Spotlight on 3 Dashing Adoptable Seniors


Story: Adopt a Senior Sweetie

Second Chance Cocker Rescue is pawing it forward by finding homes for cocker spaniels in California. They sent in this story to share.

There are three senior fellas looking for their forever families. Maybe it’s you?

This week, we rescued not one, but three senior boys. All three of these sweet seniors need foster homes while they wait for us to find them permanent homes. They are also eligible for our Sanctuary Program where we pay for their medical bills for the rest of their lives.

alvinAdorable Alvin

First was Alvin, a sweet 10-year-old boy living with a family in Modesto. He needed medical care but they couldn’t afford his vet bills so they called us. We were delighted to be able to say we could help. After a few tests, it turned out that Alvin probably has Cushing’s disease and he will be tested for that. With the proper meds, he will live a normal, happy life.


vayleValiant Vayle

Then we heard about Vayle, a 13-year-old boy in the Animal Friends of the Valley shelter. He had been turned in several weeks before by his family. The shelter contacted us to rescue him, but before we could respond, a family had adopted him. We were delighted — that is until they changed their minds and brought him back. This time, we made sure we got him. He is adorable.


corwinCutie-pie Corwin

Last, but certainly not least, Carolyn found 10-year-old Corwin at the the California City shelter. She fell in love with that cute face. Who wouldn’t?




All of Second Chance Cocker Rescue dogs are behavior-tested and receive an exam, vaccinations, spay/neuter and heartworm testing. Interested in adopting? Fill out their application here.

Follow Second Chance Cocker Rescue on Facebook and Twitter.

Images by Second Chance Cocker Rescue

3 Ways to Save These Sanctuary Dogs in Hawai’i

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Story: Sole Animal Sanctuary on the Big Island Rescues, Rehomes Abandoned Dogs

Tucked away outside of buzzy Hilo, Hawai’i down a sleepy country road lined with grass taller than you and me is Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary, home to over 300 unwanted, neglected or abused animals.

Recently, I had the honor of visiting the sanctuary in person.

Hawai’i: No paradise for animals

Mary Rose Krijgsman founded the no-kill sanctuary in 2001 in response to the island’s abandonment and overpopulation issue, much of it stemming from unregulated backyard breeding of hunting dogs and an overextended, economically depressed population who cares for multiple animals without the means.

Though the island’s population is 180,000, in a follow-up email interview after my visit, Mary Rose cited a report that compared the overpopulation problem to a mainland city with 1 million people.

According to her, 1,200 animals are euthanized each month by the local animal control shelter.

An Oasis for Homeless Pets

Sitting on 7.5 acres in a park-like setting, the sanctuary site is refreshing and unlike anything I’ve seen: grassy paths lined with shady trees, some gently bending together to form tunnels leading the way through the property. Outdoor enclosures allow for sunshine, breeze and fresh air. There is even a pond.

Shelter is provided in each secure kennel and generally, two dogs are companionably housed together.

Every dog is walked every day by volunteers and there is a charting system to be sure.

The dogs are enthusiastic, energetic and it was evident that they are content and cared for.

“The animals have a home here…We are not a shelter, we are a sanctuary. We are not a clearinghouse for animals, we are a place where the animals live, learn, eat, communicate, play and get some training,” wrote Mary Rose, who lives on-site. “What we want to communicate with the community is a ‘way of life.’ A life that is pono, full of love, compassion, caring, equality, trust and respect.”

Meet Florence

The sanctuary is inundated with calls for help and offers a home to as many animals as they can, including those who are sick or otherwise unadoptable.

During my visit, I got to know Florence (pictured), a sweet-natured dog suffering the effects of neglect, including low thyroid, skin fungus and a lymph system that is not functioning properly.

Rainbow Friends has funded three operations for her, medication for her condition and weekly medicated baths. “With all this, she is one of the most joyful dogs there are, she loves her toys and will play with them,” she wrote. You can sponsor Florence, or another dog, for $30/month.

Three ways you can help

In addition to monetary donations or giving good and services for the care of their hundreds of animals, including substantial veterinary bills, the sanctuary is seeking support for the following programs. Simply designate your wish under “special purpose” on the donation form.

