“The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine? -
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley ~
The Washington Humane Society is celebrating the season holding photo sessions with Santa at area DC locations as part of their Friends of Fashion for Paws program. Tysons Galleria and Capital File Magazine hosted the program on Wednesday, December 7 in Tysons Corner, VA. For a $20 donation supporters receive a photo of their dog posing with Santa, and a chance to provide much needed support for the two WHS shelters located in the city. The 6th Annual Fashion for Paws Runway Show will be held on April 14, 2012 in the National Building Museum.
The Washington Animal Rescue League opened it’s doors to all on Sunday December 4th much to the delight of those who were interested in adopting a pet, having a photo of their pet taken with Santa, or simply wanting to participate in the festivities with fellow pet lovers and prospective adoptee dogs and cats.
Jim Monsma, Chief Communications Officer greeted guests as they arrived, and in the holiday spirit offered roasted chestnuts to the hundreds of visitors who streamed throughout the facility all day long.
One of the volunteers helping out at the Open House was Kamila Chase. This actually was her first day volunteering for WARL, and her first assignment of the day was to socialize with Karlena a female shepherd mix. Kamila lives in DC with her dog Lipsi, named after the Greek island on which she was found. She explained that, “Lipsi is Greek, but she speaks Czech”.
One of the prospective adopters touring the facility, Sharon Goldberg, spent time in the room designed for small dogs. And, one very sweet dog in particular, Teeko, appeared to be pulling hard on her heartstrings.
The day proved to be festive for all who attended, and the Open House resulted in many more dogs and cats finding forever homes.
The Washington Animal Rescue League located at 71 Oglethorpe Street, NW Washington, DC 20011 is a wonderful place. Their staff and corps of volunteers are welcoming, caring and dedicated to finding forever homes for dogs and cats in need.
Founded in 1914, the League is the oldest animal shelter in the District of Columbia. Its mission continues to evolve as conditions change and animals face new and different challenges, but the core of that mission remains unchanged: The mission of the Washington Animal Rescue League is to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome animals who have nowhere else to go. We are committed to strengthening and preserving the human-animal bond by supporting animals in their homes through affordable veterinary care, community outreach, and education.
For more information on The Washington Animal Rescue League please visit their website at:
Ra-qi (/ra:ki;Arabic: راقي ) : sophisticated, one of status, privilege, and superiority, but to his owner, this five year old Doberman Pinscher is simply a loving and loyal companion with an interesting story to tell. Born September 22, 2006, in Adhamiya, a Northwest neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, the newest puppy in Saddam Hussein’s (yes Saddam Hussein) Kennel of champion German Dobermans, Raqi’s future at that time was sure to be that of a guard dog. Little did he know, however, that his life would be very different from that of his brothers and sisters.
I arrived in Baghdad in late October 2005, just after the bombing of the Palestine and Sheraton hotels at Firdos square, a mere two hundred meters south of where Raqi and I came to live – in the Red Zone. That would be the first of many explosions we experienced over the coming three years. A year into my project, the guards hinted at the idea of a companion for me, and being practical, I acknowledged that a small pet would be okay given our small quarters. They in turn, presented me with a pint sized Doberman puppy who firmly, and without hesitation, attached himself to me and to my feet. This 13 lb. puppy however, would soon grow to be 90lbs of energy and personality. I was completely unprepared for Raqi’s arrival. There was no neighborhood-pet-mega-mart in which to find collars, leashes, beds, toys, food or treats, and most days we were not allowed to leave the confines of the compound, so we made do with what we had available. The only thing that Raqi really wanted was a belly rub, a water bottle to crunch in his mouth, and a grilled Iraqi Kabob over rice each day.
As he grew older he became very interested in flashlights. All of his neighbors, it seemed, kept several of them due to the daily power outages. Raqi, as a working breed dog, made it his job to find and “acquire” all of the flashlights in his neighbor’s rooms and even from their desk drawers. His collection mounted to over 10, until he was caught red handed by one of the security guards. To better channel his efforts, I searched the internet for dog training tips, including episodes of “The Dog Whisperer”, and ‘how-to-train’ tips and tricks. With my new training knowledge I began to learn how to entertain my little, intelligent, mischievous, and extremely energetic puppy. Hallway tennis ball chase replaced flashlight hunt, Frisbee catch provided lots of running, and he made a friend with a neighboring dog for daily wrestling.
Most days I welcomed Raqi’s antics, as did my co-workers, because he provided a much-needed distraction from the realities of our surroundings. Raqi required 24-hour attention and he was either fully ‘on’, running around the compound like a maniac, or suddenly ‘off’ curled up asleep on his blanket. He stole the heart of my co-workers and even entertained U.S. Army Soldiers who often passed through our compound for a nights rest or an afternoon break. Raqi represented ‘normalcy’ for all of us living in the midst of the background noises of military vehicles rolling down the street, car bombs, rockets and gun fire. Raqi’s unconditional joy brought smiles.
