One Tiny Step Per Day

This section of my blog will offer you a small thing you can do during each day of 2011 to help shelter pets. My hope is that you’ll

One Tiny Step Per Day: Get Involved In Pet Rescue

discover how easy it is to help, and find your own niche in the world of pet rescue. Happy New Year 2011!

Thank you for being willing to get started.  These are really tiny steps, and you may want to do much more than I’m suggesting, and that’s wonderful, if so.  If you have kids, you’ll probably find that they love helping you help shelter pets, and you’ll be doing a double good.  Choose your own level of involvement, and have fun, knowing you’re making a difference.

Today is Sunday, March 13th, 2011, and I got a wonderful tip today from a very good positive-only dog trainer friend of mine.  For today’s tiny step, please check out this great site, and read as much as you have time for:  http://www.openpaw.org/

Today is Saturday, March 12th, 2011, and today’s tiny step is a short article to read: http://www.petfinder.com/for-shelters/euthanasia-statistics.html

Today is Friday, March 11th, 2011, and here’s the next fact to learn for today’s tiny step:  American Humane is one of the founding members of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. The mission of the National Council is to gather and analyze reliable data that further characterize the number, origin and disposition of pets (dogs and cats) in the United States; to promote responsible stewardship of these companion animals; and based on the data gathered, to recommend programs to reduce the number of surplus/unwanted pets in the United States.

Today is Thursday, March 10th, 2011, and I’m going back to the subject of shelter euthanasia, giving us some background on how we know what we know (although it’s not too much–kind of surprising to me).  National euthanasia statistics are difficult to pinpoint because animal care and control agencies are not uniformly required to keep statistics on the number of animals taken in, adopted, euthanized or reclaimed. While many shelters know the value of keeping statistics, no national reporting structure exists to make compiling national statistics on these figures possible.

Today is Wednesday, March 9th, 2011, and I’m interrupting the shelter euthanasia stats tiny steps to give you this link, to what keeps coming up as the most respected collection of dog training literature out there:  http://www.dogwise.com/AuthPub/index.cfm

Today is Tuesday, March 8th, 2011, and our euthanasia fact for today’s tiny step is the one I should have started with, the definition of the word, ‘euthanasia’.  This definition is from Merriam-Webster:  the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.

Today is Monday, March 7th, 2011, and here’s our second adoption/euthanasia/shelter fact to memorize for today’s tiny step:  Only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their owners.

The days seem very long because I’m working so hard on Sawyere and everything else, and I really thought I’d missed a day of tiny step, but no.  Today is Sunday, March 6th, 2011, and the next few days of tiny step are for me.  I want to have some statistics at my fingertips, to tell people who ask about shelters.  So I’m going to memorize one stat per day.  Here is today’s:  56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized. 

Today is Saturday, March 5th, 2011, and I think our tiny step should be to read about this little miracle dog who’s making us think about tough subjects:   http://abcnews.go.com/US/wall-miracle-puppy-adopt-dog-adoption-resources-information/story?id=13054821

Today is Friday, March 4th, 2011.  Here’s a link to Patricia McConnell’s blog.  As I’m learning about dog aggression so that I can understand Sawyere better (see my blog proper), I find many references to this woman, and I think she must be the guru of dog training, although she herself says that someone named Ken Ramirez (I hope I’ve gotten that right) is the best trainer there is.  Anyway, I’m checking out this blog, even though it’s a bit over my head, and you will probably enjoy looking around it, too.  http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/

Today is Thursday, March 3rd, 2011.  Could you please put another old wool garment into the bag that’s for me?  Thanks for that tiny step!

Today is Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011, and today’s tiny step is a fun one (because I’m working really hard at music and rescue, and want something light to do).  Check out The Bark magazine–it’s wonderful, and fascinating, and easy to read.  http://www.thebark.com/

Today is Tuesday, March 1st, 2011, and today’s tiny step is the most important one I’ve ever put here.  It’s not as big a step as you might think–the ‘pros’ far outweigh whatever ‘cons’ you’ve thought of which have kept you from doing it before.  Here it is:  I want you to foster a cat or dog, or kitten/s or puppy.  If you absolutely can’t do that, get yourself mentally ready for it, and set yourself a deadline by which you want to be ‘in the game’.  There’s a terrible shortage of foster homes for pets, and fosters are the lifeblood of rescue operations.  Just yesterday, a beautiful dog in Ohio, who had a rescue offer from an organization, was killed because there was no temporary home for him.  Horrible.

