Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Perfect Excuse To Drink Up................

If you live in the Province of Ontario Canada I have the perfect excuse for you to head over to your local LCBO and purchase a bottle of red or white "Flat Roof Manor". The South African wine-maker has teamed up with Toronto Cat Rescue for a unique and savory fundraiser that will benefit homeless and abandoned cats to find their furr-ever homes in the Great Toronto Area. When you purchase a bottle of the highly rated Flat Roof Manor Wines from September 13 - October 15 2010, a $.50 cent donation will be made to TCR!! So start your Christmas shopping now and stock up on some merlot and pinot grigio and help the kitties of Toronto!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Search For A Good Cause!

Just last week I came across this awesome website that allows you to generate money for your favourite charity by just searching the web! I am constantly on google and yahoo searching for irrevelant things at 1am but now I can resume my search while raising funds for Animal-Kind International! It is so simple! Instead of googling, simply go to and follow these simple instructions:
  • On the GoodSearch homepage, choose from thousands of organizations or add your favorite cause to our list.
  • Search the Internet just like you normally would — the site is powered by Yahoo!, so you'll get high-quality search results.
  • Fifty percent of the revenue generated from the sponsored search is shared with the charity, school or nonprofit organization of your choosing.

Where does the money come from you might ask??

Goodsearch states:Search engines make most of their money from companies that pay an advertising fee when users click on links during a search. At GoodSearch, we've patented a way to track and direct these search-generated proceeds to charities. In other words, a portion of advertiser dollars (and not your own!) earned as a result of your search, are now passed along to the organization you've chosen to support."

So next time you need information for your projects or desperately need to know who got kicked off "Dancing With The Stars" head on over to and know that you are supporting a charity with little or no effort to you!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tortugitas On TLC!!

As much as I hate to admit it, I am NOT the biggest fans of the show Kate Plus 8. I just always feel like the kids in many ways do not have any appreciation for animals or the environment. Let's face it............Kate didn't teach them anything about responsibility and animal care when she made John return his 2 beautiful German Shepherd puppies and she definitely doesn't promote waste reduction with her kids seeing as though she uses plastic dishes and throwaway plates half the time for their breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I KNOW she has 8 kids BUT she also is a role model for many mothers and she should be setting a positive example since it was HER that brought these children into the world - they will be the ones dealing with the climate change crises in the years to come! OK enough with my is a GREAT video of Kate and the kiddies learning about sea turtles and conservation. They even had the awesome experience of watching the little tortugitas hatch from their nest and make it down to the ocean. This is an experience that I will never ever forget as I helped Olive Ridley hatchlings make their way to the unknown of the Pacific Ocean while I was in Guatemala last year. Let's hope the Gosselin kiddies take their experience to heart and never forget the importance of conservation! :0)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Animal Kind Intl & I Featured In The Santa Fe!!

"They call it The Haven, and as Uganda's only animal shelter, it truly has become a place of refuge for the country's homeless and neglected dogs and cats.

Every companion animal has a story at The Haven, and thanks to a global network of animal lovers, they survive and thrive. Animals like Hope — a brown dog paralyzed after being hit by a taxi in a Kampala slum — and her kennelmate Nelson — a dog that gets around just fine on two legs. One paw was chopped off at the knee, likely by a machete, while the rear leg is deformed, perhaps by genetics or an injury.

The two dogs enjoy each other's company, said Karen Menczer, who visited the animal shelter in July while in the country as part of her work for USAID.

"Nelson has been through a lot," said Menczer. "But he is a peace-loving and kind dog. He and Hope are very good buddies."

Menczer, a Jemez Springs resident, is the founder of the nonprofit Animal Kind International, a website that brings together people who want to support animal welfare throughout the world. Aside from Uganda, AKI supports animal-welfare groups in Ghana, Namibia, Botswana, Southern Sudan, Honduras, Jamaica, Armenia and Bosnia.

Many of the countries are places that Menczer and her husband, Ron Stryker, visited while working overseas in some of the world's poorest places. Both have spent their careers working to improve the lives of people in developing countries, but could not neglect the lives of animals they saw living in horrid conditions. Their off-duty hours were devoted to humane treatment of animals, and many animals returned with them to Jemez Springs.