Our first trip back to the U.S. came in late spring of 2007 and I honestly don’t know how we made it. I’m not sure who was more nervous, me, Raqi, or the poor people at the Baghdad airport. All of them were petrified of dogs, because after all, in Iraq dogs were only used for security – not pets. We routed through Amman, Jordan in order to get Raqi his health papers for U.S. entry. Jordanians, like Iraqis are not accustomed to dogs as travelling companions, or pets, thus the best the hotel could offer was space for Raqi and his kennel near the valet parking attendant’s key box. It was a very long sleepless night for me. In the end, it was worth the trip to Washington and our new home as Raqi discovered rolling grassy parks, unlimited dogs to play with, pet stores packed full of toys and treats, and he met his new best friend Raffy, the Boxer. As I write this now, Raqi is fast asleep on his bed next to his best buddy, Raffy. The summer moved quickly and by the end of the year we were packed to go back to Iraq.
This time we started our journey in a small hotel in Sulameniya, a city in Kurdish Iraq January 2008. Winter in Northern Iraq is cold and our hotel didn’t have insulation, and barely had heat. Yes, it does snow there. Raqi and I quickly became a spectacle on our walks – the crazy American in her down parka walking “a lion”- as they would say. After a month of 1 star hotel living, we moved into the famous ‘Green Zone’, to Camp Olympia. The surge had shown some success and things were looking hopeful for Iraqis that year. Raqi was again an instant hit with the security team and quickly made people friends, but unfortunately there were no pets at the camp with whom he could socialize. Never the less, Raqi ruled his part of the camp and kept everyone, who wasn’t supposed to be there, out. Again, he found plenty of men and women in military uniform that were delighted to pet him, talk to him and even take him for runs around the camp. Raqi reminded all of them of ‘home’, and their dogs who were faithfully waiting for them to come back to the U.S. On one evening we returned from a walk to find a stray cat in our apartment that had climbed into Raqi’s large food bowl! We knew for sure Al-Cat-da had taken a suicide mission into Raqi’s home! Thankful, Al-Cat-da escaped without destruction to the furniture.
A year later we said goodbye to Iraq and returned to the U.S., back to the park, and back with his DC Dog crew. We arrived just before Christmas this time and Raqi experienced his first snow. Being from the desert, I assumed the short haired beast would freeze and dressed him in a winter sweater and boots. He quickly indicated none of these items were necessary and in fact felt embarrassed in front of his friends to be wearing such things, as he quickly bolted out in the snow without hesitation. Our time in the U.S. was short again and within 6 months we were on a plane to Kuwait. Kuwait, while much better than Iraq, still was rough for a large imposing dog like Raqi. But just like a teenager, Raqi acclimated as he always had, and met new friends: Ryu – a Weimaraner from Oregon, and Kashmir – an adopted Pakistani street girl. VJ, Raqi’s Indian dog nanny, joined us as well and once again we had a full house of Raqi’s companions who all enjoyed our beautiful view of the Arabian Gulf.
Raqi’s travels are far from over, but as a Doberman, the most important part of life is to be with me, his owner, and for me, I won’t go anywhere without him. I find myself always defending my chosen family make-up, the single lady with a Doberman traveling the Middle East, but in the end I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, I feel blessed to have had this time with such a loving loyal companion. (I will refrain from any men jokes here – but you can read between the lines). Dogs teach us a lot if you are open to letting them do so. Raqi and I have been through a lot and at the end of the day he is always waiting for me with a tail wag and a lick – which somehow makes the stresses of the day diminish significantly.
Tamra Hackett was born and raised in Pacific Northwest, and received her bachelors in sociology from Whittier College, as well as her MBA from Johns Hopkins University. After working for various international NGO’s over the years, she joined the State Department in 2009 as a Foreign Service Economic Officer. She now lives with Raqi in Georgetown.
Each year, the Washington Humane Society receives hundreds of calls from Washington, DC residents reporting cases of animal abuse and neglect. These cases range from reports of dogfighting, animals left outside during the cold winter months, or even cases of intentional physical abuse of an animal. Zita Macinanti is the director of humane law enforcement, which investigates these cases of cruelty and neglect. Last month, Zita’s office received a call from a woman in a domestic violence situation asking for help. The woman said something that both of us hoped we would never hear: “My boyfriend just killed my cat, I found her dead in the litter box. I’m scared he is going to kill me too. Can you help me?”
The Link Between Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty
Domestic violence is pervasive across all socio-economic and racial demographics, touching American families in every state, city, and town. One astonishing statistic says it all—one in four women will be victims of domestic violence during her lifetime. As countless studies and surveys now confirm, when there is domestic violence occurring in the home, pets are frequently victims of abuse. This makes sense given the prevalence of pets in American families, as 62% of households have at least one pet. Based on the frequency of domestic violence and the number of families that have pets, animals inevitably become victims in the cycle of domestic violence.
There is a recognized connection between domestic violence and animal cruelty that has been called the “link.” This link has a predictive value, as violence against animals has been used to predict later violent behavior towards humans. Many serial killers including Albert DeSalvo (the “Boston Strangler”), David Berkowitz (the “Son of Sam”), and Theodore Bundy abused animals before they murdered people. The link also refers to the co-occurrence of violence, as the presence of one form of violence often co-occurs with other forms of violence. The presence of domestic violence and animal cruelty is a prime example of this link.
