Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Long, Long Time (Reply) -- New York City

(Picture Left: "Melanie" -- Dumped at pound five years following adoption. But, lucky for Melanie, it wasn't the cruel summer.)

Karyn Writes: Regarding the promise in your contract to always take back an animal you have adopted out; are you guaranteed that if an animal is dumped back at the pound that you will be called and given the opportunity to re-rescue that animal? If you are, my instinct would be to remove that promise from your contract. Not only does it hold you legally responsible to take back an animal (which could and probably does happen during times when you're already having trouble finding space for all those you're currently responsible for), but in my opinion, it also gives potential adopters an escape clause. "I don't have to make a real commitment. If it doesn't work out, I can always return him/her." I regard it as similar to getting married knowing that you can always divorce if the marriage doesn't suit you. Yes, there are good reasons for divorce. But if you go into a marriage expecting to divorce someday, you probably will. And if you go into a pet adoption knowing that someone else will take the pet once you no longer have room in your life for it, then you probably won't keep that pet for life either. It just decreases the amount of responsibility and commitment an adopter has to make at the outset. Removing that clause may be one key to getting people to take their pet adoptions more seriously, hopefully resulting in fewer re-dumped pets. Just my 2c! -- Karyn

Reply: Well, for only two cents, your post is the bargain of the century!

First, to answer your question, yes, we are called from the pound if any of our adopted animals gets dropped off. All animals rescued by us are microchipped and thus, identified to us.

In fact, about six months ago, a Chow mix named, "Melanie" who we adopted out five years ago, was abandoned at Animal Control as a so-called "bite case."

When informed from the shelter, I looked up the record of Melanie and called her adopter.

Previously, I had adopted Melanie to a single man. But, the man had since married and the couple had a baby who was then ten-months-old and crawling around.

Apparently, the baby climbed on the dog one day and was patting the dog's ear (which was sensitive due to an infection). Melanie whipped her head around and apparently hit the baby, causing a minor bruise. (The dog did NOT bite!) The baby was fine and required no medical attention, but the wife insisted on "getting rid of the dog."

Not a happy scenario of course, but what was I to do? I can't advise someone to get a divorce!

Anyway, the fact that Melanie was erroneously turned in as a "bite case" actually turned out to be fortunate. Law requires all bite case animals to be "held" for ten days for observation of possible rabies (a joke in New York City, but law nonetheless.) The ten day holding period allowed me enough time to photograph Melanie, advertise her and find an emergency foster home.

Even more fortunate, the young Manhattan couple who fostered Melanie, later adopted her.

She really was and is a lovely dog.

However, were such incident to occur today, I doubt I would be so "fortunate."

Fosters (emergency or otherwise) are extremely tough to find in New York City during the summer as so many people travel for vacations.

As noted many times previously, Euthanasia Stats at city shelters skyrocket during the summer. -- Double for dogs and more than triple for cats and kittens compared to winter months.

In any event, you make an excellent point about removing the "take back anytime" clause in our adoption contract. While I believe it important to guarantee return if an adoption fails, it is neither practical nor even possible to take back animals years after an adoption and the animal is at or near the end point of his/her life.

That is especially true in today's terrible economic crunch.

But, more to your point, yes, I believe you are correct in citing that people who know there is always an "out" may not be apt to truly and wholeheartedly commit to an animal.

"Hell, if the dog/cat gets old, infirm or I just don't want to deal with him/her anymore, I can just call the adoption agency to come get her/him!"

Unfortunately, I think that's exactly what the adopters of Daisy, the (now) 12-year-old Cocker Spaniel expected.

I am still waiting for "John" to email me updated pictures of Daisy.

I have a feeling I will be waiting a long, long time...... -- PCA

Monday, June 29, 2009

Messengers of Bad News

Were I accurately to describe my current work, it would primarily be, "messenger of bad news" to those calling to abandon animals or requesting pick up and safe sanctuary for strays.

Indeed, about 90% or even more of the current calls we are receiving are, what we in rescue refer to as "dump calls."

There is, unfortunately, no guaranteed "safe sanctuary" for the thousands of strays that live on New York City streets, nor the tens of thousands of pets, annually abandoned in our city shelters.

As for those animals who actually do get rescued, far too many of them end up "warehoused" for months (or even years) in too-crowded "no kill shelters," foster homes or boarding kennels.

The general public is, for all intensive purposes, totally "clueless" about the realities as evidence by the number of people who call to "donate" animals.

"Donate?" I asked one woman last week. "Is that supposed to be a joke?"

So far today, it is not even noon and I've had five calls to give up animals and none to adopt.

One of the calls is from a couple who adopted a 9-year-old, Cocker Spaniel, "Daisy" from us three years ago and now want to return the dog due to "moving soon."

The husband actually called more than a month ago and at that time I requested him to email pictures of the dog, as well as write a short bio about her.

He never did that.

This time I asked when Daisy had last seen a vet.

"More than a year ago," was the reply.

When I told "John" that Daisy would need to be checked out and updated on shots, (especially now that she is 12-years-old) he asked, "Well, isn't that your job?"

Quite frankly, it isn't.

When people adopt dogs, they accept responsibility for care -- part of which is medical. It comes with the territory of "ownership."

I haven't owned Daisy for three years.

Nevertheless, I do "get" why people have the idea these days that rescue groups and shelters are responsible for everything including (at least according to, "From Underdog to Wonderdog" on Animal Planet) the carpentry in a potential adopter's home!

The problem is, these aren't "potential adopters." These are the current owners of the dog.

Of course, whenever we request people to own up to their responsibilities in having pets (i.e. neuter, vet care, etc.) we are always told, "We don't have the money!"

But, I bet if we went to the people's homes, we would find HD TV's, I-Phones and all the other technological and other gadgets that come with the consumerism world we live in.

They just "never have money" when it comes to their animals.

I don't know what to do about Daisy.

Yes, she is a dog who was adopted from us three years ago and in an ideal world, we should and would, take her back.

