Author: Just-Do-Something

Can You See The Dog? (from Janet)

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Do you keep your eyes (and ears) open when you’re out and about?  

Can you see the dog in this picture?

Meet Bear.  Bear has been tied out side 24/7 since he was a baby.  His home is a volunteer-made insulated dog house, and he is forced to eat, sleep, crap and pace in one small area, by a chain no longer than the length of your body.  Bear’s owners have another dog, that is allowed to roam free (thanks to an electric collar), and is allowed inside on crappy days and even crappier nights.  Bear’s doghouse is so far from the house, that it makes it difficult to get to on snowy days, and slow to get to if Bear is in trouble.

How do I know about Bear?

This past weekend, my husband, James, and I volunteered for clean-up day with Gordy and Friends.   This group is a small, but powerful group out of the Fingerlakes, New York area whose main purpose is to provide food, water, shelter, toys, treats, socialization and a safe and hygienic pen area to outside dogs that are chained up 24/7.  In addition, owners are educated on, and shown by example, the wonderful, awesome ways to be a responsible and conscientious dog owner.  

The majority of dogs chained or tethered outside 24/7 do not receive ANY interaction. They are also not always given food and clean water on a daily basis, and as far as fleas, flies ticks, spiders and ants – if the owner isn’t providing food and clean water every day, do you think they are even thinking about protecting that dog from outside elements; whether it be environmental or insects? 

The majority of these dogs are forgotten.  They are isolated, un-exercised, not touched or played with, and go un-bathed. They are not checked regularly for illness or injury. Their nails are not clipped, they teeth are not cleaned, and their doghouses stay dirty and buggy.  They are left to linger their days in solitude, boredom and well, misery.

I heard about Gordy and Friends when I came across two dogs in a very poor outdoor 24/7 living situation in the next town over where I live.  Because these two dogs just squeaked past the guidelines in the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Article 26, there was nothing much that could be done about how these lovely, neglected dogs were being treated, and not-treated.  The last time I went on the property to check on them, I was informed that my being there could be construed as trespassing and therefore breaking a law.  So, I had to find another way to check on these two dogs on a regular basis, and it was then I was put in touch with the founder of Gordy and Friends, who were all too happy to help them.

Our Saturday consisted of going to homes where known dogs were kept outside 24/7 in poor conditions to give them boredom alleviation in the form of treats, pets and walks, and to clean up their pen areas to they wouldn’t be walking around in their own filth.

The first home consisted of three dogs, (one of them injured and sick – that Gordy and Friends has been working on with the owners).  The dogs were very excited and happy to see us, and demonstrated that by jumping and barking.  I got my first taste of the owners when the window to the house opened, and she yelled out for the dogs to shut up. Window closed again.

And you wonder why I dislike people, in general, so much.

Once I got past my tears (there were A LOT that morning), I tried to look past my anger and disgust at the owners and the neglectful situations they put their dogs in, and instead, try to focus on what a wonderful thing we were doing to for these dogs who had come to recognize the Gordy and Friends’ Truck every week and were oh, so happy to see us.

Some of the dogs wanted walks so they could poop outside of their area and/or  run and stretch out on grass, others just wanted to sit and lean against you so they could be touched and petted and have soothing words whispered in their ears.

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Every dog we met (except for one a little too feisty for non-regular volunteers to care for) was kind, gentle and so happy to be getting some attention, treats and exercise.

I wanted to take them all home, and of course, put the owners in their places.

What do you need to be a volunteer for clean-up day with Gordy and Friends?

– Old boots

– Old clothes

– A pair of gloves

– The willingness to get a little dirty

– A bagged lunch and something to drink (we don’t stop, there are too many dogs to check on who are waiting)

– Compassion

– The ability to give hugs and pets, and hold back your tears and anger because at that moment, it’s all about the dogs

– Making time away from your day to help make a difference

Saturday was wonderful and terrible all at the same time.  The founder of Gordy and Friends, Kathy W.,  kept referring to these dogs as heroes. But truly, I think the real hero in all of this is Kathy. She saw a need, and her passion and drive to do the right thing for these animals turned into Gordy and Friends.  And just like that, dogs were being helped in so many great, giving ways.