The urgency of serving victims and their pets is best understood through individual stories. One of the most disturbing examples is directly from the Washington Humane Society’s case files. This story is about Reds, an eight-year old dog who was a victim of domestic violence. Unfortunately, Reds’ story is all too common. One night, the abusive husband came home after drinking and started to argue with his wife. He had already been arrested three times for assaulting her. This night, the husband grabbed his wife and put a knife to her throat, threatening to kill her. As the woman struggled to escape, Reds growled at the husband and barked at him, trying to get him to stop. After the wife was able to grab a bottle and break it on the husband’s head in order to free herself, she immediately ran to the other room to call the police. While the victim was in the other room, the husband started stabbing Reds repeatedly. The police arrived and Reds was taken to the vet, however he died the next day from his injuries.
Challenges Facing Victims with Pets
In one study, 85% of women in abusive situations reported that their partner had threatened, injured, or killed their pet. This is disturbing not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also because the threat of harming a pet is one way abusers force victims to stay in an abusive situation. One survey found that up to 48% of women reported they had delayed leaving an abusive situation because they feared what would happen if they left their pet behind.
The victimization of family pets is too often overlooked, as domestic violence service providers are often overburdened and pets are low on the list of priorities. However, it is important to remember that when abusers harm pets, this presents an additional barrier for women seeking to escape abuse. This barrier is difficult for victims with pets since most domestic violence shelters will not allow animals. Of the roughly two thousand domestic violence shelters across the country, there are only 66 shelters in the entire United States that will allow pets. In Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland, there is only one shelter that will accept pets. Because pets also need safe shelter from domestic violence, communities have established “safe haven” programs. These programs are usually the result of partnerships between local domestic violence organizations and animal shelters where the pet will stay at the animal shelter or with foster families while the owner stays in a domestic violence shelter.
The Safety Network for Abused Animals & People (SNAAP)
The plight of victims and their pets is why we created the Safety Network for Abused Animals & People (SNAAP). SNAAP is an all-volunteer network of individuals and organizations that helps victims of domestic violence who have pets. As pet owners understand, by helping the animal we are also able to provide peace of mind for domestic violence victims, hopefully making the decision to leave the abuse easier. For the past eleven months, we have partnered with the Washington Humane Society to run the Safe Haven Foster Program. Our program is available to victims in the metropolitan Washington, DC area who are receiving domestic violence services.
In addition to the Safe Haven Foster Program, SNAAP works to bring together various human and animal welfare professionals, including law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, judges and social workers. Our goal is that different organizations will collaborate to find innovative ways to prevent domestic violence and improve service delivery to victims with pets.
SNAAP encourages the creation of additional safety networks across the country. SNAAP already has one sister SNAAP program in Chicago, Illinois that was started by a fellow Catholic University law school graduate and Illinois attorney, Jessica Katz. Jessica wanted to participate in SNAAP in Washington, DC, however when she moved to Chicago she realized she could start a similar organization there. Jessica explains, “I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and support both from the animal protection community and the domestic violence community. I have a lot of friends and family around the country, so I’m hoping that my efforts here will inspire them to start SNAAP networks in their own cities. “ Like Jessica, I hope our new organizations will inspire people around the country to start an organization to help domestic violence victims and their pets. Saving one animal’s life, or inspiring one domestic violence shelter to accept pets, would be a giant step forward.
Blair Warner is a co-founder and the executive director of SNAAP. She recently graduated law school from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, and passed the Maryland bar examination. Blair is waiting to be sworn-in, in December, and is also a postgraduate fellow at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, working on constitutional law issues relating to conscience clause protections. She regularly volunteers at the Washington Humane Society as well. For more information on SNAAP, including animal abuse victims in need of loving homes, please visit www.safeanimalssafepeople.org .
 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Facts (2007).
 American Pet Products Association, National Pet Owner’s Survey (2009-10).
 Melissa Trollinger, The Link Among Animal Abuse, Child Abuse, and Domestic Violence (2001).
 N. Glenn Perrett, Being Kind to Animals for Everyone’s Sake: The Correlation of Cruelty to Animals & Violence Against People, Amorak & Friends.
 Ascione, Weber, & Wood (1997).
 Carlisle-Frank, Frank, & Nielsen (2004).
 National Institute of Justice, Meeting Survivors’ Needs: A Multi-state Study of Domestic Violence Shelter Experiences (2008).
 Sheltering Animals & Families Together, Directory of Family Violence Shelters Accepting Pets (2011).
 This shelter is located in Arlington, Virginia, and usually requires Arlington residency.
Reston Town Center was bustling with activity on Saturday, November 5th as representatives from dozens of pet rescue groups talked with thousands of people about their organizations, and introduced them to some of their adoptees, at the Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption event. It could not have been a more perfect fall day. The main thoroughfare, Market Street, was lined with booths of over 40 all breed and purebred dog rescue organizations.
Some of those groups represented included K9 Lifesavers, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, Bully Paws Pit Bull Rescue, Virginia German Shepherd Rescue, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue, American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue, Operation Paws for Home, Blue Ridge Greyhound Adoption, Jasmines House, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, and Golden Retriever Rescue.
