Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

From my family to yours.......Merry Christmas!



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Party Benefits Greek Dogs!

*Secret Santa Participants *

This years "Tails From Greece" Christmas Party was a great success raising close to $900 for the non-profit Canadian charity! Run by the incredible Dianne Aldan and her husband George, the part took place in the party room at the beautiful Esplanade building in Toronto. Some of the guests included foster moms & dads, volunteer drivers and supporters who love helping to get dogs and cats who live in dire situations in Greece (particularly Markopoulo, which is outside of Athens) and flown to Toronto where they are fostered until they find their furr-ever homes!!

*Foster parents in the back and Greek doggie adopters in the front*

Apart from all of the yummy food and socializing, attendees were treated to a guest speaker, veterinarian Dr. Sherebin, who spoke about holistic medicine and natural diets for our pets. The Secord Animal Hospital veterinarian was so informative and really brought a great discusiion to the group in regards to raw diets, major food companies and what we can do to keep our pets as happy and heathy as possible!

*Listening to Dr. Sherebin speak*

Upcoming fundraising events for Tails From Greece will include a wine tasting session at Cafe Nicole inside the Novotel Hotel in Toronto one Sunday afternoon in March. (Currently it is tentatively scheduled for March 25th, 2012) Also, Dianne would like to organize a hike within The Rouge to benefit the dogs. All money raised will help pay for veterinary bills and the costs associated with flying the dogs and cats over from Greece! If you are interested in attending any of these upcoming events please do not hesitate to contact Dianne at diannealdan@sympatico.ca


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11 Cats Need Our Help!!

Hello my lovely readers!!!

I thought you might be able to help with this!! Death Row Dogs needs your help! A lady has approached us in a terrible situation. She took in a few stray cats off the street from the cold and they have multiplied. She had almost 20 cats but has found homes for some and is now down to 11!

We would like to fix them but the lady is on a very low income and cannot afford to pay for this. She was in tears speaking to my friend Charlie Winship and is very saddened that she has made things worse. We would like to help her and fix her cats.

The cost is going to be $600 and we need to raise the funds by Wednesday December 22nd! If $300 can be raised by this date, we will pay the rest! We need you to share this far and wide!! Please... dig a little deeper to stop the cats that this house is churning out! Just $10 a piece........please share or donate! Lets help these cats!

Thank you everyone!!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Jane Goodall........COFFEE!!

The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada has teamed up with Toronto-based Fresh Coffee Network & Merchants of Green Coffee to produce Canada's first Jane Goodall Institute coffee! All specialty grade Arabica beans are ethically sourced from Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, certified Fair Trade & Organic & freshly roasted locally in communities across Canada. It's a delicious blend of bright citrus, with a smooth body and a chocolate finish.

Join them as they launch this delicious blend of beans on December 8th at Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) in Toronto!

Come and taste it for yourself - they promise you'll be hooked!

When? Thursday December 8th from 10 am to 1 pm

Where? Mountain Equipment Co-op: 400 King Street, Toronto

With give aways from Fresh Coffee Network, MEC and the Jane Goodall Institute!

Can't make it? You can purchase the coffee any time at the JGIestore: JaneGoodall.ca/store or by calling 416.978.3711.

By purchasing this coffee, you will be supporting JGIs community-centred conservation approach that helps protect African forests and chimpanzees while also improving people's lives. In Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, we are working with local people to restore their environments and to improve their health, education and opportunities to generate income in a sustainable way. Our ultimate objective is a more secure future for chimpanzees and other wildlife, and a better world for all.

A portion of all proceeds goes directly to the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


The beautiful, funny, talented & animal-lover Katherine Heigl reminds us all why balls are sooooo gross and need to be snipped off of every male............dog and cat!!!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Return Of The Black Sea Turtle: By Neil Osborne

Return of the black turtle by Neil Osborne from Emphas.is on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pig-Nosed Turtles Return After 30 Years!

The 609 Pig-nosed Turtles confiscated in Hong Kong in January this year have finally been returned to Maro River in Papua. All the turtles survived the long journey from Hongkong through Jakarta, then on to Merauke and eventually Bupul village in Papua.

The local people in Bupul were delighted to meet the team from International Animal Rescue Indonesia (IAR Indonesia) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) who accompanied the turtles on their long journey. They held a special ceremony dedicated to the future wellbeing and survival of the turtles. Over-exploitation had driven the Pig-nosed Turtle to extinction in the river.

Mr Arnold, Head of Bupul village, said: "It's a real privilege to be able to see and touch these turtles again. They have been extinct in this area for more than 30 years. We really hope that future generations will enjoy seeing them inhabiting the river and will continue to cherish and protect them."

