Thursday, February 28, 2008

Can You Find the Pit Bull?

Pit Bull lovers in Minnesota, my home state, are currently battling attempts to introduce Breed-Specific Legislation which would ban ownership of "Pit Bulls," Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Akitas, Wolf-Hybrids, or any mix thereof.

One of the many problems with Breed-Specific Legislation is that there is no such thing as a "Pit Bull" as a breed. Several breeds are commonly classified as "Pit Bulls," such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

However, dozens of different types of dogs are commonly mis-identified as "Pit Bulls." Herein lies the problem. Even pit-bull fanciers, and persons that would be classified as "experts" can have difficulties determining whether a dog is a purebred "Pit Bull." Yet, Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) typically requires law enforcement officers or animal control officers to try to make on-the-spot determinations as to whether a given dog is a "Pit Bull."

Part of the problem underlying Breed-Specific Legislation is that is it usually based on the notion that Pit Bulls are somehow inherently dangerous. This idea is typically based on widespread media reports of "Pit Bull" attacks. The Merrit Clifton "study" and the Centers for Disease Control statistics are widely relied on by proponents of Breed Specific Legislation. The CDC freely admits that its statistics are unreliable, however, Clifton concludes that his study reflects that Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous dogs. Both the CDC study and the Clifton study rely on MEDIA reports of dog attacks. We all know the problem with that...a cocker spaniel attacks a child, and it isn't reported. A "pit bull" scratches someone and it makes national headlines.

Beyond that, given the fact that "experts" often have difficulty identifying "pit bulls" how on earth can one expect that victims of dog attacks would accurately identify the breed of the dog?

To illustrate this problem, please visit Pitbulls on the Web. Can you Find the Pitbulls? I consider myself relatively knowledgeable about dog breeds, but I was TOTALLY wrong! I'm sad to admit that I've seen this webpage many times before, yet I STILL can't pick out the pit bulls! Can you??

For more information on the battle against BSL in Minnesota, please visit A Rotta Love Plus.

For more information about Breed-Specific Legislation in general, please check out these resources:

The Merritt Clifton study so you can judge for yourself. Biased much?
The CDC study on dog-related fatalities.
Info on BSL from Pit Bull Rescue Central.
Understand-a-Bull: Great Resources about BSL.
Dog Bite Law, presents a balanced view of the issue of dog-bites.
Good summary of the issues from Dog-Play.
HSUS position statement on BSL.
More info from Bless the Bullys.
Good info from PitBulls on the Web.
From PitBulls: The Truth -- lots of great facts and resources. really good info about BSL.
BADRAP's take on BSL.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Willy, Happy Black Lab Desperately Needs a New Home, Nebraska

Willy NE4 is an adult male purebred black labrador retriever in desperate need of a new home. He's a fun-loving guy that would make an awesome family pet! Willy's adoption fee is $30, which includes Parvo, Distemper, Hepititis, and Parainfiluenza vaccinations, a free vet exam, a $15.00 neuter coupon, and a $5.00 rabies coupon. Willy is located at the North Platte Animal Shelter in North Platte, Nebraska. The Shelter is an animal control facility, so Willy's time is extremely limited! In fact, he is scheduled for euthanization on March 3, 2008. Can you give this happy guy a new life?

If you are interested in adopting Willy, please contact the shelter immediately!

North Platte Animal Shelter
1402 N Sycamore St.
Contact name: Staci Blake
Contact email:


Catnappers: Helping Feral Caretakers

I ran across a wonderful organization called Catnappers, located in Albany, Georgia. This organization is dedicated to helping feral cats by providing assistance, education, and resources to feral cat caretakers.

One of the major ways they are helping feral cats is through their low-cost spay and neuter program. Catnappers sponsors low-cost spay and neuter clinics, and clinics especially for feral cat caretakers. Through sponsoring T-N-R (Trap-Neuter-Return), Catnappers is assisting caring individuals to help feral cats.

So how can you help this awesome program? Sponsor a spay! Click here to donate to this wonderful cause! Feral cat caretakers can also apply for assistance from Catnappers directly through their website.

PO Box 71203
Albany, Ga. 31708

Why Shelters and Rescue Organizations Charge Adoption Fees

I'm honored to report that Jane at Pet Rescuer Central asked me to do a guest post on her site about why shelters and rescues charge adoption fees. She has kindly permitted me to repost the article here.

I often run into people that think they should be able to “adopt” or “rescue” a pet free of charge. After all, they’re saving the animal’s life, right? Why should they have to pay anything when they’re doing that organization a favor by taking the pet off their hands? Plus, giving away those pets, or reducing the fee will encourage more people to adopt, right?

These folks are missing the big picture.

Shelters and rescue organizations charge adoption fees for three basic reasons: 1) to attempt to recoup a small portion of the cost of rescuing pets, 2) to discourage impulse adoptions, and 3) to keep the bad guys away.

1. First, shelters and rescue organizations charge a fee to attempt to cover at least a portion of the costs incurred in caring for the pet prior to the adoption. Depending on the agency, the costs involved can vary greatly. Some shelters provide only food, water, and shelter before the animal is adopted, or more likely, euthanized. Other shelters and organizations, however, go to great lengths to save severely ill, injured, or neglected pets, and care for the animal until it finds a home, which can sometimes be for the life of the animal. Most shelters and rescue organizations fall somewhere in the middle. Often, these organizations are no-kill, which (depending on who you ask), means that a pet will be taken care of for the duration of its life if a suitable adoptive home cannot be found. In addition to providing the basic necessities of food, water and shelter to these pets, most organizations also spay or neuter, provide vaccinations, perform necessary veterinary care, and last, but not least, provide companionship, socialization, and comfort for the pet prior to its adoption. Non-profit organizations, such as most humane societies and rescue organizations exist and do their work supported solely by the generosity of donors. Once in a great while, these organizations receive grants, endowments, or other forms of funding, but not very often. And, contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of organizations receive absolutely no funding from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), or any other national animal welfare organization. Animal control facilities, on the other hand, often have contracts with local government to protect the public from stray, unwanted, or sick animals. However, the funding received by animal control facilities usually does not even come close to the amount needed to do a good job.

This is where the adoption fee comes in. Depending on the extent and level of care provided to the animal prior to its adoption, the fee is almost always dwarfed in scale to the actual expense incurred in caring for that pet.

