Be the Change with a Shelter Drive By! Small effort, big reward

As many of you have heard, it’s National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, though to be fair the news cycle has been dominated by other events. Such is life. As regular readers may remember, I usually end this week with the Blogathon, a 24 hour marathon of posts with prizes and fun, and potentially zombies.

But life happens and things evolve, and as it so happens I will be on a plane on Saturday, on my way back to Granada, Nicaragua. I am doing a one week course in Technical Animal Rescue with World Vets, as part of their efforts to increase their role in the evolving field of veterinary disaster response work. As we’ve seen much too recently, this is a need that will be ongoing, and as it so happens this is also something I have realized I am really, really excited about supporting. So I have my life vest, my helmet, but sadly enough my hiking boots wound up in a storage facility somewhere in the bowels of San Diego so I have to figure out what to do about that.

In the meantime, I DO have a project for everyone to Be the Change, because it’s not November without one. You all remember my Shelter Drive By post, right? Well, I’ve teamed up with Blog Paws and my friends at Iams, who are in the middle of their wildly successful Home for the Holidays campaign, and do I have a project for you. It’s awesome, and it doesn’t require a single person to eat pet food, which for some reason has become the highlight of my blogathon, at least according to people who are not me.

Be the Change, where you can, when you can.

Home 4 The Holidays and how YOU can help

The Home for the Holidays Campaign, which runs from October through December every year since 1999, is a worldwide campaign to increase the visibility of shelter pets during the holiday season. In addition to the goal of adopting animals, Iams supports the initiative by donating millions of bowls of food to animal shelters during the program. Now normally I would put up a post about the Home 4 the Holidays campaign, you’d comment, Iams would donate a bowl of food, and that would be that.

But I have a better plan. Because if you aren’t in a position to adopt a pet this year, the other great way you can show your support is by being there for your local shelter. So this is where you come in.

The orange, purple and yellow toys are the squeakers!

Instead of me posting a story and you responding, I’m asking you all to make your own story. Find your local Home 4 The Holidays shelter or rescue and, in support of National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, do something good for them. Bring in a donation in your own shelter drive-by. Write about a pet in need. Say whatever moves you about this place. Make this personal, because that is how problems are solved. You have through next week to think about it, and it can be as simple as bringing them an old towel from your closet or as complicated as you wish. I like simple. Simple is good and repeatable and easy and is what I will be doing.


Next week, Blog Paws Be the Change for Pets will host a Blog Hop, and when they do, I invite everyone to post their blog link on that. We need 100 of you to participate in order for the following to happen:

1. Blog Paws will donate $1000 to Rescue Ink, a rescue devastated by Hurricane Sandy. You know these guys if you were at Blog Paws last year. They are amazing.

2. Blog Paws will also donate $1000 to one of the shelters featured in the Blog Hop.

3. The Blog Paws team and I will pick one post to be featured on the Iams Facebook wall between now and December. With 588,000 likes, that is a nice bit of exposure for you and your shelter. In order to be eligible for this prize, the post must feature a shelter participating in the Home 4 the Holidays campaign. To find one near you, click this link.

So what do you say? Can I count on you guys? Can we get 100 participants next week so we can donate $2000 to shelters in need? It’s SO easy, guys! Let’s DO IT!

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Blogathon, Musings Tagged: , , , , ,

Welcome home, Sugar Bear

For those of you who were around this fall, you’ll remember I did my blogathon Blogpocalypse from the Alpine sanctuary Lions, Tigers, and Bears, in the company of lions, tigers, and bears. At the time they were just about to finish construction on a new bear habitat, but there was still just a few weeks left before the bears went in, which meant I got to hang out in it.
Future bear habitat

It’s since been completed, much to the delight of Blossom, Delilah, and Liberty. Founder Bobbi Brink has continued her tireless advocacy work on behalf of animals across the country, in the understated way that most true heroes do.

As we’ve discussed previously on several occasions, it’s easy to want to do good. To help an animal in need. Unfortunately, if you don’t take the time to research it properly and get truly prepared before taking on a rescue role, you can end up doing as much harm as good- this happens with “rescues” that turn into hoarding situations, sanctuaries that go defunct and sell their wards off to canned hunting facilities, and chimp sanctuaries that are perhaps less prepared to handle the situation than the research facility they were taken from.

Bobbi and I spoke of this a bit when I was out there this fall, and it’s one of the reasons she is a member and advocate of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, which is an accreditation organization that provides guidelines for proper care. It was through GFAS that Bobbi was made aware of a failing sanctuary in Ohio, where she was to testify about legislation about wild animal ownership in the face of the Zanesville tragedy.

