Category: Dogs, Cats, Pets

Week 52 Animals Australia

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One thing that sucks more than goodbyes is long goodbyes.  So I have begun this at 2.24 pm and have allowed myself exactly one hour to publish it so none of the quality control (ok I probably made some mistakes, I did my best)  and researched facts of yore, just anecdotes, and rambling for the next 58 minutes.

So how did the 52 weeks work out?…Really well, thank you for asking.

I had no sick days from work and I trimmed off a small amount of excess fat and have felt good energy levels and much happier in my heart and mind all round.  It feels good to have made and actually 99% stuck to my first* NY resolution. I thank my ex, who said I never finish anything for providing extra motivation 🙂

(*and probably last- don’t wanna spoil my 99% success rate…!! Why 99%?  Because most of  my wine wasn’t vegan…I’ve been drinking lovely stuff in a fancy 4 litre box, if you would like to know more about vegan alcohol, Barnivore is a great site. Yalumba wines are vegan, kudos to them. Yalumba viognier is lovely which I buy for a ‘lash out’.  Also I have had to wear leather shoes for work and leather gloves for bushland maintenance work.  I think a lot about the animal who was unwillingly involved in their manufacture. Why I am putting this here is to show that perfection is hard to achieve as an imperfect being in an imperfect world, imperfection is not an excuse to give up trying to do the best you can wherever you can.  Oh and also I got Indian takeaway and despite my repeated request for no dairy, the food turned out to be loaded with ghee (clarified butter) rather than waste it, I ate it.  But it is good to be able to share this experience here as a trap for young players…Indian food is great for vegetarians, vegans really need to be diligent.)

Regarding the charities, wow! There are some amazing organisations out there.  Most of the ones I listed are easy to donate to, except for Haytap (Turkey) who had their Paypal cancelled by the government and they were unable to accept my credit card. So the $52 from that week sadly never made it, but all the rest are sorted.  I connected with a few lovely people around the world throught this and if you are travelling overseas, I would definitely recommend researching legitimate charities where you are headed to see if you can help out and who you can meet and share knowledge and passion for compassion with :-).  I almost wish there were more weeks in the year as there are so many other worthy ones, it is amazing what you find when you look.

One I always planned to cover was Soi Dog in Thailand, but it got bumped a couple of times and now it’s week 52 already.  I might give them the Haytap donation.  Suffering is suffering and it is great to alleviate it for any individual.  But one thing that was admirable  about most of the charities I chose to support was how they work to invoke systemic change…changing the way individuals and society treat animals and working towards cutting out the root of much animal suffering.

I will definitely stick with the plant powered lifestyle and continue to advocate for animals…

Oh and I have a little surprise… while this is the end of this particular chapter, its not a complete “So long and thanks for not eating fish” from me…

….Now I have graduated from 52 Charities High School, I am going to work on another project that will bring together all the links and knowledge and news I can find about a animals, the environment, food, events etc. Hang on in there and in a couple of months I will create a post to guide you to the cornucopia of wonderfulness I have planned.

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http://www.animalsaustralia.org/

This is one of my favourite charities that I have supported for many years. It is definitely worth visiting their page and learning about their work.

Animals Australia’s major campaigns are strategically targeting the areas where animals are in greatest need — whether due to extreme cruelty, or due to the vast number of individual animals who are suffering.

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Our work is focused around two strategic areas: investigations to expose animal abuse wherever it occurs, and public awareness initiatives to empower and inspire the community to adopt cruelty-free lifestyle choices.

You can order a free vegetarian starter kit here.

And watch a wonderful video by Lyn White here.

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To the friends I know and to the friends I haven’t met yet who read this, I really thank you!! It was pretty nerve wracking putting it out there, self doubt and all that.

I hope in some way I have contributed something beneficial xxx

1 hour 3 mins. Not bad!

