Proving that money DOESN'T buy you love, some big-time celebs have recently decided to adoptpooches into their family, rather than buy them. Check out the stories and adorable pics of their new best friends!
Miley Cyrus (or Hannah Montana, I never remember which one is real) and her Aussie fiancé Liam Hemsworth (who really only needs one word written on his resume: "HUNK") recently adopted a Chihuahua mix named Bean. Here's just one photo of the little fella; you can find about a million more on Miley's twitter.
And in Australia, the very talented and very lovely Missy Higgins went undercover recently in Griffiths, NSW to adopt Gizmo. I had to include three pictures of Gizmo - I hope you don't mind :)
So why am I always banging on about adopting rather than buying dogs and cats? "They're all the same aren't they??" Yep, you're right - they ARE all the same. There is nothing wrong or faulty with cats and dogs in shelters. (Did you see the dogs who were taught to drive in NZ to prove how wonderful shelter dogs are?) They've ended up there because someone who was meant to look after them hasn't been doing that. And that's not the dog or cat's fault.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds and thousands of these kissable critters stuck in pounds and shelters across Australia. Uncontrolled breeding, and worse - puppy mills! - have led to a massive overpopulation of dogs and cats. There simply aren't enough loving families for them to join. Buying from pet stores or online may mean you are giving money directly to someone whose only care about dogs and cats is to make money.
You can make a personal promise to all the dumped dogs and cats in shelters around Australia: that you'll always adopt rather than buy when you're ready to welcome a furry friend to your home. Take the pledge now.
Every year Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer has the stress-filled job of guiding Santa's sleigh to make sure kids everywhere get their pressies. He's about due for a break don't you think? So here are five animals who could fill in for him with the amazing ability to find their way, no matter where they are.
1. Howie the cat. Howie's Adelaide family left him with caretakers on the Gold Coast when they went travelling. Unfortunately, Howie made a break for it and it was feared that he would never be seen again. Fast forward a year and there's Howie sitting on the doorstep ... in Adelaide. The persistent Persian had travelled over 1500 kms to get home. And didn't use Google Maps once!
2. Loggerhead turtles. As well as having a great name, these turtles also have a great sense of direction. After birth, these guys hit the water and start an epic journey that takes them around the ocean. When they are ready to have their own babies, females return to the same beach where they were born more than 20 years earlier! Think of that next time you forget where you put your keys five minutes ago :P
3. Chica the border collie. A dog playing fetch is pretty cool, but a blind dog playing fetch?? That's awesome. Chica had both eyes surgically removed when she was a pup, but still has the remarkable ability to chase a ball and return it. Check her out in action ...
4. Misele the cat. Determined to help her human-dad when he was admitted to hospital, Misele crossed fields, forests and highways to visit him in hospital. Not only did she find the hospital he was in, she even found the right room! If laughter is the best medicine, then cats would have to be a close second.
5. Piko-chan the lazy parakeet. When Piko-chan got lost one day, rather than trying to find his own way home, he simply squawked out his full address and got his rescuers to drop him off. I like the way you think, Piko-chan! The brainy bird had been taught how to recite his home address in case an emergency like this ever happened.
There you have it - five animals who would be ready to step up so Rudolph can take a break. OK, maybe four - Piko-chan might not be the greatest help in the world. But I bet you could teach him swear words, and that would definitely help create holiday cheer over Xmas lunch!
This Christmas, you can give animals the best present of all - by extending peace and goodwill to ALL, and making your meals cruelty-free. Find out more at the Unleashed Pardon a Pig page. There's even some cool e-cards there you can send out to your friends and family!
I've heard of teaching old dogs new tricks. But teaching dogs how to drive? You have to see it to believe it ...
Two months ago, the SPCA in New Zealand launched a super-creative campaign. Their plan was to teach three rescue dogs how to drive cars. They did this to increase adoption rates by proving that rescue dogs are in no way inferior to any other dogs. Under the slogan, "Dogs this smart deserve a home", our three hairy heroes began their lessons.
And this is how it went. Get ready to smile!
Pretty awesome, hey?
