Monday, November 30, 2015

UPCOMING EVENTS!

It's the HOLIDAYS! A time for giving, sharing and helping those in need!  We have such abundance here in the US, what better time to spread kindness than now?

Join us for two Holiday Events hosted by The Little Blue Dog!


On Sunday December 20th, join us at Woof Gang Bakery in Wellington for an UGLY HOLIDAY SWEATER PARTY!  Break out those holiday sweaters for you and your dog and come join the fun!
The event it to benefit Get a Life Pet Rescue!


Cinnabon was rescued from a puppy mill by Get a Life Pet Rescue, and adopted by me! This sweet little girl is modeling her ugly sweater and antlers, although she makes it look cute!   Hope to see you there!!  Raffles, adoptable dogs, books for kids, and plenty of holiday shopping for your pets at Woof Gang!  Dec 20th from noon to 3pm!

Then on Sunday December 27th, we are hosting another wonderful event:


 To celebrate Louie and Tucker's ADOPT-A-VERSARY, we are having our 3rd annual Holly Jolly Shelter Folly! We will be collecting gently used towels, blankets, pet beds and toys for the adoptable dogs at Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue!!

Legacy Estate & Home Furnishings Consignment has graciously agreed to have the event in their Boca Raton store.

We will have adoptable dogs from Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue, refreshments, raffles, books for sale and plenty of shopping at the store!

Tucker was rescued from Broward Animal Control in December of 2013 by Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue, and then adopted by me.  This is Tucker on his FREEDOM RIDE!!

Louie, the inspiration behind The Little Blue Dog was also adopted by me in December of 2011. So this is our month to give back to shelters and rescues!!  We hope you will help us by participating in our events, volunteering, donating or sharing our events in your circles.

To get all the details about the event, please like and follow my Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/thelittlebluedog

Thank you and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Giving Thanks and Giving Back!

November is a time for giving thanks, and we sure have a lot to be thankful for!
The Little Blue Dog, Inc became a 501c3 nonprofit in July, and since then we have been so grateful for the support we have received from friends, family and the animal loving community.  They say it takes a village, and I'm proud to be part of this village. 

We want to specifically thank our friends Susan and Dan Leary for their support.  Sadly Susan's  mother, Joann Simonds, passed away, but I was not surprised to learn that she was also an animal lover.  Susan made the very kind gesture of asking her friends and family to make a donation to The Little Blue Dog in honor of her mother's life.  It was humbling, to say the least, to see the donations coming in. 


We are so grateful for the generosity from everyone who was kind enough to contribute to our humane education efforts, we want to let everyone know how the money was used. 


On November 10th The Little Blue Dog sponsored and hosted a field trip to Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League for 34 fifth grade students from Hope Centennial Elementary.  The students were given an amazing tour of the shelter by Tara Pregnolato, the volunteer manager at Peggy Adams. 



Not only did the kids meet the cats and dogs available for adoption, but they learned about spay and neuter, a variety of shelter related topics, and even had a chance to view actual surgeries happening in the clinic.  


After the tour, the students moved to the Grey House to work on a writing assignment about something they learned on the tour.  

 

The Little Blue Dog Humane Education Team was there for the kids to meet and interact with.  Every student received a cinch-sack with a book and some school supplies to keep.  It was a wonderful day of impactful, hands on lessons of animal kindness. 



But that's not all!
On November 17th The Little Blue Dog sponsored and hosted a field trip, again to Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, for a 2nd grade glass from Grassy Waters Elementary to read to cats.  This was the first field trip we have done like this, and it was a big success!

The kids arrived with books in hand, ready to read to the adoptable cats in the Peggy Adams Kitty Lodge!  Before reading, Tara taught them about spay and neuter, vaccines, and adoption. 

We're not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids or the cats...

 



  Or the teachers!


We were lucky enough to have Susan Leary join us for the field trip.  Her kind and calm energy was perfect, and it was so helpful.  


Susan was happy to help with my dogs Cinnabon and Macy!

After reading to the cats, the kids made cat toys, shared their feelings about the experience and we even had time to read a story.  Every student got a cinch-sack with a book and a toy to take home. 



Proving unforgettable, hands on experiences, both in and out of the classroom is the goal of The Little Blue Dog.  We hope to develop and nurture empathy as well as inspire leadership and advocacy in the younger generations.  With help and support, these collective efforts have a positive ripple effect into the community for years to come.  Thanks for Giving, Thanks for Caring! 





Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Roller Coaster Ride of Rescue

The past few months have been quite a roller coaster ride here at The Little Blue Dog. On July 4th we said goodbye to Jackson after 7 months of severe heart disease, lots of meds, trips to the ER, oxygen tents, subq lasicks, and many tears.  Jackson was with me for just under 10 years. I had him since he was a puppy, so he only ever knew one owner, and never had a day of being shuffled around, scared, confused or displaced like so many of the rescue dogs we see. That gave us a lot of comfort when it was time to say goodbye.

