It's a pet parent's worst nightmare.  Your dog or cat gets hit by a car, attacked by another animal, or is diagnosed with a life threatening illness. You suddenly realize you can't afford to pay the high cost of Veterinary care that could save your beloved pet's life.  What happens if you can't afford critical vet care, do you have any options?  

🐩 No one should have to say goodbye to a pet they love and cherish because they can't afford critical Veterinary care.

A few years back while volunteering for the Phoenix county animal shelter, a woman brought in a beautiful German Shepherd.  He was clearly an older dog. I always have a soft spot for senior pets so I went over to greet them. The woman was sobbing because she had to surrender her precious dog to the shelter.  

What to do if you can't pay for critical Veterinary care. Financial assistance for veterinary costs.   Injured dog or pet, sick dogs, pets, dog,  High cost of veterinary care, economic euthanasia
I can't imagine being faced with saying goodbye to one of my pets because I couldn't afford veterinary care.  What could be more heartbreaking?

I said "Don't worry, we'll take great care of him and find him a loving home".  The woman just shook her head.  She didn't speak, she just gave our Intake staff member the dog and quickly left, still sobbing. The dog had a cancerous tumor and she was dropping him off to be euthanized.  She couldn't afford treatment and there wasn't an available rescue to help pay for it.  She couldn't even afford to have him euthanized at a Veterinarian's office.

I was so shocked.  I couldn't believe she had to leave him there to die.  I could see it tore her apart to leave her dog like that, I felt horrible, especially for the dog. I knew that being unable to pay for expensive Veterinary care is often one of the reasons people surrender pets to a shelter.  I didn't judge. I wasn't walking in her shoes so I couldn't know the circumstances she was in that led her to believe she had no other choice.

I cried all the way home that day.  I still think about that sweet dog and wonder why nothing could be done for him.

In the animal health world, the gut-wrenching choice to say goodbye to a pet primarily because pet owners can't afford Veterinary care is known as "Economic Euthanasia".  

Because no pet parent should have to say goodbye to a pet they love and cherish when they can't afford life saving Veterinary care

This post is sponsored by Waggle® . I am being compensated to share information about  Waggle, a crowdfunding organization that helps families who can't afford Veterinary care for their pets. As always, Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them only shares information we feel is relevant and helpful to our readers.

🐕 "Each year, an estimated 500,000 pet guardians in the U.S. face a harrowing moment: The realization that the potentially life-saving treatment their pet needs is beyond their reach." -Waggle

Waggle is a crowd funding platform that provides a much needed service for people who are at risk of not being able to afford critical medical care for their beloved pet. Waggle partners directly with Veterinary providers, nonprofits and pet parents to help provide options and second chances for cherished pets.

🐶Waggle's mission is to  "Provide a last-chance safety net for pets in medical crisis by creating a network-based solution to end economic euthanasia of pets🐱

We've all seen requests in email or on social media from various crowdfunding sites, some non-profit and some for-profit. A dog or cat has a serious injury or illness and the pet owner can't afford Veterinary care, so they reach out to the public for monetary donations.

In cases where we know the pet or their owner we want to answer the call for help and donate.  However, sometimes the  pet and owner are total strangers.  I don't know about you, but when I don't know the pet or their family, I'm suspicious.  Sadly, the internet is fraught with deception, and online requests for monetary or other donations are no exception. How do we know the need is real and that the person making the donation request isn't a spammer? The truth is, we don't.

Waggle is the only pet-dedicated crowdfunding platform that partners directly with leading veterinary providers, non-profits and pet parents.  This process verifies the recipient and ensures the need for help to pay for critical vet care is real. 

The partnership between Waggle and it's Veterinary partners ensures that funds go directly to the pet's medical care.  This gives me confidence!

Waggle has many pet success stories, one of which is Cece a six year old Portuguese Water Dog from Connecticut. Cece had been playing in the yard with a neighbor's dog when she suddenly collapsed.  She couldn't stand or put weight on her back leg.  When her family took her to the veterinarian, they discovered Cece needed surgery to remove a damaged ligament in her knee.  A "false" ligament then had to be inserted to stabilize her joint. Afterwards she would need weeks of rehabilitation and therapy. Waggle helped raise $2,000 to help get Cece the critical veterinary care that would help her walk normally again.

Waggle Crowdfunding for pets, crowdfunding platform for pets, crowdfunding for a sick dog
Adorable Cece, cuddling with the human sister who loves her to pieces!

