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Celebrating the 8th Annual Florida Week for the Animals

“I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.” (Mohandas Gandhi)

“I will not kill or hurt any living creature needlessly, nor destroy any beautiful thing, but will strive to save and comfort all gentle life, and guard and perfect all natural beauty upon the earth.” (John Ruskin)

“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.” (Charles Darwin)

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Florida Week for the Animals

Profuse apologies for the extended delay from my happy place, my place of serenity — but keeping up with a few moves and a few jobs has forced a brief hiatus. HOWEVER, thanks to the wonderful people at Florida Week for the Animals, I’ve been given the opportunity to post about this most wonderful annual event. Running February 20-28, Florida Week for the Animals hosts an amazing number of events throughout the state, through this upcoming weekend.

Help celebrate this amazing week, and speak up for the innocent and voiceless of our state — this week and every day. It doesn’t take much. Check out their Calendar of Events (2 pages worth!), which is constantly updated with new and exciting activities. And click here to see if there’s a similar Week for the Animals in your own state!

More from the lovely Michelle, at Florida Week for the Animals:

Animal World USA is pleased to announce the 8th Annual Florida Week for the Animals is scheduled February 20-28, 2016.  During the fun-filled week animal shelters, rescue groups, wildlife centers, educational institutions and humane organizations across the entire state will be hosting wonderful animal-related special events that will be saving lives, building relationships, helping animals and strengthening communities. Educators, students, businesses and caring citizens across the state will be joining in to celebrate and help the animals.

Events will include adoption events, low cost & free spay/neuter events in honor of World Spay Day, R.E.A.D. dog programs in libraries, Siberian Husky Olympics, festivals for the shelter and rescue animals, 5K’s and Walks for animals, Ponies for Pups polo benefit, events, pet food donations, farm animal sanctuary events, wildlife camps, bird tours/activities, Wetlands festivals,  galas for homeless animals, pet food donation drives, and therapy animals visiting hospitals and living-assisted homes.

Also to be included are a salute to our working K-9 and handlers, low cost vaccinations, educational events, vegetarian dinner theater and meetups, and fun-filled activities for families to enjoy friendship, food, music on behalf of the always amazing animals. Scores of precious lives will be saved and lasting new relationships will be built during the dynamic week which has approximately 100 events scheduled!

Please note that events and activities will be added through the week as energy grows for the animals.  For more info call 901-454-0807. Please see the exciting website and learn how to become involved at  http://www.floridaanimals.org/

Florida Panther Kitten (Copyright John Kellam), Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Florida Panther Kitten (Copyright John Kellam), Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Gopher Tortoise in His Burrow: One of the oldest living species, and now listed as threatened in Florida

Alligator Pair in the Everglades, Florida

Alligator Pair in the Everglades, Florida: What’s not to love about these gorgeous, ancient, fascinating creatures?

 

A Clip Here, a Snip There: World Spay Day Is February 24

Best Friends Feral Cat MafiaFebruary is National Spay / Neuter Month, and today is World Spay Day!

We’ve called this “The Year of the Clipping and Snipping” for our neighborhood strays and abandoned cats… Having recently relocated to a large city, we were immediately struck with the number of roaming hungry mouths, right outside our door. Of course, feeding them and providing shelter is easy enough — their spirits are unbelievably beautiful — but after repeated litters immediately upon our arrival, we knew we had to become quickly proactive with TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). I was actively TNRing in my old home — always abandoned animals from foreclosed homes — but being in the city is an entirely different affair. We’re up to 10 spayed and neutered kitties now, and we’re not done. Nor do we feel like criminals for trying to help the stray populations (I’m looking at you, certain very large counties in Florida) — Hoorah!

litter

We’re lucky to live in a city where the Best Friends Animal Society  provides a grant, for spaying and neutering. Not only does the city proper take an active effort with TNR (instead of rounding animals up for the kill-shelter); there’s even a paid associate to assist should you need it. We had already bought a cage, but she’s been exceptionally helpful with transporting the kitties, and giving them a place to recuperate from the surgeries. Read more about the Best Friends grant program here.