Here’s a fairly common scenario: A rescue organization “rescues” what appears to be a purebred male black Labrador retriever that is about 1 ½ years old, from an animal control facility, where it has been slated for death because its owner cannot be found, and its “hold time” has expired. The animal control facility has most likely provided only the bare necessities, i.e., food, water, and shelter, to the dog during its stay at the “pound.” When the rescue pulls the dog, it often has to pay a “pull” fee, which is generally a reduced adoption fee. Let’s say the pull fee is $15.00 for rescue organizations at this particular animal control facility.

Now the lab is on his way to a new life. Let’s call him Buckley. The rescue organization whisks him immediately to the vet to determine if he’s healthy, and to determine whether he needs any medical treatment. Buckley’s was picked up as a stray, so he’s quite underweight. He’s also got a serious flea and tick problem. Buckley’s also got a bit of kennel cough from being housed with other sick dogs while at animal control. He’s also picked up intestinal parasites, or worms, along the way. And the rescue is devastated to find out that Buckley tests positive for heartworm. Sadly, heartworm is very common in shelter dogs in some areas of the country. Heartworm is extremely easy to prevent, but it is very difficult and expensive to treat.

In addition to the cost of the exam, the rescue organization also incurs $25.00 to treat his fleas, $25.00 to treat his kennel cough, $10.00 to get his rabies vaccination, $15.00 to get his other basic vaccinations, and $15.00 to de-worm him. The total bill is $140.00 for Buckley’s first visit. The vet gives a rescue discount, so this is a huge bargain!

Buckley goes to his new foster home who has to keep him isolated from her own pets due to his kennel cough, but he’s thrilled to be out of the pound. A couple weeks later, Buckley has gained a little weight after being on a good quality diet, which for three weeks, cost the rescue organization $30.00. Buckley’s also working on housetraining, which he’s picking up quickly. His previous owner apparently had never bothered to let him inside the house. Buckley also apparently has some food aggression issues and some slight dominance issues. Not major obstacles, but it will make him slightly more difficult to place in a good home. The foster will work on these issues while he stays in her care.

Since Buckley’s up to a healthy weight, its time to start his heartworm treatment. Being a generous vet, she offers to treat him for only $400.00. The treatment will take several weeks to complete, and during that time, his foster has to make sure that he does not exert himself at all! Tough job when you’re dealing with a young black lab! Finally, several weeks later, Buckley tests negative for heartworm. His total heartworm treatment cost the rescue organization $400.00. During the six weeks of his treatment, he stayed with his foster mom, and the rescue paid for his food, which amounted to $60.00. They also paid for a bed, a crate, some dog shampoo, a couple tennis balls, and a collar and leash. The total amount incurred by the rescue organization for these “extras” was $120.00.

Now that Buckley’s healthy, it’s time to get him neutered. His previous owner never bothered to do that. There are probably several dozens of litters of unwanted black lab mix litters fathered by Buckley scattered throughout the area. His neuter costs the rescue a discounted amount of $70.00. Finally, Buckley is ready to go to his new home!

But, after several weeks of attending adoption events and a few inquiries here and there, Buckley still doesn’t have a home. You see, big black dogs like Buckley are often overlooked for fluffy, small, light-colored dogs. The foster’s other dogs are adopted one by one, but Buckley is still there. The fact that Buckley has slight food aggression problems, and some slight dominance issues means that there are fewer potential adopters willing to take a chance on him. He’d probably be best in a home without small children, without other dogs, and with owners who have experience with these types of issues. They are not huge issues, but they make it more difficult for Buckley to find the right home. More weeks go by, and it becomes months. After eight months, Buckley still doesn’t have a home. Meanwhile, the rescue organization is still incurring the cost of caring for him. It costs about $10.00 a week to feed Buckley, so after eight months, the rescue organization has incurred a food bill of $320.00.

Finally, one day, a black lab fancier spots Buckley at an adoption event at a local pet store. He recently lost his black lab to old age, and is looking for a new buddy. There are no kids in the home, and no other pets. Perfect match! The adopter takes one look into Buckley’s big brown eyes and immediately knows he’s the one. He gladly donates the $200.00 adoption fee to the rescue organization, knowing full well that that amount doesn’t even begin to cover the costs of caring for Buckley. Buckley found his perfect forever home.

Total cost incurred by the rescue organization to find Buckley his perfect forever home: $1050.00 (this is an extremely low estimate), not including the volunteer hours spent on his care. Total cost to the adopter: $200.00. Who’s getting the bargain here?

2. Second, shelters and rescue organizations charge a fee as a way to avoid “impulse” adoptions. You wouldn’t buy that puppy in the pet store for $1700 on a whim, would you? Then you shouldn’t be adopting one on a whim, either.

If a person has to pay even a nominal fee prior to adopting a pet, it makes that person stop and think, if just for a moment, about whether or not they really want that pet. Impulse buys are one of the main reasons that pets are abandoned at shelters. People see the cute puppy or kitten, take it home, and then realize a short time later, that their impulse purchase was a bad idea. If you have to pay for the animal, it slows that impulse down just a little bit.

The logic is the same if I get something for free. Say I get a free TV. It’s used, it’s been around the block, its not perfect. I didn’t pay anything for it, so when it stops working, I just throw it away. On the other hand, say I paid $2000 for that TV. Do I throw it away when it stops working? NO! I call the repairman and get it fixed. Same goes for pets. It seems crass, but people tend to take the commitment more seriously when they have to pay for a pet.

In addition, if that adoption fee of $100, $200, or even $300 seems high, how on earth are you going to afford a pet? If all goes well, and your pet is fully vetted and in good health when you adopt it, it is still going to cost you upwards of a thousand dollars a year to care for it, including food, grooming, toys, beds, flea preventative, heartworm preventative, yearly vet exams and vaccinations. And that’s assuming nothing goes wrong. Pets can and do get hurt. They can and do get sick. They’re no different than kids. If you can’t afford the $200.00 adoption fee, what are you going to do when your dog or cat is hit by a car (although they shouldn’t be in the road in the first place)? What are you going to do if they eat something they aren’t supposed to? What happens when your pet gets older and age takes its toll?

3. Third, adoption fees also serve a screening function for shelters and rescue organizations. These organizations want the best home possible for the pets, and they want someone who is seriously committed to caring for the pet to the best of their ability. If someone really wants a pet, and is willing to pay the fee, it speaks to that person’s dedication toward that pet.

It also keeps the bad guys away. Shelters and rescue organizations also use a fee for the same reason that individuals that must rehome their pets should NEVER, NEVER give the animal way “free to a good home.” Offering a pet for free is an invitation for miscreants to “adopt” your pet and possibly do horrible things to it. Think that’s an exaggeration? Think again. One graphic example pops into my mind—a forensics student was adopting “free to good home” cats and kittens posted on Craigslist. By all accounts, he appeared to be a completely sincere adopter. Only later did those former pet owners find out that this “adopter” had been charged for several counts of animal cruelty after he was arrested for gruesomely shooting several cats at close range. He said he was studying the blood spatter patterns. Another grizzly tale involves an “adopter” feeding “free to good home” kittens to his pet snake.

