While we've discovered animal-inspired tattoos are definitely the rage, folks at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland have figured out how to harness the trend for good. During the month of May in the City of Roses, more than 50 area tattoo artists are donating 10 percent of the proceeds from animal-inspired tattoos to the DoveLewis Stray Animal & Wildlife Fund, which helps pay for treating injured critters with no guardians.
I asked Reed Coleman, a spokesperson for DoveLewis, if perhaps BARk’s March story on dog-themed tattoos was the inspiration for Tats for Cats … and Dogs. Nope. Apparently the counterculture fundraiser was the brainstorm of a DoveLewis receptionist back in late 2007. “But, your article did play a part,” Coleman says. “When we saw it we absolutely knew we were on the right track.”
Among DoveLewis’s suggestions for tattoo art is an EKG display of your dog’s heartbeat. I haven’t seen that yet. If you’re ready to wear your heart under your sleeve in the Portland area, may as well do some good at the same time. Check out the list of participating artists.
I recently received an update on Sabrina, a sickly stray found wandering the streets of my former home of New Orleans. Sabrina had been suffering from an advanced stage of mange, which left open wounds on her furless skin. What's worse, some idiot had misguidedly poured diesel fuel all over her body to "cure" the mange.
Thankfully, she was rescued by Kim Johnson, a volunteer with Animal Rescue New Orleans, and Feral Cat Consortium, which sponsored Sabrina's vet care until funds could be raised. Kim's networking efforts brought in donations big and small to cover Sabrina's entire $1,300 medical bill. If you look at the before and after photos posted here, it's hard to believe it's the same dog.
In her email update on Sabrina, Kim wrote:
We don't need any more donations for Sabrina, but if you're feeling a bit generous, our animal rescue work continues. I am still working on trapping one dog with an embedded collar and open neck wound, and another dog with what appears to be an older broken leg... Those will both need medical care when I get them. ... [for] a tax deductible option, I work closely with Feral Cat Consortium. They help dogs too. They fronted Sabrina's vet bills until donations came in and they are a 501(c)3 corp. Their mailing address is Feral Cat Consortium, 4 Summer Haven Ct., Madisonville, LA 70447.
Please support any of the local animal rescue groups, and there are many good ones to choose from. ... We can't do it without everyone's help, and we appreciate support of any kind. But most importantly, the animals we help are living proof that the support network works. So thank you, to everyone who does their part, no matter how big or how small, for the animals.
I think Kim's last sentence -- and the "after" photo of Sabrina -- says it all. When people pull together, animals get a second chance.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Struggling Shelter Flooded; Situation Desperate
Last November, Franklin County Animal Control in Benton, Illinois (southeast of St. Louis, MO), burned to the ground, resulting in the tragic death of more than 50 animals. The dedicated shelter staff and volunteers have made do with limited resources ever since. Rather than turn animals away, cats and kittens found refuge in a storage shed and dogs and puppies survived one of the coldest winters on record in outdoor kennels pulled from the ashes. Donations are desperately needed to rebuild, but the shelter is located in a rural area of southern Illinois where public and private funds are limited.
To make matters worse, the shelter is now struggling to stay afloat, literally, after days of rain caused flooding. In the words of the shelter director, "PLEASE PLEASE BEG PEOPLE TO HELP US. We've ... been out in the rain for the last two days getting soaked trying to get tarps back up & help all these animals, but the situation is hopeless."
Foster homes are needed most, according to Michelle Parson, President & Dog Program Director of A Caring Place Humane Society in nearby Darien, IL. If you can help, please contact Michelle at (630) 271-9002 or email@example.com.
Other area shelters are also suffering due to flood waters. The photo above is from the Piedmont Animal Control Shelter, where eight dogs drowned. You can read more here.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Georgia (Dogs) On My Mind
Bark subscriber Jayne Glaser wrote to us with a special plea. She serves on the Board of Directors for Saving Georgia Dogs, Inc., a licensed 501(c)(3) animal rescue charity. “Our goal is to save dogs that are in imminent danger of being killed in animal shelters in rural Georgia,” writes Glaser, “many of whom would face death in the terrifying and inhumane gas chamber.” In addition to rescuing shelter dogs, the grass-roots group plans to open a spay/neuter clinic, create a heartworm treatment/prevention fund, offer humane education in local schools, and help women who stay in abusive domestic situations out of fear over what would happen to their pets.
Now Saving Georgia Dogs needs your help. The charity is participating in a contest sponsored by Parade Magazine and actor Kevin Bacon’s Six Degrees Foundation. The winner receives a $50,000 matching grant to help achieve its goals. To learn how your donation -- no matter its size -- can make a difference, please go to Saving Georgia Dogs, Inc. The contest ends January 31st, so hurry!