Both Porter and the SPCA deserve a huge round of applause for what they've achieved. Encouraging people to adopt a dog is such a great idea. With 1000s of dogs being killed in pounds every year, choosing to adopt could literally save a life.
Find out more about adopting a dog; then promise to be a lifesaver yourself by taking the pledge to always adopt rather than buy when it comes to companion animals. And if you do that, then I think you deserve a round of applause, too :)
Has your dog got any funny or impressive tricks? My cat's best trick is luring people close enough to bite them. Can you beat that?
There's only one reason you'll ever need to adopt, rather than buy companion animals. And this video is it.
Forget asking, "How much is that doggy in the window?" You should be asking, "Where did that doggy in the window come from?" Because in many cases, the dogs you see in pet stores or for sale online have come from puppy farms.
There, the mother is locked in an empty cell, continually made pregnant, and never given the care, exercise and love that she needs. Her puppies are taken from her to be sold to pet shops or online to unsuspecting families. No animal deserves to be treated like that.
Puppy farms are also contributing to the shocking overpopulation of dogs in Australia, which is leading to tens of thousands of dogs being killed in pounds every year. The decision to adopt rather than support the cycle of abuse, overbreeding and death really is a no-brainer!
If you or your family are thinking about adding a new furry member to your home, you'll need to think seriously about these questions
Are you ready to make a long-term commitment? (Dogs can live to be 15 years old, cats even older!)
Will you be able to afford food, health care, safety and toys?
Do you have enough time to spend with your new best friend?
Is your place big enough for a companion animal?
If you've thought through all that, and decide to go ahead with welcoming a beautiful animal into your home, then here's some tips to get you started
Always adopt! You've seen the video, show it to your family so they know why adopting rather than buying is the right thing to do. You can even take the personal pledge to adopt and not buy.
Head to petrescue.com.au to find the perfect companion for you. They've even got an app!
Consider adopting an older dog. They're usually a lot more chilled and may adapt quicker to new environments.
Have you already saved a life by adopting? Was it a cat or a dog? What's his or her name? Tell me your story in the comments below :)
We've all given a dog a kiss at some point in our lives, but have you ever thought you'd have to give one the kiss of life? That's exactly the situation Hayley Bateup (superstar ironwoman) found herself in on the Gold Coast this week.
Now, because it's Friday and you've probably been reading all week, you can just watch the drama unfold on YouTube. Thanks YouTube!
Pretty amazing, hey? Would you have it in you to react as well as Hayley did?? (NOTE: letting a dog lick your face does NOT classify as "mouth-to-mouth resuscitation".)
You can be a lifesaver for dogs yourself, you know. By making the Unleashed pledge to adopt, not buy dogs or other animals, you'll be saving a life. More than a quarter of a million beautiful dogs and cats are killed in Australia every year just because there aren't enough homes and families for them.
If you or your fam are looking to welcome a fur-friend into your home and heart, then please adopt! You'll know forever that you've personally saved a life when you do. And that would be the best feeling ever ... for both you and the animal you saved.
And while we're talking about helping animals - head here and tell me your best tip to help animals beat the heat this summer, and you could win in Unleashed's latest giveaway.
It may not be groundbreaking news to you - but scientists have recently found out that dogs not only know when humans are sad, but they actually want to help us feel better! And if you've ever been licked on the face by a dog ... you'll know that they're pretty good at cheering people up. This weekend is your chance to give a little back to man's (and woman's) best friends.
In what sounds like a very adorable experiment, dogs (who lived with people, not lab dogs) were introduced to strangers who had to display all different emotions. When the person was pretending to cry, the majority of dogs would run over and try to comfort them. They would nuzzle and lick the person - apparently a doggie's way of saying, "there there, don't cry". Nawww. How sweet is that? Claims that the dogs would then offer to spend the night on the couch with the upset person eating soy ice-cream and watching Big Brother are yet to be proven. I bet they would though, dogs are that awesome.
This weekend you have the chance to return the favour, and help dogs who are in distress! There are rallies planned for Sunday in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to support Oscar's Law(a campaignto ban the breeding of dogs in puppy mills, and to promote the adoption of companion animals through shelters and rescue groups).