But, it isn't an ideal world anymore -- if indeed, it ever was.

In fact, I believe we are farthest from the "ideal" then ever.

Perhaps it was naivete or inflated sense of "idealism" that prompted us to put in our adoption contracts (written in the early 90's), that we would always "take back animals."

The clause was written with the realization that in cases of adoptions that don't work out, the animal can be dumped back (or euthanized) in the pound without us even knowing. (This would, however, not happen now, since all animals rescued from the shelter are microchipped. -- If one ends up back in the pound, even years later, we are called from the shelter about it.)

But, what about cases where the adoptions do work out and adopters call us years later to "return" animals that are now geriatric and therefore, very difficult, if not impossible to re-home?

Currently, we are not able to place young, healthy and friendly cats and dogs, let alone those whose ages are now in double digits.

Its a terrible dilemma what to do in a situation like Daisy's.

Its a good thing that the sweet little Cocker Spaniel can't realize that the people who brought her into their home three years ago, never really accepted full responsibility for or commitment to her. ("Use, abuse and lose" seems to be more the attitude.)

"Isn't that your job?" they ask of those who rescued the dog three years ago and thought we were placing her into a forever home.

Perhaps there is no such thing anymore as "forever homes?"

Judging by the calls we get everyday, it would be easy to think such.

Perhaps its time to change our adoption contract to keep up with the times?

But, then, would that not be giving up the fight and saying, in essence, "We don't want the responsibility either?"

As said, a difficult dilemma:

"You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't."

As people "create the government we deserve," so too do we create the shelters and rescue groups we deserve.

In the later case though, it's the animals who pay for that with rescuers and shelter personnel too often becoming, instead of saviors, "messengers of bad news." --PCA

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Love" Gone Too Far?

A very sad day in the celebrity world and one that reminds of the great "equalizer" in life -- that, in fact, of life's end.

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson were icons who transcended generations, sex and in Jackson's case, even race.

Farrah is ultimately to be admired and respected for her bravery and optimism in facing down a dread, painful and eventually, deadly disease. Jackson for his great and far reaching contributions to the music and dance fields -- though I don't personally agree with one reporter who indicated Jackson to be a "better dancer than Fred Astair." He wasn't. Jackson's bodies of work just don't measure up to those of Astair or Gene Kelly on the dance side or Elvis Presley on the vocal side.

That said, Michael Jackson was one of the most creative, talented, masterful and mysterious entertainers of our times. He was extremely sensitive (even as a child) and had a great love for animals and children. Whether those loves went too far, (in ultimately doing damage to animals or children) we will, however, never really know.

I for one, don't know what became of all the animals once cared for at Jackson's "Neverland" ranch and no one seems to know for sure whether child "molestation" charges against Jackson were fully founded.

What is known is that love sometimes goes too far.

I sometimes think that "love gone too far" is something we see every day in both, the animal and human worlds.

We see it in all the once "loved" pets discarded at animal shelters every day. We see it in our human penchant to "love" the taste of animal flesh. Such "love" is based primarily upon what the loved object can do for us, rather than our moral (and other) obligations or responsibilities towards them.

Love is a two-way street. A situation (ideally) of give and take.

We "take" from others (whether animals or humans) certain emotional and other fulfillment needs, but we also have obligation to realize the needs of those we "use" or depend upon and act to best fulfill them.

We "love" our celebrity idols, but are quick to judgement and even condemnation or replacement when at first, they disappoint.

Celebrities are, after all, only human and like other humans (or pets) occasionally err, make poor choices in life and/or disappoint.

Perhaps the key is to "love" less and strive to understand and respect more -- especially our personal obligations to others when deciding to love. Love is, after all, a verb; an action we make choice and option upon, as opposed to something that just comes along and "sweeps us" helplessly off our feet.

With action and choice, comes obligation.

Forever packed animal shelters, destructive tabloid headlines, tendencies to "idolize," beautify, epitomize, or seek "perfection" rather than accept as human (or animal) or realize our moral obligations in kind has resulted in a kind of narcissistic, shallow and even (really) loveless culture that forever seeks gratification, escape, replacement, addiction, obsession, and entertainment, rather than substance or the lasting joy that comes from shared responsibilities and mutual sacrifice.

Perhaps the real problem is we use the term, "love" too loosely?

We use "love" to apply to everything from food, to clothes, to places, to entertainment and entertainers and yes, even to animals.

And while it is possible to derive pleasure from all of the above and it is indeed, possible to love an animal (when also accepting full responsibility and commitment for him/her), it is not possible to really "love" a blouse, piece of furniture, location, food or even a celebrity.

There is no obligation, purpose or sense of shared sacrifice to those so-called "loves."

The passings of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, though they represent losses to the worlds of entertainment and celebrity are in fact, no greater in tragedy and scope than the losses to any species on our planet on any given day.

As said at the top of this, they serve to remind of the fragility of all life and of its great equalizer -- that, in fact of life's end. -- PCA


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Park Not Big Enough for Children AND Horses? ? -New York City (Reply)

(Picture left: Canadian Geese in Central Park. Although our city is currently waging a massacre against these animals, normally, they bring delight and wonder to small children in the parks.)

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post ""They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (Reply) -- New Yo...": You do not know what you are talking about. Horse stables in Central Park with turnout would take at least 1/4 of the park. Do your homework. Besides, it is a landmark.

Reply: It's easy to understand why you don't want to attach a name to
"hit and run" comments like the above.

Central Park (for those who don't know) runs from 59th Street to 110 th Street, from East Side to West Side in Manhattan. There is already a horse stable kept in Central Park that houses horses used by the police.

For children growing up in New York City, their exposure to farm animals and wildlife is almost nil.

And yet, noticing the sheer joy and smiles on small kids faces when seeing the occasional duck, goose, turtle or even raccoon is truly lovely image to behold.

Why can't horses be viewed this way? Why can't there be a special area in the park that could serve both the needs of horses and the needs of humans (especially the young) to feel connection to those outside of themselves and their own species?