While Stryker has retired from foreign service, Menczer continues to work for USAID, focusing on biodiversity, natural resources and conservation issues. Menczer recently returned from a stint in Haiti, where she said she was surprised at the lack of animal-welfare work — fundamental things like spaying and neutering — in the wealthier and relatively unharmed parts of the earthquake-torn country.

Many of the places AKI supports are dependent on one person, or a handful of volunteers. Menczer said she worries about animal- welfare groups in places like Namibia, where she recently learned a group will likely close its doors because of lack of funding and dwindling volunteer support.

The Uganda shelter, founded by the Uganda Society for the Protection and Care of Animals in 1998, however, is a thriving organization that is working to change to plight of animals in the country's largest city through spaying and neutering, veterinary treatment and humane education. The group hopes to move to a larger space, where the staff can care for an ever-growing pack of critters.

The shelter has doubled the number of dogs it cares for to 80. "All of them are wonderful — not a difficult, bad one in the bunch," she said. "A few are shy, many have been through difficult times, but they are all happy and well-cared for now."

Menczer, through a quirk of fate, happened to be in Uganda at the same time as two longtime AKI supporters, Sarah Schmidt from Washington state, and Nicole Divitcoff of Toronto.

It was the first time the Menczer had met the AKI supporters. "It was very exciting," she said, adding that the two enjoyed their visit at The Haven. "Ugandans are such nice, welcoming people."

Schmidt, who named Hope's kennelmate after Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who fought against that country's apartheid practices, presented an award from California's Central Valley Coalition and AKI in honor of the staff and volunteers.

Divitcoff brought with her duffle bags of needed veterinary supplies and toys, along with money she raised through a mass e-mail to friends and family. Divitcoff, a teacher's assistant, also has raised funds for other AKI-supported groups through a garage sale, with proceeds benefiting Helping Hands for Hounds of Honduras and Jamaica's Community Animal Welfare.

The $320 raised, split between both groups, covers about two weeks of dog and cat food for low-income families and stray animals in Jamaica and altering at least five dogs in Honduras.

A little money goes a long way for the groups, Menczer said, and that kind of individual fundraising is something AKI hopes to cultivate. Other supporters have asked that donations be sent to AKI instead of holiday or birthday gifts and at least two people hope to raise money through a marathon and other running events.

Menczer would like to encourage school groups and other student organizations to take on the challenge of raising funds to help the world's animals.

Many of AKI supporters are inspired by the stories they read on the website about the animals being cared for in difficult circumstances. Schimdt, the Washington state resident, worked to secure a wheelchair for Hope and paid for its shipping last summer.

During her African visit, Schmidt interviewed Jukko William, the taxi driver who took care of Hope and urged others not to "throw her out." Schmidt, who is writing a book for Ugandan children about Hope, interviewed William at taxi park and at The Haven, where the driver and dog were reunited.

Through Schmidt's contributions, one staff member, Mary, cares for Hope and walks her every day, along with giving other animals needed attention. It's the first time there is someone working directly with the dogs, Menczer said, helping new dogs get adjusted and easing the anxiety of shy dogs.

Divitcoff, the Toronto resident, said in a blog posting that seeing all the adoptable cats and dogs at The Haven was heartwarming. While the staff acknowledged the shelter is over double its capacity, members told her they didn't have the heart to euthanize healthy animals.

"Knowing that there are more homeless animals on the streets of Kampala waiting to be rescued from abuse, starvation and dangerous roads has made me committed to helping the shelter even further," she wrote."


To learn more about Animal Kind International's work and about each organization it supports, visit the website at

What an honour! Thank you so much for writing this article Ben!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Want To See This Picture!!

How cute do you think this picture would be?! Gwyneth Paltrow, the wife of the incredibly talented & eco-savvy Chris Martin ala Coldplay, announced her daughters love for the animal world the other day through Vogue Uk:

"She loves riding - she competed in her first horse show the other day and won second place. Well of course I was thrilled for her -but it's incredible because I hate horses and have nothing really to do with them. The other day I actually sent Stella (McCartney) a picture because there was Apple, just sitting on her horse, wearing a pineapple T-shirt. I just texted her saying, 'surely this is your child?'. It's amazing - she's a vegetarian, she adores animals, everything - she and Stella have really bonded."

Let's hope Moses is as sweet and animal-friendly as his big sis!!