Many volunteers had come out in support of these rescue organizations and one of them was Tyler Modzelesky. He was one of several individuals from Booz Allen Hamilton, and on Saturday he was helping K9 Lifesavers by escorting Riley, a one year old, red Irish Terrier mix who had been living at a shelter in West Virginia, through the crowd, stopping and talking with prospective adopters.
Liz Canzone, a Houston native now living in DC, was another volunteer with Lucky Dog Rescue, and in charge of escorting Manon a Labrador Retriever. She explained, “I went to volunteer at another event and was very excited at the prospect handling the dogs. Shortly after I got there I heard that someone had returned a female Border Collie puppy.” So she asked to take care of that puppy at the event. She went on to say, “The puppy seemed so sad to me and when I was told that she didn’t have a foster home I sent a text picture of her sad face to my husband and asked if he could come out to see this dog. Within an hour my husband was at the event and we ended up adopting the Border Collie.”
Julia Snowdon, who had volunteered often with rescue organizations prior to moving here three years ago, had decided that she wanted to become involved with rescue organizations here in the DMV. So when she heard good things about Lucky Dog Rescue she offered to volunteer with them at Home 4 the Holidays. Her charge on Saturday was Zachary a lovable, tan and white mixed breed.
Marsha French, another devoted animal lover has fostered over 30 dogs in the past two years as a volunteer foster mom with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. She works at events all over the metro DC area just about every weekend and had traveled to Reston from Columbia, Maryland. Marsha was at Home 4 the Holidays with Maggie Mae who she’s been fostering for the past three weeks. She was eagerly anticipating the arrival of a potential adopter and hoping for the best for Maggie Mae.
Another enthusiastic participant at the adoption event was Tina Ponikvar who works with Bully Paws Pit Bull Rescue in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Tina is so dedicated to rescue efforts that she routinely fosters numerous dogs at any given time at her home. Saturday she was with a sweetheart, Marley, an American Pit Bull Terrier/Golden Labrador Retriever mix. (See feature article on Marley on Home page)
Home 4 the Holidays was a well-organized and fun event, but more importantly dozens of dogs found forever homes on Saturday – making it a very good day for dogs and people alike.
Marley is a yellow Labrador Retriever and American Pit Bull Terrier mix, – a very friendly, gentle and loving girl that would make the perfect addition to your home. She is approximately 3 years old, 50 lbs. and mostly tan in color with a bit of white. Marley is also good with kids, other dogs, and cats! She was found as a pregnant stray and taken to a shelter in Virginia before moving into her foster home. There she and her pups were cared for until her brood was eventually adopted. Now, with the pups all placed in forever homes Marley is now searching for her forever home.
Marley has a very sweet and loving disposition! She is wonderful in the house and loves to go for walks in the neighborhood, or on nature trails. In her foster home she quickly learned house manners and obedience commands and is growing into a great family pet. She walks great on leash, knows sit and down and come commands. Marley sits calmly as adults or children pet her or rub her belly. Her favorite thing to do is cuddle, but she is also an active girl. At her foster home she is buddies with dogs of different sizes, both male and female.
If you are interested in meeting or adopting Marley please fill out an application online or contact Bully Paws.
You may also contact Marley’s Foster family directly if you have questions. Write to Tina at email@example.com .
I have read some of the best stories on the net about good people and the pets that reside with them. Some of these stories can be the most heart wrenching stories of lonely, hurt and helpless animals and I’m amazed at some of the courage shown by the people who adopt them. My story isn’t nearly as fantastic or heroic though. Oh sure, two of my cats came to my home very ill from a breeding house, and the other came to me at the request of a dying friend. Friends have commented to me that these cats are very lucky, because I was there to save them from unhealthy conditions, and that they are now provided with a healthy, happy place in which to live. But in truth, I am the lucky one because it was my life that was saved.
For as long as I can remember I’ve never felt at home, anywhere. I was always the odd person out, but not always in a bad way. I didn’t have a particularly bad childhood – I was a good student and athlete. On the contrary I think my upbringing was typical if not better than of most of the middle class families of that era, with a stable home, both parents there and involved, two other siblings, and a dog. But I knew that I belonged somewhere else and I knew the moment that I turned 18 I was going out to find that place.
For years I lived outside of the United States, in fact almost as much as I’ve lived in it. Several years of military service through as many countries, and riding my bike as a civilian through a couple dozen more held my attention for only short periods of time. My attention never lasted. I was always seeking that place I could never seem to find.
In my early 30’s I was given a medical diagnosis that signaled that my eyesight would eventually be devastated – and that all but destroyed my entire life plan. As my vision started to wane so did my spirit. I retreated to a place inside myself where nothing mattered, because I believed I would never find what I really wanted. I wasn’t suicidal and wasn’t terribly depressed. I was angry. I felt cheated by fate, because everything I’d learned or gained was wasted and because I would never be able to use them.
I stayed that way for years. I was able to get some good therapy that certainly helped me better cope with my circumstances, but it still didn’t fully change my perception of the situation. Then one day a friend came by and asked me to hold on to a couple of cats. They had been abandoned and she wanted to save them from the kill shelter. I agreed to hold them for a while and eventually they ended up staying with me not because I particularly liked cats, but I didn’t want them to be put down.