All of the dogs that we visited on Saturday all fall within the “acceptable” guidelines for New York State.  That means,  no NYS authorities will take action to further help these dogs.  And THAT has to change.

There are many endeavors in the works within NYS right now to change some of the guidelines of Article 26.  If you want to find out how you can help in that endeavor, please reach out to us.

24/7 Outside Dogs are ALL OVER.  You can reach out to Gordy and Friends to ask about volunteering, or donating. Dogs receive 100% of every donation, and donations are always welcomed.

If YOU see or know of a 24/7 outside dog, please, make the effort to JUST DO SOMETHING to help make a difference.  If you’re not sure of how to help that dog, reach out to us.

James and I have already committed to going back to volunteer with Gordy and Friends soon.  In addition to clean-up days, they have specific agendas for some of the outside dogs to get them into better living situations, and they always welcome committed people who  simply want to help make a difference.

Did you find the dog yet?  If you were driving by too fast, you might never have seen Bear jumping up behind the red tractor, trying to get us to notice him as we pulled up. THAT is the life of an outside dog chained up 24/7.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur




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The Goose That Didn’t Need Rescuing (from Janet)

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So, it’s the weekend, and in between gearing up for some sleety, icy weather, we are going to check on a lone Canadian Goose that has been hanging around a McDonald’s parking lot in the next town over.

The goose won’t fly, and he has been sleeping next to the parking lot black-top for a while now.  He gets so close that you can touch him if you want, but his impressie size and loud hissing tells us not to do that.

Is he ill?  Not sure, so we call a Wildlife Rehabilitator.  Can we get a picture of his poop?  Apparently, you can tell a lot about the health of a goose by his excrement.  The picture is inconclusive, but it’s a little darker than it should be which could mean lead poisoning but it could mean nothing at all.

Here is what we know: The poop is slightly off color.  The placement of the wings and shoulders are intact, meaning there is no structural reason why this goose cannot fly. He is eating the corn and lettuce we put out, so appetite is good.  Although he is hanging out in one spot, he’s up, walking and hissing if we get close enough, so he’s feisty. It’s troubling however, that the goose remains in one area and does not fly or walk far away even when approached.

So now the weather is changing to colder, and soon we will have sleety rain that is scheduled to ice over, prompting warnings of an ice storm. If the goose needs attention, we are told it’s best to capture him now to avoid him being in the harsher elements later.

911 and Animal  Control state that they will come, but they will kill the Goose instead of trying to help us rescue him.  What?!

And it’s cold and wet, and there are not many people out, and those that are do not want to help round up a Canada Goose (we asked a few).

So, the Wildlife Rehabilitor suggests that we try to throw a blanket over him and place him in a large box so we can bring him to a wildlife rehab facility over 30 minutes away.

All this, and we still need to get gas for our generator and finish shopping before the harsher weather hits.

For those that know me, you know I go to any lengths to rescue any animal in need. This Canada Goose situation is no different.

So, my husband and I are at McDonald’s, each of us on one side of this Goose, trying to get closer enough to a now-mad bird, to be able to grab him in a blanket. It would be hysterical if it wasn’t cold and wet, and if we were better dressed for catching a Goose in the elements, and if we weren’t tired from running alongside him for half an hour.

And then a guy comes over to find out why we are bothering a protected bird. I love him! We need more people to ask those concerned questions when they see someone doing something to an animal. We explain what we are trying to do. 

Then he says, “this goose is fine“.

Us: “How do you know?”

Him: “He’s got a female on a nest next to the building“.

Us: “Show us“.

And there it was. 

We call the Wildlife Rehabilitator back, and he laughs and laughs. He never thought to tell us to look for a nest site.

Hubby and I look at each other, and we laugh and laugh. It’s a relief that the goose is not ill, and now we can go finish our errands without worrying any more about this bird.

Lesson? Not every animal we see needs to be rescued. And with Spring now here, that is especially important to know because soon there will be babies.  Baby birds, baby deer, baby skunk, baby rabbits – well, lots of babies.  

It’s important that we all follow the “look but don’t touch” rule unless there is a true reason to do so.

Yes, there are times when it’s important to rescue right away, but there are other times when it’s good to observe first, and then make the decision to help.

