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BREAKING NEWS: This article just won first place in the Nonfiction, Essay by an Adult, Category at the Yamhill County Fair 2011.

I’ve always been an animal lover, so I take it quite personally when an animal gives me the cold shoulder. That happened three times this past winter and spring. Now, it’s like Christmas in July, because the two aloof dogs and horse have warmed up to me enough to permit a touch or two.  I can’t say that I did anything special to earn their trust. I just waited them out. It was an exercise in patience.

NEKOTA

Nekota, a bearded collie from champion lines, is sometimes aloof with newcomers, especially when her owner is not present to offer encouragement.

Nekota, a young  bearded collie from champion lines, was the first to allow me a touch. She came around about two weeks after I started seeing and feeding her twice a day. My friend and Nekota’s owner, Tish, was out of town on dog and family business.  I was pet sitting three of her bearded collies: Nekota, her mother Kiwi, and another female, Bubbles.

The jovial trio always greeted me with enthusiasm and barks of delight. I’d ruffle the long, silky hair of Bubbles and Kiwi; then they’d set off to romp and tumble on the winter-wet green lawns. I wanted to pet and hug Nekota, too. But she kept her distance even when I offered her treats.

After a few days, I was feeling slighted, so I quit pursuing her affections. I stopped trying to make eye contact with Nekota, too.  This wasn’t too hard since bearded collies have long, bushy eyebrow hair that covers their eyes to protect them from stickers and debris when doing the livestock herding for which they were initially bred.

One evening, as I was preparing their dinner in Tish’s kitchen, the three dogs came in from outside and gathered around me. Truth be told, they were more interested in having me throw the raggedy toy they’d dropped at my feet than they were in their meal. Nonchalantly, yet deliberately, I let my hand slowly drop to Nekota’s head — for an instant. She didn’t recoil. I was wowed, making it nearly impossible not to look at her, but I refrained: Doing so might have made her feel challenged, hence retreat.

I repeated similar gestures over the next few days. In time, I could pet Nekota at will and even glance at her while at it. By the time Tish returned home, Nekota was curling at my feet and allowing me to stroke her head and scratch her chin for as long as I liked. I lavished praise on her in a very subdued manner: She didn’t seem to mind that either. She liked me after all.

The new accord between us meant more to me than many other successes in my life. Good Girl, Nekota!! Thanks for considering me a member of  your pack for awhile.

STELLA

Stella, a shy, uncertain mastiff when rescued, has gained confidence while settling in at her new forever home. She's become trusting enough to include some humans among her friends.

I’d known Stella, a shy and aloof rescued mastiff, much longer than I had known Nekota when her stand-offishness  began to ebb. Quite possibly, Stella knew abuse and /or neglect in her past. Once settled in a safe, quiet environment, it still took the big taupe-colored dog months to stop evading me when I visited the farm where she lives with her new owners, Stacy and Russell. She couldn’t be bribed with treats, toys or praise. Cats terrified her, too. She was wary of all that moved – even the wind, it sometimes seemed.

When my husband, son and I have acquired rescue dogs in the past, we’ve been cautioned that it can take as long as a year for a dog to really feel secure with a new place and unfamiliar faces. So I waited on Stella, and waited some more.

It’s all too easy to envision Stella having been cloistered away and used for the single purpose of making  babies in a puppy mill setting. If that was the case, it explains why she’s still afraid to be in dark, tight places. It may also be the reason beneath her demureness: It’s possible she’d never known affection at the hand of man, or woman, prior to her rescue by English mastiff guardian angels Sue and Gary May of McMinnville, Oregon. (The couple founded Mastiff Rescue Oregon and has placed more than 80 of these cougar-size gentle giants in loving, permanent homes.)

For the longest time, when  Stacy and Russell had guests, four-year-old Stella would retreat to a spot where she could rest her chin on her giant paws and observe the movements of all those folks she didn’t know. Her eyebrows seemed  to do a sort of line dance, moving side to side with each quick, constant, wary eye movement. A few other dog-loving friends and I started letting a hand dangle whenever we sat and chatted with our hosts. We hoped our hands would serve as bait for the lonely Stella, who appeared a little braver each  week.