“Can you help?” they asked, and she said, “yes.” And she did. This is what certain people do, they say yes despite having no clue how they are going to do it, and then they go and make it happen. From the press release:

Bobbi Brink, Founder and Director of LTB, has been working with the defunct facility to place the seven lions, 11 tigers, five cougars, eight wolves and one Black Bear named Sugar Bear in other accredited sanctuaries around the country but time is running out…

Brink, in cooperation with the GFAS, has been successful in working with the facility to find homes in South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas and at her own facility in California. However, the cost of transporting the animals is high and Brink is looking to find funds to help facilitate the travel needs. Private donors have come forward but much more is needed. If the animals cannot be moved in time there is the likelihood of them being put down.

I’m just in awe of her determination. She just saved THIRTY EIGHT ANIMALS. Bobbi is my hero.


Sugar Bear in quarantine at Lions, Tigers and Bear: via

Must plan a stat trip out there to say hello.
For more about Sugar Bear and Lions, Tigers, and Bears, check out the website.
Or to donate to the relocation cost of Sugar Bear and the other animals from the defunct sanctuary: Click here.

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Blogathon 2011, Heroes Tagged: , ,

YOU get a new car, and YOU get a new car…

I miss Oprah’s favorite things show. That was the best show ever, and also how I ended up with a pile of things I never knew I HAD TO HAVE until Oprah said I had to have them. That is how I wound up with a quilted pink Burberry jacket six years ago, and I don’t even like pink.

Anyway. Giving stuff away is fun.

I spent all day yesterday sorting through the giveaways to pick winners, and to make my life easier I’m listing them all here:

Biscuits by Lambchop giveaway: Susan Montgomery

Iams Gift Packs: Jason and Michelle Spayde

Scent of the Missing: Catherine, Karen B and julie in chicago

Lickety Stix: Quinn and Esther

Calming Collar: BBQduck

6 Packs 9 Lives: Emily E

If you’re a winner you should be getting an e-mail from me this morning, but if for some reason you don’t have anything by noon shoot me a line through the contact page with your shipping address and I’ll get your prizes to you!

I have another giveaway for you all that I’ll have up some time this week. I’m super excited for it because it’s something really cool and I don’t have one, but I decided to give one away as a thank you to all of you for your support the last three years. And NO, it’s not a Boston terrier. ūüôā Stay tuned.

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011, Giveaways Tagged:

Behind the scenes at a blogathon

Normally when I do these blogathons, I park myself on the couch with a pile of chocolate and a liter of coffee and just go for it. But this year, this year I decided to be ambitious. I will do my blogathon on location, I thought. Let’s make it NUTS.

The week before, I drove out to the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary to verify they had working wifi. It was slow, but not too slow. Good enough for the blogathon, I figured. My friend Star and I hatched plans. We’ll camp out in the bear sanctuary! We’ll bring night vision goggles and do live updates from the lion cages like we’re Anderson Cooper!

Um, yeah.

That was before we had the Storm of the Year. And while those of you who deal with inclement weather on a regular basis may laugh, we got a month’s worth of rain in one day here in San Diego, one day of horrific weather that none of us know how to deal with, sandwiched in between two more typical sunny beautiful days. And it was into this storm that I drove, with totally inappropriate clothing and a non-waterproof camera. DA DA DUMMMMM…

I was standing in the tiger enclosure while we were shooting the catnip videos in a sweatshirt, umbrella on the ground due to lack of space and hands, getting pounded by freezing rain while trying to protect the camera from the rain. My fingers went numb. The spectators were popsicles. The cats ran and hid. By the time 4 o’clock hit and we were ready to shoot the crossbow videos, it was dark out and the hills were flooded.

The rain continued to pelt us. The satellite on which the wifi relied was shrouded in rainclouds. And at 6 pm, the internet went out and refused to come back. I tried to post a few times from the phone, but who can do a blogathon from an iphone? I tried to tether the wifi to my phone, but I don’t even know what that even means, so that was out. Going outside in that weather was useless, and even if I did, with no wifi I couldn’t upload any pictures. My blogpocalypse was getting blogpocalypsed for real. So meta.

So at 7:30, I hiked back out to my car in the absolute pitch black with nothing but a lantern for the treacherous drive back to my house. It took me a while to find it. I have a black car and it was parked somewhere in a big meadow. I was swinging the lantern back and forth, trying to find my car in the rain in a muddy field, and all I could think was, this really is the apocalypse. I’m going to die.

I drove back home through the mountain pass, hoping against hope to avoid hail. I made it to my exit 45 minutes later, and saw this:

Road closed. Another 15 minute detour, on the phone with my husband giving him instructions to get such-and-such guest post published so I wouldn’t miss the hourly benchmarks. By this point I was convinced my blogpocalypse was just me being prophetic. Driving, flooding, lost connections, drama, police…talk about setting the mood.