The conditions that dogs endure at puppy mills are heartbreaking. "Many dogs slowly go insane. They spin in circles or pace back and forth in their cells, some never see daylight, and the outside world is a foreign place to them ... They shy away from human hands as they have never known kindness. The dogs are deprived of even their basic needs as the current law is only concerned with food, shelter and water. The dog’s psychological and social needs are ignored on factory farms." This is just part of a description of puppy farms from oscarslaw.org.
Also, the breeding of more dogs on these puppy farms only adds to the dog overpopulation problem in Australia. Already 23 dogs and cats are killed every hour around the country because they don't have homes. This is a cruel fate for these animals who would love nothing more than to share hugs and pats with a family of their own.
So this Sunday, make time to help out dogs in distress. You can show your support at these places and times.
Melbourne: Parliament House, midday. Sydney: Belmore Park (opp. Central Station), midday. Adelaide: Light Square (Curry St.), midday.
p.s. Animals Australia will be holding stalls at all three rallies, so make sure you come and say 'hi!' and find out what else you can do to help animals.
Now, I'm a massive fan of Lady Gaga's music, and I think that she's got a lot of important things to say. But jeez she makes some shocking decisions when it comes to what she wears. Her latest monster balls-up is wearing fur. As if that's not bad enough - you should hear her bumbling justification for it.
You might remember a couple of Gaga's other fashion crimes. Her meat bikini (blergh-kini?) springs to mind immediately. This time she's draped herself in a fur coat in the middle of the northern summer. She defended herself by saying that while normal people would "see a carcass, I see a museum piece de resistance". She goes on to describe it as an "art piece". Really? It looks more like the carpet a mate of mine used to have in the back of his station wagon.
Look closely at the photo - see the adorable little dog there? If I was that dog ... I'd be freakin' out! After all, millions of dogs are killed each year for their fur. I wonder whether Lady Gaga would have looked at the coat differently if it had been made out of that little guy. A recent segment on Today Tonight showed that fur products being sold here in Australia contain dog and cat fur, even though it's illegal to import.
To make fur clothes, animals are beaten, anally electrocuted, drowned, or poisoned. Some are even skinned alive! When she was criticised for wearing fur, Lady Gaga responded by saying, "I do not support violent, abusive campaigns for ANY CAUSE". It's just a bummer that she DOES seem fine with violence and abuse against animals, I guess.
Did you know that every hour across Australia, 23 dogs and cats are killed in shelters and pounds? How awful is that?? These poor animals have done nothing wrong, it's just that there aren't enough homes out there for them. To help stop this relentless death toll, July is National Desexing Month.
Check out all the benefits that desexing provides for dogs and cats: 1) less "unwanted" animals winding up in shelters where they may be killed if not quickly adopted. 2) no more leg-humping when guests come round. Aaawkward. 3) less tendency to wander and fight. 4) lower chance of certain types of cancer - which means a higher chance of plenty more years worth of fun together!
For all these reasons, the National Desexing Network (NDN) (organised by the Animal Welfare League of QLD) has teamed up with vets around the country to offer discounts and deals to families who want to help. So if your family (or someone you know) has a cat or dog that should be desexed, let them know that this is the month to do something about it. Animals Australia is pleased to have provided sponsorship to assist promotion of this initiative.
The other way you can help to save a life is if your fambam is considering welcoming a dog or cat into your lives - adopt from a shelter, rather than buying. Bieber and Hannah Montana can't do it all themselves, you know! There's even an app to help hook you up with a shelter dog or cat!
PS. If you're lucky enough to be in Sydney in July, why not make some time to visit the My Human Family photography exhibition at Pine Street Gallery. The exhibition has photos and stories of rescued or adopted dogs which are guaranteed to brighten your day. Yep - guaranteed!
Angus and Julia Stone - they're family.
Joel and Benji Madden - they're family.
Probably all the guys in One Direction? I dunno, they all kind of look the same to me.
