Send a care package to “Any Soldier” this holiday season

The holidays can be difficult for anyone separated from their family, but especially for our service men and women. And even more so for those who don't have family or friends to write letters and send care packages.Yes, there are service men and women who don't get a letter from home. Ever.So with Veterans Day tomorrow and Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas just around the corner, I wanted to share a way you can reach out to our service men and women: website It's a … [Read more...]

The circle of life in a cemetery

Apple tree at White Haven Memorial Park.

Walking the dogs this morning, I was musing over the life and death of a cemetery.I walk in several cemeteries, from historic Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY, with its hills and dales, forests and lawns, prominent residents, and myriad headstones and monuments, to a small rural cemetery in Pittsford, NY, much smaller but no less interesting.But the cemetery where I walk most often is White Haven Memorial Park. It's close to my house, and because it's a lawn park layout - open spaces … [Read more...]

Musician records video in wolf sanctuary and the wolves join in the song

The great thing about the internet is that sometimes something fascinating shows up in your Facebook newsfeed, something that happened a couple of years ago and you're glad your hearing about it, even if you're late to the party.According to the info on the youtube site for videographers Hutch and Futch, while in Colorado on tour in 2013, Shawn James and the Shapeshifters had the chance to record some video in the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary in Laporte, Colorado. While performing a cover of A. A. … [Read more...]

“The Hand On The Mirror”: Can our loved ones speak to us from beyond the grave?

hand on the mirror

I was having a chat with my mom recently about making a will and telling us any plans for what she wants us to do with her ... after she ... you know ... moves on to the next adventure."Do you want to be buried in Massachusetts?" I asked, because that's where she's from and I wondered if she'd like to be back with her family."I don't care," was her reply."Do you even want to be buried?" I asked. "Would you rather be cremated?""I don't care what you do with me.""OK," I said … [Read more...]

Gates Police and Fire rescue duckling from storm grate (video)

Screenshot of body camera footage showing Gates Police and Fire coming to the rescue of a baby duckling trapped in a storm grate. Click to see the whole video.

 In an age where police are wearing body cameras, often as a way to have a record in potentially volitional situations, it's nice to take a moment to view some of that video and get the warm fuzzies.Duckling fuzzies, to be exact.Here's officer body cam footage from the Gates Police Department, a suburb of Rochester, NY.  Officer Shawn Omara and some members of the Gates Fire Dept. came to the rescue of a baby duckling who had fallen through a storm grate. In the video, you can … [Read more...]

Kids, BB guns, and shooting birds for sport

I was visiting with friends recently when one of the kids - we'll call him Joey - came from behind the house to ask a question."Dad, can I shoot a woodcock?" The youngster, about 10 years old, had a BB gun and had apparently spent the morning shooting birds.His dad told him there's an actual season for shooting woodcocks, so no, he couldn't kill one. So Joey went back to shooting robins and grackles and sparrows. When I asked Joey how many birds he'd shot that day, he said eight. When I … [Read more...]

Springtime and abandoned kittens

Day old kittens, being cared for by Kitten Korner Rescue.

I was at a charity dog walk this weekend at Rochester Institute of Technology and one of the groups that would be benefiting from the walk proceeds (in addition to Rescue Pit, the pit bull group I work with) was a kitten rescue group called Kitten Korner. Co-founder Laraine VanBlarcom had some kittens with her, what she called "bottle babies".So tiny!!Laraine explained that the one day old kittens had been found by a homeowner, who found them in an unsafe place and moved them for safety. … [Read more...]

Rochester Institute of Technology’s 3rd Annual Dog Walk

Some hot dogs out for the charity dog walk!

This Saturday, I spent the morning with my fellow Rescue Pit volunteers at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) 3rd Annual Dog Walk for Charity. Students and faculty - and their dogs - walked a course through campus to raise money. This year's recipients were Rescue Pit and Kitten Korner. (You can see the kittens in this post.)I don't know yet how much money was raised, but here are some photos of the event. Thanks, RIT students and faculty, for your generous gift of time and money to … [Read more...]

Cruelly abused German Shepherd gets second chance

One of the down sides of covering animal issues is the tidal wave of stories about abused and tortured animals that cross your desk daily. It can really take a toll on your spirit, and for that reason I have to confess that when I see pictures of horribly tortured animals in my newsfeed I often have to quickly scroll past. Not because I don't care, but because the images keep me up at night. It's overwhelming for me to feel so helpless, and I imagine for readers as well.So when I saw this … [Read more...]

How wolves changed the geography of Yellowstone Park

Have you ever considered how intertwined living creatures are? When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone Park, they changed not only the wolf population - but affected the deer, which affected the trees, which affected the bears, which affected the beavers, which affected the river, which affected ... on and on and on.The narration for this video is from a 2013 TedTalk, "For more wonder, rewild the world," by George Monbiot. The full video goes into more detail about rewilding, in … [Read more...]