A “free to good home” pet can also end up in the hands of a “buncher.” “Bunchers” are disgusting people who “gather” by whatever means they can, dogs and cats. From there, the bunchers sell the pets to people known as “Class B Dealers,” who are licensed by the USDA to “collect” pets to be sold as “random source” animals to research facilities. These “Class B Dealers” then turn around and sell those pets to animal research facilities. Shelters and rescue organizations obviously don’t want their pets to end up as research subjects, and neither do most well-intentioned pet owners to must re-home their pets for whatever reason. At bare minimum, an adoption fee should be $25.00 to discourage “bunchers.”

“Free to good home” pets are often used as “bait” animals for fighting dogs. With the publicity surrounding the Michael Vick case, the public has grown aware of the problem of dog-fighting. A sad by-product of this cruel activity is that pets are routinely stolen, or “adopted” and then used as “practice” or “bait” for fighting dogs.

While most non-profit shelters and rescue organizations spay or neuter their pets prior to adoption, some animal control facilities do not. Un-altered pets that appear to be purebred gotten cheaply can end up as breeding stock in a puppy mill. If you are unfamiliar with puppy mills, take a moment and do a Google search. You don’t want your pet to end up at one of these facilities, and neither do shelters. Un-altered purebred dogs should never be offered for adoption for less than $100.00. A puppy mill can make that $100.00 back off of one litter of pups from your pet.

Finally, well-meaning but sick individuals often “adopt” free to good home pets, or pets with extremely low adoption fees from high-kill animal control facilities. They mean to save the lives of the pets, but they usually don’t have the resources to properly care for all of the pets they “collect.” These people are hoarders. Occasionally, you see stories on the news about extreme examples of hundreds of pets in horrific conditions being seized from an individual’s home. Believe it or not, sometimes these people have been getting pets from animal control facilities or shelters who charge little or no adoption fee. More often, however, they “adopt” “free to good home” pets.

There are three primary reasons shelters and rescue organizations charge adoption fees: 1) to attempt to recoup a portion of the costs of caring for the pets; 2) to discourage impulse adoptions; and 3) to keep the bad guys at bay. If you are looking to adopt a pet, but think it is unreasonable to pay even a modest adoption fee, you probably should not have a pet.

Sadie is SAFE! Proof of the Power of the "Post"

Sadie is going HOME!

If you've been reading my blog for a while, or if you read Houndsgood, you're familiar with Sadie's story.

She had been dumped at Heard County Animal Control, a very small, rural shelter in Franklin, Georgia. Her owners claimed that she had nipped another small dog in the home in a squabble over food. For this, Sadie was abandoned and labeled as "dog-aggressive." Heard Co. AC does everything in its power to place pets before they are forced to euthanize for space, but things weren't looking good for Sadie. After a couple weeks at the pound, no one had expressed any interest in her, despite everyone's efforts.

Chris at Houndsgood has been keeping the blogging world updated on her story. After a week or so at the pound, it was apparent that Sadie didn't have dog aggression issues. Most likely, her previous owner blew the incident way out of proportion. Yet, Sadie still had no place to go and she was long past her "times up" date.

Amazingly, one of Chris's readers has stepped up and offered to adopt Sadie!!! She is going to a happy new life! Congrats Sadie!!

This story is TRULY a testament to the power of the internet. I've seen it happen several times now! Simply posting the photo and story about a pet in need on your site can indeed save lives!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Awards Galore!

I'm thrilled to announce that the Dog Log has awarded us with THREE, yes, count them, THREE blog awards. Thank you so much :) As a newbie to the world of blogging, it really means a lot when our fellow bloggers think of Saving Lives One at a Time when they're passing on blog awards.

We'd like to pass on these awards to the following blogs:

1. HoundsGood. I absolutely love this blog!
2. Rescue Me. This wonderful blog features the profiles of sweet dogs in need of homes.
3. My View of "It". This blog is utterly fascinating! You can't tell where I fall in the political spectrum, can you? ;)
4. Pet Monologues. Everything you could ever want to know about animals. Truly some great stuff!

TODAY ONLY!!! Shop at the Animal Rescue Site and Help Fund Spays and Neuters in Honor of Spay Day USA 2008

If you're a frequent visitor to this site, you are probably aware of The Animal Rescue Site. At the Animal Rescue Site, you can click a button for free and advertisers help fund food for pets in shelters. You can also make purchases through the Animal Rescue Site Store, which also help fund food for shelter animals.

In honor of Spay Day USA 2008, the Animal Rescue Site is offering a wonderful promotion! For every completed order TODAY ONLY, the Animal Rescue Site will help fund a spay or neuter, in addition to the animal food your order helps generate.

I always make a point to check out the Animal Rescue Site Store when I'm doing my Christmas shopping because they have such unique gift items, but I couldn't resist doing a little shopping today, just because I know my purchases are helping fund spays and neuters.

Here's what I purchased:

From the site: "Written by Elise Lufkin with photgraphs by Diana Walker, the book Found Dogs: Tales of Strays is a moving tribute to the power of love between people and dogs -- how that love has transformed dogs who were lost, and the people who were lucky enough to find them."

This purchase funded 14 bowls of food for pets in need and also helped fund a spay and/or neuter.

I needed a new night light for my bathroom and I thought these were so cute! I picked the white one.

From the site:
Designed by artist Susan Watkin and hand-painted, this cartoon-styled cat is available in Black or White.

This purchase funded 14 bowls of food as well as a spay and/or neuter.

I also needed some new slippers for cruising around on my hardwood floors when it's chilly outside. I picked the black ones...aren't they cute?

From the site: Keep those toes toasty with these adorable Sly Kitty Slippers, featuring an embroidered white cat surrounded by floating hearts. "The Animal Rescue Site" is embroidered along with our signature purple paw in the heel of each slipper. Soft, feel-good slippers are made with low-maintenance polyester top, and high-grip rubber sole.

This purchase funded 14 bowls of food as well as a spay and/or neuter.

Last but not least, I picked out this cute kitty wall hanger. I chose the one with the orange and black kitties, since I happen to be partial to orange ;). And this item was on SALE!