I am of course not only thinking of horses (like you, apparently) as mere "vehicles for profit" but also as living beings, like us, caught in the web of life.

Because horses are both beautiful and mostly gentle, I believe they are the perfect animals to help educate and sensitize children to the fact that we are not alone on this planet, but in fact, share it with many thousands of other species.

I realize that for those who look at animals as mere "tools" to make money, such considerations are apparently outside of their grasp or mental capabilities.

But, you know it is a short step from "use of" animals to ABUSE of animals.

For those currently profiting from the use of animals and unable (or unwilling) to comprehend that kinder, responsible and better treatment of our fellow breathren ultimately results in a better world for people, it's easy to see which part of the line (between "use of" and "abuse of") s/he has stepped over.

"Where's there's a will, there's a way" as the saying goes.

It is not a matter of Central Park "not being big enough" to contain both, animals and people. It's a matter (once again) of the politicians and abusive industries putting profit ahead of what is ultimately enriching and fulfilling for both, animals AND the human public. -- PCA


Monday, June 22, 2009

Bloomberg Competing With Biden for "Hoof in Mouth" Disease (New York City) News -- Geese

Mayor Bloomberg swats away geese protests
by Erin Einhorn

Daily News Staff WriterFriday, June 19th 2009, 2:12 AM[Photo] Sumlin/APCanada geese soar through the sky along with a jet.

As President Obama takesheat from insect-rights activists for swatting a fly during an interview, MayorBloomberg says he can sympathize."I had pickets outside my house for geese last night," Bloomberg said of protesters angry that the city is gathering up to 2,000 geese near airportsand gassing them."We are sending some of these geese for a well-deserved rest up in the sky,wherever geese go," (emphasis supplied) Bloomberg said. "They're a danger to human beings flying, and we're doing what's appropriate."The city announced the "removal" of the geese after migrating birds stoppedboth engines on US Airways Flight1549,forcing the plane to make an emergency landing on the HudsonRiver.Wildlife experts told the city that killing was the only effective way tocontrol the problem.As for Obama, Bloomberg says the President is a hero."I'm sure what the President thought about was that particular fly might be spreading something like the H1N1 flu, and he was going to risk his own life with his hands - bare hands - withoutPurell and he protected the public by hitting that fly and we owe him a great debtof gratitude," Bloomberg said. (Emphasis supplied)

Read more:http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/06/19/2009-06-19_mike_swats_away_goose_protests.html#ixzz0J6jf4KG9&C

Personal Comment: ???? It seems every time our (make his own laws) Mayor opens his mouth these days, he sets his foot in it. -- Particularly, when Bloomberg is talking about animals.

"Well deserved rest in the sky" is how Bloomberg refers to rounding up and gassing 2,000 mostly family-rearing geese? Would he refer to human massacres in the same fashion?

As for the contention that a lone fly in the White House was potentially "spreading H1N1 virus" (i.e. "Swine Flu"), well, now we go from the sublime (gassed geese "resting" in the skies) to the ridiculous.

Which is it, Mr. Mayor? "Swine flue or Fly flu?" Is Bloomberg going to start a war on every creature in New York City based upon his (apparently) "germaphobic" fears?

Many people used to complain about Giuliani when he was Mayor.

But, Bloomberg seems far worse.

At least Giuliani had the guts to stay with one political party and respected the WILL of the voting public by serving only two terms.

Oh, and I don't think Giuliane was a germaphobic, animalphobic, birdaphobic, smokeaphobic, fataphobic and soda pop-a-phobic, nor suffered from a very real case of "foot in mouth" disease. -- PCA

"They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (Reply) -- New York City

Anonymous Writes: The horses receive rotation turnout several times a year on farms in both Upstate NY and PA.

Reply: Look, don't lump me in with those calling for a total "ban" on the carriage horses in New York. (I don't want to see the horses go the route of so many race and "pet" horses -- to the slaughterhouse.)

But, you have to admit there have been problems over the years, with several horses dying in collisions with midtown traffic (sometimes causing injury or trauma to humans). Additionally, I personally saw one of the stables where the horses are kept and it was archaic and disgusting (perhaps built in the 1800's) and potentially dangerous to those horses having to walk up or down a slippery ramp.

One would think New York City could do better by one of its star "tourist attractions?"

I don't understand why a section in Central Park cannot be designated for these magnicant animals, so they would not have to navigate the noise and crowding of midtown traffic or deal with all the stresses on 59Th Street and CPW -- from venders, to street performers to blaring sirens and buses.

Horses, are after all, farm animals, not city rats.

New, modern stables should be built for the horses (IN THE PARK) and perhaps an area could be set aside for children to pet or learn about horses. Carriage rides would start and end in the park.

This is an issue where I believe compromise could be accomplished that would benefit both people and the animals.

But, as long as both sides want to name-call and disparage the other, then ultimately everbody loses, most of all, the horses. -- PCA


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Who Wants to Deal with REAL "Real Life?" (New York City) - Reply

(Picture Left -- Geese and ducks in winter, finding one of the few unfrozen water areas in Central Park)

Actor Tam Writes: Let us look into this dark event more closely.

The Canadian Geese population living around the areas of the NYC airports has dramatically increased in the last twenty years, and is now estimated at around 15,000. During this period (from June through early July), when the round up is in effect, adult geese moult and cannot fly while at the same time their babies hatch. They walk or swim around with a lot of goslings in town eating a lot of grass. And making a lot of goose poo. Goose poo being vegetarian is harmless (and great fertilizer!).

The USDA's policy is to without review, when asked, grant the permit to have them killed. They don't need to be a danger. And they are not.

Resident Canadian Geese fly at much lower altitudes in different air currents than the migrating geese. Based on the genetic samples found in the airplane engines, the Smithsonian team was able to definitely say the "culprits" in the Sullenberger downing were migrating geese.For years Mayor Bloomberg was offered federal monies along with free expert advice and volunteers to help bring down our resident geese population.

