Pets Of The Homeless Are Welcome Guests At The Soupmobile Church

Pets Of The Homeless Are Welcome Guests At The Soupmobile Church

first published in ShelterMe. tv!

Many of today’s homeless spend their days and nights searching for a safe haven and a filling meal. Seeking shelter from the storm.  A good number of these find singular solace in their companion animals, easily giving up a proffered meal to their loyal partner.  Who among us hasn’t read and cried over the plight of a homeless person who, in refusing to abandon their companion animal, is now living with them in their car or on the street?  There are never enough human shelters who open their doors, their pantries and their hearts, to the canine companions of the homeless.

Recently, Pastor David Timothy, in Dallas, Texas, along with many members of his church, have thrown open their arms, and their doors, and now welcome the homeless members of their community, both human and canine, into the Soupmobile Church.

And it isn’t just on the day when the Blessing of the Animals takes place. This community, with the encouragement of Pastor Timothy, sees the inherent value and goodness of welcoming in all members to their non-denominational church, whether they enter on two legs or four.

Initially, acceptance of the furry flock wasn’t easy for everyone.  According to Pastor Timothy,  “we did take some heat a few months ago when we announced we would be allowing dogs in church. Some people said it was ‘un-church like’, a few said it would detract from the church service itself. Some said it was offensive.”

In reality, quite the opposite occurred, and membership blossomed.  Pastor Timothy tells ShelterMe that ‘the majority of regular members “got it”. They understood that that there was no safe place to leave the dogs behind and they ‘got it’ that while dogs in church may be a bit unusual, the reason they were being allowed made sense. They ‘got it’ that sometimes the conventional rules just don’t apply.’  And most members have embraced the idea!

Word has spread that Soupmobile Church, who serves more than 250,000 hot meals to the area’s homeless each year, offers job assistance, counseling, food and clothing, was now a safe haven for Dallas homeless and their pets.  The dogs who attend are always well behaved, and their humans truly appreciate the church service when they know their companion is also safe, right there by their side.  The sanctuary is a god-send for these people who have very, very little else in the way of comfort, other than their pets.

Their efforts are supported by the community-at-large, with donations of pet food coming in on a regular basis; the food always reaching the intended recipients.  Though cats have yet to appear, they would also be welcome at the Soupmobile Church.

Pastor Timothy, AKA ‘Soupman Pastor‘,  is convinced that the Soupmobile Church, which may have been too out-of-the-box for some conventional churchgoers, would be fully appreciated by Jesus, as ‘he, himself was pretty unconventional!’ The smiles of the homeless, sitting safely alongside their pets, are more than enough to convince even the strongest naysayer, that this idea should have the blessing of everyone.  To learn more about the Church, click here!

Follow ShelterMe.tv for more great stories like this, and catch this episode of the ShelterMe series,  where we follow a pair of stray dogs who are rescued from the streets and become beloved family pets.

Vote For Your Favorite Canine For The 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards

Vote For Your Favorite Canine For The 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards

First published in ShelterMe.tv!

Have you read about a dog who has done something extraordinary? There’s an excellent chance that they may be among the 21 semifinalists in the seventh annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards, and your votes will help decide who among them will be named 2017’s Top Dog!

Roxy Tucker, Award Contestant

The Award ceremony will be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel in September, and from now through June 28, you can vote once a day for one of the 21 semifinalists.  As in the past, this year’s field began with nearly 200 contestants in seven categories: Law Enforcement/Arson, Emerging Hero, Guide/Hearing, Military, Search and Rescue, Service and Therapy.

Hooch, American Humane Hero Dog Winner, 2016

Many of the contestants from previous years, such as Hooch, were rescued from shelters, and the candidates for 2017 continue that tradition.  Some canine contestants have overcome physical adversity and abuse, some have served their community for years,  while others give their human partners the help and confidence needed to survive their own hardships.

MacKenzie, Award Contestant

These heroic dogs come from almost every state and are a wide variety of breeds, ages and sizes. ShelterMe believes ALL the contestants are so deserving of their nominations.  Please click on each of the seven category links to see photos of the amazing dogs in EACH category, read their wonderful bios and then cast your vote every day till June 28!

JJ, Award Contestant

Each contestant has a charity partner who may be a rescue, local or national animal organization; American Humane will donate $2,500 to the charity partner of the winning finalist in each category, and the 2017 American Hero Dog will win an additional $5,000 for their charity partner. If you are interested in becoming a 2018 Hero Dog Awards charity partner, please email them at info@herodogawards.org.

The annual ceremony, a celebration of the dog-human bond, also recognizes a Hero Veterinarian, as well as a Hero Veterinary Technician. Read the nominations and vote for your favorite human nominee by clicking here!

Abby, Award Contestant

Among other initiatives, the American Humane Association, celebrating their 140th year and held in high regard by Charity Navigator, is the force behind the  “No Animals Were Harmed®” program in Hollywood.

Love reading great stories about animals?  Don’t forget to subscribe to ShelterMe.tv and watch this episode about a dog who finds a new life after being given up at a shelter.

