where the dog lives inside with the family but has access to secure fenced yard. A person or family willing to step up and be the deaf dog’s advocate. What I mean by advocate is help the dog become the best Canine Good Citizen he can be by taking the deaf dog out and socializing the dog. Also by enrolling in positive group clicker training classes (we use a visual marker instead of the sound of a clicker to mark the correct behavior) or at the very least for them to do their research on how to properly engage and train a deaf dog themselves. If you look on DeafDogsRock.com and go to our Deaf Dogs Rock Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Therapy Dog Wall of Fame those are the kind of adoptees our friends in rescues look for when it comes to potential homes for deaf dogs.

If I already have a deaf dog and need help with general questions, can I contact you?

Yes I do get a lot of emails and I try to help as much as I can. I usually will direct a person with a problem or challenge to post their question on our Deaf Dogs Rock Facebook page because we have the most amazing Deaf Dog owner community. We have 12,000+ followers on FB and many of these deaf dog owners are very experienced and have been through years of training and raising deaf dogs. Whenever a question goes up within a couple of hours there will be anywhere from 30 to 150 comments under a particular question.

Can you describe a rescue experience that has moved you?

There are so many but one of my favorites is Indy’s Story. I got a message from one of our followers that a deaf boxer puppy had been returned to the shelter because it was deaf just after only 24 hours. I was going to list the puppy on my website but I had a FB friend who had been following DDR since day one and she had white boxers. She had mentioned a few weeks earlier she had learned all the signs and she really wanted to adopt a deaf boxer so instead of listing the puppy I sent her a text.

It was her day off and she was going to sleep in until she received my text I had the perfect deaf boxer for her but I needed her to get out of bed and drive from Ohio to Hamilton Co Indiana. Her head was spinning.

She tried getting the shelter to hold the dog for her to make the long drive but they don’t hold dogs. When I told our DDR FB followers what was going on they took it upon themselves to flood the Humane Society of Hamilton County with messages to “please hold the puppy for Vicky until she can get there”. The Humane Society’s phones were also ringing off the hook from our followers asking the staff at the shelter to hold the puppy for Vicky. One lady who lived near the shelter in Hamilton Co somehow saw what was going on and she took off work early to go “sit on the puppy” until Vicky could arrive from Ohio.

All of our followers in Australia, England, Texas and all over the country waited in anticipation for the outcome. After a few hours the shelter placed a photo on our DDR FB page and asked us to “call off our dogs” that they would indeed hold the puppy until Vicky could get there to get her new deaf puppy.

Vicky did not get home until 1am in the morning so everyone on FB had to wait for an update until the next morning. We had folks all over the world waiting on pins and needles but we had a huge FB Celebration the next morning when we all got news. We also had one of Vicki’s friends keeping us all updated throughout the day through text messaging. It was one of the most heartwarming adventures that it felt like we all went on together. You can read Indy’s Happy Tail in detail under our Deaf Dogs Rock Happy Tails section.

What are the biggest challenges your rescue center faces?

We are not a rescue center in the conventional sense of the word. We are a website which advocates for deaf dogs through education, networking, sponsoring deaf dogs, paying for neuter/spay surgeries/medical, transporting deaf dogs out of a bad situation into rescues we work with all over the country and even in Canada. Deaf Dogs Rock also provides training resources, inspiration through our Happy Tails and CGC – Therapy Dog Wall of Fame and we list deaf dogs in need of foster homes or forever homes.

What do you need most for your mission, and how can people get involved? In general, why should people adopt from a rescue?

Every community needs volunteers to either walk the dogs, go play with the dogs or even clean kennels. Most of my rescue friends put in 60 to 70 hours a day and they can only do so much. The dog need to be stimulated and given affection so they don’t go crazy being locked in a kennel until the right family comes along. If a young person can just commit to maybe 2 hours a week that makes a huge difference in a rescue dogs life while they are waiting for their forever home. We need people to consider fostering deaf dogs. Many of the rescues and shelters are over flowing with dogs so every family willing to sign up to be a foster family will save a life one dog at a time. People should consider adopting from a rescue because the only chance these dogs have is if families open their hearts and their homes to them. Deaf dogs may not be able to hear with their ears but they can certainly hear and know love through their hearts.

Do you have any upcoming events you want to share with our community?

We just got back from the National BlogPaws Conference in Tyson’s Corner, VA. Last year we won the Halo Foods Nose to Nose Social Media Award for the Best Cause Blog so we got to go back this year and we were awarded $2000 to go to our favorite Service Dog Foundation which was Saint Francis Service Dogs. Nitro and I came back and we presented the check to them today so that was very exciting. This weekend we will be at the 7th Annual Woofstock Dog Festival in Downtown Roanoke. My husband built the most amazing Deaf Dogs Rock kissing booth so we have some of our followers with well trained dogs coming into do meet and greets.

[PP: CONGRATS ON YOUR AWARD!]

If you could give pet owners one piece of advice, what would it be?

Give up your Starbucks everyday and put the money you save towards Positive Reinforcement Group Training Classes. My best advice is when you adopt a deaf (or hearing) puppy if you spend the first year of your deaf dog’s life doing consistent training and socialization, then you will have an amazing deaf dog you will be proud to take anywhere for the next 10 or 12 years.

What makes rescue so rewarding? What keeps you going?

Knowing that I can change people’s perceptions through advocacy, education and inspiration. If I can change how shelters view deaf dogs, I can buy the deaf dogs time to get a rescue or foster to make a commitment. I will never ever forget the day I saw a listing in the Philly PA Craigslist with the title “Deaf Dogs Rock” where the Philly Animal Control put an add up for a deaf pit bull which said “If you don’t believe a deaf dog rocks then just click here” and the link went back to our website. Can you imagine an animal control officer giving a deaf pit bull in Philly a chance at adoption? Somewhere someone at the AC of Philly saw our site and had an “Aha” moment. All I have to do is look into Nitro’s eyes and I know in my heart he would want me to do this for all the dogs out there just like him. My Nitro is my heart dog and deaf dogs like him deserve a chance at a happy life.

Do you have pets of your own?

Yes I have two deaf white boxers Nitro and Bud. I also have three hearing dogs Tallulah, Lexi and Bailey. I have three horses also and we live on a farm in Virginia with all of our animals.

Do you want to share websites and links with PackPeople?

If folks are thinking about adopting a deaf dog they can view our adoptable deaf dogs here: http://deafdogsrock.com/category/available-dogs

hear-with-heartsWebsite: http://deafdogsrock.com

Twitter: Deaf Dogs Rock

Facebook: Deaf Dogs Rock

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We are humans, so if you see any typos please send us an e-mail to info@packpeople.com – Thank you!