One night, a collection of us were having a group lesson in making pot-stickers. I was preparing to slice and dice celery at the island in Stacy’s kitchen when I felt a cold nose bump the hand I had resting on my hip. (That’s about eye level for big-and-tall Stella.)  Purposefully, I kept talking about chestnuts and pinching pasta and barely acknowledged the now-curious dog. A few visits later, Stella approached me from behind and stood at my side. The next time, she let me stroke her head as I stood talking with Stacy, a coffee mug in my hand.

The encouragement Stella has received in her new forever home has given her the confidence to trust, perhaps for the first time in her adult dog life. She even gives the new kittens clattering about a curious sniff instead of immediately trotting away.

Nowadays, when I arrive at the farm, Stella lopes out to meet my car instead of racing off to hide behind the free-range chickens or miniature pinscher tap-dancing about. Stella’s long tail, no longer tucked between her powerful back legs, is carried more naturally and, most of the time, swings lazily from side to side. If I linger over the new kittens too long, Stella actually nudges her way into our little crowd to claim some petting for herself.

Oh yes, the “min pin,” small enough to be a lap dog, isn’t a snuggler or a cuddler. But loving, lanky Stella is.

BOBBY

It was nearly a year before Bobby, a cutting horse, felt safe enough with me to take treats I offered to him. Photo by Adam Sherman.

Bobby was the last hold-out: He took nearly a year. Bobby is a chestnut-colored, top-performing cutting horse that belongs to the owner of the barn where I stable my horse, Callie. This athletic gelding, too, may have been mishandled in his youth, long before he came to the loving home where he is now the star.

At first it was tempting to think Bobby was stuck-up, even vain; then I remembered those were traits exclusive to humans. He’d move to another part of his stall whenever I entered to clean it or feed him. I didn’t dare try to remove his fly mask at night. He reminded me of a cat. Everything had to be on his terms and in his time. I’d offer Bobby a carrot or apple slice, and he’d turn his head away. I’d never experienced a horse refusing things that were like candy to them. I was flabbergasted and, yes, my feelings were hurt.

“Bobby’s just like that,” his owner assured me. “It’s not you. He’s even more skittish around men.” That would make sense if he’d been corrected too harshly or ridden too hard by a man somewhere along the line; however, I was determined to befriend him. Every time I’d pass Bobby’s stall or paddock on the way to catch Callie, I’d stop to offer him a treat. He’d look me right in the eye, then pivot away. That left me feeling like the wallflower kid who never gets asked to the floor at a junior high school dance.

One afternoon, I offered Bobby a treat on the way back from the pasture with my horse at the end of a lead rope. Instead of shunning  me and turning tail, Bobby remained still. When my horse tried to angle in and snatch the treat for herself, Bobby grabbed it from the palm of my hand! I repeated that approach day in and day out — with varying degrees of success.

Then the farrier arrived ahead of schedule one day.  Bobby’s owner, unable to leave work early, sent me a text message and asked if I would please halter Bobby and bring him to the main barn for his session with the horseshoer.

“Me?” I thought as I responded, “Yes, sure, no problem.” Once inside Bobby’s run, his halter slung over my arm, I talked softly and approached him slowly, but with confidence. Next thing I knew, I was buckling the blue halter alongside his ear, and he stood perfectly calm as I did so!  Since then, he’s taken to following me around his stall, hoping for more of the treats stashed in my pocket. I wouldn’t say were BFFs (best friends forever), but Bobby and I are working on it.

THIS WEEK’S ANIMAL LESSON: Nekota, Stella, Bobby — When they finally befriended me, I was reminded of a slogan 12-step programs use. It goes something like this:   When we try to force solutions, we become irritable and unreasonable without knowing it. As in, I let one dog hurt my feelings; another make me feel unworthy; and I thought of a horse as being a snob. Change takes time, so be patient” The animals are.

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Fresh and fragrant bundles of lavender harvested at Apifera Farm. Photo by Katherine Dunn.

It doesn’t get much better than riding horseback through fields of lavender.  That’s the delightful way I spent some time on a recent morning when I trailered my horse, Callie, to Apifera Farm a few valleys east of our own.

Donkeys may be telepathic. It doesn't seem to matter whether a thought is spoken or kept silent, donkeys seem to know what's on your mind. You can tell by the manner in which they twitch their ears--delicate ears that mimic the pointed tops of pickets in a fenceline. Photo by Katherine Dunn.

