STREET DOGS OF RUSSIA
February 24, 2014
I became interested in the stray dog problem in Russia a few years ago because of my friend Marina who is from Moscow but currently lives in the U.S. Our dogs are best friends and we walk them together. She had told me about this problem, but until the world heard about it, there was nothing I could actively do. Then came the 2014 Olympics. Now we know that there are thousands of dogs being poisoned to death every day on the streets of Russia.
The average life-span for a street dog in Russia is two years. They get hit by cars and there are even some people who intentionally run them down and feel proud of it. They die from diseases because they are not vaccinated and infections from open wounds. In some locations they freeze to death. Their food source is in garbage pails and once the snow covers the garbage, the dogs die. This is the life for street dogs in Russia.
For the past few weeks, I have been networking with several of the animal rescuers and advocates in Russia - some from Sochi and some from Moscow. We have gotten to know each other well enough to where I consider these people to be my friends. Their dreams for the animals in Russia are now my dreams for the animals in Russia. I interviewed one of these rescuers in person. She was here in the U.S. and on her way back to Sochi. I met with Lena and her cousin Diana in New York City and we spent the day discussing every topic we could think of, related to the stray animal problem in Russia. I had collected $180 from a small group of friends here in upstate NY and I gave that to her to help the dogs. As soon as she got back to Sochi, she gave it to Olya, another rescuer who she said needed it the most for the animals she is caring for. With little sleep and a drastic time change, Lena rescued 2 street puppies the day after she arrived back in Sochi.
The stories the girls told me are riveting, heartbreaking and downright horrifying. I had to stop 2 or 3 times during the interview just to compose myself. There are a few stories I will never share because I'm so afraid of potential copycats.
There are stories about government propaganda and how it has led to an entire culture believing that these dogs are the enemy even though almost all of them are friendly.
There are stories about the "dog hunters" who many people believe are heroes. They volunteer to poison dogs and don't care that they die slow, painful deaths. The dog hunters actively campaign against spay/neuter programs. They set up websites for others to learn how to poison the dogs. Teenagers aspire to be like them. There is a sick, twisted, psychological component to this. This "work" makes them feel powerful and important.
There is the story of the woman who has a 3 year old child. Every time she leaves the house, she puts poisoned meat in her child's backpack. Whenever she sees a dog, she takes out the meat and throws it to the dog….and she feels proud. She uses her child as a vehicle for torture.
There is the story about the woman in Sochi who believes it is cruel to spay her dog. Her dog has had so many litters of puppies, the rescuers stopped counting. Each time there is a litter of puppies, the woman puts them in a box and puts them on a street corner. This woman is not alone in her belief that it is unnatural to spay or neuter an animal. This is how the majority of people feel. The son of my friend who lives in the U.S. was furious with her when he found out she neutered her dog.
These are just a few of the many stories about the street dogs of Russia.
On a side note, when I finally came back home after 2 days in New York City, I realized Lena, Diana and I were so immersed in conversation, we completely forgot to have someone take a photo of us together! Hopefully, there will be a next time because these are people who I now consider to be kindred spirits.
So, why help Russian dogs when there are so many in the U.S. who need help?
I must address this question because I know a lot of people are asking it and others are struggling with their feelings about it.
Think of how rescue works in this country. For example, here in the capital region of NYS, many rescue organizations bring dogs up from the south. Other rescues don't like this. They feel we should be taking care of the animals we have here in NY before bringing in animals from another state. I understand both sides of this issue... I really do. But if you take the side of bringing animals in from another state, then what makes it different if you bring them in from another country? Especially one where the dogs die slow, painful, horrific deaths because the killing of choice is poison, either in food or with a dart. In this line of thinking, a dog is a dog and a life is a life. Is it the animal's fault they were born into such brutality? So yes, the photos and videos and stories my Russian friends have shown me have drawn me into desperately wanting to help in some way. Whether it is finding a way to fly some healthy dogs to the U.S., or helping my friends put international pressure on the government, I'm in. And this is indeed, a much bigger issue than stray dogs. This is about trying to help change the mentality of a culture... it's also about a shared love of animals across the globe. I cannot just look the other way and say, "Sorry, this is your problem, not ours."