Today is Monday, February 28th, 2011.  Please put another cloth item into either of your bags, and thank you!   This tiny step is easy because I’m falling asleep at my computer!   

Today is Sunday, February 27th, 2011, and it was a huge day in dogland here (read my blog proper if you want to know why), so, since I don’t have much brain left, today’s tiny step is a no-brainer:  put a blanket or towel in either of your bags, the one for me, or the one for your shelter. 

Today is Saturday, February 26th, 2011.  It’s a big day for me:  Sawyere’s arrival (see my blog proper).  I’m also trying to save a dog from the shelter in the link that follows, and, for today’s tiny step, I want to ask you to read this article and considering making a donation of goods or funds to this very deserving place:  http://www2.scnow.com/news/2010/jan/09/rescue_group_brings_positive_changes_to_marion_cou-ar-367758/

Today is Friday, February 25th, 2011, and today’s tiny step is really fun.  Just read this article, and see if you think you’d like to try felting some old sweaters, to turn them into cozy pads for shelter animals:  http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter03/FEATfelthis.html  If you don’t think you want to do it yourself, you can just send your sweaters to me, but I have tried it, and it’s very fun.  One bit of advice:  definitely use the pillowcase!–can’t believe the guy in the article leaves it out.

Today is Thursday, February 24th, 2011.  For today’s tiny step, could you find an old wool sweater around your house, one you no longer want?  The bigger, the better, but all adult or teen sweaters will work, as long as they’re made mostly of wool.  Put the sweater in your ‘Pet Pads’ bag.  If you don’t have a sweater (or even if you do!) and are willing, begin shopping for wool sweaters at your local thrift shop, or church or garage sale.  We’re going to felt these sweaters, to be made into cushy, warm cage liners for shelter pets.  You go!

Today is Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011.  I’d love it if you could start another bag.  Label this one, ‘Pet Pads’.  I’m hoping you’ll help me with this latest project, because I’ve found another seamstress, in the New York City area, and goodness knows the animals in the NYC shelter could really use a little comfort.  So for today’s tiny step, just make your bag and put it somewhere out of the way, but handy.

Today is Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011.  For today’s tiny step, here’s a very short video clip for you to watch, from the people at DogsInDanger:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB6d70tnSEA

Today is Monday, February 21st, 2011.  For today’s tiny step, just put a towel, sheet, throw, or blanket into your humane society bag.  These comforting textiles are looking better and better, as I read about dogs penned or chained out in the cold.  I’d had no idea there were so many ‘outside dogs’ left in this country, until other rescuers starting writing about them on Facebook.

Well, I feel bad, because I’ve missed two days of Tiny Step, and I’m sorry.  However, it wasn’t a terrible time to miss a couple of days, because I really need your help with a big project I’m starting, inspired by another rescuer’s idea, and what I’m asking for is worth at least three days of tiny steps.  The long explanation I’ll save for my blog proper, but for now, will you please consider helping me gather donated quilts and blankets (especially fleece ones) to be sewn into pads for shelter pets’ cages?  This is the tiny step (and it’s not so tiny!) for Friday, February 18th; Saturday, February 19th; and today, Sunday, February 20th, 2011: kindly ask your family and friends to give you an old quilt, throw, or blanket which will be soft enough to provide a little warmth and cushioning for a pet who’s now lying on a drafty concrete floor in a shelter cage.  I will be asking you to mail these things to me, or directly to one of the people who’ll be doing the sewing, and I realize that that will be a lot bigger than a tiny step.  I hope it’s not asking you for too much… 

Today is Thursday, February 17th, 2011.  First I have to tell you that Michael Vick has cancelled his appearance on Oprah’s show, and again, you’ll have no trouble finding things to read, about that.  For today’s tiny step, I’d like to introduce you to the one person I’ve encountered thus far who has criticism of Best Friends.  This man has been, and is, leading the way in the No-Kill Nation movement.  Please consider educating yourself about this very important idea.  Here’s the link:  http://www.nathanwinograd.com/

Today is Wednesday, February 16th, 2011, a week and one day before Oprah Winfrey will face Michael Vick to interview him on her show.  I’m assuming you know what Vick did, but if not, you’ll have no trouble finding out.  Just put, ‘Michael Vick dog fighting’ into your Google search window, and you’ll find enough to keep you reading for days.  Educating yourself about what  happened is one part of today’s tiny step, but if you already know all about it, here’s part two.  You have a chance to make a difference on the national level, and I hope you’ll take it.  What would you like to hear Oprah ask Vick?  Now’s your chance to suggest some questions or topics you want to see addressed.  Here’s the ‘link to the link’: http://www.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/michael-vick-to-appear-on-the-oprah-winfrey-show?CID=examiner_alerts_article , and even if you don’t end up writing to Oprah, it’s good to know where you stand, on issues like this one.

