Daily Walrus - Helping People Help Animals

Goodbye February

February 29, 2008
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It’s time for another monthly round-up here at the Daily Walrus.  What have we done this cold, long (at least 1 day longer than last) February?  Lets review, shall we? 

We honored a lost loved one. 

We helped you spread a message of animal compassion here and here.

We chimed in on the political primaries with the League of Humane Voters.

We tried to help out some polar bears.

We helped you adopt a new friend.

We spread the love to shelter animals here, here, here, here, here,  and here

We let you know that dogs and cats can be blood donors too!

We revisited our New Year’s Resolutions

We helped you be a little nicer to those mice you want to get rid of.  

We gave you the scoop on pet health and safety here, here, here, and here.

We introduced you to the newest (and perhaps largest) vegetarian baseball player -Miluwakee Brewer Prince Fielder.


Million* Dog Mosaic

February 29, 2008
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The Pedigree dog food company had a great idea to raise money for their adoption drive. Named the Million Dog Mosaic, it allows folks to upload a pic of their dog to an online mosaic. For each pic uploaded, Pedigree says it will donate one dollar* to the adoption drive. The asterisks (*) after the dollar, leads you to fine print on this page that says the maximum donation Pedigree will make is $20,000, even if more than 20,000 pics are uploaded. Strangely, on this page the asterisks indicates that the maximum donation is $10,000. Whats the deal with the differing amounts?  And why is it called the “Million Dog Mosaic” if they only donate 10 or 20 G’s? 

The mosaic already has over 27,000 posts, so posting a pic won’t earn additional money from Pedigree.  Unless you write them a letter letting them know that the title “Million Dog Mosaic” is misleading.  Encourage them to clarify their maximum donation amount.  Encourage them to up the ante on their donation to a million bucks.  Yes, they also donate tons of food to animal shelters.  Yes, they also promote adoption.  Thank them for that.  But also press them to add a few zeros to their “million” dog mosaic donation.

To upload your dog’s pic, click here.

To let Pedigree know you want to make the “Million” dog mosaic worth an actual million, click here.

Start a Pet Care Emergency Fund

February 27, 2008
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As the proud and caring parents of several animals, we know that nothing can drain your bank account like unexpected vet bills.  That’s why we have a pet care emergency fund in our savings accounts.  The emergency fund is one of the basic elements of sound personal finance.  This is a sum of money that is reserved for emergency use only so that you don’t have to rack up credit card bills or borrow money from others.  The money shouldn’t be used to pay regular bills, or spent on luxuries.  Just let it sit in a savings account earning interest.  Hopefully you will never have to use it.  But pets get sick, and the bills add up quickly.  By having an emergency fund, the bills wont affect your budget and your pets can get the care they need. 

How big should a pet care emergency fund be?  That depends on the individual.  After having our cat, Link, lose a battle with a prolonged illness, we know that expenses can accrue rapidly.  So we keep a fairly large emergency fund.  We also have two cats and a dog.  Your furry family may not be as large, so you may be comfortable with a smaller amount. 

If you want to set up an online savings account that will earn interest, Ryan recommends INGdirect.  If you e-mail us at dailywalrus@gmail.com, Ryan will send you a referral that will help you get started building your emergency fund.  If your initial deposit is $250 or more, his referral will get you an extra $25 credited to your account for free!  The only catch is that you have to keep the money in the account for 30 days.  After that, you are free to make withdrawals or transfer the money to your checking account.  Thats a great way to start building up savings that will ensure you have the cash on hand to care for your pets when and if they need it.   

Wally Saves

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Eek! A Mouse!

February 26, 2008
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Some people have mice as pets.  To the rest of us they are unwelcome house guests.  Unfortunately, they aren’t good at picking up signals that you would like them to leave.    Thus, the cruel and unusual mousetrap was born. 