When I was discussing this topic on Facebook, I received an e-mail from Pat on Long Island and here's what she said: "In the U.S., we are not sentencing them to a slow death via poison nor are we shooting them in public streets. I think you need only to look at the name of your organization for your answer: Dogs in Need EVERYWHERE. Right now, the dogs in most need are in Sochi and the animal rescuers there need the most help. I am sure you are not ceasing to help dogs here while you work to save the Sochi dogs. Rescues here will continue to work tirelessly to help our population of animals in need. The big difference is that they can do this freely, without fear of reprisal: a luxury those in Russia do not enjoy."
Why there is no "fix"
We are hearing about our athletes bringing dogs home to America and these are wonderful stories. It does shed some light on the stray dog problem which assists a little in international pressure. But it is not going to change the mentality of people who generally do not believe spay/neuter is important. This is crux of the problem. There are NO spay/neuter programs. There is no education about spay/neuter. When the rescuers put up flyers about it, the dog hunters rip them down.
Three days before the start of the Olympics, a Russian billionaire put in a "shelter" which of course reflected positively on the Russian government... and at least one dog from that shelter with Parvo, made it through to the U.S. Now there is pressure to build more shelters in Russia. Really? So someone please tell me how this will solve the problem when dogs are multiplying like bunnies and nobody in Russia likes the mixed breeds except kind-hearted animal activists. How will all the veterinary care be paid for? How will all the animals get exercised - socialized? Will the dogs who suffer on the street now, just suffer in cages later? There is a laundry list of questions that need to be addressed before shelters are established. My advice, which no doubt is very important to the Russian government, is to allow one of the large international animal welfare organizations to help establish a plan of action that will include educational programs & best practice procedures for establishing shelters responsibly. In the meantime, PRESIDENT PUTIN – PLEASE TELL YOUR PEOPLE TO SPAY AND NEUTER THEIR ANIMALS!!
And the breeders?
Just like in the U.S., they're not helping! There are the stories the girls told me about breeders who dump the breeding dogs out on the street when they are no longer able to pump out puppies... and those who dump the puppies because they're the wrong color.
The list goes on...
And guess who the dog fighters in Russia use for bait? They don't need to depend on stupid people who advertise free puppies on Craig's list. There is an infinite supply of puppies, kittens and injured animals right there on the street for the taking.
And where does the government stand?
How much time to you have? The government doesn't tell the rescuers not to save animals but they don't support their mission either. Remember, it is the government that hired the pest control company to "clean the streets" as my friend Alexey said, so the foreigners wouldn't see the problem. Gee how did that work out for them?
And the local government officials – they give people a "choice." They say "We are a developing country. We are not financially secure enough to have both animal shelters as well as kindergartens, other schools and hospitals... but you can choose which you want." Hmmm... which will the people choose.
Overall, according to my trusted animal rescue friends in Russia, the government supports the dog hunters. There are some legislators who tell the rescuers privately that they believe in spay/neuter programs, better veterinary care, more education, stricter animal cruelty laws... but those private conversations never seem to become public.
More coming soon... I will share the personal stories of some of the animal activists in Russia, and discuss donations.
LOOKING BACK ON 2013...
In January 2014, I was talking with someone in rescue and she said, "What exactly does DINE do anyway?" This is what prompted me to provide all the information below, especially since DINE's mission has changed a little through the years. Please click here to see a short history about DINE.
In answering the question, "What does DINE do," I decided to reflect back of some of my activities 2013. What follows, isn't necessarily a list of "accomplishments" or "highlights" and it's not a complete list of all activities but maybe it will help people gain a better understanding of DINE.
Much of my work in rescue is on what I like to call the "second lines of rescue." It typically starts with someone asking, "Can you help." This year there were several big rescue efforts; some successful, some unsuccessful, some that were out in the public eye, and some that weren't.
In one case, there was an exhaustive, 3 week networking endeavor to find a breed rescue to take on some dogs from a large scale breeding facility that was reducing its numbers. It included calls to Ag. & Markets, calls to the DCO involved, and a lot of mediation between 2 key people who initially wouldn't talk to each other. During one of my conversations with the rescue person who (I hope) finally stepped up, he said, "We need people like you." This was huge because this was a very stressful few weeks which left me wondering if I should just say "no" when someone asks for help.
