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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Interview with the 2011 Bark in the Park Spokesdog

Meet Carolina Girl, a.k.a. Girlie, an 8-year-old Yorkshire terrier who was recently named the 2011 Bark in the Park Spokesdog by the Chesapeake Humane Society (CHS). The title of the Spokesdog is given to the pet who, along with his/her human companion, had the highest amount of funds raised for the CHS Bark in the Park Dog Walk. All the funds raised benefit the homeless pets and the Chesapeake Humane Care Clinic which provides low cost spay and neuter.

I met Girlie and her wonderful human mom June during a photo shoot with them last week. And after the photo shoot, I also had the privilege of knowing Girlie some more through this brief interview:

How did you become the spokesdog for 2011 Bark in the Park?
My Mom and I collected $1,300 dollars for the Chesapeake Humane Society, and won 1st place.

How does it feel being a spokesdog?
I am so excited! I get to meet new friends, walk in the Christmas parade, get my picture taken for a magazine, and hopefully help find new homes for my friends at CHS.

What’s your favorite food?
I like everything. My Dad is always giving me a taste of his food, and my Mom fusses at him.

What’s your favorite past time?
I love playing with my toys, riding in the car with my Dad , and meeting new friends.

Can you do any tricks?
I can sit, down, stay, and most fun is when I bow. People laugh. (See Girlie’s  photo on the right for a picture of her bowing.)

I understand that you’re also a therapy dog.  Could you explain what that means, and what you do as a therapy dog?  
When I was a little, I went to school with a lot of other dogs to learn how to sit, stay, and mind my Mom.  Then I had to take a test so I could visit people in hospitals to make them feel better, and go to the library and have kids read books to me (they always read the Big Red Dog). All I know is when the patients’ pet me, and I snuggle in their bed and give kisses, it makes my tail wiggle real fast.  That is so much fun!

Any advice to your fellow canines?  
Yes. Run and play with your toys, chew on your bone, enjoy every day, and at night snuggle in with your favorite friend.

See more photos of Girlie by visiting my photo blog Everywhere Photos.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Petsmart Adoption Event

My husband and I enjoy volunteering with the Chesapeake Humane Society in their monthly adoption events at Petsmart. We love seeing the dogs come to Petsmart with the hope that they might find their new forever home that day. Off-site adoption events like this are one of the best ways to increase the chances of finding homes for orphaned pets.

Two weeks ago, we had seven dogs and eight cats from the Chesapeake Animal Control for the Petsmart Adopt-a-thon. The day started out slow with people just petting the animals or only wishing they could bring them home. There were no "serious takers." Then slowly, one-by-one, the cats were getting adopted. And then the dogs, too! At the end of the day, five dogs and all eight cats found their furrever homes. What a joy! :)

The Chesapeake Humane Society van which carries the adoptable dogs and cats

A Spitz was one of the lucky dogs who found a new family at the adoption event 

Dog handler volunteers

A surprised kitty

For more behind-the-scenes photos of the November Petsmart adoption event, check out my Everywhere Photos blog.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kitty Rides a Turtle Video

It used to be the "owl and the pussycat." Now, it's the "turtle and the pussycat!" I stumbled upon this funny video of a cute black kitten riding on the back of a turtle. For more than a minute, the turtle does not seem to mind the cute kitty who is riding on his back comfortably. Where they are going, I think only the kitty knows. But with this video, I can't help but think of them "sailing away for a year and a day to the land where the Bong-tree grows."

Enjoy the video!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hollywood Stars Who Shine for Animals

Entertainment celebrities are often tapped to endorse a product, event or even a political candidate. That's because when they talk, many people listen. And it could be powerful when they use their influence for the greater good, like promoting animal advocacy. Here are 10 Hollywood celebrities who promote the adoption of homeless animals and battle overpopulation of pets:

1. Ellen DeGeneres
Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has been recognized for her promotion of animal rights issues by various animal advocacy groups such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Aside from supporting several animal rescue groups, DeGeneres never fails to talk about animal adoption on her highly-rated TV show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. DeGeneres is also a co-owner of all-natural pet food company, Halo.

2. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential women on the planet, has made “puppy mills” almost a household term. Thanks to her expose on the cruelty of puppy mills, many people have become aware of the realities behind dogs being sold in pet stores. In addition, her website,, also continues to promote animal welfare issues.