From the site: The friendly litter of kittens on our Feline Friends Coat Hanger will care for your coats while you're away. Handmade and hand-painted with a fun feline theme, this coat hanger is an ideal hallway addition for a cat lover.

This purchase funded 14 bowls of food as well as a spay and/or neuter.

If you have any gift shopping to do, or just feel like picking up a nice treat for yourself, today is the day to do it at The Animal Rescue Site Store! In honor of Spay Day USA 2008, the Animal Rescue Site is funding spays and neuters for every purchase. Pick up a great gift for yourself or someone you love, or help spread the word!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rated E for Excellent

I'm proud and honored to report that Saving Lives One At a Time has been awarded the "Rated E for Excellent" Award by Pet Rescuer Central. Thank you so much for this honor!

Saving Lives One At A Time would like to pass this award on to:

1. Catnip Corner
2. The Dog Log
3. Dogz 'N' Catz
4. Rescue Dog Central

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Mr. Sweet Potato Head" Needs a Special Home, Georgia

"Mr. Sweet Potato Head"

This handsome orange kitty has seen the rougher sides of the street, as evidenced by the scratches on his face. Affectionately nicknamed "Mr. Sweet Potato Head," this guy absolutely loves to be petted! He purrs non-stop! Despite his rough appearance, all "Mr. Sweet Potato Head" wants is someone to love.

"Mr. Sweet Potato Head" is already neutered and up-to-date on shots. This lover-boy is, however, FIV positive, and as such he needs a special home. His FIV-positive status is most likely the result of his life on the streets. It does not have to be a death sentence for him!

Many people, even cat people, shudder at the term "FIV," because often, FIV positive cats are euthanized and never even given a chance for adoption. FIV cats, or cats with Feline Immuno-deficiency Virus, can lead long, happy, healthy lives.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessarily mandatory to keep an FIV cat separated from non-infected cats. It is only spread through blood, such as the case of serious puncture wounds.

Here are some facts about FIV from the Best Friends Animal Society:

1. The Feline Immuno-deficiency Virus is a slow virus that affects a cat's immune system over a period of years.

2. FIV is a cat-only disease and cannot be spread to humans or other non-felines.

3. FIV cats most often live long, healthy, and relatively normal lives with no symptoms at all.

4. FIV is not easily passed between cats. It cannot be spread casually - like in litter boxes, water and food bowls, or when snuggling and playing. It is rarely spread from a mother to her kittens.

5. The virus can be spread through blood transfusions, badly infected gums, or serious, penetrating bite wounds. (Bite wounds of this kind are extremely rare, except in free-roaming, unneutered tomcats.)

6. A neutered cat, in a home, is extremely unlikely to infect other cats, if properly introduced.

7. Many vets are not educated about FIV since the virus was only discovered 15 years ago.

8. FIV-positive cats should be kept as healthy as possible. Keep them indoors and free from stress, feed them a high-quality diet, keep and treat any secondary problems as soon as they arise.

The biggest challenge to keeping an FIV cat is the necessity to be vigilant about any health issues. For more information about FIV, please visit this article from Best Friends.

Please don't let FIV scare you away from this wonderful kitty! If you are interested in adopting "Mr. Sweet Potato Head," please contact Heard County Animal Control immediately. Because "Mr. Sweet Potato Head" was picked up by animal control, his time is extremely limited!

Heard County Animal Control Center
11818 Ga Hwy 100
Franklin, GA 30217
Phone: 706-675-3570 (Ask for Kaylene)

***UPDATE 2/27***
Great News! Winging Cat Rescue has rescued "Mr. Sweet Potato Head," and he will be making his way to a special-needs sanctuary a couple states away.

Using "Social Networking" to Help Shelter Pets

If you are a regular blogger, you are probably aware of several of the "social networking" sites. If you are a "social networking" newbie, Wikipedia describes "A social network service focuses on the building and verifying of online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others, and which necessitates the use of software."

There are hundreds of different social networking services out there, but here are a few of my favorites, and tips on how you can use them to help shelter pets.

1. Myspace.

For all of its faults, Myspace is an AWESOME networking tool for animal rescue organizations. My cats have had their own myspace page for a couple years, and I've seen first-hand the power of networking there.

If your rescue organization does not have a Myspace page, drop what you are doing, and create one right now! It allows you to connect with thousands of pet lovers across the country, and even across the world. It is just another way to get the word out about your rescue efforts, and to spread the word about your pets in need.

The "bulletins" feature is especially helpful for animal rescue organizations. You can send out a bulletin to your "friends" with photos of your neediest pets, you can use it to announce a fund-raising drive, and you can use it to share good news. Even if you have only a few friends, some of those friends will inevitably pick up your bulletin and re-post it. Several organizations I support use this as a very effective fund-raising tool. If your friend list includes 300 people, and 30 of those friends pass your bulletin on to their friends list of 300, and 30 of each of those people pass on the bulletin, you can imagine the possibilities.

If you are a pet lover, you can help the efforts of animal rescue organizations through your Myspace page. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Add a link or banner on your profile page to your favorite animal welfare organization.

2. Blog about your favorite organization using the "blog" feature.

3. Join "groups" dedicated to your favorite organization, your favorite species, or your favorite breed.

4. Add animal rescue organizations as your "friends!" This is critical! The more "friends" these organizations have, the greater the reach of their network.

5. Make your favorite groups your "top friends" and proudly display them on your profile page. People browsing your page may be inspired to check out your top friends.

6. Pick a shelter or rescue organization and post a bulletin about their urgent pets in need, or post a bulletin about their current fund-raising effort. Encourage your friends to pass it on!

7. PASS THOSE BULLETINS ON!!!! This is the single most important way to help on Myspace!

Don't have any animal rescue friends on Myspace? Feel free to add Reekoe & Eddie, my cats. If I accidentally deny your request for friendship, please send a short note and ask me to add you. Most of the time I deny requests from "humans" because 99% of the time they are spammer profiles. Reekoe & Eddie's page can help you get started in animal rescue networking on Myspace.

2. Facebook

Facebook is another social networking site, similar to Myspace, without most of the junk. Generally, you don't have random strangers attempting to befriend you on Facebook, unlike Myspace. This is another site that animal rescue organizations should consider. You can keep your supporters updated on your efforts and help spread the word about what's going on with your group. Facebook is more "intimate" than Myspace, so your "friends" are much more likely to actually extend their support than your friends on Myspace, who are often simply "friend" collectors. However, it is somewhat more difficult to spread your network on Facebook than it is on Myspace.

For Facebook users, you can help animal rescue organizations by joining groups dedicated to various animal welfare issues, or by befriending animal rescue organizations. You can also help by posting information about your favorite organizations or posting links to their sites.

