Bed Race Donors

Our bed race donors were plentiful and we thank each one of them for supporting our spay/neuter cause and for their part in creating a community where animals are treated humanely.  There are many that are not pictured here, but they know who you are!  In addition to these individuals we want to also thank the following partners:

Much “Pack” Love to all!

Race Day at the Great Grove Bed Race

So we built our bed, pinned on our dog tails and laced up our running shoes for race day at the 2012 Great Grove Bed Race in Coconut Grove.

Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter Running Team

The event was attended by over 20,000 people and our Spay/Neuter team was there to send the message on the importance of spaying and neutering and how it has a direct impact on the pet overpopulation problem in our county.  As many of you know, the intake at our local shelter is very high.  Our adoption rate is also pretty high, but it pales in comparison to the rate of surrenders and the daily intake.  Unfortunately, many times our shelter is over capacity.  And because there aren’t enough homes and people to take all these homeless pets in, they end up being euthanized.

The good news is that if I do my part and you do your part and everyone does theirs, we can collectively reduce problem.  We can all start by spaying and neutering our pets.  Our message was clear, “Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter”.

Our running team was made up of the following super awesome and super athletic girls.

Geishel Valverde: is the Spartan Race Miami Manager.  She’s also an ambassador for liveutimateand regularly participates in charity 5K and competitive obstacle racing.

Channing Rollo: is a die-hard yogi, obstacle racer and vegan animal lover who volunteers with Miami-Dade Animal Services spay/neuter clinics and the South Florida Wildlife Center.

Caroline Gallina:  is the founder of UM’ s School of Law Chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.  She’s been a vegetarian for 20 years (8 yrs vegan), volunteers with Humane Society of Greater Miami, is a foster mommy for local rescue groups and fabulous distance runner. 

Liz Dinnen:  is a super sweet marathon runner and very active in the running community.

Race day wasn’t all about running.  The Friends Forever rescue dogs and Felix Varela Veterinary Science Magnet Academy students were at our booth wearing their spay/neuter t-shirts and educating attendees on the importance of spaying/neutering.

Booth Group

The event kicked off with a parade in which each team had an opportunity to showcase their theme and their bed to the panel of judges.  Prizes were awarded for best theme, best engineered bed, funniest and crowd favorite.  Our team had a few male un-neutered dogs.  And they were the cutest male dogs I’ve ever seen,  but take a look for yourself.

Bo, Baxter and Bubby

A great time was had by all and a very important message was sent.  Below are some photos taken throughout the day.

[flagallery gid=7 name=”Gallery”]

The Pets’ Trust: The Kind of Change WE NEED!

July 17, 2012 was a big day for Miami Dade County and for animal welfare organizations but most of all for the homeless animals. Miami Dade County’s Board of Commissioners voted to allow residents to decide on the future of our animals.  This means that on November 6th, residents will have the opportunity to decide whether they are in support of a small increase in property taxes to save animal lives.

The Pet’s Trust is the initiative driving this change.  Through a small increase in taxes, the Pets’ Trust will create a dedicated source of funding for pet retention, spay/neuter and other low cost educational programs.

Dedicated funding source to save lives and promote responsible dog ownership programs

You might be wondering what a “small” increase will really be.  “Small” is such a relative term.

On average, about 34,000 dogs and cats are abandoned our County’s shelter. This, based on our current modus operandi costs the community about $298 per animal. If the Pets’ Trust initiative is passed, it would cost the average property owner $20 per year and for that we’d get:

  • Two facilities which would provide low cost veterinary care and 100,000 spay/neuter surgeries per year
  • Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs to contain and reduce the feral cat populations throughout the county (stray cat population estimated at over 400,000)
  • Educational targeted programs for adults and children on responsible ownership
  • Campaigns that promote adoption, spay/neuter  and life-long pet retention of pets

Shall I keep going?  Heck take my $20.  Increase my property taxes, my electricity bill and my dog treat bill!!  That’s all it would take?  Click here to check out the Miami Herald’s coverage and to hear what Michel Rosenberg, president of Pets’ Trust has to say.

Essentially it would increase your property tax bill by .5¢ a day and potentially convert Miami Dade Animal Services into a no-kill facility.  That’s a small price to pay for that. This week the Pets’ Trust had their kick-off campaign at the Biltmore Hotel and I was in attendance.

Founder of Miami Veterinary Coalition’s PUP E Program and President of Spay Neuter Miami Foundation

It was a great evening filled with hopeful, active people that want to help make a difference in the way we treat our animals.

I urge everyone who votes in Miami Dade County to vote yes on the ballot question asking to “improve increased Animal Services,” as it will bring about necessary changes and make a world of a difference to the animals that have no voice.

For your reference: http://www.communitynewspapers.com/south-miami/miami-dade-county-registered-voters-will-be-allowed-to-vote-in-november-election-whether-they-support-a-countywide-fund-expected-to-save-20000-dogs-and-cats-every-year/

http://www.petstrustmiami.com/landing/

Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter

We’re participating in this year’s Coconut Grove Bed Race, a community fundraising event where teams of five race down the streets of Coconut Grove while pushing a bed!  Yes, a bed!  We thought this would be a great opportunity to connect with our community with fun and laughter and raise awareness on the importance of spaying/neutering.  So our theme is Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter.

Don't Litter

If you didn’t know, there is a pet overpopulation problem in Miami Dade County (and lots of other places, for that matter).  The stats indicate that we like to breed our dogs and cats.  Let’s face it, puppies and kittens are cute.  It can be quite extra-ordinary to see a mother caring for her litter.  Grooming them and feeding them and often times disciplining them.  But did you know that as many as 37,000 cats and dogs are abandoned at our local animal shelter each year?  On average 50-75 pets are surrendered on a daily basis.  Over half of these pets will not make it and will be euthanized because not enough homes for them exist.