Oprah also walks the talk. Three of her dogs, a cocker spaniel and two springer spaniels, were adopted from PAWS, an animal shelter in Chicago.

Betty White 2011 Wall Calendar3. Betty White
Even with her very busy schedule, Betty White never stopped helping animals in need. And now with her new wave of popularity, the Golden Girls superstar is busier than ever doing charitable activities including posing as the pin up girl for her own Betty White 2011 calendar. Proceeds from the calendar sale will go to the Morris Animal Foundation where White serves as a trustee. Currently, White is helping promote feline health awareness through the Foundation’s “Happy, Healthy Cat Photo Contest.”

4. Linda Blair
She may be known as a young possessed girl in the movie “The Exorcist,” but Linda Blair is really possessed by her strong love for the animals.  Blair started the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, an organization that helps neglected and abused animals and save those that are in “death row.” Through the Foundation, she works with several rescue groups to find foster parents and eventually forever homes who will give these animals a second chance. Blair also educates communities about the horrors of dog fighting and the need for spay/neuter of pets to stop overpopulation of pets.

5. Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl, who is famous for her role as Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy, is a certified animal advocate. She and her mother established The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation which assists in funding the transport of animals from high kill shelters in Los Angeles, free spay/neuter of pets, and promotion of humane education.

Angel6. Sarah Mclachlan
Who would not be touched by Sarah Mclachlan’s commercial for the ASPCA where sad abandoned pets are being shown while her song “Angel” is played in the background? It’s truly a tear jerker! Sarah’s support to the ASPCA commercial has helped the organization raise almost $30 million and brought nearly 200,000 new donors. Talk about an effective fundraising campaign!

7. Pamela Anderson
When the BP oil spill broke out, Pamela Anderson immediately thought of the animals that were affected by the crisis. When she learned about families leaving the areas hit by the oil spill and are abandoning their dogs, Anderson flew to New Orleans to save the canines. She teamed up with the People’s Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and rescued approximately 50 abandoned dogs. The dogs were then brought to the Virginia Beach SPCA for adoption.

8. Carrie Underwood
She may be an "American idol," but Carrie Underwood is also an idol to a lot of pet lovers. Carrie is truly an animal advocate and has helped a lot of lost and stray pets. She founded the C.A.T.S. Foundation in her hometown Oklahoma which helps with community issues including responsible pet ownership. Carrie was also tapped as a spokesperson for the Pedigree Adoption Drive.

9. Mary Tyler Moore
Combining her talent and love for animals with friend and fellow actress Bernadette Peters, Mary Tyler Moore decided to do something to help the animals by launching Broadway Barks in New York City. Broadway Barks is an annual dog and cat adopt-a-thon and fundraising event that benefits local animal shelters and rescue groups in the state. It involves Broadway stars and other celebrities presenting the adoptable dogs and cats.

10. Pierce Brosnan
Former Remington Steele and James Bond heartthrob Pierce Brosnan is a philanthropist supporting many causes including animal rights. In June this year, he donated his original artwork creation for the California Spay Neuter License Plate program that will help raise awareness and funds for subsidized spay and neuter for pets. His artwork featured his family’s dog Shilo and cat Coco.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Join "Project Dog"

Combining her passion for photography and her love for dogs, Kira Stackhouse is bringing together rescue dogs and recognized dog breeds of the American Kennel Club (AKC) through an exciting project simply called, “Project Dog.” Stackhouse, who is the owner/photographer of Nuena Photography in San Francisco, launched Project Dog as a new “grassroots movement” which aims to photograph each of the AKC’s more than 150 dog breeds and their equivalent rescue dogs, and create a book that will both entertain and educate readers about man’s best friend.

A dog search is now ongoing through the Project Dog website,  If you would like your dog to be featured on the website or be possibly included in the book, simply submit some information and upload a photo of your pooch on the Project Dog website.  Although submission is welcomed across the U.S., only dogs from major cities will be featured in the book. These cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Austin, St. Louis, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Knoxville, Atlanta, Miami, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Once dogs are chosen, Stackhouse will start a cross country adventure to photograph the dogs. I really wish that the cities are not limited to the above mentioned, but I can understand the limitation if she’ll be doing a cross country road trip.

