How Animal People Prepare to Go Anywhere (And Letting the Furkids Run the Show)

Who’s Running the Show?

Here in the ILRA household, our furkids run the show. For everything! When we move into a new house, guess who gets the nicest bedroom with all the windows and the best views of the squirrels and birds. I’ll give you a hint: not us! Guess who sets our schedule and makes us leave fun events so we can get home in time for dinner. Here’s another hint: not us! We vacuum every single day and yet the fur keeps coming. We go through cases upon cases and bags upon bags of pet food and still they want more! The dogs have almost as many clothes as we do! Even the rats always got Christmas presents! We can’t go anywhere without people knowing we have a menagerie either because, well, you know: How Animal People Prepare to Go Anywhere

SubaruDogTested_Samson

The Dream Car

And who, ultimately, is behind the cars we want to drive? You don’t need another hint, right? We don’t want a sports car! Our dream car, quite seriously, is a Subaru Forester. Why? So we can grab the dogs, throw some camping gear in the back and go spend the weekend at a state park without having to cram stuff into every last tiny crevice of my tiny car. Trust me, with 3 dogs and all their bowls, food, leashes, toys, hiking bags, seat belts and even a pop-up kennel, there’s barely any room to fit Nikki and I in there! Some people may think we’re crazy. In fact, I think most people do. But other animal people, I know, can totally relate to why we let our kids run our lives. If they could personally choose their own vehicle, I’m sure we’d let them do that too.

Pretty sure I know what car they’d pick out too. Picking Out a New Car

In a couple weeks we’ll also talk about some cool new apps on the Subaru Facebook page so look for that! Trust me, I’ve already been having lots of fun playing with them so I know you will too!

This post is sponsored by Subaru. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the Dog Tested. Dog Approved.™ campaign, but, as always, I Love Rescue Animals only shares news for things we love and support – and we’ve been wanting a Subaru long before this post!

Guest Post: Reasons to Think Twice Before Gifting a Puppy for Christmas

Reasons to Think Twice Before Gifting a Puppy for Christmas

You’ve imagined the scenario for months: Your children wake up on Christmas morning, tear down the stairs as fast as they can, sprint around the corner to see the Christmas tree, and scream in delight when their eyes land on a furry little puppy adorned with a big red bow. It’s the ultimate present, and your kids are beside themselves with excitement. The moment is perfect and your heart’s full knowing you’re responsible for their sheer joy.

Then a couple weeks go by… the initial exhilaration has passed, and the puppy has proven to be a lot more work than anyone anticipated. You’re beginning to question whether your decision was realistic or if you were overcome by the romantic notion. Your worry is warranted – there are many reasons Christmas is not the ideal time to purchase a new dog. For those that have been toying with the idea of gifting a loved one with a cute little canine, consider these reasons why the holidays may not be the best time of year.

A Few Good Reasons

  • People often become so caught up in the surprise of giving a puppy that they neglect to look into the logistics. Although puppies are adorable and extremely lovable, they come with high demands. They need to be fed daily, given adequate attention and exercise, and be taken to the vet frequently for checkups and vaccinations. Similar to a child, a puppy is a life-changing decision that should not be taken lightly.
  • With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the animal won’t get the welcome it deserves. Chances are the calendar is full of things to do and people to see – which can leave the puppy lost by the wayside. Evaluate the schedule of the person you will be gifting the puppy to. Do they attend school all day? Travel often? Work long hours? If so, they are not a great candidate to own a dog. Though the gift might score you a lot of points on Christmas day, it’s unfair to the animal to live a life of isolation and boarding kennels.
  • Finances tend to be particularly tight after the Holidays. Consider your loved one’s financial situation. Animals make a big dent on the bank account, and perhaps the recipient is not equipped for their lifelong bills. As most people have just maxed out their budget for holiday expenditures, a puppy may not fit into the equation.
  • The chilly temperatures of winter may make potty training an unbearable experience. Training a new animal is no fun, and requires trips outside every few hours. In order to prevent accidents from occurring on your carpet or furniture, you’ll want to hang around with the puppy outdoors until you’ve seen its business is taken care of. This will be a miserable, grueling process if it’s going to take place in the snow. Additionally, keep in mind their bodies aren’t going to shut down just because you’re asleep – the owner will have to take the puppy out a couple times over the course of the night as well.

If you’ve done all the homework, worked out the math, and have your heart set on giving on puppy, look into all available options. Shelters are constantly full of animals looking for homes. An adopted dog may already be potty trained, house broken, and familiar with children and/or other pets. In addition, most have already had their vaccinations. Giving one of these animals a loving home for Christmas is a big decision that should be considered before you rush into it.

Tim is a dog lover and marketer for Cabledeals.org. He has two black labs that he walks twice a day. He is very passionate about training dogs to be good companion while being the pack leader. He can be found on Twitter @TimLCooley or walking around town training his pups!.

Blog the Change: Help Your Small Local Rescues!

Blog the Change

Happy Blog the Change Day everyone! There are some great causes today and I love reading about what matters most to my fellow pet bloggers. While there are tons of global causes super worthy of support, I’d like to bring the focus of this post more local. And not just local, but to the smallest of the local rescue & animal welfare groups.