Apifera Farm is a magical place where “art and animals collide,” according to the description on the farm’s website. It’s the kind of place that takes caring for critters and crops seriously while fostering a sense of humor and lightheartedness about life in general. On the lane up to the cozy homestead, there’s an indicator of what’s ahead. A rough-edged, hand-painted wooden sign reads, “Watch for cats falling from trees.”

Mind you, I’ve seen no cascading cats on my visits to Apifera, but I’ve seen many other things that engage my heart, including the art of farm owner Katherine Dunn, which she describes as a combination of melancholy and hope.

Photos and poster by Apifera artist, Katherine Dunn, provide a hint of what's in store at the farm's annual fund-raising event.

My first visit to Apifera was during a small fundraiser for neglected donkeys. Billed as Pino Pie Day, Katherine and her husband, Martyn Dunn, have made this an annual summer affair with a country picnic feel. Basically, you share in a feast of delectable pies baked on-site the day prior by Katherine and a group of devoted pals.

In exchange for a few slices of pie, it’s hoped visitors will leave behind a donation to help fund the Dunns’ efforts to care for senior and/or physically challenged animals that come to Apifera for sanctuary. While the farm raises Katahdin sheep, it adopts old and crippled goats. Just this month, the Dunns brought home a senior goose and donkey plus a pot-bellied pig. Rosie, the pig, came from an 80-year-old woman a six-hour drive from Apifera.

Donkey-inspired aprons are treasured by cooks young and old at Apifera Farms' Pino Pie Day. Photos by Katherine Dunn.

Pie Day guests sit and savor pie slices between clotheslines hung with an apron array. The aprons, some handmade by Katherine and others from far-away spots on the map, are sold to benefit animal charities. Blowing slightly in the June breeze, the eclectic apron collection creates an artful back drop as well as an effective “for sale” display.

Fragrant outposts with armfuls of farm-grown lavender to purchase abound, too. Still, the donkeys are the main attraction, especially the event’s namesake, Pino. I found especially endearing the donkeys’ party dress — daisy-chain necklaces and artful messages carefully painted on their small hooves: “Hug Me,” and  “Love Me.”

Endearing messages painted on donkey hooves created a fashion statement at Apifera Farm's 2011 Pino Pie Day fund-raising event. Photo by Janet Herring-Sherman

Katherine claims there’s something healing about the combination of fresh pie, forest-scented air and hugs from donkeys with no hidden agendas. I agree: It’s impossible to look at a pair of donkey ears and not smile all the way to your heart. When you touch those soft, fuzzy ears, troubles disband and disappear for awhile.

Boone and Callie (right) tacked up and ready to tour the lavender fields at Apifera Farm in Yamhill, Oregon. Photo by Janet Herring-Sherman

Pino and his slender-eared partners, as well as chickens and livestock, wander through Katherine’s colorful contemporary folk art. Her horse, Boone, is another that shows up in Apifera art and blog posts. He’s a paprika-colored fellow that matched nicely alongside my red dun Callie.

As we rode the field’s perimeter and wove through the rows of lavender plants, Katherine explained that soon, hungry honey bees will gather on the purple-flowered stalks. That means harvest time for the lavender has arrived. Probably best we don’t wade into the lavender on horseback when bees are about: Katherine says the bees don’t mind, but I’m thinking the horses might!

You can see Katherine’s art at http://www.katherinedunn.com; and meet Apifera residents at http://apiferafarm.blogspot.com.

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Young black Lab Miss Dady and her CCI puppy-raiser, Rachel. CCI, or Canine Companions for Independence, was established in 1975. Founder Bonnie Bergin originated the concept of training Service Dogs to aid people with physical and developmental disabilities other than blindness. Before learning college-level canine skills, such as turning on light switches and pulling wheelchairs, CCI pups are placed in private homes where they are loved and trained by devoted puppy-raisers. Miss Dady is the 10th CCI puppy raised by Rachel. Photo by Laura Allen.

I spent Mother’s Day meeting a very special young black Labrador retriever named Miss Dady and reuniting with Rachel, the very special young woman raising her.

Miss Dady’s father, Baja, lived with us before we moved from California to Oregon. Rachel raised Baja, too. In fact, in the last decade, she’s raised 10 puppies for the Service Dog organization, Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). When we first met Rachel, she was in college and said her dream job would be working at CCI or someplace similar.