Week 47 AMRRIC: Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (Australia)

My partner is currently reading a book called The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia.  The thesis of the book is that that Aboriginal people were proactive land managers who had long controlled the land until much of it was as shaped by humans as the English countryside was.

biggest-estate

As I think I understand it, a ‘home among the gum trees’ is only a relatively modern phenomenon in the Australian landscape.  Once there was much thick forest.  Millenia of human habitation and fire-farming practices changed the landscape to meet the needs of the first people.  When white people arrived and helped themselves to the land and trampled over traditional practices, the previously maintained environment turned into the scrubby woodlands, dominated by fire-tolerant species, that we think of as ‘untouched Australia’ today.

Apparently gum trees actually ‘want’ to catch fire as then they can burn out the competition around them.  (Strips of bark peel down like wicks inviting flame into the oily, combustible canopy. The trees can reshoot by coppicing after fire.)  I pity the poor plants, animals and tree changers that get in their way.

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Most Australians know little about our land, and even less about our first people.

Like Tim Flannery and John Doyle pointed out in their series “Two on the Great Divide”, Australia is an incredibly divided nation.  We could all learn so much if we let ourselves.   Yet whether it’s white guilt, fear of rejection, fear of saying something ‘wrong’ or just complacency, sadly it feels easier to sit safely on one side of the divide, shut our eyes, put our hands over our ears and sing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ instead.

The LGBTQIA community has worked hard and positioned itself well to change social norms and gain not only widespread acceptance, but also admiration. Society can change for the good.

Change has to be driven from both sides of the divide.

Let’s start by changing the constitution, changing to a more inclusive flag and changing the nature of Australia Day.

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Oh, and let’s stop climbing Uluru. Of course the land was here billions of years before any of us.*  But Aborigines were here tens of thousands of years before the rest of us.

Nobody would enter a traditional Japanese person’s home with their shoes on.

If the traditional owners of Uluru ask us to please not climb Uluru, then surely we should be courteous enough to comply? 

Let’s build bridges, rather than burning them.

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/good-news/aboriginal-mans-gentle-rebuke-to-two-elderly-women/news-story/29d6902afef3662b73999015fb2df2fb

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I like the sound of this organisation.

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http://www.amrric.org

About AMRRIC

Indigenous kids holding a camp dog

AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) is a not-for-profit charity that uses a One Health approach to coordinate veterinary and education programs in Indigenous communities.

Our One Health approach recognises the inextricable links between human, animal and environmental health and wellbeing. By working with remote Indigenous communities to improve the health of their pets, we are helping to create healthier, safer and happier communities.

In the last financial year, AMRRIC has facilitated veterinary programs in 92 different remote communities and homelands.

Our work:

By improving the health and welfare of companion animals in a community, AMRRIC’s animal health programs contribute to an improvement in human health

Our work:

  • assists with the control of dog populations through veterinarian-led desexing programs (addressing problems of noise, scavenging and attacks on humans)
  • empowers Aboriginal communities by providing the knowledge, training and resources that enable them to take responsibility for their animals’ health and welfare
  • delivers education programs to school students, community members, environmental health practitioners, animal management workers and government and non-government organisations about all aspects of animal health and welfare in remote Indigenous communities
  • educates Indigenous communities specifically about parasites and diseases in companion animals, leading to a reduction in the transmission of disease from animals to people (zoonoses)
  • partners with government at all levels to develop animal health and welfare policy relevant to remote Indigenous communities
  • contributes to research programs across Australia and internationally, with the Cancer Genome Project in Cambridge, UK, and its work on Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumour, a common disease in dogs in remote Australian communities.

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* If for some reason cultural respect isn’t convincing enough, how about this:

…the path left by rubber from the soles of climbers’ shoes is visible from kilometres away and some tourists leave litter and damage the rock. Moreover, extreme heat and a lack of toilet facilities mean that large amounts of evaporated, concentrated human urine flow into the area’s waterholes whenever it rains.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/climbing-the-rock:-why-do-tourists-still-climb-uluru/6603640

 

Update: I just woke up to find a report on a really good essay by Stan Grant 🙂

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-19/stan-grant-on-‘the-australian-dream’/8038826

Week 46 LAPA Helping Animals in Russia

             Even though the election was rigged, as the great man himself declared,                          America has spoken.

