George Clooney Adopts Shelter Dog for His Parents

I grew up not far from Cincinnati, watching Nick Clooney first host the afternoon movie, then the local news. Although I didn’t know the family growing up (they are from Northern Kentucky, as I recall), I have always felt an affinity for George because (well, okay, because he’s gorgeous!) but also because he and I […]


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TEEN FINDS UNIQUE WAYS TO HELP HOMELESS CATS

Sabrina-and-Halo-Food-lgInspired by her late grandparents’ love of animals, one teenager in Illinois is finding innovative ways to help her local cat rescue.

Sabrina Hoagland’s grandparents, Diann and Butch Hoagland, were passionate about giving back to the community and, like Sabrina, loved animals.

Although Diann passed away in 2010 and Butch in 2014, they made a lasting impression on their granddaughter.

The 17-year-old began volunteering for The Forever Home Feline Ranch (FHFR) in Springfield, IL because she was interested in helping to make the world safe and more humane for all living creatures.

As Sabrina became more involved in volunteering, she quickly realized the amount of work the organization puts in to helping the animals in their care and she wanted to do more.

Click here to read the complete story.

Halo

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Sunlight

‘Ours’ on the sofa – a ray of sunlight on his face.
RIVIERA DOGS

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Murphy is home!

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports- WCAX in Burlington, VT is reporting that Murphy, the Golden Retriever who ran away after a car accident 18 months ago, is finally home with his family. When Ed Hamel’s granddaughter was in a car accident in 2014, Murphy escaped and ran away. His brain immediately shifted to […]


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Reflections on 4000 Miles

Divers have to decompress before resurfacing and the greater the depth of the dive the longer the decompression. I’ve pretty much been unplugged and down and out right disconnected since the completion of the West Coast Walk because I needed to.  
But I haven’t just been making angels in the tons of snow that’s blanketed CT – tho Hudsy and Nanners (nice snow stache BTW) have – I’ve been deep in reflection on the enormity my accomplishments but more importantly how to tell it.  The right way.  
The story’s the thing.  
Beginning March 16th, the 7th anniversary of the start of the first walk, I’ll be posting a seven part interview with Yer Big Dog wherein which I will talk not only about the great and the glory of this grand adventure but the trials and tribulations, too.  From the fantastic people we’ve met on our path to the fantastical things we’ve experienced.  
And we’re making it interactive.  I’ve gotten thousands of questions over the expanse of our journey and haven’t always been able to answer all of them so also we’re opening this up to you.  If you have something you’d like to personally ask YBD, send me an email by Feb 15th.  Not via FB or TW or in a comment here.  Hopefully we can get it and we’ll try our best because I have a lot to say.  Over 4,000 miles and 1,044 days, I’ve walked the walk now it’s time to talk the talk.  #4000miles

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

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How To Spot an Animal Social Justice Warrior

There’s something happening in the animal world, something sticky and kind of ugly, and we need to talk about it.

You learn to spot patterns when you’ve been around long enough, trends that start in one area but quickly pick up steam in your own neck of the woods. And that, my friends, is what I’m bringing up today: the emerging trend of the Social Justice Warrior, and how that relates to people in pet care.

sjw

I think it’s pretty clear that I am a big proponent of animal advocacy, from the first blogathons to my work with hospice and this very site, which I’ve written for seven years now in an attempt to keep an open dialogue on important pet topics. I am a huge fan of people who work so very hard and selflessly to make a difference, and this is not who I am speaking of today.

I have also seen a less pleasant side of people, those who use their issue of choice as a shield to build up their own ego and bludgeon others, often at the expense of those very people who are trying to improve the world for others, while tarnishing their own cause by association.

What is an animal social justice warrior, exactly?

While the term “social justice warrior” started gaining momentum with the Gamergate brouhaha specifically in reference to progressive views and speech, the prevailing wisdom is that the term has evolved to encompass a wide array of armchair activists who care less about outcomes and more about dogpiles. No one has specifically defined what it means in our sphere, so I’m just going to go ahead and do it right here.

It matters to us, as animal welfare advocates, healthcare providers, and educators, because we’re often the ones being targeted. Here’s what I’ve observed, over and over:

  • It starts from a good place.

Most of the time, people start on a course of advocacy for an issue they truly believe in: maybe it’s ear cropping, or vaccine safety, or feral cat rescue. Good topics that good people can get behind, which is why it is so hard to call them out. But then something goes sideways.

  • Facts become less important than emotion as time goes on and the ‘army’ grows.

As momentum builds with a social justice warrior’s campaign, enemies are identified and the followers are called upon to ‘take them down’ on social media, which can be annoying for a large pharmaceutical company but devastating for a small business owner or individual. Sometimes it’s very hard to dispute the ugliness of the original offense (like the guy who killed Cecil the Lion), but other times the dogpile results in something far worse than the original problem: people losing jobs, people erroneously identified as child predators. By the time the error is identified, the damage has been done.

