3DogArt Blog

Joyful Stories ~ Wagging Tails ~ Doggie Wisdom

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Voluntourism: Animal shelters that need your help

by Carri Wilbanks, Special for USA TODAY | Published on September 17, 2015

More and more people are looking for ways to give back on vacation. One way to do just that is by volunteering at a no-kill animal shelter. Not only do you help the animals (and the overworked shelter employees), but also get to hang out with lovable cats, dogs, and more for the length of your stay. Here are 10 places to check out where volunteer goers can interact with animals and help out with other tasks.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – Kanab, Utah
Best FriendsAt Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, volunteers make a significant difference in the lives of animals by giving them what they need most: personal attention, hands-on care and love. The working sanctuary accepts volunteers for as short as one day or for as long as they would like, and the experience can be tailored to fit what each participant is interested in doing. Volunteers often help out with day-to-day tasks like walking, feeding, grooming and assisting with cleaning, but there's plenty of time for fun with the animals as well. Whether you'd like to spend quiet time socializing, take an animal on outings to town, or even take one home for an overnight stay, you're helping prepare them to find their forever home.

St. John Animal Care Center – Virgin Islands, USA
The only no kill rescue in the Virgin Islands, the Animal Care Center of St. John addresses the problems of cruelty, neglect and abuse on the island's dogs and cats. Next time you're craving a tropical getaway, consider the center'sVolunTourism program, which allows visitors to the Virgin Islands to stop by and spend time volunteering. Whether it's walking the dogs or simply making a donation, every contribution helps and many tourists find themselves coming back year after year. Who knows - you might even end up flying home with a new furry friend. The shelter says that many visitors come to volunteer, fall in love with a dog and decide they just can't live without them stateside.

Maxfund Animal Adoption Center – Denver, Colo.

Founded in 1988 by Dr. Bill Suro and his wife, Nanci, Maxfund Animal Adoption Center in Denver is a nonprofit organization that offers adoption of both dogs and cats, a foster care program and low cost vet care. The shelter has found homes for over 26,317 dogs and cats, and it relies on volunteers to fill many needs, from animal care and housekeeping to special events and fundraising. While the program is flexible, there is an application process and mandatory orientation, which you can find information about online.

Pound Puppy Hike – Red Mountain Resort, Utah

For another chance to combine volunteering with animals with your next vacation, book a stay at Red Mountain Resort. One of the activities offered to guests is the Pound Puppy Hike, where visitors are assigned a friendly puppy or dog from the local Ivins Animal No Kill Shelter to take on a three to four mile walk through the scenic trails of St. George Valley and Padre Canyon. One of the most popular (and complimentary) offerings at the resort, the Pound Puppy Hike comes complete with doggie treats to feed to your new friend. And if it's love at first hike, you might even wind up taking one home. A short jaunt from Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, Red Mountain Resort is the perfect getaway for animal lovers.

Operation Kindness – Carrollton, Texas
Operation Kindness is the largest no-kill animal shelter in North Texas, and it has saved nearly 80,000 animals since its inception in 1976. The shelter cares for an average of 300 animals daily, and there are many ways that volunteers can help. Some of the volunteer duties at Operation Kindness include walking dogs, maintaining the cat rooms, kennel work, assisting with the foster ambassador program, fundraising, database assistance and adoption counseling. To sign up to volunteer, participants will have to fill out the application, attend an orientation session and then pick their time commitment, which can be tailored to fit their schedule and interests.

The Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter & Sanctuary – Tucson, Ariz.
A unique facility, The Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter Sanctuary in Tucson, Ariz. has absolutely no cages. The shelter has rescued abandoned felines for 50 years, and is one of only around two dozen shelters in the USA that cares for cats with FIV, FeLV and other special needs. The Hermitage often rescues cats that are about to be euthanized from municipal shelters throughout Arizona and seeks adoptive homes for them. Even if cats don't find a forever family, they get plenty of love from the group of hardworking volunteers at The Hermitage. Opportunities include socializing with the cats, maintenance tasks and

Since PAWS was founded in 1997, the number of homeless pets killed in Chicago has been reduced by 71% – a testament to the organization's dedication to ending the practice. Last year alone, PAWS found homes for 5,952 homeless pets and performed spay and neuter surgeries on many more. Part of the PAWS program includes providing free and low-cost spay/neuter procedures and vaccinations to under-resourced families and neighborhoods, along with humane education. PAWS is consistently rated as being in one of the top 1% of charities in the nation byCharity Navigator, an independent evaluator, making it a great place to get volunteer experience.

