Monday, February 21, 2011

New Washer & Dryer!

*NOT My Laundry Room hahaha*

"I am sure we are going to save on our water and electricty bills because we are not using anywhere near as much water nor are we running the dryer for as long as we had to with the old and outdated appliances we had before. Before I used to have to run clothes for at least two cycles before they were completely dry but now forty minutes dries a heavy duty load!! I am so happy we purchased this new washer dryer set!"

- That's what my mom had to say the first weekend she used our brand new washer and dryer set. Sure, she's excited about cutting the time in half but I am secretly grinning thinking of how many pounds of carbon dioxide we will save from going into the atmosphere!! Not to mention, once the warm weather arrives in Southern Ontario we can start using the clothes line again and allow "Mr. Sun" to dry our skivvies!! hehehehe

We are not only helping the environment but our pocketbook as well! Its definitely a win win situation!


Michael Vick And The Real Story

Lately there has been a lot of Michael Vick in the news (last week he just cancelled his appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show). You remember him right? That loser who had it all going for him with the NFL career, major endorsements and millions of dollars going through his bank account each month? Well ya he pretty much took it all for granted and decided to open up his own dog fighting ring which operated under the name "Bad Newz Kennels".
I have been learning all about the operation, trial and crazy/horrific details in a terrific book I picked up from my library called "The Lost Dogs - Michael Vick's Dogs and their Tale of Rescue and Redemption". I am only half way through the book but I must say it is beautifully written and really goes into the details of how hard it was for the detectives and prosecutors to actually bring this story to light. I had no idea there would be so many government officials in Virgirnia who were on Vick's side and actually felt bad for the guy!

Thankfully we all know how the story turned out - Vick (and his loser dog killing friends) was charged, lost his contract with the Falcons,faced humiliation and did in fact go to jail for 21 months. Thankfully many of "The Vick Dogs" were in fact saved (not only from the life of fighting & death) but also dodged euthanasia with the help of some amazing rescue groups and very selfless/caring individuals. Michael Vick also paid close to 1 million dollars for the rescued pit bulls to go through intense rehabilitation and were given a second chance to live a second chance with loving families around The States. (120 of the Bad Newz Kennel dogs were not so lucky)

*Tim Racer & Donna Reynolds who saved so many of Vick's Pitties*

To find out more about this very interesting story which really changed the face of dog fighting in America, please pick up Jim Gorant's "The Lost Dogs - Michael Vick's Dogs and their Tale of Rescue and Redemption" you definitely will NOT be disappointed!!

- N

Monday, February 14, 2011

Update From AKI & The USPCA..........

There have been a lot of exciting things happening at my favourite (and the only) animal shelter in Uganda. An Animal-Kind International supporter designated his donation to the Uganda SPCA for community spay/neuter, the USPCA had the dogs at this orphanage in Entebbe (home to 40 children, babies to young adults) sterilized. Through this wonderful donation 4 males and 4 females were sterilized preventing countless unwanted litters, and USPCA still has funds left over from AKI's generous donor to spay and neuter additional pets of low or no income families. AKI donors can really make a difference for dogs and cats in poor countries, where there are so few people who are able to donate, and even when there are willing and able volunteers--as there are in all AKI partner organizations--funds severely limit what they can achieve.

During Karen's January 2011 trip to Uganda, she was able to see another way in which AKI donors have had a direct impact on the lives of animals in poor countries. The USPCA Haven's kennels needed repairs, and the AKI donations that Karen brought with her were put to use right away to get the kennels back into good condition. Also, as many of you know, an AKI donor's monthly contribution supports the salary of one of the Haven's caretakers, Mary (in the photo, wearing a pink dress) -because of Mary, each dog and cat gets personal care each and every day. (including one of my fav's "Hope"!)

*A picture of Mary & Hope that I took while at the USPCA in July 2010*

How Can YOU Help The USPCA!?!?

USPCA's Requests For Their Dogs & Cats

1. The USPCA pays $33 to spay a dog or cat, and give a rabies vaccination. Your donation of $33 will spay one dog or cat and provide one rabies vaccination; your donation of $330 will spay ten dogs or cats and provide ten rabies vaccinations. We are targeting females since our funds are low and with one vet whose services are already spread thinly, we have to maximize our investment.

2. You can also donate funds for general veterinary care. For example, the USPCA would like to organize regular clinics in slum areas where any animal can get treated for diseases or injuries, and can be de- wormed and get a rabies vaccination. The cost of this general veterinary care would be about US$8 for each animal treated.

3. The USPCA is trying to convince people not to keep their dogs in small boxes, and for willing owners, is providing an alternative—a running line. For US $7 the USPCA can buy the material for and install a running line.

4. You can sponsor a USPCA kennel and provide support to feed the dogs at The Haven. Usually, a kennel holds about six dogs. Supporting one kennel for two months costs about $200. At your request, the USPCA will send pictures of the dogs that occupy your sponsored kennel space.

5. You can support the USPCA by donating rent for one month. The USPCA has to pay US $400 for rent of The Haven premises. Any donations are greatly appreciated, especially given the high cost of rent and the salaries the USPCA now has to pay to keep The Haven operating.

