A legally blind North Carolina man and his guide dog are hiking a thousand miles for charity.
Trevor Thomas, of Charlotte, and his guide dog, Tenille, set out on April 6, hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind, which is where Tenille came from.
“The dogs are very expensive, the school receives absolutely no public funding at all,” Thomas said. “It’s all done on donation.”
Thomas, who calls himself “Zero/Zero,” a reference to his eyesight, was the first blind person to complete a solo hike of the entire 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail.
He has also completed two hikes through the Shenandoah Mountains, four through the Smokey Mountains, and, according to his website, is the first blind person to hike the length of the John Muir Trail in California.
“Getting Tennille was probably the best decision I’ve made since going blind,” Thomas said. “She has changed blindness from a negative to a positive, especially in my interaction with people. Now that I have Tennille people want to engage us, they want to find out more about this amazing dog that I have.
“She is literally the final piece in the puzzle to be able to undertake this trek working as a team, that’s the only way we’re going to be able to get from one end of this to the other. Just the sheer companionship alone is worth its weight in gold,” he added. “Tennille’s not only a guide, she’s a friend.”
For more information about his hike, visit blindhikertrevorthomas.com
Posted by jwoestendiek May 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: blind, blindness, charity, charlotte, fundraising, guide dog, guide dogs for the blind, hike, hiker, hiking, legally blind, mountains to sea trail, north carolina, one thousand miles, tenille, trevor thomas, walk
A family in northern Maine says it is “overwhelmed” by the generosity they saw from friends and strangers who donated enough money for them to get a service dog for their 5-year-old daughter, Faith.
Faith has spina bifida and experiences seizures. The new dog — a black Lab named Dandy — has been trained to detect when they might be coming.
Bruce and Beverly McNally, of Island Falls, took Faith in as a foster child, then as their adopted daughter. They quickly realized they needed help monitoring her for the seizures, which could be deadly if not addressed.
“The family became very worried, which is why they wanted to get the dog,” Michele King, Faith’s aunt, told the Bangor Daily News.
King is also the chief administrative officer for Brave Hearts, a nonprofit Christian home for young men in Island Falls, and that organization sponsored a fundraiser last month to try and raise the $2,500 that was needed.
King said that donations came from the more than 100 people who attended a benefit supper, and from people as far away as North Carolina.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” Beverly McNally said. “We eventually had enough money and we had to gently turn people away. We had to tell them that we had enough for the dog, but that we wanted them to donate the money to a charity of their own choosing.”
Dandy came from CARES — Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education and Services — a nonprofit organization in Concordia, Kansas, that trains and matches assistance dogs with owners.
“Dandy has just been wonderful for Faith,” McNally said on Friday. “She picks up on a chemical change in the body when a seizure occurs. One day when we got back, Faith was very lethargic. She was in the chair with me and needed to be snuggled a lot more. And the dog got up in the chair and started whining. And I didn’t realize what was going on. And 45 minutes later, Faith had a seizure. Then I realized what the dog was trying to tell me.”
(Photo: Michele King)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 23rd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: assistance, benefit, black, brave hearts, canine, cares, dandy, detecting, dog, dogs, donations, education, faith, fundraiser, fundraising, island falls, lab, labrador retriever, maine, rehabilitation, seizures, service, services, spina bifida
We’re all getting a little tired of the “win-win.” For one thing, it’s a cliche. For another, with so many “win-wins” being pointed out these days, two wins just no longer seem enough.
So how about a win-win-win-win?
Last Friday, the PreVet Association at Illinois State University brought a dozen dogs to campus, accomplishing, by my count, four wins:
First, students, stressed out by exams, had an additional – and far healthier than some other alternatives – way to unwind.
Second — with students paying $1 to walk, pet and play with rescue dogs — the event raised a little money for Wish Bone Canine Rescue, which brought the dogs to school.
Third, dogs in need of homes got a chance to show off, increasing the chances of getting adopted or fostered.