Rescued Dogs Train For Koala Conservation

Rescued Dogs Train For Koala Conservation

Bear, a Collie cross Koolie, is a canine with an extra-special talent. He, along with Maya, Baxter and Billie, are all members of a very important program based at the University of the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland, Australia.  Among many other tasks, the team have received special training as Detection Dogs, to track and locate the vanishing koala population.

Koala, Courtesy, Dr. Romane Cristescu

This is such an important effort.  According to recent surveys, koala populations have nosedived more than 80 percent since 1995. People are finding dead koalas throughout New South Wales and Queensland.  Malnourished koalas are found on the road with nowhere to go. What is going on?

According to the World Wildlife Fund, koala habitats are being systematically destroyed by excessive tree clearing.  Also, during brushfires, they’ll climb into the tops of trees, hidden, burned and starving, being found weeks after the flames are gone.  Dr. Jon Hanger, Managing Director and Wildlife Veterinarian from Australia’s Endeavour Veterinary Ecology, says,

“if we don’t act very quickly… we’ll lose 50-90 percent of remaining koalas over a couple of decades.”

Dr. Hanger was the veterinarian for the late Steve Irwin, and is highly respected for his expertise with koalas in particular, being a member of the Koala Crisis Taskforce.

Bear, Courtesy, Meghan Halverson

Bear was first brought into the USC Detection Dogs for Conservation (DDC) program by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, who saw untapped potential in the pup.  He had been relinquished to a shelter by his family because he was too high energy, as well as highly toy-driven.   But these qualities actually make him an excellent candidate for the program! The IFAW, supporting Bear, partnered with the DDC team who trained the canine. Bear passed his exams with flying colors.

Able to detect the scent of koalas with a 96 percent success rate, Bear uses his amazing muzzle to locate an endangered marsupial, who may be living in the path of a logging company en route to tear down the little one’s habitat.  The rescued koala can then be relocated to a safer space.

Maya, Courtesy, Dr. Romane Cristescu

Maya, another Detection Dog graduate, was also found abandoned in a shelter.  Her trainer says she was totally obsessed with balls, but her obsessive behavior made her an excellent candidate for the program.  Maya, who is extremely driven, can sniff out koala feces. Her trainer had previously prodded through undergrowth, searching for signs of poo in areas targeted for construction, knowing if there was poo, there was certain to be a koala. A time consuming process, until Maya joined the hunt.

Courtesy, Dr. Romane Cristescu

Once Maya was trained to search and sniff, locating and then relocating the endangered animals became as important to Maya as it was to her trainer.  And she’s very successful at it.  The four-dog team is always training, honing their skills to help multiple imperiled species. Safe from what was once an uncertain future in a shelter, they’re now helping to save others.

Detection Dogs for Conservation, Courtesy, Dr. Romane Cristescu

Sadly, a recent survey of koalas in the district of Tiaro, Australia, found no sign of the animals. Fifteen years ago there had been numerous sightings.  So you can see how important these dogs are, and how necessary this training program is, if there is any hope to save the koala.

Maya, Courtesy, Marie Colibri

Says researcher Anthony Schultz, “I think that we run the risk of turning around in 10 years and going ‘where are our koalas? Why did nobody tell us about this?”

To learn more, please visit Detection Dogs for Conservation, by clicking here or here.  If you’d like to donate to the program, please click here.

Massachusetts Proposes $100K State Fund To Help Save Homeless Pets

Massachusetts Proposes $100K State Fund To Help Save Homeless Pets

Originally published in ShelterMe.tv!

As you read this, the Massachusetts State Senate is considering a budgetary amendment that would help homeless pets and those belonging to low-income residents.  On April 24, 2017, the MA House voted favorably on Bill H.3601, which included establishing a $100,000 fund to help pay for sterilizing and vaccinating homeless pets as well as the pet cats and dogs of low-income residents.

It is expected that the MA Senate Ways and Means Committee, who are currently examining the Bill, will sign off on this lifesaving measure. Other states, such as New Hampshire and New Jersey, saw their animal shelter intake decrease between 25-34%, once they allocated similar spay/neuter funds.  As a bonus, with an estimated 20 fewer pets arriving at local shelters each day, whether owner-turn-in or strays, shelters in these states reported a 39% increase in adoptions!

As intake decreases, states with adequately funded programs like this one also report a decrease in the total expenditure needed to feed and shelter their animals.  Every dollar that is initially spent towards helping end the homeless pet problem saved three dollars in shelter costs.  A pro-social program such as this one is obviously economically beneficial as well!

Studies show that the majority of animals entering a shelter are intact, even if the majority of animals in that same community have already been spayed or neutered.  Bills like these are supported by a large number of national animal advocacy groups, because they make perfect sense.

  • Bringing lifesaving services to thousands of cats and dogs,
  • Assisting low-income residents who love their pets and want them to be as happy and healthy as possible,
  • And reducing the burden on overcrowded shelters, are all goals which can and should be accomplished in every state.

