Please be careful on the roads, and keep an eye on your fireworks-averse critters. All good things to my blog readers in 2009.
Cheers- Ellie B
Ellie Brecher is a general assignment reporter for The Miami Herald. Email her at email@example.com.
Pet lady: That's my role in the Miami Herald newsroom. I've been here since 1989, during which time I've had 11 dogs, a ring-necked parakeet, a chicken, and a lizard named Lance. At the moment, I have four dogs, one step-dog, and two cockatiels. A native New Yorker, I came here from Louisville, Ky. I'm a graduate of the University of Arizona, and had a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in 1988. I have written 309 stories containing the word "dog" in the past 20 years.
It's one of those Internet things and is either fact or fiction, but who cares? Enjoy.
By supporting the effort to ban chaining in another SoFla town:
The Town of Southwest Ranches regular meeting agenda for Thursday, January 8th, 2009 has discussion item # DSC-4 listed as:
PROPOSED "BREAK THE CHAIN" ANTI-TETHERING ORDINANCE
This is a very welcome and appreciated reconsideration of a proposed ordinance that would ban the cruel chaining of dogs. The concept of "Break the Chain" was originally presented to the Town of Southwest Ranches on December 13th,2007 and will now have the opportunity to be considered as an ordinance for the Town of Southwest Ranches.
As many of you may be aware, Miami-Dade County recently passed an almost identical ordinance that bans the cruel chaining of dogs countywide. Unfortunately, here in Broward County, it is still incumbent on the individual City or Town to create legislation that would ban the cruel chaining of dogs because Broward County (the county) refuses to consider countywide legislation, even refusing to acknowledge constituents requests for clarification.
We are hopeful that the Town of Southwest Ranches will become the 13th municipality in Broward County that shows compassion for our four legged friends. The Humane Society of Broward County has worked tirelessly since May of 2005 educating the public about the cruelties of chaining dogs and has witnessed over a third of Broward County municipalities creating laws to protect our cruelly chained dogs, and laws that protect our children should they wander into an area of an illegally/cruelly chained dog.
I encourage each and every one of you who receives this e-mail to forward it to all of your friends and neighbors (even if you don't live in the Town of Southwest Ranches) and show up Thursday evening at 7:00PM on January 8th, 2009 to join in the discussion and voice your support for both the Town of Southwest Ranches' lawmakers and this proposed ordinance that would benefit our four legged friends.
Southwest Ranches Town Council Meeting
Thursday January 8th, 2009 7:00PM
6591 SW 160 Avenue (Dykes Road)
Southwest Ranches, Florida 33331
A dog, a cat and a rat live in perfect harmony. They belong to a homeless guy who asks: Why can't the human race get along as well as they do?
What better question to ponder in this season when we all wish for Peace on Earth. Enjoy.
The Labradors sprawled out, quite snug in their beds,
while visions of ANYTHING edible danced in their heads.
the Goldens and Shepherds curled up on the floor,
some twitched in their sleep and some even did snore.
The dog food was stacked in the feed room with care,
in hopes that a trainer soon would be there.
On the window ledge, one of the kennel cats lay,
surveying the lawn at the end of this day.
Something was different, that little cat knew.
Tonight something would happen, it had to be true.
For that day as the workers had left to go home,
They'd wished Merry Christmas! before starting to roam.
The dogs had noticed it to during this past week's walks,
the trainers seemed just that much happier and eager to talk.
In the mall where they worked through the maze of people and stores,
there were decoration and music and distractions galore!
Most dogs pranced along without worry or fear,
but some balked at the man on the sleigh and those fake looking
The cat was almost asleep too when he first heard the sound,
a whoosh through the air and a jingle around.
It reminded him of a dog's collar when the animal shook,
but this sound kept on growing. He'd better go look.
From the ceiling there came a faint sort of thunk,
as the kennel cat climbed to the highest pile of junk.
Once before people had worked on the roof,
and come down through the trap door to a chorus of "Woooof!"
But the dogs still were quiet, all sleeping so sound,
as this man dressed in red made his way right on down.
He patted the cat as he climbed past his spot,
then made his way right to the trainers' coffee pot.
A shepherd sat up, not fully awake,
then a Golden followed her with a mighty loud shake.
That did it! All the dogs sprang to life with loud noise.
In spite of the din, the old man kept his poise.
He filled the pot full and it started to brew,
then he pulled up a chair and took in the view.
Dogs all around him, so carefully bred,
he knew well their jobs, the blind people they led.
Some had stopped barking and looked at him now,
while others delighted in their own deafening howl.
Laying a finger in front of his lips,
the jolly old man silenced the excitable yips.
"You all may not know me, but I'm Santa Claus,"
the old man smiled and took a short pause,
While he filled up his mug with hot liquid and cream,
"I've always wanted to stop here. It's been one of my dreams."
The cat had climbed down and was exploring Santa's sack.
"Yes, little kitty, that's an empty pack."
Santa smiled as he drank and looked at those eyes,
deep brown ones and gold ones held wide in surprise.