Cece's owners Tom and Margaret had this to say in appreciation of the help they received from generous donors, Waggle, and their expert veterinary partners:

"Tom and I want to thank everyone for their donations and get well wishes for our Cece. She is home from The Saybrook Veterinary Hospital and is doing well. We would especially like to thank Dr. Suzanne Magruder of the Saybrook Veterinary Hospital for telling us about Dr. White who performed Cece`s knee surgery. Dr. Magruder also initiated us to get financial help through Waggle Org. We also want to thank the whole staff of the Saybrook Veterinary Hospital. Their kindness and help was greatly appreciated."  --Tom & Margaret Mazzella

You can read more about Cece's  heartwarming story here.

A heart wrenching story was Kenji, a 2 year old Welsh Pembroke Corgi who needed $1,200 to treat severe wounds following a viscous attack by another dog.

Kenji is a sweet, gentle dog who touches the heart of everyone he meets.  A neighbor's dog escaped out the front door of his house and attacked Kenji, unprovoked.  The dog's owner tried to get him off Kenji but to no avail. It took several minutes for the dog to let go of poor Kenji.  Following the attack Kenji's wounds were severe and he was rushed to the animal hospital for immediate treatment.


If you need help with Veterinary bills. High cost of Veterinary care for dogs, Pets, Dogs, injured pet, sick pet
Sweet Kenji, viciously attacked by a neighbor's dog.

Kenji needed surgery to clean and drain his wounds.  Although he was sent home with drains inserted in the affected areas, after a few days his condition worsened and he had to return to the hospital.  This poor sweet boy needed more surgery!  Kenji will need numerous follow-up visits and constant attention for quite some time as he fights to fully recover.

Read more about Kenji's frightening ordeal here.

I can't even imagine how frightened Kenji's mom must have been seeing her furbaby viciously attacked like that and fearing for his life.  What a nightmare.  I'm so glad Waggle was able to help Kenji's family fund the critical veterinary care he needed.


Visit Waggle on Social Media and follow along with more of Waggle's success stories to see how they are changing lives for pets and their owners.


Providing critical funding for pet parents at risk of losing their beloved pet, simply because they can't afford critical Veterinary care.

Do you ever worry about not being able to afford critical Veterinary care?  Please leave us a comment and share your thoughts!


I've been adding healthy pumpkin to my dogs' diets for years. Not only do my dogs love the taste of pumpkin, but pumpkin is super healthy for dogs! The health benefits of adding pumpkin to your dog's diet is well worth the tiny bit of extra effort at mealtime.

As soon as pumpkins become available in my area, I buy a few both for Halloween decorations and to cook for my dogs so I can add some fresh, healthy pumpkin to their diet.  I boil chunks of pumpkin and add some of the pure, fresh pumpkin to my dogs food each day.  I like to use it in making pumpkin flavored dog treats as well. There are a million different ways you can make homemade dog treats that include pumpkin.  Add a touch of cinnamon to your pumpkin dog treats for the full effect of Fall flavor!

🎃 Don’t use a carved pumpkin that’s been sitting outside for weeks to feed to your pet.  A carved Halloween pumpkin may have picked up bacteria and fungi while sitting outside with it’s inside exposed to the elements. 🎃

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My dog with a Pumpkin decoration. Health Benefits of Adding Pumpkin To a Dog's Diet 


Up until 2019, we lived in Huntington New York, a Long Island town that was settled back in the 1600's.  Despite massive development over the years, there are lots of old historic places in and around Huntington township.  

Along with historic places that were settled centuries ago, comes a plethora of tales about hauntings by those who committed dastardly deeds, or those against whom the deeds were committed long ago.  Huntington is no exception, it certainly has it's share of spooky stories and haunted places.  Grab a hot beverage and pull the covers up tight as I tell you about three such places right here in our hometown.

Fun Fact: Each year on Halloween, Huntington unofficially changes it's name to "Hauntington" !  The idea came from the mind of a 7 year old girl.  She loves the spirit of Halloween in Huntington so much, she asked town officials to change the town's name to Hauntington.  So on October 31st - Ipitty Bippity Bop! - Huntington transforms into Hauntington.   Now that's the spirit of Halloween!

This Halloween, visit haunted historic sites near you!  Haunted houses.  Dogs on Halloween
The historic cemetery in Huntington NY, Old Burying Hill Cemetery, is at the Eastern edge of town.  The earliest grave marker is from 1712.


