Happy Adopt the Internet Day!

Oh boy oh boy! Happy Birthday to our fantastic friends at Petfinder! They turned 15 years old today! We mentioned them earlier this month and we just wanted to point it out again to remind you. In celebration of their birthday, they are holding Adopt the Internet Day, a special day in which they are getting everyone to come together and pledge to spread the word online about adoptable animals.

Happy Birthday, Petfinder!

Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day

Obviously, we here at I Love Rescue Animals love rescue animals! We are huge advocates of adopting and think that Petfinder is an awesome resource for people everywhere to find new members of their families. Please spread the word and join the hop – the more the merrier!

Pet Dental Health Month and the VOHC Seal of Acceptance

Whew! Can you believe this month is already over? Wow! As some of you may have noticed, February was Pet Dental Health Month. We celebrated it at home by doing our Greenies Challenge. The results with our dogs teeth have been amazing but you’re going to have to wait a few more days for us to visit the vet for their post-challenge evaluation and for me to make the video so make sure you come back and check that out!

Why You Should Care About Dental Health for Your Pet

Here at ILRA, we really love that there is a Pet Dental Health Month. It is so important to the overall health of our furry companions and yet so few pet parents know just how serious poor oral health can be. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “it’s estimated that by the age of two, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease.” The problem with having poor dental health is that it affects the functioning of the rest of the body. Teeth can break, rot, even fall out. This makes eating difficult. Even more importantly, bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, especially if gingivitis is present, and this can affect the vital organs. “Periodontal infections have been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life threatening disorders.” That is serious!

Of course, the most recommended way to prevent periodontal disease in pets is to brush their teeth. Even for the most dedicated pet parents, however, that can be difficult to pull off, especially weekly or even daily as needed. I can’t even imagine trying to brush the teeth of 3 dogs and 6 cats daily. It would take hours and not all animals are as accommodating and laid back as Spunky is. Luckily, there are a lot of foods and dental treats out there that are made to help reduce periodontal disease in dogs and cats.

VOHC

About the VOHC

But how are you as a consumer supposed to know what products really work? A good place to start is to look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance. The VOHC is an organization founded in 1997 that “exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs and cats.” In order to gain the seal on their products, companies must conduct trials and submit the results to the VOHC. The trials have to show a significant improvement in oral health versus non-use of the product and must use ingredients that have been proven safe for pets. There are various other rules and standards that must be met in order for the product to be approved. It’s a nice way to know that the product you are buying, if used as directed, will help reduce plaque and tartar in your dog or cat. For a list of products currently sporting the VOHC Seal of Acceptance, you can check out their ever growing product list here.

If you only take one thing from this post I hope it is this: oral health is just as important in our pets as it is for us. Hopefully what you learned during this month will encourage you to continue these practices over the rest of the year. I know that after the great strides we’ve seen in our dogs’ oral health this month, we will continue to use dental treats (like Greenies, which boast the VOHC Seal) so our boys will lead healthier, happier lives!

An Added Bonus!

Want to know something really cool? Because we wrote this post about VOHC, Greenies is going to donate $25 to the AAHA Helping Pets Fund! How cool is that? You can do the same to help them even more but you have to hurry! You can also help donate $1 simply by tweeting about the #VOHC. Be sure to use the hashtag! To learn more, check out the Greenies Writer’s Pad.

Pets for Patriots Interview!

Hi everyone and welcome to the interview with Pets for Patriots! I am very excited about this interview because Beth, the founder and executive director of Pets for Patriots, answered these questions herself! I love her responses because you can tell how passionate she is about her cause. I hope you will be too! If you’d like to learn more, they can be found at several homes around the internet!

Pets for Patriots

Website: www.petsforpatriots.org
Twitter: @PetsforPatriots
Facebook: Pets for Patriots, Inc. Fan Page

To donate to them, you can find a link to their donate page on our home page under Featured Organization. Also, please tell your local rescue groups and any vets you know to sign up with them! I know it’ll be a great partnership! Let’s help them grow!

What is the name of your organization?
Pets for Patriots

Where is your group located?
Long Beach, New York – though we plan to operate nationally

When was your organization established?
October 2009; one month later we received our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

What is the mission of your organization?
Our mission is to consistently give the gifts of fidelity, joy and companionship to both pet and person.