CCI was the first to train Service Dogs to aid individuals with physical and developmental challenges. These amazing dogs learn how to do things such as: pull wheelchairs; open and close doors and refrigerators; turn light switches off and on; alert hearing-impaired persons to a ringing phone, doorbell or danger; give money to a bank teller or store clerk.

Years ago, I worked for CCI. One of the things that always moved me the most was how, innately, these sensitive dogs knew how to reach into the heart and mind of a child with autism or a developmental disability when no human could.

Before CCI dogs learn these complex tasks, they need to enjoy happy childhoods, learn their manners and experience all kinds of real-life, real-world things. Where better to do so than in the homes of dog lovers? This successful model began in the 1940s when pups intended for training as guides for people with visual impairments were placed in the charge of youngsters as 4-H “projects.” Miss Dady is one of these CCI pups.

Cream-of-the-crop young dogs become part of the CCI breeding colony instead of being placed to work alongside specially-challenged individuals. These dogs, known as breeders, are housed with community members, or breeder caretakers, who live near the main CCI training/breeding site.

The late CCI breeder Baja lived with and loved us before we moved to another state. Baja had to remain behind with another CCI family in order to be close at hand for his "husbandly" duites at the CCI breeding site. Baja died last year at age five from a rare, but not genetic, kidney disease. He sired around 200 puppies with 40 currently working as CCI Assistance Dogs, five active in the CCI breeding program, and more than 100 with CCI puppy raisers. Some have made career changes and are working with Border Patrol and as Therapy Dogs. Photo by Rachel Sutton.

We were Baja’s breeder caretakers for only a few months: That was long enough for his brown-lipped smile, way-so-smart dark eyes, full-body wiggles; and scatter- everywhere yellow Labrador hair to become a part of our bank of treasured memories.

When we moved, our new home was too far away for Baja to remain with us: He had to stay near the CCI breeding facilities to be available for “dates” as needed. Baja went to live with another loving, CCI-approved family. As we bid him farewell at his new home, he and the gi-normous Newfoundlands residing there were doing the sniffing-each-other-and little-tail-wag dance. It was a very hard goodbye.

From time to time, we’d hear through Rachel or the CCI grapevine that Baja’s pups were exceptional: We’d smile and say, “No surprise!” It was Rachel who, last year, gave us the unexpected and sad news that Baja had died from a kidney condition that’s rare, especially in Labrador retrievers. Thankfully, it’s not hereditary, so Baja’s many pups are safe. Baja was only five years old.

Rachel, now living in Oregon, too, wanted us to meet Miss Dady, one of Baja’s last puppies, before she was returned to the California CCI site for her college-level training. What a treat to see a black, smaller, female version of Baja, all smiles and silly wiggles. We took our two Labs, Kobe and Brooke, along, so Rachel and Miss Dady could meet them. After all, Baja brought our dogs to us: He made us love Labs.

It was a delight to see the three Labs tearing around Rachel’s yard — together. Rachel, my husband, Jim, son, Adam, and I watched the 12-legged frolic. We had a good laugh on the dogs’ behalf; then we all grew silent. And thought of Baja.

Canine version of a chocolate Oreo. CCI youngster Miss Dady (on the right) isn't even winded after rough and tumble playtime with our two older Labs. Brooke's on the left, and Kobe's the center.

I’m sure Rachel’s thoughts leaped ahead to the day approaching when she would be saying goodbye to Miss Dady at CCI. Miss Dady’s will be the newest in the collection of  ceramic pawprints Rachel has arranged on a memory wall in her home. The gallery is meant as a reminder of the pups she’s raised. I also see it as the mark of an incredibly selfless person. Think about it: raising, loving, training 10 puppies into model dog “citizens,” knowing none are for you to keep: Intended, instead, to add ease, safety and devotion to the lives of individuals presented with special challenges.

Rachel had another treat in store for us: a personal tour of the nearby Guide Dogs for the Blind training facility. It was a Sunday, and not many people were there. But Rachel had a key: Because she works there now.