 Two weeks later, with so many dogs in need, I knew it was time to rescue another.  After all, we have the room and the resources, and the extra love certainly would help us heal.  There were a few dogs of interest listed on Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue's page - a local rescue I know and love. On a whim, I drove up to the Jupiter Petco adoption event and instantly fell in love with Zoey, a heartworm positive little scruffy terrier with a bouncy walk, happy personality and a face that was so cute it made me want to cry.


As with most things in my life that I care about, I totally nerd out and become obsessed with learning all I can about a subject.  I rolled up my sleeves and read everything I could about heartworm disease.  A few facts for the lay people out there:

  • Dogs are infected with HW when they are bitten by an infected female mosquito. 
  • Dogs do not pass the infection to other dogs, they can only become infected by the bite of a female mosquito. 
  • Once a dog is HW+ they put other dogs at risk! The only way a mosquito can become a carrier of the disease is to bite an infected dog. 
  • When bitten, the tiny worm babies get into the bloodstream of the dog, work their way through the veins towards the heart and respiratory system, and eventually grow to adult worms that block the normal function of the heart. 
  • Treatment is dangerous, expensive, risky and painful for the dog.  The disease is fatal if left untreated. 
  • Prevention costs just a few dollars a month and will keep your dogs safe. 

Sadly, sweet Zoey was not one of the lucky ones.  After just 3 months with us, her disease progression, although it was being treated, was too far gone.  The adult worm burden in her heart reached a point of no return. It was beyond heartbreaking to see this happy, wonderful little soul lose her life because her previous humans didn't bother to protect her with monthly prevention.  Words cannot express how her loss has effected me. I have vowed to do my part to educate and help people understand the importance of protecting your pets from heartworm infection - simply for the cost of a fancy cup of coffee. 


The week we said goodbye to precious Zoey, there was a puppy mill bust in Clewiston, Florida.  Never heard of Clewston? I'm not surprised.  The owners of the puppy mill have been breeding small dogs to sell to pet stores for years.  They have surrendered their unwanted dogs, packed up and moved to new locations several times, each time setting up shop again to earn money while their dogs suffer a life of neglect in cages.  For those unfamiliar with puppy mills, I urge you to do your own google search to educate yourself about where those cute puppies in the pet store come from. The Clewiston puppy mill owners surrendered more than 60 dogs - puppies, and adult male and female breeder dogs - that all needed vetting, spay and neuter, and treatment for neglect.  Dental disease, lack of socialization, ear infections, cherry eyes, poor nutrition and mammary tumors were just a few of the issues resulting from their treatment.  Aside from their medical issues, the dogs were not shown love and comfort, living their lives in cages on a covered porch in the hot Florida elements. 


Get a Life Pet Rescue - another local rescue I know and love, stepped up to take some of the surrendered dogs. There was one little dog, a Chihuahua, that immediately stole my heart.  When I inquired about her, I learned she had a sweet disposition, was about 3 years old, had been bred multiple times and would need a spay, dental cleaning, and removal of a mammary tumor.  I'm sure you can see where this story is going.  Yes indeed, little "Cinnabon" is now part of The Little Blue Dog family.  We are delighted to welcome Cinnabon to her forever home and know that our Zoey would be thrilled that we kept our broken hearts open to love another. 


So, the take away message from our Roller Coaster Ride: 
  • PLEASE recognize that a pet is commitment to the life of that pet! 
  • PLEASE provide monthly heartworm prevention to protect your dogs from this deadly disease.  
  • PLEASE choose adoption when adding a pet to your family, and never purchase anything from a store selling puppies.  
  • And finally, PLEASE spay and neuter your pets to prevent more accidental litters.  
There are too many dogs in need of a loving family to allow any breeding.  Current statistics show that nationwide more than 3 million adoptable dogs are killed each year in our shelters due to overcrowding and lack of responsible adopters. Take a pledge to always ADOPT! 

Thanks for caring! 
Karen 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader!

The impact on literacy achieved simply by having books in the home is profound!

 According to a study posted in readtosucceedbuffalo.org, simply having books in the home will improve literacy. Here at The Little Blue Dog, we agree! In an effort to get books into the hands of the kids that need it most, for just $5.00 you can choose one of my books to be donated to a school, library or student in need.



 Roxie, a member of The Little Blue Dog Reading Buddies Team, visits school programs designed to increase literacy and a love of reading. The dogs lend a nonjudgmental ear while the students read aloud. The best part, in my opinion, is that the kids can keep the book they chose to read.
With more than ten books to choose from, you can donate a book with themes of animal kindness, adoption and a love of nature. My award winning books provide children with positive messages of compassion, achievement and friendship.

Visit www.thelittlebluedog.com and click "Donate a Book" to help support our mission.