I didn’t do an exceptional job with these cats. I always got the cheapest litter, and bought whatever food was on sale, despite the fact that it might not always have been what was best for them. Visitors to my apartment probably were also not keen on the odor, a result of my cats spraying here and there, and I eventually had both of them declawed as well. And, because I didn’t really have the money, visits to my veterinarian were few and far between. Then one night one of my cats was moaning. I could tell she was in distress, but I was unable to take her to a vet hospital at that moment. Somewhere in me, the medic that once was came to the surface. Without going into all of the grand details, I pulled out my medical kit and tapped my cat’s bladder, as blind as I was. I was terrified, but I was able to relieve some of her pain. The next day I was able to take the cat to the vet and he diagnosed a blockage. Though he chided me a little bit for doing the tap on my own, he put his hand on my shoulder and told me what I did probably saved my cat’s life.
These first cats had a good 10 years with me. I learned more about cat behavior and care and grew to really appreciate these aloof creatures (I was strictly a dog person before). So when they passed from my life I thought it was a good idea to get another cat, this time just one. So one day I went with a friend to a breeders’ home, because she was looking for a Cornish Rex kitten. While patiently sitting and waiting for my friend to look over the cats, a thin, red tabby-like cat jumped in my lap, meowed once and gave me a head-butt in my chest. I liked it and considered adopting him at a later time, if he was available. We were there after all for my friend to get a cat!
So I stayed in touch with the breeder and finally decided to bring “Jake” home, however, before I was able to pick him up I got a call from the friend, who had adopted one of the other cats. She advised me not to adopt Jake from that breeder, because she told me that her cat was not only sick, but she was going to be returning it to the breeder.
I later found out this breeder had several cats returned for bad health and behavior issues, including Jake who as it turned out was a rather talkative and loud cat. Better reason would have had me walk away. I was disabled and my resources were limited. I didn’t drive, this cat was not well and my history with cats was not perfect. Besides Jake was not the gentle, aloof cat like the ones I had before. I realized that I would need to engage him, interact with him more and plan his care. I should have just walked away, but all I could think about was leaving Jake there in that home to be adopted and brought back. So against all better judgment, I went back and got him. While waiting for him to be packed up, a tiny blue and white cat jumped up on the couch and sat on my thigh. She was so tiny she didn’t look real. I took her too.
That was six years ago. Since then we have faced some challenges. Lots of health issues in the beginning, but we’ve overcome them all. I didn’t declaw either of the cats this time so some of my furniture has been destroyed from clawing along the way, but for the most part they have learned how to channel their energy elsewhere. I still budget food and litter, but cheap can be healthy too if you take the time to educate yourself. Jake is still a talkative cat, in fact EXTREMELY talkative. He has taught the other two (now that Moshe Moshi is here) how to talk, loudly. They are needy, demanding and take up entirely too much of my personal time. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I scarcely believe the change in me having gone through this experience. Every day I learn something new about them, and in the process I learn something about myself. I now know that sunshine is an important element of health and that we should embrace it like a welcomed friend; naked if at all possible. I’ve learned that food is not something to just have or waste. We should savor every bite. I’ve learned that with practice and patience even difficult obstacles can be overcome, and that laughing at yourself takes away all pretension – you are whole and perfect, regardless. Where I barely leave my home other than for work, I’ve learned that hiding sometimes can feel comforting. But you can’t hide forever, and you have to come out sometime. Trusting what you have together and not bemoaning what you don’t is a better use of your time.
I’ve become more resourceful, more engaging and less fearful than I’ve ever been in my life. I may fail at times, but I also know that I can take a chance to succeed. All of that is enough to celebrate, but since having lived with Jake, Maus and Moshe Moshi the greatest thing I’ve learned is that I know where I belong now. The place that I was searching for, and the place where I belong is in this moment, and I know that’s because they are here in this moment with me.
Carol Hoshi (CHo) Meir is an avid coffee drinker, crafter, cat slave and principal writer for the weblog, Coffee, Cats n’ Yarn. A former Army paramedic and Gulf War veteran, she currently works in information and support for the Smithsonian Institution. A native Washingtonian, CHo is also a yarn trade fiber artist and tests charts, patterns and schematics for crochet designs. She is currently owned by three cats; Jake, a red mackerel tabby, Maus, a blue and white bi-color, both Cornish Rexes and Moshe Moshi, a cream-point Sphynx.
To read more of her stories visit… http://www.coffeecatsnyarn.com/
It has been an active and fun Howloween week in Metro DC for many people and their dogs, and creativity has been in abundance, as evidenced by some great ideas for costumes and fun. Ronald Zell of Alexandria, for example, had custom-made Revolutionary period costumes made for himself and his two Brussel Griffons, George and Martha, repleat with brass buttons on their vests, ruffles and a tricorn hat. Many animal shelters and rescue organizations benefited from donations made at area festivities including the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Here’s a sampling of some revelers in costume at the benefit for AWLA…..