It’s amazing that the first design (the one with the springloaded bar) is still commonly used.  Mouse trap design has come a long way, yet people are still buying these old fashioned death machines.  If the mouse is lucky, these traps will snap its neck or decapitate it.  If it’s unlucky, bones will be crushed, and it will suffer until it dies.  For a while the only alternative had been glue traps, which are even more cruel!  Glue traps have bait for the mouse positioned on one of the stickiest glues available.  The mouse gets stuck and starves to death in about three to five days, before this they often struggle to the point of ripping out their hair and chewing their skin.  (If you do encounter a mouse suffering in a glue trap, remove it!  Cooking or baby oil can help free it.)

Even though mice are small, they have a nervous system just like us.  They suffer and feel pain.  Thankfully, there are humane alternatives to the mousetrap of old.  We found ours at a hardware store for a very reasonable price, check out this website to see or order these. 


To use, just slip a peanut butter cracker into the rectangular box.  When the mouse walks in the shifting of weight causes a door to close.  We found these to be very effective when we had a few mice a couple years ago.  Of course, do not forget to check the trap twice a day so that the mouse does not starve or suffer from fright.  Another humane mouse trap is sold by many retailers and looks like a little house.   The cheapest I found it is at Planet Natural for $11.00.  Remember, these are reusable!

Another option is to adopt a cat.  Now, you may be thinking “How humane is it to be eaten by a cat?”  That’s a good question – let me explain.  The idea is that the presence of a cat will cause the mice to seek another living arrangement.  When we moved into our new apartment, we had some mice living behind our stove.  The humane traps worked, but more mice kept taking their place.  Wally is a great cat, but he has bad eyes and never really was a threat to the mice.  When we adopted Tito, he would steak out their stove hide-out.  We haven’t seen a mouse since.   

Dogs and Cats Can Be Blood Donors Too

February 25, 2008
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On Saturday Night Live this weekend there was a cute joke during Weekend Update about Lurch, a 200 lb English Mastiff who won an award for donating the most blood this year to help out sick dogs.  It was interesting because Jenny had just read about dog blood donations online a few days earlier and suggested it for a Daily Walrus post.  After doing a little research, here’s what we found…

Injured or sick dogs and cats may need blood transfusions for many of the same reasons as humans.  One of the most common reasons is for the treatment of anemia.  There are several veterinary blood banks and schools across the country, and they are in need of more blood to provide treatments to sick animals nationwide. 

Many donation centers have weight requirements for dogs (60+ lbs seems pretty common), but smaller dogs may be able to donate smaller amounts at some sites.  It looks like cats should be above 12 lbs to donate.  Some sites or colleges will enroll you and your pet in a donation program that lets them donate every couple of months.  Some programs even offer small amounts of money, pet food coupons, or medical check-ups in exchange for donations.  If you are interested, ask your vet if they accept donations or know of collection sites in your area.  

For more info, check out the following links:

A Yahoo! news article on Lurch

Info from Washington State University on their dog (and cat) blood donation program

An online article that links to many donation sites accross the country

Info from the Ohio State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

If Prince Fielder Can Go Vegetarian, So Can You

February 22, 2008
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Check out this post from AOL Fanhouse.  Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder has given up meat and is eating a vegetarian diet.  For those who don’t follow baseball, Prince Fielder is an old-school, non-steroid sculpted, home run hitting machine.  Guys who look like him are not the guys you expect to be vegetarian.  He made the decision after reading a book his wife gave him that described the treatment of animals used in food production. 

“After reading that, (meat) just didn’t sound good to me anymore,” Fielder said. “It grossed me out a little bit. It’s not a diet thing or anything like that. I don’t miss it at all.”

Fielder joins an ever-growing list of vegetarian/vegan athletes including ultimate fighter Mac Danzig, NBA baller Salim Stoudamire, and ultramarathoner Scott Jurek.  If these guys can give up animal products and perform at such high levels, so can you.  For more info on going vegetarian, click here.

To learn why you should consider a vegetarian diet, click here.

Cage Comforters

February 21, 2008
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After our recent blog post on Operation Happy Sock, Joanna at Vegans of Color left a comment telling us about Cage Comforters.  NYC’s Animal Care and Control (AC&C) accept these great items that can be made from a few simple materials.  All you need is a piece of 13″ X 18″ fabric and some batting as filler.  Then sew the ends together and you have a great gift for a shelter animal.  A complete set of instructions can be found here.   