I’m partial to chocolate Labs, so I asked Rachel why there didn’t seem to be any represented in the years of Guide Dog photos on display at the center. She explained that Labradors used as Guide Dogs for the Blind are almost always black or a shade of yellow. But, she added with a smile as she reached for a puppy photo on a nearby desk, “Funny you should ask, because these two chocolates showed up in a litter just recently!" You can follow this link http://guidedogs.blogspot.com/2010/07/theres-chocolate-in-kennels.html to Guide Dogs for the Blind and read about the Hershey-kiss-colored surprises in an article titled, “There’s Chocolate in the Kennels!” Photo courtesy of Guide Dogs for the Blind.

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It being Easter, let me introduce my blue-egg-laying Ameraucana chickens, Teddy,
Georgie, Frankie and Alex. My sister nicknamed the four-hen flock Sisters in honor of a 1990s television series

Ozzie, the rooster and two of the hen Sisters, Teddie in the middle, and Frankie, the white one, on the right. These Ameraucana hens are not as inclined to set on their eggs as much as some breeds. In spite of Ozzie's persistent pestering, my Ameraucanas have no offspring. Photo by Adam Sherman.

we used to watch together on Saturday nights. The show, “Sisters,” was about four sisters born to a father who wanted boys; hence their names.

I collect a few things: cobalt blue glass, decorative pumpkins, Santas and home-made Easter eggs. I enjoy inventing tasteful ways to combine them. In this photo, taken by my son, the contrast of the blue bowl and the pastel eggs is heightened by the angle of the late-morning sun. And by the way, these aren’t decorative eggs, they’re the real deal; all two dozen plus, courtesy of our four hens. Photo by Adam Sherman.

Hens that lay blue and blue-green eggs are actually called Easter Eggers in poultry circles. The secular part of our family’s Easter holiday includes decorating a few of the Sisters’ eggs to add to our collection. But we’re spared the dip-and-dye step, because they’re already so pretty in blue.

The Sisters’ have been blessing us with all manner of eggs of late. We thank them for each and every gem. Hens Alex, Teddy and Georgie are a mix of intricately designed sorrel, gray and brown feathers. Frankie’s different: She’s a wheaten color — but stands out mostly because of her antics.

She was the first to start laying when they were young; the first to escape the day the coop gate blew open; the first to inspect the new hen house; and our rooster’s favorite. Frankie’s one smart chick: She’s figured out if she roosts early enough in the evening, she can avoid the attentions of the always-ready-at-sunset rooster. I’m convinced Frankie’s the one that lays the torpedo-shaped eggs as well.

Ameraucanas are not as inclined to set on their eggs as much as some breeds. In spite of our rooster, Ozzie’s, efforts, the Sisters have no offspring.

Buckeye hens share nesting and hatching duties on a clutch that includes eggs from each. Buckeyes are a historic poultry breed in danger of extinction. The roosters are said to possess a range of sounds, including one that sounds like a dinosaur’s roar. Perhaps that's what hampers their popularity! Photo by Janet Herring-Sherman.

My friend Stacy has hens more than happy to set. Hers are a heritage breed known as Buckeyes. She currently has three Buckeye hens that insist on setting on the same nest at the same time. They appear not to care whose eggs are whose.

These personable hens share the maternal duty of gently rolling and repositioning the eggs to make sure they incubate nicely. Looks like they engage in chit-chat, too. I wonder if the chicks will imprint and bond with one or all of their moms?

Since Buckeyes are reputed to be as good as or better than cats at mousing, it would seem they’d be a popular choice for country and suburban dwellers. Not so.

Buckeyes are a threatened species on the conservation list compiled by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Since 1977, this organization has been working to keep 180 historic breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction.

Perhaps that’s why these Buckeye hens are so very earnest in their mission to hatch out chicks with burnished red plumage and comical personalities like their own. Even if it takes a village.

A handsome duck dropped in this week. Literally. Right onto the railing of the deck that backs our house. We had the good fortune to be sitting nearby when it arrived. If I hadn’t seen this drake myself, I’d swear this was a photo of a perfectly painted decoy, or a watercolor. Photo by Adam Sherman.

Living in the mountains near a forest, we’re treated to animal sightings pretty frequently. This one was unusual because it occurred just a few feet away from us.

My husband, Jim , and I were watching TV just before sunset when he suddenly became very still and told me not to move. He didn’t want any motion to startle the duck that had just landed on the railing of the deck right outside our tall windows.

