Finding Shelter is an amazing documentary about an English family who found themselves unexpectedly rescuing street animals in Bulgaria. The film shares how the family has shared love and compassion for the homeless animals in their town. It’s not just the animals who benefit though, an entire generation of people are learning compassion for the animals they once disregarded (and sadly, abused).
The family are true heroes. Please consider watching the film, which is available for purchase on iTunes. The film won the audience choice award from the The Animal Film Festival, and I can see why. The love and dedication the Rowles family has for their rescues is truly inspiring, and I am sure that you will fall in love with them when you watch the film.
Filmmaker Erin Parks is donating 10% of all proceeds to their shelter, as well as covering costs to get the film out to more places around the world! You can visit her Facebook page, and learn more about the film Finding Shelter, here.
September 19th is Puppy Mill Awareness Day. We think this is an important cause, and one that is dear to our hearts as we watched our Maltese, Baby, suffer from issues her entire life due to being a puppy mill puppy. We are grateful that more people are aware, and trying to improve, the conditions of puppies everywhere. Thanks to groups like National Mill Dog Rescue, mill dogs are finding love and forever homes. Today we want to share the story of Regina.
Regina is an English bulldog, former puppy mill breeding dog and now, beloved pet. She was rescued by the National Mill Dog Rescue after being used for years to produce puppies to sell in pet stores and online. She had very little medical care during that time and so arrived in rescue with horrible dental problems, an infected former surgical site and several mammary tumors, not to mention the psychological problems from years of living in a wire cage.
This post is sponsored by Purina. As always, our thoughts are our own.
Happy 20th anniversary Petfinder! One of our favorite websites, Petfinder has helped facilitate more than 25 million pet adoptions through its shelter and rescue member organizations. Anyone who has adopted a pet knows what a great addition they can be to the family. We would love to hear your stories in the comments!
Our dog Baby changed our lives forever when she became part of our family. I’ve told her full story here before, about how she brought my dad’s smile back after he had suffered two strokes. She took on the role of therapy dog without even realizing it. But there’s more to her story than that.
Baby was a puppymill puppy, and because of this she had a lot of health problems stemming from her breeding. Luckily she found us, and we found her. Our vet always told us how lucky Baby was to have us, because many would have just put her to sleep instead of doing the treatments needed. Well, this may be true, but we were the ones that were LUCKY. She brought a smile to our faces, warmth in our hearts, and even now that she has passed away, we are still smiling at the remembrance of her antics.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Petfinder is asking pet parents, pet lovers and pet advocates to join the celebration and its effort to donate $200,000 benefiting 20 shelter and rescue members. How? All you have to do is watch this video!
Please watch and share the video, and then share your Petfinder adoption stories on social media by using the hashtag #MetOnPetfinder. When the one million views goal is met, 20 Petfinder shelter and rescue members will each receive a $10,000 grant from the Petfinder Foundation to help continue to transform the lives of the pets in their care and cultivate more lifelong relationships. And all you have to do is watch before October 24th!
More than 25 million pets and millions of pet parents can claim that they #MetOnPetfinder since the site was established in 1996 – that’s an average of 1.2 million pets per year who have found their forever homes via Petfinder.
Petfinder encourages adoption when adding a pet to your family. The website is easy to use, allowing you to search by zipcode and type of pet (and there are dogs, cats, small animals, reptiles, and more)! By removing barriers within the adoption process, Petfinder’s goal is to make the pet adoption process easier by connecting people with pets. Petfinder has long been one of our favorite websites, and we are so happy to be able to help them celebrate their 20th anniversary!
Surf Dog Ricochet breaks barriers by surfing with severely disabled 3 year old girl who has tracheostomy/breathing tube on board.
Surf session brings joy to children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
Ricochet has been creating unique surfing experiences that empower individuals with disabilities for over 7 years. But this was the first time she surfed with a child who couldn’t breathe on her own. Notice that 3 year old Bailey’s mom is holding her breathing machine with a big smile on her face. Yes Bailey, YOU are surfing!
Bailey has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a disease that robs individuals of physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, taking away the ability to stand, sit, crawl, walk, swallow food effectively, or breathe. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants. Bailey has type I SMA which is the most severe and common.
Bailey, along with several other children with SMA broke barriers last weekend at a special surf session with Ricochet and Cure SMA.
Since many of the children aren’t able to hold their heads up, a bath chair was attached to the surfboard to accommodate the challenge and keep the children comfortable.
Thanks to an incredible team of skilled volunteers, the participants with SMA got a thrill of a lifetime. Safety is our number one priority and having children who are profoundly disabled takes the utmost expertise of the water team and Ricochet.
Some of the children like Bailey have a tracheostomy, a surgical procedure to create an opening through the neck into the trachea so they can breathe. Therefore, getting water into the opening could cause aspiration pneumonia. With this in mind, the water team picked the surfboard up each time a wave came into shore.
They stayed in very shallow water, and when a small wave came, they strategically lowered the board, and a volunteer held onto the back, walking it to shore.
Once the board came to a stop, it was again picked up by the team. This protocol keeps water from getting onto the child, while still providing the kids a surf experience with Ricochet.
5 year old Riley is Bailey’s sister and has type II SMA. She is weak and cannot hold her head up on her own. But, she was telling everyone she wanted to be first to surf with Ricochet.
For a child with SMA, going from a stroller full of gear to a surfboard full of cheer gives both the child and the parents the opportunity to do something they never thought possible.
Children who aren’t as severely disabled were able to go further out in the water, but safety is still our number one priority so we had a volunteer on board, and a team on the ready.
5 year old Logan wore a pair of goggles to keep water out of his eyes. But he never stopped saying “again, again, again”.
5 year old Avery has type II SMA. It’s often impossible to perform the basic functions of life, but it doesn’t affect the ability to think, learn, or have hopes and dreams.
23 year old Robyn has type II SMA.
Robyn isn’t able to hold her head up by herself, so her brother supported her head as they rode to shore!
Yawns and smiles = a perfect day!
These individuals definitely have a fighting spirit, and just like Ricochet, they believe anything is possible. Surf’s up!
There are four primary types of SMA: type I, II, III, and IV. Type I is the most severe and most common. Type II individuals can typically sit up without help, but are unable to walk. Type III individuals can initially walk, but have increasingly limited mobility as they grow. Type IV is very rare and usually surfaces in adulthood. It leads to mild motor impairment.
The non-profit, Puppy Prodigies is blessed with volunteer water men and women who are very highly skilled, trained and experienced in surfing, dog handling, and the disabled community. Couple that with an Executive Director who has a degree in service dog training, plus a dog who has extensive training as a service dog, and you have a team that prides themselves on high standards. Their number one priority is safety and we abide by all the rules, regulations and laws governing the unique work we do. Their insurance covers Ricochet, those she surfs with, and our volunteers. It is because of these practices that we are able to provide these surf sessions with the utmost conviction.
Ricochet was honored to help raise awareness of SMA. Please get on board and join her by sharing this inspirational story of children who have a spirit much stronger than the body that houses it. Be sure to watch the video to see all the fun!
To learn more about Ricochet check out these links: