Cop Transforms Station Into Kitten Shelter

Some people may have big shoes to fill, but never leave out the chance to do good. In a courageous attempt to save endangered penguins, the Chilean government snubbed a billion-dollar mining project. On the other side of the world, policewoman Gretchen Byrne is transforming the Boca Raton station into an awesome kitten shelter.

“I will get three breaks: A 40-minute lunch break and two 10-minute breaks. Instead of going for pizza with my colleagues I use that time to run to the station and feed them,” she explained. “It all comes out of my paycheck at the end of the day but I don’t have kids so it is probably still cheaper than having kids.”

In just two years, Byrne has rescued 63 cats, knowing shelters would be too full to take them in. She uses Instagram as a platform to advertise her precious adoptables. Though her four-legged tenants can be rambunctious, Byrne claims they also help her to relax.

“The other thing is that is really nice to come home and have kittens to help me destress. I’m dealing with a lot of stuff on road patrol.”

If there is one thing we’re sure of, it’s that Byrne takes the notion of cat lady to a whole new level!

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Surfing Dogs Raise Funds For Orphan Pets

Dogs have been known to help people and fellow animals alike. From planting trees to assisting baby cheetahs, we can rest assured that they care about the world. After Hurricane Harvey, there is a particularly fascinating story involving our furry friends that caught my attention. Some surfing dogs are looking out for their own, raising funds for orphan pets.

The 12th annual surf competition for dogs raised $80,000 to help orphan pets at the Rancho Santa Fe-based Helen Woodward Animal Center, including more than 60 rescued dogs and cats from Hurricane Harvey.

The Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon lasted 6 hours and attracted over 5,000 guests. Dogs, separated into weight classes, surfed in 10-minute heats. To be honest, I’m not sure what I am more impressed with — the funds raised, the cause that the funds are supporting, or the fact that these dogs are practically amazing athletes.

The canine surf fest also included a costume contest for pooches to show off beach wear and freestyle surf competition, where points were awarded for creativity.

I am bummed to have missed such a lighthearted event. But more than that, I am also proud that our two-legged friends have been participating in relief efforts — and doing fantastic jobs at it! Truly, anything is paw-sible.

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Play with Cuddly Cats All Day in Hawaii

If you’ve ever gone down the rabbit hole of the Internet for pet lovers — pun intended — you would know that designations as dog persons or cat persons are usual. Or even seemingly necessary. Dog person versus cat person debates even brew up sometimes, but all in good fun. For me, though, there’s no battle between species. And I hope you agree, dogs working at museums and cats surprising old ladies are equally adorbs.

I was just at the rabbit hole cooing endlessly at cute pictures — a rabbit hole which needs more bunny people, to be honest, because they’re also super cute — when I came upon this piece of exciting news for cat people and pet-neutral people like me. You can now spend your Hawaiian vacation on something other than getting a tan and sipping pina coladas. Why not hang out with the island’s lovable felines?

The Lanai Cat Sanctuary, only a “tail’s wag” from the Lanai Airport, hosts nearly 600 former street cats on a gorgeous property that attracts more than 10,000 visitors a year. The open-air space — where the cats can run, play, nap and generally do whatever they like all day — is a feline paradise.

Visitors may come to the sanctuary from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. everyday. And the best part? Admission is free! The place, however, accepts donations to be used for maintaining paradise and helping the kitties do the activities they like.

The other best part? If spending the day with cuddly cats isn’t enough, you may choose to adopt one. Many of the felines are adult, and all of them are up for adoption through the sanctuary. But those who won’t be adopted may live their whole lives at the place.

The organization started as a project to sterilize Lanai’s street cats to control overpopulation. In 2009, the group moved the cats to its current site and established itself as a nonprofit.

If work is taking over your year, however, and you need to put off your vacay for a while, you may opt to visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary’s website in the meantime. Though I hope it inspires you to plan ahead for when you can finally slip away into holiday mode. After all, what other vacation could beat hugging cuddly cats while sipping pina coladas and getting a tan on a gorgeous island?