Whatever! The point is -- today is International Day of Families! It's a day to do something nice for your fambam. Pluck mum a flower from the neighbour's yard. Ask dad for one of his hilarious jokes. Don't give your bro a hard time for picking his nose -- if he enjoys doing it, let him do it, just for today. And most importantly - do something nice for the animal members of your family too!
You'd know as well as anyone that your companion animals are valued members of the family. Who's the first to meet you at the door after school? I bet it's the dog, right? And who better than kitty to sit down and watch The Voice with. Our four-legged friends even seem to know when we're in a good mood or when we're not feeling so great, and often pick up on it quicker than our mates!
So this year, for International Day of Families, try to do something so the furry family members (I don't mean your brother) know they really are part of the family. Now, I can hear some of you already - "but it's Tuesday man, I need to save my brain for the rest of the week". So here's some ideas I prepared earlier:
TWO walks in a day!
A new chew toy, with special cruelty-free treats inside.
Plenty of pats and loads of attention.
And trust me on this one ... tell them you love them.
Here's my special mate Gus moments after being told I love him, and moments before launching an attack on my leg.
When the day comes that cats rule this world (and it will happen), maybe they'll think back to how cool you were to them today, and they'll go easy on you. Maybe. Who knows what cats are thinking?
How are you going to spoil your furry family members today? Leave a comment.
I've got an app that makes my phone a flashlight (doesn't work), and one that promises to give me ripped abs (also doesn't work). But finally I found something useful! PetRescue has released an app for iPhones that matches shelter dogs and cats with potential new families. It couldn't come a moment too soon either, with over 200,000 cats and dogs being put down in shelters around Australia every year ... simply because they couldn't be rehomed.
This sensational new app was developed by two NSW based programmers -- Brandon Cowan and Wei Zheng. The impressive thing is that Brandon is just 18 years old! These two guns developed the app entirely free of charge for PetRescue and now you can grab it at the bargain price of ... absolutely nothing! That's right; it's free for you to download. What a couple of legends Brandon and Wei are -- donating their time and energy for our lovable furry friends.
This app really makes my tail wag. I'd encourage any family to adopt rather than buy, so if you, your family or anyone you know is considering it, then make sure they know about this app.
And while we're on the topic - do you know of any other cool apps to help animals? If you've got one in mind, why not talk it up with a comment below!
I love happy endings! Don't you? I can't think of a better way to finish the year than with a happy ending.
We've shared a few rescued animal videos with you recently. First there were apes, then turkeys (those videos are a must watch btw) and now ... check out the amazing first moments of freedom for 9 beagles who were rescued from an animal lab in the USA earlier this year:
Quite the tear-jerker, isn't it!
2011 has been a pretty amazing year all round. If you don't know what I'm talking about then check out our year in review video and you'll soon get the picture: animal rights has never been such a hot topic in Australia as it is right now. What a way to start the new year!
Here's to making an even bigger impact for animals in 2012, and giving even more animals a happy ending, like these beagles! (Needing a few ideas for new year's resolutions to help animals: click here.)
I don't know about you, but the idea of having a dead animal draped around my shoulders to keep warm, or worse, to make a 'fashion statement', makes me want to recoil in disgust, or more to the point: puke!
On a recent shopping trip I happened to spot a number of rabbit fur vests in shop windows--at least I think they were rabbit fur . But with dog and cat fur often deliberately mislabelled and imported as 'rabbit', you can never be sure.
What is up with this resurgence of fur?! At the recent Melbourne Spring Fashion Week there were a disturbing number of attendees in the crowd wearing this season's "on-trend" of brightly coloured fur.
Even Aussie expat, supermodel Jess Hart has been seen walking around the streets of New York in a fur coat that I'm sure looked much better on the animal it was taken from.
And to top it all off, the latest episode of Australia's Next Top Model again featured fur to the disgust of viewers and even the show's own judges. ANTM copped it last year for the same tasteless faux pas so they have no excuse for not using faux fur this time around.
