Friday, January 22, 2010

Rescue in Haiti

Whenever there is a major disaster like the earthquake in Haiti, animals suffer as well as people.  Both the people and the animals of Haiti had it rough before, so certainly it is a terrible time for them now.

If you want to help the animals of Haiti, I suggest donating to Best Friends, which will work on both short term and long term animals in Haiti and has a team of trained personnel.  Here is a specific link to donate to assist with animal issues in Haiti.

While they are also looking for volunteers who meet certain criteria (including being able to be completely self sustained and responsible for your own personal security), volunteering may not be the best option.  Here is an interesting piece on the problems that can come about when inexperienced people with good intentions volunteer on the ground.

I certainly feel for the very poor people in Haiti who have had to endure this disaster again, so I donated an equal amount to Doctors Without Borders, which I felt was in the best position to assist in ways I think appropriate in this particular circumstance.

If you choose to give to some relief efforts, I would recommend checking out the charities of your choice on Charity Navigator.  There you can obtain information about how your money is likely to be used - what percentage on relief vs. fundraising or salaries or administration, etc.  If you can't obtain this information, you can't guarantee the money will be used in the way you intend. Make sure the charity is legitimate and will make the most of your money BEFORE you give.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Have You Seen "The Cove" Yet?

I would have missed the movie "The Cove" if I hadn't seen a blurb about it in one of the magazines I get from a charity I support that addresses environmental issues.  The film is a documentary about the capture and slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.  Some dolphins are captured from the wild and sold for up to $150,000 each, and go to places like Seaworld and places where you can "swim with the dolphins" for a fee.  The dolphins which are not sold into captivity are slaughtered and the dolphin meat, which is high in mercury, makes its way into the human food chain.

The dolphin trainer from the "Flipper" series realized, after working with dolphins in captivity, that they were very intelligent and began a crusade to set them free whenever possible.  When he learned of the annual slaughter in Taiji he began to work to stop the killing, and to document it was happening.  The lengths he and his team went to to get the footage of the slaughter are incredible, and there is no denying the result is a very hard to watch film that shows what really happens, vs. the claims of "instantaneous death."  The film also does a good job of showing how Japan has campaigned to keep the killing of dolphins legal and to legalize whaling again, by buying off small nations which have a vote in the International Whaling Commission. 

Certainly, I recommend the film, available from Netflix and otherwise.  This is the official website for the movie.  Also, here is a website related to taking action to stop the killing.  I will not visit Japan while the killing continues, or support Japan by buying their products. 

While the slaughter of all animals is disturbing, it is particularly so when man slaughters intelligent, self-aware animals in the wild, and in inhumane ways.  I can't imagine anyone watching the footage of the slaughter in Taiji not being horrified.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Maisey Mae Moves In

As much as I wish Callie was still with us, I can't bring her back.  Recently I heard of a little eight month old border collie that needed a home.  I was willing to meet her, but not sure if it was too soon.....but when I met her, I felt like she would be a positive for me as much as I would be for her.  So, she came home with us, a week ago today.  She hasn't been socialized much so she's very fearful of new people and dogs at first, but she is getting exposed to more and more every day and learning fast.  She gets along with all the other animals, though she wishes Simon and Mollie would play with her more. 

So far, she shows no inclination to nip at or herd the goats, cows or horses.  She even gets along with the chickens so far.....

She didn't know any games, so she learned fetch - and loves that!  She also learned tug of war, and loves that too.  And she has a toy box and an array of chewies.  She's learning the house rules and several commands quickly, going to the office for exposure to elevators and more people, and generally living life in a whole new way for her. 

Maisey brings a huge dose of happy, energy and levity to the house, which is much appreciated.  I am looking forward to doing agility with her and going camping, and hiking, and all the other stuff in life that is just better with a great dog.

Island Gecko

This is a small, young gecko in the process of regrowing its tail.  This year we went to the Cook Islands for Christmas.  Not much wildlife - this is the only wildlife we saw that we could photograph, since I don't do underwater photography to capture the great fish we saw snorkeling.  Believe it or not, we got a fabulous and very budget trip during low season through Costco.  I love to travel for Christmas, getting away from all the hype and presents and so forth and just coming back when it is over.  I also love the South Pacific at Christmas-time.  It's low season and no one is around.  It's summer - hot and sunny.  This time we went to the island of Rarotonga, which was fabulous!  We stayed at a great place called Sea Change Villas, where we had our own private pool - which I have never had before, and sincerely hope to have again!!!  Not all trips are to see animals.......but I can't help but notice them.  Rarotonga had a lot of wild chickens, several goats, and very few cows and horses.  The island did have several dogs (many of which appear to have been spawned by a basset hound somewhere along the line).  We made a donation to the local humane society to support spay and neuter, and held a kitten at the Saturday market.  All in all, a great vacation.

Mollie Retires With Us

In November we took in Mollie, a 14 year old black lab mix my mother has been taking care of since adopting her from the Idaho Humane Society in 2004.  At the time, Mollie was 9 and the oldest dog at the pound.  She'd been there over a month and was going crazy.  She was well behaved and a sweet dog.  She enjoyed life with my mom and never jumped or misbehaved.  My mom overfed her, and she had an easy life.  All the same, she seems much happier with us.  She has enjoyed her time her so far and I think she has a couple of years left.  We put her on some antibiotics for a few infections and some arthritis medicine and she has perked up considerably.  She seems to enjoy ranch life and having cats and dogs around her most of the time.  Here's a picture of her rolling around like a puppy and one of her and Ophelia.