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Denver Outlaws Cat Declawing

Major cities like Vancouver may have banned the sale of puppy mill animals in pet stores, but other issues are still neglected. Pet owners are over-vaccinating their animals and, even worse, abandoning them. To combat animal cruelty, the city of Denver has stepped up to the plate and banned the declawing of cats.

“We don’t even call it declawing anymore,” Dr. Enid Stiles, a veterinarian from a Montreal suburb, said. “We have decided to call it partial digit amputation. It’s like you’re removing their knuckles,”

Denver is the first city to join another eight in California that have supported the ban. However, while the procedure is unnecessary, it remains entirely legal in Canada. Fortunately, few vets are willing to perform the surgery.

“I have a distinct impression that for new veterinarians, coming right out of schools, more will not want to perform the procedure,” she said. Some veterinary schools have even stopped teaching the procedure, Stiles added.

Cats may be chronic scratchers, but the behavior is nothing out of the ordinary. Purchasing a scratching post will save you the cost of surgery, and spare your cat from a lifetime of pain.

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Shelter Sorts Dogs Into Harry Potter Houses

Across the world, animal shelters share one problem in common: overpopulation. A lack of potential owners willing to adopt mixed-breed and disabled dogs forces many establishments to euthanize their four-legged tenants. Still, many are pushing to give shelter animals a better life. Vancouver is battling puppy mills, while Semper K9 is training shelter dogs to help retired veterans. Now, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is sorting its dogs into Hogwarts houses in the hopes of their adoption.

“We want people to look at the dog for their behaviour and personality and what their talents are,” [said] Stephen Bardy, Pet Alliance’s executive director.

By grouping the animals according to their characteristics, Pet Alliance discourages breed discrimination. The shelter takes in nearly 1,800 animals a year — mostly from irresponsible pet owners. The new method allows visitors to more thoroughly determine their best fit.

“We want people to start talking about their own lifestyles and personalities and allow us to match a dog to them not based on looks or breed.”

Encouraging first-time owners to adopt a pit bull may be a stretch — but a pit bull in Gryffindogs? You can count me in.

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Be A 5-Star Hostess At Your Local Animal Shelter

For stray pups and wandering felines, an animal shelter is a stepping stone towards a forever home. Or at least it should be. Some promising residents become therapy dogs, while others find families through dating apps (yes, you read that right). Others don’t seem to hit the jackpot. If you’re an animal lover but lack the extra space for a furry friend, volunteering at a shelter might be the perfect side hustle.

As with any non-profit, making a difference isn’t just a monthly stint. Charity groups, especially those that cater to animals, require time commitments. Before diving into the deep end, arrange your schedule. Anyway, most organizations will indicate a minimum amount of hours for students or working volunteers.

Be ready to train. Depending on what you sign up for, training programs may or may not be required. After all, you don’t want to be chasing after a Road Runner stray without the proper equipment. When it comes down to actual tasks, work with your skills and strengths. Do you have an eye for photography? Snapping headshots of handsome adoptables may be the job for you. Are you hands-on and nifty with a comb? Grooming might be your thing.

Animal shelters are all about their tenants and like any hotel, require a load of maintenance. Beyond the animals, you can participate in clerical or manual work. Accountants are totally underrated, despite a slew of paperwork and finances pulled from medical care, neuter-and-spay services, and food alone. Similarly, anyone familiar with carpentry could construct pens and crates.

Supporting your cause remotely is also highly doable (and effective), especially in this day and age. Spread the word by posting your experiences on social media, handing out fliers, and inviting experts to speak at special events. If you have a nickel to spare, gather supplies. While most needed items are often laying around your storage cupboard, others are a little more elusive. Pay a visit to your local Pet Smart. Use Facebook to your advantage to call for donations. Consult sites such as Amazon or eBay — with caution!

If you’re big on events, there’s no going wrong hosting a fundraiser. Whether it be a birthday bash, a school fair, or simple food drive, donate your earnings to your favorite shelter. Even better, allot time to highlight your cause through a speech, video, or game. Learning is always fun when it’s, you know, fun.

At the end of the day, if you’re itching for a companion but can’t yet set aside the funds to care for one permanently, foster them. Falling in love with your temporary house guest may leave you in a sticky situation. Still, the outcome (usually adoption) is often heartwarming one.