Whether a state budgets for this fund, or money is allocated by residents who voluntarily check a donation box on their income tax statement, the bottom line is still the same – saving the life of an animal.  You can look up your legislator here, and urge them to support this bill, which is being discussed this week!

And then enjoy an episode of ShelterMe.tv, including this one with award-winning artist Patrick McDonnell, creator of the popular MUTTS comic strip.  Don’t forget to follow ShelterMeTV on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for more great stories about animals!

 

 

 

Our Dogs ARE Our Family – National Survey Reveals What We Knew All Along

Our Dogs ARE Our Family – National Survey Reveals What We Knew All Along

Originally published in ShelterMe.tv!

A national survey of 1500 U.S. dog owners, conducted by Google Surveys for Rover.com, reveals that not only are dogs our best friends, but 94% of pet parents consider their dogs to be family members.

And boy, do we love showing off our furry families on social media.  29% of dog people share more pictures of their canine companions than friends, family or themselves.   And check your cellphone.  You may be among the 65% of dog owners who take more photos of your dog than your friends or significant other!

You know that saying, ‘if my dog doesn’t like you, than neither do I’… well, it really is more than just a saying.  Over 25% of pet parents have brought their pet on a date.  The sniff test is very important!  In fact, 54% of dog moms and dads would consider ending a relationship if they thought their dog didn’t like their partner.

Do you worry about your dog when you’re not home?  You’re in good company.  86% of dog owners share your concerns.  And to make sure they don’t get lonely, 88% of owners leave on the TV for their dog or have gotten them a companion pet!  This ShelterMe.tv writer and pet mom admits to doing exactly that…

Having a pet has also been proven to lower stress levels, increase physical activity and put a smile on your face – 56% of dog people say hello to their dog FIRST when they come home!

Want to check out more fun facts that reveal the truth about dog people? Click here!  And cat lovers, here’s something we’ve unearthed.  A 2014 study shows cat people are smarter than dog people…..

So why not share some time with your pet, curl up on the couch and tune in to an episode of ShelterMe.tv like this one, about the joy of fostering!

Teen’s Eagle Scout Project Helps Orlando Shelter Pets

Teen’s Eagle Scout Project Helps Orlando Shelter Pets

Originally published in ShelterMe.tv

An important part of Scouting is giving back to their community.  Meet Fabian Velasquez, a 16-year-old Boy Scout in Central Florida, who has chosen to give it up for local animals!

Banjo, adoptable at PAGO!

For his Eagle Scout project, Fabian has chosen to renovate and refurbish parts of the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s animal shelter.   When the redo is complete, the shelter will have two renovated play yards, with new paint on the floors and benches, new shelving and storage containers and new treat dispensers. 40 kennels will also have better kennel latches.  All to make life better for shelter pets like Brussels, above!

Fabian knew, in order to reach his goal, that he would have to reach out to the community for assistance.   He launched a small gofundme, and in less than a month is half-way to his goal.  He’s also planned a benefit dinner for May 13, inviting local vendors to participate at the location in Winter Garden, Florida, and is hoping that the balance of his fundraiser will come from attendees to this reasonably-priced event.

Dahlia, adoptable at PAGO!

In order to earn an Eagle Scout rank, all Scouts must complete their chosen project without adult interference, and before their 18th birthday. Though he could not be reached for comment, we’re sure that Fabian is standing by the Scout Oath “…to help other people at all times,” and, in choosing to extend that oath to encompass man’s best friends, earns him two paws up from ShelterMe.tv!

Cassie, adoptable at PAGO!

You can find out more about the event by clicking here!  And here is a link to all of PAGO’s current residents, some of whom are pictured here.  Please stop by their Orlando location at 2727 Conroy Road, or call 407-351-7722.  Or visit their Sanford location at 2800 County Home Road, or call (407) 323-8685.  Adopt, don’t shop!

Last Dog Left In MI Shelter Scores Great New Home

Last Dog Left In MI Shelter Scores Great New Home

You may have read and worried about Eastwood in Shelter Me.tv; he was the only dog left at the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society after their “Empty The Shelters” event a few weeks ago.

Well, we’re happy to tell you that Eastwood has a new home, and you might recognize their name.  It’s Stan Van Gundy, Coach of the Detroit Pistons – and he’s already fitting right in with the rest of their two-and-four-footed family!  Check out the meet-n-greet video on the shelter’s website!

After the shelter told their followers about the plight of one-year-old Eastwood, who had been abandoned, had a deformity in his leg and some vision problems, they were flooded with applications for the mixed breed.

Coach Van Gundy believes it was destiny that lead their family to find out about Eastwood.

“We had just lost a 14-year-old dog… had just passed away in March so my wife Kim thought it was basically destiny.” 

Eastwood and his new family!

Eastwood will share his new home with one dog and six cat siblings.  The Van Gundy’s live on a lake so he’ll also get a chance to swim and go out on the boat with his new family.  And he’ll be furever loved.

Says the Coach, “There’s fantastic animals at every shelter – everywhere. And that’s where people should be going out and looking for pets.”  Van Gundy shoots… and scores!