Coindre Hall is a massive estate built in a French medieval castle style by George McKeeson, a wealthy pharmaceutical entrepreneur in 1912.  George and his wife Pearl shared many happy years on their lavish estate. During WWI they raised their Niece at Coindre Hall after her parents died during the sinking of the Titanic. 

Like so many of the super wealthy of that era, the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent massive tax hikes for the wealthy, meant the McKeeson's could no longer afford to keep up the estate. The county eventually took ownership of it and it is now a public space that is often rented out for events such as weddings. 

This Long Island Chateau is supposedly haunted by spirits who lived in the 1930's. We visited here for some Haunted Halloween fun with my dogs. The expansive back lawn is dog friendly!
The Chateau at Coindre Hall, Huntington NY

We often take Icy to Coindre Hall because the back part of the estate, an expansive steep hill that leads all the way down to Huntington Bay, is dog friendly.   We've enjoyed many hours with Icy playing on the lawn and in the bay at Coindre Hall, never realizing that spectral sightings were common there!  

I only recently found out that there is an underground tunnel that leads all the way from the Chateau down to the bay, where the McKeeson's boat house once stood.    Mr. McKeeson didn't want to walk outside in the cold to get to his boat so he had a tunnel constructed.  During Prohibition, the tunnel served as a way to smuggle alcohol from boats up to the house.  I had no idea Icy was romping along grass that covered a hidden tunnel!

Visiting a few local Long Island NY haunts to celebrate Halloween.  Spooky Halloween with my dogs.
Icy, standing on a large tree stump to get a better look at the side of the chateau

For years, the staff and guests have reported seeing ghostly apparitions in the 40 room 30,000 square foot Chateau, and on the grounds of the estate.  These spectral visitors have been spotted mostly during evening events and are usually dressed in 1930's era clothing.  One ghost is reported to look and dress like a gangster or bootlegger from the 1930's. Other spirits look like party guests from the period. Not surprising, as George and Pearl were known for the lavish parties they threw!

Did ghosts really haunt the expansive Coindre Hall, a Long Island New York chateau?  My dogs and I are visiting to see if we spot any spirits!
Rear view of the chateau at Coindre Hall, Huntington NY

Fun Fact: John and I had looked at having our wedding at Coindre Hall but decided against it due to cost and logistics of the venue.  Too bad, we might have had some pretty interesting, albeit uninvited, guests at our wedding!


The Conklin House is a historic home built in 1750 by Thomas Conklin.  This gable-roofed house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  The Conklin family lived in the house for over 150 years.  It contains historical artifacts and is decorated in historical fashion.  It is owned by the Huntington Historical Society and is open for tours a couple of days per week (call for days/times). It's also available for small events in the barn on the property.

Ghosts have been reported by volunteers at the David Conklin house in Huntington NY.  Built in 1750.
The historic David Conklin House, Huntington NY is supposedly haunted

In 1777 David Conklin was captured by the British and held prisoner.   He was accused of assisting the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

The Conklin House in Huntington NY is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is believed to be haunted by the ancestors of the Conklin family.  Haunted houses. Historic houses on Long Island NY
The David Conklin House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985

It's been said that ancestors of the Conklin family have haunted the home for years. Volunteers in the historic house have reported feeling someone or something touching or standing behind them when in fact no one was there.  

Rear view of the  David Conklin House in Huntington. Long Island NY.  The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Beautiful detail on the back windows of the Conklin House

Some have reported strange noises and footsteps for which they can find no explanation.  One of the previous owners claimed that she continually had the feeling she was being watched and followed.

Fun Fact: I once worked with a guy who is actually related to the Conklin family!  He lived in another state but knew all about the historical Conklin house here in Huntington.


Right in Huntington village there's a wonderful patisserie and bakery that is believed to be haunted.  It is situated on what was the site of row housing for the poor and is said to be haunted by the spirits of some of those individuals.  One such spectral visitor is a teenager named Eddie that supposedly met a harrowing demise during a drug deal during his lifetime. Staff at the bakery have also reported oven doors opening by themselves and an iPad that turns itself on and starts playing music!

Fiorello Patisserie is a delicious bakery in Huntington Long Island
Everything is so tempting at Fiorello bakery in Huntington, NY

I've never seen or felt any weird presence in the bakery.  Icy and Phoebe didn't seem to sense anything weird either, but I did find lots of delicious goodies to feed my sugar addiction.  Maybe the spirits come back just to get a whiff of their delicious cookies and pastries baking in the oven, I know I would!