Today is Tuesday, February 15th, 2011, and our tiny step for today is to listen to Part III of, ‘Dogs Themselves’.  Here’s that link again:

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2010/12/13/dogs-themselves-part-1—3/

Today is Monday, February 14th, 2011–Happy Valentine’s Day!  I love knowing that some of my friends made valentines to help dogs chained outdoors, and thank them again.  For our tiny step today, we’re watching Part II of ‘Dogs Themselves’; the link is below, in the February 13th tiny step.  Enjoy, and have a great day, knowing you’re showing love for shelter pets, every day. 

Today is Sunday, February 13th, 2011.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been taking such big steps in pet rescue lately that I need to rest my legs.  So for the next three days, our tiny step will be just to enjoy this program, one part per day:  http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2010/12/13/dogs-themselves-part-1—3/

Today is Saturday, February 12th, 2011.  I’ve just been on the phone with the Vice President of the board of directors of a shelter from which I’m rescuing a dog to be rehabilitated, and a funny thing happened.  She was telling me that, as a new board member, she’s trying to bring her tiny, rural shelter into the 21st century.  I was opening my mouth to tell her that even at our big, metropolitan shelter, the Volunteer Director had never heard of Best Friends, when she asked, ‘Can you believe this?–they’d never even heard of Best Friends!’  So let me encourage you not to be one of the clueless on this topic.  By educating yourself about Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, you’ll be on the cutting edge of animal rescue, and, unfortunately, far ahead of some people who really should know better.  Here’s another link:  http://www.bestfriends.org/

Today is Friday, February 11th, 2011, and I have two interrelated tiny steps for you today.  First, would you please read some or all of my blogs entries about the Sawyere Project?  One of the shelters involved in that rescue is in dire need of buckle collars and leashes.  Would you please consider sending used collars and leashes to the address which follows?  Thank you! 
NEWSFLASH!!! – TRUMBULL CO POUND – WARREN OH – We are in desperate need of good sturdy buckle collars (and leashes) in Med and Lg sizes, to safely transport the dogs to rescue. Thank you to anyone who can help!
If any one has good used items to donate, please send to:
Trumbull Co Dog Kennel,
c/o Marty Conklin,
7501 Anderson Ave,
Warren OH 44484

Today is Thursday, February 10th, 2011, and I hope you will send your cozy textiles to the shelter in this request, which one of my dog rescue colleagues posted on her Facebook page:  ‘If you have old blankets and towels, PLEASE ship via USPS, FEDEX or UPS to: City of Lyons Animal Shelter 100 S Lanier St Lyons, GA 30436
Phone: 8:00am – 5:00pm 912 380-0035. After 5:00pm call Marla 912 537-3732
FREEZING DOGS …KEPT OUTSIDE – CONCRETE FLOORS’  You may want to call the shelter first, in case they’ve gotten an overwhelming response and are loaded with blankets (unfortunately, not likely).  Thank you for taking this very big step!  Tomorrow’s will be super tiny, to make up for it.  🙂

Today is Wednesday, February 9th, 2011, and you get an extra day to fill your bag, because I found something so important I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to put it into Tiny Step.  So tomorrow I’ll give you the address for the shelter, but for today, please look at and consider signing the following pledge: http://network.bestfriends.org/campaigns/foreverhome/pledge.aspx

Today is Tuesday, February 8th, 2011, and I’d like you to add a towel or blanket to your bag, and even, if you’re willing, to fill it up.  That’s because I’ll be asking you to consider sending all that cozy goodness to a shelter in Georgia, where the dogs are in desperate need of it.  Thank you very much for taking today’s tiny step.  It means a lot to me and to a whole bunch of dogs.  I’ll give you the address in tomorrow’s tiny step.  For now, just collect those textiles!

