Monday, January 30, 2012

First Ever Pittsburgh Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award Goes To An Animal Rescuer

Animal Rescuer Wins First Ever Pittsburgh Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award

Stacy Berkoben is awarded inaugural Pittsburgh-based award for her dedication to local animal shelter

In its first year, Direct Energy and Trib Total Media's 2011 Pittsburgh Volunteer Citizen Award has been awarded to Stacy Berkoben of Arnold, PA. Stacy has volunteered hundreds of hours and helped to fundraise thousands of dollars for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter in New Kensington, PA. By winning the Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award, Stacy will receive a $1,000 cash prize and $5,000 to donate to Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley.

Described as a true ambassador of animals, Stacy utilizes her warm and friendly personality to educate the public about responsible pet adoption, proper pet care and the importance of spaying and neutering. She has rescued four cats and a dog herself, which are now thriving in a safe and permanent home, thanks to Stacy's kind heart.

Stacy also fundraises for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley by participating in ticket raffles, "Paws for the Cause" and "Meet and Greet" events, bake sales, spaghetti dinners and community dog walks. Additionally, Stacy spends countless hours hand-sewing pet toys, blankets, beds, collars, scarves and mittens to sell at these events. With the $5,000 donation from Direct Energy, Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley will help fund it's spay and neuter program and provide educational materials to the public.

In her nomination, Pat Presutti, an Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley board member, states that "Stacy always makes the shelter her number one priority and is always there to help. She has been known to even rearrange her personal plans to volunteer whenever needed."

"Stacy's dedication and support for a shelter that does not receive state or federal funding is truly remarkable," said Cory Byzewski, Vice President and General Manager for Direct Energy. "We hope that this wonderful recognition of such an outstanding citizen right in our hometown inspires others to volunteer in their communities."

Lindsay Berdell, Director of Promotions and Marketing for Trib Total Media and judging panelist for the award program said, "We received many admirable nominations for this program, and choosing just one winner was an enormous challenge. Stacy's touching story, partnered with her unwavering commitment to helping give animals a chance at life that they might not otherwise have, really makes her a valuable asset to our community."

A special event honoring Stacy will be held at the StrongLand Chamber of Commerce HOMEXPO on Friday, February 10th, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall food court. Representatives from Direct Energy and Trib Total Media will be on hand to present Stacy with her award. Pittsburgh Mills Mall is located at 590 Pittsburgh Mills Circle in Tarentum, PA.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley to better the lives of homeless animals should email or call 724-339-7388.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with more than 6 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE:CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 45 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada.

About Trib Total Media

Trib Total Media is a multimedia network of daily and weekly newspapers, weekly shoppers, and websites delivering news, information and advertising to over 1.2 million readers across Western Pennsylvania every week. Trib Total Media also provides targeted direct mail, commercial printing and promotional item services. Visit online at and see why Trib Total Media is the right choice for you.

SOURCE Direct Energy

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Opponents In Florida Call Non Profit Rescue Organizations Hoarders In Disguise.

Opponents of Florida Animal Rescue Act Call Rescue Organizations "Hoarders"

As the Florida Animal Rescue Act (FARA) nears approval by the Senate Community Affairs Committee next week, some opponents are attempting to derail this lifesaving legislation by making false claims that Florida's non-profit rescue organizations are actually "hoarders" in disguise.

The Florida Animal Rescue Act will make it illegal for shelters to kill any animal that a qualified 501(c)3 rescue organization is willing to save. However, to the detriment of Florida's sheltered pets, some Florida shelters and animal welfare organizations, like the Florida Animal Control Association, are defending their right and discretion to kill animals, even when rescue organizations are willing to take them. The committee was ready to pass this common-sense bill but deferred it temporarily in order to clear up false claims being made by the opposition.

While 63% of non-profit animal rescue groups in Florida have had at least one state shelter refuse to work collaboratively with them and then turn around and kill the very animals they were willing to save, some shelters are trying to defend those arbitrary killings by claiming that rescue groups are "hoarders" in disguise, and that the bill would require shelters to turn animals over to "hoarders."