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Interview with ‘Pinups for Pitbulls’ – Advocacy and Artwork

Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Dors, Rita Hayworth… once posted in the lockers of G.I.s during World War II, today Pin Up Girls are taking new directions and themes. One of these exciting new directions comes from an organization I discovered a while ago. It’s Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin’s organization, Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc.,  founded in 2005. I stumbled upon ‘Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls’ 2013 calendar cover picture on Facebook and I loved the art work, and of course, the dogs. After browsing through the pictures and reading the mission and vision of this organization I wanted to learn more about it and contacted this terrific, creative non-profit group. They got right back to me and were pleased to participate in our ongoing series of interviews.

I have never met Deirdre in person, but can say that she is a pleasure to work with and a lovely person. She is a dedicated animal lover, an advocate with the mission to reestablish the defamed reputation of Pit Bull-type dogs as America’s premier companion animal, war hero, and therapy dog.

Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. works to educate the public about the history and temperament of the American Pit Bull Terrier and pit bull type dogs, to raise awareness about Breed Specific Legislation and Breed-Specific abuse. Read the interview and see for yourself how Deirdre started her non-profit charity, learn about Pit Bulls, and don’t forget to order your 2013 Calendar early and support these beloved bully-breed friends. Shipping will begin at the end of this summer.

We also want to mention that Carla Lou, Deirdre’s beloved 18 year old Pit Bull (cover pic) passed away from cancer last week. RIP and thank you for your service.

How did the idea for Pinups for Pitbulls come about?

I was frustrated by all of the pit bull-type dogs that I witnessed being pulled from the streets of New Orleans/Baton Rouge post-Katrina. I was there doing animal search & rescue work with the HSUS and In Defense of Animals. I realized that since I had a great following of my Pin Up modeling work and those same people helped me raise money to pay for my flight to New Orleans to do my rescue work that I could do something with the attention I had and the faith that people had in me.

What is your background?

I have a B.A. in Film Production and Screenwriting and am nearly finished with my Masters of Science in Public Policy at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I’ve worked in various fields of employment from burlesque performances to credit counseling and foreclosure mitigation. I have an eclectic resume for sure!

What do you love most about educating people about Pitbulls?

I love watching the wheels turn in people’s minds and seeing how things start to make sense, especially for those people who truly believed the negative stereotyping. Once people understand that pit bulls are dogs and that all dogs are individuals that can only be judged by their individual behavior, it helps quickly transform the ignorant into the converted. We can’t change everyone’s minds but it is really gratifying when we can. Knowing those people are going to share the knowledge that they gained means we can get closer to removing the stigma attached to the term “pit bull.”

You and your team of dedicated volunteers and animal advocates are active in over 20 states in the U.S. What does a regular seminar organized by Pinups for Pitbulls look like?

We have only held one seminar thus far, but have been invited to speak at Law Schools in Philadelphia and New York. In the seminar that we hosted, we had Drayton Michaels (Pitbullguru.com) and Don Cleary of National Canine Research Council present. At our gala last November, we had Katie Bray (Legislative Attorney for Best Friends) and Anthony Barnett (Founder of Game Dog Guardian) present to our guests. We do our best to keep our approach positive and focused on the dogs. We are submitting our first round of grant applications so that we can bring our seminar series on the road. In the meantime, we’ll continue to speak from our table at various tattoo and comic conventions. We can reach broad spectrums of people in both arenas and have great success educating the public at both.

Calendar 2013 – Doron Petersan and Lucas – Photos by Celeste Giuliano Photography
Hair by Raina Frank Clarke / Make-up: Kirsten Sylvester

You also offer an annual calendar with beautiful girls and dogs, posing for a cause. Who is in this year’s calendar — and would you give us a sneak peek about your calendar for next year?

I can provide the cover image of the 2013 calendar. This year’s calendar features Pin Up girls from all over the U.S. Each year we host a contest that includes an essay and this year, we have many girls who won that contest and will be featured. Although the calendar has been shot entirely, we are still laying it out. The theme this year is the human-canine bond celebrated through the Norman Rockwell and Gil Elvgren’s styling. The calendar was shot exclusively by Celeste Giuliano Photography that included her make up and hair team, Kirsten Sylvester and Raina Frank Clarke. Our new Pin Ups are from CA, FL, NC, GA, and many other states. We are excited to have new energy on our team in these regions and beyond.

Why Pitbull-type dogs? And how would you describe the temperament of a Pitbull?

I personally had two pit bull-type dogs. One recently passed away from cancer at the age of eighteen. I’ve had her for nearly 17 of her eighteen years. Baxter Bean is my other pit bull-type dog, he’s 7 now. I never thought I’d become a pit bull advocate, I just fell in love with my own dog, the late Carla Lou and knew I’d have to defend her good name for the duration of her lifetime. Insurance companies, landlords, people of all kinds discriminate against them based on fear and media reporting, and I wanted to make sure I could keep her and her kind safe. They are our family and I know they are the family to everyone who advocates for them. They deserve to live as much as any other kind of dog.

The temperament of a “pit bull” is not an easy answer to supply. For starters, there is no such breed as a “pit bull” which is why I refer to them as pit bull-type (meaning AmStaff, American Pit Bull, and these days, shelter mix). However, most pit bull-type dogs are typically physically strong, emotionally tuned into their people, and are nurturing much like the majority of dogs out there. They just want to be loved, fed and feel secure, like any other dog (and lets be honest, just like people want as well). I would describe them as gentle, noble and devoted dogs but they are still individuals first.

What should people know before adopting a Pit Bull? Is there a “perfect candidate” to adopt a Pit Bull?

People should be aware that dogs are individuals. If they’re adopting a rescued pit bull-type dog, they are getting a mixed bag genetically, but 80% of what they will get out of their dog will be what they put in. Some are high energy and some are extremely lazy, many will be in-between. What you should have is the ability to tolerate negativity from ignorant people who will make assumptions about your dog and you will need the inner fortitude to represent your dog and others like your dog in a positive light. People need to know that all kinds of people love these dogs and all kinds of people will be positive role models. Screaming at a stranger on the street who crossed over the road because they were fearful of your dog is not going to help advance our cause.

What are the most common myths about Pit Bulls?

There is no such thing as a locking jaw. There is not truth behind the theory that pit bull-type dogs can tolerate pain more than others. There is no truth in the idea that all pit bull-type dogs will react a certain way to another dog, a person, or a bunny rabbit. Some will adore cats and others might not. Treat them as individuals and train them with positive reinforcement methods.