 The following information and study is from readtosucceedbuffalo.org:

 If current trends continue, 6.6 million low-income children from birth through age 8 are at increased risk of failing to graduate from high school on time because they won't be able to meet proficient reading level by the end of 3rd grade, according to a KIDS COUNT special report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 The report examines the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading tests for 2009 finds that 83% of children from low-income families and 85% of low-income students who attend high-poverty schools, fail to reach the proficient level of reading in 4th grade. Sociologist Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno Associate Professor of Sociology and Resource Economics, led the 20-year study. She asked, "What kinds of investments should we be making to help these kids get ahead?" Evans said, "The results of this study indicate that getting some books into their homes is an inexpensive way that we can help these children succeed."

 Evans went on to say, "Even a little bit goes a long way," in terms of the number of books in a home. Having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit. "You get a lot of 'bang for your book'," she said. "It's quite a good return-on-investment in a time of scarce resources."

Thanks for your support! Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader! To learn more about my humane education program and to purchase my books for kids, visit www.thelittlebluedog.com

Monday, August 3, 2015

Humane Education - NOW is the time!

The younger generations will inherit a multitude of environmental challenges, none of which are trivial. Factory farming and unsustainable food systems are the number one contributor to climate change. Deforestation, loss of habitat, over fishing and a growing list of endangered species are threatening our ecosystem. Puppy mills and pet stores continue to be a major cause of needless animal suffering while adding to the pet overpopulation problem. Animal poaching, the dog meat trade, product and drug testing using animals are all in desperate need of change. Our kids are dealing with poverty, diabetes, obesity and heart disease as well as unsafe, over processed food choices. There has never been a more crucial time for humane education. We need children to fully develop feelings of empathy and compassion for themselves, each other and the animals who share our planet. Studies have proven that smart phones and other ubiquitous technology devices impede the development of a child's brain making them less connected to people and nature and consequently less empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of empathy. We are hard wired with mirror neurons in our brain that enable us to feel what others are feeling. When we see someone step off a curb and sprain their ankle, our mirror neurons enable us to know what that feels like and to respond with empathy. Now more than ever, we need a generation of caring, educated, young minds, ready to think as global citizens with fully developed empathy. Through humane education I believe we can make a significant impact. The Little Blue Dog, Inc. has recently become a 501c3 non-
profit focused on humane education. With the launch of my new website, the development of new programs targeted at creating opportunities for elementary school students both in and out of the classroom, and by providing stories modeling empathy and animal kindness, I believe we can foster and inspire the type of leadership needed to tackle the challenges we face today. Our future depends on it. To learn more about my books and humane education efforts, and how you can get involved, please visit www.thelittleblue.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Kids, Shelter Pets and Haikus!

The following post was originally published in April 2015.
 
April is National Poetry Month! 

In honor of my love of writing, my goal to inspire kindness, and the many shelter pets in need, I organized a field trip with Cassie Kenski of Grassy Waters Elementary School and Tara Pregnoloto of Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. 

The school chose 30 students from grades 3 and 4 to participate in the field trip.  Beginning with a shelter tour, Tara lead the students through the cat and dog adoption areas educating them about the many reasons pets end up in the shelter, the importance of spay and neuter, and why adopting a pet is the responsible choice. 
Following the tour, the students spent the remainder of their time in the “Gray House,” the shelter’s original building, now used for training and special events.  Their humane education experience continued as I introduced them to my rescue dogs, Tucker and Roxie, and talked about my love of pairing animal kindness topics with creative writing. 
The children experienced cuteness overload when Niki Gottesman demonstrated bottle-feeding of three newborn kittens.  Learning that spring is “kitten season” Niki explained what to do if they find a litter of kittens with no mama cat in sight.  (For those who don’t already know, you watch and wait for several hours to see if the mama returns before you do anything.  The kittens have the best chance of survival if they stay with their mom. If no mama cat returns, you should call animal control, or an animal rescue organization so the kittens can be saved.)

With compassionate hearts and creative minds, the students wrote haikus about a shelter pet they just met.  Connecting their hands on experience with pets in need and the writing assignment, empathy and creativity came together in an unforgettable day for the kids!  Their haikus were laminated and placed on the kennels of the pets for potential adopters to see.

As if newborn kittens, Roxie, Tucker and Magic Mike (a therapy cat owned by Niki) weren’t enough, the students were given school supplies compliments of Office Depot Foundation, and I provided each student with a copy of my books The Gentle Beagle and A Terrier’s Tale. 
Finally, the icing on the cake; a naming contest was held for the two newborn littermate kittens.  The winning names were Cotton and Candy! 


One student was quoted as saying “it was the best field trip he had ever been on!”

I will be hosting similar field trips to Peggy Adams in November 2015 with 5th grade students from Hope Centennial, and again in January 2016 with Grassy Waters Elementary.  


We still have one remaining spot for the 2015-16 school year.  Contact me if your school is interested.