The resident Canadian Geese population can be completely nonlethally controlled. They are easily kept from the close proximity to airports. Through habitat management, egg addling (pouring oil over the eggs to keep them from hatching), border collies to disperse them, and so forth their population can be stabilized at a much lower number (unlike killing them, which is not a long-term fix).

Until this decision to kill the geese Mayor Bloomberg did nothing to address this problem. The money spent by this ineffective "air safety" massacre of geese, could have spent to add an inexpensive but highly effective radar program.

First used in Israel but now in use in many large cities with airports, this program saves both birds and airplanes. It was found that at any one time there are only a few air currents, which run like rivers over a particular area, that birds use as corridors when passing through. The program monitors these air currents in real time, and when there are migrating birds coming through, planes are diverted.

Captain Sullenberger's plane take-off flight path went through just such a current and hit a formation of large migrating Canadian Geese. Migrant geese are much larger than their resident counterparts and so more dangerous to hit. And they do fly at higher altitudes. Resident geese do not.

In the name of a Big Lie, our mayor ordered not merely a decimation of baby geese and their parents (who mate for life), but a massacre. One out of ten killed is decimation. 2,000 out of 15,000 is a massacre.

The irony of a Jewish mayor employing round-ups and gassings so reminiscent of Nazi holocaust methods has not been lost. And the fact that Israel pioneered this win-win effective solution to the dangers of migrating birds that we are not employing is not being forgotten. But the heart stopping pictures of USDA T-shirted "swat-teams" herding families of geese and goslings into pens and then stuffing them into boxes is etched forever.

The silent background sound of death in the video rings in the ears. And the good Mayor's response wishing the geese killed (parents and babies) "pleasant dreams" -- absolute-zero cold!

Reply: Thank you so much for shedding serious light on this debacle and disgrace to the city of New York.

Unfortunately, your words would be better served if voiced over the local news channels or quoted in the New York Times and Daily News.

And therein is another great problem:

Media's treatment of this story.

Bloomberg can feel very comfortable cracking jokes about the mass killings of innocent birds as that is exactly how the press has reported the story --As a joke, basically running press releases from the Mayor's office instead of doing any actual "investigating and reporting." (So much for a "free press" these days.)

Popular television treats it the same. The other day on "The View" for example, (a dead-brain show if ever there was one, but nevertheless "popular"), Behard (sic?) joked that the gassed geese should be saved and served for Thanksgiving, while cohort, Cheri (something) complained that once settled in an area, the geese "never leave!!"



(As said, this show defies common sense and is designed for morons. I only saw the video clip from it.)

A few people protesting or signing petitions isn't going to do a damn thing.

As long as we have a press that it is the Mayor's pocket and as brain dead as the hosts on "The View" then there is the problem of "public perception."

Forget the facts here. Let's just deal with some people's (irrational) fears, apathy or even hatred towards animals. Let's deal with most people being misled and/or "inspired" by the Mayor, the press and pop culture to treat serious issues like these as a joke.

People may think (and not care) that it is only "nuisance" animals that are being hurt, but, as your post correctly points out, it is people who will eventually 'hurt" as the so-called solution is no "solution" at all in its monumental failures to address the real issue. (migratory birds and flight paths.)

The same "pull the wool over their eyes" attitude that we have witnessed with the geese issue is the same that prevails with treatment of carriage horses, address of animal cruelty situations and mass killings of shelter animals.

The public says, "Tell us only what we want to hear -- not the truth!" and the politicians and media listen and oblige.

That is why the press was only too thrilled to "report" PETA's protest of Obama killing a fly (and why, pray tell did PETA even step into this wad of crap?) while happily ignoring virtually ALL issues of real animal abuse -- from slaughter of race horses, to dog fighting to bird massacres.

Its a sad world we live in -- which perhaps explain why so many people seek "escape" by watching 5 cackling lamebrains try to outshout each other on a TV show or wrap their lives around what is happening to "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" or "The Bachelor."

Who, after all, wants to deal with real "real life?"

A sad time for the Geese -- and a time when we as New Yorkers should bow our heads in shame. -- PCA


Friday, June 19, 2009

New Technical Horizons (for the Old, Stubborn and Crotchety)?

(Picture left: "Chance" (AKA, "Puppy Boy"). Soon-to-be video star? Not unless this (in reality) old boy's ol' lady can figure out how to speed things up!)

"Desperate means calls for desperate measures" as they say.

Due to the drop in animal adoption inquiries to just about zero in recent days, I have thought that perhaps posting pictures and descriptions of animals, isn't enough.

Perhaps it was time to venture into the world of videos?

So, I broke down and purchased a small video camera the other day for the main purpose of shooting and posting videos of the animals we have for adoption. While I haven't done that yet, I have to admit to having fun with this thing.

The first experimental videos shot were of course, of my dogs, Tina and Chance at home.

I then took the doggies to Central Park and shot some more videos there.

Later, when walking one of our boarded dogs, (Coco) I took some video of her, too.

It has been a great adventure to shoot video and then view at home on TV and even the computer. The addition of sound and movement is just like being back in the moment!

For example, one doesn't necessarily notice the sounds of birds when in the park with all the other distractions. But, when playing back and listening to the videos, well, there it is -- just like beautiful music that one might have intentionally added to the moving pictures!

Unfortunately, being the technical idiot I really am, figuring out the downloading of videos to the Internet (or, emailing them) hasn't been quite so easy or as much "fun."

I just opened an account on "YouTube" and downloaded the very first video I took of Chance, (my Pomeranian), but it seemed to take forever!

Though only about 25 seconds, the video took about 15 minutes to download and upload!

So, how do millions of people down and upload videos that are both high tech and sometimes minutes long?

What the hell is wrong with ME?

Ah, what one wouldn't give to have some teenage boy helping out, right now, an old broad.

I see there is means to upload videos to the blog.

And while I have at least half a dozen, pretty nice videos right now, I don't have a clue as to how to upload then here without taking half the day.

So, for now, back to the "stone age" of just a regular photograph.