Think of the Care2 as a less trashy version of Myspace for online activists. There's all sorts of networking tools available on Care2, and to be honest, I haven't fully explored them all. Here's a brief rundown of the tools I have used:

1. Care2 is home to one of the two major "click to donate" sites. You can click daily FOR FREE to support various causes, including pets in need, saving the rainforest, ending violence against women, and more. Click daily!!

2. Care2 also has a vast network of "groups" which you can join which focus on a wide variety of interests. Each group has a "mini-forum" for spreading information about particular causes. These groups are an awesome way to promote pets in need! Not only can you cross-post information about pets in need and fundraisers throughout the Care2 community--you can cross-post that information to other social networking sites.

3. It also has a blog feature, and each time you post a blog, your friends automatically receive a copy of your post. In fact, anytime you contribute anything to the Care2 community, your friends are notified. It's a great way to keep your supporters or friends updated on your rescue activities, or the causes you support.

4. There is a News Network that is an incredible tool! You can submit news stories which are "noted" by other community members. The more "notes" they receive, the higher up they appear on the news page. Sort of like "Digg" for a different community. And since you are promoting stories to other people with similar interests, you usually get a pretty good response! This is a great way to help shelters and rescue organizations. If your favorite group is having a fundraiser, or if there is a dog or cat that is in desperate need of help, submit it, and it will be quickly passed around the Care2 community.

Care2 is one of my favorite sites. I get most of my information about what's going on in the world of animal welfare from this site. One of the problems with Myspace and other large social networking sites is that if you send out a message on behalf of an animal rescue organization, you often miss your target audience, or those you do hit, don't know what to do with the information, or simply don't care. With Care2, you are hitting your target audience square on. The best part about it is that the community is comprised of like-minded individuals, trying to do a little bit to make the world a better place.

Squidoo is sort of a cross between blogging and social networking. When you join Squidoo, you can create a "lens," which is essentially a simple web page. It's very easy! You don't need to know any html, and the templates are already made for you. You can even add templates to earn a little bit of money from your lens (although you have the option to donate any money to a charity of your choice). From there, you can link to other "lenses" of interest, and it creates a network of mini-websites. You can also add your "lenses" to groups to network.

Here's a sample of a "lens" I built to promote one of my favorite animal rescue organizations.

You can make your lens about any topic, and pet lovers, you can create one about your pet!
Squidoo is also a good tool for animal rescue organizations. Consider it an off-shoot of your main site, and keep it updated with your current rescue efforts, your fund-raisers, or your pets in need.

For pet lovers, you can promote your favorite organizations by linking to their websites, writing posts about them, or adding their "lens" to your "lensroll."

Stumbleupon is sort of a social networking site. What you do is "stumble" random sites or sites within an interest category you select. Then you give them the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down," and you can also write reviews. You can also submit sites that you find interesting by writing a short review. By some magical formula, Stumbleupon occasionally decides to send a flood of traffic to the site you "discovered."

Stumbleupon is kind of hit or miss as to whether your submitted site receives traffic. But when it rains it pours. Stumbleupon has the potential to send thousands of "stumblers" to the site you submit. I've found, however, that "stumblers" tend to be a fickle bunch. They normally don't spend much time at the sites as they "stumble" through them, so you've really got to get their attention. They tend to be looking for "instant gratification," if you will.

Anyone with an animal-welfare related site should definitely "stumble" your site, as its a great way to get some extra exposure. For pet lovers, consider downloading the Stumbleupon tool-bar and start submitting your favorite sites! Simply by "stumbling" a site, you can potentially send thousands of viewers to take a look! And give a "thumbs-up" to the sites you enjoy as you are "stumbling." (Please note, "stumbling" through sites is quite addictive!).

I'm sort of torn about Stumbleupon. I use it regularly, but haven't had too much luck in directing traffic to the sites I'm trying to promote. Once in a while, though, one will really hit the jackpot and get several thousand hits. On the other hand, "stumbling" is quite fun (and addicting) and I've run across some really amazing sites through the service. Consider giving it a try!

Now you tell me! Which "social networking" sites are your favorites? How do you use them to help shelter pets? Are there sites to avoid? Thanks in advance for your input!!

Rescue Dog Central, Fantastic Resources for Animal Welfare Advocates

I ran across Rescue Dog Central, a blog focused on raising awareness about issues in animal welfare, the other day, and I was blown away. This site has DOZENS of fantastic and informative articles regarding all sorts of topics of interest in the animal welfare community. These aren't just re-posted articles...these are thoughtful, well-written articles about various topics from Tammy Grimes and Dogs Deserve Better to Animal Hoarding to Adopting a Senior Pet.

Most recently, Rescue Dog Central has been covering the emerging story of a huge pit-bull fighting bust, involving several arrests of top-level fighting dog breeders, as well as the rescue of 150+ pit bulls, in Tuscon, Arizona.

I can't recommend this site enough! Subscribe in RSS today to keep updated on what's happening in the animal welfare community!

Beautiful Brownie is Looking for a New Home, Georgia

Isn't Brownie a knock-out? I don't think I've ever seen a dog that looked like her before. Now Brownie is what I would call a real "designer dog." Brownie is a most likely an Australian Cattle Dog/Labrador Retriever mix. She's about 5 months old, so she is still just a puppy! She gets along well with other dogs, and she loves to play. One of Brownie's favorite past-times is to hang out in the grass and watch the world go by. Are you the special someone Brownie is looking for?

Sadly, Brownie is located at an animal control facility, which means her time is extremely limited! Douglas County Animal Control works hard to save its pets, but resources and space are always limited. Douglas County also recently received a huge influx of pets due to the eviction of a trailer park. If Brownie is not what you are looking for, Douglas County has all sorts of wonderful dogs and cats in need of new homes. If you live in the area, please consider adopting a pet -- you will be saving a life! If you can't adopt or don't live in the area, please consider cross-posting on behalf of these pets.

If you are interested in adopting Brownie or another pet from Douglas County AC, please contact them immediately!

Douglas County Animal Control
1755 County Services Rd.
Douglasville, GA 30134
Phone: 770-942-5961
Fax 770-942-5914


How Much is that Doggie in the Window: The True Cost of Buying a Pet-Store Puppy, Part I

I know I may be preaching to the choir here, but please, please, PLEASE, do NOT buy a dog from a pet store, EVER! PERIOD! And, NEVER, EVER buy a puppy online.

