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



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Busy Busy Non-Stop!

Phewwww! I am finally taking a little breather and sitting down for once this week! It seems like the days are flying by so quickly and my charity garage sale benefiting Animal-Kind International is now just a couple days away! The donations are really coming in now and I have so many great things to sell. A huge THANK YOU to all of my wonderful friends, neighbours, co-workers and family members who have contributed. Last year I was able to raise $350 for AKI and I am really hoping for $500 this year. So far I have some great outdoor kid toys, a patio set, baby stroller (thanks Maria), amazing shoes (thanks Serena), great glass wear and very readable books (thank you Kelly!) My garage is already full and I have more arriving tomorrow :)

*My garage sale from last year*

I actually have been telling myself "Nicole, you need to SELL these things NOT buy them for yourself! hahaha but there are some really great books I want to read. I guess I will just have to put them on hold at my library!

In between picking up donations after a hard day of pulling exams, I was able to have an ice cappuccino with an amazing woman last night! Her name is Kelly and apart from donating some great items and books for my garage sale she also does tons of volunteering for Toronto Cat Rescue, Forever Home Cat Rescue and Toronto Wildlife Centre. She does some amazing work and is always in her car picking up and delivering little furr-babies whether it be some sick kittens or an injured hawk!! It was great sitting down and having a conversation with someone who understands what we volunteers go through and some of the frustrations involved with rescuing animals. What should have been a quick coffee and hello turned into almost two hours at Tim Hortons!! I am not complaining though - I can't wait to do it again and be able to vent all of my frustrations to someone who understands!! hehe THANKS KELLY!!

I also rescued some gorgeous young adults from the high volume shelter yesterday right after work. Getting adults out during the summer is such a treat as there are sooooo many cute highly adoptable kittens that are there as well. All three girls were very sick unfortunately with an upper respiratory illness (cat cold) but I took them straight to the vet where they received antibiotics, fluids and were spayed today! Tonight they are resting comfortably in their foster homes and will be available for adoption in a couple of weeks through Toronto Cat Rescue!! THANKS TCR!!!

The three lovely ladies were:

*The beautiful Bridgette - who's pic does her NO justice whatsoever!*

*The skinny yet lovable Camelia*

*Jessa the regal princess*

Ok I am off to bed - too exhausted to write anymore!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Great Rescue Day!

Wow after a very long day at the high school I work at (exams are in 2 weeks so you can imagine the chaos!) I drove out to the animal control I always rescue from and was able to save four precious angels that were slated for euthanasia this coming Friday. My wonderful friend, and dive buddy, Shelley agreed to take the three little monkeys who all came in separately as strays.

I was able to get out Scooby - a beautiful medium hair kitten who is just full of life and LOVES to be cuddled!!

*Scooby On Death Row*

Shelley also agreed to foster Lilac - a teeny tiny tortie baby who is just 6 weeks of age. I had the little angel up in the front seat with me as I drove back to Shelleys house. The poor little girl trembled all the way there. I am not sure if she was cold from the A/C blasting in my hybrid or if she was just terrified out of her mind? Either way, she is safe tonight and has a bright future ahead of her!!

*A Very Scared Lilac At The Shelter*

Last but not least is Dexter who has turned out to be the naughty little kitten who things he's a great big Tom Cat!!! If you look at Dexter the wrong way he gets all hissy and thinks he's tough stuff! However, Dexter doesn't realize he is only like one pound and can fit in the palm of my hand hahaha so really he just needs Shelley's foster turned adopted cat Liam to put him in his place and show him who the real boos is!!!

*The Naughty Little Man Dexter!*

Just hours before I was to head out to the shelter I received an exciting email from a Toronto Cat Rescue volunteer asking me to rescue a Siamese cross while I was at the shelter. It is always such a great feeling being able to get out an adult while the majority of rescue groups are saving kittens only during the summer months. Of course none of them deserve to die, but it's always a treat for me to save an older cat. "Becky" the Siamese is absolutely stunning to look at and even sweeter to be around! I can guarantee that she will be adopted in a flash as she is just adorable and simply wants to be loved! All of the kittens and "Becky" will be available for adoption after their two week quarantine through Toronto Cat Rescue

*Precious Becky Who's Picture Doesn't Do Her Any Justice*

Hopefully it won't be long till I can rescue again!! The cages at the animal control were completely full. Of course as I was leaving with my four rescues a local resident was surrendering 2 adult cats and 2 kittens claiming they were "strays" - ugh it will never end will it?!?


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Demi & Ashton Tweet Puppy Mill Horrors!!

Demi and Ashton took a stand against puppy mills yesterday while tweeting this picture to their millions of fans: put up this billboard in Los Angeles this week to urge the power couple and their fans to stand up and do something about puppy mills. I am always telling my students the cruelty that takes place in these factory farms that are producing the millions of puppies and kittens that we see pouting at us from behind pet store windows. I can only hope that Dmei and Ashton will continue to speak up about this issue and hopefully bring as much attention to this issue as Oprah and Lisa Ling did back in 2008!!

*An incredible video I found online protesting Barkworks & puppy mills in LA*

Five minutes after this photo was taken, this puppy died. He never knew what it was like to live in a house or to be loved by a family. Rescued from a row of rabbit hutches, "Tommy" was one of seventy Bulldogs living outside in temperatures below 20 degrees. Upon arriving at our shelter, we noticed Tommy was lethargic and had difficulty breathing. Medical tests confirmed our worst fears - that Tommy had a serious heart defect, most likely inherited from his parents and caused by indiscriminate breeding. He was already in heart failure when the breeder gave him up. Every day shelters across the country receive complaints from consumers who purchase sick puppies over the Internet, or from pet stores, or directly from backyard breeders. The stories are always the same - "we didn't know it was a puppy mill," "we wanted to rescue the puppy because the place was so filthy," and "if we knew then what we know now, we would have been more careful." Tommy's brothers and sisters were sold over the Internet to unsuspecting families. We wonder to this day if any of them are acting lethargic or having trouble breathing, or are their families devastated by the death of a new pet.

Please do your part too!! Volunteer for an animal rescue group, adopt from your local animal shelter and most importantly spread the word: "Don't Shop Or Buy While Homeless Animals Die!!!"


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yummy Cupcakes Raise A Lot Of Dough!! (no pun intended haha)

In honour of Earth Day, the "Green Team" I run at the high school I work at and I held a bake sale to generate funds for various wildlife and conservation groups from around the world. There were tons of goodies including cinnamon buns, banana bread, a German chocolate cake, cookies and TONS of different cupcakes!! The sale was very successful and we were able to raise a whopping $103.00!!! After much consideration we decided to donate the funds to these wonderful charities:

This donation helps a wonderful organization in Chad who have dedicated themselves to protecting the remaining elephants of the Central African nation. We know our donation will go towards the building of a new elephant orphanage and help educate the communities to realize how important these incredible animals are!!

With this donation we were able to purchase a fire-wood saving stove for a family living around the Virunga National Park, DR Congo. These stoves use 75% less fuel than regular stoves and create a lot less smoke as well! We also made sure that we donated enough to have a tree planted to help rebuild the gorillas habitat.

We used our remaining $25.00 to sponsor a nest through a the new Guatemalan grassroots group Akazul. Created and run by the incredible sea turtle power couple Scott Handy and Sarah Lucas, we knew our donation would be in great hands!!! Unfortunately 100% of sea turtle nests laid in Guatemala are poached and sold to markets in the large cities that is why it is so critical to buy back as many nests as possible and hopefully by the time those babies are ready to re-produce the consumption of turtle eggs will be a thing of the past!!

*Till next year...........*