I finally made it back home and busted through as much as I could overnight to get posts up with our functional home wifi, so that at 6 I could get BACK in the car and drive BACK to the sanctuary just in case the weather improved. I had no idea if the wifi would be working again or not, so I had to have backup posts ready to go in case.

I got back to the sanctuary and it was beautiful out. Of course it was. This was my attempt at ¬†“zombie shadow looming over an abandoned something-or-other.” It was the most ominous I could get by that point, being exhausted and all. It would have been much funnier with the crossbow.

But at least the cats came out! I got to spend the morning doing all the stuff I was planning on doing the night before, like getting to feed the lions. Who, by the way, are very loud when they rumble.

YouTube Preview Image

And Conga the leopard, who spent the night before sulking over the rain, was out and ready to visit.

yum yum yum she said, right before dripping chicken juice into my eyeball.

YouTube Preview Image

What you don’t hear is me screaming, “I’m infected now!” Salmonella, right in the eye.

So rest assured, I worked for every dollar you all so generously donated. And it was totally worth it. Because those cats eat a TON of chicken, and Bobbi just got back from Wyoming with someone’s pet bobcat, and Natasha the tiger had surgery for uterine cancer last week.

My husband’s only comment was this: We spend two weeks in Africa and you come closer to death here at home trying to do something with your blog. SO TRUE.

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011, Videos Tagged: , ,

I am not a zombie

Though I am perilously close to feeling like one. Yeegads. When I am not so sleep deprived and my fingers are no longer curved into arthritic claws from typing a month’s worth of posts in one day, I will give you the behind the scenes look at a blogathon that, for all intents and purposes, really did end up feeling like a real life apocalypse. There were cops and power outages and insanity and late night evacuations and everything. But it all worked out in the end, and we raised $1240 for Lions, Tigers and Bears so all’s well that ends well!

Giveaways will be live through today, so go enter them if you haven’t already. Good stuff there.

The best part of it was all of you, hanging tough. And the amazing people who also came on board to do their own insane blogathons- they rocked it! A HUGE thank you to:

The Blogpocalypse Survival Team

Dr. Finch: Who was a tireless cheerleader, organizer, and brought in her entire family to participate!

My Brown Newfies: Who did a fantastic job in her first blogathon supporting the Columbus Zoo;

the Cornerstone Christian School: Making it a group effort and involving the kiddos!

My Tail Hurts from Wagging So Much: who was up at 2 am making Pupcakes to continue the wonderful cooking tradition;

Dawg Business: rocking out a great post about the real dangers to dogs aside from zombies;

BZTAT: Who did a draw-a-thon, which is crazy to me because she doesn’t have the luxury of guest posts or anything. It’s all her. Bids are still open on her drawings- go check them out! I am of course bidding on the ZOMBIE VET AND GOLDEN duo.

and Kol’s Notes, who did an incredible bang-up job on their very first blogathon and knocked it out of the park with a zombie extravaganza! What a show! Great work!

The Pawcurious Support Team

I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who sponsored giveaways and wrote guest posts for me during the blogathon- it means so much to have that extra help. THANK YOU to Star, Malice and Bobbi at LTB; Dr. Mahaney, Romeo the Cat, Generation Vet, PetSafe, KnobNotes, Biscuits By Lambchop, Calming Collars, Iams, and Pudgy and Pals! And of course, everyone who helped with a generous donation and comments during the blogpocalypse!

It takes a village to save a tiger, after all.

Filed: Be The Change, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011


The sun rises over a new landscape. Dusty, quiet, ravaged. Cleansed, if you will.

Not much left by way or man nor beast.

Under the cover of darkness, Amanda Brown slipped into her Hummer while Dr. V covered her escape and made a run for Los Angeles, where she found Dr. Patrick Mahaney under the Hollywood sign at dawn. They lived and shopped happily ever after.

They never did find that blond vet or her cute little red dog, but it’s said that she strode out into the maelstrom with her crossbow muttering something about “If you want something done right….Dangit Brody!”

Rumor had it she may be hiding in the hills, perhaps scavenging berries and picking off wild turkeys. One can only hope she didn’t become one of the undead, because veterinarians know too much about death. They know how to cheat it , too. The search and rescue fund will continue here:


It’s too soon to give up hope. She did say she was scrappy.

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011 Tagged: ,

Meet Your Meat Eaters: The Bears

I love these sweet black bears. Liberty, Blossom and Delilah rock. We fed them some zombie bits this morning.

And Liberty likes zombie fingers. Mmmm!

