Happy Tails

Unforgettable: The story of Maverick

When you think of a champion show dog, the kind who eventually makes his way to the upper echelons of Westminster, a certain life arc comes to mind. A pampered pooch, born with much pomp and circumstance, raised lovingly by a person ready to groom them from day one for a life in the spotlight. A dog who knows little of pain and neglect, attended to like a celebrity from the get-go. And for the most part, you’d be right.

Then again, Maverick isn’t like most dogs.

Sure, he started life with all the right underpinnings: born to a breeder of champion Weimaraners, he began his journey with a man on the West Coast who planned to show him. But his owner lost his house, and that’s when Maverick’s life took a sad detour.

Rather than contact the breeder, who had been trying to track them down with no success, Maverick’s owner sold him on Craigslist to a family on the East Coast who was unprepared for life with a large dog. The man who bought Maverick liked Weimaraners, but spent a lot of time away from home. His wife, busy with the children, had little time or patience for a young dog. So Maverick spent the next year and a half in a crate in an apartment, chewing himself raw with boredom and stress. No walks, no training, a body deprived of both physical and emotional nourishment.  (more…)

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Happy Tails Tagged: , ,

A breath of fresh air: World Vets in action

We tend to take for granted all the medicine we have at our fingertips for our pets- ultrasounds, MRIs, surgeons with insane specialties. It’s easy to forget sometimes the conditions most of the rest of the world functions in. It’s one of the reasons I am in such awe of organizations like World Vets, which sends vets all over the world to not only help animals, but help the vets in other countries learn cutting edge skills.

Running a multi-national nonprofit like this presents challenges you never would think about until you actually get into it: you can’t just show up in a place, do a few fancy surgeries, and take off without taking into account the people that are already there who might resent your intrusion if not done properly. In the case of World Vets, training is a core part of the program: not only for the veterinary students who volunteer in order to acquire more skill, but for the local veterinarians who take an active role in the projects, get trained themselves, and can use those skills year-round to improve the life of the animals who live there. From their January press release:

This year, World Vets officially opened its first year-round International Training Center.  Located in Granada, Nicaragua, the Latin America Veterinary Training Center will train over 500 Latin American veterinarians in 2012.  In addition to Latin American veterinarians, the training center will also see 160 U.S. veterinary students this summer as part of the International Veterinary Medicine program offered by World Vets.

But what does this mean, really? It means when a pet is injured in a manner a veterinarian is uncomfortable treating, they have a good relationship with a mentor vet they can call for help, and everyone benefits. Take, for example, Princessa.  (more…)

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Happy Tails, Health, Heroes, Picks of the Litter Tagged: , , ,

Sunday Shoutouts

It’s a week of being thankful, and in that vein I’m reaching back into something I used to do regularly and make a Sunday post highlighting something great from around the web. Today, two large scale projects meant to bring more shelter pets into their forever homes:

Home for the Holidays


Iams’ Home for the Holidays program has just surpassed the 6 million mark for number of pets who have been adopted since the program’s inception in 1999. Way to go! They’re still working on their goal of 5 million bowls of food donated, as well.

2011 Results to date:

Since October 1st, we have helped find new loving homes for:

  • Dog/Puppy 214,741
  • Cat/Kitten 190,484
  • Other Adoptions 8,678
  • Total adoptions so far: 413,903
  • Total meals donated so far: 1,525,920


The Shelter Pet Project

Speaking of adoption, the Shelter Pet Project has just released a new set of Public Service Announcements in a joint project with the Ad Council, HSUS and Maddie’s Fund.

The PSA message is “A person is the best thing to happen to a shelter pet.” Truer words were never spoken!

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Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Features, Happy Tails, Heroes, Sunday Shoutout Tagged: ,