Cats are believed to have descended from African Wild Cats some 4,000 years ago, and since then they have come a long way. While they still carry many of the traits inherited from their ancestors, today they are oftentimes known to be aloof, independent and finicky. Devotees though are smitten. Albert Schweitzer, the well known medical missionary once said, “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”
Here are a few facts and bits of trivia about cats that you may not have known.
- Cats have amazing jumping ability and can jump more than seven times their height
- Most people are unaware that cats have spines on their tongues which act like a comb to help them groom their fur, and to hold prey more securely
- Cat’s night vision is six times better than humans, because they have more reflecting cells which absorb light
- Cats have 230 bones, whereas humans have 206
- A cat uses it’s whiskers to determine if it can fit into a space
- Cats are able to see the colors blue and green, and possibly red
- Abraham Lincoln loved cats and had four while in the White House
- Cats rub up against people’s legs to show affection and to put their scent on them
- In proportion to their body size, cats have the largest eyes of all mammals
- You’ll know that a cat is in attack mode when their fur sticks up in a narrow band along its spine and tail
- When cats are frightened all of their fur stands up evenly over their whole body
- Cats have 500 skeletal muscles, while humans have 650
- Cats meow at humans, but rarely at other cats, and they have around 100 vocalizations, whereas dogs have around 10
- Cats are able to sprint up to 30 miles per hour
- Cats are the most common pet in America (about 68 million cats vs. 60 million dogs)
- Ernest Hemingway had 30 cats living at his home in Havana, Cuba
- Cats drink water by curling their tongues under, essentially scooping water into their mouths from the underside
- Cats can have a dominant right paw or left paw, just as humans are either right-handed or left-handed
- Cats do not need to blink their eyes on a regular basis to keep them lubricated
- Cats walk on their toes
- Cats spend around a quarter of their lives grooming themselves
- When a cat holds it’s tail high it generally means that it’s happy
- After being held, cats lick themselves to smooth their fur and remove the scent of humans
- In Asia and England, black cats are considered lucky
- Cats can get bored which they show through excessive licking, chewing, or biting
- Cat fur is comprised of an undercoat and an outercoat
- Only cats, giraffes and camels step with both left legs, then both right legs, when they walk or run
- Cats were domesticated over 4,000 years ago, and the ancestors of today’s domesticated cat are the African and European Wild Cats
- Studies have shown that petting a cat will lower one’s blood pressure
- When a cat purrs it’s a sign that it is very content and happy
- The average lifespan of a cat is 12 to 14 years old with some cats reaching 20 years of age
The Montgomery County Humane Society pulled out all of the stops Saturday evening as they hosted their annual Love Ball at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda – and it had all the makings of a spectacular event! This Gala is held annually to celebrate all of the compassionate work of volunteers and all animal-lovers, in saving homeless dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and other animals every year.
Everyone was in their best cocktail attire and many arrived with a dog, or two. The festivities began with a cocktail reception and an opportunity for guests to view and bid on numerous products and services, ranging from artwork to vacation trips, that had been donated by local and national companies. A very talented caricaturist was also on hand to draw portraits of people and their dogs.
Dan and Kelly Blankfeld arrived with Anna a, 14 year-old Pit Bull, who was representing the “pack” of the Blankfeld’s three dogs, two Pit Bulls and one Boxer Bull Mastiff. This was the second year that Kelly has served on the Love Ball committee as the person in charge of the auctions.
Another early arrival to the Gala was Ellie Slotkin who brought Lexi, a Malti-Poo. She explained that shortly after moving to the DC area with her husband three years ago she was interested in volunteering with a charity, so she did some research on non-profit organizations and found the Humane Society. Ellie remarked, “Everyone that I met at the MCHS from the Volunteer Coordinator to the Events Coordinator was wonderful and easy to work with, so I decided that this would be my number one charity, and the one for which I would volunteer my time”
Ellie went on to say, “My major responsibility as a volunteer was to gather many of the silent auction items from area businesses. We were very fortunate this year that many local businesses in Montgomery County were extremely generous in donating items, from restaurants to hair salons. In my opinion I think that the auction looks even better than ever before – one of the most exciting year’s we’ve had yet. The MCHS also has a new Special Events Coordinator, Juliana Willems, who is wonderful and our committee has been just outstanding.”
Petros Voskerchian one of the evenings honored guests arrived at the Hyatt escorting Friend, an Australian Shepherd who had been rescued by the Humane Society. Petros was being honored at the evenings ceremonies as the number one Veterinarian.
Debra Robinson and her boyfriend Jody Kenote attended the Love Ball with Debra’s 5 year old, “son” Benji. Debra explained, “I first saw him at the house of a friend who was a breeder and Benji was very shy and had a big head. I didn’t think anyone was going to take him. My friends kept on saying to me that with my lifestyle I couldn’t possibly handle a dog. But, every time I went over to my friend’s house Benji would walk over to me and tug on my heartstrings, so I decided to take him home.” Debra chuckled as she said, “I’m eventually going to have a Bark Mitzvah for Benji”. Jody added, “Me and Benji get along great”. Debra is an avid animal advocate and dog-lover and was quick to add, “Eventually I would like to buy some land in the country and rescue dogs”.