We know there is nothing fashionable about the cruel slaughter of animals for fur. Fur farms, which often use killing methods such as drowning, anal electrocution and skinning alive are kept in business through the demand for fur coats, gloves, hats, fur trimming at the cost of thousands of animals' lives.
What do you think -- How can we communicate to these "fashionistas" that animals need their fur on their own backs, not ours? With so many cosy cruelty-free outfits at our fingertips, haven't we evolved past killing animals for coats?!
Some of you may have been following the story of Oscar, a small dog kept for breeding on a property in remote Victoria. Found cowering in the back of a small dark cage, Oscar's fur was thick and matted, he had fleas and mites in his infected ears and his teeth were so infected he couldn't eat. He was rescued from this nightmare by a woman named Debra Tranter.
After being treated by a vet, shaved and desexed, he weighed only 1.6kg by the time he got to what should have been his new home. Then in what could have been a scene from a movie, police raided Debra's house in the middle of the night, arrested her, seized Oscar and returned him to the miserable puppy factory.
It was this awful experience that inspired the birth of a nationwide campaign against puppy farms known, as Oscar's Law. While Oscar was again languishing alone in a cage, caring people would keep fighting to save him and the thousands of others like him.
Puppy factories are just like factory farms – only for pets.Dogs are kept in small cages for breeding. They hardly ever get patted, or have their bellies rubbed and they almost never get veterinary treatment. Often living in their own filth, both parents and puppies can suffer from various diseases and illnesses that can often go untreated.
Why do puppy farms exist? People want puppies. It's as simple as that. Most people don't realise that when they buy a puppy from a pet shop or from an ad in the paper, they are usually from these hellholes and the parents are living a life of confinement and misery.
What else? If you're looking to bring a four-legged friend into the family, then make sure you adopt from a shelter. There are millions of healthy animals in shelters across the country just waiting for a new home. So huge is the dog and cat overpopulation problem in Australia that each hour, 23 dogs and cats are put down just because they haven't been able to find a home. By adopting from a shelter, you not only save the life of an animal in need, you can take your new friend home happy in the knowledge that you haven't contributed to a cruel industry.
Whatever became of Oscar?
In July, Debra donned a disguise and headed back to the dreaded puppy farm after seeing a newspaper ad selling adult dogs. Knowing the cage, she found Oscar straight away, trembling in fear. The puppy farmer considered him "no good" because he had been desexed, so sold him for a "discount price" of $400. Oscar is finally safe and in loving arms!
But Oscar's friends still need us. You and everyone who cares are the animals' hope for an end to their suffering in puppy farms and for safety at last. For more info head to www.OscarsLaw.org. See you on Sunday!
Thanks to Debra Tranter for use of photos
UPDATE18/9/11-- Thousands of people attended the rallies for Oscar's Law in a huge show of support for a ban on puppy farms. In Melbourne, the guest of honour was little Oscar himself. Thanks and well done to everyone who helped to send a clear message to our politicians that cruel factory farming of companion animals must end!
Have you ever wondered what your dog or your cat would say if they could talk back to you? I'm certain my dog, Kia would tell me she doesn't care if she has her own chair, she'd rather sit in mine! I also have no doubt that as I type this, she is trying to say "Hurry up, let's go outside for a tug of war!"
And what would animals say to each other? I really hope this video is close to the truth ;)
A biologist from the Bahamas might be on her way to discovering what animals really have to say. Denise Herzing has been working with dolphins for years and has devised an amazing way for humans and dolphins to communicate. Using symbols, and a keyboard synthesizer that creates sounds similar to those naturally produced by dolphins, they can actually ask each other for particular objects, like a ball or a scarf. How incredible! And she thinks it's only a matter of time before more complex interactions get started.
I just discovered a very sweet song by a very sweet lady about a very sweet subject. I give you – "The Dog Song" by Nellie McKay.
Clearly Nellie loves her pooch, but the song has a great message too; "Just go right to the pound/ And find yourself a hound/ And make that doggie proud/ 'cause that's what it's all about."
This is great advice! In Australia 23 dogs and cats are put to sleepevery hour because there aren't enough loving homes for them – it just makes sense to get a dog from a shelter and save a life (rather than buying from a pet store or breeder). Not only that, but you'll end up with a very loving and loyal companion.