Stray Rescue – St. Louis, Mo.
With over 350 companion animals in its shelter system, Stray Rescue relies heavily on volunteers to keep things running smoothly. There are opportunities to walk the shelter dogs, take dogs jogging or hiking, participate in fundraising and adoption events and even foster an animal yourself.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter  Humane Society – Santa Fe, N.M.
The Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society cares for more than 5,500 lost, stray or injured animals annually. Because of this, Santa Fe has effectively become a no-kill community. The largest animal shelter and care facility in northern New Mexico, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter is located on a beautiful 100-acre campus with incredible views and public, off-leash dog parks. There are more than 150 active volunteers who walk the dogs and socialize with the animals, and the shelter offers one-time volunteer visit programs for groups and individuals that want to get an up-close and personal look at animal sheltering in this one-of-a-kind environment.

Sanctuary One at Double Oak Farm – Jacksonville, Ore.
While many volunteers are dedicated to helping animals, often the reverse situation happens: The animals end up helping the volunteer. Sanctuary One at Double Oak Farm understands this and brings animals and people together for "mutual healing." Volunteers work on a real farm, where they learn how to treat animals humanely and how the environment can be improved through organic and permaculture-inspired farming practices. The farm provides a safe, loving home to rescued farm animals and house pets while helping people in need get some fresh air and hands-on learning experiences through Care Farming.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

National Dog Day: How to pamper your pup while traveling

Inn by the Sea Maine, cr Inn by the SeaAugust 26 is National Dog Day and canines across the country and their owners are sure to celebrate, most likely on vacation. According to the ASPCA, between 70 and 80 million dogs make their homes with us, and each summer, according to AAA 88% of Americans travel by car, presumably so most of those families can take their dogs with them on their road trips. Hotels throughout the USA have realized that dogs are a part of people's families, and have opened their doors wide open to welcome furry guests.
Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine (15 minutes from Portland), has been welcoming dogs and their families for more than 20 years with pampering and in-room amenities. The Inncredible Dog Package includes two nights' stay for you and your dog, a signature Inn by the Sea dog bowl, an LL Bean dog bed customized with your furry friend's name, nightly section from the gourmet pet menu for in-room dining or dining on the deck, and turndown service including a locally made dog treat from Growlin' Gourmet. Oh, and don't forget the 30-minute in-room doggie massage! The inn also has a dog foster program in partnership with the Animal Rescue League of Greater Portlandwherein they temporarily home rescue dogs – the feed, care and, most of all, love the dogs until they're adopted. Who knows, you may find your next dog at the inn.
Dogs have taken a bite out of the Big Apple, and they're enjoying the treat! On the Lower East Side, The Ludlow Hotel offers dog treats at the front desk, in-room pet bowls and dog walking services, not to mention a "secret" garden you can both enjoy together. Turndown service includes a Gemma bottle with flat water placed on a turndown mat at The Bowery Hotel, and a dog bowl to use the rest of the time in the hotel. At The Maritime Hotel in Chelsea, dog walking services are provided so that your pup is taken care of while you're out exploring the city.
Both Gansevoort Park Avenue and Gansevoort Meatpacking roll out the welcome mat for their canine guests with complimentary dog amenities, including premium treats from the Barking Zoo, a dog bed, a mat with a monogram of your dog's name, Fiji water, food and water bowls, and toys. Your dog will be ultra-stylish, too, with dog enhancements such as a personalized pet bed, a collar tag with "I am staying at the Gansevoort Park Avenue (or Meatpacking) NYC" and a puppy purse.
A bit further south, Sea Island, Ga. offers a package specially-designed for dogs – the Treat Your Pet to a Getaway. Inside your and your furry friend's room at The Cloister or The Lodge you'll find an oversized dog pillow, food and water bowls, and gourmet dog treats. Sea Island ups its game with an a la carte gourmet pet menu for in-room dining with fat-free, organic dishes such as the Crazy Dog, beef tips braised in veal essence.
Florida has gone to the dogs, and that's not such a bad thing. At the Loews Don CeSar on St. Pete Beach, VIDs (Very Important Dogs) are welcomed with special amenities such as a special pet room service menu, toys, bedding and more. Nearby Fort De Soto is a perfect place to spend your days together – dogs are allowed nearly anywhere (on leash) within the 1,136-acre county park, and even have their own beach in which to frolic, Paw Playground.
In the heart of downtown Tampa, Le Méridien Tampa makes dogs feel right at home with in-room food and water bowls, mats and gourmet treats. The hotel's rooms are spacious, too, perfect for a (quiet) game of fetch!
The Doggie Suite at the W Fort Lauderdale is the key to the hotel's PAW (Pets Are Welcome) program. The suite is decked out with a fluffy in-room bed, snacks, toys, a Bark Box delivered to the room and a Tinkle Turf Pad on the balcony to avoid any accidents, though walking services are also available. A specially-crafted menu will have your dog's nose working overtime: organic salmon filet with steamed asparagus, or a poached chicken breast with baby carrots, any pup?
One of the few dog-friendly hotels in Miami's South Beach is Stanton South Beach, right on Ocean Drive and within close proximity to outdoor restaurants and pet-friendly parks for you and your pup to see and be seen.
Upon arrival at both Canyon Ranch locations, in Lenox, Mass., and Tucson, Ariz., dogs and their owners are presented with a complimentary gift basket filled with a small bag of treats, a toy and a Canyon Ranch leash. You and your canine friend can even meet with a pet communicator/medium to find out what’s going on in that mind behind the furry eyebrows.
Dogs are treated like royalty when they check into The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver, Colo., with their own bed, bowl and a treat awaiting in their room upon arrival.
On the West Coast, the Hotel del Coronado goes over the top to welcome you and your dog. Upon arrival, a house-made treat is presented, and in your room, water and food bowls, placemats, a gourmet room service menu and waste bags can be found. Forget your bed, crate, leash or collar? No worries – The Del has it for you! Walking, grooming, dog-sitting and (hopefully not needed!) vet services are also available, and the dog beach is less than a mile away. Back at the hotel, the Sun Deck hosts Yappy Hour every Sunday from 4 – 5 p.m. Your dog can lap up complimentary Evianand y-appetizers (organic dog treats) while you sip a dog-inspired cocktail such as a Hair of the Dog, Greyhound, or Salty Dog. Cheers to you both!
When deciding just where to go with your four-legged friend, do a bit of research on BringFido.com. The website is a terrific resource for those traveling with dogs to find not only dog-friendly destinations, but attractions, restaurants, hotels and even events, all around the world.
Now that you know where you and your puppy pal are going, Milo's Kitchen has a few tips to get her road ready: Go for a joy ride – to the park or a friend's house – so that car rides can be associated with fun, too, not just a trip to the vet; be sure your dog's crate is a "happy place," somewhere she feels comfortable before heading out on the road; pamper your pup – some hotels offer puppy massage, but you can do it, too; and bring "home" with you – dogs like familiarity, so bring along her favorite blanket and toys so that the familiar scents are with you, too.
Pampered pooch travel may have been cemented when American Airlines introduced its First Class Pet Cabin with the launch of the A321T plane, which flies between Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) to New York (JFK). The airlines' standard $125 carry-on fee can now include a reservation in the First Class Pet Cabin on a first-come, first-serve basis, if the dog's owner is flying in first class, too. The small, ventilated compartment accommodates dogs in their kennels (standard rules apply) for takeoff and landing, and in-flight, your pup can sit with you on your lap or at your feet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I’m sharing this great article and video from Smithsonian Magazine. Enjoy it!

