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BOBS for Dogs & Best Friends Animal Society

BOBSforDogs

This is fun news!BOBS from Skechers has created five styles of a limited collection to benefit Best Friends Animal Society. The collection – featuring fun prints of dogs, cats and the Best Friends logo – commemorates Skechers multi-year partnership with the organization.

Each pair of BOBS from Skechers – including these limited edition styles – contributes to Skechers’ $3 million commitment to further Best Friends’ lifesaving initiatives. The collection will be available for purchase starting today at Skechers retail stores nationwide and online at Skechers.com.

Which one is your favorite? I like the Pup Smarts and Kitty Smarts a lot, but there are many that are super fun.

*Not paid to share this, just wanted to help spread the word since we support Best Friends.

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American Pets Alive! Creating a No Kill Nation

Can you imagine America becoming a No Kill Nation? American Pets Alive! can and it is our mission. AmPA! is dedicated to making America No-Kill by hosting a yearly National Conference that shares Austin Pets Alive!’s innovative No-Kill programs to educate rescues and communities across the country on how to adopt our methods and end the unnecessary killing of companion animals.

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As the AmPA! Conference Coordinator, is it my job to help animal welfare advocates and concerned citizens from across the country develop No-Kill programs or guide them through the initial steps to No-Kill. Before I get in to how Austin Pets Alive! started and just how influential our programs and conferences are, I want to share my story before joining Austin & American Pets Alive!.

My entire life I have been an animal lover and I even carried my love of animals to the books and studied Animal Science at Texas A&M University. Over 2 years ago, an opportunity arose for me to become the Director of Development at a shelter where I grew up. I immediately jumped at it! This was my chance to finally make a real difference for animals that are in dire need. Unfortunately, this shelter took in around 40,000 animals a year and was, and still is, a high kill shelter. I knew the stats and I took it as a challenge to help raise the live release rate and help give these animals a second chance at life.

This was my first encounter into the world of animal welfare (besides my family and I running our own little operation behind our dad’s back). It was a harsh reality that this killing happens not only in my hometown, but all over America. Often, it was difficult to deal with. There were so many animals coming in and not enough getting out. I would hear our Director and some staff give excuses like “We have a huge pet overpopulation problem”, “It is the public’s fault”, “Costs too much to save them all”, ‘Not enough homes”, “These animals are not adoptable”, and “What else are we to do with the animals we cannot adopt or rescue out besides humanely put them down?”. Many of us who were trying to save so many finally grew accustom and believed these excuses. How could we know any different? We started to blame the public and decided that euthanasia was the only option for all these (treatable and savable) pets.

After a year and a half, I did all that I could. I doubled our social media following, doubled adoptions, raised over $400,00, started two new and wildly successful events that are now a part of their yearly schedule, more than tripled their Foster and Volunteer Program and most importantly hired compassionate and passionate staff. None of that was enough and did not make an impact on those animals that needed it most. Changes I wanted made to help the other 70%+, animals who didn’t stand a chance, were shot down time after time. All we would hear is reasons why saving those specific animals wouldn’t work and that was that. No open-mindedness or any conversations of possible solutions to help these pets live. I finally knew what it was like to be one of those caged animals knowing I can’t get out and it broke my heart. I decided it was time for me to start a new route in life and move to Austin, TX.

There is where my mind was blown. Pets everywhere! At restaurants, huge dog parks, walking around in the malls, hanging out at bars, dog friendly offices! I quickly came to understand that Austin is the largest No Kill City in the country. People lived and breathed for their pets. If a pet was lost in the middle of the road, you better believe 20 cars stopped to help director traffic and safely catch the animal and return it to the owner. I wanted to learn how the whole Austin area became No-Kill and how they created this, what I considered, phenomenon. Just ask anyone about/who sparked this this culture and time and time again they will say “Austin Pets Alive!”.

When Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) started rescuing animals in 2008, Austin was somewhat rich in resources that prevented births. For almost ten years, more and more resources were put into spay and neuter programs, but the live outcome rate at their city shelter was stuck around 50%. While several resources were going into prevention and reducing intake, there was no effort to increase live outcomes from the shelter. APA! saw that gap and created programs to save the key demographics of pets that hadn’t been making it out of our municipal shelter alive: puppies with parvovirus, dogs with behavior challenges, cats with Ringworm, FeLV+ cats, unweaned kittens, under socialized cats, dogs and cats in need of additional behavioral support and/or additional medical attention. By developing comprehensive, innovative programs that targeted these key groups of animals and pulling directly from euthanasia lists, APA! has saved more than 35,000 dogs and cats since 2008. This year Austin celebrated their 5th year as remaining the largest No Kill City.

I was lucky enough to join APA! in December of 2015 as their Conference Coordinator for their program American Pets Alive! (AmPA!). In just 2 months, I learned everything I needed to know about becoming No-Kill and how many different types of rescues and communities have joined the No Kill Movement. It has worked in wealthy cities, poor cities, rural areas, urban areas, organizations with large budgets and organizations with shoestring budgets (like the City of Seagoville with a budget of less than $30,000 a year). All the different excuses I heard while working back in my previous job were nullified. I quickly realized that majority of animal shelters across the US were stuck in the “Dark Ages” and they simply do not have the resources or knowledge of is this modern type of animal sheltering/rescuing. I know from personal experience, that there are many people in the animal sheltering world that want to save all the animals and simply have no clue how. It is my job to reach out, inform them of this amazing program and how they can start saving lives today.