  1. Support their monthly spay/neuter clinics, where they alter 50 dogs or 100 cats per day for low-income families.
  2. Help create their on-site veterinary clinic. To reduce veterinary costs, Rainbow Friends is reconfiguring their indoor space to function as a clinic by building an enclosed outdoor area for cats.
  3. Give Fido a flight home. They are also seeking use of a plane to transport dogs to the mainland for adoption, as “There are not enough people to adopt out to” on the island.

Donate now.

Rainbow Friends is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are tax-deductible.

Rescue dogs aren’t broken,
they’ve simply experienced more life than other dogs.
If they were human, we would call them wise.
They would be the ones with tales to tell and stories to write,
the ones dealt a bad hand who responded with courage.
Don’t pity a rescue dog.
Adopt one, Foster one, Sponsor one.
And be proud to have their greatness by your side.

Follow Rainbow Friends on Facebook.

Innovative Adoption Concept Saves Lives of Local Dogs


Story: Adopting and Shopping – The Perfect Combination

Adopt & Shop is a one-stop adoption and shopping experience from the Found Animals Foundation. Their flagship space in the Los Angeles area is now open.

You can find 25 adorable adoptable dogs saved from local shelters at the facility (view them before you visit here); the team is available for adoption consultations to find the perfect forever family. Adopt & Shop also offers in-store services, including grooming at Adopt & Shop Untangled, daycare at Adopt & Shop Playtime and positive reinforcement dog training classes at their Adopt & Shop Academy.

Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of Found Animals, has the scoop:

The grand opening of our flagship Adopt & Shop store is a tremendous achievement for Found Animals and an important step towards eliminating shelter euthanasia here in Los Angeles. Adopt & Shop is the largest humane retail adoption center of its kind in California. With almost 10,000 square feet of space, Adopt & Shop will find homes for 2,000 dogs and cats per year, while providing total care for families and pets.

Visit them at:
Adopt & Shop
4235 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, Calif. 90230

Store Hours:
Monday through Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Follow Adopt & Shop on Facebook or Twitter.

Japan’s Most Radioactive Man Refuses to Leave Animals Behind


Story: Farmer Returned to Dead Zone to Care for Abandoned Pets, Livestock

Before the Fukushima disaster, Naoto Matsumura was one of nearly 16,000 residents of his town, Tomioka. Now, he — and the animals he cares for — are all who’s left.

Our dogs didn’t get fed for the first few days. When I did eventually feed them, the neighbors’ dogs started going crazy. I went over to check on them and found that they were all still tied up. Everyone in town left thinking they would be back home in a week or so, I guess. From then on, I fed all the cats and dogs every day. They couldn’t stand the wait, so they’d all gather around barking up a storm as soon as they heard my truck. Everywhere I went there was always barking. Like, ‘we’re thirsty’ or, ‘we don’t have any food.’ So I just kept making the rounds.

Why would someone endure living in a place with 17 times normal radiation levels?

Watch and find out.

Donate to his nonprofit and follow his journey here (Japanese site, but there is information in English, or use Google Translate).

Image by AP

Homeless Cancer Dog Finds Home, Can’t Stop Smiling

Platty with his new pup parent.

Platty with his new mom.

Story: Abandoned Dog with Cancer Finds True Love

A homeless 10-year-old golden with fibrosarcoma has found love — and proper medical care — at last.

Platty, so named for his “permanent smile” caused by an inoperable mouth tumor, was brought to a Tulsa city shelter by someone who found him last month and despite his special needs, shelter volunteer Alli Elmore adopted him.

In a recent interview, she said, “I just thought how sad Tuffy [her golden retriever mix] would be if he were there, spending his last days in a shelter. And I decided that whether he has two days, two weeks or two years, Platty deserves the dignity of being with someone who loves him.”

That love extends to throwing him a birthday party and indulging him in Kraft Cheez Whiz. The party was attended by about 200 people. “We thought it might be too much for him, but he just sat there soaking it up, wagging his tail,” said Karel Bagwell, Alli’s mom.

“He’s just the happiest, sweetest guy. He loves life. He enjoys meeting people. That’s all we want — for him to be happy.”

In just 10 days, he has garnered over 14,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Normally, dogs with his aggressive cancer, which spread to his lungs and possibly his spleen, would be euthanized, but because he is not in pain and there was a foster option, shelter staff felt placing him in a home was the right thing to do.

And there is hope: chemotherapy and radiation are still options.

A fund has been established to help with his medical expenses. So far, $8,500 has been raised.

Get updates on Platty’s smile on Facebook.

