Month: April 2017

Get Your Warbler On (from Janet)

Cape May Warbler

In the world of Animal Welfare and Advocacy, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that there is beauty in nature, also.  Sometimes it’s good to take a tiny breath and look for just that, in between taking the time to JUST DO SOMETHING to help animals in need.

So, here’s a little reminder of one of the beautiful things in life.

5 Tips For Spring Warbler Watching 

Spring is a prime season for bird watching. Many birds are easier to identify in their brightly colored breeding plumage. Males sing with increasing frequency as they approach their breeding grounds. And bird flocks become quite concentrated during migration, with large numbers of each species passing through in the brief space of a few weeks.

But that doesn’t mean bird watching is easy in spring. Most migrants don’t visit backyard bird feeders. Finding those jewels of migration, such as Blackburnian Warblers, Cape May Warblers, and Townsend’s Warblers, usually requires getting out and birding in the field. There are several ways to improve your chances of striking warbler gold this spring.

Study habitat clues: During migration, many songbirds aren’t as finicky about their habitat preferences as they are when they’re breeding. For some birds, any place with available food and shelter will do for a pit stop during spring migration. Take the Blackpoll Warbler, which breeds strictly in spruce-fir forests but during migration can be found in a cluster of willows or in a small patch of cottonwoods. Other birds stick to their favorite habitats. Common Yellowthroats always prefer low wet areas, and Cape May Warblers maintain their strong preference for spruces.

Think big and small: When plotting your spring bird watching, consider both broad habitats and microhabitats. Broad swaths of forested of land, such as those found in the mountains or in river valleys, can be fantastic during migration, because they provide large areas of great habitat to support many hungry migrants. On the other hand, a microhabitat is an anomaly on the landscape that will suck in migrating birds crossing a big area devoid of safe places to stop, rest, and eat. It could be an isolated patch of trees on the plains of Colorado or a tree-studded island in Lake Superior. City parks can be incredible spots for finding warblers, because they may only have a small patch of trees where the birds can land.

Head for the hills: Elevated areas often draw large concentrations of birds, because they’re closer to the cruising altitude of migratory birds, and they tend to be the first sites warblers land when they drop down from nighttime migration. A park at the top of a hill in a city, such as Garret Mountain Reservation on the outskirts of New York City or Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston, can be a fantastic place to find warblers.

Watch the weather: Picking the right day, with the right weather conditions, can make all the difference in what you see. In the spring, warblers move on winds blowing from the south. South winds help push migrants toward their northern breeding grounds, which allows the birds to expend less energy. But for a bird watcher, sustained south winds may cause birds to fly right over without stopping in your neighborhood. Watch your local forecasts for storms that force migrating birds out of the air and down to patches of habitat. The largest concentrations of birds and fallouts generally occur when south winds are met by some change in the weather—rain, snow, or a quick shift in wind direction. Even a passing line of local thunderstorms can leave an astonishing array of avian gems in your local park. Check quickly, though, because the birds will often depart the next night.

Use your ears: As warblers push north on their mad dash to their breeding grounds, the frequency of their singing and level of intensity increases. Listening for bird songs and short call notes can be a great way to find an unexpected bird. You don’t need to be an expert at birding by ear. Simply listen and try to track down any songster uttering an unusual vocalization. You might just find that what you thought was a variation of a Black-and-white Warbler’s squeaky-wheel song is actually a Bay-breasted Warbler.

If you’re not quite sure which migrants are arriving where or when, use the bar charts (under the “Explore Data” tab) on Select your state and county, then click on the month at the top of the bar chart, and you can see how frequently each species occurs in your area, down to the week. You can also check BirdCast for real-time bird forecasts that track the waves of migrants moving north across the continent. Armed with the latest intelligence on bird movements, and a plan for finding your local migrant bird hotspots, you just might have your best spring birdwatching season ever.

  • Jessie Barry and Chris Wood are the authors, and are project leaders at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and members of Team Sapsucker, the Lab’s famed Big Day birding team.

Hopefully as you take time to enjoy the Spring season, and all the wonderful creatures big and small that are out and about now, that you keep you eyes and ears open for animals in need along the way.  You can enjoy the Spring season AND help make a difference, all at the same time.


Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur


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Little Things Mean A Lot (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.orgMany times, people don’t always think about their actions.

You see a smoldering cigarette butt on the ground, you step on it to put it out. And then you keep walking.

A piece of trash blows across your lawn, you bend down to pick it up. And then you keep walking.

A baby is crying in the shopping cart, so as you pass by, you wiggle your fingers and smile a friendly hello. And then you keep walking.

And, if an animal in need is lucky enough to be noticed:

  • You make that call to 911 or Animal Control on your way to work.
  • You peek out your window to see if they finally brought their pet inside from the rainy weather.
  • You take another walk back to the car in that parking lot where someone left animal inside on a really hot day.
  • You take a walk to your neighbor’s house to pet that dog left on a chain 24/7.
  • You bring treats to your local animal shelter to help brighten a day.
  • You stop by the side of the road to check on that animal that was hit by a car.
  • You put food and water out for that stray cat hanging around your house that everyone else is ignoring.
  • You share the post about an animal needing to be adopted or else s/he will be euthanized.

And then you keep walking.

You can do A LOT of little things to help an animal in need, as you keep walking.

Hopefully, you just don’t walk on by, but rather, you JUST DO SOMETHING also.

It matters.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Happy New Year, This Easter (From Janet) Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

Easter. Although not everyone celebrates it, for the millions that do, many feel that Easter is their New Year.  Their fresh start. Their refresh, reboot, renew.

For many, Easter is the time to set new goals, make new resolutions, make a fresh start.

If you celebrated Easter today, and this included quality time with family and friends – maybe that was enough for you.

But. BUT. If you’re searching for something more, something bigger than you, something else, and you haven’t quite found it yet, try giving of yourself.

Make this Easter your New Year of donating yourself for animals.

To donate literally means to give.

Think about that.

It doesn’t matter that your checkbook balance will not allow you to send money on behalf of an animal in need.   It’s a shame that so many feel that the only way they are TRULY making a difference is to send money, because they are closing the door on other opportunities to help and support.

Here’s a simple and surefire way to donate:  You can give of yourself.
Every person has something of themselves that they can give to make a difference in the life of an animal in need.

Of course, excuses are easy to come by if you don’t want to donate, period. So whether or not you have the money to write that check then becomes moot.  But, oh, how wonderful if you WANT to donate but you just can’t financially. Because that opens up so many other imaginative and creative ways to give of yourself instead.

If you’re reading this Blog, chances are you are familiar with our website and all the ways we encourage people to save or better the life of an animal in need.  Poke around our site, and you’ll come across some good ideas to be a great supporter of animals, no matter what your resources are.

It doesn’t take any science at all to dream up ways you can donate yourself to help out and support. All it takes is a willing YOU. Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

What will you do this Easter season, and every day, to save or better a life? Do it, talk about it, lead by example, and encourage others to JUST DO SOMETHING.

Make today YOUR best New Year ever.  Start today, start tomorrow. Just start.

Every effort, every giving of yourself, helps to make a difference in the lives of an animal in need; and they NEED all the help they can get.

Be a champion for those that can’t speak for, or defend themselves…donate yourself – today.

Happy Easter!

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur
 Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare






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Guest Blogger, Redfin (

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

Our dogs and cats are not just pets, but family members. As they age, of course, they need more support from us. Just as people benefit from simple home modifications that offset aging, so do our furry family members.

Redfin, a customer-first real estate brokerage, put their real estate and pet experts together to discuss the best ways to modify your home for an elderly pet.

First, How Old is ‘Old’?

Generally, a cat or dog is considered elderly when they reach six or seven years of age. For dogs, however, size factors into age because larger dogs have shorter life spans. Cats tend to have longer lifespans than dogs, so depending upon weight and breed, some cats may not be considered elderly until they reach 10 or 11 years of age.

11 Ways you can Modify Your Home

1. Raise their food and water

As your pet ages, it may become more difficult for them to lower their neck to eat food or drink water. Invest in a raised platform or use something around the house, such as a shoebox, to elevate the food and water bowls your animal already uses.