I realized I was having AHA!’s left and right! My first AHA moment was placing under socialized cats in the Barn Cat Program. These cats are adopted to families who appreciate ‘working cats’ for critter patrol and can provide a safe, appropriate environment such as a barn, stable, garage, or warehouse. My second AHA! moment was how to handle FeLV+ cats. Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is a highly contagious virus and because of the highly contagious nature of disease, FeLV+ cats are kept isolated from other cats who are not infected in a special sanctuary that these kitties can call home until their forever family finds them. My final AHA, was becoming No-Kill is only possible by having a compassionate director who would take a stance and keep on fighting to save as many lives as they can no matter the number of “Nos” or the excuses of “it won’t work”. You must have a strong leader with solutions instead of excuses.

This hit me like a ton of bricks. Becoming No-Kill is easy and APA! is in a key position to help other rescues, organizations and communities across the country since they are the leaders in the No Kill Movement. For this reason, APA! developed American Pets Alive! and decided to create a yearly National No-Kill Conference. We know there are lots of animal welfare conferences, but there is only one conference with one, single objective: teaching you exactly how to save more lives.

The AmPA! Conference was started with a clear purpose, in just three days, YOU can learn what what otherwise may take months or years. At AmPA!, you’ll leave with detailed, proven strategies to stop killing in your community. Whether you’re a shelter director employee, a volunteer, foster or community advocate, you’ll go home with the tools and knowledge to make immediate change. Here in Austin, we have the benefit of five years of proven No Kill Success under our belts and we will show you how to same them all because we have the answers.

P.S.
I am happy to say, the previous shelter I was employed at will be attending the 2016 Conference.

AmPA! National Conference will be held on November 5-7, 2016 at the University of Texas Thompson Conference Center in Austin, TX.

For more information on Austin Pets Alive! you can visit us at www.austinpetsalive.org and for information on American Pets Alive! and conference details visit www.americanpetsalive.org or email info@americanpetsalive.org.

Guest post: Margot McClelland
American Pets Alive! Conference Coordinator
www.americanpetsalive.org

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Can you pick the “Best in Show”?

Think you have what it takes to pick a winner? Purina® Pro Plan® has fueled the last nine Westminster Kennel Club Best In Show winners* and knows what it takes to make a champion. If you have what it takes, you can enter your bracket for a chance to win part of a $1 Million prize!

Purina Dog Show bracketOn Monday, February 15 and Tuesday, February 16 more than 2,800 elite dogs from across the country will gather in New York City to compete for top honors at the 140th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, presented by Purina Pro Plan. This year, the brand is hosting the Purina Pro Plan $1 Million Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Bracket Challenge – the first-ever bracket challenge for a canine competition – giving dog-lovers and sporting enthusiasts alike a new way to get in on the Westminster action. Pick a perfect bracket – including all seven group winners and Best In Show – and you could win $1 Million.**

To enter, fans can visit www.DogShowBracket.com and choose one winner from the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding, Sporting, Working, and Terrier groups, and from those winners, one overall competitor they believe will win “Best in Show.” After completing the bracket, entrants can cross their paws and tune into the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, February 15th at 8 PM EST on CNBC and February 16th at 8 PM EST on USA Network to follow their bracket in real time. If their selections all match the actual winners, they could win $1 Million, with the prize being split evenly among all winning entries.

“Whether it’s the Beagle or the Golden Retriever, we know that everyone has a favorite when it comes to Westminster,” said Christi Maginn, Brand Director, Purina Pro Plan. “We’re excited to give all the dog-lovers watching at home a new way to get in on the competition as they cheer on their favorite breeds alongside the “champion” dog in their own lives.”

To help guide fans in their selections, Purina Pro Plan has partnered with Joe Lunardi, expert in “Bracketology” – the “art and science” of predicting the teams in college basketball’s most famous tournament – to complete his own bracket and provide an expert opinion on the top dogs to watch. Lunardi’s picks will be announced in the days leading up to the Dog Show.

Fans can follow @ProPlan on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live Westminster coverage and behind-the-scenes action and use #WKCDogShow to join the $1 Million Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Bracket Challenge conversation.

Purina Pro Plan has a rich history in the sport of purebred dogs and has helped elevate some of the world’s top dogs to great success through innovative products and exceptional nutrition. The “Best in Show” title has been held by a Purina Pro Plan fed dog for the last nine years*, and the brand aims to continue its legacy again this year.

Live coverage of the WKC Dog Show, featuring the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups, will be televised from 8 to 11 p.m. EST Monday, Feb. 15, on CNBC, live from Madison Square Garden. The show will culminate from 8 to 11 p.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 16, on USA Network with judging of the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups and Best in Show.

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Cute free Valentine printables featuring furry friends!

Need something cute for your Valentine? You are in luck! Petplan pet insurance has created free, printable cards featuring furry friends (after all, they’re the true way to someone’s heart!), who wouldn’t love that?! Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the fun designs:

Pet Valentines

Whether your Valentine has two or four feet, these cards are sure to be a fun treat (tis the season for rhyming love notes!) To see all of the cards, please visit http://www.gopetplan.com/pet-valentine-cards. You could even attach them to a treat!

Which one is your favorite?

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