Month: June 2016

Fur Real (from Janet)

Have you ever just put your hands gently on your dog or cat, ran your fingertips down their back or flank, and watched their skin and fur ripple underneath your touch?

Our rescue dog, Jessie, is very receptive and reactive to our touch.  Running my hand and fingers up and down the length of her back, her skin and fur moves in tiny waves, following the motion of my hand as I glide along her body.  It’s a dance of sorts, a fluidity of movement between my hands and her body. We are in harmony, dancing together, talking to each other without making a sound, moving together without being on our feet.

It’s actually a very personal and wondrous experience for me, to know that just by my touch, I cause her so much pleasure that she physically reacts in such a manner.

I remember the first time I noticed her reaction.  My husband and I were sitting together with Jessie on the couch, and as we talked and caught each other up on our work days, I was consciously and unconsciously stroking Jessie as I always do (I love to touch her and do so  every chance I get).

I trailed my fingers down her back in a pattern, and as I did, her skin and fur swirled and moved underneath my touch.

“Did you see that?”, I asked my husband.  It was just one more thing about Jessie that I fell in love with.

Many people think that because a dog or cat has fur, that they can’t feel too much underneath. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Have you ever watched a stray cat eat food outside on a hot day? S/he will know when a fly lands on her fur, and will twitch her muscles in that spot to get that fly to buzz off.  If you tug or pull on fur, it’s just like someone pulling or tugging on your hair. If you shave or trim fur, just like cutting your hair, a dog or cat will notice the difference in length and weight, and will be able to feel the difference in cool, warmth or breeze on that spot that has had fur removed.

The Yulin Dog and Cat Meat Festival has begun.

The Festival itself commences around the same time every year, around the Summer Solstice, because traditionally it was believed that eating dog meat during the Solstice would keep the heat at bay.

For many, it isn’t so much about the fact that dogs and cats are being eaten (although that certainly is part of it). It’s about how the animals are treated and tortured before they are killed.

For those that participate in the festival, there are many different levels of the same beliefs when it comes to torturing and slaughtering these dogs and cats.  But the main belief is universal – that torturing these animals prior to slaughtering them keeps their meat more tender and flavorful.

In addition to torturing these animals for food consumption purposes, as if that isn’t enough, there is another type of torture that happens.

Dogs and cats are flayed (skinned) alive.   One method is to make a small cut in the back of the neck, and then use that as the starting point to rip the skin off the animal.

It is difficult to image such a horrific and surreal image. Even with social media providing detailed accounts and graphic videos, it’s difficult to comprehend any human being deliberately making the decision to hurt and maime a dog or cat in such a manner, all in the name of custom and tradition.  All because of inherited beliefs.

When I touch my dog, it is always with care and wonder.

What a wondrous feeling for me – the idea of a living being who is not human, allowing me to touch her.  Knowing that my touch soothes, comforts, pleases and relaxes her. When she comes to me, seeking my touch, it is no small thing.  It is a privilege that she trusts me, that she asks for my touch, and that she can fall asleep in my presence feeling safe and at ease.

I never get tired of touching her. At marveling over her. Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

Animals should be touched with kindness; or not at all.

How wonderful life would be for all living beings if everyone felt so.

Praying and thinking of those lives at the Yulin Festival.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur




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Happy Father’s Day (from Janet) Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

A parent doesn’t have to be human to be a great Dad to their kids.

Dads, in general, do the following:

  • They defend their family
  • They protect their young
  • They provide food and shelter
  • They stand guard
  • They stay close
  • They instill survival
  • They encourage independence
  • They teach by example
  • They comfort
  • They reprimand
  • They provide structure
  • They play with their children

Dad’s are role models.

They leave us their legacy, their DNA.

Without Dads, life could not be created.  We wouldn’t exist.

We need to protect Dad’s of ALL species – yep, they’re that important.

Here’s to being a Dad, and here’s to having a Dad – no matter WHOSE Dad we are talking about;
they ALL matter.

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Happy Father’s Day!

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Looking Twice Saves Lives (From Janet) Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

I am one of those who keep a watchful eye and ear open all the time.  It doesn’t matter if I am tired, or sick, or cranky, or busy, or with others.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, or a vacation day, or a funeral, or a road trip.

No matter where I am doing, no matter where I am going, no matter who I am with, I am always “eyes open”.

Over the years, on seemingly typical days, I have been put in the path of many animals who need rescuing. Some have been injured, some have been lost, some needed water, some needed police intervention…bottom line – they all have needed help.