Some of these dogs, he'd seen just last year,
in their puppy homes, cute and full of holiday cheer.
He'd seen the effects of a pup on the tree,
but now they were here at the school, just waiting to be.
"I didn't bring you presents or bones just to chew.
I'll tell you something better, what you are going to do."
"You all will work hard and the trainers will share,
both praise and correction, gentle and fair."
"You'll go lots of places and face big scary things.
You'll ride buses and subways and hear fire sirens ring."
"Cars will drive at you but you will stand strong,
not moving into danger, not moving toward wrong."
"And then just when you think that this trainer's the best,
the kindest, and funnest person, toss away all the rest,"
"That trainer will begin to ignore you and give you away,
handing your leash over despite your dismay."
"Now the person who pets you and feeds you will be
a blind person. That's a person who can't see."
" This man or this woman may see just a tad,
but their view's missing parts or the focus is bad."
"So you, well trained dogs, will act as their eyes.
You will work as a team and discover the size"
"Of this great world we live in, because you will go
a million new places with this person, you know."
Santa sipped at his coffee and looked over the brood,
knowing what he had to say next might sound kind of rude.
"Not all of you will make it and become canine guides.
Your time here isn't wasted though. You won't be cast aside."
"Some of you will be drug dogs and some will find bombs.
Some will become pets in a home with a dad and a mom."
"All these things are important. People wait on long lists,
to receive such good dogs as you, the school folks insist."
The last drop of coffee had gone into his cup
as Santa turned, smiling at each wide eyed pup.
"The best gift of all is to give something back.
That's why there's nothing for you all inside of my pack."
Draining his mug, Santa went to each pen,
and petted and scratched each dog again and again.
"Now next year and many more years after that,
you all will give gifts wherever you're at."
"You might lick a hand that's had a bad day,
Or notice a car and step out of the way."
"You might help catch a crook or discover some loot,
Or just bring some joy to a tired old man in a funny red suit."
"Your master will love you and treat you with care.
In return, your training and trust will always be there."
After the last dog had been petted and soothed,
Santa put away the coffee pot and made ready to move.
Up the ladder he rose to the door high above,
with a smile and a wave as he slipped on his gloves.
And all the dog ears were pricked as he disappeared out of sight.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!"
(Author Unknown...but obviously clever)
This sweet, undernourished two year old was found roaming the streets. CUPID is sweet, sweet, sweet; he just melts in your lap. Right now he is being boarded at the vet's office and we desperately need to get him into a home environment so he can learn the meaning of a homelife and we can stop paying for him to languish in a cage day after day. The vet has given him a clean bill of health - he's been vaccinated and neutered - he has some dandruff which the vet attributes to poor nourishment. He's already looking MUCH better than he did when he was picked up. CUPID is a medium-size dog, we believe he has some shepherd and doberman in him, but he is smaller than either breed. Anyone that might be willing to foster him - even if it's short term - please contact me or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Dog Name: Unique
Dog Age: 5.5 years old
Date of Birth: 03/06.2003
Weight: 3 kg. - approximately 7 lbs.
Reason for surrender: I have two Babies and I don't have the time to take good care of Unique anymore.
Any health issues: Yes
Care currently given for these issues: Epilepsy every few weeks for couple of minutes.
Had hips operation when he was 1 year old so he lift his leg sometime. two teeth missing.
Last Vet Visit: 10/09/2007
Up to date on shots: No
Heartworm Test Done: No
HW Prevention Used: None
Is there anything else we should know about this dog: Was born in France. Very friendly dog. Likes to play. Gets along with other dogs: Yes. Gets along with cats: Unknown. Gets along with children: Yes. Has dog ever bitten: No.
Also: A couple of foreclosure dogs, left in an empty house. They're fixed, housebroken, really sweet we would like to find them a home toget her if possible! they are best buddies. Call 305-409-8442 or email email@example.com.
EMMA. From her rescuer, who works for the Dept. of Children and Families: While doing a home visit at the home of one of our clients, I was asked to find a home for EMMA. Due to economic situations, they cannot keep her. Yes, this is another sad story. Thanks for sharing it with others so that they too can share. Call 954-536-9219.
Terrier mix, she's now ‘boarding’ at Waggle Brothers in Miami Shores. Found on a rescuer's doorstep, abandoned by neighbors. Frida is 1 ½ years old, sweet, spayed and in good health. If you would like to meet her, please call Waggle Brothers at 305-891-2058.
This time of year, I get a lot of requests to advertise luxury pet items and/or to link to sites that sell them. I decided awhile back that I wasn't going to do either because I think that most of it is pointless extravagance in ordinary times, indefensible at times such as these (see below). If anyone finds this offensive, then so be it.
I've said this before and I'll say it again (as you do your last-minute Xmas shopping): Your dog does not need a $900 designer dog bed; you can get a perfectly fine fleece-covered bed for $25 and give the balance to a shelter. Your cat doesn't need a $200 crystal-encrusted collar; buy a nylon collar for $5 and give the rest to a rescue group. You don't need a $1,200 leather pet tote; spend $50 for microfiber and spend the rest on pet food for a food pantry.
