Kitten Time!

It’s late summer, and that means it’s kitten time! Friends, this can really be a tough time of year for shelters that are over-run with cats, many of them mamas with their babies, as well as dogs. How can you help, you ask?

Well, of course having dogs and cats spayed/neutered is an oh-sooo important part in helping to control the pet population. But a way to help ease the burden on overcrowded shelters is to become a foster parent for a kitty or dog waiting for a forever home. Now, Friends, I tell you, being a foster parent takes a special kind of someone. One whose heart is strong enough to give a homeless animal love, comfort, and special care, knowing that you’ll soon say good-bye, yet whose heart always remains open to welcome another in need.

My friend Mary Francis, who lives around the corner from the library where Miss Caroline Kitty found me; she fosters. She tells me that cats and dogs of all sizes, breeds, color, needs, ages…all kinds of animals need homes. Folks at the shelter will want to talk to you about what kind of experience you have so they can set you up with a foster animal who is the right fit for you. Foster times could be a couple of weeks to several months.

Right now, Mary Francis has three kittens. Oh, their little bitty patty paws are so adorable! We named them….Jasi Purrs O’Lott, Miss Jolly Molly, and Tomato (he found a cherry tomato and it became a toy! lol) These dear bundles of fur might have never made it out of the shelter alive, if it weren’t for the fostering program. Being a foster parent saves animal lives!

So Friends, consider being a foster parent…you just have to get in touch with your local shelter. It’s not an easy job, no way. But it can be sooo rewarding, and you’ll be a part of such an important step as a precious animal makes her journey to a new life.

Auntie Viv

PS: If you’ve ever been a foster parent, write me! I’d love to hear your stories and see some photos.

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Cloning Shenanigans

Hello Friends,

I must tell you about a TV show I stumbled on recently. It’s called “I Cloned My Pet,” and it was on TLC. Uhhh, the show was sooo disturbing…it follows pet owners as they eagerly wait for the arrival of the clone of their dearly departed dogs.

The folks on that show,…they are so misguided, and the makers of the show? Well, tsk…tsk, it’s terrible how they are sensationalizing pet cloning! And, they are spreading myths about pet cloning, saying things like, “owners can be reunited with their beloved pooches” and that they can “resurrect” their dogs. Friends, this is Simply. Not. Possible. But these animal lovers seem to buy in to that myth, with one saying she “wants [her dog] back” and another claiming his dog was “reborn again.”

Cloning does not bring an animal back to life; it’s a way to reproduce an animal who looks very, very much like the one cloned. But, no matter how hard science wants to try to make exact genetic copies of animals, Mother Nature just won’t allow it. And what’s not said is that other animals suffer and are sacrificed so these pets can be cloned. You see, surrogate mothers are poked, prodded, and operated on so they can give birth to these animals, only to be discarded later. And after all this, there is no promise that the clone dog will act like the first one.

Folks have paid as much as $150,000 to clone their dogs. (That’s not a typo!) Just think how far that money could go to help homeless animals. I volunteer at my local shelter, and this just makes me sick to think about it…all those dogs and cats who need homes. My Miss Caroline Kitty…she was homeless. I found her on the steps of the library where I used to work. Now she is my BFF! My heart would break if anything happened to her…but I would never want another animal to suffer to try to fill her paws.

The best way to not get caught up in pet cloning shenanigans to know the facts. If you want to know more about animal cloning, talk to my friends at AAVS. They are thee best resource you can find.

And Friends, I’d love to hear from you! I so look forward to finding mail in my inbox. If you have a question, don’t hesitate…I’m always glad you asked! <3

Until next time my Dears…
Auntie Viv

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Making a difference

Dear Friends,

Some days I wonder if I do enough to help animals. Do you ever feel like this? But then there are other days…and I just know I’m making a difference.

I support AAVS’s Tina Nelson Sanctuary Fund. It’s my small way of helping animals rescued from labs get a second chance at a new, sooo well-deserved life. One of my favorite places that AAVS supports is Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary.

Today, I’m writing with a tearful smile. Friends, let me tell you about Ubee, a darling macaque who lived at Mindy’s Memory. I read about Ubee in a recent Mindy’s newsletter, and her story touched me.

Ubee content at Mindy's Memory.

Ubee spent most of her life in a research laboratory. When she wasn’t wanted there anymore, she was sent to a roadside zoo, and the living conditions there, if you can believe it, were even worse than in the lab! When the zoo closed, nobody wanted poor Ubee. She was sick, and she was old; to some, Ubee was worthless.