We would have hated to think how it might have turned out if we had captured that goose, brought him to the wildlife rehabilitation center and left his mate unprotected.  

The BEST part of this story is that everything was FINE. 

And the goose that didn’t need rescuing – we left him right where he was first spotted. 

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur



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Be Good to Yourself AND Animals this Spring (from Janet)

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We get it.  Everyone is just coming off the cold, harsh, draining season of Winter, and most of are anxious to get the house and yard cleaned up, and get in the warmth of the sunshine, plan that vacation and forget about the snow.

And we ALL can do that.

But for many animals in need, the harshness of Winter simply carries over to the same miserable conditions even with the change of seasons.

Many people think that because the weather is changing to a milder season, that the pets that were left outside 24/7 over the Winter (think tethering and chaining, think strays and ferals) have it better.

Well, they don’t exactly have it better – they just now will have a different set of miserable circumstances to deal with.

  • There may not be snow for owners to trudge through (a deterrent for many to do regular feeding, watering and socialization), but now many will not want to pick up the outdoor environment from the crap, old rotten food and last year’s sticks and leaves, leaving not only a muddy mess, but a dirty and unhygienic area – the ONLY area many 24/7 outdoor pets have.
  • It may not frigid, but the ground is still cold, frozen, wet and muddy.
  • There may not be wild animals roaming about so much in search of food, but now bug, bee and spider season start, and those bites can cause intense itching and painful stinging, and for many animals, allergic reactions and infections.
  • And let’s not forget fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.  
  • You know how you feel when you get bit or stung? Fur does not always prevent bug bites and stings.
  • Spring cleaning for many includes airing out the bedding. For most animals, clean bedding is welcome. Even in the wild, animal parents, and birds, clean out their nest and den areas.  Did you know that many owners of 24/7 outdoor pets do not EVER clean the outdoor pet house? This means that anything carried in on the paws, will STAY there. This means that anything looking to find shelter (think bugs, spiders and mice) in a pet house will STAY there.

The list goes on. We bet between your common sense, and imagination, you can come up with many more examples of the miseries of Spring for a 24/7 outdoor pet.

Our point? Spend the time you want to take care of yourself now that Spring is here and warmer weather is just around the corner.  It will feel great to pack away that Winter wear, bring out some color for your home and your wardrobe, freshen everything up and let the Spring air in, open a window and relish the sunshine.

And then, or while you are doing all of that, take a moment to remember who has been sitting outside 24/7 through cold nights, harsh Winter days, day and after day – and JUST DO SOMETHING to make a difference for that animal.   

It doesn’t take much to change the life of an animal in need.  It just takes YOU. Animals ALL over, even in your town, are waiting to be noticed and helped.  EVERYONE either personally knows of an animal chained to one spot 24/7, or sees them when out and about.

So, put a little Spring in an animal’s life; it’s enjoyed and appreciated by them just as much as it’s enjoyed by you. Maybe even more, since they are waiting for relief and have only us to rely on. It matters.

PS – More Spring tips to help animals in need! Read more here.

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What’s Your Plan? (from Janet)

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A few weeks ago, the Animal Welfare community lost a wonderful advocate, who made it her mission to rescue the dead and dying dogs in a field, in Memphis, Tennessee.

The dogs dumped in this field were either shot or poisoned to death, or simply dumped and left to die.  Over time, these dogs became known as The Field Dogs.

Every day, Tonya would go out to the field, collect the bodies of the dead dogs, and bury each dog individually.  And every day, Tonya would collect the living dogs, making sure they received food, water and when possible, medical attention.  Many of these dogs were able to be adopted out, and many were not.

When Tonya suddenly passed away, there was no back-up plan in place for these dogs.  Tonya lovingly did this on her own, every day. She was helped with monetary and dog food donations, but the rest was done solo without a failsafe in place.

It’s a wonderful thing when anyone steps up to make a difference and JUST DO SOMETHING. But even the best intentions can fall by the wayside if something happens to interrupt the flow of something great.