Today is Monday, February 7th, 2011, and I’m being lazy today.  I worked hard all last week, and today will start on a big rescue project (check out the other part of this blog if you want to find out about it), so I took a break last night and this morning.  You should get a break, too, especially since it’s Monday.  Here’s your tiny step: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ika3Gvhgho

Today is Sunday, February 6th, 2011, SuperBowl Sunday.  Although I have no interest in football, for some reason I love this day, and have the ‘holiday feeling’ on it.  We need to have a holiday-ish tiny step, and anyway, a bigger holiday is just around the corner.  So I’m sending you shopping to the Animal Rescue Site, to find something special to please someone you love and benefit animals.  Here’s the link:  http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=3

Today is Saturday, February 5th, 2011.  It’s very close to Valentine’s Day now, so it may be your last chance to order the perfect kind of chocolate and have it shipped to your human valentine.  Here’s why it’s perfect–100% of the net profit from the yummy stuff goes back into pet rescue, so order away.  Just click on www.rescuechocolate.com to make your valentine very happy.

Today is Friday, February 4th, 2011.  Thank you for helping chained dogs by getting involved in the Valentine’s Day campaign!  That was actually more than a tiny step, so you need something easy for today’s step.  Please add a towel or other cozy cloth item to your latest humane society bag.

Today is Thursday, February 3rd, 2011.  The groundhog couldn’t have seen his shadow, so spring might come early.  And it won’t be a moment too soon, if you ask me, or if you could ask the dogs chained or penned outside, in all weathers.  Please, take this last chance to help them.  You need to mail your valentines today.  If you want to make one more, great!  But make sure you put all of yours into a mailbox today. You want them to get your cards by the 5th.  Here’s the link again:  http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/Valentines2011.html  Thank you so much for helping with this campaign.

Today is Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011, Groundhog’s Day.  I’d say there’s no chance at all that Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow, because today is also Thundersnow Day, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.  Where I am we’re getting loads of snow, and I’ve made a special effort to feed and protect any living thing under my care, including the wild birds.  So I can’t help but worry about dogs chained or penned outdoors.  And since all valentines for those dogs (really, for their owners) have to be in by February 5th, and since you might be snowed in, too, and have time to make one or more, I’m asking you to contribute a valentine or coupons or money to the campaign.  So today’s tiny step is the same as yesterday’s:  http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/Valentines2011.html  And please be proud if you’ve already contributed, and take the day off–it is a snow day, after all! 

Today is Tuesday, February 1st, 2011, and there are only a few days left to take this very fun, very important Tiny Step:  http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/Valentines2011.html  Please make a valentine for these great people, or two, or three, and involve your kids in this delightfully creative project. 

Today is Monday, January 31st, 2011, and today, instead of thinking of a fun tiny step to make Monday better, I’ve gone the other way, just this once.  Please read this article, bookmark it, and share the appalling statistics with your friends.  I bet you’ll find, as I have, that not one of your friends knows how bad it really is.  http://www.americanhumane.org/about-us/newsroom/fact-sheets/animal-shelter-euthanasia.html

It’s Sunday, January 30th, 2011, and I’ve learned something wonderful.  A Facebook rescuer wrote yesterday about the fact that nursing homes discard bedding frequently, and are generally happy to donate the (very slightly) used stuff to pet rescues.  And other people wrote in and said that hospitals and hotels do the same.  This is so good to know, and it means I’m going to form a new habit, a new tiny step habit.  Will you do it with me?  Let’s start asking nursing homes, hospitals, and hotels if they’ve got any extra bedding for dogs and cats.  I hope we’re going to need bigger bags…

Today is Saturday, January 29th, 2011, and it’s another perfect day for picking up some free or inexpensive cloth items to donate.  You’re looking for sheets, pillowcases, blankets, or towels, and you may as well also scope out food bowls and toys–including stuffed toys without beans inside, and without too many extra little parts.  We have a gigantic indoor garage sale in our town this weekend, and you can bet I’ll be there.  Happy hunting–I hope you fill your bag and need another!

Today is Friday, January 28th, 2011, and everywhere we go we see signs that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  I recently placed my first order for Rescue Chocolate, as a prize for a new crossposter I recruited, and the flavors they had were fascinatingly tempting.  So for today’s tiny step, I’d like you to buy someone you love some Rescue Chocolate, knowing that 100% of your purchase goes to help animals.  Try some of the uniquely flavored bars ($5.00 per piece) and add chocolate hearts or truffles for the holiday.  Have fun, and don’t forget to get some for yourself, too!  www.rescuechocolate.com

Today is Thursday, January 27th, 2011, and it’s a good day to check in with the folks at Best Friends.  Go to www.bestfriends.org and read as much as you like.  This time, while you read, think about whether it’s important to you to donate locally, or whether you’d consider donating to a faraway sanctuary like Best Friends.  How important is it to you that a shelter be ‘no-kill’?