Friday, September 10, 2010

For The Love Of Gary

Words cannot express the gratitude and respect that I have for the close to 100 people who have entered my life in the past 18 hours as a result of one abandoned, scared and homeless cat named Gary. These are the stories I read about from rescue groups in LA or watching “Best Friends Animal Rescue” on National Geographic, however, this time the story took place in my own backyard!

Last night I was taking to Kim, a veterinary technician at a local high-kill animal shelter, who spends countless hours everyday trying to help and save the many cats and kittens that come into who work everyday. I came across an all-white adult cat on her website names “Gary” whom was marked as “urgent” with a heart which indicates that the animal has a special need. Not knowing what was wrong with “Gary” I inquired about the little man who I knew would be killed any day. Kim informed me that he was the sweetest cat she had met in ages and would do anything to see him saved and that his special need was a limping leg. When Kim left for the night his cage had already been marked for euthanasia, therefore, he would be put down when the vet arrived the following day. Currently I have 4 fosters myself and did not have the room or funds to take in another foster so I thought I might as well send out an email to friends, family and those involved in animal rescue. I went to bed hoping and praying that someone would come forward and offer to rescue and foster little Gary for a few weeks until he could find his forever home. Well my prayers were officially answered! When I woke up I had over 15 emails from people and rescue groups willing to come forward and save a cat that would be killed within 4 hours. I even got texts from people as far away as North York to transport him out of Hamilton and my wonderful co-worker Anna even offered to foster him as she would not allow him to die. Little did I know, Kim had been talking with Debbie from Abandoned Cats who graciously agreed to rescue the little guy! Phew, what a huge weight lifted off of all our shoulders and the tears were burning my eyes as I was trying to help my grade 9 students with their science homework. So many selflessly wanted to help and not see “Gary” die.

Unfortunately with a huge lack of communication Gary WAS prepped for euthanasia this morning as the shelter staff did not check their email first thing when they arrived for work therefore they did NOT know Kim was urgently requesting them to take Gary off the euth list. Gary was administered a heavy dose of anesthetic prior to his imminent death so that he would not feel the lethal injection. Slowly the news got out that a cat whom so many wanted to save might be dead regardless of the fact that he had not been euthanized – he may not recover from the anesthetic now.

Countless e-mails were flying around all rescue groups and sounded similar to these:

- “Alex my boyfriend just called Hamilton Animal Control and was advised that this cat was sedated to be prepped for euth. this morning. He has still not come out of sedation.”

- “I just spoke with Kim at the Shelter and she told me that Gary was heavily sedated and there's a good

chance he may not pull out of it. I also spoke with Judith and she confirmed that Debbie from Abandon Cats Rescue agreed to take Gary last night. Debbie was also going to take him straight to an orthopedic surgeon to fix his limp.”

- “I am beyond devastated. There are no words right now and I can barely see my computer screen through my tears. Thank you all for what you tried to do for this little fella. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am praying that he wakes up. Syd is en route. If he does not wake up and it is too late for Gary, perhaps Sydney can pull another cat that is in danger of being euthed so that at least some good comes out of our collective efforts. Perhaps that kitty could take Gary's spot if little Gary does not pull through. I am praying that he will, so hard that he will.”


“I'm here and Gary has come out of sedation. He's groggy, his poor tail is all deformed and he is a sweetie. He's getting some advantage because he has fleas then we're blowing this pop stand.

He's going to recover!!!!!!”

After all the stress, drama and tears Gary is officially en route to a wonderful vet in Caledon who is going to put him on an i/v immediately to flush out any remaining anesthetic that is in his bloodstream. I cannot thank you all enough for support regarding Gary. He has faced and avoided death twice within ONE day!! I am not one to toot my horn but I am so proud of myself for sending out the initial email last night and got the ball rolling – not just because of Gary but it finally made me realize that there are good people out there in this world that do care and will help when the need arises!

Like I said in my above posting, in animal rescue you sometimes feel hopeless and all along but today gave me the confidence of the world to continue what we do best and NEVER EVER give up!!! You are all angels thank you

Update: Gary has a low temp and slow heart rate which is to be expected given the amount of horse sedative he received.The vet will give him a sedative antidote which would have been a lot more effective had he received it this morning after the error had been discovered. Gary will also get IV fluids to help flush out the sedative and to rehydrate him because he's really dehydrated.At any rate, he's in rough shape and we all have to pray that he gets through tonight. If he makes it to tomorrow it looks really good for him to recover so we all have to pull hard for this little guy - he has a strong will to live. He has a lame front leg, his tail is messed up, he's had some bad things happen to him he needs a break and he deserves happily ever after.