Donate and learn more here.

via Haley the Wonderdog, my blog that helps dogs with cancer live better and longer
Image by Tulsa World

Make a Cover Girl Count: Vote for a Cancer Dog


Story: Vote for a Cure

60% of golden retrievers and 1 in 4 dogs over the age of 2 will die from cancer.

My dog (and the inspiration for The Paw It Forward Project ), Haley the Wonderdog, was one of them.

The Morris Animal Foundation is looking for a cure for canine cancer by raising $1 million for research and you can help with the click of a vote — for Haley the Wonderdog!

The Orvis Cover Dog Contest supports canine cancer research by helping Morris Animal Foundation develop early cancer-detection tests and safer treatment protocols for dogs. So far, $910,000 has been raised.

To reach the $1 million milestone, the Million Dollar Dog Sweepstakes, a random prize draw for goodies like a Tempur-Pedic dog bed and a $500 gift card to The Orvis Company, is being held for early contest entries through February 15.

If Haley wins, she will have the chance to appear on a future cover of The Orvis Dog Book catalog, showing a positive side of cancer: after she was diagnosed, she thrived and even went on to become a certified therapy dog, volunteering at her local senior home once a week. Her story inspired me to not only launch this site, but also Haley the Wonderdog, to help dogs with cancer live better and longer.

Contest winners are chosen by Orvis team members and only one pup will be selected as the Million Dollar Dog.

This partnership will allow our Foundation to continue to fund the best science that will find preventives, treatments and hopefully one day a cure for cancer.
— Dan Reed, chief development officer, Morris Animal Foundation

Since 1948, the nonprofit has invested more than $70 million toward 2,000+ studies, including their Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, which follows 3,000 goldens for life to gather insights that can lead to better treatments and cures for cancer and other diseases affecting goldens — and all other breeds.

Donate $1 to vote through March 31.

Watch for updates on Haley the Wonderdog’s Facebook page — and please share!

Follow Orivs Dogs and the Morris Animal Foundation on Facebook.

The Golden(s) Rule: Telling Tales of 1,000 Golden Retrievers


Story: Site’s Goal is 1,000 Golden Retriever Tributes

No stranger to the delightfully magnetic personality of the golden, having been a lucky pup parent to three, I readily identify with the 1000 Goldens Project, a site dedicated to celebrating this breed — thousand-fold.

Launched in 2008, the goal is to tell 1,000 stories of those who have been touched by the breed; anyone can celebrate, honor or memorialize their pet. (N.B.: Haley, the inspiration for The Paw It Forward Project, is #28.)

“Dogs transform lives. Just like people, every dog has a story. It is an opportunity for anyone to honor that precious gift,” wrote Traci, the site’s founder, in an email. “We were madly in love with our first golden, Farley. I wanted to share his life with others, but also wanted to have a purpose. We’ve been able to share information on great organizations and rescues via the stories people post.”

Stories like these:

  • A very shy pediatric patient who finally came out of his shell after a visit with therapy dog, Gopher, #25
  • Zoe, #21, a puppy with an undertreated broken leg relinquished by a pet store owner, later adopted and filling loneliness with love
  • Gracie, #19, a pup helping a mom in the most special way: “Mom got Gracie thru puppyhood and Gracie got her thru cancer”
  • Reese, #14, one of 24 “animal actors” placed on Craigslist by a production company after the movie wrapped, nursed back to health
  • Honey, #7, an outdoorsy, traveling adventure-lover, up for anything from making snow angels to cross-country road trips

And of course, Farley, #1, “the most unconditionally loving, intelligent, hilariously funny and wonderful companion,” who passed suddenly in 2012.

The 1000 Goldens Project family welcomed Newton, the puppy currently training for the “Dog Zoomie Winter Olympics” shown above, in 2013.

The long-term objective of the project is to publish a book featuring the stories and donate proceeds to Leader Dogs for the Blind, a nonprofit agency of Lions Clubs International founded in 1939 that has raised, trained and graduated more than 14,000 guide dogs.

“It is an organization I am passionate about and they enable loving families to adopt Leader Dogs who are retired from service as well as ‘career change’ dogs who weren’t completely suited for the life of a guide dog,” she continued.

The site also includes a substantial list of golden rescues and other nonprofit organizations helping the pups.

View the tributes here.

Learn more here or tell your story here.

Follow the project on Facebook.

Image by 1000 Goldens Project