This post is in honor of Blog the Change for Animals, hosted by the newly designed BTC4Animals.com. BTC4A offers a fresh new monthly format that never asks for a cent but just a moment of time to make a difference for animals in need! Take a look and sign up for manageable monthly action alerts!
LOST DOGS FOUND
When our Newf and hound jumped the fence in a two foot snowstorm, terror struck. Forced to think rather than feel to ensure their survival and return, it was difficult to shift gears.
We hung fliers and organized friends, veterinarians, the mailman, and town garage crews in our search. As night fell, my husband snowshoed over the mountain in 14 degree weather serenaded by the shrill calls of hungry coyotes on the hunt. By morning, we found tracks suggesting the dogs had hunkered down in an abandoned trailer before moving on. When Tim pulled them from the deep woods, stumbling, weak, and dehydrated, they had traveled 6 miles. It took us all a week to recover from the stress alone. (Read “Both Dogs: Lost … and Found” in its entirety.)
In that experience, I’ve learned one thing. When you’ve lost a beloved pet (or two), panic consumes logic. Thankfully, there’s a new app that does the logical thinking for you.
INTRODUCING THE FREE ASPCA MOBILE APP
The ASPCA has launched its first interactive mobile application which offers step-by-step instructions on what to do if a pet goes missing. These instructions are tailored to each specific circumstance and a pet’s individual personality. It also allows pet owners to store vital medical records, and it will provide information on making life-saving decisions during natural disasters.
A personalized missing pet recovery kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances. This kit was developed by ASPCA pet care experts and based on the latest field research.
The ability to build a lost pet digital flyer that can be shared instantly on social media channels.
Access critical advice – even if there’s no data connectivity – on ensuring pet’s safety before, during, and after a major storm or disaster.
Store and manage pet’s health records.
Timely, relevant updates from the ASPCA about the latest in pet news and animal welfare.
Built-in ASPCA Twitter and Instagram feeds.
DO DOWNLOAD! PLUS…
The app is available for free download on iPhone and Android. But don’t stop there. Enter your pet’s information now! If crisis strikes, you’ll be prepared.
Fortunate so far, the only escapes have been good ones: from the wrath of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. But our pets’ safety is always in our hands. Around here, we take that seriously. To stave off a repeat performance, we always ensure current microchip registration. We’ve invested in a new 6 foot fence. We’ve attached Tagg GPS trackers to our dogs’ collars and keep them properly charged. And now, I’ve added the ASPCA to my phone, too.
An army of animal advocates descended upon the Legislative Office Building for New York State’s 4th Annual Animal Advocacy Day on Wednesday, May 28. This free, bipartisan, and yearly event, hosted by Senator Greg Ball and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, enables animal supporters to network, share information, and lobby legislators. This year, topics ranged from creating a registered list of NYS animal abusers to the prevention of horse slaughter.
While I attended as president of Dog House Adoptions, the dog rescue I co-founded in 2012, my humane interests have long revolved around all animals, domestic and wild. This was my impetus for co-founding the community based animal advocacy site Be the Change for Animals in 2010 (which will be resurrected on June 28th). The site highlights causes that advocate for humane treatment of circus elephants, captive exotics, mill dogs, migrating birds, whales of all types, and more.
John Hargrove of Blackfish
Thanks to that last hot topic, a significant highlight of my day was meeting John Hargrove, one of many former SeaWorld killer whale trainers featured in the documentary Blackfish. As the film’s website descibes:
Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.
John is co-sponsoring the Orca Welfare and Safety Act in California and similar proposed legislation in New York, hoping to end the use of killer whales in captivity for entertainment. A petition in support of the New York legislation has received over 10,000 signatures. To sign the petition visit: http://www.nysenate.gov/webform/sign-petition-end-torture.
John is the [Photo] Bomb
Slated as a special guest speaker for Animal Advocacy Day, John was running a bit late. As the remainder of attendees filled the stairwell of the Legislative Office Building for a group photo, John slipped in under the wire and addressed us all. The most poignant point he made is that awareness is an evolutionary process.
We start as trainers because you love those whales. You want a life with those whales. And then, as you progress higher through the ranks, you start to see things from the corporate end of it, the corporate greed and exploitation that you don’t agree with. And, even as a high ranking trainer, you cannot stop those things from happening.
But John knows that you can stop it from the outside using pressure from the media. And he’s now taking every opportunity to do just that. He followed up with this note to me:
You were awesome and it was incredible for me to be around so many who care about animals just as much as I do- regardless if you’re experience is with killer whales, dogs, horses, or whatever/ we all have the same heart and [were there] for the same reasons. I had a great day- and we are winning this fight. It’s really happening.
Watch John’s Talk
Shooting video from a tripod during the final photo, and with my DSLR on me as I stood in the crowd, I felt lucky to have captured a distinctly moving talk from a man who spent 14 years so intimately working with captive whales, knowing their suffering and acting as their voice. Now you can experience that, too.
More on Blackfish
If you haven’t yet seen Blackfish, you can view it through iTunes, Netflix and on DVD.
For more about John’s thoughts on his career and the treatment of the whales, watch DP/30’s interview of John with Blackfish documentarian Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
How fun is this?! This screen grab is a picture I posted to my Facebook timeline, which John then made his profile picture…
Strolling over to a neighboring abandoned barn, I was on a mission to photograph the structure. I began documenting these ruins several years ago, collecting the crumbling history of days gone by.