And fourth, the dogs got gobs of attention and a chance to socialize during what organizers call “Dog Days on the Quad.”
“This is a good chance for stress relief,” said Erin Mortimer, ISU Student PreVet Association vice president. “A lot of students miss their dogs from home and enjoy taking these dogs for a walk.”
The dogs benefit at least as much as the young humans do. On top of getting some attention and learning socialization skills, it’s an opportunity for them to find a future forever home, or a temporary foster one.
“We try to let students know that they are also able to foster for Wish Bone,” said Kim Bill, volunteer coordinator for Wish Bone. “It is a great way for them to have a dog on their own schedule. On top of that, everything is provided by Wish Bone — food, toys, medical care, and support.”
You can see a slideshow of it all at Stateside, the school’s alumni magazine.
Half the proceeds from the event went to Wish Bone for food, shelter, and medical treatment. The other half went to the ISU Student PreVet Association to allow students to participate in symposiums and special lectures.
Adding up, actually, to five wins.
(Photo: Stateside magazine, Illinois State University)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, attention, campus, college, dogs, exams, foster, fundraiser, fundraising, illinois state university, mental health, pets, play, pre vet, pre vet association, rescue, shelter, socialization, stress, unwind, veterinary, walk, wish bone canine rescue
Written with LA songwriter/producer Rich Jacques, the song represents a departure for her. Most of her songs, she says, are “thematically intense.”
“I wanted to create something light, fun, and feel-good for the holidays,” she said.
For the video, Foster, who has a dog named Bug, invited submissions of photos of pets celebrating the holidays.
“Mom always told me I should write a Christmas song,” she notes on her website (where the song can be purchased and downloaded). “At the time, being a little younger, I thought that seemed cheesy … like something Barbra Streisand or Kenny Rogers would do.
“But as I get a little older, and hopefully wiser, I am very clear that ‘cheese’ is good. It’s endearing, in fact, and it makes people FEEL good. I love cheese!!!”
Foster says she and Jacques worked on the song at her home, finishing up at 2 a.m. on Dec. 5, which, she notes, was her mother’s birthday.
“It would have been Mom’s 74th birthday. I hadn’t planned that out or even thought about it. Pretty sweet… ”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: christmas, christmas time is here, donation, downloads, fundraising, funds, hope for paws, jen foster, profits, rescue, singer, song, songwriter
Sometimes, our powerful connection with a dog is the result of another powerful connection that was lost.
Such is the case with Joe Guinta of Newark, Ohio, who plans to spend his last cent, and then some, to fight the cancer that has stricken Hunter, an 11-year-old mixed breed that belonged to his son.
Levi Guinta was killed in 2005 in a car accident. He was 22.
“Being that Levi was my only child, he was all I had,” Guinta explained to the Newark Advocate. “Hunter and I are very close. We now call him Daddy’s Boy.”
Six weeks ago, Guinta took Hunter — a husky-shepherd mix — to the veterinarian because he was unexplainedly losing weight. The vet, after some follow up visits, eventually diagnosed cancer.
Hunter has been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, and has a mass on his chest and a lump near his penis. He has been put on steroids, and has had two of a scheduled 16 chemotherapy treatments.
While the dog’s outlook is improving, Guinta, a salesman for Bath Fitters, paid by commission, has struggled to cover the costs. “I owe it to him,” Guinta said, referring to the dog. “I took that responsibility on when I took over his care.”
Guinta is getting some help from the Magic Bullet Fund, which is helps families who can’t afford the cost of treating their pets raise the money to do so.
The organization was started in New York by Laurie Kaplan, author of “Help Your Dog Fight Cancer.” When her dog, Bullet, got cancer, she was able to raise the money to get him treated. He lived four more years, to the age of 14, before he died of natural causes.