Today is Wednesday, January 26th, 2011, and yesterday I learned about a new way to help your local shelter and take a tiny step.  It may not be a step you can take in your area, though, so if you find out that it’s not, please put another towel, blanket, or sheet into your humane society bag.  Here’s the tiny step:  call your local shelter of choice and ask them if they use newspaper and need donations of it.  If they say yes, ask them about flyers, because the shelter request I saw today said that they wanted only the actual newspapers, not the glossy inserts (probably because they’re not absorbent).  If your shelter of choice needs papers and you get a newspaper daily or just occasionally, find another shopping bag for papers, label it, and store it next to your sheets and towels bag.  If you’ve got papers lying around, pull out the glossy bits (probably), and load them into your bag.  I love this idea for old newspapers!   

Today is Tuesday, January 25th, 2011, and today’s very nice tiny step was suggested by a young reader of this blog.  This has got to be the easiest, most fun way ever to help shelter pets, so please visit and donate your kibble!   http://www.freekibble.com/

Today is Monday, January 24th, 2011, and because it’s Monday, and here, a freezing cold Monday, today’s tiny step needs to be really fun, and it is.  Go to The Animal Rescue Site http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=3&ThirdPartyClicks=ARS_YMSN_ADGROUP_AnimalRescueSite-CTG    and explore.  There’s a big purple button to click, and your click will help provide food for shelter pets.  There are articles and links, and there’s great shopping.  Your purchases benefit animals, and many of the items are animal-themed.  It’s a great site for anyone who cares about animals.  Remember to bookmark it!

Today is Sunday, January 23rd, 2011, and I hope this tiny step entry isn’t a bad idea.  I keep thinking about how I didn’t fully believe that the humane society could really use my weird or slightly worn bedding.  I know now that they can and will use it.  I really want to convince you that, even if you did nothing else to save animals ever again, by taking one blanket to a shelter you could save an animal’s life.  Before you see this photo, please be aware that this dog has been saved and is receiving treatment and tons of TLC.  And look what’s on the bottom of the cage–someone’s donated bedspread (or whatever that is).  She could be going through ten to twenty sheets or blankets a day.  Trust me!  Your towels, sheets, pillowcases, and blankets will be used.  So put something in your bag right now–thank you!

Today is Saturday, January 22nd, 2011, and it’s a perfect day to put a towel, sheet, pillow case, or blanket into your humane society bag.  Why a perfect day?  Because, if you’ve run out of your own donate-able textiles, you may have time, on a weekend, to start learning to shop for other people’s.  🙂  Thrift stores are wonderful places to look, at all times of the year.  Also, right now is a great time to get new items which are drastically marked down, post-holidays.  Or there’s your city’s recycling website, which by now I hope you’ve joined.  And don’t forget to ask your friends for theirs–they’ll probably be delighted to get them off their hands.  However you do it, you want to train yourself to become aware of, and a permanent hunter of, inexpensive or free cozy cloth items for your bag.  Go to it, and have fun, never doubting that what you find will end up being very comforting in the life of a shelter pet.  Go and read my blog entry called, ‘The Golden Fleece’, if you want to hear a true story about a blanket and a dog. 

Today is Friday, January 21st, 2011, and it’s time to start a new bag to take to the shelter of your choice.  So grab a fairly big shopping bag, label it with your shelter’s name, and store it in your special spot.  That’s it–happy weekend!

Today is Thursday, January 20th, 2011, and today’s tiny step is another easy one.  Go to  http://www.flyingdogpress.com/ , bookmark it, and read as much as you’d like.  Suzanne Clothier is a very respected dog trainer in this country, and her methods are cutting edge.  She’s also got links to lots of fascinating subjects. 

Today is Wednesday, January 19th, 2011, and for today’s tiny step, I’m offering prizes.  Please read my blog entry for today, ‘A Contest!’, to find out how to win.  I really hope you’ll consider doing it.  You won’t believe how easy it is to save a life.  But it’s true–the chances are that you’ll save your first life within weeks of starting to crosspost. 

Today is Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, and it functions as a Monday, because of yesterday’s holiday.  So our fun tiny step for today is to see what’s new with our friends at Best Friends.  Go to www.bestfriends.org and read as much as you’d like.  That’s it!