Food bowls for cats should be placed away from cat flaps, glass windows that reach the floor, and their litter boxes. They should also be placed in a location where your cat can approach from any direction and not be forced to have their back exposed to other animals in the household.

2. Upgrade the Litterbox

For older cats, arthritis and shrinking kidneys contribute to issues using their litter boxes. There are litter boxes on the market with lower openings designed for older cats, but you can also use a storage bin with an entry way cut out in the front. If you have multiple cats in your household, you should have one litter box for each cat, plus an extra.

3. Buy or Build a Ramp

Arthritis is a common problem in dogs as well. An easy home modification to enable easier mobility for your dog or cat companion is to buy or build a ramp or shallow stairs. A ramp or stairs allows your animal the same freedom and access to couches, windowsills, beds and cars that they had when they were younger.

4. Enhance your Staircase

An easy modification you can make to your stairs is to install anti-slip treads made from carpet or rubber. If your pet can no longer make it up the stairs at all, place their bed in a warm spot downstairs so that they have no need to be anywhere other than the first floor of your home.

5. Prep your Floor

If you can alter the flooring of your home, try installing ceramic tile or carpet tiles designed for pet incontinence. Avoid carpet, because it is more difficult to clean deeply, and natural stone tile,as it stains easily. If you are unable to alter your flooring or have hard floors that are easy to clean, invest in non-slip rugs, carpet runners, or even yoga mats for better traction for your pet. Seek out materials that are easy to wash and do not absorb stains and odors quickly.

6. Try a Doggie Door

Another home modification for urinary incontinence is a doggy door or dog flap. These can provide the freedom for your canine to urinate outside as they need. You will want to install the door in a low area to provide ease of access for any mobility issues.

7. Buy an orthopedic bed

If your dog displays any the behavioral symptoms of joint problems, an orthopedic bed is specifically designed for their needs. Smaller dogs should sleep in a bed relative to their size because they get cold more easily and may feel insecure in a larger bed. If you have a dog flap installed, place the dog bed near the door for easy access to the bathroom.

If your pet is an older cat, place their bed within the vicinity of their litter box, but not too close to it. Cats also enjoy cave-style beds just like their ancestors.

8. Double check your temperature

Older animals have more difficulty regulating their body temperature, so they are more

sensitive to temperatures that varies significantly from their own body temperature. Set

your thermostat between 78 and 80 degrees and pay attention to your animal’s specific

behavior. If they hang out by a fan or the heater, they may need an adjustment outside

of the 78- to 80-degree range.

9. Create a routine

Dogs are creatures of habit, so keeping their routine consistent will help mitigate anxiety. This goes for cats as well. As cats age, anxiety can be caused by disorientation and confusion, so a regular daily routine and consistent placement of your cat’s litter box, bed, and food is important.

10. Reduce Stress with Sound

Increased sensitivity to sound is stressful for older animals as well. Keep a white noise machine or background music playing in your home to prevent this source of stress.

11. Create a Play Space

Have a play corner in your home where you keep all of your cat or dog’s toys and be sure to regularly engage with them here. Regular play time in old age can keep your pet physically stimulated as well as mentally, fighting against anxiety and cognitive decline.

You Can Improve Quality of Life

These home modifications can improve your animal companion’s entire quality of life and increase their lifespan.

Even though they are only one part of our lives, they improve our relationships, stress levels and mood, as well as our cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Our pets deserve to live out their lives with security, comfort and love.

See the entire report by Redfin.Animal Advocacy Guest Blogger Thank You Janet Bovitz Sandefur


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Always Look Twice (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

I’m not that hard to find on the Internet. Most people reach out to me via our website or our social media pages. But, if you look a little harder, you’ll eventually find my phone number.  And this is the ONLY reason why I always answer my phone (when possible), and check my voicemail when not immediately available – because I never know when that unrecognizable phone number calling is someone on the other end asking for help with an animal in need.

Most of the calls I receive usually start with, “Is this Janet from”

Today, the caller started out with, “Janet, you don’t practice what you preach regarding helping animals, and it’s pissing me off.”  Yep, he really started out the conversation with this.