According to the website, Stackhouse has already received over 850 dog submissions, covering over half of the breed list. You can visit the website and browse the pages to check the submissions. Dogs are sorted by breed, so they’re easy to find. There is also a page dedicated to rescue organizations that are associated with each rescue dog.

A lot of people may not be aware that there are many rescue dogs that are purebred.  I think this is a good opportunity to correct the misconception that you cannot find purebreds in animal shelters. Also, it’s not often that we see purebred and rescues together in one book, so this is something worth looking forward to. And, if you were counting the number of dog breeds earlier, yes, Stackhouse will be taking photos of more than 300 dogs for this project!  I wonder if this will also go down into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of dogs photographed in a single book.

So, grab the best photo of your dog and participate in Project Dog now. And by the way, our adopted beagle Comet has been featured today on Project Dog. He's officially a star! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

5 Best Selling Books on Dogs

Are you ready for some autumn reading? Here are five best selling books about dogs that are heartwarming and a joy to read. Feel free to post your comments if you have other recommended readings.

1. Red Dog
Red DogAlready considered almost a classic, Red Dog is a collection of stories of Tally Ho, better known as “Red Dog” who charmed his way into the hearts of many “mates” in Western Australia. This book will make you laugh, cry and cheer for Red Dog as you read about his independence, adventures and loyalty to a man named John.  Red Dog was written by Louis de Bernieres, who wrote the award-winning novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. For this book, De Bernieres got his inspiration from a famous bronze dog statue in Western Australia during his visit to the country in 1998.

2. The Art of Racing in the Rain
Art of Racing in the RainMeet Enzo, a dog whose main obsession is to become human. On the eve of his death, Enzo recounts his life from a dog's perspective - his relationship with his owner who is an ambitious race car driver, his relationship with his owner's wife and daughter, and his lifelong dream of someday becoming one of us. Throughout the book, Enzo gives a very good analogy of life and car racing. Beautifully written by Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain will give you some ideas of what your dog might possibly be thinking in some familiar situations. Be prepared with a box of tissue as you read through the pages of this book.

3. Marley and Me
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst DogWould you love a stubborn, mischievous dog? For author Josh Grogan, the answer is yes, no matter how difficult it was to train their dog Marley. This “dramedy” of a book is told like a journal and takes us into the issues of marriage, raising a family and a misbehaving yellow Labrador. I wonder if the Grogans have ever heard of Cesar Millan during the time when they were raising Marley.

4. A Dog's Purpose 
A Dog's PurposeWe often read stories about man’s search for life’s meaning, but rarely do we read about dogs understanding their purpose on earth. This book shows a dog’s journey in four separate lives through reincarnation as he tries to see his purpose as a dog. Now I’m not a fan of reincarnation, but this book was wonderfully written with a lot of poignant and moving moments and laugh out loud scenarios.  A Dog’s Purpose was written by W. Bruce Cameron who authored humor books How to Remodel a Man and 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter. I've read that this book is going to be a movie soon.

5. Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale
Amazing Gracie: A Dog's TaleI first saw this book on a Wal-Mart shelf along with dog treats in their pet section. Gracie is indeed amazing and an unlikely canine who launched a bakery! It’s the story about a deaf and partially blind albino Great Dane named Gracie and how her sensitive stomach forced her owners to create homemade food for her.  It’s an inspiring story of hope and salvation written by Three Dog Bakery co-founders Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Videos of Dogs Praying

There's an interesting viral video going around about a dog named Djaingo who prays before eating his breakfast. I was so amazed when I've watched it and wondered if I could also teach our beagle to say grace before every meal. I must congratulate Djaingo's owner for teaching his dog to thank the real Master for his food. In case you haven't had the chance to watch it, here's a video of Djaingo saying grace before breakfast.

Interestingly, when I searched for "dog praying" on YouTube, there are many videos about dogs who know how to pray. Here are some cute videos that I've found (although I think Djaingo's video is still the best):

Southern dogs praying

Chihuahua praying

Great Dane praying

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Black Cats Give Love Not Bad Luck

A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere. - Groucho Marx

Black cats have been associated with witchcraft, sorcery and bad luck. It is no surprising that they have become one of the popular icons during Halloween. Sadly, this reputation might have also something to do with black cats having the lowest adoption rate in animal shelters and also the highest euthanasia rate. How unfair it is that black cats are ignored and persecuted simply because of their color!

