April 11, 2017 is National Pet Day. It is a time to treasure our pets. Please share your favorite pet story with me here on the blog.
April 11, 2017 is National Pet Day. It is a time to treasure our pets. Please share your favorite pet story with me here on the blog.
According to Atlas Obscura, De Poezenboot is an animal sanctuary floating on a canal in Amsterdam. It was founded by Henriette van Weelde in 1966 as a home for stray, sick, and abandoned felines, and has since grown into an official charity.
The house boat accommodates up to 50 cats at once, 14 of which are permanent residents. Human visitors are welcome on the vessel as well. Many come to choose a cat for adoption, but tourists are also welcome to drop in and scratch a kitty behind the ears.
As it is a charity, the boat sanctuary stays afloat thanks to donations left by visitors. All the money raised goes toward helping as many Amsterdam cats as possible. The Cat Boat Foundation pays for neutering of cats whose owners cannot afford veterinary care, as well as strays. Volunteers take care of the cats, some of whom are adopted by visitors. The cats are believed to readjust to life on land perfectly well in their new homes.
If you are visiting Amsterdam and want to visit -
De Poezenboot is in central Amsterdam, around a 10 minute walk from the main station.
It's open daily from 1 until 3 PM but closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.
According to Atlas Obscura, Las Vegas is being overrun with feral bunnies.
In early 2015, Dave Schweiger, a longtime Las Vegas resident, came home from work to find his teenage daughter sitting on the lawn, surrounded by six Bunnies. These weren’t the dun-colored jackrabbits of the Nevada desert: they were bonafide domestic bunnies, sleek and multipatterned, with cute ears and fuzzy coats. The Schweigers, who are animal lovers, were unfazed. They started buying extra carrots on their weekly trip to Costco.
But six bunnies doesn’t stay six bunnies for long. Within two months, there were 24 living under the Schweiger’s shed. When, with the help of a local rescue center, Dave caught them and took them to the vet to get neutered, he found out several of his new friends were pregnant again. “In another month, we would have had over 50,” he says. If they hadn’t taken action, the Schweigers’ yard might have turned into a common, but little-known Sin City feature: the bunny refugee camp.
The yards, parks and lots of Vegas are home to thousands of feral rabbits. Known as “bunny dump sites” to the legions of volunteers that care for their residents, they’re strange places, more tragic than adorable, where the human heart clashes with the limited resources of the state. Released by overwhelmed pet-owners and left to breed, the rabbits now overwhelm any attempt at government control, digging up public property, chewing on pipes, and ending up dead in the sewers. To survive, they depend entirely on the kindness of self-identified “bunny-lovers”—volunteers faced with an impossible task.
Schweiger works near one of the more legendary dump sites, a state-run mental health facility in the center-west of the city. It’s home to hundreds, if not thousands, of rabbits—although if you didn’t already know that, you might not find out. “You go out to the field and you don’t see any,” Schweiger says. “I start throwing out hay, romaine lettuce, and carrots, and they just come out of everywhere.”
Schweiger runs an awareness-building website called Las-Vegas-Bunnies.com, and often meets other concerned citizens at this particular site to feed and check on the rabbits. In a video from his most recent visit, scores of excited bunnies traipse over the dead grass and under the picnic tables as volunteers strew bits of lettuce across the ground.
Atlas Obscura reports on a cat paradise on the island of Lanai in Hawaii.
The island of Lanai is tiny: The population hovers around a little over 3,000 people, mostly staffing the island’s Four Seasons resort. However amid the Hawaiian island’s turquoise waters and endless green foliage, hundreds of cats live in their own secluded paradise at the “Fur Seasons,” a sprawling sanctuary for the island’s feral cats.
The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is home to some 500 furry felines, who happily roam and play on 25,000 square feet of land on one of the most remote islands in the United States.
The cat paradise was created in 2009 to rescue the island’s cats that were being hunted due to overpopulation. It now opens its doors to thousands of cat lovers a year, some of whom travel to the island just to visit the “Hawaiian Lions,” as they are lovingly known.
Lanai became overpopulated with cats after the animals were first brought to Hawaii more than a century ago on whaling boats. Strays were crawling all over the island, begging for food from residents and tourists. Viewing them as pests, residents took to trapping and killing the cats. So a volunteer program was started to catch the feral felines, neuter them, and release them back to the wild. But when it was discovered the cats were also endangering the native ‘Ua’u birds, a shelter was created to rescue the island’s cats and protect its birds at the same time.
Upon entering the eternally sunny sanctuary visitors will hear happy mews as they become the center of attention for a few Lanai kitties looking for love. Each of the cats is also available for adoption. The site lies on a plot of land with fresh running water but not much else. There is no electricity or plumbing. The sanctuary runs entirely off of donations from tourists, money the organization has been trying to put toward expanding the sanctuary and establishing a medical system for the feline residents. Lanai is so small and remote, there are few if any veterinarians on the island.