Today is Monday, January 17th, 2011, Martin Luther King Day, and I have an appropriate tiny step.  Please read about Black Dog Syndrome (the same issue exists for black cats) at the following link.  And please, don’t write me and say I’m racist for making this comparison.  We were raised ‘color-free’, and had quotes from Dr. King painted on the walls of our house.   People whose skin is on the dark side of the spectrum are discriminated against, just like black cats and dogs.  http://www.blackdogrescueproject.com/black-dog-syndrome.html

Today is Sunday, January 16th, 2011, and the tiny step of the day is the same as it was for Saturday and Friday, to give you a whole weekend to deliver your filled donation bag to the humane society or rescue group of your choice.  Please scroll down a little to read about asking if your shelter has a listing of rental properties which allow pets.  If you’ve already donated your items, why not reward yourself by shopping for some very special Valentine’s Day chocolate?  http://www.rescuechocolate.com/  This is the nicest chocolate you’ll find–a sweet thing to do, in every way.

Today is Saturday, January 15th, 2011, and the tiny step for today is the same as the one for Friday, January 14th (scroll down), because you need to have a choice of days to visit your shelter or rescue group.  As long as you get your bag donated sometime this weekend, we’re good.  If you feel like shopping some more for Valentine’s Day, scroll down to the tiny step involving Rescue Chocolate! 

Today is Friday, January 14th, 2011, and the tiny step for today, tomorrow, and Sunday is the same–you’ll deliver your filled bag to the humane society or rescue organization of your choice.  If it’s not quite filled, add a towel or two, or, even better, use some of your coupons to buy cat food or litter (you may have given away your dog coupons).  At your shelter, there’s one extra tiny step I’d like you to do.  Ask if the shelter carries a listing of rental properties in your area whose landlords allow pets.  This is a very helpful service that our big local shelter provides.  If they don’t have such a thing, see if they’re open to starting a list like that, and if you want to take a giant step, offer to help!  If you’re donating to a small independent rescue group, ask if they know whether the bigger shelter in your area has a list.  If the answer is ‘no’, plan on making your next donation to the bigger shelter, so you can plant that idea there.   

Today is Thursday, January 13th, 2011, and today’s tiny step is fun and easy.  If you’re on Facebook already, add the Save A Dog application, and start playing.  It takes just seconds a day to help raise real money for real shelter pets, and it’s completely free to you–it’s paid for through advertising.  If you’re not on Facebook, please consider joining!  At least go and take a look around the site.  I may have said this before, but Facebook is the best thing to happen to pet rescue in a long time.  And how can you play Save A Dog if you’re not even on Facebook?  😉

Today is Wednesday, January 12th, 2011, and it’s time to make a donation plan.  By now you’ve figured out which one of your local rescue groups or shelters you want to donate to, and where it is.  Now you just need to get your bag there, which is easy, as long as you can remember to do it!  What I’ve found very helpful is to plan a couple of other errands to do in the same area as my shelter.  I guess I like the feeling of being efficient with time and gas mileage, and of checking things off my list.  So make a plan for yourself which will include a stop at your donation site, and decide to drop off your filled bag within one week.  If your bag isn’t filled, it may be time to use some of your coupons (if you’ve done yesterday’s tiny step, you may have just the cat coupons left) and purchase some food, litter, or treats.  Of course, feel free to do this even without the coupons!  If your bag is already filled, donate your coupons in their envelope.  Just make sure that you’ve stuffed that bag as full as you can, because it’ll make you feel wonderful to drop it off.  So, to sum it up, today’s tiny step is to get organized to deliver your donations, which will help you form the habit of donating.   

Today is Tuesday, January 11th, 2011, and I really, really hope you will take this particular tiny step to help rescue pets.  Here is a link to an annual campaign which seeks to free pets who are chained or penned outdoors in all weathers.

 http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/Valentines2011.html

Every year the rescuers at Dogs Deserve Better find pets who have suffered frostbite, or have even frozen and died, during the winter months.  And you probably already know about summer’s dangers; there were several well-publicized deaths of caged dogs this year, dogs left outside in the sun, day after day, with no shade and no water.  Each year, school children make Valentine’s Day cards for these dogs (really, for their owners), and the goal is to mail 17,000 cards this year (last year, 15,000 were mailed).  Every single Valentine’s Day card could save a dog’s life by educating the owner.  Here’s how you can help: Dogs Deserve Better wants your coupons, the ones for dog food and dog treats which you probably have in your humane society bag (hold onto your cat item coupons for now).  Click on the link, and read down it until you find the address to which to send your coupons.  Thank you!  Your coupons could not have been put to a better use.  Here’s that link again:    http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/Valentines2011.html