Pet store puppies and internet puppies are one in the same. The are produced in puppy mills, which are giant puppy factories, where hundreds of breeding dogs are confined to tiny cages for their entire lives with little or no vet care, no socialization, and absolutely no love whatsoever. Their sole purpose is to produce as many puppies as possible before their worn out bodies break down, and they are tossed out like trash. These dogs live horrific lives. And by purchasing a dog from a pet store or online, you are directly supporting this industry and the cruelty endured by the parent dogs.

I'm always amazed by how often I run into people that don't know anything about puppy mills. And call me an "animal rights nut" or whatever you will, but I think the pictures of these poor animals make it more than evident that the puppy mill industry must be stopped.

CAUTION: This may be difficult to watch for sensitive viewers.

Here are just a few links to get you started:

The Humane Society of the United States, Stop Puppy Mills site
Prisoners of Greed
United Against Puppy Mills
Petstore Cruelty

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Three FAST FREE EASY Ways to Help Shelter Pets Online

There are so many quick easy ways to help shelter pets in need using the power of the internet. If you are a pet lover, and have five spare minutes, please consider doing the following things:

1. Use Goodsearch every time you do an internet search. Using Goodsearch is simple. Just select your favorite charity, and then search as you normally would. Each search earns about $0.01 for your selected charity. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it really adds up. Consider adding a banner to your site to encourage others to use Goodsearch.

2. Shop through iGive. All you have to do is sign up and select your favorite charity, then, each time you make an online purchase through a participating retailer, a percentage of your purchase is donated to your charity of choice. This is totally free and easy way to help shelters. You don't have to do anything except sign up, and then shop online as you normally would.

You can also participate in the iGive Surfathon. All you have to do is surf participating stores to earn "entries" for your favorite charity. Each month, iGive gives away 5 - $1000 awards to charities every month through July 2008.

3. Add a banner to your website. Help raise awareness about the grim reality facing thousands of shelter pets every day. By placing a banner on your site, a visitor may visit Dogs in Danger, fall in love with a death-row-dog, decide to adopt one of the dogs, and you will have helped save a life.

For more ideas on easy ways to help shelter pets for free, check out my previous posts:
1. Three Fast, Free, Easy Ways to Help Shelter Pets Online
2. Calling All Pet-Loving Bloggers

Isaac is Looking for a Family, Kentucky

Isaac is listed as a young male border collie mix who was picked up as a stray. Although Isaac is listed as a border collie mix, I'd venture to say that he looks much more like a lab/spaniel mix.

Isaac absolutely adores children and gets along well with other dogs. He's just a real sweetie. Unfortunately, however, Isaac's time is extremely limited. He is located at the Bullitt County Animal Shelter in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Because the shelter is an animal control facility, Isaac's stay is limited due to space constraints. Isaac is scheduled for euthanization on February, 22, 2008.

Isaac would make a perfect dog for a family!

Isaac will be neutered, heartworm tested, and vaccinated prior to going to his new home. His adoption fee is $100.00.

If you are interested in adopting or rescuing Isaac, please call Nancy Barnes 502-543-8686 or email immediately!

Bullitt County Animal Shelter
545 Old Clermont Rd
Shepherdsville, KY 40165
Phone: 502-543-8686


My Fur-Children

In case you're wondering, I do have fur-children of my own. Here's a photo of my hell-cats, taken by a neighbor while my cats were hanging out on the deck at our old apartment. Eddie is on the left, and Reekoe is on the right.

Eddie was adopted from Second Chance Rescue and is about 2 1/2 years old. He is extremely talkative, enjoys playing racecar, is obsessed with the feather wand, and likes looking out the window.

Reekoe was adopted from the Canby Humane Society and is about 3 1/2 years old. He's a huge cat, weighing in at 23 pounds. He enjoys catnip, napping, being petted, and eating wet food.

Reekoe & Eddie have their own Myspace page, where they work hard to encourage other cats to join the Orange Cat Revolution, and to promote rescue of other cats in need.

Art4Animals.Org Spay and Neuter Magnet is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating, raising awareness and funding no-kill animal shelters and rescues. operates a Cafepress store with wonderful items, profits from the sales of which are donated to no-kill humane societies and animal rescues.

On my recent Cafepress magnet shopping spree, I purchased this cool refrigerator magnet which reminds us exactly why we need to spay and neuter our pets.

Every day, thousands of pets are needlessly killed in shelters simply because there are not enough homes for them all. If we stop producing kittens and puppies by spaying and neutering our pets, we will make huge strides towards reducing the number of unwanted pets in shelters. This magnet from is a great reminder that spaying and neutering has a direct impact on the number of pets killed in shelters.

The best part of this cool spay and neuter magnet is that the profits from its sale are donated to no-kill shelters and rescues.

Critical Cats

I manage another site called Critical Cats, hosted by Squidoo. On Saving Lives One at A Time, I feature a variety of pets, including both cats and dogs. I also offer information regarding rescue and adoption of shelter pets, and I offer information regarding interesting ways to help pets in need. The purpose of Critical Cats, however, is solely to promote the adoption of death row cats. Although I obviously cannot post every death row cat urgently waiting adoption, I try to update the site with new cats several times a week.

If you have room in your heart and home for a shelter cat, please consider stopping by Critical Cats to view the profiles of some special death row cats.

An Open Letter to Animal Rescue Groups

First, I COMMEND and THANK you for everything you do to help animals. I know that typically, your members are all volunteers who spend countless hours and dollars to save animals in need. My occasional donation here and there pales in comparison to what you do on a daily basis.

BUT, I have a problem. I am a member of several boards, mailing lists, forums, and communities. If one rescue group has a problem with another rescue group, PLEASE, FOR GOD'S SAKE, PLEASE STOP BASHING EACH OTHER IN PUBLIC!!! For those rescue groups that rely heavily on public contributions, you really need to stop the public accusations and back-biting IN PUBLIC. If you have an issue with the methods of another rescue organization, please take them up privately with that rescue. Unless the issue is serious enough to warrant a "Do-Not-Rescue," "Do-Not-Adopt," or some other such serious label, KEEP IT PRIVATE!

It does absolutely NOTHING for your public image as a rescue organization to fling around snippy, unwarranted accusations. In fact, whatever your goal may be in attacking another rescue, it makes you look ridiculous, petty, immature, and not worthy of my donation.

I support DOZENS of different organizations, and if I choose to donate, its because I believe the organization is doing good, regardless of what you think is the best way to conduct a rescue organization. If, as is the case I am currently frustrated about, I support both you and the rescue you are attacking, you are only hurting yourself. The more I read, and the more ridiculousness that goes back and forth, the less I want to support you. By wasting time needlessly making personal attacks against members of another rescue organization, you are turning off potential donors. KNOCK IT OFF! The sad fact is, you can't save them all. You can point fingers and say "I would have..." or "you could have..." but that really is irrelevant now, isn't it.