Final Update: Unfortunately Gary could not overcome the overdose of anesthetic he received. After so much care, love and medical tests Gary passed away this morning from fluid build-up in his lungs. In all my time and experience in animal rescue work this has got to be one of the saddest stories I have ever been apart of. The only consolation for me is that I know Gary died knowing love and affection - he was not alone. For donations to help with Gary's vet bill which is now at $1000 CDN please visit Forgotten Ones Rescue. It would be much appreciated.

With a heavy heart,


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Little Additions!

*Bradley in the Shelter*

I went to the shelter this past week and painstakingly went through all of the cages to choose my new little fosters. For some reason I had such a hard time picking the kittens I would take home with me which in turn meant saving them from euthanasia. I went in with two on my list: "Bradley" and "Bubbles". Bradley looked great and was yearning for me to take him out of the cage which I did immediately and told him that he was now safe and wouldn't have to worry about where and when he was going to get his next meal. Unfortunately when I reached "Bubbles" cage she wasn't looking very good. Her head was down and she was very weak - one of the first signs of the deadly and horrific disease distemper. I stood there for what seemed an eternity and apologized that I just wouldn't be able to risk spreading the disease to my little "Bradley" and any others I would be able to save that day. Whom am I to play God?? What gives me the right to say who will live and who will die?? I had to turn my back on "Bubbles" knowing she would be killed the next day because I didn't save her. As tears stung my eyes I was being pawed and called to by the countless other cats and kittens who were begging me to save them. I finally came across another lone kitten who just sat there pleading with his eyes. He looked active and healthy so I decided he would be little "Bradleys" playmate.......I named him "Bug-A-Boo".

*Bug-A-Boo behind bars*

As I was leaving the cat room with my two little men I came across the dreaded x and T/S which means that cage has been marked for euthanasia the next day when the vet comes in to clear out the cages. The "X" basically means whatever is in that specific cage needs to be killed and the T/S means the euthanasia is due to time and space. There was absolutely NOTHING wrong with the two kittens peering at me from behind the metal bars except for the fact that their mother had never been spayed, their father never neutered and they were born in a city that has some of the highest poverty rates in Canada. Ughhhh I tried to continue walking but I just couldn't. I opened Bug A Boo and Bradleys cage and threw in these two baby tabby's that were due to die within 24 hours.

*Pablo and Lilian*

THATS IT I ran out of the shelter (after signing the release papers of course) and cried in my car. How could I leave "Bubbles" behind? Why would these four kittens live and all the others die? Why the hell can't people spay and neuter their pets?? The ride back to my home was a long one and I wondered how I would explain to my parents that I just couldn't leave them behind?!? Of course I got yelled at and given that "dissapointed" look and reminded that as the animals leave our house no more should be coming back in BUT if I don't do it who else will?? For now at least "Bradley", "Bug-A-Boo", "Pablo" and "Lilian" are safe and warm in my basement and will find their forever homes in a few weeks. RIP Bubbles.


Fruits Of My Labour!

*Just a sample of some of the veggies I grew in my backyard garden this year!*

Unfortunately the summer season is coming to an end in Toronto which makes me very very sad. Summertime is my favourite time of the year. Everyone just seems happier as they skip off to work or grab ice cream sundaes at Dairy Queen. Not only is the temperature getting a bit cooler everyday, which reminds me Haloween, but the days are getting a LOT shorter!! Before I could be riding my bike a 9pm and it would still be bright and sunny out........but now by 7:30pm the sun has already gone down and it feels like midnight! Along with the lack of sun means my flowers and vegetable garden are not doing as well. This was my first official summer with my beautiful butterfly and yummy veggie gardens. From about July 31st on I had tons of cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes and my fav of all CUCUMBERS!!! It was so rewarding going out each afternoon and picking my fresh veggies right off the vines!! Next year I will definitely add more and different vegetables to my garden such as peppers, carrots and even some herbs!!!!