Posts tagged ‘helping animals’

December 23, 2013

Happy and Safe Howlidays!

 Christmas brown lab asleep

Hi, there! This is Brooke, your pet-loving gal here. The holidays are here, and you are probably up to your eyebrows in things left to do, cookies to bake, and cards to send—I know I am! Here are some tips on keeping your cherished pets safe and happy during this festive season.

Christmas Trees

This is an example of a bad kitteh!

This is an example of a bad kitteh!

  1. Make sure to anchor your trees from adventurous kitties that climb and dogs with crazily wagging tails—you don’t want all your hard work “decking” the tree to come crashing down in the middle of your eggnog!
  2. If you have a live tree, keep your animals from drinking the tree water, which may be full of pesticides as well as bacteria from the stagnant water. Ingestion of these nasty things can cause diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach.
  3. Regardless of whether your tree is real or artificial, be sure to clean up the dropped needles often. Curious pets will eat those needles faster than you can say “No, don’t—!“ They are toxic and will cause vomiting, even if fake (trust me on this L).
  4. Do not leave pets unattended with the Christmas tree, if possible. A fully decorated tree comes stocked with all kinds of dangerous “toys”:
  • Hot light strands can burn or electrocute dogs or cats, which have a tendency to chew on things. Keep light strands secured and covered or away from the lower levels of the tree.
  • Be sure to put glass or metal ornaments higher up on the tree, and watch for broken ornaments with sharp hooks or attachments—little paws can easily step on these items.
  • Tinsel may be beautiful, but it’s a big no-no, especially for cat households. Cats will ALWAYS find stringy, dangly items, and tinsel (along with other strings or wires) can be ingested and can get tangled in the stomach or intestines, leading to scary emergency surgery or even death if not caught in time. No thank you!!

Holiday Plants

Many plants that make our houses cherry and bright this time of year are bad news for our furry family members. For a more extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants, check out this link from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/Plants. If you suspect your pet has gotten into anything suspicious, whether plant, food, or otherwise, be sure to call your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic IMMEDIATELY. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year: (888) 426-4435.

Common Holiday Plants Your Pets Should Avoid

  1. Lilies: deadly to cats, can cause kidney failure
  2. Mistletoe (especially the berries): highly toxic, causes upset stomach and potentially fatal heart problems
  3. Holly: causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy
  4. Poinsettias: not as toxic as often thought, these should still be avoided as they can upset pets’ digestive system
  5. Amaryllis: causes diarrhea and vomiting
  6. Certain species of ivy, namely English ivy: can be extremely harmful if ingested

Forbidden Food and Drinks

Christmas cat and dog eating

We all know that your animal friends are very skilled at watching you pitifully as you shove another yummy treat in your mouth. Their doleful eyes entreat you to share a bit of delicious food with them. Don’t do it!! You can show your pets that you love them in so many healthier ways.

  • Be sure and feed your pets before dinner or party guests arrive—that way, Spot will have a full tummy and be less likely to beg for scraps from your guests. Also, give your animals some special treats made just for them when they have been good (or just because), and politely ask your guests to avoid passing along tasty morsels to your pets.
  • This shouldn’t even need to be mentioned, but be sure to keep the dogs and cats (and any other small creatures) in your house out of the booze and smokes. Even accidental ingestion of alcohol or nicotine by a curious pet can be deadly, so if your party is getting very merry—be careful!!

Some foods that can be harmful to your furry friends are:

  • Turkey skin and gravy: can cause pancreatitis
  • Onions and onion powder: can destroy red blood cells, causing anemia
  • Chocolate: can damage the nervous system and urinary tract as well as the heart muscle; can be deadly
  • Grapes and raisins: grapes, especially, can cause kidney failure (who knew?)
  • Bones, especially poultry bones: can tear or block the intestinal tract; these injuries can be fatal
  • Not a food but food items: strings that are used in turkeys or roast, as well as the little  “pop-up” thermometers; discarded aluminum foil; food and fixings garbage—make sure to keep these items picked up and thrown away, with garbage sealed tightly

Joy to the Animals

Sweetness!

Sweetness!

We can absolutely include our furry or feathered family members in the holiday festivities—we just have to be smart pet parents. Stuff your pets’ stockings with worry-free toys, like rubber dog toys, indestructible Kongs filled with special treats, durable rope “bones”, size-appropriate balls, catnip mice, interactive krinkle mats, and colorful lanyards with bells and mirrors for your favorite bird.

Ok, you guys. Get to jingling those bells, and stay warm!

Blessings, Brooke

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November 25, 2013

Show Your “Creature Love”

Meet Clove, my new "adoption"!

Here’s Clove, my “adopted” turkey–isn’t he handsome?

Do you feel called to do more this Thanksgiving than go meatless? I’m right there with you. Here’s where Thanksgiving becomes bittersweet for me—a special meal with loved ones is a precious idea, but the sacrifice demanded of our creatures is too much for me to bear. So, what’s a tender-hearted vegetarian to do to help our animal friends this time of year? Why, adopt a turkey, of course!

Farm Sanctuary

You guys, I am THRILLED to sponsor a turkey this year through the advocacy group Farm Sanctuary. For almost 30 years now, Farm Sanctuary’s efforts to rescue and shelter abused and neglected farm animals, improve the terrible conditions for animals on factory farms, provide community outreach, encourage awareness, educate institutions, and influence compassionate legislation have helped ease (but not erase) the suffering of these animals. Their mission completely resonated with me: To protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living.

Now, I am not vegan (yet), but I am a passionate vegetarian and lover of all animals, so you can imagine my delight at finding that I could “adopt” a turkey already living at one of the three sanctuaries. For $30, I now have a dapper new turkey friend named Clove (that’s him above), and my donation goes to rescue animals and care for Clove and all of the other creatures at his home. And if I’m ever in Northern California, I can go visit Clove and his friends at the sanctuary, though I would physically pass out with joy if I ever had the chance to do this!

Want to Help?

If you feel called to spread the love of the season to our winged and furry friends, there are so many ways you can help. All it takes is a few keystrokes on Google and away you go.  But if you need a quick, fun, and heartachingly sweet option, do what I did and check out the Adopt-a-Turkey program through Farm Sanctuary. You can sponsor a single turkey, two turkeys, or a whole flock (7 turkeys)! Need a sweet gift idea? Delight your friends and family with a sponsorship of one of this year’s special group of turkeys, and Farm Sanctuary will send each of your recipients a picture and certificate of their special bird and his or her story.

And the love doesn’t stop there. Even after the holiday season has passed, Farm Sanctuary and many other advocacy groups have programs to educate people on compassionate living, eating, and advocacy for all animals. My sweet friend and fellow animal lover Lacey and I have often commiserated about how we can do more for the animals that share our planet, and frankly, the odds of affecting a huge change are very disheartening. But we must do what we can, when we can, however much we can. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite poems, which is a guiding light in my occasional despair and an inspiration in all my other days.

Be blessed and much love, Brooke

If I can stop 2