"Itty Bitty" — Expected another round of food

“Itty Bitty” — One of our 10 successful TNRs (and one of 2 possible adoptions), expecting another round of food

World Spay Day

Save a Life - Spay and NeuterWE humans domesticated cats and dogs, to help us in more ways than ever imagined. It’s OUR responsibility to help them, whenever possible. The facts are brutal, as are the lives of these sweet and beautiful strays, ferals, and abandoned animals. As difficult as it may be to look at, it’s even harder to look away. There’s so much to do — feeding and sheltering your local critters, donating to local shelters, adopting, fostering… The list is never-ending!

"Samuel Beckett" — Dropped off at our local bookstore, and adopted by the kind folks there

“Samuel Beckett” — Abandoned at our local bookstore, and adopted by the kind folks there. Here with his surrogate bunny-momma

Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet, from the ASPCA:

  1. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.
    Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
  2. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male.
    Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
  3. Your spayed female won’t go into heat.
    While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!
  4. Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home.
    An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
  5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved.
    Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
  6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
    Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
  7. It is highly cost-effective.
    The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
  8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
    Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
  9. Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.
    Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
  10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
    Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

TNR InfographicFor More Information:

 

Florida Week for the Animals Returns for a 7th Year

Florida Week for the Animals LogoNot to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission — to be of service to them wherever they require it. —St. Francis of Assisi

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way. ―Martin Luther King, Jr.

St. Francis watches over the critters in the gardens of the Ancient Spanish Monastery in Miami

St. Francis watches over the critters in the gardens of the Ancient Spanish Monastery in Miami

We tend to think animals are lower than us, but all the scientists in the world couldn’t design and operate a bumblebee’s wing. We can’t jump or run very fast, and we can’t carry vast weights like an ant can. We can’t see in the dark and we can’t fly…. Humans compared to animals are almost totally deaf, and we can’t smell a fart in an elevator by their standards. We are finite and separate, and neurotic, while the consciousness of an animal is at peace and eternal. We strive and go crazy to become more important. Animals rest and sleep and enjoy the company of each other. We think we have evolved upwards from animals but we have lost almost all of their qualities and abilities. The idea that animals don’t have consciousness or that they don’t have a soul is rather crass. It shows a lack of consciousness. They talk, they have families, they feel things, they act individually or together to solve problems, they often care of their young as a tribal unit. They play, they travel, and medicate themselves when they get sick. They cry when others in the herd die, they know about us humans. Of course they have a soul, a very pristine one. We humans are only now attempting with the recent rise in consciousness to achieve the soul that animals have naturally. —Stuart Wilde

TNR Resident at the Ancient Spanish Monastery, Miami

TNR Resident at the Ancient Spanish Monastery

February 14-22 is the 7th Annual Florida Week for the Animals! Help celebrate this wonderful event, and speak up for the innocent and voiceless of our state — this week and every day. It doesn’t take much. We’re currently in the process of TNR’ing (TRAP-NEUTER-RETURN) the abandoned, stray, and feral cats of our neighborhood, much to their chagrin, wink. You can also investigate the links to the right, under “Florida Nature Blogs.” Blogs like janthina images, Walking with Alligators, naturetime, and Our Florida Journal showcase and highlight the plight of Florida’s unique and beautiful creatures. And don’t forget to check out FLA Week for the Animal’s constantly growing Calendar of Events to see what’s happening throughout the state. From the lovely Michelle at Florida Week for the Animals:

Rescued Florida Panther at Flamingo Gardens: Sadly, this guy can’t be returned to the wild, because he underwent a painful de-clawing procedure at the hands of humans

Rescued Florida Panther at Flamingo Gardens: Sadly, this guy can’t be returned to the wild, because he underwent a painful de-clawing procedure at the hands of humans

7th Annual Florida Week for the Animals Coming February 14-22, 2015!

(Tampa, FL) The 7th Annual Florida Week for the Animals will be celebrated from February 14-22, 2015! During the extraordinary governor-proclaimed week, animal shelters, rescue groups, educational institutions and humane organizations across the state will be hosting over 100 wonderful animal-related special events that will be saving lives, building relationships, helping animals and strengthening communities. Educators, students, businesses and caring citizens across the state will be joining in to celebrate and help animals.