According to AC&C’s website, “The comforters not only ease the stress of our homeless animals, they also help to ease the transition when the animals are adopted, because they take their comforters with them to their new homes.”  Sounds like a great idea to us!

 The next time you are feeling crafty, don’t bother making a sweater that only Bill Cosby would wear.  Make a cage comforter, and help a shelter animal sleep a little easier while they wait to be adopted by their new best friend. 

Volunteer to Transport

February 20, 2008
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Many people may feel like they don’t have the time to commit to volunteering at shelters, or have the extra cash to donate.  For these folks, and interesting idea may be volunteering to transport a rescued dog or cat to their new location.  Typically, animals are moved from kill-shelters (ones that euthanize) to no-kill shelters when a spot opens up.  But some folks volunteer to drive animals between shelters and foster homes or their new adoptive homes.  

If the drive is short, you can taxi Fido the whole way there.  If the trip is too long for you to make on your own, other volunteers can meet you to split up the journey.  The next time you get the urge to take a leisurely drive, a road trip with your friends, or spend some time on the road with your family, consider chauffeuring a shelter animal to a new home. 

For more info, check with your local shelters or take a look at the Yahoo! Groups  page for animal transport.  For an interesting article on animal transports, click here 

Excuse me, do you have the time?

February 19, 2008

Do you ever find yourself flipping through the channels and complaining that nothing is on TV?  Do you then find yourself watching something you aren’t even interested in.  Do you ever surf the internet looking at things that aren’t even of interest to you?  If you answered yes to these questions, you may be a good candidate for volunteer work!

We are all very busy.  But I’m here to tell you that if I can find time to volunteer, you can too!  I recently signed up and was trained to be a cat caretaker at Ollie’s Place.  It was so easy and it’s so much fun.  Training consisted of cleaning some litter boxes while watching adorable cats interact and play with each other.  I even got to play with them when my “chores” were complete.  I know it can be very difficult to find time to volunteer with a busy schedule, but I want to tell you how easy it is.

Ollie’s Place only requires a commitment of one two-hour shift per week.  Two hours is nothing!  Conveniently, they are located two blocks away from one of my jobs, so when I get off work on Tuesdays I can head over there, do some clean-up, and play with the kitties.  Look online or in the phone book and see what shelters or organizations are near you – I guarantee that they would love your help!  Don’t have two hours a week?  How about two hours every other week?  I bet you can find the time if you look hard enough. 

Each shelter/rescue organization is different and will have different needs so I can’t tell you exactly what to expect – but they can.  Give them a call!  I can tell you, though, that if you are allergic to cats, volunteering in the cat room at the shelter may not be a good idea for you.  But, don’t worry – you can work with the dogs or even in an office doing much needed administrative work!

Tito’s stay at the shelter in the Bronx (where we adopted him) was made much more comfortable thanks to all the caring volunteers (and staff) there.  Animals like him need your help – what are you waiting for?  I promise nothing new will be added to the internet in the next 2 hours that you can’t read after your shift.  And that show with the “celebrities” and the “shocking” situations/challenges will be replayed several times before the new episode airs so don’t worry about missing it.  Now get going!     

FYI – Tito likes to dress up for his volunteer work, but you can usually just wear casual clothes.

Tito Volunteer

Get the Word Out With Myspace and Facebook

February 16, 2008
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One simple way to promote cruelty-free living is to utilize the space available within your online profiles.  Many people have myspace or facebook pages that are visited by their friends every day.  By adding videos from youtube, hyperlinks to cool websites (ahem! www.dailywalrus.wordpress.com ahem!), changing your “about me” sections, or voicing your support via “status” updates, you can let your friends know how much you care about helping animals.  

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About author

Hello - we are Jenny and Ryan, a couple living in Brooklyn, New York. We are both busy with school and work but try to take time to do something every day to make the world a better place for animals. Occasionally we may link to outside websites for additional resources, but we do not necessarily endorse all policies of these organizations. Despite the title of our blog, the focus is not only on walruses. So what's with the title? We named this blog after our cat, Wally, aka The Walrus. We are the proud parents of two cats (Wally and Tito) and one dog (Luigi).