It’s Monday, January 10th, 2011, and Mondays mean you deserve a fun tiny step, and this one is pure fun.  Go to this site, and look around, and then (I hope), shop for Valentine’s Day gifts for all your compassionate friends, or the friends whose compassion you want to encourage:  http://www.rescuechocolate.com/  This is a really great endeavor, in my opinion.  Have a blast!

Today, Sunday, January 9th, 2011, it’s time again for clipping coupons for pet food, cat litter, and pet supplies from your local paper.  Put them into the envelope you’re already started, in your humane society bag.  If you don’t get a paper or just can’t stand clipping coupons, add another towel, sheet, or blanket to the bag (or do both).  Your bag must be getting full, and it’ll be time to drop it off soon.  

I love the tiny step for today, Saturday, January 8th, 2011, because I like shopping and I like stamps.  Go to your post office, or click on this link:  https://shop.usps.com/wcsstore/PostalStore/upload/htm/animalrescue/

and buy yourself some animal rescue stamps, all photographs of shelter pets!  The more we spread these around, the better.  Maybe they will inspire us to send more snail mail; actually, now that I think of it, they already have inspired me to write more thank you notes in the past week than I’ve written all year.

All of these cuties were shelter pets, and by the time the stamps went to press, all but one had already been adopted. I'm sure that, by now, even the tenth pet has a new home. If only we could put every single dog or cat who needs a home on a stamp.

For today, Friday, January 7th, 2011, there’s a fun tiny step, appropriate for a Friday.  But it’s a very important step, even though there’s nothing work-like about it.  Go to www.bestfriends.org, bookmark the site, and read as much as you like.  That’s it.  Best Friends, a no-kill sanctuary in Utah, is probably the most trusted animal rescue organization in the world, a group which has managed to do its work without kicking up dust storms of controversy, and that’s an almost impossible thing to do in the world of animal rescue.  It’s quite an amazing place, doing good wherever it touches, and it doesn’t limit itself to helping only cats and dogs.  Best Friends is spoken of with love and a kind of awe by true pet rescuers, and many of us go there to vacation and even hope to retire near there.  I hope you’ll become a fan, too. 

For today, Thursday, January 6th, 2011, I have a controversial step for you to take.  For some of you, it is indeed a tiny step, but there may be others of you who say, ‘absolutely not’.  If you’re one of those people, then instead of doing what I’m about to ask, just add another towel, sheet, or blanket to your humane society bag.  For everyone else, get on Facebook.  Today was such a day of pet rescue activity for me on Facebook that I am emboldened to ask you to join in.  Many of you are probably on it already.  Whether you’ve been on it for years or you’re joining now, I ask you to send me, Ingrid Bock, a friend request, so that I can ‘share’ to your page dogs and cats who are in danger of being killed at their shelters.  You’ll be able to share them with your friends, who can share them with their friends, and the pets get networked all over the place. Many of them get saved, in that way.  Please take this step.  You will immediately make a huge difference to these animals.  And don’t worry that this is a scam or that I’ll do something weird once we’re Facebook friends.  I won’t.  It’s just that Facebook has drastically changed how we’re able to get pets adopted out, and you’ll start to understand it right away.  It would take me days or weeks to explain what you’ll figure out in a few hours–this is a case where a picture really is worth a thousand words.  So please, get on Facebook and friend me.

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

It’s an early good morning for me, because I forgot that I still hadn’t changed my alarm clock to Daylight Savings Time.  When was it–October?  But it’s nice to have the extra hour, and because of it I had time to enjoy a few minutes of beautiful video and music to inspire any dog rescuer, shared by friends on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dz7PZyHluEbE&h=08724

Today is a day when inspiration is coming to me from all sides.  The video is one form.  Also, two very nice things happened yesterday.  First, I received a donation of a big pile of supplies for cats, through our local recycling group, and then a friend of mine, who’s become more and more interested in dog rescue and determined to become involved, yesterday agreed to foster a shelter dog through the same rescue group who gave me Grace. 

That last thing is not a tiny step; it’s a giant step.  Feel free anytime to take a step like that!  🙂  But if you’d like to stick to tiny steps, today’s is an easy, but very important one.

