It’s time for the ASPCA-Rachael Ray $100K Challenge!

Click on the logo for more info!

Click on the logo for more info!

The ASPCA is gearing up for the start of the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, where a total of $600,000 in prize grants are up for grabs to help shelters save more homeless cats and dogs.

The ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge is a groundbreaking contest that challenges animal shelters across the country to come up with innovative ways to engage their communities and get more homeless cats and dogs into loving homes.

The 49 contestants will work to save more animals – during the months of June, July and August 2013 – than they did over the same three-month period in 2012. Last year’s competing shelters saved more than 56,000 cats and dogs during the contest, an increase of 14,376 over the same period in 2011. For a full list of participating shelters, visit challenge.aspcapro.org.

Since Dakota and I live in Michigan, we are going to be pulling for the  Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter  and will help promote them when we can to help them increase their adoption numbers!

The ASPCA and Rachael Ray will award a $100,000 grand prize to the shelter contestant that achieves the greatest increase in lives saved during this three-month period. The contestant that does the best job of engaging its community members in helping to save more animals will win $25,000. Those organizations that do the best in their divisions will be eligible for between $10,000 and $25,000 in additional grants. In total, $600,000 in grant funding will be awarded for increases in animal lives saved, as well as a photo contest and general participation.

All her life, Rachael Ray has been an advocate for animals and a supporter of animal welfare groups. Her love for animals and for her pit bull, Isaboo, inspired her to create her pet food (which you read about A LOT on Dakota’s blog) called Nutrish® to raise money for animals in need.  Ray donates 100 percent of her proceeds from the sale of Nutrish® to organizations like the ASPCA so they can implement programs like the $100K Challenge and support shelters and animal organizations around the country.

So what are you waiting for? Find a participating shelter in your area that you can support by visiting:  challenge.aspcapro.org

Follow all the #100KChallenge action this weekend on Twitter, and best of luck to all the shelters as they embark on this exciting Challenge to save more lives!

Dakota and I wish them all the best of luck!

In full disclosure: Dakota and I were not compensated for this post. We were contacted by the ASPCA and were asked if we would share this info and we are more than happy to do so!

 

 

 

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Book Review: Romancing the Dog, The struggle to make a pound dog happy in Beverly Hills by Marion Zola

February is the month of love and it is appropriate that in the month of February we celebrate our love of dogs. Our dogs. The dogs of people we know. Dogs who are in shelters, their pleading innocent eyes gazing back at ours with the hopes that we just might become their  forever homes. The  “owners”, “parents”, whatever you wish to call them, who hold these beautiful beings close to their hearts, should also be celebrated.

romancing the dog cover

Yes this book is about DOGS, but the love and dedication that is clear in this touching book applies to EVERYONE who has ever loved an animal. Dog or not.

In celebration of this love, I am thrilled to present to you the book: Romancing the Dog by Marion Zola.

From the publisher: Romancing the Dog, a humorous memoir, reminds the reader just how much one dog can transform human lives. It will take you on a romp of unique adventures laced with poignant moments. When Chips, a rescue dog, enters the neat routines of a middle-aged couple and messes them up in the most delectable ways, the new guardians are led from one challenging situation to another. A Tibetan Terrier who always seems to have the upper paw, he sends Marion’s and Sam’s stress levels off the charts. Readers will smile, laugh and cry as they follow this trio through the journey of angst and joy.

I felt an instant sense of familiarity when I read that Author Marion Zola once loved a dog named Chips in her childhood who belonged to someone else. My love of Shetland Sheepdogs began with a dog named Dandy, a  feisty Shetland Sheepdog who also “belonged to someone else”, our neighbors across the street. Truth be told, I was 5 yrs old at the time and ONLY played with the 3 children who lived with Dandy because I was madly in love with their dog. That is when my love of Shetland Sheepdogs began. I was determined that one day I would own my own Shetland Sheepdog. Now I do, my precious Dakota.