Calendar 2013 – Rachel ‘Love’ Robison and Itty Bitty – Photos by Celeste Giuliano Photography
Hair by Raina Frank Clarke / Make-up: Kirsten Sylvester

What do you think are the reasons that this breed is so misunderstood in the U.S.?

I know that the reason is largely due to media hype and the excitement and fear that people feel when they talk about “pit bull” stories in the media. Studies have shown that if the words “pit bull” are used in a story that the story will circulate 300 more times than if it merely says “dog” or another type of dog. It’s ridiculous and it costs almost 6000 pit bull-type dogs their lives in shelters every day.

Pit Bulls and many other innocent dogs get euthanized every day. I read that 200 Pit Bulls are killed every day in Los Angeles County alone. In your opinion, what should, or has to, change?

A lot needs to change. I can tell you that it has to be more than 200 killed per day, but perhaps not. 1 being killed a day is upsetting enough, but the amount killed each day across the U.S. is an embarrassment. I believe that No Kill is something that can be achieved and after talking to Nathan Winograd about how to achieve No Kill in my case study, I can tell you that it will take a long time and a great deal of fortitude. Dogs have a marketing issue. People do not typically think “lets go to the shelter” to find their dog, they still seek out breeders. People who do go to a shelter may have pre-conceived ideas about the types of dog they do or do not want to bring home. It certainly doesn’t help that they are singled out on many leasing contracts for renters. All of this adds up. We do a decent job on our Facebook wall to advocate daily for dogs across the country that are in need of a home. We have gotten dogs adopted weekly, nowhere near in the numbers that we would hope, but saving one does help. We are so grateful to the people who follow our page and circulate these dogs in need. We are happy to have many successful adoptions through our page, especially since we are not even a rescue.

You also collaborate with rescue groups and support pet adoption. In general, why should people adopt from a rescue?

People should adopt through a rescue or through their local shelters. We believe that supporting the people who are giving these dogs a chance is ideal for many reasons. Adopting through a rescue can allow you to get history on a dog who may have been in foster. Rescue groups will often take back a dog if the adoption does not work out. It’s hard work being in rescue or shelter work, and it’s noble work. I have the utmost respect for people who give their personal time to help advocate for all creatures.

What do you need the most for your mission — and how can people can get involved in Pinups for Pitbulls’s efforts?

We need funds and events to be hosted across the globe. Additionally, we need street team volunteers who are willing to receive a packet of fliers/info from us and post it wherever they go, especially places like coffee shops and restaurants with the ability to post information. This helps get out word out to people who might not be looking for our kind of group or who may feel helpless and really want to help support a cause, but may not know where to begin. We love when our volunteers can feel the personal satisfaction of knowing that they are affecting change, and we try to make it easy for that to happen. We’ve done all of the legwork (literally).

What kinds of things do you do to raise awareness about your organization and your work?

We have tables at tattoo and comic book conventions, we host fundraisers, and we have resources available through our website and Facebook page to help people advocate on behalf of dogs in their own time. I’ve also recently lobbied Washington, D.C. for the first time in my life and was successful in getting Representative Andrews (NJ) to co-sponsor the amendment to H.R.2492 — Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2011. We are actively seeking grants to help us further our mission through hosting seminars across the nation, and eventually the globe.

If you could give pet owners one piece of advice what would it be?

Do not shock, choke, or use prong collars on your dog. Please use positive reinforcement methods and an easy walk-type harness with a martingale collar. Keep your dogs safe and never set them up to fail. Ok, that was more than one piece of advice…

This is Carla Lou – shot by Ivy Darling of Wandering Bohemian Photography

Do you have pets of your own?

I just lost the love of my life and the reason I started Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. this week. Her name was Carla Lou and she was eighteen when she passed. She was buried on Monday in a pet cemetery amongst K-9’s who died in the line of duty, WWI & WWII dogs, and more. She is in good company.

I also have a pit bull mix named Baxter Bean (7), a Harrier named Zoe (12), and a Lab/Shepherd mix named Lexi (12).

Do you have any upcoming events?

All of our events can be viewed on our website, http://www.pinupsforpitbulls.org

Our upcoming events include tattoo conventions in Greensboro, NC; Metairie, LA; and many more.

Which websites, pet-related links or books would you recommend to PackPeople?

Pitbullguru.com

Gamedogguardian.com

Nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com

Books:

Sticky Fingers’ Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes by Doron Petersan

(Doron is a “pit bull” mom, an amazing baker and is on our board)

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls–One Flying Disc at a Time by Jim Gorant and soon to be a book about Carla Lou’s legacy

Twitter: @Pinups4Pitbulls

Facebook: Pinups for Pitbulls

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Get involved in animal welfare! – Interview with Debby from Generation Wags

Debby Hartten has created a platform to educate and inform the public about opportunities in animal welfare and rescue: Generation Wags. I met Debby through PackPeople and I liked her unique ideas of getting people engaged in pet rescue. Debby is a dedicated animal lover, and the founder of several programs supporting animal rescue, including the education of children to get involved and take responsibility. Her motto is:

Opening doors and minds for rescues through education, awareness, 
and engagement.

Her website contains tremendous information about projects, health, care and safety tips. We want to introduce her new business idea ‘Generation Wags’ to our online audience today, and share her thoughts regarding pet overpopulation and more.

How and when did your personal adventure with animal welfare begin?

My personal adventure with animal welfare began a few years ago, although I have had rescue dogs most of my adult life. As a real estate agent I incorporated rescue related efforts into my business through donations to rescues for transactions, along with a holiday drive Warm Hearts Happy Paws. WHHP will be entering its fourth year, and donation boxes are placed a number of pet supply stores and veterinary offices to gather needed items for numerous rescue groups in my area. Limited in what I could do as a realtor I started an online store Adore That Dog and other initiatives in the past year to make more strides. Generation Wags, my new e-zine, will hopefully serve as a place for dog and cat lovers to gain helpful information, along with learn about the issues along with fabulous efforts taking place nationwide to affect change. While there are so many challenges before us, it is encouraging and inspiring to learn about how many people are working daily to make a difference.

Your children’s program, WAGS kids, help kids make a change and learn about responsible pet ownership. How do you encourage children to make a change in animals’ lives?