At that point, I couldn’t see the duck and thought perhaps Jim was playing a belated April Fools’ trick.

Then, the partially metallic-green head of a male duck came into view. Its webbed feet walked purposefully along the railing.  About 18 inches behind him, along came a female, wearing feathers in more muted tones.

She followed his every move. A few times the drake stopped, turned to face her and kind of pecked at the air around her head. I worried she’d loose her balance and fall. Jim reminded me she could fly.

A new variety of bird seed mix filled the feeder on the deck’s corner, and we think that’s where the pair was headed. We never found out, because a hawk buzzed by and the ducks scattered. I’m guessing the drake was in the courting stage, because once his mate starts to incubate her dozen or so eggs, he’ll leave her to it and join an all-male flock.

I’m puzzled as to the type of duck this is: When compared to images of Mallards and Wood Ducks, it doesn’t quite match. Wonder if ducks lay colored eggs?

Have a very  blessed  Easter.

And did you know that the Bible contains 138 mentions of animals, according to http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/animals.html?

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I was moved to tears when I saw this image on a friend’s Facebook page last week with this tagline, “Dog and owner reunion in Japan.” Today I saw the photo on a Yahoo News site with this caption and a Reuters news agency credit,”A woman shares her food with her dog at an evacuation center for pets and their owners near an area devastated.”

It was the chopsticks that got me. When disaster strikes, no matter where in the world it occurs, I’m always reminded of one thing important to people in nearly every culture and country: Pets.

Some would even say pets are essential for humans to retain their humanity.

Still, the elephant in the living room (the thing no one wants to admit is present) is the fate of pets impacted by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan. I admit, finally — and here in black-and-white, that during or following a disaster, my primary concern is the welfare of animals. I suspect that’s blasphemy of some sort in some circles somewhere. But not here on a blog about animals being everything to us.

I know there are thousands of folks right there with me, who believe we need to help the innocent, silent, four-legged victims of the March 11 quake in Japan just as we do the hurting, homeless people there.

In fact, there are extensive relief efforts underway in Japan to rescue and shelter pets. This Yahoo News article is a good place to learn more about how to help the animal rescue crews doing this beyond-hard-and-beyond-sad work on the ground in Japan.

The story title is, “Japan Animal Rescues Rush to Save Pets Affected by Earthquake, Tsunami.” You’ll find it at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110319/lf_ac/8095542_japan_animal_rescues_rush_to_save_pets_affected_by_earthquake_tsunami

The grand scale of Japan’s devastation harkened me back to the massive pet rescue operations that followed Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast of America in 2005.  The last account I read estimated that 15,000 pets were rescued, reunited or re-homed in the Katrina aftermath. Approximately 250,000 were not, because they drowned or starved.

Proof that animals are everything to many people: Think about the great many times during the Katrina evacuation that, on TV, we saw or heard people refuse to leave their home and get out of harm’s way unless they could take their beloved dog, cat, bird, fish with them. That, in most cases, was not permitted.

So people stayed, sometimes dying with their pet in their arms.

At least those Katrina pets were not lost for naught. Politicians and lawmakers recognized that saving pets ultimately saves people’s lives. Following the hurricane, the U.S. government passed the Pet Evacuation Transportation Safety (PETS) Act, which states that local governments must include “companion animals” in their disaster planning efforts.

Although this typically applies to dogs and cats, many jurisdictions are making the effort to include a wide variety of animals—including exotics, horses and non-traditional pets—in their disaster plans. However, this varies from locality to locality. (Source http://www.aspca.org)

Schools routinely have drills for staff and students to “walk through” disaster plans. Families are encouraged to practice what to do if disaster strikes their home.

Let’s give our companion animals that level of care: Put a plan in place, practice it WITH your pet and work out the kinks. For example, if your cat won’t go into a cat carrier, train it now, so your feline won’t refuse to do so in an emergency.

You can learn more about animal-related disaster laws and preparations at: Pet Laws for Evacuation | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_7488437_pet-laws-evacuation.html#ixzz1HMvkrn1u. For tips on planning ahead in case of  a disaster, visit:  http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/animals.shtm#1.dog

 

After barking at approaching reporters, the dog on the left led them to its hurt canine comrade.

Rescue efforts are not limited to people aiding animals. Sometimes, animals help animals. Watch this short news video and see a remarkable instance of one dog’s devotion to another dog, following the earthquake in Japan.