...The Woods are lovely, dark and deep 
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep

- excerpted from the poem "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening", by Robert Frost


If you enjoyed this post, you'll love reading about our trip to Salem Massachusetts: A Spooky Dog Friendly Halloween, and our trip with the dogs to Spirited Colonial Williamsburg: A Perfectly Spooky Halloween!   

Have you visited any haunted sites in your town?  Do tell by leaving us a comment!  We eat up comments like Candy Corn!

FLASHBACK! to my favorite costume of Icy's, the Headless Horseman!


I don't know about you, but I love the holidays and I love reading great Christmas stories to help me get into the holiday spirit.  I usually start searching for holiday books in September!

One of my favorite authors is Debbie Macomber.  Her holiday stories are the best.  For me, it's just not Christmas without one of Debbie's heartwarming holiday books!

Great holiday books by Debbie Macomber.. Books make great Christmas gifts and Holiday gifts,
It's just not Christmas without one of Debbie Macomber's holiday books!


I'm a lucky dog because last month I WON a signed, advance copy of Debbie Macomber's latest Christmas book, ALASKAN HOLIDAY!!  She ran a contest on her Twitter page and I was one of the winners!  As expected, I loved the book and finished it in just two sittings. 

The book is about Josie, a young woman who is about to realize her dream of becoming sous-chef at one of Seattle's hottest new restaurants.  But will it really be the fulfilling, glamorous life she was hoping for?

While waiting for her dream position to start, Josie takes a Summer job cooking at a remote Alaskan lodge.  She's captivated by the raw beauty of Alaska and the tiny rustic town, as well as the warmth of the people living there - especially one particular person she's grown quite fond of.  But her dream job is about to start back in Seattle, where she's been selected to work side by side with a world renowned chef!  

Tension builds as fate tries to tell Josie it has other plans for her.  But will she listen?  Is the big-time restaurant job a dream come true, or is it a nightmare disguised as a dream when......  But wait! I'm getting ahead of myself.  You'll have to read the book and see for yourself whether Josie chooses love, her career, or both!

Being the mom of a Siberian Husky, I always get more excited when Debbie sets one of her fabulous stories in Alaska. 

I loved the book, but Icy thinks the one flaw in this novel is that Debbie could have given Hobo, the faithful Siberian Husky, a little more action in the book.  Hobo is always at his Dad Palmer's side as they trudge through the snowy rural Alaskan town they call home.  I'm wishing she had developed the character of Hobo a bit more too - like maybe shown us how the heck he stays right by Palmer's side without running off!!  I'm thinking Icy could learn a thing or two about sticking by my side from Hobo, LOL!

ALASKAN HOLIDAY, A great Christmas story by Debbie Macomber. Books, Reading, Holiday Gifts
Hmmm, I think Debbie could have developed the Hunky Husky character a bit more. He sounds so handsome!


Not only do great holiday books get me in the holiday spirit, they're thoughtful Christmas gifts for others.  

I put Alaskan Holiday on my holiday gift list for my sisters.  

I also gave them Cottage By The Sea. I think Cottage By The Sea is one of Debbie Macomber's best books yet.  It's about a young woman who finds unexpected hope, healing, love and friendship after a horrific family tragedy nearly breaks her.  The way the unique characters are developed as this riveting story unfolds kept me turning pages at rapid pace well into the night. I highly recommend it!

Check these books out, for yourself or as a gift for someone else! 


Debbie Macomber holiday books always get me in the Christmas spirit!  Books are a great gift for any occasion

Note: In case you're wondering, this is NOT a sponsored post.  I just wanted to share some of my favorite books with you! 

Do you enjoy reading holiday books to get into the Christmas or other holiday spirit?  Tell us in the comments!


For many years, I've been a believer that pets contribute greatly to the overall health and well being of humans.  Pets and the Human-Animal Bond benefit people in so many ways!

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Walking my way to better health with my dogs, Icy and Phoebe during Pet Partners' World's Largest Pet Walk event.

A scientific statement by the American Heart Association assessed the influence of pet ownership (mainly dog or cat) on the presence and reduction of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) risk factors.  

Among other things, the American Heart Assoc. statement included that:

> Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  Despite efforts promoting primary and secondary CVD prevention, obesity and physical inactivity remain at epidemic proportions.

> More than 60% of American adults are overweight or obese, and more than 50% don't perform recommended levels of physical activity.

> Pets, especially dogs, can provide increased physical activity.