Puppies in pet stores may certainly be more attractive than grown ones behind cage doors. Nevertheless, any dog’s eagerness to love and accept you are often immeasurable, regardless of breed or age. They are, after all, everyone’s favorite friend.

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California Pet Stores To Sell Rescue Animals

Following Vancouver’s ban on puppy mill animals in pet stores comes a promising American contender. Home to the rich and famous, California is the first U.S. state to require pet stores to sell shelter animals. Any noncompliance will amass a stiff fine of $500!

“This landmark law breaks the puppy mill supply chain that pushes puppies into California pet stores and has allowed unscrupulous breeders to profit from abusive practices.”

Private breeders can remain in practice, given that the animals are well kept. Reckless breeding methods result in some 1.5 million euthanized animals yearly. The fact that 99% of pet store puppies are from mills is even more disturbing.

Despite the numbers, change seems promising, as 36 cities follow a ban on mass breeding. Pet shops have opposed the ban, citing breed specificity will be a problem. If you aren’t into half-breeds, you may need to get with the times!

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Petsmart Donates 30 Million Meals To Animals In Need

Dog parents will do just about anything for their beloved pet. This includes paying thousands of dollars to treat disabled animals or get them insured. While some shelter residents end up in loving homes, not all of them are lucky. However, in celebrating its 30th anniversary, Petsmart has decided to give back to the animals it advocates. The pet store chain donated 30 million meals to dogs and cats in need.

During the “Buy A Bag, Give A Meal” promotion, the company will donate a meal for every bag of dog or cat food purchased in stores and online through 2017.

Petsmart is teaming up with various groups to manufacture and deliver the food. Because the program runs through to the end of the year, Petsmart hopes to donate at least another 30 million meals.

The allocation of food donations to beneficiary organizations will be based on PetSmart Charities’ evaluation of the needs among potential recipients, the ability of potential recipients to receive, handle and distribute the food donations, and where the donated meals can be most effectively delivered.

Petsmart hopes to allocate 50% of meals to dogs and 50% of meals to cats. With 7 million animals entering shelters per year, lack of food is a serious issue. It’s thanks to programs like Petsmart’s that keep man’s best friend and his feline sidekick healthy.

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Pet Insurance Is Now A Thing

Nowadays, pets are pampered more than ever before. From posh buggies to personalized raincoats, it wouldn’t be surprising if pet insurance soon became a reality. Well, luckily for pet owners in Silicon Valley, it is.

Lately, employee benefits have extended to pet insurance for dogs and cats as businesses look for more ways to attract and retain workers.

Rich Lang, senior vice president of human resources at VMware in Palo Alto, said offering pet insurance as an employee benefit aligns with the company’s core value of building community.

My Pet Protection offers plans from $40 to $66. But what exactly does it cover?

The price covers accidents, illnesses and preventive care such as vaccinations, flea medicine and wellness exams — but not preexisting conditions.

The cost of insurance almost pays for itself because of the coverage for monthly heartworm and flea medicine, and tests or shots.

As an avid animal enthusiast with an accident prone dog, I have definitely hopped on the bandwagon. Will you be signing your pet up for insurance?

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Vancouver Busts Sale Of Cats And Dogs From Puppy Mills

It’s one small step for puppies and kittens and one giant leap for the animal kingdom! Once again, Canada has taken initiative–this time to ban the sale of puppy mill animals in pet stores. And you can bet I’m proud.

Put forward by City Councilmember Heather Deal, the motion to ban the sale of dog, cats, and rabbits in pet shops passed with a unanimous vote. Richmond and New Westminster have similar laws in effect.

Puppy mills engage in overbreeding for the sake of profit, often producing sick animals. Vancouver is now encouraging pet stores to partner with locals shelters to promote adoption.

Members of the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, an animal welfare organization in Vancouver, had been protesting the sale of animals at this store for five years… The new legislation “sends a clear message to Vancouver residents and the rest of the world that city council believes in a humane community. A city that places animal welfare before profit.”

If you’ve now been inspired to hop on the adoption bandwagon, remember–you are picking out a friend for life!

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