July 14: First World Chimpanzee Day by Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall

14th July 2018.  The very first World Chimpanzee Day.

58 years to the day since I arrived for the very first time in what I then referred to, in my letters home, as “Chimpanzee Land”.  At the time it was the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in what was then Tanganyika – a British Protectorate.  Today, of course, it is the Gombe National Park in the independent country of Tanzania.

Jane at 26

I was 26 years old back then, and 58 years is a long time.  But if I close my eyes and let my mind free to wander into the past, I can relive that boat ride along the shore of Lake Tanganyika.  Continue reading “July 14: First World Chimpanzee Day by Jane Goodall”

May 4th is International Respect for Chickens Day! by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Chickens
May 4th is International Respect for Chickens Day

Did you know May 4th is International Respect for Chickens Day!  Created by United Poultry Concerns (UPC), an activist group and sanctuary for chickens and other birds used for food,  Respect for Chickens Day is the perfect time to educate others about these much under-appreciated birds.

Unbeknownst to many, chickens are clever, social birds. They have self-awareness and the capacity to feel and suffer. And like other animals, they are exploited in many ways: Continue reading “May 4th is International Respect for Chickens Day! by Ed Boks”

Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Tuscany
Tuscany, transitioned from a foster (recovering from being hit by a car) to a hospice foster (after she was diagnosed with cancer) to being adopted by a loving family.

How often do you get to say, “I saved a life today?” When you volunteer with the your local animal shelter that assertion can be a daily affirmation. That is especially true when you volunteer as a foster caregiver.  Every animal fostered back to health or to an adoptable status is a life saved. The ability of a local animal shelter to care for all the animals rescued depends on reliable foster volunteers willing and able to help. The more foster volunteers, the more lives saved.

Foster volunteers are typically caring people who do everything from bottle-feeding orphaned neonate babies around the clock to socializing little ones to ensure they are able to interact with both humans and animals to caring for an older animal recovery from an injury or surgery.  Foster volunteers provide care, safety and love. Continue reading “Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks”

Does your dog suffer from ADHD? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and dog
Hyperactivity is sometimes mistaken for normal breed characteristics

Do you sometimes wonder if your dog suffers from ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactive disorder)?  Although this term is often bandied about, hyperactivity is actually very rare in canines.

According to Clinician’s Brief, a publication of the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC), “hyperactivity” is defined as “over-activity, attention deficits, impulsivity, high testing physiologic parameters with a paradoxical calming response to amphetamines.” Continue reading “Does your dog suffer from ADHD? by Ed Boks”

Good news from IRS to volunteers by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Jan Van Dusen
Jan Van Dusen paved the way for volunteers to deduct unreimbursed expenses that further a rescue group’s mission, such as fostering homeless animals.

One of the best kept secrets to being an animal shelter volunteer is a 2011 U.S. Tax Court ruling.  The ruling brought some much-needed clarity to deducting unreimbursed expenses incurred by volunteers helping IRS-recognized charities like your local animal shelter or animal rescue organization.

The case involved Jan Van Dusen, who appeared before a U.S. Tax Court judge and a team of IRS lawyers regarding a tax deduction for taking care of 70 stray cats. Continue reading “Good news from IRS to volunteers by Ed Boks”

Thwarting the attack of the pre-alarm cat by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and cat
Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal. They are “crepuscular,” which means they are most active at dawn and dusk.

I’ve always been a dog person, so you can imagine my surprise when I learned that cats have idiosyncrasies no self-respecting dog would ever engage in. For instance, why do cats insist on waking you up before the alarm goes off?

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal. “Nocturnal” refers to animals that are awake at night and sleep during the day. However, cats sleep at night, as we do – just not as long. Cats are “crepuscular,” which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. This is because their ancestors’ natural prey was most active at these times. Although cats have good night vision, they can’t see without light, so they do sleep at night.

Two dynamics conspire to create the relentless “pre-alarm” cat.   Continue reading “Thwarting the attack of the pre-alarm cat by Ed Boks”

Is your pet suffering? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and tethering
Is your pet lonely and bored?

The New York Times ran a piece by Jessica Pierce awhile back that asked the provocative question “Is your pet lonely and bored?” Today there are as many pets in the United States as there are people; and in most homes pets are family — and not just dogs and cats, but rabbits, rats, bearded dragons and snakes.

According to many veterinarians and psychologists this phenomenon is evidence of a deepening “human-animal bond.” Scientists studying animal cognition and emotion are continually peeling back the mysteries of animal minds, revealing an incredible and often surprising richness in the thoughts and feelings of other creatures. Continue reading “Is your pet suffering? by Ed Boks”

Pets improve owners’ health and well-being By Ed Boks

Ed Boks and pet therapyDid you know that the presence of a cat or dog in a counseling office can speed the therapeutic process for some patients? Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) was introduced by psychologist Boris Levinson in the 1950s when he discovered that his dog Jingles was able to connect with autistic children in a way humans had not.

Since then, AAT has continued to develop as a therapeutic science. Although dogs are the most frequently used therapy animals, cats, birds, rabbits, horses, donkeys, llamas and even pigs and snakes participate in different programs.

According to research, when people hold and stroke an animal, many positive physical and psychological transitions occur, including lowered blood pressure, a feeling of calm, the ability to be more extroverted and verbal, decreased loneliness and increased self-esteem. Continue reading “Pets improve owners’ health and well-being By Ed Boks”

What does a government shutdown mean to our nation’s animals? by Ed Boks

There has been a lot of talk concerning a government shutdown in Washington- which begs the question, how would such a shut down affect our nation’s animals?

Here is a brief outline describing how the following animal welfare-related duties would be affected during a government shutdown: Continue reading “What does a government shutdown mean to our nation’s animals? by Ed Boks”

Business-savvy landlords allow pets By Ed Boks

Ed Boks and landlordsOne of the biggest challenges communities face in achieving “no-kill” comes from landlords who refuse pets despite hearing from their own colleagues and professional journals that permitting pets makes good business sense. In fact, a survey conducted by The Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare found:

• Fifty percent of all rentals nationally prohibit pets;

• Thirty-five percent of tenants without pets would own a pet if permitted; Continue reading “Business-savvy landlords allow pets By Ed Boks”