A word to the wise: most everything you post on the internet is available publicly, so if you accuse another rescue group of wrong-doing, make sure you really have a legitimate and serious gripe. Groundless accusations and personal attacks really hurt the image of YOUR OWN GROUP! Resolve it privately, or risk turning off potential supporters, new supporters, or even long-time supporters, like myself.

Thank you.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pets in Need: Palm Beach County, Florida

Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control works hard to place all of its pets into loving homes, but it can't do it without your help. If you live in or near Palm Beach County, please consider adopting a shelter pet today.

Here are just a couple of the wonderful pets awaiting adoption at Palm Beach County Animal Control:

A1357486 is an adult male pit bull turned in on 1/8/2008. He is estimated to be about 4 years old.

Update 3/24. This handsome boy's listing has been removed. Unfortunately, I have not been able to determine his fate.

A1200865 is an adult female Rottweiler mix picked up as a stray on 02/09/08. Isn't she gorgeous?

Update 2/25. This gorgeous girl's listing has been removed. Unfortunately, I have not been able to determine her fate.

A1364395 is an adult spayed female orange and white domestic shorthair cat who was turned in by her owners on 2/9/2008. She is estimated by be about 7 years old.

Update 3/24. This gorgeous girl's listing has been removed. Unfortunately, I have not been able to determine her fate.

A1363702 is an adult female spayed white and tabby domestic shorthair cat who was picked up as a stray on 2/6/2008. She is estimated to be about 2 years old.

Update 2/25. This gorgeous girl's listing has been removed. Unfortunately, I have not been able to determine her fate.

The Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control Facility can only hold pets for a limited amount of time, so all of these pets are living on borrowed time. Please adopt or rescue them!

Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control
7100 Belvedere Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33411
(561) 233-1200

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Help Shelter Pets for FREE by Playing Trivia! Experience Project

I ran across this cool social networking site called Experience Project. I haven't explored the site itself too much, but I did see this: You can play trivia, and for each correct answer, the Experience Project will donate the equivalent of one kibble of cat or dog food to the Rocket Dog Rescue and the Urban Cat Project.

You don't have to register to play, but registering will let you access the other features of the site, and helps you earn bonuses. Check it out -- have fun playing trivia, and help shelter pets at the same time, for

Cool Gifts from Saving Shelter Pets, Inc.

Saving Shelter Pets, Inc., is one of my favorite rescue organizations. They also have some of the coolest stuff in their online store. Here's a couple items I purchased recently:

A coffee mug I purchased for myself (but my fiancee commandeered it as soon as it arrived) with the cutest pink cartoon kitty design.

Here's a cute pink ladies' ringer tee that I bought for myself with the same design. It fits perfectly and has quickly become one of my favorite tees!

Finally, I got this nice 100% organic cotton t-shirt for my fiancee featuring a cute blue bulldog cartoon design. It's one of his favorite t-shirts!

Tips for Online Giving to Make Sure Your Money is Being Put to Good Use

I give tons of money online to various animal rescue organizations. Don't get me wrong...I'm not a rich person...I'm just a sucker for a cute fuzzy face in need.

Thus far, I have been fortunate enough to avoid giving money to an organization that I later find out is not legitimate. That's because I do my homework BEFORE I donate! Just a few extra minutes of your time beforehand to research the organization will pay off when you feel secure knowing your money is going to a good cause. The first thing I do before giving money to an organization that I haven't worked with before is to do a simple Goodsearch search.

Chris at HoundsGood has some other wonderful tips. From HoundsGood:

"Stay away from mass (print) mail and telemarketing. If you feel strongly about the organization, give in another way.

Large charities like the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States send out mass mailings soliciting donations at various times of the year. The truth is that much of this is sent out by a third party and the charity only gets a small percentage. A telemarketer representing an organization contacted us and when pressed, we found out that the charity was only getting 10% of our donation, so we declined.

Please don’t get me wrong, there are many great organizations that send out mail to remind you or update you as not all of their supporters are tied to a computer. Some have had the fortune to have a benefactor who pays for their mailings or other fundraising that is earmarked clearly. But if you receive a letter with free mailing labels, think twice about sending something in the reply envelope."

This great tip is just one of Chris' ten great tips for smart giving. Be sure to check out Houndsgood for the rest of her tips!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Do You Need a Hunting Buddy? "Bird Dawg" Needs a New Home, Illinois

This handsome fellow, aptly named "Bird Dawg," is a 2 year old male pointer, either a German Shorthair Pointer, or an English Pointer.

"Bird Dawg" is currently impounded by Morgan County Animal Control in Jacksonville, Illinois. Due to space issues, "Bird Dawg's" time is extremely limited. He is scheduled for euthanization on February 19, 2008.

If you are interested in adopting or rescuing "Bird Dawg" please call Lisa Myers at 217-245-4015 or email immediately!


Morgan County Animal Control
202 W. Oak
Jacksonville, IL 62650
Phone: (217)-245-4015

Teddy Wants to Be Your "Teddy-Cat", Georgia

Teddy is an absolute cutie pie! Teddy is a young adult male orange and white tabby cat in desperate need of a new home. Look at his cute mustache!

Teddy is located at the Sumter Humane Society in Americus, Georgia. The Humane Society is not "no-kill," so Teddy's time is limited.

Teddy is already neutered, up-to-date on shots, and litter-trained. His adoption fee is $85, which includes his 1st FVRC P vaccination, Rabies shot, Micro chip, worming and negative FIV and FeLV test.

The Sumter Humane Society may also be able to help with transportation if you don't live near Americus.

If you are interested in adopting or rescuing Teddy, please call 229 924 0268 immediately!

Sumter Humane Society
702 Magnolia Street
Americus, GA 31719
Phone: 229 924 0268

**Update 9/2/08. Unfortunately, Teddy's listing has been removed, and I have not been able to determine his fate.

Kay's K9's: Handcrafted Miniatures

I ran across this site today while dropping entrecards, called Kay's K9's: Handcrafted Miniatures by artist K. Turple and I was blown away.

This artist creates miniatures of various dog breeds through a process called needle felting. It is a very involved process and produces incredible results.

Here's just one example of a miniature dog the artist is selling on etsy. Aren't these incredible??
Check out Kay's K9's to see more examples of her amazing work! You can even commission the artist to create a miniature of your own dog!