I was pretty impressed with this cute song so I looked up the singer. It seems Nellie has also written a song about the vivisection that goes on at Columbia university and is involved in the campaign to ban horse drawn carriages from city streets. Sounds like the animals have a very talented friend in her!
Unbelievable but true, a Danish 'fashion' house has decided it's not bad enough that humans wear the skin of another species, but now they want dogs to be wearing another animal's fur over the top of their own!
The company says that "it can easily be worn all year round". Correct me if I'm wrong, but do they not already have a fur coat that they wear all year round?
The company have encouraged their customers to "put the health of the dog before anything else. Situations where it is too hot for the dog to wear fur can occur." It's a shame they don't have the same concern for the health of the animals in fur farms!
Fur is an ugly business! On fur farms foxes, rabbits, minks, cats and even dogs are forced to live in tiny cages, before being killed - often in the most brutal ways imaginable - anal electrocution, drowning, gassing, or even being skinned alive! Anyone who has seen Earthlings will remember the live fox, who had been skinned and left to slowly die in a dumpster,without even the warmth of her own skin for comfort.
Skinning one animal to make another 'more fashionable' takes the cake for being tasteless, cruel and so unnecessary!
Is it just me, or has this fashion house gone mad? wdyt?
It took its sweet time but summer is finally here! Sun, surf, cricket on the beach, festive get togethers and of course, hot hot hot weather!
If you saw that picture of a koala cooling down during a heatwave in Adelaide a few years back, you'll know how important it is to keep cool, and help our pets and surrounding wildlife keep cool too!
So may I introduce the ultimate 10 point Unleashed Summer Survival Guide!
Be Water Wise!Always leave water out for your own animals as well as the sweltering wildlife, and top it up throughout the day (you'll thank me when you see magpies dunking their heads in the waterbowl!) If you have a pool make sure you cover that when you're not home – they are just so inviting at this time of year that animals may decide they wanna have a pool party, which can lead to trouble when they can't get out! (PS If you have a dog, a shell paddle pool is the best Christmas present you can buy!)
Never Ever Leave an Animal in the Car! Not even for 30 seconds. Even on cloudy days, the temperature inside the car will increase very quickly — even with the window down or the air conditioning on. Pets are at severe risk of heat exhaustion and death in this situation, so it's never worth the risk.
Watch out for Snakes! Those slipperies can really thrive when the weather warms up, so if you're walking your furry friends through bushlands or national parks, be extra careful to avoid snakes and make sure you know what to do if one of them manages to nip your pet. Snakes are attracted to the cover of scrub and long grass. If this sounds like your backyard, mow the lawn (or tell your parents to!) and pay attention for symptoms of snakebite — some are less obvious than others.
Pets are Not Presents! Never ever buy an animal as a gift for someone, no matter how big the puppy dog eyes are! People should only get animals for themselves when they are sure they are ready for the commitment of having a pet, and then it should always be from an animal shelter, never a pet shop.
Secure the Perimeter! Before the festivities start, ensure that your yard/house is safe and secure. Many pets can be spooked by loud noises including storms and especially fireworks. An escape proof property means there's no chance of Fido bolting over a fence or through a window and becoming lost or running into traffic. And ensures you don't spend your Christmas day frantically searching the streets!
Keep Decorations Out of Harms Way! When hanging ornaments, lights and tinsel on the tree, ensure they are high enough off the ground so as not to become a choking hazard to pets. We all know how much curious cats love shiny things!