Here’s how the San Francisco Chronicle’s website, SFGate, described the scene: “In the aftermath of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, a tired, muddy and disoriented spaniel emerged from a pile of rubble to lead rescuers to his injured four-legged pal. He had remained steadfast beside his canine compatriot since the disaster leveled their home six days ago.

“The hero hound was housed at a local animal shelter while rescuers took his injured companion for treatment at a veterinarian hospital in nearby Mito.” You can see the video at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/pets/detail?entry_id=85210#ixzz1HOkyiM3B.

THIS WEEK’S ANIMAL LESSON: “Be part of the solution, not the problem.”

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As much as I love writing about animals, helping animals is an underlying reason for AnimalsOurEVERYTHING!, the blog.

Here’s an easy way we can all help animals waiting for forever homes.  Today, March 15, animal lovers everywhere are uniting to spread the word about how good it is to think “adopt” or “rescue” when searching for a new pet companion. It’s good for the pets, and it’s good for our souls.

Kobe, a chocolate Labrador retriever that came to us four years ago. Finding a new dog was a first order of business when we moved from California to Oregon. We knew our new place wouldn't feel like home until dog hair and paw prints appeared all about.

I am always staggered at the  incomprehensible number of homeless  critters: Petfinder, alone, has a database of 320,000 in-need animals. Many followers of AnimalsOurEVERYTHING! have pooches and kitties brought to them through some form of pet adoption.

We (husband, son and I) currently have two re-homed Labrador retrievers and a cat that adopted us when she was abandoned and pregnant.

Brooke, our black Labrador retriever, was "rehomed" with us two years ago. She is a most exuberant companion for Kobe as well as for us.

Please consider e-mailing and tweeting friends and posting on Facebook and blogs about this Adopt the Internet Campaign.

But first, I hope you’ll take a look at the blog post written by Dr. Nancy Kay, a friend, a vet — and one of the smartest, kindest women I know, about Adopt the Internet. She offers great perspective and first-person accounts of dog adoption.
http://speakingforspot.com/blog/.

(Check out Dr. Kay’s book, “Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life,” while you’re on her blog. Visits to your vet will  never be the same — they’ll be better.)

Thanks and bowwow meow!

—————————————————–

*What It’s All About*
In honor of our 15th birthday <http://www.petfinder.com/info/birthday>,
Petfinder is asking people everywhere to pledge to spread the word online
about adoptable pets on March 15, 2011.

Adopt the Internet

By Nancy Kay, DVM

Please, will you join the “Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet Day” effort on March 15th?  Email your dog loving friends and relatives.  Feel free to share this blog post with them.  Heck, write a blog post of your own! Together we will increase awareness about adopting homeless pets and hopefully create the kinds of happy endings that Quinn and my family have enjoyed.

Do you have your own story about adopting a homeless pet?  We’d love to hear it.   Know of an animal who needs a home?  On March 15th, please post a photo along with adoption contact information on Dr. Kay’s  Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/speakingforspot).

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

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Matilda, a rescued brood jenny, was bred every year of her life yet never fed anything but straw. Malnourishment during pregnancy is one of the reasons Matilda’s back has become so swayed. God bless Apifera Farm for bringing her home. Photo source: http://www.apiferafarm.blogspot.com/

DONKEYS. Katherine Dunn, an acquaintance of a good friend and farmer, has an awesome website and blog where she shares wonderful pieces and photos of her Oregon farm, Apifera, and life there. Katherine, an accomplished artist who is devoted to animal rescue, describes it as the place where art and animals collide.

She happily admits being enraptured with donkeys, most especially their oh-so-telling ears. She was reaching out to help find homes for nine recently-rescued donkeys (Their owner was going to shoot them, because they were in such sad shape he knew they’d bring him nothing at auction.) when I first learned about her talent, her farm and her missions. You, too, can learn more about everything Apifera at http://www.apiferafarm.blogspot.com/.

If you’re searching for a worthy animal-related cause to support, consider helping the donkeys and other critters at Apifera.

If you have an interest in providing a home for one of Matilda’s herd mates, please visit the website for Lavender Dream Farms in Washington where they are now residing and awaiting forever homes: http://www.lavenderdreamsfarm.net/

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