“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...]

Is it really food violence to eat a chicken?

Lucy, one of the hens in my flock.

Last week I was in a hurry to get to a meeting and needed to get something quick for dinner, so I bought a ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken from the grocery. As I pushed my cart through the store, I kept looking at the chicken and seeing my hen Lucy's head on the lemony peppered chicken body.Seeing a whole chicken is different than a package of parts. It reminded me that my food came from a living animal, that I care about how the animal was raised and where it came from and how that affected … [Read more...]

Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin dead at 48

Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who passed away this week. (photo https://www.facebook.com/SophiaYin)

 The dog community is mourning the loss this week of renowned veterinarian and animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who died Monday at her home in Davis, CA. Her death has been ruled a suicide.Dr. Yin was a veterinarian as well as a prolific author, lecturer and consultant who was a pioneer in the field of positive reinforcement methods of training. In addition to workshops and lectures, Dr. Yin as the author of  Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves, and Low S … [Read more...]

Susie the pit bull mix named “American Hero Dog” of 2014

Susie the therapy dog was named the top American Hero Dog at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. (PRNewsFoto/American Humane Association)

A pit bull mix named Susie from High Point, North Carolina, has been named this year's "American Hero Dog" at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her savagely and set her on fire, leaving her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. She was rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, and then adopted by a woman named Donna Lawrence.Donna herself had been the victim of a terrible dog attack that n … [Read more...]


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