The Magic Bullet Fund now helps other people raise money to pay for their dog’s treatments. Once approved, the campaign for the dog is announced on the MBF website and Facebook. A volunteer helps the family raise money, as well. The information is listed on the website for one month.
“In the seven years we’ve been around, we’ve been able to help 210 dogs,” Kaplan said. “We get requests to help between 40 to 50 dogs a year”
Guinta applied and was accepted. Hunter’s information will appear on the website and people can donate to Hunter directly for 30 days.
Fundraising isn’t new to Guinta. Since his son’s death, he has conducted annual golf tournaments, raising more than $20,000 which he has donated to The Food Pantry Network of Licking County.
Guinta, 49, found Hunter in 2001 on the side of the road, and — after seeking his owner — brought him home to his son.
Hunter is now Guinta’s constant companion and often accompanies him to the cemetery to visit Levi’s grave.
” … I will sell everything I have and go bankrupt in order to treat my dog,” Guinta said. “There is nothing more important than making sure he lives. I will do whatever I have to do.”
(Photo: Jason Lenhart / The Advocate)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cancer, canine, care, chemotherapy, costs, death, dog, dogs, facebook, fundraising, health, hunter, joe guinta, laurie kaplan, magic bullet fund, pets, sickness, treatments, veterinary
Reverend Richard Herrin — after a four-year stretch without one — now has a service dog to help him serve God.
Herrin, a Baptist minister who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, lost his most recent service dog in 2008.
After moving from Texas to North Carolina earlier this year, to be closer to family, he began looking for funding to help cover the $25,000 expense of getting a trained service dog and bringing it home.
His new community kicked in $6,000 of that — through a campaign drive headed by a Moravian church in Winston-Salem.
Herrin went to North Dakota in July to pick the dog up from the Great Plains Assistance Dogs Foundation Inc., the Winston-Salem Journal reports.
Now, Dakota, a 3-year-old black Lab, is at his side, helping him with everyday tasks and in his ministry.
Due to the costs, Herrin had gone four years without a service dog since his last one, a golden retriever, died when he was living in Texas.
Not long after moving to North Carolina, Herrin visited Trinity Moravian Church, several blocks from his house. The secretary there referred him to the Rev. Russell May, interim minister at Bethania Moravian. May coordinated the fundraising effort, and Trinity Moravian accepted the checks and sent them on to North Dakota.
The dog’s main job is to pick things up and give them to Herrin. She’s learning to help Herrin take off his shirt, and has mastered bringing items to him from the refrigerator. She has also chewed up the television remote, but that’s part of the learning curve, say Herrin and his wife, both of whom are professional dog trainers.
“The dog has to know who you are,” Herrin said. “Can they look into you? Can they trust you are going to be honest? Are you going to be who you are? Without building a relationship, you might as well hang it up.”
On top of the chores a service dog helps with, he says, ” the value is the relationship with it.”
Dakota has made several visits to Herrin’s church, Southside Baptist, but Moravian congregations and others are pulling for him as well.
“The support of the Winston-Salem community has enabled him to get a tool that will challenge him, and that empowers him,” May said. “This is not simple charity. They have given him a responsibility, too… He wants to do ministry. This dog will help him in that.”
(Photo: Andrew Dye / Winston-Salem Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baptist, bethania moravian church, black, cerebral palsy, church, dakota, disabilities, fundraising, funds, great plains assistance dogs foundation, lab, labrador, minister, money, moravian, north carolina, raised, retriever, reverend, richard herrin, service dog, southside baptist church, trinity moravian church, winston-salem
Barkitecture Houston, a two-day fundraiser that features some innovative interpretations on that old standard, the dog house, will begin Oct. 26.
This year’s benefit, for Pup Squad Animal Rescue, promises to be bigger than ever, with more than 20 dog house designs being featured, along with a full slate of activities for dogs and humans.
The fundraiser calls on local artists, designers and architects to create stylish and functional dog houses, which are then sold at auction. It’s in its fourth-year running, according to the Houston Press.