Julia Kamysz Lane
T.G.I. Friday's In Doghouse
Earlier this month, Laura Greenberg and her family went to a suburban Chicago T.G.I. Friday's to celebrate the disabled teen's 17th birthday. A manager refused to seat them because of Laura's service dog Dawn. Company policy, claimed the manager, stated that as long as an able-bodied adult was along, the service dog could not come in. Clearly, someone needed a refresher on the American Disabilities Act. It's one thing for the manager to be ignorant, but to go to the trouble of making something up? Unbelievable!
The Greenbergs complained about the incident to T.G.I. Friday's and insisted on an apology. The restaurant went a step further and donated money to two important charities: 1) the Laura Greenberg Foundation (c/o Glenview State Bank, 800 N Waukegan Rd, Glenview, IL 60025), which was created soon after her brain injury in 1997 to help with medical expenses; and 2) Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit group that trains assistance dogs and matches them with disabled people.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Barkitecture & Dogtown
Architectual Digest, eat your heart out! In both detail and whimsy, the doghouses that will be on display for three weekends in December in the old Ocala (Florida) public library rival anything that might be found on that magazine's glossy pages. Among the themed abodes are St. Paws Cathedral, Taj Ma-Dog, Ocala Fire Deputmut and Doghill Downs. A collaboration between the Marion Cultural Alliance and the Humane Society of Marion County, the "Barkitecture and Dogtown" exhibit is free and also includes large animal statues (both canine & feline) designed by local artists and school groups. Sounds like a perfect place to take the kids (or even just yourself) for a holiday outing. In February, the doghouses will be auctioned for the benefit of the collaborating agencies.
As the proud guardian of a former Seattle Animal Shelter pup, I add my voice to the songs in praise of shelters during this National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week (Nov. 4-10). While I’m not a huge fan of setting aside official days for everything from child dental care to air conditioning appreciation (these are for real) , I welcome the opportunity to sing the praises of shelters (and rescue organizations and foster families) that help find loving homes for abandoned and neglected dogs, cats, bunnies, birds and more.
If you’re looking for ways to mark the occasion with good works, check out the Humane Society of the United States’ Ten Ways to Show Your Local Animal Shelter Some Love. Donating beds, time, money and skills are just a few of the ways to support and appreciate these essential resources. Also, in the spirit of the week, take a coffee break with Mutts cartoonist Patrick McDonnell’s Shelter Stories.
The Annual Tompkins Square Park Doggie Halloween Parade
Some of you Bark readers may recall an installment of "Rex and the City" I wrote years ago called "The Curse of the Three-Headed Dog"--about the time(s) I forced my poor dog to dress up in silly costumes in order to compete in the famous Annual Tompkins Square Park Doggie Halloween Costume Contest(s). I was determined that he win, and one year dressed him up as Dogatella Versace, complete with a blond wig and custom made Versace dress, with strategic holes cut out for his privates.
The prizes at this contest were--and still are--stellar, and the competition fierce, and I am surprised there has not yet been a reality TV show about it. It is New York, and NY crazy dog people, at its finest.
But anyway, this year I was invited back as a judge at the contest, alongside other illustrious New York City dog-loving "celebrities." I was more excited about this than my own wedding!
And for those of you who have not yet had a chance to read "The Curse of the Three-Headed Dog," ( a version of which also appeared in my memoir, REX AND THE CITY), I've posted an expanded version on my own blog page.
Love from Lee and Chloe
Doggie Da Vincis
Necessity IS the mother of invention! When Mary Stadelbacher of Salisbury, Md., needed to raise money fast to keep her service-dog training business afloat, she got creative ... or rather, her dog did. She figured that if her Foxhound mix, Sammy, could learn to open doors and pick up objects for disabled people, he could learn to pick up a brush and paint. Two years later, paintings by Sammy and fellow "Doggie Da Vincis," are popular for fundraisers as original works and notecards. As far as Stadelbacher knows, her dogs are the only dogs that hold paintbrushes in their mouths to paint at an easel. To see videos of the dogs painting or purchase their work, go to Shore Service Dogs.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Spay Day USA
Today is Spay Day USA! Since 1995 the Doris Day Animal Foundation has organized this national event that has resulted, to date, in more than 1,225,000 spays and neuters! The goal for this year's event is to spay or neuter at least 155,000 animals.
Spay Day USA is more than just one day, however. Many events will take place all over the country for the next few weeks, so it's not too late for you to get involved. Check out the Spay Day USA website, where you can find events in your area, pick up an Online Action Kit, shop in the Spay Day USA Store or visit the event's sponsors (like Bark)!