On a deep, personal level, my current rescue work is the most difficult and challenging. I typically don't get to see or touch the dogs I am helping. For me, there is often no closure. In the past, the best part of the DINE journey was getting a big slobbering kiss from a dog who had just jumped up onto a new bed from the cold cement floor. But it's not like that anymore. In this case, when I was finally able to connect the large scale breeding facility to the right rescue, I practically begged to go down there with the rescue so I could watch as the dogs were finally "set free." This was supposed to happen. And it would have given me a tremendous amount of relief and strength in knowing that these dogs were going to be okay. But to this day, I have never heard back from the people involved. I have mixed emotions about contacting them for fear of things not turning out the way I had hoped. And even though I did the best I could and knew I couldn't do anything more, it still weighs heavily on me...
Stiopa (Steve) the Stolen Dog
Stiopa is his Russian name and Steve is his American name. I don't remember how I got involved with this case but I worked on it and I stayed in touch with Stiopa's family until we felt that nothing more could be done. It still haunts me. This happened at a store near a mall. Stiopa's family brought him with them when they went shopping but realized it was too hot to leave him in the car when they arrived. They tied him in the shade outside the store for a few minutes while they went in. It is believed that 2 women who were seen near the dog and who asked for water for the dog, took Stiopa, but the store doesn't have a camera so there was no surveillance. I can only hope that this was an overzealous "rescue" attempt and nothing worse happened to Stiopa. The family did everything they could, people on Facebook did everything they could and I did everything I could. I tried to spread awareness, get newspapers to do stories (they wouldn't), get people to scan Craig's list, and we checked with shelters and rescues across the country. Still, Stiopa never came home... and this is one of the saddest stories of the year. It is a very hard lesson but a story that needs to be told. Please don't leave your dog unattended in public. I will never forget Stiopa. You never ever stop thinking about the ones you couldn't help.
Cloud: Cloud's history is a mystery. She was out running for weeks in upstate NY. I initially worked with a small, dedicated group of people to help trap her and I named her for the way she kept appearing and disappearing like a fluffy white Cloud. Our group worked wonderfully well together. Thank you to Patti Allen, Terri Cook, Lorna Kircher and Josh Grassi for never giving up on her and making the people part so easy. After Cloud was finally trapped and brought to the shelter, Saratoga County Animal Shelter graciously worked with me to ensure I had first choice in adopting her. Due to the uniqueness of her breed and her needs, I believed it was best to find a foster home and a rescue to take her under their wing. Thank you to Cloud's awesome foster mom Linda Davis and to the wonderful 11th Hour Rescue NY (www.11thhourrescueny.org) for stepping up without hesitation, especially knowing Cloud was not going to be an easy fit. Thank you also to Sharon Wheeler, President of Northeast Great Pyr Rescue, who was one of the first people on the scene and was instrumental in putting me in touch with some very knowledgeable people regarding Cloud's breed. And thank you to Steve Caporizzo, Jessica Lustig and the entire animal community for their help in spreading awareness. As of 1-20-14, Cloud is still in foster care. All final applications to adopt her must go through 11th Hour Rescue NY. However, you may also e-mail me at email@example.com if you feel you are a qualified adopter, as I am helping with the screening process.
On the Loose...
At the Shelter...
Leaving the Shelter...
At the Vet...
In her Foster Home...
With Her Foster Brother Hook...
With Her Friend Dayta...
Most of my legislative efforts this year were focused on working against puppy mills.
Along with thousands of advocates across NYS, I worked especially hard on NYS S.3753/A.740 – a.k.a. "the puppy mill bill" which allows municipalities to regulate pet dealers. The intent of this bill is to let citizens to ultimately decide if they want pet stores selling puppies from puppy mills. I researched the NYS Ag. and Market Law as it relates to pet dealers and puppy mills, met with my Assemblyman to inform him about the bill and ask him to co-sponsor it (which he did!), networked almost frantically at times, with more people than I can ever mention here, met with legislators at the state capitol, wrote letters to legislators and follow up letters to local newspapers calling on the Governor to sign the bill into law. But the thing I'm most proud of is our power point presentation about the pet store/puppy mill connection (see below) and I hope people will share it. Senator Mark Grisanti, the senate sponsor of the bill, asked for copies of this presentation to distribute to fellow legislators. Knowing that he thought that highly of it was very rewarding. However, I absolutely couldn't have done it without the help of my husband Ray and our webmaster and friend Cheryl Kay Goldstein. Thank you also to Lorry Schlick for consulting on this project. A big thanks goes out to Assemblyman Jim Tedisco for co-sponsoring the bill, Bob Farley, Senior Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, for helping me bring our efforts to the attention of Senator Skelos, the sponsors of the bill Senator Mark Grisanti and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal... and all of the groups and individual advocates who helped get the bill passed. On 1-10-13, Governor Cuomo signed this bill into law!