Events in the spotlight will include pet adoption events, low cost spay/neuter & vaccination events, Valentine’s Day pet promotions, Volunteer days at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, Husky Olympics. thank you to Eglin Air Force handlers and K-9’s, Cat Depot’s ‘Love Me Tender’ gala, Boxer Friends Dog Bowl, displays and R.E.A.D. dog programs in libraries, Doxie Derby, Pucker Up for Puppies, Wetlands festivals, Veg events, SF Siberian Rescue of FL Painting for Pups, Mardi Gras in the Park, Museum events, Tree donations/sale to citizens for upcoming Arbor Day, children’s book donations, horse adoption/help with supplies events, pet food donations, Manatee activities for the family, farm animal sanctuary events, wildlife center activities and therapy animals visiting hospitals and living-assisted homes.

Also to be included are search & rescue orgs, vegetarian and vegan meetups, parrot education classes, low cost clinics, puppy & dog training, educational events and fun-filled activities for families to enjoy friendship, food, music on behalf of the always amazing animals. There is more being planned!

Precious lives will be saved and exciting new relationships will be built in communities during the exciting week. For more info please call 901-791-2455 or visit http://www.floridaanimals.org/; Email michellebuckalew@comcast.net.

Alligator Pair in the Everglades, Florida

Alligator Pair in the Everglades, Florida

A sweet, dozing cormorant in the Florida Wetlands

Gopher Tortoise in His Burrow

Gopher Tortoise in his Burrow: One of the oldest living species, and now listed as threatened in Florida

It’s Florida Week for the Animals: February 15-23, 2014!

Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission — to be of service to them wherever they require it. —St. Francis of Assisi

Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives. —Dr. Albert Schweitzer

When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul. —A.D. Williams

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way. ―Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sara

My little Sara, AKA “Criminal,” stalking another one of my rescues. One year later, she’s a far different soul than the one I pulled off the streets.

It’s been so long since my last post, I feel like I’m re-learning WordPress. Fortunately I’ve kept up with the amazing words, art, and images of all of you. The scope of talent, and the depth of support, continues to take my breath away.

February 15-23 is the 6th Annual Florida Week for the Animals! Check out their Calendar of Events to see what’s happening throughout the state. From the website:

Throughout the week, educational institutions, animal shelters, rescue groups, and humane organizations across the state will be hosting scores of wonderful animal-related special events. Educators, students, businesses and caring citizens across Florida will be joining in, creating and planning their exciting activities to celebrate and help animals. Events will include adoption fairs, spay/neuter events, shelter volunteer and beautification days, programs in libraries, walks for the farm animals and therapy dogs visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Also to be included are a salute to our canine military and police dogs, cat initiatives, educational programs, blessings of the animals, and fun-filled festival days for families to come and enjoy food, music and the always amazing animals!

Alligator, Grassy Waters Preserve, West Palm Beach, Florida

Not to forget our wildlife: Florida’s beautiful but misunderstood alligators (here at Grassy Waters Preserve in West Palm Beach)

Help speak up for the innocent and voiceless of our state, this week and every day. It doesn’t take much. And be sure to visit the links to the right, under “Florida Nature Blogs.” Blogs like janthina images, Walking with Alligators, naturetime, and Our Florida Journal showcase and highlight the plight of our area’s most unique and beautiful creatures.

TNR Cat, and Abandoned Neighborhood Florida Feline

One of the neighborhood kitties I’ve TNR’d (Trapped-Neutered-Released), with the help of some amazing organizations. Here, “Momma” sits on my car (immediately upon my arrival), waiting for…love? OK, food.

Hawk, Grassy Waters Preserve, West Palm Beach, Florida

Always keep an eye on our feathered friends: This guy’s happy at home in the wild (within the SWA Trail network in West Palm Beach), but many require our assistance as we continue to breach their world

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Well, this was my initial DELICATE post — a precious periwinkle dragonfly resting along the Apoxee Trail in the Grassy Waters Preserve.  It was my companion for the better part of a half-mile; this gossamer creation following me as I hiked — perhaps because I was head-to-toe in periwinkle!

Blue Dragonfly, Grassy Waters Preserve, Florida

That is, until Sunday evening, when a starving black kitten crossed my path. I’ve been TNRing (Trap-Neuter-Release) many kitties, in my wee attempt to help control the populations. (Our county has a severe feline overpopulation issue.) Apparently a lovely woman nearby is doing the same (THANK YOU, stranger!). Sometimes, it’s not cheap: If the kitties are sick, pregnant, need medications, or if assistance is needed with trapping (they can be wily)…it quickly adds up. But these guys need help. Many have been abandoned, the sad products of foreclosed homes and other circumstances. I’ve seen pets left behind for a simple move / long vacation, shockingly.