 The Science Behind Dogs' Goofy Greetings
Why do dogs go nuts when their owners get home? The answers lie in their DNA and brains
(patchattack/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
AUGUST 3, 2015
3.1K 145 7 1 21 56 3.8K 
After returning home from a trip, work or even a short walk to take out the garbage, dog owners are routinely greeted with copious amounts of drool and tail wagging. But why? As George Dvorsky explains over at io9,  the answer is in dogs' brains — and even their DNA.
Some of dogs' enthusiasm comes down to their wolf ancestry. Wolves often greet each other with face licking—a way of affirming social bonds and checking out what your buddy caught on a hunt. That said, wolves are more skeptical of new things, so dog greetings are much more exaggerated. Some argue that the most social wolves would have been the ones domesticated by humans 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, explains Dvorsky.
There's another component to goofy dog greetings: the brain. Dogs can distinguish human smells from those of canines and recognize familiar odors, writes Dvorsky in a deep dive that's well worth checking out. Brain imaging studies also suggest that the sight of an owner switches on pathways in the brain associated with reward. (The same thing happens when humans see friends.)
All of those explanations could certainly be behind the plethora of YouTube videos of dogs going nuts at the sight of owners returning home:
There’s also some recent evidence that dogs and humans share a unique bond. When they gaze into each other’s eyes, their brains secrete the hormone oxytocin. It’s linked to social bonding in several species, but most notably between human mothers and babies. Even when raised by humans, wolves do not experience the same oxytocin rush.
Obviously, all dogs are different, and greetings definitely vary. Dogs who aren’t used to being separated from their owner may be more enthusiastic when that long-lost owner returns (even if it's only been a few minutes). Either way, it’s clear that dogs can get as much enjoyment out of seeing their human as their human gets out of seeing them.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-do-dogs-go-nuts-when-reunited-their-owners