These allegations are completely false, as the bill specifically excludes organizations with a volunteer, staff member, director, and/or officer with a conviction for animal neglect, cruelty, and/or dog fighting, and suspends the organization while such charges are pending. In addition, animal hoarding has nothing to do with rescue organizations, and is in fact a mental illness and crime perpetrated by individuals that should be treated and punished as such.

These false claims are nothing more than attempts by regressive shelters to maintain control over their perceived right and discretion to kill animals, a position completely out-of-touch with the humane values of the communities they serve. The Florida Animal Rescue Act is proven legislation, and a win-win for taxpayers and animals, as every animal turned over to a qualified rescue organization is one less that needs to be supported through public funds.

The time is now for Florida's animal lovers to stand in support of this necessary legislation, and speak out against the false accusations leveled by the opposition. Supporters are asked to visit to learn more about the bill, and utilize action alerts to contact their state representatives, and to write and call Senator Michael Bennett, the bill's sponsor and the Chair of the Community Affairs Committee:

The Honorable Michael S. Bennett
President Pro Tempore
Florida State Senate

Wildewood Professional Park, Ste. 90
3653 Cortez Rd. W.
Bradenton, FL 34210

Via e-mail:
Via fax: (941) 727-6352
Local phone: (941) 727-6349
Statewide phone: 1-800-500-1239

SOURCE No Kill Nation

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Will Chicago License Pet Owners Instead of Licensing Pets

The Chicago City Council is looking into giving the pet owners a license on which they think will help reduce animal attacks. Which states: Any further regulation should continue to be not breed-specific, but owner/handler specific, such as licensing the owner rather than the animal.

City Council member Bob Fioretti said: That way, we keep track of how many dogs the owner has. It's a suggestion that will be part of the hearings. We have to look at mandatory spay and neutering. It's been proven that unneutered dogs are involved in more of these types of incidents not because of inherent aggression, but a propensity to roam.

The executive director of the city's Commission on Animal Care and Control Cherie Travis said: It's novel. But, I’d have to know more about how it would work. Who would issue the license? What would the criteria be? What would qualify people to be licensed as dog owners? In Minneapolis, there's an ordinance that, if your dog has bitten someone, you can't get another dog for five years. I'm certainly open to discussing best practices.

I believe that some people don't belong owning a pet, but to have the local officials say so is a no no.

Read the article by Fran Spielman here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

So Is Your Dog's Mouth Cleaner Than A Human's Mouth

Think a Dog's Mouth is Cleaner Than a Human's? Think Again.

The GREENIES® Brand Team Helps to Demystify Common Misunderstandings about Pet Oral Health

A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's. A pet's saliva can miraculously cure human cuts and scrapes. These are common beliefs held by pet owners, according to a new study commissioned by The GREENIES® Brand, makers of the #1 vet‐recommended pet specialty dental chews and treats(1). But veterinary dental experts urge pet owners not to believe so quickly, as many of these beliefs aren't necessarily true.

Among the most commonly held beliefs, the study found that almost half of pet owners believe that dogs' mouths are cleaner than a human's and that any type of chewing is good for a dog's teeth. It also found that about 40 percent think it is normal for their pets to have stinky breath. About one‐third of pet owners believe that a dog's saliva can help cure human wounds(2).

"There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding a pet's oral health," said veterinary dental expert Dr. Jan Bellows, incoming president of the American Veterinary Dental College. "Dogs' mouths are certainly not cleaner than a human's. Dogs often carry a variety of germs and bacteria in their mouths that stem from buildup of plaque and tartar that can potentially make humans sick through contact with saliva. Many pet owners also believe that any type of chewing is good for their dogs, but tooth fractures are a common occurrence in pets because teeth can only withstand a certain amount of pressure from hard objects before they break. Pets chewing on inflexible items like bones, ice cubes or nylon toys are often in danger of tooth breakage. And while smelly breath in pets is common, pet owners who believe this is normal may be missing the signs of poor oral health or potential dental disease."

A healthy mouth is essential to the overall wellbeing of pets, but misguided information about pet oral health can affect more than just our pets' mouths. For proper pet oral health, veterinarians advise daily brushing or giving Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved dental treats, and at least annual oral exams by a veterinarian with professional cleanings as recommended.