I think Marx said it rightly. A black cat crossing your path does not have anything to do with bad luck. It is simply going somewhere. And the truth is, black cats give love NOT bad luck.They are no different from other cats. They can just be as rewarding as any pet. Let's help in stopping these myths against black cats. Here are some ways you can help:

1. Adopt a black cat. There is nothing more rewarding than saving a life. Black cats can be affectionate and loving too. Plus, they can be stylish (black goes with anything).

2. Help promote adoption of black cats. Volunteer at your local animal shelter or with rescue groups and help spread the word about black cats that are available for adoption.

3. Educate people about the truth. Start with your family and friends. Give the facts that black cats do not have anything to do with bad luck.

With Halloween coming up, NOW is the best time to help black cats find a home.

Photo: The beautiful kitten above is Simcoe who was recently adopted from the Chesapeake Humane Society.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October is "Adopt A Shelter Dog" Month

Annually, the ASPCA, the American Humane Association and other animal welfare groups celebrate October as "Adopt A Shelter Dog" month. During this time, there is increased efforts to heighten public's awareness on adopting a dog from a shelter instead of buying from pet stores. Shelter dogs have suffered from a lot of stigma and misconceptions. Contrary to the beliefs that they are unhealthy and untrained, shelter dogs give so much love and affection. We got our beagle Comet from an animal shelter and we are blessed to have him in our lives. Comet had a clean bill of health when we adopted him. His shots were updated, papers complete, and he even has a microchip! Also, Comet is well-behaved, house broken and crate trained. He is really a perfect dog!

Right now, thousands of dogs in animal shelters in the US are eagerly and patiently waiting for a family to bring them home. Shelters are becoming overcrowded with lots of people surrendering their pets or dogs that are left alone in the streets. We all have a role to play to help this over pet population. Please consider adopting a shelter dog. Or if you can not, how about donating your time or resources to help them?

Above photo: Bucky, a retriever mix puppy from Chesapeake Animal Control, who is in need of a forever home

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We're walking for the homeless pets!

My husband and I are excited to participate in this year's Bark in the Park and join hundreds of walkers and their dogs to raise money for homeless animals on October 3 in Chesapeake, VA. This is a passion that is very dear to our hearts.

We've named our team Gehron's Comet in honor of our newly-adopted beagle, Comet. We adopted Comet from the Chesapeake Animal Control in June. He was surrendered by a family who couldn't take care of him anymore. Getting Comet was one of the best decisions we've ever made! He has been a blessing to us.

There are many homeless, loving animals in the shelter that are patiently waiting to find their “furever” home. We believe these homeless pets deserve a second chance to be given a decent home, a family and for them to show their unconditional love. As the Bible tells us, those who realize their need to be rescued will in turn show all the more love towards he/she who rescued them (Luke 7:40-47). Any adopted-pet owner has and continues to experience this love from their rescued pet.

Help us save more lives like Comet! Your donation will go a long way in caring for the homeless animals and helping them find a home. The Chesapeake Humane Society works and struggles to find loving homes for these animals. But because they do not receive any government subsidies, they are completely dependent upon private donors, such as you, for its funding.

Visit our page on First Giving to learn how you can help pets looking for a "furever" home.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Commendable Shelter Project

Brilliant minds in the advertising industry led by The Ad Council joined forces with compassionate groups The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Maddie's Fund to increase awareness of pet adoption from animal shelters across the United States.

Called The Shelter Pet Project, the campaign aims to break the stereotype perception about animals that end up in shelters. It is also a call to action for people to consider adoption of shelter pets instead of buying from pet stores or other sources.

The Shelter Pet Project was launched in mid-2009 and includes a public service announcement featuring a talking dog who was ditched by his owner and explaining that not all animals that end up in shelters are "crazy or emotionally damaged." The Shelter Pet Project's website offers vast resources and useful links for anyone who is looking for the perfect pet and a forum to discuss questions about pet ownership.

Statistics from the HSUS and Maddie's Fund reveal that eight million pets enter shelters and rescue groups each year. Three million of these pets are healthy and treatable but are euthanized due to lack of adoption.

I commend the advertising industry for taking this initiative. Advertising can be a powerful medium to influence or change public's perception and I am glad that this industry realizes the big help that homeless animals need. Help spread the word about The Shelter Pet Project. Visit their website and learn how you too can be a voice for the homeless animals.