Please do the right thing this holiday season. There's so much heartache all over the animal kingdom, and anyone who's in a position to help, should. (Also check out foreclosurepets.org).
By MARGERY A. GIBBS
Associated Press Writer
A growing number of Americans are giving up their dogs and
cats to animal shelters as the emotional bonds between people and
pets get tested by economic ones.
From the Malvern, Pa., man who turned his two dogs over in
order to help pay for his mother's cancer treatments to the New
York woman who euthanized her cat rather than keeping it alive
with expensive medications, rising economic anxieties make it
increasingly difficult for some pet owners to justify spending
$1,000 a year or more on pet food, veterinary services and other
The population growth at animal shelters in Connecticut,
Nebraska, Texas, Utah and other states shows how the weak economy
is also shrinking the pool of potential adopters. And it
coincides with a drop-off in government funding and charitable
The effect has been cramped quarters for dogs and cats, a
faster rate of shelters euthanizing animals and some shelters
turning away people looking to surrender pets, according to
interviews with several shelters and animal advocates. Of the
estimated 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats sent to animal
shelters every year, half are euthanized and the rest adopted,
according to the Humane Society of the United States.
"It's definitely discouraging for us,'' said Adam Goldfarb, a
Humane Society spokesman. îîOne of our major goals is to develop
and celebrate the bond between people and animals. It's so tragic
when families reach a point when they can't afford to care for
With two children, a husband on disability and a difficult job
search of her own, 23-year-old Mel Bail of Worcester, Mass., had
begun feeding leftovers from family meals to her three cats …
Rory, Ozzy and Mudpie … before recently deciding to give them up.
"When I couldn't pay my gas bill, I knew I had to find
another home for the cats,'' Bail said.
But it wasn't easy to find a shelter that would accept them.
"They're completely full,'' said Bail, who ultimately turned to
online classified ads to find homes for Rory, Ozzy and Mudpie.
There is no nationwide data being collected on the reasons
dogs and cats are being abandoned by their owners, but shelter
managers and advocates for animals say the trend is undeniable …
and probably a bigger phenomenon than they are aware of.
"People are embarrassed to admit that's why they're giving up
their pets,'' said Betsy McFarland, the Humane Society's director
of communications for companion animals.
An Associated Press-Petside.com poll found that one in seven
owners nationwide reported reduced spending on their pets during
the past year's recession. Of those cutting back, more than a
quarter said they have seriously considered giving up their pet.
The average annual cost of owning a dog is about $1,400, while
the average annual cost of a cat is about $1,000, according to a
survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. The
survey suggests there are some 231 million pets … excluding fish
… in more than 71 million homes in America.
In Omaha, Neb., the Nebraska Humane Society's shelter began
tracking for the first time this year those pets given up because
of financial constraints. Through mid-November, more than 275
pets were given up because their owners said they couldn't afford
to keep them.
Among them are two 9-year-old miniature schnauzers, dropped
off anonymously with a note that said their owners could no
longer afford to keep them.
Humane Society spokeswoman Pam Wiese said the
obedience-trained purebreds came into the shelter up-to-date on
vaccinations and dental care and were well-groomed.
"It is really sad, because for these people, it is not an
excuse. They are absolutely stuck, and they need to downsize and
there is no one to take the pets,'' she said. "You can tell
these have been much-loved pets.''
In New York, Erin Farrell-Talbot recently made the decision to
euthanize her 15-year-old cat, Buki, when she was told within
days of losing her job that he would need thousands of dollars in
treatment and medications costing $65 a month to live.
"When it came down to whether I was going to charge food for
the month of September or give medicine to my cat, that was a
clear decision for me,'' Farrell-Talbot said. îîIt was horrible.
It killed us.''
The Animal Humane Association in Albuquerque, N.M., saw 69
dogs and cats turned over through September because the owners
couldn't afford to keep them. That compares with 48 in the same
period in 2007 … a 44 percent increase, said executive director
In response, Weigle's shelter began a program to open its
emergency pet shelter … normally reserved for battered women
needing a place to keep their pets for a while … to those
suffering financially. So far this year 45 pets have been taken
in through the emergency program, compared with eight the
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in
Virginia Beach, Va., recently began a program called Help Out
Pets Everywhere (HOPE) to provide food, medical care and
temporary homes for pets belonging to families with financial
difficulties. Eighteen applications were received within the
The program received 18 applications within its first week.
Some of those people have never experienced hardship until now,
and therefore, neither have their pets, McNally said.
"It's been devastating,'' said Amy McNally, a spokeswoman for
the program. îîFor somebody to say, 'I can't afford to feed my
dog' … it's a humbling time.''
Tune in on Saturday, December 20 for Broward Humane's “Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Fashion Show” on WPLG Channel 10. Every half hour, starting at 9 AM, two adorable dogs adorned in holiday attire will be featured walking down the runway.