Last year’s event brought in $18,000 for the animal rescue group.
“Houston is definitely a dog town, but there’s also a huge problem of overpopulation,” said Julie Landry, co-founder of Pup Squad. “It’s just a matter of getting the message out, to spay and neuter your pets.”
This year, the festivities kick off with a “yappy hour,” on Friday, October 26. On Saturday, the dog houses will line the two blocks of the Houston Pavilions. Attendees can bid on their favorites, or buy them for $500. Judges will select the “Best in Show.”
The Houston Press previewed this year’s entries, which included a giant rescue chopper that lights up, a doghouse with a roof drainage system that collects water, and a colorful fan of a dog house that folds up like a briefcase.
We’re pretty sure none of them, though, have what a dog house in Houston needs most — air conditioning!
Here’s where you can find more information.
(Photos: Some of last year’s entries; Rachel Bohanan / Houston Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, architecture, art, barkitecture, barkitecture houston, benefit, design, dog, dog house, dog houses, doghouse, doghouses, dogs, fundraiser, fundraising, houston, innovative, neuter, organization, pavilions, pets, pup squad animal rescue, rescue, responsible, spay, unusual
Fifteen thousand dollars in donations were received in 24 hours after a fund was set up for a Labrador retriever named Niko and his owner — both of whom were shot when she opened the front door of her home in Detroit last weekend.
Owner Gail King was released from a hospital Monday after being treated for a gunshot wound to her upper chest, her nephew told the Detroit News
Niko, 8-years-old, lost several teeth and suffered “quite a bit of damage to the left side of his jaw and nasal passages,” according to Jeff Dizik at Affiliated Veterinary Emergency Service hospital in Allen Park. He is being fed through a tube.
King heard Niko barking about 10:30 Saturday night and looked out her front door. A man opened fire, hitting King in the chest and Niko in the muzzle.
King will need to undergo reconstructive surgery, but she seemed more concerned about her dog, who she visited after her release from the hospital.
“He was very happy to see his mom,” said Carrie Collins, a licensed veterinary technician who helped treat the dog.
Less than a day after the fundraising launch, more than $15,000 had been raised, and the clinic had received calls from as far away as Germany and Japan.
The donated money will be used to pay Niko’s medical costs and help with future complications, but any extra will be given to King. Donations can be made here: www.saveniko.chipin.com/niko
Posted by jwoestendiek August 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: Affiliated Veterinary Emergency Service, animals, detroit, dog, dogs, donate, donations, face, front door, fundraising, gail king, lab, labrado retriever, labrador, niko, owner, pets, retriever, save niko, shooting, shot, surgery
A recent CNN report raises questions about Operation Baghdad Pups, and the charity that oversees the program, SPCA International.
CNN, whose sister network presented a positive and heartwarming portrayal of the program last year, found that SPCA International spent nearly all $27 million it received in donations to raise more money through a direct mail company.
The report also said SPCA International “misrepresented” Baghdad Pups on its tax filings, and that it hired an officer for that program with a “questionable background.”
Two immediate thoughts:
One, in an ideal world, which of course we’re not in, it would have been nice of CNN, or even its less probing sister network, HLN, to do its digging before tugging at our heartstrings to the extent we cough up money.
Two, with animal charities becoming big business, where should the line be drawn when it comes to how much of the money they rake in actually goes to helping animals?
A charity needs to spend money to raise money, of course, but Bob Ottenhoff, president of the charity watchdog group GuideStar, told CNN that the SPCA International’s tax records raise “a number of red flags.”
“No. 1, there is an enormous amount of money going into fund-raising,” Ottenhoff said. “It’s not unusual for a nonprofit to fund-raise. In fact they need to fund-raise. But this organization has an enormous amount of fund-raising costs, certainly relative to the amount of money being spent.”