A tiny, fuzzy body tumbled toward me, unaware of my presence… and then another and another. Six little beasties were playfully pouncing about in the old hay bales like very young kittens. It took a minute for my startled mind to register what they really were… a litter of gray fox pups! I spent more time watching than shooting, and captured this sweet video as I stood stock still.
Having my all-too-short fill, I left so as not to distress the mother. I’m quite sure she kept watch over me as I kept watch over her young. It was time to let the wild get back to being beautifully wild as the animals reclaim discarded sheltering structures that no longer serve a dying way of human life.
Be the Change for Animals, the website that we’ve come to know, love, and utterly take for granted, needs a face lift and an attitude adjustment. It’s grown lazy, tired, and has no spark. I don’t like where we’ve ended up since our beautiful founding moment. So, as of right now, I’m 100% back.
LIFE SIGNS ARE AFLUTTER
Thankfully, BTC4A’s Facebook heart is beating strong. This comes thanks to the daily community nurturing of Kim Thomas. Her love for this project runs as deep as my own (maybe even deeper) and stretches all the way back to 2011.
But circulation to the blog extremities grew stagnant long before I stepped away to found Dog House Adoptions in 2012. (Wow. We’re four years old as of this week!) Focus was set on how to do less. Not more. Not New. Not different. And we need more. We need new. We need different. This lag is on us — on me, since I never fully left — for not delivering what you need, for not keeping up with what you want.
IT’S TIME TO REINVEST
Blog the Change asks us, among other things, to identify what we’re doing or planning to do for animals with the hope to inspire others. Here’s my list:
I’ve taken back the reigns at BTC4Animals.com.
I’ve begun to follow the 5000 people who connected with us on Twitter yet were neglected over the past year.
The website will be overhauled in time for our 4th birthday. (FOURTH? Really?)
The big reveal will be just prior to our July 15th Blog the Change event.
The goal? Simple, clean lines. Easy to read fonts. (Who picked that horrid text font anyway? Oh right.)
And, most importantly, useful content that I hope you’ll engage with, including a revitalization of Blog the Change events.
THE BIGGEST CHANGE OF ALL
We’ll set your inbox free while holding fast to our founding cornerstone, asking you to spend just a moment and never a cent to help animals in need.
A monthly post will feature a simple link list of timely causes. We’ll collect all the free and easy actions you can collectively cover in 15 minutes or less.
Now you can subscribe to just one blog. Ours. And you’ll still get the best content.
We’ll also host a directory of animal organizations you can visit from one central place.
LET’S MAKE THIS ABOUT YOU
Please answer these simple questions below.
Which organizations are your favorites to support? I’ll enter these first into our ever growing directory. You are still here and, because of that, your opinion totally rates with me.
Which day suits you best to receive a monthly post? The 1st? Every 2nd Monday? End of the month? Pick your favorite. Majority will win.
Will a monthly publication keep you interested? Would bi-weekly be better?
Can I get some volunteers to help manage Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and G+?
And can I get a HELL YEAH? (Oh good. You’re paying attention.)
THANKS FOR STICKING WITH US ALL THIS TIME
It’s time we do something new to stick by you, too. And I’m proud to say that my whole team is as re-energized as I am. Together, we’ll make this happen for as long as you come along for the ride.
You heard it here first.
Visit the other animal advocates on this list and leave a thoughtful comment. It’s time to coalesce this community spirit by investing in it from all sides.
Wild Elephants of Mole National Park, Ghana, July 27, 2008 – Photo: Kim Clune
One of my life’s most magical moments was watching a family of four wild African elephants emerge from Mole National Forest for a swim. Mole refuge spans 3000 square miles but, as large and mostly untouched by humans as this special place is, poaching elephants for ivory is still greatly feared. You Can Help These Elephants.
Humane Society International shared a startling fact last week.
Every single day, 100 African elephants are slaughtered for their tusks. If current poaching rates continue, this beloved animal will be gone forever in the next 20 years.
Being born a majestic elephant is an ill fate indeed. Whether captured for carnival cruelty, limited to life in a zoo, or shot dead to make souvenir trinkets, our human impact has made this world a deadly place for these magnificent and emotional beings.
We’re doing this to send a signal to the world that we need to crush the illegal trade in ivory and wildlife products in general.
Weeks later, China, the world’s largest market for elephant products, followed suit by publicly crushing six tons of confiscated ivory, an equivalent to 2,000 poached elephants. While there are plenty of issues still as stake, like China’s still legal ivory trade, this is an important first step.
Keep the Momentum Going in Hong Kong!
Join forces with Humane Society International. Urge the Hong Kong government to destroy the ivory it has confiscated.
It must join the U.S. and China in sending a message to poachers and traffickers that their days of profiting from killing are coming to an end.
Petition Text: African elephant poaching has reached critical levels. With 100 elephants being killed every single day and tons of illegally shipped ivory being seized on an almost monthly basis, urgent action is needed to put an end to this crisis.
Hong Kong needs to join other governments — including those of China, the Philippines, and the United States — in taking meaningful action to protect elephants by destroying its stockpile of confiscated ivory.
This important step would highlight the plight of the tens of thousands of elephants at risk of being wiped out by greed. I urge you to destroy the Hong Kong government’s stockpile to help save these majestic animals before it is too late.
Thank you for caring about wild elephants like the ones I met in Ghana.
Kim Clune with a Park Ranger and Wild Elephants of Mole National Park, Ghana, July 27, 2008
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