What can one after all, expect from a stubborn, "technically challenged" old lady who is still on "dial up?" -- PCA

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Imagine Not Having to Provide "Perfect Candidates" (Reply) - New York City

(Picture Left: "Snow." "Perfect Candidate?" Who knows? Just a sweet dog several of us are trying to save. One of 29 on today's shelter "Euth list.")

Crazy Runner Writes: But I do understand when you don't feel like writing. I've stopped writing as much in my blogs because I don't have much to say right now.

Reply: I know what exactly you mean. Certainly one doesn't want to get into a pattern of writing the same old things or simply venting frustrations.

A journal can get very old and very tired under those circumstances.

The reason I haven't been writing prolifically is due mainly to running into the "same ol, same ols" everyday.

The inevitable, "I'm moving and can't take my cat or dog" or, "I just found a stray...how do I bring him to you?" or "I have an animal I want to donate to you."

Unfortunately, those are the majority of our calls these days.

Or, worse:

"These are my requirements for a dog. The right candidate should be...." (followed by a very long list.)

The woman seeking the "perfect candidate" should be seeking to adopt a politician, rather than a dog. I don't like adopting out dogs with "jobs" to do, complete with political promises of eternal bliss.

This morning on "The Today Show" they profiled a woman running a horse rescue in the Hamptons. She has saved many horses from the slaughterhouse, but laments all those she can't rescue due to lack of space and resources. (Wow, doesn't that sound all too familiar?)

After a while, we in rescue (whether of horses, dogs, cats or other animals) all start to sound the same, don't we?

We can never, as stated so many times here, catch up to the needs. ("Chasing the Devil's Herd across these endless skies.")

Still, there was one nice note in the report:

A woman who adopted one of the rescued horses stated:

"I wasn't looking for the pretty horse......I was looking for the horse who needed me."

Now, why can't I hear that from the people calling us seeking "perfect candidates?"

What I would not give to simply hear:

"I am looking to save/help a dog who needs me."

Imagine all the animals we truly could save if only hearing those simple words by people who actually mean them? -- PCA

Monday, June 15, 2009


(Picture Left: A family of peaceful Canadian Geese in NYC's Central Park. Now, the city is waging "war" on these gentle birds.)


Where: Port Authority Headquarters – 225 Park Avenue South (between 18th and 19th St.)

When: Tuesday, June 16th from 12 noon to 2PM

Who: various Animal rights groups and activists including Friends of Animals

Beginning Monday, the City of NY is planning to remove and kill thousands of Canada geese from city owned properties near JFK and LaGuardia airports as part of a “strategy” to keep the birds from interfering with flights. Destroying geese is a quick fix that offers no enduring solution since after a significant sector of the flock is removed, new animals will eventual migrate in. Violence begets more violence and surely non-violent means to reduce flock grown should be pursued including researching new technology to protect plane engines from bird hits.

What a barbaric, uncivilized and moronic message to send by our mayor – if someone becomes inconvenient or gets in your way - just wipe them out.

Real solution can only be found by building "bird proof" aircraft engines, not by attempting wholesale slaughter of potentially millions of geese (and other birds) over time that might migrate over New York City skies and collide with planes.

Dictator Bloomberg (who also rejects the stated will by voters for two-term election officials) is seemingly only concerned for appearances, rather than real solution to a problem. He is living in La La land when stating the birds will "go to sleep." Since when is death by gassing considered "sleep?"

The roundup is being planned for molting season when the geese cannot fly. Coexisting peacefully with wildlife requires diligence, creativity and an open mind …. Something that appears to be sorely lacking with this administration.

Please sign petition to stop gassing plan. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-nys-goose-gassing-plan

PLEASE SIGN PETITION TO STOP THE GASSING http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-nys-goose-gassing-plan

City Planning Massive Goose Genocide – NY Magazine – 6/11/09http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/06/city_planning_massive_goose_ge.html?imw=Y&f=most-emailed-24h5Queens Crap Blog – Bloomberg OK with Sending Geese to gas chamberhttp://queenscrap.blogspot.com/2009/06/bloomberg-ok-with-sending-geese-to-gas.html ____________________________________________________________

From a Child's (and Dog's) Eyes (New York City)

(Picture left: From 1980, when my daughter was 5-years-old and seemingly taking wonder, interest and imitation of a stranger standing at the swimming pool.)

Recognizing that these are difficult, oppressive times for most people (and the animals) recent entries into this journal have not been generally uplifting and/or positive.

But, I want to take a few minutes this morning to share a special moment from yesterday....

No, it wasn't "special" in the sense of having won some great victory, a million dollars, the love of one's life or even a miracle rescue.

It was, in fact a moment that most times would fly by people's radar.

I was walking my dogs, Tina and Chance in the neighborhood. Despite the fact it was a beautiful, sunny day, my mood was generally heavy; the result of a kind of stressful, confusing and depressive week.

Why the overcast gloom on an otherwise, perfect spring day? Lots of things: Worry. Negative news events. Difficulty connecting to loved ones. Professional disappointments.

Walking down an Upper East Side Street, I noted a father with two young children, a girl and a boy, about 3 and 4-years of age.

Both children were adorable, but it was the girl I particularly noticed.

She had the brightest smile. A smile of innocence and pure and utter joy. A smile that on the darkest night, would light up the universe.

I thought to myself, "What a beautiful child -- like a Renoir painting!"

The little girl was about 4-years-old, with reddish curls and plump, rosy cheeks.

But, it was her eyes that seemed to take in everything around her with an enthusiasm and wonder that one rarely sees these days (or, maybe I just haven't been looking). The girl looked like an angel.

Walking past the father and small children, I thought about the innocence and joy in the very young and how, as adults in a fast moving, competitive and sometimes hard culture, we seem to lose it. What happens to us? I thought. Weren't we all at one time like this peaceful, cheerful little child? -- Finding and taking joy in the small things of life -- the beauty around us?

From behind me, I head the lilting, happy voice of a child. "Doggies, doggies....nice doggies!"