Thank golly the folks at Mindy’s Memory were called. They gave Ubee some much needed TLC. Linda Barkley, who founded Mindy’s, said that she had never met a “sweeter primate” than Ubee, and wondered “how she could remain so sweet with all she had endured.”

Finally, Ubee had a chance to be herself. She was able to go outside to sit in the sun or to take a snooze whenever she wanted. She was given the best of everything, including her favorite foods, cherry tomatoes, as well as peanut butter sandwiches, and she was spoiled with the occasional powdered donut. Yum!

Ubee lived at Mindy’s Memory for just seven months, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they were the best seven months of her life. To Mindy’s Memory, Ubee was priceless.

I’m so glad to know that my support of AAVS’s Sanctuary Fund is used to help animals like Ubee. Some may see it as small potatoes, but to me, every penny pinched is worth it when I hear stories like Ubee’s.

Yes, there’s still much work to be done to help animals on a much grander scale. But to make a difference for one life is to make all the difference in her world. And after all, isn’t that really why we dedicate ourselves to this important work?

Until next time,

Auntie Viv

PS: Friends, learn more about AAVS’s Sanctuary Fund!

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Animals have a Voice!

My Dear Friends,

I’m troubled. The other day I read an article about being a voice for the “voiceless.” In this case, the voiceless meant animals. Well, I know this and similar phrases are sometimes kicked around the maypole quite a bit, but I have to say I disagree with the idea of animals not having a voice.

Some howl. Some baaaa. Some cock-a-doodle-doo, while others purrr and rib-bit! We as humans might not always understand what they are saying, but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice! I mean, good golly, if I were a dog, sheep, or rooster, I’d get the message.

Animals do have a voice. Our job as advocates is to make sure others hear it.

How can we help get their message across in 2012?

• Stay informed!  Subscribe to newsletters, social media, and e-mail from groups (like my fave AAVS) to stay up-to-date on campaigns.

• Catch the news.  Whether you read the morning paper, watch nightly news, listen to the radio, or peruse your favorite internet site, make sure you a have a sense of how others view animals and the issues that affect them.

• Write letters.  If you disagree with how a news item was reported, write a letter and ask to have all viewpoints of an issue included.

• Share your knowledge.  Tell others why you care about animals’ rights. But remember, try to not be judgmental; it’ll turn some folks off.

• Get political!  Contact your legislators and ask them to support pro-animal legislation. If you can, make an appointment or go to attend a town meeting and speak with them personally.

• Socialize.  Facebook and Twitter are great places to start conversations and spread info!

• Don’t underestimate your impact!  No matter how small, no good deed is ever wasted.

Friends, we can all make a difference for animals this year and for years to come…we sometimes just have to work a little harder to make their voices heard.

Until next time…love,

Auntie Viv

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Peace on Earth and Good Will towards All Animals

My Dear Friends,

This holiday season finds my heart filled with hope, anticipation for good things that may lay ahead, and peace and tranquility for those who suffer.

Despite the Philadelphia winter chill and the fa-la-la of the season, I can hear the true holiday spirit through the voices of my neighborhood kiddies. Their willingness to share as our community comes together to help others, and their concern for animals, including one particularly shiny, red-nosed reindeer, is heartwarming. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and the rest are truly overworked this time of year! As one little tyke pointed out, “I know magic helps them fly, but the sleigh looks sooo heavy. Don’t they get tired?” lol

Rest assured, the kids’ concern goes beyond mythical creatures. Several are working together on a school project and are volunteering and collecting donations for our local animal shelter. And there are more than a few who walk by my house seeing Miss Caroline Kitty in the window and wave a greeting to her.

Friends, these may seem like small things. But I tell you, small acts of kindness are meaningful, and not just for the recipient. The giver also grows enriched, each act positively reinforcing compassion and kindness, worthy traits to be carried throughout life.

As we mature, compassion shapes our ideals. It shapes our lifestyle, what we buy, watch, and wear. It’s why we pledge to go cruelty-free. It’s the moral compass that directs us to embrace veggies and push away the steak. It gives us strength to stand on our principles, despite opposition. It fills our eyes with tears as we read about elderly chimpanzees who once suffered in labs now having a new lease on life, finally, finally having an opportunity for peace and tranquility.

I see the seeds of compassion being sown in the little ones in my neighborhood and it warms my heart. It gives me hope for a better tomorrow….and peace on Earth for all animals.

May your holiday season be filled with compassion and good will. Happy holidays!

Much love and joy,

Auntie Viv

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