Studies have shown that dog owners engage in more walking and other physical activity, and are more likely to achieve recommended levels of physical activity than non dog owners.  

Even better, people are lacing up their walking shoes for other pets too!  I see cats in walking harnesses walking towards better health with their people.  I also see dogs, cats and other pets riding in strollers, taking in the sights and sniffs as they help their people get more exercise by walking, running, and biking.

Health Benefits of Walking the dog,  Pets, Pet health, Dogs, Heart health, Walking
Walking provides health benefits for both pets and their people!

I participate in the Pet Partners World's Largest Pet Walk, an annual event that celebrates the health benefits of walking with pets.  It's a simple event to join.  People from around the world pledge to walk with their pets, starting at a synchronized date and time and ending whenever each participant feels comfortable.  

It doesn't cost anything to join and you can walk anywhere you like!  Invite anyone with or without a pet to join you.  It's a simple way to raise awareness of the health benefits of walking with our pets. Easy-Peasy!  The next Pet Partners walk is on September 25, 2021. Sign up and mark your calendars for the Worlds Largest Pet Walk .  Icy and I are a Pet Partners Therapy Dog team and we can't wait to resume our visits following the COVID19 Pandemic.

Walking is great for both human and pet health!  In people, it can improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.  Walking is also attributed to stronger bones and muscle strength. 

My parents lived in New York City for much of their lives.  Walking is a way of life in NYC. Keeping a car in such a crowded city is a hassle so most people don't have a car, they walk everywhere.  When my parents moved to the suburbs, they actively looked for opportunities to walk more.  They went for long walks in all the local parks and beaches, took evening strolls in the neighborhood, and often opted to walk to stores instead of driving.  

Although my parents were 5 years apart in age, they both lived to be 94.  I'm sure their lifelong habit of walking, as well as their love of fresh fruit and salads, helped them get to 94.  I am so blessed to have had my parents in my life for so long.  I'm sure you want the same for your family!

Other benefits pets can provide to people are:

🐶 Pets can help lower your blood pressure.

🐾 Pets can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can actually help reduce pain!

🐶 Pets make us feel good, prompting the release of the "feel good" hormones Dopamine, Serotonin, and Endorphins.

🐾 It's been documented that pet owners have higher one-year survival rates following heart attacks.

🐾 Studies in Austria and Germany have linked healthcare savings to pet ownership, reducing the number of  doctor visits needed.

Sources: Dr. Marty Becker, Pet Partners, and HABRI (Human Animal Bond Research Institute)

Our pets give us so much.  In addition to contributing to our health and well being, they give us the one thing only a pet can give - Unconditional Love!  Be thankful for the pets in your life. I know I am, my dogs are my greatest joy!

My UNCONDITIONAL LOVE of pets sweatshirt hoodie is perfect for walking your dog in style.  The design was created by Brooklyn artist MendyDraws, exclusively for Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them.  Can you tell Icy was the inspiration behind this design?

You can find this sweatshirt, and other products bearing our Unconditional Love design in my online store

Unconditional Love of dogs sweatshirt,

Sweatshirts, t shirts, tote bags, leggings with Unconditional Love design

Sweatshirts, Phone Cases, Mugs, Tote Bags, Leggings, and T-Shirts.

We'd love to hear how you stay active with your pet. Leave us a comment and share!

Every Pet Deserves A Loving Home #RememberMeThursday2018

The influx of homeless pets into animal shelters and rescues is a heartbreaking, never ending process.  Far too many lost, abandoned, or surrendered dogs, cats, and other pets end up in shelters every day.  The Humane Society estimates that 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters every year

Not every homeless dog or cat ends up in a shelter or rescue that will keep them until a home can be found, no matter how long it takes. The most unlucky pets end up in animal shelters where the clock never stops ticking.  They are running out of time.

Put this Remember Me Thursday badge on your blog!

I adopted Phoebe from the county animal shelter I was volunteering at.  She had arrived with a male companion, dirty, matted and frightened to death.  Not long after she and the little boy dog arrived at the adoption center, he began having problems with his neuter surgery.  They had to send him back to the clinic which was miles away.  Now Phoebe was all alone in her kennel.

It took some time for her to respond to me when I walked by her cage.  There was something special about her, I can't explain it. She looked so sad and defeated.  She wouldn't get out of her bed or even lift up her head.