"Pet owners who are knowledgeable about their furry companions' oral health will avoid the pitfalls of commonly‐held myths and enable the best care for everyone's wellbeing," said Dr. Bellows.

To learn more about the factual information behind these commonly accepted pet oral health myths and how GREENIES® Dental Chews and Treats work to keep pets' mouths healthy, visit

About The Nutro Company

The Nutro Company is a leading manufacturer of natural* pet food products sold exclusively at pet specialty stores. The company has been making "The World's Best Pet Food" for more than 80 years and is dedicated to quality, excellence and innovation in dog and cat nutrition offering healthful formulas for every pet's life stage, activity level and size. The Nutro Company's family of brands includes MAX®, NATURAL CHOICE® and ULTRA™ pet food brands in addition to the GREENIES® brands, which include the #1 vet recommended pet specialty dental chews**, PILL POCKETS® treats and JointCare treats. For more information, please visit and

(1) Among veterinarians that recommend dental chews/treats for at home oral care
(2) Oral Myths Study 982 Pet Owners, November 2011, Conducted by Trone® Research

* Natural fortified with added vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients
** Among veterinarians that recommend dental chews/treats for at home oral care

Source The GREENIES Brand

I don't know about you,but I'll take all the kisses my dogs give.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

K-9 in Heaven

A letter from the Post Office...this is absolutely the best!!

We don't know who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.  
The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog?
She died yesterday and is with you in heaven.
I miss her very much.
I 'm happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her.
She likes to swim and play with balls.
I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.
I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey & Meredith , addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.

A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet.
I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I'm sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find. I am wherever there is love.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guiding Eyes For The Blind New Puppy Love Program

Atlantic Shores Guide Dog Puppies Make an Impact in the Classroom

"Puppy Love Program" pairs puppies, seniors, and grade school students

Mealtime, training class, "Yappy Hour," and a field trip to a local grade school. Not a normal day for most puppies, unless their names are Joanie and Godrick. These two black lab puppies are the stars of the Atlantic Shores/Guiding Eyes For The Blind "Puppy Love Program," one of the first in the nation to link seniors and young students together in a partnership that will provide guide dogs for visually impaired individuals, while educating a new generation on the value of these amazing animals.

The unique program was designed and came to life at Atlantic Shores, an energetic 100-acre retirement community in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in partnership with Guiding Eyes For The Blind (GEB), a nonprofit guide dog school with a 50-year legacy of providing the blind and visually impaired with superior Guiding Eyes dogs and lifetime support services, for free. This inspiring organization relies on volunteers for the critical first step of basic obedience training and socialization for their puppies.

Joanie and Godrick were specially matched with Atlantic Shores residents and staff, who have opened their homes and hearts to raise them during a critical time in their lives. After months of training and love, the puppies will be returned to Guiding Eyes for "finishing training," to teach them specific skills that will make them the perfect companion for a deserving individual. The $45,000 value of each fully trained guide dog is entirely underwritten for each GEB graduate who receives a dog from the program.

Key to The "Puppy Love Program" are partnerships with two Virginia Beach elementary schools -- Ocean Lakes, and Corporate Landing, which will benefit both the puppies and the students. The puppies and their Atlantic Shores raisers will make ongoing visits to the schools as part of the puppy's social skills training, where Joanie and Godrick will learn to experience new people in new environments.

Special curriculum at Ocean Lakes will help third grade students understand the invaluable service these puppies will eventually provide, and how to properly interact with guide dogs they see in the community. Students will also follow the puppies' progress with "puppy cam" updates and student reporter segments broadcast on the schools' in-classroom TV feed. Special needs, and visually impaired students at Corporate Landing will have an opportunity to touch and interact with the puppies as a therapeutic activity.

The first major "socialization field trip" for the puppies at their partner schools will take place on January 10. Guiding Eyes graduate Brian McCann will give students a Q&A demonstration of how his guide dog, Julie, assists him.

Students first began bonding with the puppies by attending their special Welcoming Ceremony on October 27, 2011, where they recited a poem to Joanie and Godrick, and created personalized works of art in their honor, which hang in a special gallery at Atlantic Shores.