  • Methods are as important as ideas.

When a social justice warrior really gets going, they often work to recruit others to the cause. Sometimes those people demur, not because they disagree with the original idea, but because the seek and destroy tactics make them uncomfortable. They become the enemy. There is no allowance to exist in parallel.

  • There is no room for discussion.

This is when you know the game is over, so to speak. Are you allowed to point out an erroneous fact? No. Question a topic? No. At this point, the social justice warrior’s ego has become more important than the actual topic at hand, and no amount of reasoning will change their mind. In fact, it only makes them dig their heels in more. You’ve just given them one more ‘enemy’ to bounce off of.

What does this mean for you, the pet lovers of the world?

If you’re the owner of a small business, rescue, or work with an organization, you may find yourself in the crosshairs for some or other perceived wrong. I’ll talk about what does and doesn’t seem to help in another post, because it’s happening more and more.

How to Spot an Animal Social Justice Warrior

But even you, the general audience out there on the web, has a role to play in this. Before joining a cause or supporting an advocate, ask yourself this:

 

  • How do they respond to constructive criticism? With acknowledgment, or anger?
  • Do they have a revolving door of bullies who they claim are always trying to silence them? Do they ever talk to someone with an opposing view in a respectful dialogue?
  • How do they encourage action? Do they link to legitimate organizations doing real world work, or is it limited to online petitions, reviews, and Facebook arguments?
  • What emotions are they playing to? When you look at their page, do you feel empowered to make a positive difference, or just angry at the world?

If you think this is about one person, you’re wrong. I can’t even point to any one in particular because the truth is, there are too many to list. People like this don’t help the causes, they hurt them. They make animal advocates look bad, incapable of compromise, cooperation, and nuance. Be aware, and ask yourself what the real goals are before liking, sharing, or sending money. Real advocacy exists, but this isn’t it.

We still have lots of work to do, but this isn’t the way to do it.

 

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Bring ‘em Inside!

The Ohio legislature is now considering a bill that would make it illegal to leave a dog tethered outside in extreme temperatures. The Capital Area Humane Society says it received 30 – 40 calls every day about animals left outside when it’s too cold for most of us to even take the garbage out. See […]


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Happy 2016

Apparently I am incapable of blogging more than once a month.  No matter how good my intentions are.

We got Summit’s eyes fixed about 3 weeks ago.  Everything went smoothly although they aren’t looking normal yet.  We have reached the stitches-are-dissolving-and-his-eyes-are-goopy-and-disgusting stage.  :)

He is very much an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of dog.  For example, we went snowshoeing the other day, and Marlin went into the outhouse for about 60 seconds. When he stepped out, Summit was shocked to see him and didn’t know who he was.  LOL.

The nice thing about that aspect of his personality is that he’s really easy to distract if he is doing something naughty like harassing the cats.  I lazy throw of a toy is enough to draw him away.

Coulee has been playing with him like crazy.  It’s super nice to see.  She doesn’t bully him nearly as much as she does Lacey and they can actually sustain play for 15-30 minutes at a time.  (Usually when Coulee plays with Lacey it deteriorates after a few minutes and we have to put a stop to it).  Lacey has been like Jeckyl and Hyde with Summit.  She can go from wrestling with him to snarling fiercely in the blink of an eye.  She’s usually more inclined to play with him outside in the backyard or when we are out on a walk but not always.  For a while I was thinking she wasn’t feeling very good but she isn’t showing any other signs so I think it’s just her being crabby.

Lacey’s fur has grown back and you can’t even tell she had surgery on her back not that long ago.  That’s pretty much it in “dog news”. :)

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Unofficial Photography Project

So I’ve tried a few 52 week projects. I’ve even tried a 365.  And I’ve failed to complete them all.  But what I have enjoyed is the photos I get out of them when I put the effort into it.  So I’m going to be doing an unofficial 52 week project this year.  I’ll be roughly using prompts from the “Creative 52″ book by Lindsay Adler as well as some “shot ideas” from Charlotte Reeves’ book “Dog Shots”.  I hope to essentially plan a shot then go out and do it.  I find if I don’t, I just do the same old, same old. Over and over and over and frankly it gets dull.  It was OK when Summit was growing so quickly as I was basically just documenting the changes.  But now that his growth has slowed down to a dull roar, I want to start capturing something a little different.

My last attempt at a 52 week project was two years ago.  The prompt was Colour and I loved the shot of Coulee that I got and I wanted to try and get the same photo of Summit.  It worked out perfectly.

Then seeing as we were out and about, we took some other colourful photos as well.

 I’ve got a few more I still need to edit too.  I’m already glad I’ve made the effort for the project.  It’s nice to do something different every now and then.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Friday Funny: Snow Pants

Poor little doggie. Have a great weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


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