All the pupils from the local school in Bupul participated in the release. They were thrilled to be able to set the turtles free and swim with them in the river.

Karmele Llano Sanchez, Executive Director of IAR Indonesia, said: "The repatriation of the turtles has been a complete success. We send our thanks to the Hong Kong and Indonesian governments for their eagerness to cooperate which made it possible for us to save them. Our grateful thanks also go to Kadoori Farm and Botanical Gardens (KFBG) who have taken care of the turtles since January and paid the entire cost of their repatriation and release.

"People in developed countries who like to buy exotic pets such as turtles should think hard about the effect this trade has on wild populations that are in danger of becoming extinct. Millions of turtles are captured and transported to supply the growing exotic pet industry and vast numbers of them die before they even reach the pet shops. It is a tragic waste of wildlife."

For more information about International Animal Rescue and the amazing work that they do please click HERE!



Friday, September 30, 2011

What Is A Potcake!?!?

Ok so your asking yourself the same thing right? What the heck is a "potcake"?? NOOOOO its not something you ate when you were a teenager!!! It is actually the name an island dog of mixed breeding which derives its name from eating the cake (grits or rice) left in the bottom of the pot! Pretty cool huh!?!

Unfortuntely these little "potcakes" aka mutts run rampant on many, if not all, the islands of the Caribbean. Thankfully there is a wonderful organization on the island of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, that is striving to help bring an end to the homeless dogs and cats that roam the streets.

My parents and I had the opportunity to visit Potcake Place (located inside a local vet clinic) and met the director Jane. The Potcake Place operates to rescue, foster and assist adoptions of potcakes for the Turks & Caicos Islands!! Jane was absolutely wonderful and introduced us to a few of their current foster pups, explained how they visit under privileged neighbours and try and help spay/neuter/release as many stray dogs as possible.

Since May 2006, Potcake Place has adopted 427 dogs in both the Turks & Caicos islands and North America. New Jersey came in first place with 41 adoptions while my Province Ontario came in second with 33 adoptions!! :) Jane also showed us their map which points out where in North America their local pups now live.

Next time your on the island of Providenciales, please take the time to drop by the Potcake and support their wonderful efforts. I purchased t-shirts, collars and a
re-suable tote (can't have too many of those right??)


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spearing Lionfish In Turks!

Turks & Caicos (specifically Providenciales) is one of my favourite diving destinations! The ocean is unlike any other hue of blue I have ever seen before and the islands are surrounded with some of the most incredible marine life you can experience in the Caribbean! I was so fortunate to be able to go back to my fav island in August for one week and dive 3 out of my 7 days! Again, I dove with the amazing Provo Turtle Divers who are always so keen on making every guest feel important and very looked after.

Of course my dives were filled with sea turtles, eagle rays, colourful fish and for my first time ever SHARKS!! However, a very special treat for me was being able to see my divemaster spear the very invasive and reef destroying lionfish!

To be honest, I am the LAST person on earth who wants to see any creature being killed, however, I kept reminding myself that the lionfish do not belong in the Caribbean waters, they have no natural enemies AND are wrecking having on local reefs by eating all the little cleaners.

Enjoy the photos of Dave, Provo Turtle Divers Divemaster, helping to preserve his local reefs!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jane Goodall: The Walking Angel

I can't wait to see this when it hits select theatres next week!! I had the honour of meeting Jane Goodall 4 years ago and I can honestly say she was the most humbling person I have ever met. What an amazing soul she is and if you ever get the opportunity to hear you speak you will be a better person because of it!!


Monday, August 22, 2011

No Plastic Bags In Provo!

*Using my re-suable bags while shopping in the Turks & Caicos*

One thing I hate just as much as animal and child abusers is definitely plastic bags! I really feel that there is NO more need in this world for such senseless waste that is used so mindlessly by people every single day! This year I have made an effort to pack my re-usable bags with me while going on vacation so that I can not only reduce my need for plastic but also promote the use of this easy eco-friendly habit.

I loved shopping this past week on the beautiful island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos. I bought some really cute turtle necklaces from Dive Provo and a Potcake Place t-shirt benefitting an organization that helps the stray animals of TCI. It was so funny to hear my mom say "oh no plastic bags please, we are environmentalists and have our own bags"!!! You don't understand - ever 2 years ago my mom would have said to me "oh relax Nicole! Its only one bag relax!" so it just goes to show you that persistence and speaking up for what you believe in does work out!! (even for my stubborn mom lol)

*My awesome scuba turtle necklace from Dive Provo*

If more and more people start to bring even one re-usable bag with them while on holiday it will really promote the practice to other vacationers and the local people. Think of how many plastic bags we can keep from blowing into the ocean and destroying our precious planet? If every one just took a couple extra minutes in their day to think "how can I make a difference?"
Hopefully in 2 MORE years there will be millions more converts just like my mom!! :)


Monday, August 8, 2011

A Thank You From Jamaica!