According to Lisa Scott, third grade teacher at Ocean Lakes, "The students in my class, and the entire school, have fallen 'head over paws' for Joanie and Godrick. We're excited and honored to be a part of their learning journey, as we ourselves learn about the unique process it takes to transform these puppies into invaluable life partners."

Back at Atlantic Shores, the puppies have more lessons to learn at the dog-friendly senior campus, attending such resident activities as Arts & Crafts, and unique events like "Yappy Hours" with special treats for both human and canine residents. The puppies are also brightening spirits with resident visits at the community's Harbourway assisted living facility, and Seaside skilled nursing center.

According to Atlantic Shores Executive Director Eden Jones, "Just as these puppies are bringing joy to our community, we are thrilled to have our residents share this experience with the next generation, as part of our ongoing outreach to local schoolchildren."

"Puppy Love fans" from around the world can follow the progress of these tiny heroes by logging on to, where a photo gallery, Dog-Blog and Puppy-Cam track the puppies' adventures. Fans can also like them on Facebook at:

SOURCE Atlantic Shores

Monday, January 9, 2012

It Wasn’t Old McDonalds Farm It Was A Farm From Hell

It always sad to read about someone being arrested on animal cruelty charges, but for the third time. After starving her animals the Pueblo Animal Services rescued thirty one dogs a cat, a llama, some donkeys and mules along with thirty horses. Not counting all the dead animals on which Valarie Christine Harris who is now being charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.

Hopefully the judge will help put an end to this animal abuser. Read the article here.

The Pueblo Animal Services at 4600 Eagleridge Place, Pueblo, CO 81008 is looking for all the support they can get.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How Do You Say I Love Wolves Well Ask Edye Marin From Wolfhybridpuppies

"I Love Wolves" Project: Love in any Language Launched by Internationally to Translate the Phrase "I Love Wolves"

Wolf hybrid puppy breeder Edye Marin of launched "I Love Wolves" after finding seven out of 64 online translations appeared inaccurate for the three-word phrase

Using the language of love, Edye Marin at launched the "I Love Wolves" project: Love in Any Language to bring people around the world together, but found too many inaccuracies when utilizing online translators.

"I found in Albanian and Latvian the words "I love" stayed the same from English to the different language, yet the word "wolves" translated into "ujq" and "vilki" respectively," Marin said.

The flipside of the online translation was that in Filipino "I love wolves" became "Pag-ibig ko wolves" which seemed odd to Marin that the word "wolves" did not translate to the Filipino tongue.

Online translators convert as many as 64 different languages. Marin found oddities in seven of the 64 languages. Wycliffe Bible Translators, in Orlando, Florida estimates more than 6,800 languages are spoken in the world today.

The wolf hybrid breeder decided the best way to find the actual translations of the words "I love wolves" was to ask the people of the world.

"I decided to ask the world for help accomplishing what online translators are not accurately accomplishing," said Marin. "I look forward to seeing how many languages we can translate "I love wolves" into."

Etna, a city of 800 people, is near Mount Shasta in Northern California. The complete "I Love Wolves" Project: Love in Any Language List, can be found at ... ove-wolves.

Professional wolf hybrid breeder Edye Marin's Wolf Dog Ranch has wolf hybrid puppies for sale in Northern California. Edye Marin can be reached at or (530) 990-2308. Wolf Pup pictures and videos can be found at Edye Marin's professional wolf hybrid breeder site is

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Gift Of Giving Will Allow General Patton The Chance To Walk Again

We all know that Vet bills can add up quickly if your pet becomes ill, so when Cassie Driskel from Springfield, MO. English bulldog terrier named General Patton lost the use of his back legs she didn't know how she would pay the bill.

That's when the word of love started spreading with her friends and co workers and the residents at a care facility called The Fremont where Cassie Driskel works.

Cassie Driskel said: I was like, oh my God, what am I going to do? My friends have been phenomenal. I mean most of the money has come from people I don't know. It is truly mind blowing and it's been very moving. Because of the generosity of so many people, especially people I don't know at all, he's most likely going to come back, 100 percent, I will never be able to appropriately express my gratitude, the most I could say, I guess, is thank you and I hold all of those people in such a special place.

Read the article by Lisa Rose and Cliff Erwin here.