Ugh, that bit was a tad bit rotten.

Cower before me, flesh eater! I’m a BEAR! Rawr! (And yet so cuddly)

As you can see, the bears are currently living in fairly small enclosures while they are waiting for their big awesome 3 acre habitat to be completed. First priority is the dental work for Blossom and Delilah, who have a decade’s worth of neglected teeth to take care of, then their habitat. And you guys are helping them get closer to getting there! THANK YOU! Can we get over the 1K mark in this last hour?


Filed: Be The Change, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011 Tagged: , ,

I’m feeling faint…pass me the Africa pics

I thought I would tempt you with some more Africa pictures. Wildlife is beautiful no matter where it lives.

The wild carnivores are surprisingly lackadaisiacal. I have video of me 10 feet from him in a Land Cruiser a little panicked he might try to pounce.

Did I tell you about the time the elephant almost took out the tour guide? No? Well I might… if I survive. I’m feeling a little peckish this morning. I had to cover Amanda Brown’s escape and I think a zombie peacock pecked me.

But if I die, at least I can say I’ve seen one of these in the wild. Seriously, all head and no butt. SO CUTE.

Zombie viruses can only be killed by charitable donations. I may survive yet. YOU ALL ROCK!

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011, Photography Tagged: , ,

Giveaway: Biscuits by Lambchop!

Annette Frey from Biscuits by Lambchop has been there for me from the very beginning, always the first to offer generous giveaways of her awesome Biscuits by Lambchop each and every time I have a harebrained scheme like, say, this blogathon. She is a great friend and she also happens to make a great product for sensitive dogs- which by the way are quite delicious- so check them out!

Biscuits by Lambchop is giving away  a set of 4oz. Choppers & Starlets dog biscuits!

Leave a comment and tell us why you want to win.  Get an extra entry if you leave a comment on their Facebook page!

(Shipping in the US only).


Filed: Be The Change, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011, Giveaways, Lifestyle Tagged: ,

Brody versus Zombies


Can dogs become zombies?

According to World War Z, no:

Like all animals, dogs who bite zombies do not turn into zombie-dogs, but instead contract a fast-moving fatal infection and will rapidly die. Thus it is important to train dogs being used against zombies never to bite them. Instead, they’re trained to circle around and pounce on the zombie’s back, pushing with their forelegs between the shoulder blades, to knock the zombie down.

But according to Resident Evil, they can.

Then going back to Dawn of the Dead, no, they can’t.

But I can Haz Cheezburger says yes, they can.


As in all fictional zombie stories, I guess this one is up to me. Brody was out all night playing catch with the zombies. I can’t tell whether or not he got bit. He seems his usual happy goofy self, at least so far….

But what will happen between now and noon?

How will this story end?

Will Brody be fine? Or will he turn into CraZy Undead Zombie Dog?

Only you can determine the outcome:


I do hope you’ll help me with my fundraising goals. It would be such a bummer to have to write my dog into a zombie.

Filed: Be The Change, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011 Tagged: , ,

Giveaway: Iams Cat Pack Number 2!

It’s time for another Iams Cat Pack Giveaway!

funny pictures of cats with captions
Don’t forget: cats are your friends. Take care of them and they will take care of you.

To refresh your memory, this is what the Iams Cat Care Pack will contain:

  • a bag of Iams cat food
  • cat toys
  • a brain protection device (ie a hat)
  • Info about the Iams Home for the Holidays project, because the only thing better than one cat is two!
  • a comfy cat bed
Want to help more? For every¬†badge¬†that gets posted to Facebook this week, Iams will donate 15 meals to homeless pets in need! Click¬†here¬†for details and go to “post to wall”.
To enter, I need a comment with you telling me how your cat got his or her name. Because I am that curious.

Filed: Be The Change, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011, Giveaways Tagged: , ,

Meet your Meat Eaters: The Lions

The Lions of Lions, Tigers and Bears are hungry. Hungry for zombie flesh. Luckily for us we managed to take a few out overnight and we’ll be feeding them when it’s light out and safe to go back outside.

Yesterday, we primed them with a little chicken and catnip. In a pumpkin, because it’s festive.

Lions, Tigers and Bears goes through chicken shipments by the hundreds of pounds. With 13 cats and 3 bears, that’s a lot of mouths to feed. But hoo boy, look how happy it makes them:

YouTube Preview Image

That’s Bakari, Jillian and Suri eyeing me like I’m dim sum.

That’s right, people taste bad- and don’t you forget it!

Please help Bobbi and Lions Tigers and Bears with their amazing work helping these animals live healthy happy lives! Every dollar is vital to their medical care and expenses.

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011 Tagged: , ,
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