The best part is, the artist donates a portion of the proceeds from each sale to the Ontario SPCA.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tigger Needs a Special Person

Tigger is a very special girl in need of a very special home. Tigger was brought into the Bergen County Animal Shelter in Teterboro, New Jersey, when her owner moved.

The staff at the shelter has unfortunately discovered that Tigger has some behavioral issues, and being a pit bull, that reduces her chances of adoption to almost zero.

Tigger tends to be nervous about being handled and suspicious of strangers. These are strong clues that she was not treated very well in her previous life. When she warms up to you, she is sweet and affectionate.

She needs an experienced owner to provide firm, consistent leadership. An adult-only home without other pets would probably be best for Tigger. Professional training is also recommended. If her special person can't be found SOON, Tigger's chances of making it out of the shelter alive are slim to none.

If you think you might be that special someone Tigger is looking for, please contact the Bergen County Animal Shelter immediately! If you have contacts with a Pit Bull rescue, please forward Tigger's information to them.

Bergen County Animal Shelter
100 United Lane
Teterboro, NJ 07608
Phone: 201-229-4600
Fax: 201-440-4358

Attention Pet-Loving Bloggers: Contest!!


Cindy at Contests & Challenges has posted a contest with neat prizes AND...the best part is, the contest helps shelter pets!!

I've posted about this before, but it's definitely worth reiterating. Add an Animal Rescue Site widget to your sidebar, like the one you can see on the right hand of my site, and you are eligible to participate in Cindy's contest.

From Wildcatsthree:

I received word from a friend of mine who is a foster mom for Lil Paws Rescue that the Animal Rescue site is experiencing a low number of clicks, and therefore is not getting enough sponsor money to buy food for the rescued animals.

If you have a website or blog, and would like to help the Animal Rescue Site by displaying their clickable widget on your site, click here. Once on the page, look in the upper left corner for "Link to us." That will take you to the page where you can choose your widget, and get the code to paste into your template.

This is such a worthy cause. It costs you nothing, but can go a long way in helping feed the rescued animals until a permanent home is found for them.

Here are the guidelines for Cindy's contest:

"1.) Get the widget and place it on your blog or web page. (the instructions for doing this are in the italicized portion above) Added note: it does not matter if you've had the widget for ages- you can still leave a comment and be entered in the contest-every widget counts in helping the animals.

2.) Leave a comment on this post linking to your post and telling me that you've placed the widget on your page. Please, and this is important: include your e-mail address in your comment so I can reach you if you're the winner.

3.) This one's optional, but it would help spread the word. Write a post like the one I copied (above) from Wild Cats Three and include the appropriate links.

That's it. A winner will be selected randomly thirty one days from today (February 29th)from the list of comments.

The prize is twofold.

First the winner will receive this pin. It's all gold in color (camera made shadows) and that's a real pearl in its' paws.

and second, a donation of $20 worth of pet food will be given to our local chapter of the SPCA in the winners' name.

You may comment once daily throughout the contest for multiple chances at winning."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

10 Cool Things You Can Do Online to Help Needy Pets for Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, think outside the box of chocolates and bunch of roses. Do something to make a difference! Here are ten cool things you can do online to help shelter pets in need for Valentine's Day.

1. Give Gifts of Life and Love through Best Friends.

"What do you give a Valentine who’s positively purr-fect? Doggone dandy? Frisky as a filly? There’s "no bones about it"... a Gift of Life & Love from Best Friends is the perfect way to let your feelings show on February 14th. So go ahead and pick out a face you know they’ll love. Sponsor an orphan pet from Best Friends, as a gift to all the sweethearts in your life this Valentine’s Day!"

2. Purchase a Vaccine in Lieu of a Rose for A Shelter Cat from Winging Cat Rescue.

For $8.00, you can purchase a rose or vaccines for a shelter cat. The live of a cut rose is 1 week, and the life of a cat is 15 years. Which is the better investment?

Each donor will receive an email with a photo of a shelter cat that he or she helped vaccinate.

3. Help
Dogs Deserve Better send Valentines to Chained Dogs on Valentine's Day.

It is the goal of Dogs Deserve Better to send 10,000 Valentines to the caretakers of chained dogs to remind them that their dogs deserve better than life on the end of a chain. What DDB needs most for this project is the addresses of chained dogs. Of course, your submissions are anonymous.

4. Donate a Comfortable Bed to a Shelter Dog at Help the Animals, Inc., a no-kill shelter in Richmond, Indiana.

From Rachel, the Shelter Dog, "I would like a warm bed while I am waiting for my forever home. The floor here at the shelter is hard and a Kuranda bed would enable me to have a soft, elevated bed to lie on during long nights. Some of my friends already have a donated bed, but I don't have one yet."

5. Make a donation to MSPCA-Angell and send a Valentine's E-Card to Your Loved Ones.

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Animal Medical Center (MSPCA-Angell) is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Its services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement and the highest-quality veterinary care available anywhere in the world. MSPCA-Angell provides direct hands-on care to more than 250,000 animals each year.

6. Send a Free Purina Valentine's Day E-Card, and Generate $0.50 to Help Animals in Need.

Send a free customizable Valentine's Day e-card to your favorite people, and Purina will donate $0.50 to help shelter pets in need.

Donate a Cat Perch for Valentine's Day for Shelter Cats at the Liberty Humane Society.

Don't know what to get that special cat lover in your life this year for Valentine's Day? Why not purchase a "cat perch" on behalf of that extra special loved one? These cat perches will provide homeless cats at the shelter with much needed exercise, mental stimulation and privacy while they await a new home. Once you purchase a perch, a Valentine's Day card will be sent to the person of your choice by an adoptable cat at LHS.

8. Purchase a Raffle Ticket for the Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love Fundraiser for Hawkeye & Friends Animal Rescue.

Hawkeye & Friends Animal Rescue is a No-Kill Non-Profit animal rescue located in Memphis, Michigan. Purchase a $10.00 raffle ticket for your chance to win an 8G I-Pod Touch, or a Bath & Groom for your pet at Paws & Suds in Shelby Township, Michigan.

9. Write an Online Review of a Local Business for the
Columbia Humane Society Valentine's Day Fundraiser.

The Columbia HSPCA is raising funds to purchase a new truck for their cruelty prevention program. Take 5 minutes to sign up to Insider Pages and write an honest review of a local business. Each review you write earns between $0.50 and $1.50 for the Columbia HSPCA.

10. Make a Valentine's Day Honor Gift to the ASPCA.

This Valentine's Day, consider making a donation to the ASPCA in honor of your loved ones. Then, send them an e-card to let them know how much you care!