Please click to see our presentation on puppy mills.
Letter to Legislators
June 17, 2013
I would greatly appreciate your support for S. 3753 sponsored by Senator Grisanti and co-sponsored by Senators Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Breslin, Dilan, Espaillat, Hassell-Thompson, Hoylman, Krueger, Lavalle, Ritchie, Savino, Serrano and Squadron. The purpose of this bill is to allow municipalities to regulate pet dealers as long as the law, rule, regulation, or ordinance is not less stringent than state law.
The reasons I am asking for your support are as follows:
- This legislation would make Article 26-A of the Agriculture and Markets Law consistent with many other animal related state laws, such as laws regulating dangerous dogs, seizure of animals, canine waste, and the operation of spay/neuter facilities, which do not preempt municipalities from enacting local laws, rules, regulations or ordinances pertaining to animals within their jurisdiction. According to the ASPCA, NYS is the only state in the nation that does not allow local governments to regulate pet dealers.
- According to NYS Agriculture and Markets, there are only 15 people to regulate 275 pet dealers in NYS including 161 pet stores that sell puppies. This is an insufficient number of inspectors to enforce regulation at the state level. NYS does not have the manpower or the funds to inspect and enforce compliance of every pet dealer in NYS to ensure that the current minimal standard of care required for pet dealers is being met.
- I believe citizens are best equipped to make decisions that are right for the health and safety of their own communities and I believe municipalities can better regulate and enforce an equal or better standard of care regarding the sale of animals through pet dealers.
- This law would allow municipalities to decide if cats and dogs should be spayed or neutered prior to being sold, thereby potentially reducing the number of unwanted animals in NYS that either end up in shelters or are euthanized due to limited space. Unfortunately, stores such as Everything Pets in Rotterdam and Colonie, NYt actually encourage their customers to breed the puppies sold in their stores, which only contributes to an already overpopulated pet industry.
- This law would allow municipalities to make choices regarding the source of the animals being offered for sale which would help protect consumers who often unknowingly purchase animals from pet stores that come from inhumane and unhealthy facilities such as puppy mills. Two examples of such pet stores include:
- The Pet Zone, a pet store in Colonie, NY that trucks in approximately 25 puppies per week from all over the country including Missouri, the state with the most puppy mills with the worst conditions in the country (over 3000).
- Shake a Paw Puppies, with 2 pet stores in Nassau County, Long Island that has over 50 online consumer complaints including the following from Kathy of Rockville Center, NY on February 15, 2013:
"We purchased a bulldog from the Lynbrook location on 12/23/12. We noticed the first day we had her she had some breathing issues. She was diagnosed with pneumonia with a 50/50 chance of survival. In addition, we found out she had two parasites, which caused terrible diarrhea and vomiting with loss of appetite. She was hospitalized in isolation for seven days. She is better, but 40 days later, she still has the pneumonia with loose stools from the parasites and all the medication and vet bills have exceeded $4,000.
When I went to the store to discuss with them, they were so rude and they were offended when I suggested the store conditions need to be improved. I paid $2,800 for a terribly sick dog. After leaving the store, I was so shocked I decided to do some research on exactly where my puppy came from - Stonehenge Kennels, a horrific puppy mill from West Point, IA. Steve Kruse is the owner and his kennel has over 1,300 dogs at any time. This must stop!
I finally went to another vet this week and found out that in addition to all I have learned, she will most likely need a new hip (her back legs bow out so much) and all of her upper teeth will need to be extracted due to the poor jaw structure. As she gets older, her teeth will cut up her tongue. This is an absolute nightmare. All I wanted was a family pet for my children. I cannot give her back since my kids are attached. This store needs to be responsible for what is happening here. During my 5 visits to their required vet, I met many fellow Shake A Paw customers with various illnesses as well. My dog is still not able to get her vaccinations since she is so sick. What do we need to do to stop these puppy mills and pet stores who buy them and then sell these sick dogs?!"