Animal-Kind International President Karen Menczer has started distributing the money I raised through my charity garage sale to the intended shelters and rescue groups around the world. I received a wonderful email this week from Deborah Binns telling me how she was going to spend the $150 USD I allocated for her amazing organization: Kingston Community Animal Welfare where Deb dedicates her days (and nights) to caring for stray animals, education the public, getting as many animals spayed & neutered as well as feed those who are dying of starvation.

From Deborah:

Hi Nicole

Thank you so much for your generous donation thru AKI. I have 2 little mutts I took out of the bushes last week, in the dead of night, in heavy rain. They were, unsuccessfully, trying their best to shelter from the wind and rain. They bawled like banshees when I grabbed them but eventually they calmed down after rubbing their ears and giving kisses to the noses! J ( that never fails!) I will be using your contribution to feed, deworm and spay and neuter them. And, I already have a home identified for them but they will remain with me for a while longer cause they are so small.

I am sending some pics of them.

Take care !


Here are the adorable pictures she shared with me:

I am so proud of all of those who donated to my garage sale and in turn helped raise close to $500!!! I have asked Deborah to name the little girl puppy "Charlotte" in honour of a great family friend of mine who is only 8 years old but is ALWAYS SO GENEROUS with all of my charity garage sales - she continuously donates her old Barbie dolls, Hannah Montana games and toys that she no longer uses. Without her help and contribution, many animals would go hungry tonight so THANK YOU CHARLOTTE!! :) You now have your own puppy in Kingston, Jamaica!!!

Aside from my donation to Deborah I also had Karen distribute the following:

$150.00 to Pilar with Helping Hands For Honduras to use as she needs

$100.00 to the Namibia SPCA to help build new pens/kennels for the dogs

$100.00 to the Bosnia Animal Foundation for their upcoming spay & neuter campaign

$50.00 to the Uganda SPCA to help spay & neuter as many dogs and cats as possible

(this fifty dollars was raised through Cash For Cartrdiges!)



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Belizean Pup Finds True Love!

I just received this story and picture from my friend Amanda who lives in Belize and is a huge supporter/volunteer for the Caye Caulker Humane Society. (I donated the humane trap to her back in March) I thought this story was too cute and gave hope for other dogs around the world who are currently in need of being adopted. It just goes to show you that "stray" dogs on the streets in 3rd world countries CAN make amazing pets!!!

From Amanda:

Maya (on the right) was adopted out to a Belgium couple who took him all the way home (from the Belizean Island Caye Caulker) at the very last minute with nothing organised! They keep in touch and often send pictures and updates for us. "Virus", their original dog, was known to be fussy about other animals around him (Virus was extremely spolied - they take them everywhere including sky diving, canoeing, hiking etc.) Well, it turns out "Virus" fell in love and this picture is of their nuptials in Belgium!!!!!

Hehehehe how cute is that!?!??! It looks like Maya may not be living the "island life" anymore, but I think we can all agree she is now being taken VERY well cared of and has found her soulmate!!! :)

For more information on the Caye Caulker Humane Society please click HERE


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let It All Hang Out!!

The summer months are a perfect time to take advantage of what the sun has to offer! Not only is it helping our organic vegetable gardens to grow nice and big, it also gives us the opportunity to unplug the dryer for awhile and allow the sun to dry our clothes!

I purchased a great clothes line kit from the Canadian store Grassroots two years ago and I absolutely love it! I leave it hanging all year round and it is still in perfect condition, line does not sag and no rust has appeared after our harsh winters. I can't imagine how many tons of emissions I have saved from entering the atmosphere as well as money on our energy bill. For us Canadians, we have to remember we only have a few months a year that we can actually let our clothes hang to dry so why not start now!?!?!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First Transport A Success!

I have always wanted to help transfer a god from one side of the country to another and last weekend I received my first opportunity to do so! Little "Scamp" was being transferred all the way from South Carolina, USA to Ottawa, Ontario and I was able to help out during this 900 mile journey!

*Scamp and I waiting for his transport van to Ottawa*

I picked Scamp up from a local hotel parking lot when he arrived from Kitchener, Ont. He was such a cute little thing who had been recouperting from a fractured front leg. I took him back to my house for some play time and relaxation before driving up to Toronto. This was the last leg of his journey before he boarded a rental van all the way up to Ottawa! Scamp will be fostered and put up for adoption with Minpinerie - a local Min Pin Rescue group in the Nation's Capital!