In this situation, since Tonya’s efforts for The Field Dogs were so well known, another reputable Rescue organization was able to quickly formulate a plan and engage a group of volunteers to step in and take over the feeding of these dogs.  Of course, at the time, those volunteers were only focused on feeding the living dogs, so not much is known (yet) about tending to the dead dogs in that field, or being able to pursue anything from a legal standpoint in terms of monitoring the field for abusers.

So, my point? If YOU are doing something wonderful to make a difference in the life of an animal in need, please – get a back-up plan in place so in the event your efforts are interrupted, that animal will still be taken care of.   Write it down, tell a few people, and ask around to see if anyone would be interested in learning about your efforts in the event that someone else needs to step in.  

There are awesome people doing awesome things to help animals, but sometimes it’s done so quietly that it might go unnoticed if they were to stop.

Life changes on a dime, and that means it can change for you, also. Make sure YOUR changes don’t impact the great works you are doing to save or better the life of an animal in need; it matters to that animal.

So, what’s YOUR plan for that? Hopefully you have one, and hopefully you are also a back-up for someone else. It matters.

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur



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Why the Super Bowl is a Win for Homeless and Adoptable Animals! (From Janet) Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

Last February, 111.3 million people in the United States watched the Super Bowl, making it, as usual, the top-rated television broadcast of the year.

Along with the Super Bowl, just as many hunker down to watch the traditional “Puppy Bowl”, which is now synonymous with the Super Bowl in terms of popularity and TV ratings.

The ‘Puppy Bowl’ (and now the ‘Kitten Bowl’ also), sponsored by Animal Planet, helps showcase the plight of homeless animals and the number of wonderful animals available for adoption through local shelters (whether dumped, stray or int he shelter from over-population)  and those displaced by disasters – although the very first Puppy Bowl was not intended to heighten awareness of animals in need.  This event usually targets puppies and kittens, however this event also helps smaller animals like guinea pigs and rabbits get adopted as well.

In 2017, the “Puppy Bowl” introduced disabled and special needs animals for adoption. How awesome is that!

And this year (so happy), the “Dog Bowl” has also been added!  The Dog Bowl highlights adoptable dogs ages two – older, spreading awareness about harder to place dogs that need a forever home. Finally!

Over the years, and with Animal Welfare issues and involvement so prevalent (with the help of so many varied social media platforms available), these “Bowls” have been transformed from something purely created for fun into something initially not expected – a way to save animal lives and educate our public about the many (MANY) animals in need across our nation, and beyond.

Every animal showcased at the “Puppy” and “Kitten” Bowl gets adopted. Period. 

Another plus, many of those infamous and cute Super Bowl Commercials involving animals also help to spread and heighten Animal Awareness. And, many of the proceeds from them goes directly back into participating local animal organizations.

Win, win and win.

Please know, as one our of readers pointed out, and rightly so, that although the “Puppy Bowl” is beneficial for helping homeless and shelter animals in need, at the same, the Super Bowl is not as animal-friendly. Every year, thousands of pounds – THOUSANDS – of animal products are sold for human consumption at this event. This includes (but is not limited to) beef, pork and chicken in various forms. This year’s Super Bowl forecasts that there will be 1.33 MILLION POUNDS of chicken wings sold, and that’s just for chicken wings.  

And we are not even talking about the animal products bought and eaten at tailgate AND Super Bowl parties.  

Can you get a non-animal product food to eat at the Super Bowl? Yes, but they are few and far between, and not as highlighted as the animal product options.  And, since patrons are not allowed to bring their own food into the stadium, those who don’t eat animal products have a limited menu once seated – not that anyone would complain, because those that are devoted to veganism in support of animals are always happy to forgo meat based food options to help save a life.

And, Animal Planet, who is sponsoring the “Puppy Bowl”, isn’t perfect either.  Animal Planet has been in the poor limelight by supporting Animal Cruelty and Abuse by some of the shows they air, by stating incorrect facts on wild animals which seems to be geared towards scaring the public, and by mistreating some of the animals they use on air.

And sadly, the NFL still supports and funds animal testing for NFL medical research (example: using live rats for helmet hitting pressure testing – yup, these rats are placed immobile on a table, and their head is repeatedly bashed to see how much pressure it takes to cause injury and death), as well as the NFL still allows animal abusers to play on their teams. PS – Go ahead and sign/share that petition!