I turned around to note the father now holding the two happy children in his arms, preparing to cross Park Avenue. The little girl, now facing towards Tina, Chance and me, waved her hand highly and enthusiastically in the air, the smile ever wider and brighter on her face.

"Nice doggies!"

I smiled and waved back at her.

And for the first time in the day, kept the smile all the way home.

I share this little "non story" because I am hoping that however, difficult, frustrating, defeating, oppressive, or disappointing these past months or even year may have been, the world outside still goes on around us and there is joy to be found in it.

That only we could learn to see (once again) from a child's (or, for that matter, a dog's) eyes. -- PCA

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Endless (and not so friendly) Skies (New York City)

It is a perfect, spring day in New York City after what has been a week of mostly rain, dreary skies and storms.

Unfortunately, "storms and dreary skies" seems descriptive of the general animal situation in New York and one imagines, elsewhere.

News headlines, in addition to more mundane matters bespeak troubled times.

A teenage girl placed a 6-month-old kitten in the oven last week and burned the animal to death as vengeance against her lesbian lover. When asked why she did this, the 16-year-old answered, "I don't like cats."

There is presently a letter-writing campaign to the Bronx DA who is handling the case.

A person who commits this kind of heinous and depraved act is deeply disturbed and cannot simply be set free in the community. Such rage issues do not confine themselves to animals alone. That law enforcement is generally lax on animal cruelty shows an incredible denial of what should be simple and recognized fact: Violence is violence, regardless of who its victims are.

More bad news for animals: Mayor Bloomberg and other city leaders have decided to basically wage war against Canadian Geese, many of whom live around the airports.

A plan has been devised to shoot and kill at least 2,000 geese, supposedly as means to "prevent" possible airline collisions with the birds when planes take off or land at Kennedy or Laguardia airports.

One wonders, in this day and age, why plane engines can't be designed to not suck in birds?

Even if the city succeeds in killing 2,000 geese, how does that prevent ducks or other birds from being sucked into airline engines? What about the few geese that manage to escape the guns? Could they not be sucked into engines and cause a plane to go down?

This is just one more example of government "knee jerk" reaction that does little or nothing to actually address problems and fully prevent tragedies, but instead "punishes the many" for the errant ways of the few or is done primarily to give the public a false sense of security that "something is being done" when in fact, nothing concrete is.

It's like frisking little old ladies who get on planes in so-called "searches" for terrorists.

Or, like banning pets from apartment buildings because some tenants (whether owning animals or not) are irresponsible.

In none of these cases are the cores of the problems actually addressed.

More bad news this past week are the "Euth lists" from our shelters.

As always in the spring and summer, really, really bad.

And one more example of government agencies "killing" the results of problems, rather than addressing the causes - human irresponsibility.

The problem with all of these "solutions" is that they are no solutions at all, but merely perpetuate and guarantee that whatever the "problem" is, it will continue unabated.

I have been in animal rescue work now for twenty years. But, more and more, I see matters merely becoming "hopeless."

Rescue too, addresses results, rather than causes.

And as such, merely guarantees that there will always be perpetual "need" for it.

We are like an old song from the 1950's by Vaughn Monroe:

"Then cowboy, change your ways today or with us you will ride
Forever trying to catch the devil's herd
Across these endless skies."
-- PCA

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Real Mission (Reply) -- New York City

(Picture Left: -- A dog named, "Pat" on shelter Euth list today. Have no real place to send this older Shepherd mix, but pulled her anyway. She has the same name as I do.)

Karyn Writes: I've been a dog and cat owner my whole life, but even so, have learned so much by reading your blog. Enough to persuade my husband NOT to breed the border collie he bought before we were married. And enough to persuade my husband that the next dog we get will be from the shelter; not from a breeder. Your blog has ripple effects that you might not even be aware of... it would be a shame if you discontinued it.

Reply: I want to first thank you for taking the time to write and show support for this questionable venture.

Many times I ask myself if writing on here is just to "vent" personal frustrations or if it actually serves any positive purpose?

But, even if just one thing written results in a shelter or rescued dog or cat finding a truly loving home or someone deciding to neuter their pet, then it indeed springs forth some positive result.

I thank you for sharing how this journal (and presumably other things) has helped to open yours and your husband's eyes to more enlightened choices with animals.

One of the things we have to face up to in shelter and rescue work, is that desire and try as we may, it is simply not possible to save every loving cat or dog that is dying either in our shelters or on the streets.

That is a very sobering (and depressive) reality and it is one particularly drummed forth during the "dog days of summer" as we watch shelter kill lists literally skyrocket and shoot off the charts.

It becomes harder and almost impossible to rescue new animals, as we cannot find homes for the ones we already have fast enough. We begin to think:

"For all the efforts made, it has not made ONE bit of difference in the overall and big picture! We can never save the animals as fast as they are being dumped!"

Its like being trapped between a rock and a hard place. -- There is little room for any maneuverability or movement.

We read the various "Alerts" every night and scout the Euth lists, fully knowing there is little if anything at all we can do.

As written the other day, I have lost the motivation to keep up with the blog because there is little of "good news" to report.

How do we, after all, find the "silver lining" in the 47 cats or 29 dogs that are going down today in the local shelters?

Maybe, we only try to save one.

And then pray to God, that there is still some "miracle" out there for that one dog or cat you've decided to "pull" but have no place for.

Or, perhaps (and better yet) to realize something you said has prompted or inspired some one else to go save a dog or cat.

If the latter, then such is the true "miracle" because ultimately, it is hearts and minds we have to ultimately influence and change if ever there is be true "hope" to turn the shelter situations around.

It's like the old adage: "Give a man an apple, he will eat for a day. Teach him to farm and he can eat forever."

Rescue is like that, too.

Severely limited, unless the knowledge learned from it is properly distributed, shared and most of all, received and accepted.