To be more specific, we:
• Facilitate hard-to-place shelter pet adoptions by military personnel
• Improve the well-being of service members through companion pet adoption, a humane way of easing the stresses associated with military life and military transitions
• Foster education and awareness about the state of animal abandonment and neglect
• Educate the military and the public at large about the many physical and emotional health benefits of adult pet adoption

What prompted the creation of Pets for Patriots?
I’ve had a longstanding passion for the plight of homeless animals. Growing up, my family adopted shelter pets only and when I was twelve years old I started a neighborhood dog walking service. Mind you, this was long before these things were such big business: I charged a dollar a day, which included three walks and dinner. Needless to say, this was quite a while ago! But the idea of helping to reduce animal homelessness never left me, and I knew that someday I’d return to it again.

At the same time, my siblings and I were raised to respect and admire the military – not just the institution, but the men and women who sacrificed so much in order to protect our freedom and way of life. Many of our family vacations, which were almost always camping trips, included visits to military museums or historical sites.

I had the idea that I could do something positive for both of these populations – shelter pets and service members – in a way that would benefit each. And I decided that the “someday” of helping homeless animals was going to happen sooner than later. I wrote a business plan to help me figure out how it would all work, and set about putting together a board. The end result is Pets for Patriots.

How is your organization run? Will you actively help patriots find pets to adopt?
Absolutely. We’re just starting to build our shelter and veterinary network. We encourage any patriot in the U.S. to register on our site. If we don’t yet have a participating shelter or veterinarian in their area, we’ll do the legwork to get those in place and direct that member patriot to those facilities. We leave the actual adoption pairing and decision up to the shelter, since they’re the experts in matching pets and people.

How do you get your funding?
Like most charities, we rely on the generosity of the public for donations. Once we’re more established, we’ll seek corporate sponsors and grant opportunities if we think they’re relevant to our mission.

What are some of the challenges you face?
Is it still hard to convince people to adopt rather than buy? Because we just launched in January 2007, one of our biggest challenges is just getting people to know about us. Once they do, we find people really love what we’re about. But converting that enthusiasm into a contribution remains a challenge. We know the economy is tough; our founder is a small business owner and she deals with it, too. We appreciate all donations, no matter how small – or how large!

As for the buy versus adopt debate, we’re seeing new laws proposed around the country to shut down or severely restrict the activities of puppy mills. Over time we think these events will diminish the supply of animals for sale and make adoption a more attractive choice for more people.

Tell us more about your group. What makes it unique?
We are one of the only organizations in the U.S. to focus on adult shelter pets and members of the military, at any stage of their careers and from any branch of service.

These two things truly set us apart. First, we promote the extraordinary value of the ordinary shelter pet; that adult dog or cat that isn’t destined to become a service animal, but still has lots of love and life to give. Second, we accept patriots at any stage of their military careers – active, reserve, inactive reserve, veteran, retired and national guard – and from all branches of the U.S. military.

Do you have a favorite story you’d like to share?
Not yet, but we hope to soon! We’re actively seeking patriots who are interested in adult shelter pet adoption to be among our first great success stories. We know they’re out there; we just need to find each other.

What is the accomplishment your organization is most proud of?
Going from business plan to launch in six months. That tells us that we have the right stuff to make this new not-for-profit successful: determination, persistence and heart.

What are your goals as you expand your organization?
We wish we could single-handedly end animal abuse and homelessness, but we can’t. But we can do our part to elevate the value many people place in companion pets, and we will.

We plan to be national. We envision Pets for Patriots member shelters and veterinarians across the country, each sharing our commitment to permanently rehome needy shelter pets with military personnel. In doing so, we hope to make our military more open and friendly to families with pets – one dog and cat at a time.

What is the one thing that people could do to help your organization the most?
Make a tax-deductible donation, either on our secure site or by check. We can’t do any of our good works without contributions from good folks who love pets and love our patriots. Right now, this is our greatest need.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Small acts can make a difference. Do you have a military neighbor, coworker or friend who needs some emotional support? Tell them about us and about how pets have enormous healing potential. Short on cash, but want to help? Even $10 gets us that much closer to our mission. Love animals, but can’t have one of your own? Consider volunteering at your local shelter, or becoming a foster parent to a pet whose parent is either sick or being deployed. As individuals, we have a great deal of power to make positive change, one small act at a time.