Animal advocacy groups press on to save pets affected by #Harvey


People who work with pets and animals might soon notice a boom in the number of little creatures named Harvey.

At least two animal advocacy organizations are telling stories of animals saved in the wake of the former hurricane who rescuers named after the storm that battered Texas.

Those two animals – a baby sheep and a hawk – are among thousands of animals needing help after Harvey, which has left a death toll in the double digits. An army of organizations and workers are finding that the efforts to rescue and transport dogs, cats and other creatures is nearly as intense as that to help humans affected by Harvey.

 “We are actually ramping things up,” Katie Jarl, Texas state director of the Humane Society of the United States, told USA TODAY Friday.

“When you have a population of that many thousands upon thousands of people who have lost homes and people are using the news to just find their family members – can you imagine if it’s that difficult to find your mom and dad how difficult it is to find your cat?” Jarl said.

The rescue effort for thousands of pets affected by the storm will take years, said Jarl, adding that her long days and nights getting animals flown to other parts of the country, returned to owners, treated by veterinarians and rescued from danger have been “powered by coffee.”

Jarl’s organization is one of many that have coalesced to make sure people’s furry companions get to safety and health after the storm that pounded Texas. Every organization and private company that deals with animals seems to be involved: the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Best Friends Animal Society,, Wings of Rescue, PetSmart and many more.

The furry — and not so furry creatures — are often rattled by what has happened and sopping wet when they arrive to safety. Some have gotten sick while waiting for help. Some are found clinging to furniture, while others have been saved from drowning.

The efforts are massive:

— Best Friends Animal Society has taken over the 15-acre Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Conroe, Texas, and made it into Rescue and Reunite Center where animals are being reunited with owners or triaged.

— People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, was in hard-hit Port Arthur rescuing stranded animals by boat in scenes reminiscent of Noah’s Ark.

— On Thursday, a team representing the Humane Society went to hard-hit Rockport, Texas. The workers are sleeping in the local jailhouse because it is the only place still standing with enough beds for them and they are people who have lost everything, Jarl said.

At the Montgomery County Fairgrounds site, 30 employees with Best Friends Animal Society from all over the country were handling veterinary care, animal transportation and other duties, Eric Rayvid, director of public relations and content marketing for Best Friends, told USA TODAY.

“We’re bringing all animals rescued from the flood waters here and letting people know they can come here to find their pets,” said Rayvid, the sounds of barking at the fairgrounds site in the background.

Organizations and companies have donated money, goods and services too, animal advocates said. Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper Real Estate in San Antonio is inviting the public to a pet adoption event planned in conjunction with shelters.

The American Kennel Club Humane Fund has donated $10,000 and a trailer to help with the pet rescue to the city of Houston. paid for about 120 dogs and cats from a shelter in Louisiana to be flown by the humanitarian animal organization Wings of Rescue to Manassas, Va., on Saturday so they would have a safe place to live until they can be reunited with their families.

PetSmart Charities is giving upwards of $1 million in emergency aid and several truckloads  of pet food and supplies to help the animal advocacy groups working on the ground.

The animals that are the recipients of all this help are not always dogs and cats.  read more…


Michael Phelps follows the GOAT path until the finish


He left it all in the pool, every inch of his lean and bruised body, every dazzling and dark moment of his career, all swirling behind him in the roiling waters of the Olympic Aquatics Center.

He bent down over the deck in exhaustion. He stayed down, staring at the blue floor, basking, breathing, until he finally found the strength to straighten, thrust up his arms and wave his hands in a universal gesture of goodbye.

Thousands of fans wearing a dizzying diversity of colors and flapping many-hued flags stood for the guy wearing the red, white and blue.

And soon thereafter, in accents and tongues from all over the globe, they chanted his name.

“Mich-ael Phelps! Mich-ael Phelps!”

On a thick-throated Saturday night in Rio, the air was filled with the sort of singular appreciation never heard from an entire Olympics crowd.

For one moment, it felt as if the entire sporting world was putting aside its differences to say farewell to the greatest.

Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever, now and forever, and the final race of his five Olympics was filled with the richness of what exactly that means.
Michael Phelps’ final race ends in gold in Rio de Janeiro

It means a record 23 gold medals, and a record 28 overall, after his butterfly leg pushed the U.S. men’s team to a victory in the 400-meter medley relay.

It means six medals, five of them gold, in these Games at age 31. Six medals four years after he retired the first time. Six medals that make him the most decorated athlete at four consecutive Olympics. Think about that.

“It’s just insane, it’s mind-blowing,” Phelps said this week, and both phrases are insane understatements.

He is Peyton Manning, but only if Manning had been the MVP of that last Super Bowl.

He is Kobe Bryant, but only if Bryant had scored those final 60 points in an NBA Finals Game 7.

He is Barry Bonds, but clean. He is Tiger Woods, with redemption.

On Saturday, swimming the third leg of a relay he once again rescued, the retiring-for-sure star was all of those things, even when standing on the podium for the final time.

As the national anthem played, he fought back tears while swaying to a song he has heard so many times. He and his three teammates — Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy and Cody Miller — then initially held up a sign that carried no boasting words or record numbers. “Thank you Rio,” it read simply.

“This is a cherry on top of the cake that I wanted,” Phelps said afterward, looking drained but happy.

“He is the greatest of all time, he’s the GOAT, and he’s still so good,” proclaimed teammate Anthony Ervin.

read full story…

What an interesting story – Dog Medicine

When abe04e-20160809-dogmedicineJulie Barton was 22, she collapsed alone on her apartment floor in New York City. She was suffering from depression so severe, nothing could bring her out of it: not her parents, not therapists, not psychiatrists.

But then, she writes, she got Bunker — a golden retriever puppy who slowly brought her back into her life.

“There were a lot of different facets of how he renewed me,” she told MPR News host Kerri Miller. “One of the main ways was that he was my constant companion, and I knew I could count on him. I had real issues with trusting people, and with feeling safe around people, and I knew that he would never betray me. I knew that he was devoted to me just as much as I was devoted to him — and having that to count on felt miraculous.”

Barton’s memoir, “Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself,” explores how Bunker buoyed her, and calmed her mind.

“I was in this trap of really chronic negative thinking, and the only thing that ever pulled me out of it, and helped me notice it, was having this dog by my side,” Barton said. “There might be something about slowing down, sitting and petting him, feeling less in your own head and a little bit more curious about this beautiful, furry creature.”

After being diagnosed with major depression, Barton felt shame — in her head, she added the diagnosis to a list of other things she didn’t like about herself. But with Bunker, she explained, there was no shame.

“My dog didn’t care what this piece of paper said or what medication I had to take. My dog didn’t care about anything other than that moment and that attention and our connection — and that was so freeing,”

read more…

The cat that came back for Christmas – seven years later

Berlin family overjoyed as Miko returns home after going missing in 2008

A family from the Charlottenburg [neighbourhood] this year experienced a Christmas story with a particularly ‘happy ending’,” a local association for the protection of animals announced on Saturday. “They learned on Christmas day that their cat, Miko, had been found – seven years later,” said the group, which runs a refuge for animals where the cat was identified. Read more…

Rusian Tiger befriends brave goat instead of eating it.

We all play with our food sometimes, but rarely does it become our best friend.

Timur the goat was placed in the cage of a Siberian tiger – also known as an Amur tiger – at Russia’s Primorsky Safari Park as a meal for the striped predator. Instead, the big cat has started hanging out with the goat, reports The Huffington Post. Read more…