I encourage children to get involved in helping in a variety of ways. My program Read For Rescues is a reading based program where kids get pledges for books they read (hopefully including some about pet rescues), and then use some/all of the money to donate to a rescue group they choose. While I sell a starter kit it is not required. I designed it so any child, anywhere can support any rescue. Read for Rescues is really a jumping off point for kids to get engaged in other ways from holding drives to collect blankets and toys to actually making toys for shelter pets or drawing pictures for shelter kennels, etc. Older kids can get involved with advocacy and even think about careers related to animal rights and more.

You also offer opportunities to companies to become a corporate WAGS Paw Pal. Tell us a little more about it.

My Wags Paw Pal program is a way to encourage companies to take even small steps to help support rescues. Most companies have staff who are pet owners, but most don’t give a second thought about how they can help improve the future of rescues. Companies can use this to their advantage to create team building activities such as volunteering for rescues, having donation drives in the office, adding rescue messaging to their email signatures, dedicating holiday parties to raise funds for rescues, or even have matching sustaining donations to rescues.

In general, why should people adopt from a rescue and what are the benefits?

The benefits of adopting a rescue are phenomenal! What better feeling is there than to give a loving home to animal that, through no fault of its own, is homeless. What most people don’t realize is that even if you are seeking a puppy, or a purebred, you can still find a rescue that matches what you are looking for, although you need to be patient finding the right one. And also people need to be aware that shelters and rescue groups have different adoption rules, so find one that works for you! But find one.

Can you share your thoughts on pet overpopulation in the U.S., and euthanasia?

Education is the key to getting control on overpopulation. Spay and neuter is essential, and we must find a way to get that message to communities and governmental bodies to help tackle this issue. Unfortunately, many areas where overpopulation is of the greatest concern are ones that are not finding humanitarian ways of dealing with the strays and surrendered pets. Many people don’t realize that gas chambers for example are still being used in areas to put animals to death. And that there are shelters that have one way tickets in. We can do better and we must! Euthanasia I believe is an unfortunate reality but should only be used in circumstances where an animal is dangerous and can’t be rehabilitated, or instances of injury or severe illness. It should not be a form of population control. There are regions in our nation that actually have a shortage of rescue pets for adoption. While there are issues to be overcome, we must find a way to work on a national level to get rescues in need of homes to those who are open to adopting them.

If you could give pet owners one piece of advice what would it be?

Realize that pet ownership is a big responsibility, but well worth it. Respect the life that you have taken into your home, add love and nurturing. You won’t regret it!

What is your personal goal?

To make a real difference in helping to raise awareness about the issues leading to homeless and abused pets and get people ENGAGED in creating change. Even as a lifetime dog owner I wasn’t fully aware of them myself. We need to get creative in tackling the problems. So much is being done, but so much more must take place. I believe we are seeing positive momentum of rescues groups becoming more organized and coordinated in their efforts which will go a long way.

Do you have pets of your own?

I have a rescue mixed breed dog (of course), and a purebred Pomeranian that my daughter purchased after a run of having several older rescues that had major health conditions that we had lost over time. A rescue will always be part of my life.

Links to Debby’s websites and programs:

Generation Wags – http://www.generationwags.com

Facebook: GenerationWags

Wags Marketing – http://www.wagsprandmarketing.com

Facebook: Wags PR & Marketing

 

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Animal Welfare Groups and Rescues Created for Rescues and Non-Profits Interviews on packpeople.com Interviews on packpeople.com Non - Profits Shelter Animals

Rescued animals fly on the wings of love – Interview with Debi from Pilots N Paws [Audio]

Pilots N Paws is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 by animal lover Debi Boies and pilot Jon Wehrenberg, an online platform created to provide free plane transport for shelter and foster animals and rescue organizations – served by volunteer pilots. I remember last year when I was looking desperately for safe transportation for our little kitty “Thursday”, now “Luna”; her new family was in Florida and we were in Los Angeles. It was not an easy task to get Luna safely to her new family, but we were able to organize her transport by car. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about the great services of Pilots N Paws at that time, and it took Luna 3 days to reach her family (read Luna’s story).

I heard of Pilots N Paws from a rescue friend and was thrilled that a non-profit organization was offering this free service of transporting animals by plane. I browsed through the website’s blog, stories and pictures and spent an hour looking at them and reading the happy stories. Pictures really do tell the story!

If you are looking for an opportunity to get your pooch, kitty, rabbit or piggy from one destination to another and don’t know how, you should visit Pilotsnpaws.org and request a flight (no long-distance flights). Today, a dedicated formation of 2466 pilots volunteer their time and donate free flights for Pilots N Paws furry or non-furry pawssengers. Animals can experience safe, fast and comfortable travel with experienced pilots. Flights are not scheduled, and there are no costs involved:) for participating groups.

I’m flying home!

Debi Boies and Pilots N Paws have received honors and awards from all over the country, including the Broadway Barks Award/Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, the American Dog Magazine’s 1st Annual Humanitarian Award, the Pets and Heroes award from the Amazing Grace Foundation and many more. She is listed as one of the top “25 Pet People of 2010” at Petside.com.

We had the great pleasure of talking to Debi, Co-Founder and President of Pilots N Paws and finding out more about this wonderful organization. Debi is the winner of the Pet Hero Award 2012  and her organization is Rescue Organization of the Year. Congratulations!

Please listen, learn and share how you can benefit from Pilots N Paws’s services, how you can join the organization, how you can request a flight and how the organization makes an impact on the plight of homeless animals. Debi also shared with us her special moments, and why she founded Pilots N Paws. Kudos to all volunteers, Debi and her team for their wonderful efforts!

You want to know more? The new book Dog Is My Copilot: Rescue Tales of Flying Dogs, Second Chances, and the Hero Who Might Live Next Door just arrived at the bookstore.

Greyhound Janine is flying high.

Pilots N Paws is able to continue their terrific work through the help and support of their fantastic sponsors, Subaru and Petmate.

Take your time, visit and like Pilots N Paws’s Facebook Fan page and blog, read the stories, have a look at the pictures, read the guidelines and resources. I promise it’s worth it:)

Website: www.pilotsnpaws.org

Twitter: PilotsNPaws

YouTube Channel: PilotsNPaws

If you liked the interview please share it with your community or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact!

If you see any typos please send us an e-mail to info@packpeople.com – Thank you!

Related posts: We also interviewed Pet Airways last year.

