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.

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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, PrAnimals.org, 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!