New Feline Rescue

Maya (??) caught in the flash

My guys are rescues…. And it’s easy to see which ones can survive out there, and which ones cannot. This girl falls into the latter category. She tried desperately to find a home for as long as she was alive, apparently. Maya (?!? still playing with her name) crossed my path in another section of the neighborhood, and, according to one of the tenants, she has no litter mates, and was unable to reach the food provided by the woman caring for the other strays (being so tiny and timid). She had been trying to sneak into the homes of many residents — to no avail. An absolute sweetheart, one of the friendliest felines I’ve ever seen, she wants nothing more than love, safety, and shelter. But every bone in her body is razor-sharp: each vertebrae, her hips…. She was starving. At 6 months old, she has the body of a 4-month-old. I’ll never understand how a starving animal could be repeatedly turned away by so many, nor do I want to understand.

New Feline Rescue

Enjoying the view from inside

Right now, while her body’s very delicate, she’s a survivor — like so many souls on the streets, she’s a combination of delicacy and strength. And despite what she’s seen, despite her physical hardships and emaciation, despite her continued unsuccessful attempts at finding a home (until now), she remains the sweetest little soul.

A most amazing story (one I’ve been following for some time), of a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, battling cancer, and his relationship with a truly remarkable eagle. Read more of the beginnings of Freedom — from injured eaglet to powerful rehabilitator in his own right — and faith, the power of love, and the kinship of all life, in Jeff Guidry’s book “An Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship.”

Soul Writings

I wanted to share this wonderful story with you all ♥ Please feel free to share ♥

Photo: I wanted to share this wonderful story with you all <3 Please feel free to share <3</p><p>Freedom and Jeff<br />Freedom and  I have been together 11 years this summer.<br />She came  in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings.<br />Her left  wing doesn't open all the way even after surgery,<br />it  was broken in 4 places.<br />She's my baby.</p><p>When Freedom  came in she could not stand<br />and both wings were  broken. She was<br />emaciated and covered in lice. We  made the<br />decision to give her a chance at life, so I  took<br />her to the vet's office. From then<br />on, I  was always around her. We had her in a<br />huge dog  carrier with the top off, and it<br />was loaded up with  shredded newspaper for her to<br />lay in. I used to sit  and talk to her,<br />urging her to live, to fight; and  she would lay<br />there looking at me with those big  brown eyes.<br />We also had to tube feed her for  weeks.</p><p>This went on  for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still<br />couldn't stand.  It got to the point where the<br />decision was made to  euthanize her<br />if she couldn't stand in a week. You  know you don't<br />want to cross that line between  torture and<br />rehab, and it looked like death was<br />winning. She was going to be put<br />down that  Friday, and I was supposed to come in<br />on that  Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go<br />to the  center that Thursday, because I couldn't<br />bear the  thought of her being euthanized;<br />but I went anyway,  and when I walked in everyone<br />was grinning from ear  to ear. I went<br />immediately back to her cage; and  there she was,<br />standing on her own, a big beautiful<br />eagle. She was ready to live. I was<br />just about  in tears by then. That<br />was a very good day. </p><p>We knew she  could never fly, so the director<br />asked me to glove  train her.<br />I got her used to the glove,<br />and then  to jesses, and we started<br />doing education programs  for schools<br />in western Washington .<br />We wound up  in the newspapers,<br />radio (believe it or not) and  some<br />TV. Miracle Pets even did a show<br />about  us.</p><p>In the  spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with<br />non-Hodgkin's  lymphoma. I had stage 3,<br />which is not good (one  major organ plus<br />everywhere), so I wound up doing 8  months of<br />chemo. Lost the hair - the whole<br />bit.  I missed a lot of work. When I<br />felt good enough, I  would go to Sarvey<br />and take Freedom out for walks.  Freedom would<br />also come to me in my dreams and help  me fight<br />the cancer. This happened time and time  again.</p><p>Fast forward  to November 2000</p><p>the day after Thanksgiving,<br />I  went in for my last checkup.<br />I was told that if the  cancer was not<br />all gone after 8 rounds of chemo,  then my last<br />option was a stem cell transplant.  Anyway, they<br />did the tests; and I had to come back  Monday for<br />the results. I went in Monday, and I was<br />told that all the cancer was gone.</p><p>So the first  thing I did was get up to Sarvey and<br />take the big  girl out for a walk. It was misty<br />and cold. I went to  her flight and jessed her<br />up, and we went out front  to the top of the<br />hill. I hadn't said a word to<br />Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me<br />and wrapped both<br />her wings around me to where I<br />could feel them pressing in on my back<br />(I was  engulfed in eagle wings), and she<br />touched my nose  with her beak and stared into my<br />eyes, and we just  stood there like that<br />for I don't know how long .  That was a<br />magic moment We have been soul mates  ever<br />since she came in. This is a very special  bird.</p><p>On a side  note: I have had people who<br />were sick come up to us  when we are out, and<br />Freedom has some kind of hold  on<br />them. I once had a guy who was<br />terminal come  up to us and<br />I let him hold her.<br />His knees just  about buckled and he<br />swore he could feel her power  course through his<br />body. I have so many stories like  that..</p><p>I never  forget the honor I have of being so close<br />to such a  magnificent spirit as Freedom.<br />~Jeff</p><p>If you enjoyed this, please share <3