Among the many other guests that attended the Love Ball Gala with their dogs were Leslie Casaya with her Pomeranian Sophie, Vickie Quezada with her 83 pound, Pit Bull Labrador mix Chino, Pat Culpepper with Lily a 10 year old, Standard Poodle, Mitzy Harp and Sarah Yassin with Bridget Victoria, Cathy Corbin with her Yorkie, Lilly, and Tony and Sherri Bruno who had traveled from Philadelphia with Seamus and Profittarollie.
Once everyone was in the ballroom this year’s emcee Sue Palka, FOX5 weather forecaster kicked off the evening with opening remarks, and was followed by Cris Bombaugh, President and CEO MCHS, who recognized and honored individual attendees for their devoted work. She also gave her heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Montgomery County Humane Society to all who worked tirelessly throughout the year in their efforts to rescue and save the lives of thousands of animals in need.
The Montgomery County Humane Society is the largest animal welfare organization in Montgomery County, providing shelter and care to thousands of homeless animals every year. They offer a full range of services including foster care, rescue network placements, adoption counseling, behavior seminars, bereavement support, humane education, community outreach, volunteer training and much more. The Love Ball is one of MCHS’ biggest fundraisers, with proceeds supporting all of these vital programs and services.
For more information visit their website at…
With a laid-back ambiance and warm, friendly atmosphere the Doggy Happy Hour at Jackson 20 Restaurant stands as one of the most popular in the metro DC area. Set within the confines of the inner courtyard of the Hotel Monaco in Old Town Alexandria, this doggy friendly happy hour is both cozy and inviting. The large red-bricked area provides just the right amount of space for dogs and people to mingle freely, and enjoy the company of other dogs and their human companions. There are ample tables with very comfortable chairs and even a few couches on which to relax, sit back and enjoy the open-air. By 6:00 pm on warm, sunny days the courtyard is bustling with people unwinding from their workweeks. Plenty of parking is also available in either the underground parking garage below Market Square (adjacent to City Hall) across the street or on neighboring streets.
On this Thursday evening Amy Knebel and her husband John who just six months ago moved from Chicago to Alexandria, arrived at the happy hour with Lou Lou Maybelline. Amy explained, “Lou Lou was adopted when she was around 10 weeks old from the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago. She had been one of the dogs moved out of shelters in the central Midwest to make room for dogs being moved north, after they had been left homeless as a result of hurricane Katrina”.
Lou Lou had been sent to Chicago with her mother and sibling puppies after being rescued from neglect on a farm, and Amy mentioned that she and her husband adopted her on the same day that Lou Lou’s siblings were also adopted. “She started positive reinforcement training shortly thereafter and because she has such an easygoing temperament her trainers recommended that she become a therapy dog”, added Amy. So Lou Lou was trained in specific skills that she would need as a therapy dog, enabling her to visit patients in Chicago area hospitals. She also received additional, specialized training so that she could work with patients undergoing occupational therapy.
After moving to the metro DC area, Amy involved Lou Lou in working with Pets on Wheels, an organization which coordinates bringing loving pets on visits with residents of area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In addition to being a therapy dog Lou Lou is quite talented and knows a number of tricks including giving “high-fives” (see photo), praying, jumping up and off of things, balancing on her hind legs, taking a bow, and posing for pictures.
Another person at Thursday’s happy hour was Randy Plante with his dog Oliver. His tradition of going to the happy hours began in the summer of 2002 when a flight attendant friend invited him to one. He found that he had such a great time that he eventually began hanging out with people who have dogs – and because he had so much fun, he decided to adopt. So he researched various rescue groups, visited a number of shelters and eventually saw Oliver’s picture on PetFinder.com.
At that time Oliver was being sheltered at the Washington Animal Rescue League and after going through the adoption process Randy brought him to his new forever-home. Randy exclaimed, “Adopting Oliver was one of the best decisions I ever made”. Randy, a former Air Force pilot, was so inspired by the experience that he decided to write a book about searching, finding and adopting Oliver. The book entitled “My Wingman Oliver” is currently being printed and will be available soon.
Also making an appearance this evening, as well as at every doggy happy hour was Charlie, a very friendly Bichon Frise, who serves as the Director of Pet Relations at Hotel Monaco Alexandria. Woods Morrison, Restaurant Manager, pointed out that, “Charlie is responsible for making all of our four-legged guests feel welcomed and comfortable”.
Restaurant 20 will be hosting a Doggy Happy Howl-o-Ween party on Thursday, October 27th. This Happy Hour will benefit the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria and has in years past been attended by hundreds of people and their dogs, decked out in some highly creative costumes.
Be sure to get there early if you want to enter your dog in the contest because the number of entrants is restricted to the first 50 who apply. For more details on the contest see the Jackson 20 link below.
Prizes will be awarded for:
- The Most Glamorous Get-Up. Prize: Overnight stay at a Kimpton New York property
- The Best Dressed Couple (pet/owner costume combo). Prize: Overnight stay the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
- The “Top Dog” Award (best overall costume). Prize: Overnight pet package stay and dinner at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria and Jackson 20 Restaurant.