Although this bill doesn't completely address all of my concerns regarding regulation of animals through pet stores, it will at least allow for greater local management and oversight which is sorely needed across New York State.
I would be most appreciative of a favorable vote on this bill. Thank you.
Founder, Dogs In Need Everywhere (D.I.N.E.)
LTE ~ Saratogian Newspaper
Letter: Urge Cuomo to sign pet breeding reg act Sept. 19, 2013
(POSTED: 09/19/13, 12:00 AM EDT)
When it comes to pet stores that sell puppies and the large-scale breeding facilities that supply them with these puppies, New York has too much control. That's why both the Assembly and the Senate recently passed legislation that will allow municipalities to regulate these businesses (A.740/S.3753). Unfortunately, Gov. Cuomo has yet to sign it into law.
According to state Department of Agriculture and Markets, there are currently 275 pet dealers in New York state. This number doesn't include "backyard breeders" and those who sell puppies over the Internet, which could mean hundreds more. There are only 15 people to investigate, inspect and enforce compliance of these pet dealers. The pet industry enjoys under-regulation because it means more money in their pockets. And profit is the reason that thousands of breeding dogs spend their lives in unhealthy and inhumane conditions where they suffer physically, psychologically and behaviorally. To view a presentation about the parents of pet store puppies, please visit www.dogsinneedeverywhere.org.
Because there is so little oversight, puppies are often trucked to pet stores with genetic defects, parasites and illnesses that can cost thousands in veterinary expenses and cause heartbreak for families who unknowingly purchase these "perfect" little puppies in the window. Consumers should be protected from these unscrupulous operations and innocent animals should be protected from lives of misery.
We can begin to accomplish this goal once local governments are allowed to make their own choices. The only way to do that in New York is for Gov. Cuomo to sign A.740/S.3753 into law. I encourage anyone who supports the legislation to contact the Governor's office and let him know.
I work in a variety of ways to spread the word about important issues that will ultimately help dogs in need, sometimes writing letters to the editor when a wide reach to the general public is needed. Here is one of the letters I wrote in 2013 that appeared in the Times Union newspaper. Please share it with as many people as you can if you live in the capital region of NYS. If you live out of state, please contact local domestic violence programs to learn how they address this issue and help them spread the word.
Letter: Help for pets of abuse victims
To the editor
Published 5:00 pm, Tuesday, November 12, 2013
There are many women who are desperate to escape the nightmare of domestic violence, but will not seek protection if they must leave their beloved pets at home for fear of subjecting these animals to similar abuse.
Fortunately, here in the Capital Region, our domestic violence shelters have addressed this issue, and it is important for victims to know that they do not have to surrender their companion animals if they need to leave their homes. Some domestic violence programs even encourage visitation with pets, who will be housed, fed and cared for in safe environments for the length of a victim's shelter stay.
In Saratoga County, The Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Service (hot line: 584-8188) has a Safe Pet Partnership Program. Pre-approved volunteers in the community foster animals for victims of domestic violence while these individuals are in transition.
In Albany County, Equinox DV Services (hot line: 432-7865) provides care for pets at the Mohawk and Hudson Humane Society in Menands. In Rensselaer County, Unity House DV program (hot line: 272-2370) also partners with MHHS. In Schenectady County, the YWCA DV Shelter (hot line: 374-3386) partners with the Animal Protective Foundation.
These programs can be a saving grace for both people and pets in abusive situations. Please spread the word. Thank you.
Founder, Dogs In Need Everywhere
There were also several occasions in 2013 when it was necessary to speak with people regarding dogs left outside including police officers and ACO's. Below is a copy of the NYS Ag. and Markets Article 26, Section 353b which relates to dogs outside. The law is too weak and too subjective and I hope both legislators and animal advocates will make it their mission to strengthen this law in order to better protect animals who are in the hands of individuals and breeders who leave their animals outdoors.
26 Ag & Markets 353-b.
§ 353-b. Appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors.