Freedom and Jeff
Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer.
She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings.
Her left wing doesn’t open all the way even after surgery,
it was broken in 4 places.
She’s my baby.When Freedom came in she could not stand
and both wings were broken. She was
emaciated and covered in lice. We made the
decision to give her a chance at life, so I took
her to the vet’s office. From then
on, I was always around her. We had her in a
huge dog carrier with the top off, and it
was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to
lay in. I used to sit and talk to her,
urging her to live, to fight; and she would…

View original post 604 more words

Sunbeams Forever

I don’t usually delve into personal issues, but I had to honor her. And I won’t harp on those sad, unfortunate souls who dumped her in a sparse Florida field abutting alligator-infested lakes, to fend for herself. There are many of these, and I’d rather not give them the power of my words — I’ll bestow that upon the efforts of the rescue groups and individuals doing so much for the abused and abandoned animals of the world, in countless ways. Rather, I’ll thank whoever abandoned her, for bringing us together. Confused, starved, covered in filth, and physically broken — but still desperate for human affection.

She quickly grew to thrive in the alpha role of the household, not thoroughly appreciating the new rescues, but always maintaining a calm, steady, and queenly presence…. “You know, death in the animal world isn’t seen in the same morose light as death in your world. Just let them be; they’ll make their ways fine and dandy on their own,” she seemed to say, in her haughty and gorgeous half-Maine Coon self. Of course, if they came to me, I couldn’t ignore their plights.

But on the first day of the glorious month of June, I bid farewell to my little princess after 17 years — how old she was exactly, I’ll never know. Nineteen? Twenty? She was fully grown when we pulled her out of that overgrown field; an abandoned housecat surviving major injuries during her fight for survival, including broken legs — which we thank Cosequin and Adequan for their help in easing her pain — but which would prove to be too much at the end of her long life. And after surprising everyone, in beating diabetes and stalling kidney failure (with the help of insulin and natural treatments) — the final straw would prove to be a stroke or brain tumor, creating mental confusion, a personality shift, and even more pain and weakness to her already damaged legs — quickly prompting us to make a most loving decision. It never gets easier. They’re a part of our family, and it’s our responsibility to honor them in these most precious moments, as quickly as possible. I’m ever-grateful and thankful for my vet, who makes house visits to perform this final transition, in the comfort of the animals’ surroundings.

My darling girl, Puss-puss, may you forever bask in sunbeams, pouncing freely on objects unawares. And while there may now be more space on the bed (“perpendicular” was her favorite position), I thoroughly expect your expansive and ethereal self soon enough…. As fellow bloggers Pat Bean and Whitebird so perfectly re-quoted recently:

 “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” —Dr. Seuss

✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿

Love is life.
All, everything that I understand,
I understand only because I love.
Everything is, everything exists, only because I love.
Everything is united by it alone.
Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source. —Leo Tolstoy

Princess Puss

Princess Puss

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