Do You Want to Visit?
The sanctuary is near the Lanai airport and can be accessed from a couple dirt roads. After passing the airport, take the second dirt road on the left. There should be a rock denoting a highway labeled "Kaunolu." Turn left and look for a gate on the right. Visitors are welcomed to the tiny paradise from 10 am to 3pm.
At the foot of a blue wall on Carrer del Museu, the facade of a tiny house attracts the attention of passersby. The house is only a foot or two tall but it is designed in a classically Valencian style. It has a Spanish tiled roof, a little fountain, and a “garden” to the side (actually just one potted plant).
The house’s entrance is dark and does not appear to lead to the other side of the wall, but perhaps that’s just a ruse for human intruders. Legend has it that the old woman who previously owned the house behind the gate left it for the feral cats of Valencia to inhabit. Whether or not this is true and whether or not there are any cats behind the wall will have to remain a mystery—to the humans of Valencia at least.
Trapped in a puppy mill, Coconut the dog had never known love—until she was rescued by the ASPCA. Watch a video of her incredible transformation and recovery, and find out how you can help save more dogs from a life of fear, pain and neglect.
The ASPCA found dozens of dogs living in the basement of a six-story apartment building complete with a makeshift dog fighting arena, dog treadmills and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts. The dogs and puppies were neglected and abused. The scene was terrible. Here is a video one year later:
This is such a heart warming story that I wanted to share the video and the entire backstory from Youtube.
GiGi, a great horned owl, was completely alone until she met the one man she'd never forget. GiGi first arrived at Mississippi's Wild at Heart Rescue toward the end of May after suffering significant head trauma, which the rescue suspects was the result of being hit by a car. She had a massive concussion, her body was riddled with parasites and she had a condition called aspergillosis, which is similar to pneumonia in humans, Missy Dubuisson, founder and director of Wild at Heart, told The Dodo. GiGi was so ill that, during the course of her treatment, she lost an entire pound of weight — which was a lot, considering great horned owls typically weigh anywhere from 2 to 5 pounds.
"This bird was one of the most critical we have ever taken care of," Dubuisson said. "The fact that this bird has lived is beyond comprehension." But if there was anyone at the rescue who could help GiGi get back in good health, it would be Douglas "Doug" Pojeky, president of the rescue and affectionately known as the "birds of prey whisperer." "In all my years of working with birds of prey, I have never seen someone with such a bond with these magnificent birds," Dubuisson said. Under Pojeky's care, GiGi went from knocking at "death's door to perching," Dubuisson said. She also went from being hand-fed to grabbing food on her own. GiGi had undoubtedly come to trust and care for Pojeky, and she made it known just how much in the most surprising way.
Pojeky had been a trip to Michigan, visiting family, leaving GiGi without his company for awhile. After Pojeky returned, he gave GiGi an examination and she immediately started bobbing her head and dancing on his arm. Then, she slowly walked up to his chest, rested her head on his shoulder and draped her wings around him in a fully fledged owl hug. The look of pure content on her face just before she embraced Pojeky showed just how happy she was to be reunited with her favorite human.
Pojeky told The Dodo that being hugged by GiGi held a particularly special importance to him. Growing up, a great horned owl used to perch on the top of Pojeky's family barn. While Pojeky's father often saw the owl, Pojeky and the rest of his family rarely did. However, on the morning of his father's death, the owl was spotted overlooking the farm house, where Pojeky's father had passed away, before flying off into the woods. "For some reason when that bird was hugging me, all I could think of was my dad," Pojeky said.
Once GiGi makes a full recovery, she'll be released back into the wild. But in the meantime, she has Pojeky to lean on. "It literally brings tears to my eyes to watch him interact with these birds," Dubuisson said. "They absolutely know him and trust him. It's the trust that you see in her face."
Credits: Wild At Heart Rescue (photos / video snippets)
To help the rescue continue doing good work for animals in need, you may consider making a donation here
A recent article in the New York Post tells the heart warming story of celebrity photographer Richard Phibbs who rescues homeless dogs, rehabilitates them and gives them a new life.
One August day this past summer, Richard Phibbs was snapping photos of Hollywood’s hottest couple, Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, lovingly looking into each other’s eyes for an Entertainment Weekly spread ahead of the release of their recent film, “The Light Between Oceans.”
The next day, he was sprawled on the floor of a 6-by-6-foot veterinary-examination room at the Humane Society of New York on the Upper East Side, photographing dozens of homeless animals for free.
For the past four years, Phibbs — famous for snapping celebrities including Jon Hamm and Naomi Watts, as well as fashion campaigns for the likes of Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein — has photographed more than 360 rescue dogs, cats and other animals at the Humane Society in hopes of helping them find loving, forever homes. Now 63 of those canine portraits are featured in a new book, “Rescue Me” (Aperture; out Oct. 28), detailing each pooch’s heart-wrenching past and their new lives in NYC.