1. For purposes of this section:
(a) "Physical condition" shall include any special medical needs of a dog due to disease, illness, injury, age or breed about which the owner or person with custody or control of the dog should reasonably be aware.
(b) "Inclement weather" shall mean weather conditions that are likely to adversely affect the health or safety of the dog, including but not limited to rain, sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme heat and cold.
(c) "Dogs that are left outdoors" shall mean dogs that are outdoors in inclement weather without ready access to, or the ability to enter, a house, apartment building, office building, or any other permanent structure that complies with the standards enumerated in paragraph (b) of subdivision three of this section.
2. (a) Any person who owns or has custody or control of a dog that is left outdoors shall provide it with shelter appropriate to its breed, physical condition and the climate. Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a violation, punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars for a first offense, and a fine of not less than one
hundred dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars for a second and subsequent offenses. Beginning seventy-two hours after a charge of violating this section, each day that a defendant fails to correct the deficiencies in the dog shelter for a dog that he or she owns or that is in his or her custody or control and that is left outdoors, so as to bring it into compliance with the provisions of this section shall constitute a separate offense.
(b) The court may, in its discretion, reduce the amount of any fine imposed for a violation of this section by the amount which the defendant proves he or she has spent providing a dog shelter or
repairing an existing dog shelter so that it complies with the requirements of this section. Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent the seizure of a dog for a violation of this section pursuant to the authority granted in this article.
3. Minimum standards for determining whether shelter is appropriate to a dog's breed, physical condition and the climate shall include:
(a) For dogs that are restrained in any manner outdoors, shade by natural or artificial means to protect the dog from direct sunlight at all times when exposure to sunlight is likely to threaten the health of the dog.
(b) For all dogs that are left outdoors in inclement weather, a housing facility, which must: (1) have a waterproof roof; (2) be structurally sound with insulation appropriate to local climatic
conditions and sufficient to protect the dog from inclement weather; (3) be constructed to allow each dog adequate freedom of movement to make normal postural adjustments, including the ability to stand up, turn around and lie down with its limbs outstretched; and (4) allow for effective removal of excretions, other waste material; dirt and trash. The housing facility and the area immediately surrounding it shall be regularly cleaned to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment and to minimize health hazards.
4. Inadequate shelter may be indicated by the appearance of the housing facility itself, including but not limited to, size, structural soundness, evidence of crowding within the housing facility, healthful environment in the area immediately surrounding such facility, or by the appearance or physical condition of the dog.
5. Upon a finding of any violation of this section, any dog or dogs seized pursuant to the provisions of this article that have not been voluntarily surrendered by the owner or custodian or forfeited pursuant to court order shall be returned to the owner or custodian only upon proof that appropriate shelter as required by this section is being provided.
6. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any protections afforded to dogs or other animals under any other provisions of this article.
In 2013, I tried to be more active on our Facebook page although it was not without mixed feelings. People were telling me it could help spread awareness and help more dogs but I worried that it would suck up a lot of time that could be used in better ways and we wouldn't be helping enough dogs. I would still like more "shares" when we post dogs in need but hopefully we have helped a few along the way. One thing I like is that every few weeks, we change the profile picture to an adoptable dog who has been "in the system" way too long. A big "thank you" to all our Facebook friends who have been so wonderful in sharing the stories of these dogs!
Christmas Went to the Dogs
This project actually made me LIKE social media! We did our entire "Christmas is Going to the Dogs" collection drive through Facebook. Ray and I had decided to find some needy shelters – call them to find out what items they needed (kind of like what we did in the old days) and instead of buying gifts for each other, we would go to the shelters on Christmas and deliver the items we had purchased and/or collected. I ended up finding 3 shelters in the same general vicinity that needed our help. I put it out on Facebook and our friends really came through – so much so that we decided to make it a yearly event! We delivered plenty of Kong toys, home-made dog toys, home-made dog cookies, dog food, peanut butter, jerky treats, comforters/blankets and towels, trash bags, paper towels, parts for Kuranda dog beds, and used a couple of donated plastic bins for part of the delivery!
Thank you SO much to the following friends for making this day a true success! Cheryl Kay Goldstein, Mary Lynne Hamilton, Eileen Murphy-Mendoza, Perfect Pet Salon & Boutique, Head to Tail Pet Wellness Center, Linda Davis, Robin Olander, Rebecca Lustig and Teri Glasheen. Thank you all, for sharing our passion.