We may, after all rescue a thousand animals. But, if the knowledge obtained from those experiences dies with us when we go, then we have failed in our most important mission: that of positive teaching and lasting change that ultimately saves many thousands or even millions of lives long after we, as individuals have exited this planet. -- PCA

"Comedy of Errors" (Reply)

(Picture left: There are "perfect dogs" out there -- like Coby pictured left and rescued in 1992. But, at the time of his rescue as a one-eyed, battered, filthy and "old" Harlem junkyard dog, no one wanted him. -- He was the best dog I ever had. )

Alison in California Writes: I thought what you said about the old lady who didn't want a dog with a saggy belly was hilarious.

Reply: Thank you for your supportive comment.

Yes, many of the things in animal rescue/placement work would be truly funny, if they weren't in fact, so tragic. For examples:

The people who tell you they are "committed" -- as long as they have the pet. That is like someone saying they are "committed" for the few hours of a one-night-stand.

The people who go into a tizzy when you inform them that you "don't have a magic wand" to come up with the instant home for their discarded cat or dog before they "move" tomorrow morning.

The people who call you on a furry Chow Chow -- and then in the next breath, tell you they "don't want a dog who sheds."

The people who call seeking a young and healthy dog. But, then tell you two seconds later that the dog should be "already trained, mellow and not jump on my 6-year-old child." -- In other words, "I want an old dog in a young dog's body."
Something, we unfortunately cannot wave our magic wands and create.

The people who threaten to "report you to the Better Business Bureau" because you dare to ask them why, as pet owners, they chose to move into a "no pet" apartment? What seems like the most obvious and logical question under the circumstances, is instead, major "insult" to those who should have asked this question of themselves before calling us to unload their pets.

The people who call seeking to give up a purbred dog that they bought in a pet shop or from a breeder (and presumably paid big bucks for), but then cry "poverty" when you request that they neuter the dog. "I don't have the money for that!" they pleade. (No, but they had plenty of money to BUY the dog!)

The people who need "to give up my loved cat or dog" but then have "no time" to email you a picture of the animal for Internet advertising. "Love" apparently knows "no time" these days.

Oh yes, one could indeed go on and on about all of these things, which on the surface seem bizarre, ironic or even laughable.

But sadly, combined, they contribute to and add to the deaths of millions of dogs and cats in this country every year.

In the wise words of William Shakespeare, Life is a "comedy of errors." -- PCA


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover?" (New York City)

(Picture Left: Three senior, abandoned Cocker Spaniels presently sitting in one cage (due to shelter crowding) as shelter personnel send out multi, desperate pleas to rescue groups to "Please save the animals!" Unfortunately, most animal rescue groups are now completely saturated.)

I haven't been motivated to write much in this journal lately.

There are a number of reasons for that.

First, I don't believe many people follow the blog as admittedly, there are literally millions of more titillating and absorbing places to go on the Internet.

Secondly, little seems to really change in the areas of animal abandonment, rescue and placements. In writing a (usually) daily blog over a period of several years, I feel almost everything has been covered at some point, without (hopefully) becoming overly repetitive and redundant.

Thirdly, I hate to write a journal that is mostly "negative" (and/or depressive) in its reporting.

It reminds one of an old poem read in Junior High School:

"Why so pale and wan fond lover?
Prithy, why so pale?
If looking well won't win her heart
Will looking ill prevail?"

The simple limerick applies not only to the area of romance, but to life as well.

Especially, when it comes to animals, most people want to hear only the good stuff: "The miracle rescues and life saves!" All the wonderful adoptions to "loving familes." The "looking wells" while we traverse the road to a "no kill" society.

Unfortunately, as lovers and others often hide their deepest, darkest secrets and "ills", from those closest to them, so too, does our culture hide most of its treatment towards animals from the general public.

The simple fact is, however, that were matters really so positive and "well" (just in the area of companion pets) we would not still be killing upwards of five million cats and dogs in shelters every year -- tens of thousands of pets a day.

So, no, all is not (really) well in the land of lollipops, roses, cat trees and dog biscuits.

Quite the contrary.

As we approach and enter the "dog days of summer" the kill lists grow longer in our shelters as fewer and fewer people adopt with the prospect of looming vacation plans.

Meanwhile, the spring and summer litters of kittens (usually from "homes") flood into animal shelters causing the facilities to literally burst at their seams. This forces shelter personnel into making "hard decisions" at the end of every day in terms of which kittens and cats have to die in order to make room for the new batches arriving the following day.

Due to high costs of animal boarding and veterinary treatment (especially in a tanking economy) more dogs find themselves abandoned to shelters in the summer, as well. The drop off in adoptions during this period translates into a much higher percentage of these pet dogs dying -- in many cases, because the former owners simply went on "vacation."

Meanwhile, those few people contacting shelters and rescue to actually "adopt" seem to become ever more picky and demanding in terms of the pet dog they will bring home.

"Can the dog make a good therapy dog?" they ask. "Will s/he be good with my cats, my neighbor's dogs and the grand kids when they come over?" "I am looking for a young, healthy Labrador, but I don't want the dog to jump on my 6-year-old child." (Ah, well, Ma'am, perhaps you need to seek an older, more mellow dog or be willing to hire a trainer?")

Ah, that only we in animal rescue had crystal balls! Ah, that we could only "program" and tailor dogs to people's specific needs, such as one programs a computer or designs gloves to "fit" the hand.

But, unfortunately, we can't.

Sure, we can (and do) medically treat the animals for any conditions they may have. We can assess and interpret the animals general temperaments. We can even send dogs to trainers to try and work out any "kinks" in the behavior or temperament.

But, can we "predict" and/or guarantee how any dog (or cat) will react and behave to every conceivable human situation?

No, we can't.

At some point, people have to be willing to accept responsibility for their own choices, actions, behaviors and lives. -- We can't do it for them.

Tragically, this (more recent) tendency on the part of many people to insist on impossible guarantees and "predictions" in animal adoptions results in shelters and rescues being unable to place many or most of the (imperfect) dogs and cats they have -- A situation that inevitably results in higher and higher shelter "kill lists" -- even as we still continue to promise the "wellness" of a "no-kill" society.