Sunday, July 26, 2015



1. There’s nothing that could have been done differently
A Soul’s path is planned before they are born onto this Earth. This plan includes all possible exits from this world. And when the Soul leaves this Earth, know that this exit was part of their Soul’s plan and a specific choice made by their soul.
There’s nothing you, or anyone, could have done differently to save them. The time at which your Pet’s Spirit leaves this world is no one's doing, it’s no one's fault.
When it’s the Soul’s time to exit their physical body, everything that can be done, has already been done. Everything that needed to happen, did. Your pet wants you to know that there’s absolutely nothing you could have done differently, you did everything exactly right.
2. They chose you as their parent(s)
Just as the Soul chooses exit paths and plans for their life, your pet also selected you as their parent.
Your dog, your cat, your bird - chose you, as the one who would make them feel the most loved and bring them the most comfort and joy while they were here. And you did.
Your pet wants you know that you were and are the perfect parent.
3. They understand your sadness, but would rather see you happy
As a Spirit now, your pet knows that sadness is part of the grieving process, but they wished it wasn’t.
Remember how, when they were alive, they would snuggle up next to you, sitting by your side (or on top of you), whenever you were feeling sad or feeling bad? They wanted to make you feel better *just like you thought* and they wished they could do something to make you happy, then.  And they still do, even now, They don’t want their exit to have brought pain, in fact, no one does. But they understand that this is part of the process.
They want you to remember the happy, love filled, and joyous times you spent together, and look back upon them with gratitude and thanks. They believe the time you spent together was a cherished gift and that this gift is a call for celebration - and smiles.
4. They know you loved them and hope you know they loved you back
Your pet doesn’t want you to wonder if they knew how much you loved them, they do.
It’s said that grief is the final gift of love given from one to another, and the depth of that grief is a measure of the strength of the love between the bond.
They know how deeply you loved them, and they want you to know that they loved you back in equal measure (if not more!).
5. They’re still right by your side
You aren’t alone. They aren’t gone forever - they’re still right by your side.  And they always will be, if you let them. The Spirit World exists right alongside our physical world, and while your pet may no longer be occupying their physical body, they’re still with you in Spirit.
And remember, that’s who you loved in the first place. You loved their mannerisms, their attitude, and their personality - all elements of their Spirit. You didn’t love them for their fur, or their one standing straight up ear, or their snaggle teeth (ok, maybe you did a little). Mostly, you loved them for who they were as a Spirit, and that Spirit, still exists right beside you.
After they pass on, your pet wants you to know that they still cuddle up next to you, still join you on the couch, and still want to be with you, if you want that too.  
6. They still want to do things with you
They’re still here, in Spirit form, and they still enjoy your company and want to do the things you always did together.
If they used to ride shotgun on car trips, or they used to love accompanying you on hikes, bike rides, or jogs, or they used to love sitting on your lap while you worked late at night - you pets wants you to know, they still enjoy doing those things, and still want to join you.
All you have to do to invite them along, is pat the couch beside you and encourage them to jump up, or give them the okay to hop out of the car and accompany you on the hike.
7. They don’t want you to regret the way that they died
This is a sad one, especially for us. Mama died suddenly and in my husband’s arms, and her final moments are images he can’t shake. And he’s not alone. Nearly all pet owners have some sadness or regret about their pet’s final moments.
If you had to carry your dog into the vet to be put to sleep, your dog does not want you to regret this choice. It was their choice, too, to be in your arms as they took their final breaths, and to be surrounded by your love as their Spirit left their body.
Your pet wants you to have no regret and to have no sadness, they want you to know that these were their choices, and you honored them perfectly. You did exactly what they wanted.
8. They know you often loved them more than you loved yourself
Even if you didn’t have proper food to eat, they know you somehow managed to buy them food and treats. Your pet knows that you often showered them in more love than you ever showed yourself. They know this, and they have deep gratitude for your love. This is exactly why you were the perfect choice as their parent, and they want to thank you, for loving them even when at times it seemed so hard to love anything at all.  
9. They loved you more than they loved themselves
Your pet was an individual, too. They had things they felt badly about and things that they knew could be improved upon, and reasons that they felt they were unworthy of love, just like we all do.

Saturday, July 18, 2015