The people we met from the shelters were wonderful! Thank you to Humane Society of Walden Shelter Manager Tracey Carvell, Marbeltown DCO Bill Warren and Rosendale DCO Ed Hintz for taking time from their own holidays, to spend so much time with us. It was very heartwarming to see how dedicated they are to helping the animals in their care. We were even welcomed into Bill's home, and as you can see from one of the pictures below, our dog Dayta, and Bill's dog Nicky had a wonderful time too! While we were there, we also received a call from Diane at the Daily Freeman. Thank you to her for believing that our mission was worthy enough for a story!
We hope even more people will join in to make "Christmas Is Going to the Dogs," even bigger and better in 2014!
Humane Society of Walden, NY
Rosendale Shelter, NY
As of 1-25-13, "Bama" and "Molly" are still looking for furever homes!
Sadly, they have been in the shelter for almost 1 1/2 years.
Please call Ed at (845) 389-2205 if you can help!!
Marbeltown Shelter, NY
Christmas in Ulster County is dog day for upstate couple
By Diane Pineiro-Zucker, Daily Freeman
POSTED: 12/25/13, 4:50 PM EST
For Kathleen and Ray Collar, Christmas went to the dogs.
The Collars, of Glenville, who founded Dogs In Need Everywhere (DINE) in 2005, work with shelters statewide to improve conditions for their canine residents.
"It's definitely worth it," Kathleen Collar said on Christmas, explaining that she and her husband gave up a traditional holiday celebration to visit shelters in Rosendale, Marbletown and Walden with a small truckload of nearly indestructible toys, peanut butter, dog biscuits, jerky treats, dog food, blankets, comforters, cleaning supplies and garbage bags.
She spoke to the Freeman by phone from the Marbletown shelter, which, through empty Wednesday, was in need of comforters for new four-legged residents when they arrive.
"If we can make the dogs' lives a little more comfortable, a little more content, a little more happy, then we're doing what we set out to do," Collar said.
Bill Warren, who has been the Marbletown dog control officer for the past 30 years, greeted the Collars with an invitation to share Christmas dinner with his family. The Collars, who had just eaten the Asiago cheese sandwiches they'd packed for the journey (an "upgrade from your ordinary cheddar," Kathleen said), weren't very hungry but sat down with the Warren the family anyway, she said.
Warren was pleased with the Collars' donation, which he said will keep the shelter's future residents comfortable.
According to DINE's website, its mission is "to provide essential items to dogs in the care of shelters and rescues in the (New York) state Capital Region and offer community education to students."
For more information about DINE, go towww.dogsinneedeverywhere.org or the group's Facebook page.
Loss of a Friend
In July, many of us lost a dear friend and fellow animal advocate and activist, Karren Bergland. I have no doubt she would want everyone to know how thankful she is that her dog Max is now part of her sister's family in Washington state where he is having a wonderful life and is dearly loved. The effort to get Max to Karren's sister was no small feat. Suffice to say, it's a story about a dog who unknowingly created a life-long bond between Karren's family and friends; One that will have a profound affect on all of us for the rest of our lives. We love you Karren and we love you Max. (More to come on this story)
In closing, I want to take a moment to acknowledge two people who have supported all of DINE's efforts from day one.
First, I could never accomplish a fraction of what I do without support and help from my husband Ray. I can't begin to explain the number of projects I've asked for his "help" on only to essentially hand over the project to him because I got in over my head. I won't detail the extra load he bears in order for me to work on the projects I do. But I will say, he loves dogs as much as I do. I am more than lucky to have him in my life.
Cheryl Kay Goldstein has been our webmaster from the start. She doesn't even live in NY but she has graciously donated not only her time but also money and items to almost every fundraising effort we've had. She has never asked for recognition. She does it in the spirit of a love for animals and has become one of my most trusted friends.
I don't know what exactly what 2014 will bring. I've been trying to work on an educational project now for over 2 years. But when you know you can help a dog now, it becomes more important than potentially helping a dog later. So I'm not sure how this will get resolved, but one way or another, I will be committed to helping make a positive difference in the lives of dogs in need everywhere.