Of the $14 million raised in 2010, SPCA International reported it spent about $60,000, less than 0.5%, on cash grants to animal shelters across the United States. About $450,000 — about 3% of the total raised in 2010 — went to bring back animals from Iraq and Afghanistan as part of its “Baghdad Pups” program.
The CNN report seems to make much of the fact that most of those animals weren’t actual members of the armed services — but, from our coverage of the organization, it never seemed to making the claim that they were.
Baghdad Pups is a program that “helps U.S. troops safely transport home the companion animals they befriend in the war zone,” it states on the website.
As CNN put it, “the charity admitted that only 26 of the nearly 500 animals transported to the United States from Iraq and Afghanistan were actually service animals. The rest were stray animals … And those 26 service animals were not attached to military K-9 units but belonged to Reed Inc., a private contractor that built roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
While dogs abandoned by contracting companies have been a concern of the program, stray animals, as I understood it, were what the program was all about — seeing that, in cases where they bonded with soldiers, they had a chance to come home with them.
While the CNN report may have been barking up the wrong tree in that regard, it was on the money in other ways — namely, in looking at what happens to the money.
SPCA International funneled nearly all the donations to Quadriga Art, one of the world’s largest direct-mail providers to charities and nonprofits. The payments to Quadriga Art and its affiliated company, Brickmill Marketing Services, were for publicizing the organization and helping it raise more funds.
It is the same company hired by two veterans charities that spent tens of millions of dollars for its services, triggering a Senate investigation last month. One of the charities,Washington-based Disabled Veterans National Foundation, collected nearly $56 million in donations over the past three years yet paid Quadriga Art more than $60 million in fees, raising questions about whether it should retain its tax-exempt status.
SPCA International is still $8 million in debt to Quadriga Art, according to a spokeswoman for the direct-mail firm.
Lat week’s CNN report also brought up previous problems Operation Baghdad spokeswoman Terri Crisp encountered while working on behalf of animals.
Crisp, who appeared on CNN’s sister network, HLN, last year with two dogs rescued from Iraq, is the former head of a California-based animal rescue charity called Noah’s Wish. It took in $8 million in contributions to support its work “rescuing and caring for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina.” An investigation by the California attorney general was looking into whether that money was being used for that purpose when a settlement was reached in 2007.
Crisp, while not admitting to any wrongdoing, agreed to return $4 million in donations, and to not ”serve as an officer, director or trustee or in any position having the duties or responsibilities of an officer, director or trustee, with any non-profit organization” for five years.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: afghanistan, animal welfare, animals, armed service, baghdad, bringing, charities, cnn, contractors, direct mail, dogs, finances, fund raising, fundraising, guide star, hln, home, investigation, iraq, K-9, k9, noahs wish, non profits, nonprofits, operation baghdad pups, organizations, pets, pups, quadriga art, reed inc, rehoming, report, rescue, saving, shelter, soldiers, spca international, stray, strays, terri crisp, troops
But it turned out not be hers.
And it turned out to have been dyed pink for a good cause — dyeing for a cause being slightly more tolerable than dyeing for no reason at all.
So like a lot of celebrity stories, it wasn’t much of a story at all.
Initial reports said Watson owned the dog, which was described by the Daily Mail as “a shocking shade of bubblegum pink.”
That article and others quoted PETA officials and veterinarians who questioned the practice, as well as the groomer who pinkified the dog, who says the vegetable-based dyes he uses are harmless.
Some news reports called the dog, named Darcy, a Maltese, others referred to her as a bichon frise.
But the 23-year-old Harry Potter star got on Twitter to magically set the record straight: She doesn’t own a dog. She was just walking Darcy for a friend, who had the dog temporarily dyed pink in connection with a breast cancer research fundraiser.
(Photo: GoffPhotos.com / Daily Mail)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actress, animals, bichon frise, breast cancer, cancer, dog, dogs, dye, dyed, dyeing, emma watson, fundraising, groomer, london, maltese, news, pets, pink, research, walking