"Why so pale and wan fond lover,
Prithy, why so pale?"

Because, in looking and feigning "wellness" we have in essence, hidden the truth and lied.

And now we -- and the animals must pay for that. -- PCA


Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Mirror" to What the Soul is Feeling and Experiencing (Reply)

(It was the eyes of Bruno, more than anything else that "got" to and moved me to pull him from the shelter euthanasia list. Just an ordinary "mutt" -- so much like most who die in our shelters. But, the eyes belong to one with a soul.)

SKDean53 Writes: I love the "before and after" photos of Bruno, the first taken in the shelter when he was on the euth list and obviously terrified, and the second taken on the happy day of his liberation. He looks like a completely different dog! Very touching.

Reply: Thank you for noticing.

Anyone who claims that animals don't experience fear, confusion, depression, disorientation and sometimes even panic when abandoned to a shelter simply has not opened their eyes.

Of course, the truly wonderful thing about photographs is that they so often capture what the human eye does not.

As you perceptively note, the two pictures of Bruno are probably a good example of that.

Someone once said that, "The eyes are the mirror to the soul."

But, more accurately, I believe that the eyes are mirror to what the soul is experiencing and feeling at any particular moment in time.

Still photographs, more than anything else, capture those feeting glimpses to the soul.

And that applies to animals, as it does to humans.

When noting particularly, the expression in Bruno's eyes in the first picture and then comparing that to the happiness and joy captured in the second picture, I beleive one can deduce that animals, like humans, have souls. -- PCA

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Right Thing for the Right Reasons (Reply)

(Picture Left: A very happy Bruno, just before leaving for his new foster home yesterday.)

SKDean53 Writes: It seems to be the two extremes that are most likely to be adopted--the "perfect" (the young, housebroken,trained,groomed pets) or the "rejects" (those with disabilities, amputations, blindness, and the like). I guess no one wants the average dumped pets unless they are exceptional in one way or another.

Reply: You are exactly right. Unfortunately, it is mostly the "in betweens" (or the simply nice and reasonably healthy, mongrel dogs and cats) who comprise the majority of animals coming into and unfortunately, dying in our animal shelters.

But, few people call seeking a "simply nice" mixed breed dog or cat to adopt.

Rather, most people call with actual agendas, as well as demanding guarantees and the ability to peer into crystal balls: "The dog has to be good with this and that." "How will the dog be when my 2-year-old niece visits?" "How will the dog be as a therapy dog?"

One could go on and on, but hopefully the point is made.

And yet, once in a great while, we actually encounter people who ARE simply seeking a nice dog to adopt!

Like yesterday, for example:

A very sweet, young Manhattan couple came to visit Bruno at the boarding facility I sent him to and low and behold, they took Bruno home as a trial adoption!

It is extremely rare that we have luck like that these days.

But, I don't know if it was "luck" so much as the fact Bruno really "sold himself" so to speak to the people. He truly is a terrific dog. Cheerful, happy disposition (amazing, considering he was on the shelter kill list the day before.) Bruno is easy to walk, friendly around other dogs (and people) and just a real pleasant dog to be around.

I am not normally a corny "optimist" (its impossible to be in this line of work), but I feel quite optimistic that this (foster) will turn into a permanent adoption.


Simply because the people did the right thing for the right reasons.

In those (rare) cases where expectations and demands are tempered and the willingness to be open is prioritized, the animal placements almost always turn permanent. ;) -- PCA


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What Becomes of the Simply Nice?

(Picture Left: "Bruno." Owned, healthy and fully trained dog dumped at shelter because owner is "leaving for college." Bruno is a very nice, already neutered "Heinz 57" mutt who nevertheless ended up on shelter euth list. Apparently, nice just isn't exotic, exciting or newworthy enough.....The reality (and irony) is that simply nice is usually a death sentence in animal shelters.)

Today was pretty cool. Rescued a nice dog from the Brooklyn AC&C's euthanasia list -- without even leaving my house! These days, one can often arrange rescues, transports and sometimes even adoptions through phone work alone. It beats the old days when one often had to climb fences, squeeze in small holes and pull all kinds of maneuvers in order to rescue stray cats (or an occasional stray dog). Now, a simple phone call "pulls" the animal from the shelter euth list and other calls arrange transport and either boarding or foster care of the dog.

Sometimes I miss the old challenges of standing out in the freezing cold with humane traps or patiently trying to outwait and outwit a terrified dog, but then again, not really. -- It is, after all, much easier and actually more effecient this way. We can save more animals by networking and communicating with others, though it is not merely as "exciting."

Not sure exactly why I decided to pull "Bruno," (pictured above). He doesn't appear to be an especially "exotic" or gorgeous dog. But, he has a good behavior and health profile from the shelter and is already neutered. Why did an affectionate, healthy and supposedly already trained dog end up on the kill list?

The shelters are totally "packed" now and the animals only get a few days. Its kind of amazing and ironic that so often, it is the healthy and social animals who "go down" at the drop of a hat, but shelters and even many rescues will go out of their way to "save" the severely injured, ill, disabled (three legs or blind, for example) or even behaviorally challenged, IF the animals are PB, cute or have some unique "story."

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense and to me feeds the public misperception that all the shelter animals get "rescued" and saved. -- After all, if Michael Vick's dogs can get rescued and rehabilitated, why wouldn't the healthy and friendly dog someone is dumping at the shelter when they "move" get rescued and placed? Most animals don't require months of "rehabilitation." But, if the dog (or cat) isn't tiny, cute, PB or have some compelling "story," chances are, s/he simply becomes a shelter statistic.

Not fair, practical or sensible. But, for one nice and regular shelter "mutt" things worked out today. It won't garner a story on the news, Animal Cops or Dogtown, but the reality is if we could ever get to the point of being able to rescue all the "regular," but simply nice cats and dogs, that indeed would be THE major news story!

True "news" is often found in the mundane, rather than the sensational. -- PCA