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But what about those who can’t speak?

The United Arab Emirates recently introduced animal welfare laws.

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“Does this mean we get to ride on tourists’ backs in the searing heat instead?”

Dubai: A proposed UAE national animal welfare law to protect animals on farms, in zoos and in the wild, possibly as early as by the end of the year, is earning high praise from one of the top international animal welfare organisations, International Fund for Animal Welfare(IFAW)

It’s hard to believe that they didn’t exist already.

Russia, home to Trump’s bestie, is a country that has no animal welfare laws at all.

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“I’ll love you forever if you make life better for all animals (except that f*ing bald eagle).”

The animal welfare situation in Russia is at a critical level and needs to change.

There is no animal welfare legislation in Russia.  As a result, there is no culture of sterilising, vaccinating or de-worming pets and breeding is not regulated. This causes overpopulation and diseases. Sadly, tens of thousands of cats and dogs are abandoned every year.  The ones that survive breed, others die of hunger, illness, cruelty and severe weather conditions.

If you watch this wonderful presentation by Lyn White, it is clear that many people care about animals, they just often don’t know where to begin.

Enshrining animal rights in law would be a good place to start.

Come on Mr Putin, you can do anything!

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Fortunately there are people out there for whom empathy already speaks louder than apathy .

http://www.lapauk.org/en/

WHAT WE DO

Our work has two areas of focus:

SAFE STERILISATION OF ANIMALS

We arrange and finance the sterilisation of stray cats and dogs and animals who live in shelters.  We also subsidise the cost of sterilisation of pets owned by the disadvantaged, pensioners, disabled people and students. Find out more about Project Sterilisation…

CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME

We conduct lessons at Russian schools to pupils aged between 6 and 15, where we discuss issues of care and wellbeing of animals, teach children how to look after pets and what happens to them if they are abandoned.  The lessons are conducted both in Russian and the English language. Find out more about our Educational Programme…

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Mr Trump has described the Paris [climate] Agreement as “unbelievable”, promising to remove the US from its signatories, and also bizarrely claimed global warming is a hoax perpetrated by China. 

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/donald-trump-election-us-global-warming-climate-change-fossil-fuels-petrol-oil-a7402276.html

 

Dog help all us dumb animals.

 

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Uncle Sam showing how he feels.

 

Week 42 South Pacific Animal Welfare (Pacific Islands/NZ)

 

Samoans getting Zumba fit, but obesity still on the rise

Physical activity in Samoa has increased…Yet obesity and other “first world diseases” are still on the rise, with the government declaring them a “national emergency”.

Dr Walter Vermeulen, who runs weekly nutrition seminars, said he often saw people who complained they had been exercising for years and had not shed any weight.

“Exercise alone will not make you lose weight,” he said.

Instead, he prescribes exercise in combination with a “whole-foods, plant-based diet”.

“Corned beef has now been elevated to a status food, driving farmers to use their revenues from the sale of their health-promoting [vegetables] to buy pounds of tins of corned beef.”

Samoa fitness corned beef
Photo: Processed meat fills shelf after shelf in Samoan supermarkets, and is often blamed for rendering 80% of adult overweight or obese. (Supplied: Iona Salter)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-09/exercise-and-obesity-in-samoa/7900810

 

I looked up Dr Vermeulen as I liked his message and found an article by him titled WFPB without Borders.  I thought WFPB…WTF?

Google told me it means Whole Food Plant Based. Of course!

There is a whole nutritional institute based on this principle.  Dr Vermeulen joined it after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives.  When he found personal benefits from the diet he adopted this principle professionally as well.

(If only there was Google in 1985 so I didn’t have to ask my mum what ‘wanker’ meant…)

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Forks Over Knives movie

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WFPB: GFP, GFA, GFTE!