There are so many animal groups out there that it can be hard to decide who to support, either with volunteer hours, money or both. I tend to be very locally oriented with my personal support. Obviously we care about animal welfare worldwide, but I tend to donate to my local rescues more than I do the giant corporation-like organizations. They do amazing work but I feel that the money I can afford to donate will go a lot further with small rescues. Every penny counts with these groups – it’s used to get the simplest things: towels, pet beds, toys, bowls, food, litter. Every little bit matters.

Central Texas Feline Rescue

I’ve seen this firsthand in my work with Central Texas Feline Rescue. We are a tiny group with no budget whatsoever that manages to feed over 200 ferals a day and trap-neuter-return (TNR) roughly 300 cats per year. Almost everything comes from our pockets, most of all from the founder. We are lucky to make $1500 at a fundraiser that takes months to plan. When we make that much it’s gone almost immediately, helping to buy a literal ton of cat food which only lasts a couple months. It’s hard and anything we get is so appreciated. Compare that to another local group that has a budget of something around 1.5 million dollars per year. You read that right! And that’s nothing compared to the huge organizations. Donations to them are important, obviously, and with that larger budget comes the ability to impact a greater number of animals lives. I am not against the big groups here – far from it. But for those of us who can only spare a few dollars here and there, it would be a larger comparative impact for the small group rather than the large one.

Hardships of Small Groups

It’s hard to be a small group. No one even knows you’re there. When every single volunteer spends every free second feeding & trapping & fostering & transporting, there’s no time for PR. There’s no time to put together huge fundraisers. There’s no time to even find more volunteers so each one has a lighter load! Besides that, even when you do look for volunteers, people would rather volunteer for or donate to a group that has more “face-value”, if you will. They want people to know what group they’re talking about when they tell people that’s who they’re helping. When you have a small group, it’s impossible to compete in contests to win money or donations of other kinds because there aren’t enough people to vote for you. It’s a numbers game and it keeps the small groups small.

Obviously all groups had to start with an idea and likely a tiny base of people. Some beat the odds and manage to make it to a well-established, well-known group. Good for them! That truly is fantastic! But for each one of them there are dozens of small groups who, despite a smaller reach, are still making important impacts in the lives of animals.

The Starfish Effect

We stand firmly behind our philosophy of The Starfish Effect: that every single act matters. No matter how small the group is, if they are working to help animals, then they are making a positive impact in the world. And that is why we have chosen to blog about their importance for today’s Be the Change post.

So what can you do? Go out and help! Find out what local groups in your area need the most help and whether it’s through a monetary donation or one of time, you can support them. Even the smallest rescue can make a big difference to one animal.

Starting Our Cats on Halo

Things have been crazy hectic around here and we may be moving to Austin very soon. That means it’s gonna get even more insane as we look for housing  (with our animals), find money to move on, pack & get down there. Anyway, as I’m sure most of you know, we’ve been trying to feed our kids better food. We finally decided that even though we’re short on money, the health of our kids is what really matters so we’re making it happen. We’ve been feeding the dogs homemade food (not the best, mind you, but doing what we can until we move and can do better). We also spent a long time researching different premium cat foods. We looked at so many companies & compared all the ingredients & company policies and recommendations and finally decided on Halo. We like it because everything is human grade, there are no meals or by-products, no artificial anything. It’s great, is what it is. We chose to just feed them dry food for now but once we move and have more money we’re going to add in some wet food as well. I know important proper hydration is, especially for cats. Anyway, since Zane has always had a sensitive stomach we decided to go with the Sensitive Stomach formula since it’s only $1 more per bag. Below you can see a video we took explaining more. I’m sorry that the quality but our video camera doesn’t pick up sound very well and is just a point & shoot camera with a video setting. We’re looking to get a better one because we want to make videos a regular thing on here. Let me know if you’d like me to type up a transcript. Enjoy!

Heh, yeah, Snarf had to get a word in there towards the end!

The Starfish Effect

One of my favorite stories of all time is that of a person walking along a beach after a big storm. As they walk they stop and pick up starfish that had been washed ashore and toss them back into the ocean. Another person comes along and says, “Why are you even bothering to do that? There’s so many that you’ll never make a difference.” The first person bends down, picks up another one, tosses it to safety and says simply, “It made a difference to that one.”

This story has so profoundly shaped how I live my life. I can’t remember where or when I first heard this story or even who told it to me but the impact is no less felt. To me, what this story tells us so simply is to do what you can. No one can save the entire world. No one can save every homeless animal out there nor can they stop all the cruelty in the world. What we can do, however, is make small differences in the world. We can choose to adopt a pet rather than buy one. We can volunteer our time to help a shelter or animal welfare organization. We can donate what we can afford to charities that support causes we care about. We can teach the world’s children that animals need to be treated with respect. If we can’t afford anything else, we can still help spread the message and reach people who have the means but might not have even known there was a cause needing support. The important thing to remember here is that you should never feel like you can’t give enough therefore there’s no point in even trying. Anything that you give will make a difference and if everyone in the world would just do one tiny thing to help animals then the change would be tremendous! And the world may not ever be perfect, but the difference we make will be felt by each and every individual animal that we save. And isn’t that worth trying for?

The Starfish Effect: it’s a very powerful concept.

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We believe in this idea so much that we’re making it our philosophy and it will have its own page. Do you have any stories that relate to The Starfish Effect? Any story about how you or someone you know has done something that might have seemed so small and yet the end result was so profound? Share the story with us! We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!