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Advocacy and Activism Animal Welfare Groups and Rescues Causes and Petitions Get informed and Educated Interviews on packpeople.com Interviews on packpeople.com Non - Profits

Protect Greyhounds – End Dog Racing! Interview with Christine from GREY2K USA

We have 2 beautiful brindle Greyhounds in our building and every time I meet them I catch myself staring at these majestic-looking gentle dogs. I know that one of them is a veteran female race dog and I just love her; the other one is our neighbor’s dog on the same floor. Tall and slim, with deep chests and the walk of a proud aristocrat, greyhounds are known to be calm and relaxed. They make very well-mannered and loving family dogs. Modern Greyhounds are descendants of an ancient identifiable breed that goes back to the Egyptians and Celts. While they love physical activity and love running, they are unfortunately exploited in an industry for human profit and abused for dog racing.

How did I meet Christine from GREY2K USA? We started a petition a while ago on change.org and one of Christine’s petitions popped up on my news feed. She is collecting signatures for different petitions including an end to dog racing. At that time it was her goal to encourage people to sign her petition to boycott Skechers for promoting dog racing during the Super Bowl. Sketchers filmed a commercial at Tucson Greyhound Park showing greyhounds racing (and losing) against a smaller dog wearing the company’s shoes. I signed her petition, along with 125,000 other caring animal advocates.

Christine Dorchak and her dog ZOE lobbying at state house

I connected with Christine, the co-founder, president and general counsel of GREY2K USA and wanted to learn more about her work and organization. GREY2K USA is the largest greyhound protection organization in the United States. As a non-profit organization, they work hard to pass stronger greyhound protection laws and to end the cruelty of dog racing on both national and international levels. They also promote the rescue, rehoming and adoption of wonderful greyhounds across the globe, but they do not have a shelter facility or adoption center. (If you are interested in adopting a greyhound please see the links at the bottom of this article.)

Christine A. Dorchak’s dedicated work has made a tremendous change and we are honored to share her interview with our audience. As a passionate animal advocate we all have to know more about this cruelty to greyhounds – and we have to raise awareness. Please take 10 minutes and read Christine’s highly informative and eye-opening interview; also please share, network and support the work of GREY2K USA to make a positive change. ~ Thank you.

How and when did your personal adventure in animal advocacy begin?

I have always cared about animals and grew up loving the natural world. This love was fostered by my mother, who always taught me to respect nature. As a child, I loved the squirrels, the chipmunks, the birds, the snails and all the animals around me! Then, when my parents allowed us to adopt two beagles – a boy and a girl – whom my brother and I found running lost around our neighborhood, I got my first experience with “rescue.”

After college, I began reading about the animal protection movement in earnest. I collected aluminum cans and donated the proceeds to my local shelter. I gave direct donations as I could. It was clear that my love for animals was still very important. But then in 1992, my world changed forever. While on a walk with my dog Kelsey early one morning, we were struck by a speeding trolley. I suffered severe injuries to my head, neck and back, crushed my spleen and could not walk. My poor dog had broken her hip trying to pull me to safety.

When I finally came out of my coma, and realized what had happened to us, my first words were “How’s Kelsey?” All I could think about was the dog who had saved my life … I vowed that if I ever got up again, I would devote my life to helping dogs. I would make a difference. But how?

I finally got my answer when I learned of a campaign to end dog racing in Massachusetts. I became an animal attorney to better understand the process, and for the next ten years, I would find myself living and breathing the local and then the worldwide effort to save greyhounds.

You can see a video about our experience on the GREY2K USA bio page here.

Why greyhounds?

After my accident and following several years of difficult recovery, I began volunteering for organizations like the Doris Day Animal League, In Defense of Animals and others. I worked at shelters, attended rallies, distributed pamphlets on vivisection, hunting, rodeos, circuses and more. I even did some radio interviews and started my own cable access show called Animal Agenda. Then, the greyhounds became my focus when I realized that their fight was one that could be won legislatively. I could see that there was a clear pathway for them, and that they were just one successful ballot question away from getting the second chance they needed. The idea that everyday people could actually make laws – that we had the power to effect change just by voting – really appealed to me.

Unfortunately, the first Massachusetts campaign for the greyhounds failed at the ballot box 49 to 51, and was one of closest voter questions in state history. The greyhounds set another record that year, but not a good one! That was in 2000. With an eye to writing a new ballot question and figure out how to create a stronger campaign, I decided to become a lawyer. This would never have been possible unless good fortune had smiled on me. I was awarded a full scholarship to attend the New England School of Law in 2001. Since I had no money, this was the only way I could ever have succeeded. Ironically, my tuition was paid for by a local track owner who happened to be on the board of the school. (How grateful I was that he did not learn of this until the night before graduation!)

That summer, I sat right down and drafted the Greyhound Protection Act. This became the ballot language which prohibited dog racing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2008. The question passed and the greyhounds had won!

Injured greyhound in cage

You are working hard to pass stronger greyhound protection laws and to end the cruelty of dog racing. Can you explain to us why dog racing is cruel and how greyhounds became racing dogs?

Greyhound racing is simply cruel and inhumane and causes thousands of dogs to suffer each year. Racing greyhounds endure lives of nearly constant confinement, kept in stacked cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around. While racing, many dogs suffer and die from injuries including broken legs, paralysis, cardiac arrest and heat stroke. Additionally, many greyhounds are destroyed every year, because the number of dogs retiring from racing always exceeds the number of adoptive homes.

Beyond the industry standards of confinement, injuries and fatalities, and the killing of young, healthy dogs, the industry has a fundamental problem of perspective: In the eyes if racetrack promoters, dogs are merely short-term investments. Even the fastest dogs only race for a few years, and are expected to generate enough profit during that time to make up for the cost of their food and housing. The pressure to generate profits can lead to negligent care and outright cruelty such as the use of drugs to alter a dog’s performance.

Another essential problem with dog racing is that thousands of dogs are overbred every year in an effort to find younger, faster dogs. The older ones are then displaced, and their very lives put in immediate jeopardy. Will they be rescued or will they be destroyed? The lucky ones who do reach adoption will then displace other needy animals (cats, dogs, rabbits, etc) also seeking homes. In this significant way, the racing industry aggravates a homeless animal population which is already overwhelming and immensely sad. I believe that best answer is to get to the root of the problem and end dog racing as quickly as possible.

The pastime of dog racing began in the early part of the Twentieth Century with the invention of the mechanical lure. Illegal “flapper” tracks began springing up all across the country. At one time, there were at least sixty-five facilities from West Coast to East. Ironically, California was the birthplace of the industry, but it also became the first state to shut its dog tracks down. At the same time, other states like Florida, then Oregon and Massachusetts, worked to legalize the activity. The first state approved, pari-mutuel dog track opened in Hialeah, Florida in 1931. No one foresaw the direct cruelty that would result nor could anyone envision the problems of companion animal overpopulation that were soon to develop.