“I was craving to take a picture that does something more than sell clothes or sell a career,” Phibbs tells The Post. “In fashion, we’re trying to make up fantasy and dreams. When I’m at the Humane Society, I use photography to speak the truth. When people look into the eyes of that animal, the essence of that being is there.”
And his photos work. The animals whose portraits are taken by Phibbs see a much higher adoption rate than others at HSNY, thanks not only to the photographs themselves but also to their high share-rate on social media.
“Without a doubt [he’s increased adoptions],” says Sandra DeFeo, HSNY’s executive director. “When we post one of his photos on Instagram or Adopt-a-Pet, it’s like an avalanche. All of these people suddenly notice the animal.”
The photo shoots last anywhere from five to 45 minutes, and Phibbs will see dozens of animals in a single day. Each of his subjects is given time to adjust to his or her surroundings, so that they open up and let their personalities shine.
“Whether it’s a human or animal, I’m trying to get the subject to feel safe and to feel confident and comfortable with me,” the Midtown-based photographer says. “We’re looking for that spirit, what makes them different.”
While Phibbs may not spend hours with each animal, many of them still have a strong impact on him: “It’s not uncommon for me to walk home, and weep the whole way.”
Phibbs, who lost his own beloved mutt Huck years ago, eventually fell for one of his subjects, a purebred long-haired Chihuahua named Finn, whom the photographer adopted two years ago. These days, Finn accompanies him on photo shoots around the globe.
Phibbs’ work with animals is a strong reflection of how he became involved with photography in the first place. “I experienced a lot of loss at once in the mid-’90s. Some tragic things happened, and I went to a very dark place and knew I needed to get help,” says the native Canadian, who graduated with degrees from both the University of Toronto and Parsons before working for seven years in advertising.
His therapist recommended he use his creativity as a way to heal, and the next day he ventured out with his camera; he hasn’t put it down since. “Often in times of great darkness and suffering, a lot of lightness can appear. Photography forced me to see beauty again.”
With hundreds of animals having been photographed and finding homes — and countless others who have been adopted because their owners learned about HSNY through Phibbs’ work — it’s given Phibbs a great sense of purpose.
“There’s too much suffering on this planet, and to know that I have perhaps alleviated that suffering brings me great satisfaction.”
Meet Richard Phibbs and several of the dogs featured in “Rescue Me” at the Dog Day Afternoon and Artist Talk with Richard Phibbs on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 12-5 p.m. at the Aperture Gallery and Bookstore (547 W. 27th St., 4th Floor).
elebrated August 26th annually and was founded in 2004 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate, Colleen Paige, also the founder of National Puppy Day, National Mutt Day and National Cat Day and many more philanthropic days to bring attention to the plight of animals and encourage adoption. The date of August 26th is significant, as it's the date that Colleen's family adopted her first dog "Sheltie" when Colleen was 10 years old.
National Dog Day celebrates all dogs, mixed breed and pure. Our mission is to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day...
for personal protection, for law enforcement, for the disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage, now they're detecting cancer and seizures...things even humans cannot do.
National Dog Dayis against any kind of "breed ban". Dogs should not have to lose their lives because of the atrocities they have been forced to endure at the hands of man. And while we feel that American's have the constitutional right to purchase a pure breed dog, we strongly discourage buying dogs from pet stores supplied by puppy mills, backyard breeders, the internet and newspaper ads. Rather, we encourage those seeking new canine companions, to consider choosing adoption first. If you'd like a pure breed dog, look into a pure breed rescue in your city, to see if they might have some little furry soul just waiting to make your life complete. Another great place to find a new best friend is at large chain pet stores that host adoption drives for local shelters and rescues.
When considering buying from a breeder, verify that you're buying from a reputable breeder by checking out their licensing, internet reviews and ask for local references such as from a veterinarian. It's vital to educate yourself about the breed you're considering parenting.
"Millions of dogs are killed each year because they're simply unwanted, says Colleen Paige, founder of National Dog Day. They're unwanted because no one realized how to properly care for the demands of the breed. They're unwanted because they were bought as a Christmas gift for a child that didn't keep their promises about caring for the dog...unwanted because they shed too much...unwanted because they bark too much. UNWANTED...simply because someone changed their mind. All a dog wants to do is love you and be loved by you. Dogs are amazing, courageous, sensitive and sentient beings that deserve compassion and respect. Please consider bringing what was once considered "unwanted love", into your heart and home on National Dog Day!"
For dogs adopted on August 26th, National Dog Day becomes many a dog’s birthday and for all dogs, it's as popular and exciting as the
Super Bowl, with the anticipation of the day culminating into an explosion of network news stories, national TV show segments, online videos, shelter events, internet photos and K9 parties planned around the globe! Even citizens who are not dog owners will be encouraged to donate $5 to their local shelter or rescue on August 26th.