( Whole foods plant based: Good for people, good for animals, good for the environment!)

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http://www.spaw.org.nz/

SPAW is a New Zealand run animal aid organisation working on Pacific Islands. We recruit industry professionals and work with local agencies to run professional veterinary care and mass spay/neuter clinics within communities on our neighbouring Pacific Islands.  SPAW is a NZ based registered charity.

Our depth of services to Pacific Islands includes Veterinary Care, Spaying and Neutering, Animal Husbandry – Livestock care, parasite and vaccine programmes, humane education, training and skills development, outreach & village field clinics, assisted companion animal export services and research.

We are a full volunteer organisation. Our volunteers contribute to our efforts by funding their own volunteer experience.

“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that animal”

 

To find out more about Samoa: http://www.samoa.travel/

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Week 41 World Animal Day (International)

Today is the 4th of October which means it’s…..

 World Animal Day!

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THE GOAL OF WORLD ANIMAL DAY IS TO RAISE THE STATUS OF ANIMALS IN ORDER TO IMPROVE WELFARE STANDARDS AROUND THE GLOBE

To achieve this, we encourage animal welfare organisations, community groups, youth and children’s clubs, businesses and individuals to organise events in celebration of World Animal Day. Involvement is growing at an astonishing rate and it’s now widely accepted and celebrated in a variety of different ways in many countries, with no regard to nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.

Events are organised under the World Animal Day Umbrella by being publicised on this website and advertised using the World Animal Day brand and logo. Global branding effectively ties all events together and, over the years we have found this approach to be particularly helpful to grass roots groups who struggle to attract media attention in order to raise awareness of their work and fundraise. This draws attention to animal issues and makes them front page news – a vital catalyst for change.

We currently have a team of 93 Ambassadors representing 75 countries around the globe.  (This is a great way to find out about people and organisations around the world- from Andorra to Zimbabwe- that genuinely care for animals).

Cyprus

CYPRUS – STELLA STYLIANOU
Animal Rescue & Protection Association (ARGOS)

Stella says: Animal awareness in Cyprus was non-existent before the World Animal Day events began. With each year that World Animal Day is celebrated, awareness grows and attitudes are slowly changing as people begin to see animals in a different light. 

One of the most significant statements that will forever remain imprinted in my mind was when a local village farmer visited me at the shelter following one of our World Animal Day events. A German Shepherd dog had wandered onto his farm and he brought him to our shelter.  He said that in years past, he would have shot any stray dog on his farm, dig a hole and bury it and that would be that but, he continued, “you are doing something truly wonderful and now I cannot bring myself to do such a thing.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – PAUL LUGHEMBE
Safe Environment for All (SEA)

Paul says: Our World Animal Day Campaign has increasingly reduced the abuse of animals during transportation, the killing of dogs and the mass killing of cats in the city of Goma and surrounding areas. World Animal Day is slowly swaying the attitudes of people towards respecting the rights of all animals wherever and in whatever circumstances. 

Nepal

NEPAL – KHAGESHWAAR SHARMA
Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust

Khageshwaar says: I’m delighted to tell you that World Animal Day is now being celebrated by government institutions in Nepal, such as the District Livestock Services Office, with whom we liaise to commemorate the day. 

World Animal Day events encourage people to work together to sensitise communities, making them aware of the needs of animals they live among, and also of how they can improve their lives. Creating an outlook that respects all animals is a slow process and World Animal Day acts as an annual marker to measure progress.

Australia

AUSTRALIA – PAM AHERN
Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary

Pam says: For as long as I can remember animals have shared my world and, indeed, throughout human history animals have been trotting along beside us; offering comfort, helping forge nations and a never ending source of wonder. I just love World Animal Day and the fact it is celebrated around the globe.  The day gives animal lovers an opportunity to unite, celebrate and empower much needed change for our animal friends.