Pari-mutuel wagering is a system in which people bet among each other, and the winners of a given race each share a percentage of the total pot. The host state and the dog track owners also take a share, as do the owners of the dogs. There is something in this system for everyone – except the dogs, of course.

GREY2K USA was the first organization to successfully outlaw dog racing. Since your formation, twenty-six tracks all across the country have closed for live racing. What needs to be done to protect greyhounds and why is it still legal in some states? 

The mission of GREY2K USA will not be complete until dog racing ends everywhere. As a non-profit 501(c)4 organization, we work to pass stronger greyhound protection laws and to end the cruelty of dog racing on both national and international levels. Primarily through our 501(c)3 sister organization, the GREY2K USA Education Fund, we promote the rescue, rehoming and adoption of greyhounds across the globe. Giving the greyhounds their second chance is job #1 for both organizations!

At the present time, there remain twenty-two operational dog tracks in seven states. When we first formed in 2001, there were nearly fifty tracks in fifteen states, so we have truly cut the industry in half. Additionally, the number of greyhounds bred into the industry has also been halved over these last ten years. The outlook is very good that greyhounds will soon be dogs again – just dogs, and not commodities as they are in the racing world.

Meanwhile, we are actively working to block the expansion of dog racing into other countries. In 2010, I helped draft the language that made betting on dog races illegal in Guam. That same year, South African officials listened to our testimony and that of other advocates around the globe and refused to legalize the activity as well. Currently, we are working with ANIMA in Macau to shut down the track there, which is called the Canidrome.

A lot of people are passionate about animal welfare, yet not in a political way. Can you share why you think that it is important to have a political stance to make a change?

In a word, greyhounds ARE political animals. Dog racing, unlike most other cruelties that non-human animals suffer, is a state-regulated activity. No one “regulates” dog fighting or horse tripping for example, but the state plays an active role in dog racing. This is because, at least initially, government profited by it. In the early days of dog racing, betting and wagering on live racing generated tax revenues because each host state shared in the winnings. Nowadays, revenues are so diminished that in some cases, states are actually paying for dog racing. In other words, the costs of regulation actually exceed the taxes paid. This is the case in Florida, where state records show nearly a 100% decline in the “handle” or amount of money bet on live races.

Could you give examples of laws you’ve helped establish – and tell us how long it takes to enact a law?

The first bill I helped draft was the statute requiring dog tracks in Massachusetts to begin reporting on the number of injuries suffered by greyhounds, and also to document their fate after racing. The bill also mandated the creation of the first state-sponsored adoption fund, which was truly ground-breaking. Since we had lost our first attempt to prohibit dog racing on the ballot, we wanted to make sure that the dogs would at least be better protected.

The reporting law was truly the beginning of the end of dog racing because it established a solid record of cruelty. It was this record that became the basis for our successful legal case to end dog racing via the ballot initiative process. During the campaign, I’d walk around with a stack of injury and death reports and ask voters, “Would you treat your dog like this?”

I went on to draft successful legislation to restore greyhounds to the anti-cruelty statute of New Hampshire, to strip the three tracks there of millions of dollars in subsidies, to “decouple” or remove the state mandate requiring tracks to host live racing, and then finally, we passed legislation to end dog racing in the Granite State altogether. This is one example of the many steps it takes to help the greyhounds!

Similarly, I have drafted legislation to end dog racing in other states, including Rhode Island, Florida and also (as previously stated) the US Territory of Guam. It took six years to end dog racing in Rhode Island, and while we were able to pass into law better legal protections for Florida dogs, the bill to ban has yet to be passed. In Arizona, we also continue to work on a prohibition. This year we worked with the track to pass a decoupling measure, and hopefully, next session we will see a complete end to dog racing. Every legislative session brings new hope!

From your perspective, which laws are the most needed at the moment?

The end to dog racing cannot come soon enough!

What are your biggest obstacles?

According to state records, thousands of dogs are seriously injured each year at commercial racetracks, including dogs that suffer broken legs, cardiac arrest, spinal cord paralysis and broken necks. As long as dog racing continues, greyhounds will suffer. The thought that a dog may go down and break his neck at any makes me very sad and frustrated. But it also motivates me to keep working until this cruelty ends everywhere.

What are your next steps? On what project are you currently working?

CHRISTINE AND ZOE IN OFFICE (SEPTEMBER 2011)

Our next steps involve writing and passing legislation to end dog racing in the seven remaining states where it yet exists: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia. We will also continue to network with groups in other countries to aid in their fight against dog racing. At the present time, we coordinate with Animals Asia, Animals Australia, GreytExploitations (UK), and the NSPCA(South Africa).

Meanwhile, we are also actively working with ANIMA in Macau to shut down the track there. The Canidrome is the only Chinese dog track, and all the dogs are eventually put to death. There is no adoption program and hundreds of greyhounds die each year. One of these dogs is named Brooklyn. Read Brooklyn’s story here.

Of course, our legislative campaigns in the US revolve around the formal state house sessions, and at this point, lawmakers are in recess. So are emphasis right now is on public outreach and community education. Believe it or not, at one time, greyhound racing was considered a fun pastime. Only in the past several decades, thanks to increased education, have most people come to realize that dog racing is a losing proposition for the greyhounds involved. Even dogs that are released by their owners may be burdened for life with injuries and socialization issues resulting from their time at the track.

Our Greyhounds in the Classroom project (through the GREY2K USA Education Fund) is helping to make sure that kids know that greyhounds are family friends, and not racing machines. They belong in homes not cages. When kids meet our rescued greyhounds, they know this to be true. Greyhounds are their own best advocates! Learn more at www.grey2kusaedu.org/education/classroom.html

Similarly, the Education Fund is now running a greyhound adoption campaign on all trolleys in the city of Naples. With thirteen operting facilities, Florida is home to more dog tracks than all of the other six states combined — so there is a great need for promoting the adoption of ex-racers. We also hope to place digital bullletin boards in ten key cities across the state by this Fall, but full funding is still needed.

How can someone adopt a greyhound?

No matter where you are, a needy greyhound is waiting close by! We offer a referral list on both of our web sites along with a Q & A about adoption. What may surprise many to learn is that greyhounds are some of the quietest dogs of all – they rarely bark – and what they like to do best is sleep. Greyhounds are commonly called 45-mile-per-hour couch potatoes, and for good reason. When you adopt a rescued greyhound, you not only save a life but you will also bring home a wonderful family friend. Learn more here.

