Happy 2019 to everyone!! We're kicking off the new year with a donation to Smile Train.
Many children around the world are living with untreated clefts. Most have difficulties eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. Smile Train is an international children’s charity that supports 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care for children globally. Their sustainable model empowers local medical professionals to provide cleft care in their own communities.
Every child with a cleft needs more than just surgery — they may also need dental care, orthodontics, and speech therapy. Where these services are available, they do everything they can to provide them to their patients. Smile Train has supported more than one million cleft surgeries since 1999. Every 5 minutes, a child receives their life-changing cleft repair surgery.
To everyone involved with SmileTrain, we thank you!
photo and text from the SmileTrain website
Our donation this month goes to Direct Relief, one of the many admirable charities helping those affected by the devastating wildfires in California. I know there are several charities involved in this huge rescue effort, but I especially admire that Direct Relief is fully transparent about where the donated funds go:
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved with this disaster, and a heartfelt thanks to all those working to provide direct assistance and relief.
Chicago may have its hot, humid summers and cold, bitter winters but it's pretty safe from devastating natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes. That's a good thing and I'm grateful. I cannot imagine having to evacuate my home, or have no home to come back to, or be separated from loved ones during these crises. My heart goes out to everyone affected by Florence and I sincerely hope you're finding some level of comfort and/or normalcy at this point. Since I have a soft spot for animals and pets, I pray especially hard for their well-being before, during and after these disasters.
Our September donation goes to American Humane. American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals. For more than a hundred years American Humane has been first in promoting the welfare and safety of animals and strengthening the bond between animals and people.
Before Hurricane Florence hit the east coast, the American Humane Rescue Team had already jumped into action evacuating shelter cats in the path of the approaching storm and transporting them nearly 800 miles to safe, dry ground. When the storm made landfall, their team mobilized again, sending two emergency rescue vehicles loaded with boats, medical supplies, and tactical rescue equipment to North Carolina.
Thanks to everyone at American Humane for all the work you do! Click HERE to see their many programs.
Our August donation (a bit late!) goes to one of my favorite charities: Pets for the Elderly
I think this montage from their website says it all!
Founded by Avrum Katz in 1992, the Pets for the Elderly Foundation helps pay the fees to participating animal shelters throughout the US for senior citizens (age 60+) who adopt a companion dog or cat from a participating shelter – including pre-adoption veterinary exams and spay/neuter, if applicable.
Research shows the most serious disease for older persons is not cancer or heart disease, it's loneliness. Pets offer affection, unconditional love, fight loneliness, and can help ease the loss of a loved one. Owning a pet also offers many physical and social benefits for seniors as well.
Mr. Katz personally understood the importance of animal companionship for senior citizens living alone. He attested that the dogs of his golden years were not only his best friends, but that their company positively impacted his mental and physical health, and he wanted to share that positive experience with other seniors.
PFE has helped facilitate over 78,000 happy ending adoption stories between seniors and shelter animals across the U.S. If you want to read some truly heart-warming stories. click HERE.
Happy July! Our June donation goes to two wonderful organizations: Red Door Animal Shelter and Greyhounds Only.
Red Door is dear to me because it connected me with my bestie, Cheddar, some 15 happy years ago. That's him over there snoozing.
In addition to being a wonderful shelter for cats, they are also a safe haven for rabbits. Last week, Red Door volunteers endured extreme heat to find and capture 32 rabbits – adults, teens, pregnant moms and 15 babies – from a bad situation in Dekalb, IL. (Click here for the full story.)
"All of these Dekalb rabbits are sick with parasites, bite wounds, infections and ear mites. (Plus) each of the 36+ bunnies will need to be spay/neutered. All funds raised will be divided among the rescue groups that have taken in these poor souls."
Greyhounds Only is a not-for-profit greyhound rescue and adoption group based in Northeastern Illinois. They take in retired racing greyhounds from all over the country and find them good homes. This donation is part of a wedding present for my two friends (and former co-workers) Steve and Kathy. Kathy has a soft spot for greyhounds and opened my eyes to the negative side of dog racing.
A big thanks to both of these fine organizations for their dedication!
Our May donation is actually for a celebrated June event: the PAWS Chicago 5K!
Party Animals donated boxes of Scented Sidewalk Chalk for the treat bags of runners and walkers who raised $250 or more in donations. A big round of applause for everyone who participated!!
PAWS Chicago was launched in 1998 with an adoption event, Angels with Tails. The message that homeless pets needed to be saved was taken to the public. Before that, very few people knew about what happened to homeless animals, or were aware of pet overpopulation. They certainly did not know the vast majority of homeless animals were being euthanised.
"Through it all, the growth and evolution of PAWS Chicago has been driven by public awareness and the recognition that every person can take action to help homeless pets. This has culminated into a collective action that has had transformative results, with the killing in Chicago declining by more than 80% since PAWS Chicago’s founding."
photo courtesy of PAWSChicago website
What would Spring be without blooming flowers! So our April donation is going to The Honeybee Conservancy. Bees are vitally important and need all the help they can get: one in three bites of food we eat depends entirely on bees – and they are dying out.
The Honeybee Conservancy is a non-profit organization that works to help bees, while increasing access to organic, sustainable food in under-served communities. Check out their website and see how you can help, too!
Our March donation goes to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN. They provide elephants, retired from zoos and circuses, with herd, home, and individualized veterinary and husbandry care for life.
Elephants that have lived their lives in captivity have an opportunity at The Sanctuary to live in an expansive habitat that allows for a range of natural behaviors. Many of the elephants suffer long-term health and complex behavioral issues common to elephants that have spent their lives in captivity, such as tuberculosis, osteomyelitis, obesity, arthritis, and aggression. Because elephants have complex physical and social needs, successful outcomes are measured not only by the elephant’s physical health, but also their social, behavioral and psychological well-being.
To give the elephants full rehabilitation, the sanctuary is closed to the public but you can view them by watching Elecams, live streams of the habitat.
Happy March! Our February donation goes to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
Giraffes, as a species, have been listed as 'VULNERABLE' on the list of threatened species (two subspecies, the West African and the Rothschild, are considered 'ENDANGERED'). Numbers of giraffe have plummeted by 40% over the last 30 years, due to habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation together with human population growth and illegal hunting. In some areas traditionally regarded as prime giraffe real estate, numbers have dropped by more than 95%!
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is hard at work to reverse this alarming decline, and we applaud their efforts! Check out their website to learn more about what they do and facts about this amazing animal.
Our January donation is to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center (EFRC) in Center Point, Indiana. With about 200 exotic felines, they are one of the largest rescue centers in the United States for abused, unwanted and neglected exotic felines. When you visit you will see lions, tigers, leopards, pumas, bobcats, ocelots, lynxes, and several other lesser-known types.
I visited several years ago... that's one of my photos, above. I'm due for another road trip!
Center Point is about 60 miles southwest of Indianapolis and about 4 hours drive from Chicago; if you're ever in the area, I strongly encourage you to visit. You can even arrange to stay overnight and awaken to the roars of the cats! That is definitely on my bucket list.
Thanks to everyone at EFRC for their dedication to these beautiful animals.