And I never not help. Never. Not.

The drive home from work last Thursday was just like any other – almost.

On the side of a quiet neighborhood road, standing and then pacing, with three tiny chicks in tow, was a Mama Mallard. I always have a camera with me, so I snapped a few pictures.

It’s baby season for many animals, so it’s no surprise to see a female duck with chicks out and about.

But – BUT – what was surprising was that a) she only had three chicks with her (mallards usually have around 11-13), and b) she seemed agitated between her non-stop calling (quacking) and pacing back and forth in the same area.

So, I turned around to see what was wrong.

Mama was standing near a shallow indentation on someone’s lawn. That shallow indentation turned out to be a sewer grate, that opened many feet below to a sewer drainage system.

A death-trap for any tiny living being small enough to fall through the grate without being able to climb back out. Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

Initially, it was just me and Mama by the side of the road. Me, on my hands and knees, counting chicks in the sewer drain, and failing miserably at trying to pry open the grate by myself.  Mama, pacing back and forth with her three chicks in tow, yelling at me to move faster.  And every time Mama quacked, all eight babies in the sewer peeped back.  It would have been a lovely sound, had it not been for the urgency of the situation.

A quick call to local police put us on the waiting list for rescue. Not good enough. Another call to our local Humane Society guaranteed professional rescue help within the hour. Better, but Mama was pretty worked up.

So, I ran across the street and grabbed a neighbor.

And he was Superman where I was not able to be. He knelt down and tugged the sewer grate until it gave way.

So now there were two of us on our hands and knees by the open sewer grate. That’s all it took for other neighbors, joggers, and drivers to stop to see what we were doing, and how they could help.

Within ten minutes we had our first plan. #1 One person would watch the traffic (at this point, Mama and her three chicks kept crossing the road and crossing back to the open grate), #2 one person would go into the drain to grab the chicks (NOT an easy thing to do by the way. The chicks are anxious, do not stay in one place if you put your hand next to them, will run farther back into the connected sewer drains because they are scared, will jump out of your hand if you don’t hold them snug but at the same time you need to make sure that you don’t hold them too tight), and #3 one person would take each chick to Mama.

Great plan in theory. But unless Mama quacked, the chick did not know where she was, so we ran the risk of a rescued confused and scared chick running in the road instead of towards her.

That’s when we got the laundry basket.

The remaining rescued chicks were put together in the laundry basket, covered with my sweater (they are spry little beings, and were trying to jump out of the basket every time we lifted the sweater to put another chick in).

Once all the chicks were put into the laundry basket, I carried them to Mama, and gently turned the basket on it’s side. All it took was for Mama to quack once. As soon as her rescued chicks heard Mama’s voice, they ran to her.  How wonderful to see so many little babies running to meet their Mama.

And Mama, just visibly relaxed.

And we all just watched, together. Smiling at what we had done. And no, we didn’t have time to take any more pictures – the camera stayed on the ground as we rescued the chicks.

Don’t ever tell me that a Mother doesn’t know her children.  Mama Mallard stayed with us until every chick has been reunited with her. It was only when the last chick ran from the basket that she led her family down the street, behind a house where she probably had come from.

By the time Mama and her chicks were back together, the Humane Society Rescue showed up. He did an extra check of the sewer by putting his cell phone in the drain and using an app to play a recorded call of a female Mallard calling to her babies just to see if any more little heads would pop up (none did).

Before the night was over (as an added check, maybe more for me, than for them)  I went back two more times to check that sewer, which was, of course, happily empty.

Such a small thing, a U-turn. But such a BIG thing when it impacted a family, and eight lives.  And that small effort wound up saving eight little, wonderful peeping lives.

It takes seconds to turn around, to do a double-check, to make a call, to stop.

It takes seconds to JUST DO SOMETHING.

Looking twice can save a life. So look. We did. And we’re happy we did.

PS – In our town, it is illegal to fully cover a sewer grate. But with a little imagination, you can put together a make-shift grate cover where the openings are smaller, preventing the tinier animals from accidentally falling through the grate holes.  A little effort can make a big difference – a life or death difference.

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The Truth About Cats And Dogs – In Warm Weather ( Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare


Remember, in ANY kind of weather, if YOU see something, JUST DO SOMETHING.  Now’s the time to keep your eyes open for animals locked in hot cars, left outside without shade or water, and/or being dragged around at social events without a water source present. 


