This year’s Animal WelFair event was held on June 20th in the courtyard of EMC’s Corporate Headquarters in Hopkinton, and we couldn't have asked for a better day! Once again, we welcomed organizations representing all aspects of animal welfare - from rescues, humane societies, doggie daycare and training to disaster recovery, veterinarians and pet insurance. Each group gave employees a chance to learn more about their mission, their fundraising needs and their opportunities for volunteering. Many were also giving away FREE STUFF! Dog treats, “doody” bags and collar tags were among the SWAG offerings. Pawfect Life Rescue also held a raffle where the randomly chosen winner received a gift bag full of great dog toys and goodies!
With representation from over 20 groups plus 3 of EMC’s own Employee Circles (DERG, VeTS and C.A.R.E.), we met our goal of growing this year’s event from our inaugural “Pet Fair” last June. Employees were even kind enough to donate goods to select organizations, filling nearly all 4 gigantic boxes we set up in the building for a few weeks leading up to the event! Until next year… THANK YOU! And remember: ADOPT, Don’t Shop!
From April 27 - April 30 of this year, I was lucky enough to travel the 2,000+ miles to Colorado Springs to embark on my very first - and far from last - volunteer experience at National Mill Dog Rescue.
Preparing for the trip was 90% mental…
I followed the steps to become a volunteer and signed up on VolunteerMatters/NMDR.com. I reviewed the Volunteer Handbook, signed the waiver, and watched “I Breathe” featured at the bottom of this blog.
I initially worried that it would be too difficult for me to be surrounded by so many homeless dogs, especially knowing what their pitiful lives were like prior to rescue. They were either purchased at auction or born in the puppy mills (aka commercial breeders, some of which are USDA “approved”) where they were subjected to neglect and forced to spend every minute of every day in small wire cages in their own filth all while being bred on-demand for years. Their health was of no concern to the breeders since they were merely puppy-makers for profit. What most people still don’t understand is that they could be supporting this disgraceful practice by buying pets online or from pet stores which is why we preach ADOPT, don’t shop!
After I packed my suitcase with tissues and an uplifting book, I pushed my selfish fears aside and focused on what NMDR does on a daily basis to provide these dogs with the best chance of a new, happy life. I had to remember what this trip was all about – showing the dogs love and compassion in the safe and well-maintained environment that is NMDR’s Lilly’s Haven.
Once I landed in Colorado…
I met up with Laurie, the remarkable woman who inspired me to become part of this organization and join her on this, her third journey. Laurie is a long-time friend of my dad’s and she too lives in MA. She is also a great advocate for the pit bull breed and supports the organization born out of Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring, Handsome Dan’s Rescue based in Rhode Island. THANK YOU, Laurie!
Day 1: Pet Expo
We were fortunate to experience a bit of Colorado on our drive from Denver to Colorado Springs but truthfully we just couldn’t wait to see the pups. Sunday at the kennel was going to be quiet since several volunteers were busy representing NMDR at a local Pet Expo so we were urged to check that out instead. There were tons of people and their dogs amidst countless rescue organizations, humane societies, and pet specialty stores and vendors. NMDR had adoptable dogs on-hand for meet & greets, branded clothing for sale, and a slew of literature further explaining their mission; it was great to experience it all in a cheerful and rather busy setting.
Day 2: Offload, Clean, Feed & Socialize
In advance of the trip, we got wind of the impending rescue mission in the Midwest which was set to bring nearly 60 dogs to the NMDR facility to begin their rehabilitation and road to be re-homed. It was with great anticipation that we cleaned, fed, laundered, and socialized the pups until mid-afternoon when the rescue vehicles arrived. I was living in the moment, surrounded by the energized crowd of volunteers and coordinators, when I realized that all of their suffering had truly ended. These dogs were going to feel love – and the ground! – for the first time in their lives. One by one the volunteers filtered up to the van to be given a crate with one or more matted, scared, smelly dogs. Regardless of their former circumstances, not a single dog displayed aggression. It was simply miraculous.
Read the full press release about “Harley to the Rescue”.