Do you need volunteers? How can people help GREY2K USA and the greyhounds?

The easist thing to do is to sign up for action alerts from the GREY2K USA homepage. You will then start receiving petitions to sign online, information on campaigns, and requests to help pass legislation by calling lawmakers at key times. You will also receive information on how to participate in our “Governors Initiative” and other letterwriting programs. Of couse, donations are also needed but we also like to inject a little fun by hosting auctions and fundraising contests throughout the year. Helping greyhounds is really a “greyt” thing to do! Sign up here and start today!

What would you say is your personal goal?

I would like all greyhounds to get a second chance, like my own dog, Zoe. She is a ten-year-old brindle girl with a bit of a limp but I love her dearly!

GREY2K USA is committed to ending dog racing and we will keep lobbying and educating until greyhounds become just dogs again, to be loved and treated like the family friends we know them to be. Someone once said ‘Race cars, not dogs.” I heartily agree!

*****

Kahlua is an adult greyhound for adoption at Southern California Greyhound Adoption; http://www.socalgal.org

As you know, adoption is the key! If you want to adopt a greyhound please visit Adopt-a-Greyhound.org or click here and see a list of rescue groups. Many beautiful purebred dogs are waiting for a home.

 

GREY2K USA’s website: www.grey2kusa.org

GREY2K USA educational platform: www.grey2kusaedu.org to join our team and check out the links to groups all over the world who have joined together to end the cruelty of dog racing.

Twitter: @GREY2KUSA

Facebook: GREY2KUSA

YouTube Channel: GREY2K USA

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What Shelter Revolution means – Interview with Thomas Cole [Audio]

Every time I’ve visited or volunteered at one of my favorite shelters/rescues, I leave feeling sorry for the dogs, sitting in their cold concrete runs behind steel bars. Looking at you, waiting to be taken out for a walk or to be patted. Dogs and cats kept in cages, barking and whining to get your attention and a little affection.

If you have ever visited a shelter or kennel facility you know what I mean. I have seen some ugly stuff and heard some ugly stories, but it always touches me; even I pretend to be tough. Most of the visits are heartbreaking. Visits to L.A. shelters are even worse knowing that most of these dogs and cats will get killed if they’re not adopted. I remember my first visit exactly, when one of the volunteer staff said: “After a few months, you get used to it.” I never got used to it.

Thomas wants an adoption center like this

Thomas Cole reached out to us a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share his new and innovative model of a communal open living area for dogs and cats.  A new adoption center concept – no cages, no isolated cats and dogs, no runs, no stressed dogs and cats. Sounds great, right? That’s what every animal lover wants to see. A peaceful environment where dogs and cats live together until they get adopted. When we heard about this new model and visited the shelter revolution’s website, my grandparents’ farm came to mind. We wanted to learn more about it.

We had the great pleasure of talking to Thomas Cole of Shelter Revolution, an expert, an animal advocate, a person who is dedicated to educating and changing the current sheltering model of homeless pets in the U.S. We talked about the pros and cons, we learned how shelters operate and how easy it is to implement this new innovative model.

Shelter Revolution by PackPeople NEW: We’ve made it even easier to listen to our audio interviews! This audio is 31.16 minutes of highly interesting and educational content. Use the little flags in the blue bar in the SoundCloud Player to navigate through the questions and content. Get this interview as a Podcast here.

Tom & Kula At Cub Foods

About the interviewee: ” I’m not trying to “reform” our nation’s animal shelters. I leave that to others. I believe a whole new model, a paradigm shift, is needed. Where laws and reform efforts focus on the bad guys, my Adoption Center model will appeal to the good guys. This new model will make far more impact than any laws ever can.” 

Thomas Cole is the Executive Director at Shelter Revolution and a Dog Rehabilitation Specialist at Dr Doolittle’s Safe Haven. He ran a large shelter & sanctuary with animal control contract and worked with farm, domestic and wild animals. As a visionary he is working hard to improve the animal shelter industry. Introducing new Adoption Center model to replace antiquated and failed shelter models. He is also dedicated to bring rescue groups and shelter togethers to end shelter killing through the rehabilitation of sheltered animals with behavior issues.

Memphis - New Facility (Filthy Cage)(Feb 28, '12
Fancy but isolated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas’s recommendations:

Websites:
•  Cat House On The Kings (California)
•  Spirit Animal Sanctuary (New York)
•  Olympic Animal Sanctuary (Washington)

Shelter Revolution Videos:
•  Our Adoption Center model
•  Shelters as prisons
•  Progress? Where are we today?
•  “Boutique” shelters
•  “Big Four” Video

•  Austin’s “State of The Art” $12mm prison facility

Shelter Revolution

Web: http://www.shelterrevolution.org

Facebook: Shelter Revolution

Thomas Cole’s Blog: http://www.arc-na.org

Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact!

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Saving hundreds of stray animals’ lives in Romania – Interview with The Nature Association [Video]

Today we’re going out of the country – we’re even leaving the continent – to talk to a great non-profit organization in Romania, The Nature Association. Founded in 2002 by Carmen Milobendzchi and Roxana Macoviciuc, this organization is dedicated to helping and saving stray animals by providing food, shelter and medical care for over 350 dogs and 60 cats in their shelter facility in Bucharest. Home to approximately between 100,000 to 1 million stray dogs. Every year, Bucharest sees thousands of these defenseless animals killed by cars, poisoned, dead of hunger, or frozen to death.

Funded solely by donations, this no-kill organization really needs our help and support. The shelter offers food, water, vaccines, and emergency medical treatment and is in need of monetary support and heightened awareness to provide the services mentioned, as well as to continue building the shelter facility.

Facing the power of nature, a very hard winter has hit Europe these days, and the tremendous amount of snow and cold weather makes the work of  The Nature Association’s volunteers and members extremely difficult.

We recently published an article about Oscar, a street dog of Istanbul and want to share with you this video interview with 2 very passionate young people who decided to volunteer and support The Nature Association after finishing their education in Canada. We had the great pleasure of video chatting with Milena and Mihai in Bucharest, and we talked about their daily challenges, how they help abandoned and stray dogs, and what they need the most for their mission.

Please visit The Nature Association’s Facebook Fan page and also take a look at the pictures in the Winter at the Shelter album: consider donating to their organization. Bucharest’s dogs and cats will thank you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Milena and Mihai recommend to visit following websites:
Dogs Trust  – www.dogstrust.org.uk
Dogs Adoption Netherlands –  http://www.dogsadoptionsnederland.nl – Here you can see all adoptable dogs of the organization.

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Animal Welfare Groups and Rescues Get informed and Educated Interviews on packpeople.com No - Kill Movement Non - Profits

Exceptional Care and Dedication – Interview with Marlene from Animal Ark [Audio]

No-kill is resounding throughout the U.S. and many shelters are becoming no-kill or getting informed about the movement. We were searching for no-kill shelters and rescues to interview and found Animal Ark located in Minnesota. Unlike some other shelters, Animal Ark maintains a no-kill philosophy toward animal rescue and adoption. Most people didn’t believe that no-kill was possible… now it’s not only possible, but it’s happening in many areas of the country.

Animal Ark is a unique concept, and we would love to see more animals living and treated as per Animal Ark’s exceptional standards. Homeless pets (dogs, cats and rabbits) are housed in a home-like environment. There are no concrete and stainless steel runs/cages for dogs, cats live in large open kitty apartments and bunnies enjoy a luxurious life in bunny suites. Pets receive medical attention, training and socialization. Sounds like paradise for adoptable pets! Animal Ark is indeed a special, loving and caring place for animals on earth.

We were honored to speak with Marlene, the founder and President Emeritus of Animal Ark. Marlene talks about her shelter facility, the no-kill movement and educates us with deep insights in animal welfare.
Safe innocent life’s don’t kill! – Interview with Marlene from Animal Ark, Minnesota by PackPeople
NEW: We’ve made it even easier to listen to our audio interviews! This audio is 24 minutes of highly interesting and educational content. You can use the little flags in the blue bar in the SoundCloud Player to navigate through the questions and content.

Animal Ark's Campaign for 2012

Animal Ark, founded in 1977, is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to educating people about responsible pet ownership, the importance of spay&neuter and reinforcing the bond between humans and animals. A Community Platform was created to provide information, questions and fun stuff, where animal lovers meet virtually to share news, pictures and chat. The Animal Ark Thrift Store, an idea from the President Emeritus, Executive Director and Founder of Animal Ark, Marlene Foote, was established to help support the rescued animals by selling items donated by generous animal lovers. The shelter is located in Hastings, Minnesota; and you can find The Animal Ark Thrift & Pet Store on 809 E. 7th Street in St. Paul.

About the interviewee: A peace pole was dedicated to Marlene Foote, in honor of her years of service to companion animals. This says a lot about our interviewee Marlene Foote, an animal advocate with many strong convictions. Through her passion and dedication to animal welfare, Marlene has made a huge, positive difference in the lives of animals. She strongly believes that companion animals that are rescued should be helped, not killed.

Animal Ark

Web: http://www.animalarkshelter.org

Facebook: Animal Ark

Twitter: @MNanimalark

Marlene Foote’s links and recommendations: 

Redemption by Nathan Winograd

Irreconcilable Differences by Nathan Winograd

Not Fit for a Dog! by Michael W. Fox, Elizabeth Hodgkins and Marion E. Smart

Food Pets Die For by Ann Martin

When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy

No Kill Nation – www.nokillnation.org

No Kill Advocacy Center – www.nokilladvocacycenter.org

Animal Wise Radio – http://animalwiseradio.com

Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact!

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Animal Welfare Groups and Rescues Interviews on packpeople.com Non - Profits

Dogs for the Deaf – PackPeople Interviews Vaughn Maurice

Dogs for the Deaf, Inc. is dedicated to rescuing and training dogs to assist people with hearing loss, autism, panic/anxiety, physical, mental and emotional challenges.

Founded in 1977 by Roy G. Kabat and funded by donations from individuals and service groups, Dogs for the Deaf has rescued and professionally trained thousands of dogs to help people and enhance their lives, while maintaining a lifelong commitment to the dogs they rescue and the people they serve.

We had the great pleasure of interviewing Vaughn Maurice, General Manager of Dogs for the Deaf, Inc. We learned how this special and praiseworthy organization rescues, professionally trains and places assistance dogs into households, discussed their application process and shared information on requesting a demonstration. We also talked about the Autism Assistance Dog program, the difference between a Service Dog and an Assistance Dog, how you can help Dogs for the Deaf maintain their free services and how you can host your own Dog Walk in 2012, helping Dogs for the Deaf achieve their biggest Dog Walk ever.

We’ll provide the transcription for this interview shortly.

Watch the video interview:

Listen to the audio:

DOGS FOR THE DEAF – Interview with Vaughn Maurice by PackPeople

Web: http://www.dogsforthedeaf.org

Twitter: @DogsForTheDeaf

Facebook: Dogs for the Deaf, Inc.

You Tube: Dogsforthedeaf

Also, here’s an excellent video that explains the great work of Dogs for the Deaf:

Vaughn recommends checking their website for information about their Dog Walk on June 2, 2012 (under News & Events)

also, great information about Assistance Dogs can be found at

Assistance Dogs International, Inc. www.assistancedogsinternational.org

If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you.

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Animal Welfare Groups and Rescues Breeds Interviews on packpeople.com

In Praise of Golden Retrievers – Interview with Sandy from GRCGLA Rescue

We found The Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles Rescue while we were looking for breed specific rescues to interview. Holli Pfau’s interview had led us to Golden Retrievers and we wanted to learn more about this very popular breed and GRCGLA Rescue’s challenging work in rescuing, helping and rehoming Goldens. GRCGLA Rescue is a non-profit organization founded in 2001, operates in 6 Southern California counties, has taken in over 3,500 Golden Retrievers since 2003 and has around 40 dogs for adoption right now.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Sandy Diamond, President of GRCGLA Rescue, and learning more about the temperament and qualities of Goldens. We’re grateful to share about their program Project Taiwan as well as what you should know if you are thinking of starting your own rescue, sanctuary or foundation. Also, Sandy shared her perspective on rescue work and what they need the most for their mission to continue helping Golden Retrievers. If you want to foster a Golden over the holidays – or beyond – please contact: info@grcglarescue.org.

Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles Rescue – Sandy by PackPeople 

Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles Rescue

Web: http://www.grcglarescue.org

Twitter: @grcglarescue

Facebook: Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles RESCUE

Sandy recommends the following to our audience:

Book: Love Has No Age Limit by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD and Karen B. London, PhD

Journal: The Whole Dog Journal subscribe at www.whole-dog-journal.com

Spreading the word can help save lives! If you liked the interview please share it with your community by clicking the Facebook and Twitter icons at the bottom of this article or feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for making an impact!

iTunes News: Get PackPeople’s interviews as a Podcast!

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