To coincide with World Animal Day, the good people of Edgar’s Mission have devised

Be Kind to Animals Week.

They in turn have found a wonderful ‘lambassador’ for 2016 in Tamara Kenneally who is an animal photographer and founder of Lefty’s Place animal refuge in Benalla, Victoria.

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I will finish with a letter I found on another Wordpress blog that seems a fitting treasure to have found on World Animal Day.

Letter to a new vegan

This was my submission for Letters to a New Vegan, a book that is being compiled by longterm vegans to welcome and support those who are just starting out. 


Dear new vegan,

Welcome. Speaking not only for myself but, boldly, for the billions of sentient beings who currently suffer at human hands, and for the straining, groaning planet, and for the people who go hungry and thirsty because we don’t know how to share: thank you for opening your eyes and acting on what you see.

I hope you will find your vegan journey to be endlessly inspiring, fulfilling and rewarding as do I and so many others I know who have chosen this path too. My motto is ‘the best things in life are cruelty-free’ and I believe this is self-evident the moment we embark on living in tune with our deepest values. There are no barriers once we have made up our minds and our hearts. Being vegan opens up possibilities while denying us nothing.

Any time you feel disconnected from people around you who still buy in to the relentless tide of mainstream thinking, remember your deep connection to those whom you have spared. Let yourself feel the lightness with which you tread and be lifted up by it. No injustice can end while we as individuals take part in it. You, for your part, are free of that now.

Of course, it is not a vegan world, and while this remains the case there is much to be done. There are countless ways to help spread the vegan consciousness, and we can fit what we do to our talents, our passions, and the time available to us. A great way to start is simply by speaking your truth. I was quiet about my veganism for the first few years, having been schooled in the art of keeping a low profile as a vegetarian growing up. I was the only one in my family and the only one of my friends bar one. I learnt to say “it’s a personal choice thing” and “I couldn’t hurt a fly”, which let people off the hook: they could attribute my choice to my sentimentality or unusual sensitivity, without looking at themselves. But about a year in to being vegan, a feeling of courage and confidence began to blossom inside me as I realised that my previous ‘live and let live’ philosophy was leaving the victims out of the equation… It wasn’t hard once this realisation dawned. I began to feel that being vegan wasn’t even about me any more. So I began to speak up, looking for bridges to build and sparks of consciousness to ignite, entirely bypassing my natural reticence and finding my true voice – for the voiceless. I hope it will be the same for you, and you find your voice at your own pace and in your own way too.

Becoming vegan sadly involves becoming aware of some heart-breaking truths, and this can be very painful to carry with us. But amidst it all – all the despair, the disbelief, the anger – we have every reason to be joyful, because we are making a difference every day. We are taking a stand for freedom and that means something for every being who is not forcibly brought into this world to be exploited and violently destroyed as a product for us to use.

The world we dream of is a paradise indeed. Space for all species to coexist, free from anthropocentric domination, suffused by a compassionate human consciousness, free from the pathological ideology of ‘carnism’ which entails an arbitrary disregard for the most basic interests of certain species even while preaching values such as kindness and non-violence in other walks of life.

You are part of this future, which need not be a far-off fantasy: all it needs is enough people to make the connection as you have. The world is vegan if we want it!

Ahimsa,

Catherine

 

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ahimsa: a Buddhist and Hindu and especially Jainist doctrine holding that all forms of life are sacred and urging the avoidance of violenceahimsa

Week 39 DAWGS in Prison (USA)

 

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Incredibly, in spite of everything she has witnessed in the front-line of animal rescue, Lyn White from Animals Australia  has managed to maintain an overwhelmingly positive view of humanity.

I watched her talk this week and seeing her express belief in the inherent goodness of the human race was inspiring.

Mum originally sent me the video link. She was so impressed by this talk that she has ordered the dvds to send out instead of Christmas cards this year.  If you aren’t on mum’s mailing list, the link is below (1 hour 40 mins)

If you feel alone, or like life is pointless, you may find some hope and direction in Lyn’s message…the message of finding meaning by becoming the best you can be.  

