Posts Tagged ‘animal’

Super Bowl special: 10 Dog MVPs

Okay, it’s Super Bowl week—honoring the best football teams and players. So in addition to posting 5 reasons dogs dig the Super Bowl, I’m honoring other four-leggers; my fellow canine compadres past and present who’ve shown why they belong on the dog team. Let’s call it canine heroes.

Belle the beagle

Isn't it obvious that this dog would prefer a good meal?

1. Smartest (besides me). Belle the beagle (of course) dialed “911” on a cell phone after her parent collapsed from a diabetic seizure. She became the first four-legger to win VITA’s Wireless Samaritan Award. Evidently, she’d been trained to bite down on the phone’s keypad in the event of an emergency. Treat, please.

2. Inspiring Bi-petisanship. Ginny endangered herself not once—but multiple times—to save feline friends. Once, she threw herself against a pipe so that it would topple and the stranded kitties inside could escape. Another time, Ginny suffered severe cuts on her paws to release an injured CAT inside a box of broken glass. And they say dogs and CATS don’t get along

Ginny the cat dog

Ginny doesn't discriminate.

3. Biggest heart. Nicole and her mom were attacked by 4 armed men and Bella, their 4 year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier lunged at the man with the knife. She bit his leg several times. He shot her in the head, then turned his gun on Nicole, but had used his last bullet on Bella. And Bella kept defending until the men panicked and fled. (Kleenex, please.) Bella died in Nicole’s arms. An autopsy showed that Bella’s heart had been completely drained of blood in her fierce battle to protect her family.

4. Unbelievable doggie paddle. Katrina, the ironically named black lab, saved a drowning man before Hurricane Katrina’s rising flood waters claimed his life. The dog, who was later rescued herself by rescue teams, was honored at that year’s Genesis Awards with a standing ovation. (Note to future award granters: Recognition is nice, but we dogs like food. And lots of it.)

reona the rotty

Who's braver? Reona the rotty with Vivian the tiny totty.

5. Unwavering braveness.

Reona, a 109 pound Rottweiler, leapt over 3 fences during the 1989 San Francisco earthquake to come to the aid of 5-year old Vivian. Vivian’s epilepsy meant over excitement could bring on a life threatening seizure. Reona pushed her against the wall and held her still, and Vivian was soothed by his fur. Moments later, a large microwave fell in the exact spot that Vivian had just been.

6. Best schnoz. (And I’m a beagle, so this means a lot.) Shelby the German shepherd barked, scratched and whined until her human family was awake. Now, I do this, too—but apparently I’m only supposed to when carbon monoxide levels are too high. Shelby saved her whole family with her keen sense of smell and successful wakey-wakey routine.

Tip the dog

Tip your hat to Tip; she put the "loyal" in dog.

7. The MVP. Like Oprah, Weela had a sucky childhood, abandoned in an alley at 4-weeks old. And like Oprah, Weela was multi-talented. She first took the bite of a rattlesnake, rushing across the yard to push an 11-year old boy out of fangs’ way. Later, she went on to save 30 people and an eclectic group of furry friends after extreme flooding near her home. Holy mackerel.

8. Best Babysitter. If you’ve been around a baby, you know—oooooeeee, they make owie noises that hurt a dog’s ears. Kudos to this Kujo-looking brute who chose cuddling instead of mauling. Sorry I don’t know your name.

9. Undying loyalty. Tip and her master, Joseph Tagg, an eighty-one year-old man were on a walk when the old man, um, died. Search parties were set back due to severe frost and snow storms. In the spring, a sheepherder came across Joesph’s body, with a starving and sickly Tip beside him. She had waited for over three months, through the worst of winter, for help to come for the one she loved.

10. Biggest guitar hero. Eddie. Must see.


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Are you an animal addict?

This post is dedicated to the kindhearted peeps participating in today’s BtC4animals’ Blog the Change. They’re writing for animals. I’m writing for them.


“No budget, no donations and my personal credit cards are maxed. I will eat macaroni and cheese and currently even rent rooms in my house to be sure that the animals have the good stuff. I love doing rescue… but… they say they are going to put the animal to sleep and it’s my fault.”Anonymous Best Friends Member

“I scream that I’ll never foster another dog again… then I see another dog with sad eyes that will die if I don’t help…” -Post on Rescue Anonymous

“I became increasingly isolated from family and friends. My… mom ask[ed] if everything was okay. No, everything is not okay! There are thousands of beautiful, loving animals dying needlessly in shelters every day!” -Julia Kamysz Lane in “When a Rescuer Needs Rescuing”

Sound familiar? Are you spending more time with a rescue than with your family? More money on cat food than on treats for yourself? Feeling angry that others abandon or mistreat their pets? Overwhelmed that it never ends? Sad that you can’t fix it all? Burnout, helping addiction, compassion fatigue–call it what you will– if you think you’ve got it, you probably do. And hugs to you for acknowledging it.

1. You’re not alone. See those quotes above? There are oodles more. Though it’s seldom discussed (and difficult to find on Google!), those who help often need help themselves. An estimated 1 of 4 social workers teeter on alcoholism. 23% of psychiatric nurses smoke. Like you, they’re good people doing good for others but harming themselves in the process. And who can blame you? There are lots of loving animals who need help, so…

2. Know that you are needed, but maybe differently than you think. Once, my mom wanted to give blood. As the Red Cross worker prepared mom’s arm, the blood drained from her face when she saw the needle. The nurse stopped, laughed and gave my mom o.j., saying, “There are lots of other ways to give. Having you flat on the floor isn’t going to help us.” Draining your family of “you-time” or your bank account of money will not only hurt you; it will hurt the animals that you love. And your rational mind knows this, but your heart argues. Which leads to (Excuse the gratuitous photo):

Beagle on a lap

This hound takes care of #1. You should, too.

3. The #1 animal NEED is for you to take care of YOU. As a canine, I know what I’m talking about. When my mom is stressed, so am I. Similar to the airlines’ plea for adults to secure their own oxygen masks before assisting children, it may seem counterintuitive to help yourself before helping us–but it’s vital. A burned out you is no good for us.

Of course, there are differing levels of self care. You may just need some stress management techniques, including just talking about it. Or maybe you need some time off, to ask for help in spreading the workload, or to switch duties (e.g., instead of working at a shelter, host a party to raise money; or instead of answering the phones, donate some dog food). But if nothing will be enough–if you’re addicted to aiding animals you may need to stop altogether and do something else. Regardless, it’s important to focus on the work that HAS been done and DOES get done, the dogs and cats and horses and furries that DO get saved. There are a lot of us. And we will always love you, no matter what.

More help for you helpers:

Animals in Our Hearts: Preventing and Healing the Stress of Animal Care Work: A site full of resources for animal activists with compassion fatigue. Wonder if you’ve got it? Need more help? Check it out.

Best Friends’ Solutions for Burnout: An easy-to-follow guide to ensure you stay sane–great if you feel you’re teetering over the edge or have a friend who is.

 

My Recycled Pets: Diary of a Dog Addict

My Recycled Pets: Diary of a Dog Addict          A cute book to help you stay focused on the positive.

Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life

Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life A classic book on setting boundaries and saying “no” without guilt. Has a Christian slant.

Rescue Matters: Not for the burnt out, but for the burn-out-inclined; this book is full of helpful reminders and a-ha moments.

Have more suggestions for caring for caretakers? Comments? Please share.
Blog the Change

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