*My Dad Taking Scamp For A Pee Break*

* What a sweetheart!!! Good luck Scamp on finding your furr-ever home!!*


Friday, July 1, 2011

Plastic Bottle Schools In Guatemala!!

Thanks to the initiative and perseverance of Peace Corps Volunteer Trent Hodges, Las MaƱanitas in Guatemala now has a new schoolhouse... made out of plastic bottles. Local students and residents were asked to stuff bits of discarded plastic into 12 ounce plastic soda bottles until they were firmly packed! 2,500 of these “ecobricks” were then used to fill in the concrete walls of the new school house. This technology neutralizes the plastic and gets local residents to start thinking of creative and constructive (get it?) ways to dispose of rubbage (rather than burning it in the mangroves). Garbage is an intractable problem in the "Hawaii Park" area of Guatemala, and affects not only the health of local residents and ecosystems, but is also an eyesore for tourists.

Many thanks to the following organizations who helped fund the school: Hug it Forward Foundation, Fundacion Primavera, the MaƱanitas Beach Lounge, and the following hotels: Cafe del Sol, Hawaiian Paradise, Honolulu, Dulce y Salado, Casa Bella, La Haina, Utz Tzaba, Villa Kairos and Johnny’s Place.

For more information on these "Plastic Bottle Schools" and how you can help fund one in a needy community please visit: http://www.hugitforward.com/

- Nicole

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"One Man's Junk Is Another Man's Treasure........."

Well that quote sure turned out to be true because my charity garage sale raised a whopping $485.50 for one of my favorite organizations:
Animal-Kind International - and that's almost $200 MORE than I raised last summer!!! Even though it was a lot of organizing, cleaning and back breaking work I cannot even take half of the credit because without the donations from my amazing family and friends not even a penny would have been raised!!

A HUGE THANKS goes out to:

- My cousin Maria S. who donated an amazing Peg Perego stroller which brought in $50!

- My co-worker Sherry B. who donated a ton of BIG items including a couch ($50), futon ($20) and a lot of miscellaneous items which probably totaled an additional $50!!

- Lisa A. (an incredible animal activist) brought in $50 with an awesome elliptical machine and some cute Christmas items which my neighbor purchased!

- Kelly B. (my partner in crime re: animal welfare) donated so many great books, glassware and mugs!

- My wonderful neighbors Vern, Dale and Rachel donated a ton of kids books ($$$), two car seats ($18), an air pump ($15), motorized Disney car ($10) and lot of other outdoor toys ($$) :0)

- Last but definitely NOT least, the incredible duo Arlene and Charlotte (who are always sooooo supportive of my crazy charity initiatives!) brought over some awesome kid games, an ice-cream maker, Barbies and stuffed animals! WOO HOO!

I couldn't sign off without thanking Wesley, Sheena, Kristina, Serena, Michael & Chantelle and Pat who also donated some great items which helped me raise almost $500!

All of the money raised will be sent to various animal shelters and havens in 3rd world countries that are working tirelessly to improve the living conditions of dogs and cats that have no where else to turn. Also, because AKI has no overhead, 100% of my donation will go directly to helping the animals AND I can choose how the money is spent (ie: spay & neuters, de-worming meds, education, food etc)

Please visit again next week to see how the $485.50 was spent!!! :)



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rob Stewart & Our Fight To Ban Shark Fins In Toronto!!

*Rob Stewart & I*
The graduating class at the high school I work at had the incredible opportunity to hear Rob Stewart speak at their "Grad Breakfast". Rob Stewart has become a leader and hero in the anti-shark finning movement all across the world with his incredible documentary Sharkwater! Millions of people from each corner of the earth have credited Rob with opening their eyes to the crisis our planet is currently in. Surprisingly, I did NOT have anything to do with scheduling Rob into my school - it was actually done entirely by the student council committee. Rob spoke to the 18 year olds about conservation, speaking up for yourself, the planet and most concerning - the state of our oceans. He was very inspiring and definitely got the message across to many teens who would have been more worried about their next text message or what they would be doing for the weekend!

*Rob speaking to the class of 2011*

It was fantastic being able to meet Rob in person - I was able to get both my Sharkwater DVD and coffee table book signed as well as some pictures with him! Rob will be in Toronto all summer working tirelessly on encouraging Toronto councillors to ban the sale of shark fins in our great city as well as edited his new up and coming conservation DVD tentatively titles Rise Up! For more information about how you can help ban the sale and consumption of shark fins in Toronto, Canada please click HERE