Please support the USPCA and Animal-Kind International in any way that you can. They truly are an incredible organization that runs with no overhead whatsoever. Every penny that you donate goes directly to the shelters in need and helps countless animals get a second chance at life!



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pretoma Wins Changemakers Online Competition! WOO HOO

Ashoka's Changemakers, with support from National Geographic and the Inter- American Development Bank (IADB), announced yesterday that PRETOMA's Development of economic partnerships between artisanal fisher folk and tourism operators entry was one of the three winners in the Places On The Edge- Saving Coastal And Freshwater Destinations Online competition. The project is developing environmental, economic, and social benefits in coastal communities located along the southwestern Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste through the application of sustainable fishing practices. "It's exciting to highlight these fisher folk as leaders in the field, working on innovative solutions that protect the environment and strengthen the heritage and livelihoods of their communities", said project designer Andy Bystrom, emphasizing that, "PRETOMA thanks all of the people who took the time to vote for the project; we are truly grateful for your support".

250 entries from 54 countries around the world participated in the competition. Among the 12 finalists was Costa Rica's Corcovado Foundation and its Building the Osa travelers' philanthropy fund entry. While not selected as a winner, the foundation's work to combine tourism with environmental conservation is an innovative initiative that also deserves recognition.

For more info please email: and visit Pretoma's website HERE

Nicole :0)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Footwear Manufacturer Arrested For Using Skins Of Endangered Animals

Ines Gomez Sanchez, 60, a Guatemalan man who has spent the last 15 years fabricating shoes in the town of Pastores, Sacatepéquez, near Antigua, Guatemala, was arrested for using skins of endangered species of animals.

Gomez’s arrest was solicited by the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) last week based on several complaints filed by residents regarding his fabrication and sale of footware using pelts of endangered animals. On arrival at Gomez’s shop, Botas G, investigators found one pair of boots made out of jaguar, 2 made out of boa constrictor, and one each made of crocodile and caiman. These boots can come to cost close to US$2,000. Gomez was retained under Guatemalan wildlife trafficking laws which stipulates a sentence of 10 years in jail. According to Kurt Duchez of CONAP, there are at least 10 other footware businesses in Guatemala that use skins of protected wildlife.

Lets hope this served as a wake up call for all those involved in the killing and trafficking of wild and endangered animals. To think of a precious, nearly extinct jaguar being murdered and mutilated for a stupid, useless pair of boots just makes my stomach sick. I really hope the Guatemalan authorities take this crime very very seriously and does all it can to keep this criminal in jail and send a strong message to everyone reiterating the importance of wildlife conservation!



News is courtesy of ARCAS Guatemala

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Big Cat And A HUGE Toothbrush!!

After watching Bella rolling around on the ground and along the fence for a good scratch, volunteer Nick decided that a stiff bristled broom might be just the job to help her with those ‘hard to reach’ spots. Nick has been working on carnivore enrichment alongside animal carer Gabi (pictured below), and the broom was definitely this week’s highlight. However Bella had other ideas on exactly how she should use her new toy – as a toothbrush! She played along for about an hour, growling and purring in satisfaction, with a little rest in between.

If you’re interested in volunteering as part of the animal care team at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, please email

To learn more about Bella and how she was rescued, please visit Born Free Foundation’s website here. They are such a wonderful organization that is constanly trying to improve the lives of animals and wildlife around the world!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Disney's Earth 2011 Trailer Now Out!

Last year, viewers of Disney's Oceans had the opportunity to view a teaser trailer for the upcoming 2011 Earth Day release of the newest addition to their beautiful series and we knew immediately that it had to do with African cats! Well the full trailer has officially come out and the footage is stunning. The documentary will follow two big cat families as they live and grow in the African Savannah trying to survive as best they can. It will show the dangers, love and bonds these wild cats must endure while trying to live and protect & raise their young.

Following their wonderful dedication in conservation as they have in previous years, DisneyNature will make a donation to African Wildlife Foundation for the Amboseli Corridor Project with every ticket sold during opening weekend (with a minimum of $100,000 donation to this program). The African Wildlife Foundation, together with people of Africa, works to ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa ill endure forever. Celebrating it's 50th anniversary AWF is a credible and well respected conservation leader in Africa! So start calling your friends and family to make a movie date for April 22nd or 23rd and get ready to be inspired, educated and mesmerized by the beauty that the animals and landscapes of Africa have to offer.
Hahaha I know my friends and family won't be making any plans that weekend because they know I always have things planned for them! :0P

Also, parents and teachers can click HERE to download and receive an 8 page educational activity guide that will inspire children to learn about the African Savannah and the animals that live there!! It's a great way to get them interested and exciting about the movie in advance!


Irwin Family Will Return to N. America This March!

*Terri, Bindi & Robert with Oprah Winfrey this past Janury in Sydney*

Yayayaya I am soooooo exited that my favourite family the Irwin's will be hitting North American turf this March! Terri, Bindi and Robert will be appearing on various talk shows in Los Angeles and NYC to promote Australia Zoo and Bindi's newest wildlife adventures book series! Bindi will also be visiting Chicago and Toronto (woo-hoo) where she will be signing copies of her latest book "Trouble At The Zoo" which is the first of a four-part series available at Chapters/Indigo in Canada and most book stores in the USA. Check my blog in the coming weeks for up to date information!!