Phoebe when I first brought her home

Each time I passed by her kennel I would speak softly to her and pet her gently on the head. After several hours and rounds up and down the aisle she finally began to respond to me.  Eventually she got out of her bed, wagged her tail and approached the kennel door to greet me.  I was so relieved she was finally responding to something, to someone.

I wasn't looking to add another dog to our family, but I just couldn't leave Phoebe there.  She was so frightened and fragile.  I knew she needed to get out of the shelter right away, so I brought her home and, well the rest is history!  Read more of Phoebe's story here.

On REMEMBER ME THURSDAY we shine a light on pet adoption.  

Phoebe became an important member of our family!

People often ask Why can't we save them all?  It's a question with no clear answer.  My question isn't just Why can't we save them all, but Why do so many pets end up without homes in the first place? What is the root cause of this problem? and far more importantly, What can we do about it?  Those are the questions that plague my mind and rack my brain.  There is no one clear answer to any of them.  

Being adopted is the greatest gift any homeless pet can receive.  All pets deserve a loving home where they can be cared for, loved, and spoiled, like Phoebe!  Please help shine a light on pet adoption for #RememberMeThursday by sharing this message of hope and love.

Hurricane Maria A Year Later, and the Homeless Animals In It's Wake

I can't believe it's been a year since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.  According to Wikipedia, it was the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.  Much has been reported about the tragic loss of life and subsequent enormous recovery effort.  Natural disasters like Hurricane Maria have an enormous impact on stray dogs and cats as well as people, and the way of life they had before the disaster.

When the storm hit I worried about my good friend Scott Smith, who had moved to Puerto Rico shortly before Hurricane Maria slammed in.  Today I am sharing Scott's personal story about what he experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and the devastating impacts this catastrophic storm had on both people and homeless animals.

"On September 20, 2017, an enormous hurricane pummeled Puerto Rico and devastated much of the island.
I come from New York and was living there on 9/11—and I was struck by the similarities between that tragedy and Hurricane Maria. In both situations, I went to bed in one life and woke up in another.
But Hurricane Maria also got me thinking about stray dogs and cats and what they go through every day.

Homeless dogs & cats are impacted by Hurricanes and other natural disasters. Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Florence, Disaster preparedness

Let me explain.
When Maria’s winds died down, Puerto Rico was without electricity, internet service, and in many parts of the island, running water. Communications were down. Things I’d taken for granted like food, water, and medical care became luxuries that were hard to come by. Most stores were closed and the ones that weren’t only accepted cash. But the banking system was offline and no one could get cash. It was a situation reminiscent of the Great Depression, when people with money in the bank couldn’t withdraw and spend it and the whole economy ground to a halt.
Streets that were once well lit and safe became dark and dangerous. There was looting. There were random acts of violence. Many people had to sleep with one eye open—if they got any sleep at all. The situation became so dangerous that the governor was compelled to proclaim an island-wide dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Just days after the storm, I was waiting in a long line at a grocery store, hoping that it wouldn’t run out of food and that I’d have enough cash to get what I needed for my family. And I had a revelation: this is how homeless dogs and cats live every day. They lead precarious lives. They go days without adequate food and water. They don’t get medical care. They’re in constant danger and have to be watchful to the point of paranoia.
I was living like that now. So were nearly three million Puerto Ricans. We had become an island of strays.
I’ve always had a special connection to animals. I’ve been personally involved in a number of animal rescues. I’m a human dad to four dogs, all of whom were rescued from the streets. Sad to say, there are about half a million more where mine came from—and more than 1 million stray cats. What I went through for several weeks following Hurricane Maria, they go through every day, with little hope that things will get better.
As if the tragedy of stray dogs and cats was not horrific enough before Maria hit, it became even worse afterward. Approximately 300,000 people moved away from Puerto Rico on account of the storm. Many of them were unable to take their animals with them. As Maria was bearing down on the island, a friend of mine witnesses heartbreaking scenes at the San Juan airport when families had to abandon their beloved pets. To make matters worse, the federal government banned pets who weighed more than 20 pounds from air travel. The policy was intended to free up cargo space for much-needed relief supplies, but it had the unintended effect of causing another 2,000 pets to be abandoned to the streets.
After 9/11, New Yorkers like me figured out ways around the damage and disruption. Yet there was no way around the devastation of Hurricane Maria. It dragged on and on for months—and will likely take years to completely dissipate. Right now, the extraordinary hardships that all of us on the island endured after Hurricane Maria have largely disappeared. But the pain continues for Puerto Rico’s homeless cats and dogs.
I saw a tragic example of that last winter. I got a call about a dog that had been hit by a car and badly injured. When I arrived at the scene, I found a terrified animal who was in tremendous pain and who was unable to move his hind legs. It took three hours, but we finally got him into a crate and to the Veterinaria 24/7 in Pinero.