 

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 This week’s fantastic charity helps both people and animals on the path to becoming the best they can be.

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Our mission is to provide training and education for both inmate and dog, resulting in permanent homes for the dogs, viable job skills for the inmate, and productive jobs and a law-abiding life upon release.
” I woke up during my first year of the DAWGS program.   My attitude changed.  My routine changed.  My health changed.  My priorities changed.  Everything changed in my life in order for me to be responsible enough to take care of one of God’s precious creations. DAWGS gave me the wisdom to see what kind of changes were needed in my life in order to be a productive citizen again after a total of 26 years behind bars. “

Try not to cry (difficult!) while watching the following episode of ‘Castaways’, which chronicles another program of inmates training unwanted dogs (6 minutes).

 

It’s everybody all together that gives a damn that makes a difference

Teresa Strader, Director and Founder National Mill Dog Rescue

Read Teresa’s story here

 

 

http://mentalfloss.com/article/80699/8-prison-animal-programshttp://mentalfloss.com/article/80699/8-prison-animal-programs

Week 31 Artists for Animals (USA)

1984: Big Brother was watching you…

…but he didn’t have much footage to share with anyone else.

Now, digital tentacles are reaching everywhere.

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Cameras are exposing more and more as their access and accessibility spread.  Today two news reports really got me thinking about their value.

One report revealed footage of the unbelievable abuse of youths in a Northern Territory detention centre; the other showed a lady’s poor dad suffering elder abuse in an Australian nursing home.

Words are powerful but sometimes they can be dismissed with disbelief or ‘victim blaming’.

Victim blaming is a devaluing act that occurs when the victim(s) of a crime or an accident is held responsible — in whole or in part — for the crimes that have been committed against them.

Pictures are very helpful. I read an article that said people are more likely to pay money into an honesty box if there was a pair of eyes watching them, even if the eyes were just 2D pictures stuck on a wall. 

But a single photograph may be passed off as ‘photoshopped’ or selectively cropped.

Photo contest winner revealed as fake amid social media storm
This winning image in a popular amateur photography exhibition has been exposed as a fake.

 

Film footage of course is just as susceptible to fakery, but moving images from a reliable source grab more attention than words or a photo alone.

The rising tide of awareness about humanitarian, animal welfare and environmental issues owes a great deal to the rising availability of cameras and the internet.  

 

2024: Make sure you go out wearing undies…

Big Brother and Sister will be recording everything…

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Here are some artistic tips for them.

Artists for Animals

We are a group of artists combining our talents and our love for animals to raise money for animal rescue causes.  We raise awareness for homeless animals and animal rescue organisations — and raise funds– by organising concerts, art shows, contests and auctions.  They support Operation Kindness, the largest no-kill animal shelter in Texas.
The tips below are from a separate website by one of the founders.  One of her goals is to help homeless animals find homes through the use of better photography. The site even offers tips specific to photographing black furred animals.

Five Tips for Better Dog Photography

1. Start with a tired dog.  Run with him, play with him, whatever you have to do to get him to relax. It will make a world of difference when it’s time to settle him down for a photo.

2. Look for the light! You want the light to fall on the dog’s face and if possible, you want a bit of a reflection in the dog’s eyes (called a catchlight). So if you’re using window light, have the dog face the window rather than turn his back to it.

3. De-clutter the background. Less is more.

4. Stay on the dog’s eye level. You need to get down so his eyes are level with yours.

 

Kickstarter video – Artists for Animals

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ps  My relative’s home security camera recently captured a car break in on his street.  The self entitled shit (who robbed a worker of the tools of his trade) revved his engine loud to cover up the sound of him breaking the car glass.  If you hear an unexpected engine rev at night…it may be worth checking on.

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I wonder if people who complain about state surveillance refuse to have their own dash cams/home security cams on a similar principle?

Read about a REAL nanny state here