Jackson 20: An Alexandria Restaurant Celebrating Modern Tradition
Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, Jackson 20 is at once elegant and casually comfortable, contemporary and rooted in tradition. Our namesake, President Andrew Jackson, was legendary for his hospitable nature – he was the first U.S. president to invite the public to attend the inaugural ball. True to this spirit, Jackson 20 is a convivial and popular gathering place. Here you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere and fresh, inspired American regional cuisine.
Jackson 20 Restaurant and Tavern
480 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703 842 2790
The Washington Humane Society (WHS) held their annual DC Walk For The Animals this past Saturday, October 15 in Adams Morgan and surpassed their fundraising goal of $55,000.
The day began very early for WHS volunteers, setting up registration and vendor booths, signage, an agility course, games, and a stage for the day’s contests. By late morning the park was teeming with activity as hundreds of dogs and owners mingled in front of various booths, and strolled across the playing field.
Daniel D’Eramo and Michael Triebwasser, WHS Humane Law Enforcement Officers were on hand to help educate people about animal welfare, and about the services that their office provides. Michael explained, “We are alerted to situations of animal abuse by the general public and work closely with District Police to conduct investigations and rescue animals in need”. These cases range from situations in which dogs are denied adequate shelter, to animals who have been starved, to biting incidents, to cases of a much more egregious nature.
The Master of Ceremonies for this year’s event Will Thomas, weekend anchor with Fox 5 News arrived with Lex, a long-haired, mini- dachshund. This was Will’s 5th year participating in the event and one of his duties as the emcee was to preside over contests that included Best Dressed Dog, Best Dog/Owner Look-a-Like, Musical Sit and Best Trick. Remarked Will, “My favorite is the owner and dog lookalike contest, and it’s surprising that sometimes there really is a resemblance.” He added, “We’re also here to thank the sponsors and to raise, much-needed funds for the Washington Humane Society.”
Kirsten Stade was an early arrival along with Sandy a 10 month old Pit bull puppy and a prospective adoptee. Kirsten volunteers with WHS and stated that Sandy had been very stressed out living at the shelter, so she took her in as a foster dog to live with her other foster dog, as well as her senior dog. Kirsten explained that Sandy is being trained with positive reinforcement and doing very well. One often hears of the deep compassion felt by those who strive to help less fortunate animals, and she explained her own motivation in part by saying, “My goal is to rescue as many dogs and save as many lives as possible.”
Danny Allgeier a resident of Van Ness in DC was at the Walk for some outdoor fun and socialization with Sprout, a prospective adoptee at WHS. Danny, a dog-lover, doesn’t have one of his own because of the rules of his apartment building, so he lives a bit vicariously by volunteering once a week at one of the WHS shelters. Danny typically helps to clean out the stalls, walk the dogs, and show potential adopters in search of a dog. Danny said, “It’s a pretty good setup. The dogs in the shelter are always happy to see me and I’m very happy to see them as well.”
The socialization in the ball field actually was an integral part of the DC Walk For The Animals, and provided the rallying point for the subsequent one-mile procession through the surrounding neighborhood. And by the time it had begun everyone appeared to join in the spirit of the moment – for this very worthy cause.
This year’s DC Walk for the Animals proved to be a tremendous success for the Washington Humane Society, and over $56,000 was raised. Top fundraisers included:
- Julie Conway ($7,435)
- Andrew Weinstein ($4,375)
- Jennifer Sullivan ($3,025)
- Lisa LaFontaine ($2,515)
- Carrie Mathuran ($1,570)
- Christine Nassikas ($1,125)
- Diana Rock ($1,030)
- Margaret Milroy ($1,010)
- Angela Younger ($860)
- Stacey Lipscomb ($815)
The Washington Humane Society (WHS) the only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the United States, has been the area’s leading voice for animals since 1870.
As the only open-access shelter in the Nation’s Capital, the WHS provides comfort and care to nearly 30,000 animals each year through its broad range of programs and services including sheltering, adoption spay and neuter, CatNipp, Humane Law Enforcement, lost and found, human-animal therapy programs and Humane Education.
Throughout the years, the organization has helped spearhead new legislation to protect the animals that live in the nation’s capital. In the 1960s and 70s, WHS helped DC create laws to prevent animal hoarding, and better health standards for pet shops and medical research clinics.
WHS operates two shelter locations: their private shelter at 7319 Georgia Avenue NW, as well as the District of Columbia Animal Care and Control Facility (under contract by the Department of Health) at 1201 New York Avenue NE. The organization’s administrative offices are located at 4590 MacArthur Boulevard, NW. WHS has nearly 100 dedicated employees, 22 distinguished members on the Board of Directors and more than 300 active volunteers.
For more information on the Washington Humane Society please visit their website at http://support.washhumane.org/site/PageServer .
Thousands of people and numerous canine companions attended the 4th Annual Wags ‘N Whiskers event on Saturday, September 17th in The Village at Shirlington. The festive atmosphere was highlighted with pet contests, exhibitions, portraits, food and drink, and so much more. And, Rescue and Shelter groups were also there with dogs, providing their tireless support to find these canines “forever homes”. Dogs of all sizes, colors and breeds appeared to have a good time mingling with one another – in a virtual sniffers paradise. Here’s a sampling of those who attended….