When Dakota came into mine and my husband’s life, our “neat routines” were also “messed up.”  Dakota also has the “upper paw” and often, sends OUR stress levels “off the charts” as well. It is just those things that make us love him that much more, it was the same with Chips, it is the same with all of us who love, have loved, and are loved by animals.

We all know that moment of looking into a beloved animal’s eyes for the first time and knowing in our guts that “THIS is the ONE.” Author Zola and her husband, Sam, spend their years with Chips making him the center of their universe. Their lives are dedicated to making sure that Chips is happy, that all of his needs, and then some, are being met. Certain that Chips had been abused before he ended up in a Shelter, Marion and Sam were determined to make Chips  feel secure, confident and always LOVED. Through illnesses, allergies, attempts to find a “job” for Chips, separation anxiety, there are countless moments of sacrifice, worrying,  and loving to the nth degree that we all can relate to.

Before Dakota, my only other pet as an adult was my “soul kitty” named Bobo. He came into my life as a stray and lived with me for 18 wonderful years. Yes dog lovers,  because I have shared my life with a dog for only 6 years, I relate to this book more as a cat mother. Romancing the Dog reminded me of the lengths I went to throughout Bobo’s 18 years to make sure that he had the most marvelous life ever, and that the end was as peaceful and full of love as it could be. This book brought back joyous as well as painful memories of Bobo and as a   new and rather inexperienced dog mother, let me know that some of my fixations and obsessions are indeed, NORMAL.  They are normal to all of us who have made the life-long emotional, financial and physical commitment to care for one who depends on US for everything of value in their world.

From Romancing the Dog: “More than many other areas of our lives, pets and our treatment of them demonstrate our values, both as a nation and as individuals. Our dominion over these creatures thrusts a responsibility on us that is not unlike that for our children.” 

Romancing the Dog is a must-read for dog lovers,  ANIMAL lovers. You will recognize yourselves described on the pages, and you will  fall in love,  with Chips, Marion and Sam, just as I did.

 

To purchase Romancing the Dog click here

About the Author: Marion Zola is also the author of All the Good Ones Are Married. Recently, Marion co-produced Shelter Me a PBS show about the rewards of adopting shelter pets that has also appeared on this blog. Visit the Shelter Me TV website here

 

 

In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. I was mailed a copy of the book by the author for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

“Shelter Me”, Hosted By Katherine Heigl and sponsored by Halo, Purely For Pets

Hi everyone! Some people get upset with Mom when they learn that I was not a Shelter dog.  It’s not my fault that I wasn’t, it also wasn’t Mom’s fault that she loved me in spite of my not being a Shelter dog.

That being said, it doesn’t mean that Mom and I don’t care about Shelter dogs. We do.  That is why Mom and I have featured events sponsored by Shelters so often lately. We want to help spread the word.

Mom always says if she ever wins the lottery she is going to open her own haven where doggies and kitties can be safe and secure and have tons of love. All animals deserve that, don’t they?

My kitty brother, Cody, is a rescue pet and we know what special additions to the family that they are. We wouldn’t trade him for the world!

So anyway, let me tell you about Shelter Me:

(c) 2012 Steven Latham Productions, LLC

Ellen DeGeneres’ pet food company, Halo, Purely for Pets® is the sponsor of “Shelter Me,” a new PBS film that illustrates how people’s lives are positively impacted by shelter dogs.