The guy was pretty worked up. So, I told him he needed to elaborate on what he meant because I was concerned with that statement.

Well,” he started, “I’ve been e-mailing you Animal Petitions for a few weeks now – a couple every week. And you haven’t responded that you signed ANY of them. I think that’s really rude and a waste of my time.”

Take a breath.

What Brian B. from Connecticut isn’t aware of is that I receive upwards of 1,000 e-mails per week. About 75% of them are Animal Welfare related. I go through EVERY single e-mail, EVERY week. I open EVERY e-mail, even if I am just being asked for a financial donation, because I feel that to look at every picture and read every story is just another way I can give testament to an animal’s life taken or abused by someone, somewhere.

I might get through my e-mails faster if I didn’t hold a full-time job (not related to Animal Welfare), if I wasn’t married and have household responsibilities, if I didn’t participate in other community work, and if I didn’t work on other Animal Welfare endeavors behind the scenes. Etc. But I do ALL these things, and so much more, and yes, Brian B. from Connecticut, sometimes I DO feel guilty about skipping a night of e-mails to go out with friends, or take a long weekend away with my husband, but I try to keep a balance between my heart and my sanity – Animal Welfare is a gut wrenching, horrible passion in so many ways, and sometimes it’s healthy to just breathe away from the e-mails that show me so many awful ways humans abuse animals just because they can.

Brian,” I ask, when he’s breathlessly finished calling me an asshole, without actually calling me an asshole, “do you follow on any social media platform?”

No,” he says, “I got your name from a Facebook post that someone else shared.”  Hey! That’s great to hear (I think to myself). I am all about spreading information, no matter how someone comes by it.

Okay.” I say back. “Do you have access to your computer now?”

Yeah, through my cell.” He says.

Well, why don’t you jump on my Twitter Account for” I gave him our Twitter name.

I see it.

Scroll through yesterday’s posts of mine. Do you see the one about Big Cats and Commercials?” I wait.

Yep, I see it.” Brian B. from Connecticut is quiet now.

And how about scrolling to March 29 – do you see the post about hunting (bears and wolves)?”

Yep, I see it.”

Brian B. from Connecticut and I had a good chat after he realized I have been posting EVERY petition that he sent me. Yes, we went through EVERY one, together.  

To-date, Brian B. from Connecticut has sent me 18 Animal Petitions, and we have signed, and shared out EVERY one of them.

How do I know this? Because I save EVERY e-mail from EVERY person who has EVER sent me information related to Animal Welfare.

Here’s the thing: if you send me something, I will see it. If it’s an Animal Petition, I will sign it, and then share it out. I probably will not reply that I have done this, because I am signing and sharing so many worth petitions (and doing other things related to Animal Welfare via e-mail) that it actually emotionally pains me to have to stop to acknowledge your e-mail that you have sent it if I don’t really need to reply. Maybe this is my bad, because yes, everyone deserves to have their e-mails acknowledged. But animals are dying and suffering, and THAT deserves my priority and attention more. Selfish me.

So, if you’re e-mail truly needs a response, I will respond. Otherwise, I assume that you are connected to me in some way, so that you will know I have signed and shared the information you have sent me. Especially Animal Petitions, we never ignore them. Never.

So, Brian B, from Connecticut now realizes that if he had just taken the time to LOOK at any of our social media pages, he would have seen that I wasn’t neglecting or ignoring him, and I was not being rude or wasting his time. Actually, his phone call wasted MY time, but I am always happy to right misunderstanding because I couldn’t bear the idea of anyone thinking I wasn’t always doing my best by animals, for animals, because of animals.

So, before you jump to a conclusion, take a moment to look again. Looking twice is so important when it comes to animal welfare (never assume a situation, always LOOK and LOOK AGAIN if you have to because an animal’s life might be at stake) but looking twice also makes life easier on both sides when it comes to stuff like this.

I am not sure if Brian B. will become a follower, fan or just a lurker. Either way, thanks Brian for not only taking the time to be concerned enough about animals to actually call me (most people are not that brave and wouldn’t speak up), and thanks for all you do to help animals in need. Hopefully we chat again sometime – you’ve got my number.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur


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