Provide a safe haven! When the house becomes crowded with friends and relatives, shy animals can become nervous and seek solitude. Make sure there is always somewhere quiet, away from people, where your animals can retreat to if they need to. You may also need to join them there for some time out by the end of the day! ;)
Ration Leftovers Wisely! We've all seen the longing eyes of our beloved dogs and cats trying to levitate the food off the table, especially at holiday time. But certain tasty foods are potentially dangerous to dogs or cats and can cause significant damage or even death. While this list is certainly not definitive, some common foods on the Christmas table to avoid feeding your pets include: chocolate, grapes (raisins and sultanas) and nuts (both of which will probably be in your Chrissy pudding), garlic or onion (do you put these in your gravy or stuffing?), sugary candy, yeast (in bread), mushrooms, tomato leaves or stems, anything with caffeine and cooked chicken or turkey bones. Click here for a more extensive list of toxic foods. You should also never give your pets paracetamol, as this can kill the animal not the pain, (besides you may need it yourself for the Boxing Day recovery)! If you suspect your animal may have eaten something that could be harmful, take them to the vet immediately.
Take Them With You! Ask your parents to find pet friendly accommodation if you are planning a trip away. Dr Katrina Warren has a few tried and true pet-friendly holiday spots listed on her website, as well as some very important tips for travelling with pets. If you really can't take your best friend with you, make sure you check out and inspect the best kennels available in your area and book well in advance (they fill up very fast for Christmas time!).
Be Prepared for Wild Activity on the Road! Keep an emergency kit in the car for any unforseen mishaps on the road. As well as food and water for your own animals, make sure you bring extra, along with a blanket and a box in case you come across injured or exhausted wildlife on the road. Save the phone number for the local wildlife rescue service in your phone before you set out.
Let me know if you've got any more tips on how to ensure the festive season is enjoyed by all members of the family!
And for great ideas on having the ultimate cruelty-free Christmas, check out this brand new tradition: Pardon A Pig! Happy Holidays!
So I just discovered that across Australia, 23 dogs and cats are euthanised every hour because there just aren't enough people willing to give them loving homes. I knew the stats were bad, but I had no idea they were that bad!
Puppy mills that supply pet shops aren't just blatantly cruel, they've caused the unwanted pet population to explode. The 'designer dog' phenomenon also adds to the problem. And this just gets multiplied when companion animals become unexpectedly pregnant because they haven't been desexed.
That's why I was really pleased to find out that the National Desexing Network has declared August to be National Desexing Month! This initiative of the Animal Welfare League of Qld has arranged for almost 100 vet clinics around Australia to offer subsidies, discounts and special deals on desexing your beloved pets.
If your animals are already desexed – Well done you! Give yourself a gold star! If they aren't, then now's your chance! Click here to find a vet near you offering a reduced price! And if you know anyone who hasn't had their furry four-legged friend fixed, direct them to the website, to take of advantage of the discounts while they still can!
Still not convinced? Desexed animals are more sociable (no spraying or humping my leg thank you very much!), less prone to wander or fight, have reduced risk of getting cancers in the reproductive organs, and (the clincher for me) generally lead longer, healthier, happier lives. Who wouldn't want that for their best friend?
Plus, you'll never have the extra burden of having to find homes for unexpected bundles of fur, or worse, taking them to the pound in the hope that they will do it for you (don't forget that opening stat!).
And finally, if you're thinking of giving an animal a home, please don't buy. Visit a shelter. I promise you'll find your new best friend there, and save a life at the same time. I did! :)
I probably don't need to tell you Lea's onto a good thing. Adopting an animal from a shelter, rather than buying one from a pet store or breeder, is a great way to help animals ... For so many reasons!
For starters, you're giving a needy animal a home. Every year across Australia, over 200,000 dogs and cats are put down in shelters because a loving home could not be found for them. Every time a dog or cat is bought from a pet store, or a breeder, that's one less home for an animal in a shelter. And to add insult to injury it also creates the demand for even more dogs and cats to be bred :(
If that weren't reason enough, then puppy mills certainly are! Puppy mills are like factory farms for dogs. Imagine dozens or even hundreds of dogs kept as breeding machines - each dog confined to a small enclosure and given little exercise. These animals rarely get enough opportunity to socialise with other dogs or humans. Investigations of puppy mills have found dogs huddled in enclosures without proper shelter or bedding, and have found sick and weak dogs without proper vet care.
Many pet stores sell puppies from puppy mills. It's heart breaking to think that while the furry little bundle of joy that families buy at a pet store is on his way to his new home, his mum and dad are probably still suffering in a puppy mill.