Tiny step for Wednesday, January 5th, 2011:  Investigate the recycling programs available in your city.  In this case, I’m not talking about paper and can recycling, the kind which goes out on trash collection day.  I mean something like Freecycle, an internet site through which people give and receive items and no money changes hands.  In my city, we have Freecycle, and a site called ReUseIt, which is the one I subscribe to.  It costs no money to join, and is very easy to figure out (and I don’t say that lightly).  There’s also a free area on Craigslist, I believe, and you may already be familiar with how that site works.  If you’re ready to start using one or more of these sites, you might try requesting donations for your humane society bag.  You might post a message like, “I’m collecting items to donate to _____, our local animal shelter.   Blankets, sheets, and towels are in constant demand.  Dog and cat food and treats, cat litter, pet crates and carriers, and cleaning supplies are always needed, too.  If you’ve got anything you think might be useful, I’ll be happy to pick up your items and donate them.”  Or you can just monitor the site, choosing to receive email updates, and when you see pet items, which happens regularly, write and explain what you do, and there’s a good chance you’ll be the lucky person chosen to win what’s on offer.  I’ve received many donations this way, even in the fairly short time I’ve been active.  And you’ll be able to hunt for things for your own personal use, too, and get rid of things you no longer need.  You’ll find a lot of value in these recycling sites, once you get started. 

Today, Tuesday, January 4th, I’d like you to decide where you’re going to take your shelter donation bag, once it’s full.  You may already know, or you may have only one choice, depending on where you live.   In my area, there are two large shelters and a host of smaller, independent rescue groups.  I prefer to donate to no-kill rescue groups.  Yesterday, when I had occasion to call an all-cat veterinarian of behalf of someone else, I learned about a new no-kill rescue that has just started up in my own little suburb, so my next bag of stuff will go there.  If you want to find your own favorite organization for donations, the internet is your best search tool these days, but of course, there’s always word of mouth, which has the added advantage of getting people talking about pet rescue.  However you choose to do it, by the end of today try to know where you’ll be delivering your ‘humane society’ bag, and if you’re not familiar with its location, mapquest or google map it.

For today, Monday, January 3rd, 2011, I wanted you to have something really easy and pleasant to do, because the Monday after a long holiday is no one’s idea of fun.

So your tiny step for today is simply to read my blog post entitled, “The Golden Fleece”.  I’m quite sure it will inspire you, and allow you to understand how our tiny steps can make a dramatic difference in the lives of pets needing rescue.   

Maybe you can even read, “The Golden Fleece” at work, which would be a real win-win.  😉

For today, Sunday, January 2nd, 2011, you have a choice of two steps.  If you have time, and feel like it, do both!

Choice A:  If you get a local Sunday paper, go through the coupon section and clip all the coupons for pet foods and supplies, such as cat litter.  Take a look at the expiration date on one of them–no need to get too careful, because you want to make this easy for yourself (and most of the coupons in any given paper have a similar expiration date).  Put the coupons into a business-sized envelope (good chance to recycle one from your junk mail), and write the expiration date you saw on the outside.  Put the envelope into the bag you set aside yesterday.

Choice B:  Think about what you own in the way of linens–sheets, blankets and throws, comforters, and towels.  If you’ve got a linen closet, go and take a look in it.  The chances are excellent that you have some items in your linen supply that you’d love to pass along, and here’s your opportunity.  When I started doing this, I felt bad about the quality of some of the things I was donating to the local shelter.  Later, two things taught me that almost any piece of good-sized fabric is welcomed by people dealing with multiple pets:  I began volunteering at the local shelter, and my own pet family grew quite large.  So don’t worry if the towel you find has frayed edges or a hole, don’t worry if your sheet has a skimpy thread count or is partly polyester.  Don’t analyze it; just put the item into the bag you set aside yesterday.  If, by any chance, it’s a comforter you’ve found and your bag is now filled, hurray!  Find another bag, label it, and tuck it away next to your already-filled bag.  Done!   

Here’s the baby step for January 1st, 2011:

Look around your home for a large-ish shopping bag or paper bag you’d like to be rid of.  With a fat Sharpie, magic marker, or crayon, label the bag, “Humane Society”, front and back.  Now find a spot where the bag can be stored and it’ll be out of your way, but won’t be so difficult to access that you won’t want to add to it, or will forget where you put it.  That’s it!  Congratulations on having taken your first step.

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