While puppies and kittens are cute, we, the people must take responsibility.  We can’t breed then discard like this.  We’ve got to start educating and advocating.  Spaying and neutering is the only way to get this problem under control.  This is the reason we’ve selected the Spay/Neuter: Don’t Litter theme for this year’s bed race.

Our fundraising goal is $1000 to fund a mobile spay/neuter clinic so that we can offer low cost spay/neuter services to members of our community.

I need your help to make this happen.  Here’s what you can do:

  1. click here to make your donation.  Every bit helps!
  2. Share this post on your Facebook wall, tweet about it using #whyspayneuter, send the url in an email to all your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors and urge them to make a donation.
  3. Come out to the event on Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 1pm and cheer our team on as we race while spreading awareness and educating the community on the importance of spaying/neutering.
Help me make it happen!
Help us make a difference

It’s a “Responsibility” Thing

So I meet quite a bit of dog owners.  I like to ask them lots of questions about their dogs.  Most of them like to share.  One of my favorite questions to ask is, where they got their dog.  There’s always a bit of trepidation on my end for that split second right before they answer the question.  The truth is there are people out there that shop at places like this

Puppies at Pet Shop

and like this

Super Kennels

I always want to preach but I refrain.  This post is for all the times that I should have said something and didn’t.  For all the potential puppy owners that don’t know the reality of puppy mills and for all the dog parents that have purchased dogs that came from puppy mills.  Most of the dogs that you find in pet shops come from puppy mills.  Puppy mills are terrible places.  They breed dogs irresponsibly.  They keep the dogs in terrible inhumane conditions.  They only care about profits and quantity not quality and have little concern for the dog or even the breed.  This is terrible, but let’s be clear.  The pendulum swings both ways.  There’s this concept called supply and demand.  Pet stores sell irresponsibly, but people also buy irresponsibly.  People buy impulsively.  People buy without taking into account the breed that they are buying and little to no regard is given to temperament.

Poor breeding practices, constant confinement, lack of adequate veterinary care and socialization often times results in unhealthy and poor companion dogs who end up being surrendered to shelters who then contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.  Because dogs are bred for quantity not quality, genetic defects get passed on from generation to generation.  It’s a terrible vicious cycle and for this reason, I want to tell you, my wonderful reader, about two alternatives to buying from pet stores: 1) adopt from a shelter or if you must 2) buy from reputable breeders.

Our county shelter receives approximately 37,000 dogs per year.  Adoption efforts are in full effect.  Rescue organizations try their best, but the number of dogs that is surrendered or brought into the shelter due to a different reason outweighs all the other efforts and the dogs end up being euthanized.  Lots of them don’t make it.  Many of them don’t make it.  I”ll scare you with the stats in a different post.

Right now I want to tell you about Betty and her dogs.

This is Toby

She is Jubett Labradors.  I talked with Betty not too long ago and when I learned about what she does, I thought I’d share so that you could make a contrast between what puppy mills and other backyard breeders do and what Betty does.  The first thing she said to me was, “I love the breed and everything I do is for the betterment of the breed”.  She only keeps girls and she thoroughly researches studs often times employing only artificial insemination to make sure to complement the girl and improve the breed.  Betty also ensures to obtain clearances for eyes, hips and elbows, another common practice that all responsible breeders should be doing.  This is key because as Betty explained, dogs have to be at least two years before some of these clearances can be obtained.  Puppy mills don’t have time to wait two years.  They want fast money at the expense of the dogs.

She breeds for the love of the breed and her number one priority is producing sound, healthy pups with good temperament and placing them in loving forever families.  She’s also involved in conformation and many of her dogs have received high accolades.  Noelle, pictured here is one of her Champions.

Noelle the Champ

Perhaps one of my favorite things that I learned about Betty is the screening process that she goes through with every puppy parent.  She asks questions about the person and the family, their lifestyles and the reason they want a puppy.  And she emphasizes that the dog has to be part of the family.  She gives them the good, bad and ugly and only if she determines that they are well suited for the breed, will she continue the process.  Then I asked about one thing that was on my mind, “what about spaying and neutering”?  She said she always emphasizes from day one that dogs should spayed and neutered as soon as the family’s veterinarian says it’s ok to do so.  Whew!  Thanks, Betty.

This was a relief because I’ve met some people whose breeder make them sign a contract indicating that they’re not allowed to sterilize their dog.  A contract?  What kind of crazy thing is that?  Has anyone heard of this?  I even met a lady with an extremely aggressive dalmatian who after pleading with the breeder, the breeder insisted that the dog not be sterilized.  Crazy!  Why would you want to breed a dog like that?  Hello!  The other thing that I really loved about Betty is that she keeps close contact with her puppy parents throughout the years and she always makes it clear that if they cannot keep the dog for whatever reason, she wants to be the first to know.  She’s actually had to placed dogs whose owners pass away, or become ill or have other unforeseen circumstances.  She says, “things come up in people’s lives, and I’m happy to take my pups back if I need to”.

I write this post for you.  My reader who is new to dog parenting.  My reader who doesn’t know where puppy mill dogs come from or what they do there.  My reader that is thinking of finding his pup a girlfriend or boyfriend.  My reader that knows somebody who knows somebody whose dog just had a litter of pups and is thinking about getting one.  My reader that may not know about our local shelter or what a responsible breeder looks like.  But most importantly I write this post for the voiceless dogs and kittens who get bred irresponsibly and end up being euthanized.  I am only one person, but if I educate and you educate one other person and we all do our part, we might be on to something!  Pass it on.

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