Adopting a new furry friend from a shelter can be an incredibly rewarding experience. And it is all the more rewarding when you know that you've given a needy animal a loving home. Fingers crossed Lea's stickers reach a lot of people (and I'm sure she'd be happy for you to print them out and help make that happen - click on either image to get a larger version).
Have you adopted an animal?
Got something you're doing to speak up for animals?
Have you heard about Nadya Suleman? Last year she grabbed worldwide attention when she gave birth to octuplets, bringing her total number of children to 14!!! Gosh, I have enough trouble keeping my own affairs in order, let alone looking after a football team's worth of kids! While Ms Suleman's situation might seem highly unusual, sadly in Australia there are many other mums giving birth to litters of children who may never have a proper home. Yup, I'm talking about dog and cat overpopulation.
The harsh reality is that every year over 200,000 cats and dogs in shelters across Australia will be deemed 'unwanted' and be euthanized. Now if that's not a big enough number for you to sit up straight, remember that there are also at this very second an estimated 10 million stray cats around the country. So it's easy to see that we're in a bit of a pickle!
But there is a solution (hoorah!)... The catch is that to make it work, everyone with companion animals has got to do their bit. A simple snip & sew (ie. desexing) by a vet will be a huge help to prevent even more cats and dogs suffering a life on the streets.
So if you haven't already, book your little guy/girl in for an overnight trip at the local vet. It isn't all too expensive, and it'll spare you the grief of having to deal with your own litter of octuplets!
This is my own little ambassador: Charlie, whom, due to being incredibly gorgeous and irresistibly handsome, is definitely a ladies' man dog. Although I'm sure he knows he won't father children... it still doesn't stop him from trying ;)
Tis the season to be jolly, no doubt. But as we edge towards Christmas, I couldn't help noticing all of the pet shop windows filled with animals. And this got me thinking that sometimes the best of intentions can have tragic consequences.
Australians love their pets—53% of households have a furry friend. And there's no denying it's easy to fall for those cute little animals in pet store windows … (they don't call them ‘puppy dog eyes' for nothing)! Yet, most people have no idea where these animals come from, or the sad fate that awaits so many of them. So in hoping for a kinder Christmas for animals this year, here are 5 things you should know about giving animals as presents.
Animal shelters and pounds are already beyond capacity with abandoned and orphaned animals. Every year, some 250,000 healthy cats and dogs are killed around Australia, simply because there is no one who will take them in. When people buy animals from backyard breeders or pet stores, they literally destroy the chances of a shelter animal finding a home, and they put money in the pockets of those who are creating the overpopulation problem.
Sadly, most animals in pet stores come from puppy mills—factory-like facilities where animals live in miserable conditions—the mothers are treated as nothing more than breeding machines, until they reach their limit, and usually die. Puppy mills are factory farms for dogs and cats.
Post-Christmas, animal shelters receive more animals than at any other time of year. Why? Because adopting an animal is a lot of responsibility, and many people don't consider the commitment they are making, or that they are obliging someone else to make by giving them an animal. Consider this: Will you have enough time to exercise and train them? Will you have the money to feed them and cover vet bills? Do you have the space? These are important questions, and not easy ones to answer for someone else.
An Unpleasant Surprise:
At some point we've all opened some present and thought “Oh god! What am I going to do with this?”, but unlike that shirt you'll never wear, or that book you'll never read you cannot pack an animal in a box and forget about them. Many people don't have the time, patience or desire to look after an animal. So that cute little fur ball may not give your loved one the pleasant surprise you'd hoped.
Adopt & Desex:
Giving an animal as a gift is never a good idea, unless you've consulted the person who will be looking after the animal first. So if you're certain they tick all the right boxes and they've said they want a furry addition to the family, then here's how to put a smile on someone's dial and save a life: adopt from a shelter. Adopting from a shelter gives a home to an animal in need and helps to reduce pet overpopulation. And be sure to desex—desexing does more good than you can ever imagine. The world doesn't need any more dogs and cats—we need homes for the ones who are already here.
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.