Day 3: Clean, Feed, Intake & Socialize
By Tuesday morning I already felt so connected to my new fur-friends… all 80+ of them :)! We joined the early morning cleaning crew; mopped all the overnight accidents, scooped the poop, wiped down the Kuranda bed, switched out the blankets and folded laundry. Next came time to refresh the water and fill the food bowls. Some pups need canned food while others have special diets like grain-free and, of course, the young ones eat puppy food. Full tummies = minimal barking + another round of cleanup.
The newbies from Monday’s rescue were starting to get settled in their new temporary homes, but how would they ever find their forever families? What we did next is what NMDR refers to as “intake”. Prior to transport, each pup was named, weighed, microchipped and evaluated for major health concerns. This made the intake coordinator’s job much easier and smoother. As volunteers, it was our job to take each dog one-by-one through the intake process: verify the name on their collar matched the paperwork, provide any personality traits observed during the time spent in their kennel (shy, friendly, cuddly, scared, outgoing, anxious), and have their pictures taken for the adoption page and as the starting point for their before and after transformations.
Read more about my 5 intake dogs on their adoption profiles:
Day 4: Clean, Feed, Socialize & Goodbyes
Wednesday was not going to be another 9-hour day for us since the car rental return and my flight back East were dictating our schedules. Laurie and sped through cleaning and feeding so we could spend the last few hours cuddling and loving on our buddies. I thoroughly debated cradling a few of the little ones in my brand new National Mill Dog Rescue zip up hoodie for the plane ride! I thought, “how would anyone know?” I loved them so much already. This was by far the most difficult day. A few of my toughest goodbyes were to: Joey, Balto, Ojoe & Lucy, Nino, Glory, Soda, Poppi, Betsy, Walter, Killian, Rooster & Ellie, Brutus, Festus, Cashel, Powder, Dixie, Kiwi, Lulu, Cinnamon & Eggnog, Ferrari, Snickers, Clarence, Happy, George & Ringo, Elmo, Indiana Jones, Rocky, Ruby, Cher and Shelly. Okay, maybe it was more than a few but that wasn’t all of them. So many deserving dogs need homes and I really hope this journal of sorts inspires you all to ADOPT, VOLUNTEER, ADVOCATE, and DONATE!
To learn more about National Mill Dog Rescue and the dogs they save,
>Review NMDR’s Mission Statement:
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Peyton, CO, NMDR’s mission is “to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home discarded breeding dogs and to educate the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry.
>Watch "I Breathe: Lily's Legacy"
>And continue on to the NMDR website for even more valuable information.
Together we WILL make a difference!
This month I had the pleasure of reviewing a product for Chewy.com. I chose Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Grain-Free Chicken with Carrots & Peas Recipe Dog Treats. Since it's a mouthful (hehe, pun intended), I'll just refer to them as the Fromm Treats in this blog.
What I like the most about the Fromm Treats is that I can actually read all of the ingredients! They are fresh, human-grade ingredients. I'm quite certain I know someone who would indulge with his/her pup ;)
Fresh Chicken, Pea Flour, Potato Flour, Tapioca, Whole Peas, Chicken Fat, Tomato Pomace, Fresh Cranberries, Fresh Sweet Potatoes, Fresh Carrots, Fresh Apples, Fresh Split Peas, Fresh Green Beans, Fresh Green Bell Peppers, Fresh Celery, Fresh Beets, Fresh Parsley, Fresh Lettuce, Fresh Watercress, Fresh Spinach
As I do with all new treats, I got Cooper really excited with my chain of commands -- sit, lay, stand, sit, paw, other paw, kiss, high five, dance -- and rewarded him with the Fromm Treat. This lets me get a read on whether or not he enjoys the treat since he would a) gobble it up or b) mouth it but then drop and sniff before eating. I don't think it was the flavor that threw him off (they smell pretty good as far as oven-baked dog treats go) but they are quite crunchy. For some dogs, I imagine this would be a good thing! For my Coop, however, this wasn't his favorite quality.He continued to enjoy a few before I pulled the old "leave it" which you can see below, center!
Overall, Cooper and I were both very pleased with the quality, tastes, and origin (USA) of the Fromm Treats.
Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Chewy.com Blogger Program. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.