The project’s creator, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Latham, wants to engage the public in finding solutions to put a stop to the nearly four million dogs and cats euthanized every year in the United States.
Actress and animal advocate Katherine Heigl is hosting the PBS premiere of the one-hour, emotionally charged television special.
“As a huge animal lover, I was immediately drawn to this project because it advocates for the homeless pets at our local shelters,” said Heigl, co-founder of the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation. “It’s important to generate awareness and overcome stigmas about these local facilities as well as promote these amazing animals and how they improve people’s lives.”
“Katherine Heigl and Ellen DeGeneres have been so dedicated to helping shelter pets and I am grateful that they are part of ‘Shelter Me,’” said Latham. “We need to continue to raise awareness and increase shelter adoptions. I want people to realize that shelter pets are the best pets.”
Halo’s involvement includes a 30-second sponsor message at the beginning and end of the show, narrated by animal lover, vegan and actress Alexandra Paul, depicting Halo’s commitment to providing shelter pets with nutritious, all natural food, through a variety of the company’s philanthropic efforts. Mimi Ausland from Freekibble.com appears in the segment, delivering Halo Spot’s Stew to the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO). In a recent survey, Halo learned from HSCO and 60 other shelters that shelter workers believe quality food makes a difference in adoption rates.
Latham’s production company approached Halo to be the sponsor because both the pet food company and co-owner Ellen DeGeneres are passionately dedicated to helping shelter pets. In 2010, Halo donated one million meals to shelter pets in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Servicer Adopt a Shelter program. Halo is also the official kibble sponsor of Freekibble.com, a pet related trivia site that has donated more seven million meals to shelter pets.
“It’s important to raise public awareness and increase shelter adoptions by showing first-hand how these incredible animals positively impact people’s lives,” said Steve Marton, CEO of Halo. “Our involvement in ‘Shelter Me’ is a reflection of Halo’s commitment to support animal shelters across America.”
“Halo’s participation in this film is fundamental,” said Latham. “I wanted to partner with an organization that is committed to making a difference for shelter pets. The work Halo does is incredible, authentic and completely in the spirit of this project.”
Latham has three of his own rescue dogs and often cares for foster dogs. An active shelter volunteer and advocate for homeless pets, Latham believes the key to increasing the number of pets adopted from shelters is awareness. “Most people don’t understand that there are exceptional dogs and cats sitting in shelters, just waiting for homes,” he said. “Shelter Me” is Latham’s way of educating the public and debunking misperceptions that shelter pets are “damaged” in some way. “This is one of the most important projects I’ve done,” he said.
“Shelter Me” premieres on public television stations in May. Please go to www.ShelterMe.com for local listings.

“Shelter Me” is produced and directed by Steven Latham of Steven Latham Productions; executive produced by Steven Latham, Lyndon Johnson and Ady Gil; co-produced by Shane Lachtman, Marion Zola and Timothy Karsten; edited by Conrad Stanley, Cheryl Campsmith and Jeff U’Ren; cinematography by Peter Krajewski; music by Andrew Gross and Gil Talmi.

ABOUT HALO, PURELY FOR PETS®

For over 25 years, Halo, Purely for Pets® has created holistic pet products of uncompromising quality. Halo believes nutrition is the single most important factor in the quality of a pet’s life. Halo offers natural pet food, treats, supplements and grooming products – including the award-winning Halo Spot’s Stew, Dream Coat and Liv-a-Littles treats. Ellen DeGeneres – a long time Halo customer – became a part-owner of Halo in 2008. In 2010, Halo donated one million meals to shelter pets in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service Adopt a Shelter Pet program. Halo is also the official kibble sponsor of Freekibble.com, a pet related trivia site that has donated mort than seven million meals to shelter pets. Halo’s natural dog food, natural cat food, treats, supplements and grooming products are available at PETCO, Whole Foods Market, your local pet specialty and natural food store, and online at http://www.halopets.com.

ABOUT THE JASON DEBUS HEIGL FOUNDATION

Katherine Heigl and her mother, Nancy Heigl, founded the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation (www.jasonheiglfoundation.org) to improve the plight of pets through a variety of programs, such as funding spay/neuter initiatives and assisting rescue organizations. Katherine and Nancy are convinced that spaying and neutering saves lives and stops litters – litters that too often end up at public shelters and are subsequently killed due to a lack of adopters and lack of space.  The Foundation is focused on “fixing” the problem. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed more than $2.5 million towards saving the lives of many deserving pets and educating the public in the process.