A recent, routine trip to the post office, turned out to be anything but normal. I live in the country and seeing large domesticated animals grazing in pastures is common. However, on this day I was taken by surprise. As I rounded the turn on our dirt road, walking towards me were two ponies. I expected to see a person trailing behind the ponies but no one appeared. With the help of my husband we were able to herd the ponies into our seven acre pasture where our three pet steers reside. Then the detective work began.
We visited neighbors along our road in hopes they either owned the ponies or could point us in the direction of who did. Everyone we talked too was just as puzzled as we were. Where had these ponies come from? A call was then placed to our local Animal Services agency in hopes that some frantic person had already called to report their ponies missing. Nothing. I left my contact information, certain I would receive a call soon.
A spontaneous decision to pull a Pitbull from Brooklyn ACC’s Kill List set a series of events into place that would ultimately create Rescue the Runway, a unique live music, fashion and animal adoption benefit that debuts in NYC on May 15, at a venue dedicated to rescue, the New York City Fire Museum.
A sleepless night on Facebook led me to the next day’s kill list, where a skinny dog with that trademark enormous lemon-shaped smile, red freckles and cow-like markings was staring back at me from my iPad. I had seen many like him, and had absolutely no intentions of adopting a second dog until that moment.
I am not sure about everyone else but I am taking full advantage of this beautiful weather to venture outside with my dogs. We have a 12 mile trail that starts just down the road from me and I have been taking my dogs on a hike at least twice a week. Not only is this great exercise for the both of us, it also allows my dogs to socialize with other dogs. If you allow your dog to socialize, be sure they are current on all vaccinations. Also, bring enough water for you and your dog to stay hydrated on the trails and take breaks if you or your dog seems to need one. My Anatolian Shepherd is only 16 months old but needs frequent stops. This gives me an opportunity to pullout my camera and take some pictures of Mother Nature at its finest.
The extinction of species worldwide is occurring faster than ever before in earth’s history. If we continue on our current path of habitat destruction and resource consumption this already frightening extinction rate will only accelerate. In fact, if we don’t drastically change our habits today, we are bound to lose millions of species.
Recently, we alerted you to the atrocities being committed during the illegal, brutal capture and killing of over 18 million dogs and cats for human consumption. As our recent email explained, dogs captured for this trade are often boiled or skinned alive for profit. While this inherently cruel practice continues to exist predominantly in South East Asia, there has also been a very strong movement by animal advocates to eradicate this gruesome practice both locally and in the U.S.
SPCA International is proud to support some of the most extraordinary organizations we’ve learned are employing creative and sustainable solutions to regulate or help end the trade altogether.
We have found organizations that are able to intercept cross border transport of thousands of suffering dogs and cats. Those organizations then provide nourishment, hydration and treatment for these victims and work to place them in homes or sanctuaries.
The coolest thing happened when we went to get Max yesterday. When we pulled up to the checkpoint going into Camp Buehring a soldier approached me. “Hey, you're with Operation Baghdad Pups? You saved my dog Stryker in 2009.” He could not thank us enough for what we did for him and his dog. I think he would have moved heaven and earth to help us save Max that afternoon too. Pretty cool!
Operation Baghdad Pups just wrapped up our 111th mission to Iraq, saving 17 more dogs from a certain life of pain and suffering had we not gotten them to safety in the United States. How many more dogs or cats we will be able to save from this country, still struggling to recover from the war, is unknown. But we know our job is not done. SPCA International will remain ready to respond to new requests from Americans still working in Iraq and it is our hope we will have many more success stories to share in the coming year.During this most recent trip to Iraq, I had something happen that highlighted what a difference we’ve made in a part of the world where animals are widely mistreated and efforts to kill them are an everyday, normal occurrence. I was taking a walk on a street in Erbil, and coming towards me on the sidewalk was a Kurdish man, walking a dog on a leash. My eyes could not believe what they were seeing. This was something completely out of the ordinary. It would be like encountering someone walking an elephant down a street in America.Of course, I could not let the man and his dog pass without saying something. When I said hello to the dog and slowly reached out my hand to pet him, the man stopped. While I ruffled the dog’s fur, his bushy tail wagged non-stop. I learned the obviously well cared for dog belonged to the man and his family. What he said next brought tears of joy to my eyes. “We have had Abu for seven years and he is a dearly loved member of our family.”I wanted to hug the man. It is people like him, which through their example will show others that loving and caring for a dog, is the right thing to do and it can bring endless happiness and comfort. I know too that all the Americans that served in Iraq and befriended a dog or cat, showed Iraqis that were working on the bases with them what kind of bond can form between a person and an animal. This led to some of these individuals coming to understand that dogs especially, are not to be feared and mistreated. If you love them, they will love you back. Each time the Operation Baghdad Pups team is in Iraq, we take the opportunity to show adults and children that a dog can be your best friend. A simple twenty-minute walk with a dog often stretched to several hours because the people we encountered are often curious and we take the time to stop and talk with them and let them slowly get acquainted with our four-legged friend. Many of them eventually feel comfortable enough to touch the dog – something most of them have never done before.Because of Operation Baghdad Pups, we have been planting seeds of compassion in Iraq since February 2008. Seeds that we hope will grow, and over time, will result in the local attitudes towards animals changing. This will probably not happen quickly, but we are encouraged by the progress we have already seen. Without a doubt, the presence of SPCA International in Iraq has had a positive impact on animals and people too.
You may remember Nahla from this time last year. SPCAI supporters rallied around this homeless, special needs pup to save her from the brutal streets of Iraq and pay for the surgery she desperately needed. A stellar volunteer, Barb, took Nahla in during her recovery. She fell in love, gave her a permanent home and renamed her “Ti”. Ti has a real personality of her own – between digging, chewing off her diapers and playing keep-away she has got Barb’s family on their toes every minute as you will learn in their Fall Update email...
It sounds like things have not changed a lot over the years on the frontlines of war. In 1917, Corporal Lee Duncan joined the Army. He was assigned to the 135th Aero Squadron, and was sent to the French front. On the morning of September 15, 1918, while inspecting the ruins of a German encampment, he discovered a kennel used to house working dogs. As he assessed the scene, he saw a hellish image of slaughter - a dozen dogs, intentionally killed by artillery shells. However, hiding nearby was one starving, female German Shepherd and her five tiny puppies. Duncan immediately knew he had to do something to save these miraculous survivors.
The August U.S. troop reduction from Iraq has not slowed down our requests for help saving soldiers’ dogs and cats from the war zone. October 1st will mark the end of airline imposed, animal travel restrictions due to the intense Iraq summer heat and my Operation Baghdad pups team is preparing to rescue more animals for our U.S. troops still on the ground.
SPCA International has always watched the work of Soi Dog Foundation with great interest and appreciation. Their team does incredible work for the animals in Thailand. Early on we were informed of the horrible flooding around Bangkok and how Soi Dog Foundation was responding with all the resources they could muster. The images we saw were heartbreaking, but also showed the heroism of the Soi Dog Foundation team. At that point, SPCA International immediately distributed an emergency financial grant to help boost their resources.
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