Impacts of Hurricane Maria on stray dogs and cats in Puerto Rico.  Pets,  Homeless animals, Hurricanes, Storms, Natural disasters.
Photo Credit: Seary Figueroa

As it turned out, this poor dog’s back legs were paralyzed. He will never walk again. Fortunately, he was adopted by a loving family in Wisconsin that is giving him the best life possible. But other dogs and cats aren’t so lucky. It’s depressingly common to see the remains of dogs and cats who’ve been hit by cars in Puerto Rico. To try to combat this problem, I began a video campaign I called Drive With Compassion. It’s something—but it’s not enough.
Having lived through a catastrophic storm like Hurricane Maria has given me new insight into the lives of stray animals. I now have some firsthand knowledge of what their lives are like. And having welcomed stray dogs off the Puerto Rican streets and into my heart, I can attest to how just one person can save a life.
I encourage everyone to become the person who makes that kind of difference in a stray dog or cat’s life. There are some terrific organizations here that support those of us who become that difference. I urge you all to help and support them: All Sato Rescue, Alianza Pro Rescate Animales, Yes We Can-ine, Samas Boarding for Dogs, Rabito Kontento, The Humane Society of Puerto Rico,, Animalitos de Dios PR and Brownie Blondie Foundation by Marjorie Andino.
Remember what I learned: hurricanes like Maria are (I hope!) a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. But what the strays of Puerto Rico experience goes on day after day after day without end. Only people who are able and willing to step up can stop it."

Scott Smith, editor at Consumersadvocate

Thank You Scott for sharing your personal Hurricane Maria story, shedding light on how disasters like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes impact animals as well as people.  Thanks also for reminding us that the impact to homeless dogs and cats can last much longer than the impact to people.  It's an ongoing struggle and they need our help on a continual basis.

Visit the Drive With Compassion web site.  Scott describes it this way: “Driving With Compassion is a movement created to help stray animals all over the world living on the street. People need to think about animals when they’re driving their cars. It’s not just about people in this life. Animals are important too."

Scottish Dogs Steal the Show at the Scottish Festival and Highland Games

The Long Island Scottish Festival and Highland Games event has been going on for decades.  Despite being born and raised on Long Island, New York I had never been to this popular festival.  I had heard a lot about it and I've wanted to go for quite some time, so when my cousin called and said Let's Go to the Scottish Festival! I was on board!

The Scottish Festival celebrates and preserves Scottish Heritage by educating people about the cultural history of Scotland. I was looking forward to all the vendors with unique Scottish merchandise, sampling some interesting Scottish food, and watching the fun demonstration of Highland games and dancing.  What I was most looking forward to though, is seeing some Scottish Dogs!  You knew there had to be a dog angle, right?

Beautiful Scottish Dogs at the Scottish Festival on Long Island NY.  Scottie dogs,  Dogs of Scotland
Guenevere "Gwenie", my cousin's adorable Scottie was none too pleased that we went to a Scottish Festival without her.  You're not taking ME along? Really!? I hope you get sick on Birdie Pie, Humpf!!


The Scottish Festival wasn't a dog event, in fact it wasn't even a dog friendly event!  No dogs were permitted other than a few dog rescues, Scottish dog aficionados wanting to educate people about their dog's breed, and Scottish dog breeders that had booths set up there.  But there were plenty of adorable, sweet Scottish dogs to pet and love on! 

I was a little disappointed that there weren't more rescue dogs and dog rescue groups represented at the festival, but it was interesting to learn about the dogs of Scotland.  I was especially interested in the Scottish Deerhound, which I was only a little familiar with.  When I first saw this beautiful dog I assumed she was an Irish Wolfhound, the tallest breed of dog, but I was wrong.  Scottish Deerhounds and Irish Wolfhounds look so much alike - to me, anyway! 

Scottish Deerhound dog at the Scottish Festival in New York.  Dogs of Scotland, Scottish dogs
I mistook this sweet Scottish Deerhound for an Irish Wolfhound - My Bad!

The Scottish Deerhound is a pretty big dog, but they're considerably smaller than their Irish Wolfhound cousins.  This beautiful girl was so large I just assumed she was an Irish Wolfhound - sorry sweetie, my mistake!   You know what happens when you assume, don't you? You make an ASS of U and ME,  LOL!!   In this Modern Dog magazine article, you can read more about the differences between the Scottish Deerhound and the Irish Wolfhound .