Warm weather is here and it’s important to remember that dogs, like humans, can get heat stroke.   After all, dogs wear a fur coat all day long so think of how hot they can get and fast!  As dogs can’t speak for themselves and pant even when they are just mildly thirsty, there are some signs to look out for to make sure your dogs are not overheated.

Dogs don’t sweat like we do and their inner temperatures rise and fast!

Dogs don’t sweat in the same way that we humans do and the only sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet.  Dogs pant to cool themselves off and have an inner mechanism that helps them cool their skin.  But, if the air around them is hotter than their internal system heatstroke can occur.

Some signs to recognize your dog is overheated

There are some signs to recognize that your dog is becoming overheated including: whining, fidgeting, and excessive panting, increased salivation, bright red tongue or gums, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

If you think your dog has heat stroke, cool him off and take him to your veterinarian immediately

If you think your dog might have heatstroke, take him to your vet or the emergency room.  On your way, try to cool your dog off.  Run water over his or her body before and/or place some cold towels on the pads of your dog’s feet.  A cool towel all over your pup’s body will help reduce his temperature as well while in route. Your vet or doctor will then take the necessary steps to ensure dog does not have heatstroke.

Below are some ways to prevent heat stroke during the hot summer months:

Take your dogs on walks in the early morning or evening

Make sure that you take your dogs out early in the morning or at night when it is cooler out.  Always bring water along with you and if your dog starts to walk really slowly or pants excessively, it is time to stop, give him some water and bring your overheated dog home.

Try to keep your dog indoors during the hot summer months

If you can leave your dog inside during the summer months, that is preferable. If you have to leave your dog outside, make sure that your dog has plenty of cool fresh water to drink and plenty of shade. A shaded umbrella, small wading pool, or a place that has shade and shelter is a necessity if your dog is left outside.

Never, ever leave your dog in the car, not even for five minutes!

Most of us know that that leaving a dog in a car, even with the windows rolled down while you run into a store for something can be fatal. The inside car temperature can jump quickly on warm days as well as overcast days due to the concentration of UV rays penetrating the car’s windows.

If you keep your dog out of the heat during the really hot times of day, keep him or her hydrated, you should have no problem during the hot summer months.   This is the best way to prevent heatstroke for your dog.


Our cats love the warmer weather.  After all, they are the first to bask in that pool of sun that beams through your window.  All sprawled out!  But, when the temperature heats up, we need to keep an eye on our felines to make sure they don’t get overheated.

Remember during the hot summer months, it is especially important to keep plenty of cold water out at all times.  If you can leave your air conditioning on when you aren’t home, it can really help your cats stay cool.

Below are some normal behavioral patterns during the hot summer months:

  • Don’t be surprised if your kitty is grooming more than usual. It is their way of cooling themselves off by reaping moisture from their saliva to their fur.
  • Cats have their sweat glands on their paws. If your cat is leaving wet paw prints, he or she is sweating. Try cooling your cat down by dipping its paws in water or even with a damp, cool towel.
  • Don’t worry if your cat starts panting. Cats pant more rarely than dogs, but your kitty is simply taking in cooler air if he or she is particularly hot. Heavy panting could be cause for concern, however, and you should call your vet.

Learn how to check to see if your cat is dehydrated

You can check for dehydration several ways:  roll your kitty’s bottom eyelid down. You should see moisture pool up in the lower lid.  No moisture, kitty needs a trip to your veterinarian a.s.a.p.

Check your cat’s mouth by pressing your finger lightly against her gums (which should be pink and happy). If they stay pale, or appear streaked or white, call your vet for an immediate appointment.

While your cat is resting, gently pick your kitty up the scruff of her neck, without lifting her body. Pinch the scruff lightly, release. The skin should fold down within seconds. If it remains in a pinched position- call your vet!

Monitor your cat for symptoms of heatstroke

Heatstroke is a real medical emergency. If you think your cat has heatstroke you must act quickly.  Move your cat to a cool place and immediately contact your veterinarian. Symptoms of heatstroke include:

Heavy panting, drooling, red tongue and lips, dullness, weakness, convulsions, and/or vomiting.

If any of those symptoms occur, make sure to cool of your kitty with a wet towel all over her body including the groin area and then get your kitty to your veterinarian.

If you keep in mind that our kitties are like us, humans, when it gets hot out:  they need plenty of water, a cool place to hang out, and need to be watched for symptoms of anything different or unusual that might need immediate care.


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