I was thrilled to see a number of Scottish Terriers at the festival. These Scotties were so adorable, and super friendly!  

Friendly Scottish Terrier dog greeting children at a Scottish Festival.  Scotties are the quintessential dogs of Scotland!  Scottish Dogs.
This adorable Scottie loved greeting the children who came by to say Hi. Look at him smiling at his adoring fans! Kids' faces obscured for privacy purposes

I love black Scotties! In fact that's what I wanted when John and I finally decided to get a dog - actually, I had decided long before but it took some work to Convince my husband to get a dog!  We ended up with our Siberian Husky, Icy, instead!  A Scottie and a Husky couldn't be more different, but as most of you probably know, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Icy brings us so much joy.  I still hope to have a jet black Scottie one day.....

Handsome Scottish Terrier at the Scottish Festival, Long Island NY.  Scottish Dogs, Dogs of Scotland, Scottie dogs, Terriers,
How handsome is this Scottie dude?!

I was happy to see a Shetland Sheepdog rescue group with some really sweet Shelties at the festival.  Among them was this absolutely adorable Dog. This Sheltie was so popular and friendly, I could barely get near him! I loved his unique coloring and amazing temperament, especially with the children.

This beautiful Sheltie was there with the Long Island Shetland Sheepdog Rescue group.  If you want to Adopt a Sheltie or Foster a Sheltie, they might be a potential resource for you if you live in the vicinity of the Northeast.

The Long Island Shetland Sheepdog Rescue group was at the Scottish Festival on Long Island NY.
Sheltland Sheepdog Rescue Group on Long Island NY

Other great Scottish dogs we had the pleasure of meeting at the festival were West Highland White Terriers (Westies), a beautiful Sky Terrier, and a sweet little Dandie Dinmont.  

We saw so many beautiful Dogs of Scotland at the Scottish Festival! Skye Terrier, Dandie Dinmont, West Highland White (Westie) dogs and more!
Beautiful dogs! Skye Terrier (L),  Dandie Dimnont (Upper Rt), and a Westie (Lower Rt)

It was so nice to meet these dog breeds of Scotland, I loved it!  

After I got my Scottish doggie fix, I was delighted to see that there were some interesting birds of prey at the festival too!  


All birds of prey are beautiful and fascinating.  One of my favorite birds in general are Owls.  I can't recall if my owl fascination increased following Harry Potter and his stunning Snowy Owl, Hedwig, or if I've always been this enthralled with Owls.  There wasn't a Snowy Owl at the festival, but there was an adorable little Barn Owl and a gorgeous amber colored Eurasian Owl.  

Beautiful birds of prey were at the Scottish Festival

In addition to Owls there were Hawks, Kestrels, and a majestic Bald Eagle, which is the national bird of the United States. The Falconer shared some interesting facts about each of the birds. 

Check out the giant talons on this Bald Eagle!  These birds can weigh up to 12 lbs and can lift and carry up to 5 lbs.  But don't panic dog moms! Although they'll eat small mammals, a Bald Eagle's primary diet is fish.  

Majestic Bald Eagle on display at the Scottish Festival.  Check out this bird of prey's talons!
Closeup of a Bald Eagle's talons

Red Tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls, however, have been known to attack cats and dogs weighing well over 6 lbs.  Both of these predators are common on Long Island, so needless to say I keep a close eye on little Phoebe.

I wasn't that clear on the connection between these birds and Scottish culture, but I do know that Kestrels and Golden Eagles can be found in Scotland.  Oh well, it's a festival and these wild creatures were beautiful to behold!  Most of the birds they had on display were rescued birds, but not all of them.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about our day at the Scottish Festival and all the sweet dogs and beautiful birds we saw there.  Please leave us a comment and let us know if you enjoyed this post.  We always love hearing your thoughts!

Here's a fun Flashback photo of Icy when she was less than a year old.  Look how big her ears were LOL!  As she got older, she lost the beautiful markings around her eyes which looked like a mask.  I always thought they made her look a bit mean, but of course she's the sweetest girl!  I'm jumping on the Flashback Friday blog hop with this photo of Icy:

Join the Flashback Friday pet BLOG HOP!  Here is my Siberian Husky Icy as a puppy.
Icy as a puppy.  Look how giant her ears are LOL!