So, there are pros and cons to almost everything, including the Super Bowl.

Whether YOU are a fan of Super Bowl (or Animal Planet) or not, EVERYONE can appreciate the good they are doing to promote adoption and awareness for animals in need through these Animal “Bowls”.

Remember, if YOU are hosting a super bowl party tonight, don’t forget to pay attention to YOUR four-legged family members. Keep them safe, keep the food away that they aren’t supposed to have, don’t forget to take them on potty breaks during the game, make sure they are able to go someplace in your home to de-stress and make sure their needs are met no matter where YOU are in the game.

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Remember, it’s still Winter (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

It’s been unseasonably mild and warm in parts of Western NY this past week.  In fact, around our house, sprouts of green are pushing through the soggy, cold and wet leaves, and some people are seeing buds on trees.

But remember, whether or not you see snow on the ground, remember that it’s STILL Winter. That means, cold nights and mornings, and worse yet, colder days and nights, and more snow to come.

With that said, here’s our reminder to you, to share, that WINTER SUCKS FOR MANY ANIMALS.

Did you know?

  • There are roughly 7 million stray dogs and cats in the U.S. at any given time. And that’s just in the United States.
  • Many people will not take in a stray dog or cat, especially during mild weather, and even during bad weather.
  • There are many people who will not even call to report an animal left outside.  And animals are left outside 24/7, yes, sadly, even in the harshest of Wintry weather.

When talking about stray (homeless, ownerless) animals, the majority of people take this to mean dogs and cats.  But common stray animals are not the only animals to be negatively impacted by the harsh weather and circumstance.  ANY animal (including wild animals and birds) can have a difficult time, depending on their environment and their health.

Never turn your back on any animal in distress or in danger. Of course, the species of animal and the situation should always be taken into thoughtful consideration before you make the decision to aide that animal yourself.  Even a stray dog or cat can be a possible risk to you if that animal is ill or becomes frightened when trying to approach it.  Not sure? Call your local authority. But NEVER turn your back on any animal in distress or in danger.

Many people, and animals, love the change of seasons. A crisp, crystal clear snowy day or a snowy-blowy night is something many enjoy and look forward to. Unless you’re an animal who is forgotten, kept outdoors 24/7, dumped, injured, hungry, cold, wet, stray, feral… add your own description here.

Unfortunately, many people think that leaving pets outside day and night in the Pre-Winter and Winter season without basic care and attention is enough.  The days and nights leading up to Winter can be miserable on animals in general, not to mention Winter itself.

  • Lack of always-available clean, fresh, cold water – it’s a myth that animals can “drink snow” to stay hydrated. Many animals die every year from winter dehydration. Licking snow and ice does not prevent dehydration. A heated birdbath that can be placed on the ground is a great way to ensure a steady supply of unfrozen water. Be sure to clean it as winter water can still get dirty.
  • Lack of appropriate shelter from the elements – frost, cold rain, sleet, snow, hail, and wind. Animals can also get sunburn in the winter.
  • Lack of appropriate winter coat (and don’t forget to bundle up your pet when taking him/her to the vet, for a walk, to the car).
  • Lack of alleviation for allergy symptoms – yep, animals suffer from winter and food allergies also
  • Lack of boredom alleviation from being kept in the same spot every day
  • Food (and dish bowls with uneaten food) that sits out all day runs risk of becoming frozen, lost in the snow and ice and can attract other animals
  • Unhygienic environments when an animal is forced to void, sleep, eat and pace in the same  area

Not to mention (but we’re going to)

  • Seasonal colds from damp, frozen wet grounds and cold temperatures
  • Dehydration
  • Sunburn
  • Blisters, cut and sensitive spots on paws from cold, frozen ground (a pacing animal that walks in the same spots every day does NOT warm the ground s/he is walking on).
  • Paw irritations and injuries from salt, and other de-icing products
  • Allergies
  • Hunger and thirst – many people don’t realize the number of animals who are deemed “outside animals” are FORGOTTEN more than one would think for regular feedings

By now, mostly everyone is aware about the importance of NEVER leaving ANY animal in a closed car on a hot day. The same goes for leaving animals unattended in cars on a super-cold day. If you’re cold – so are they. Remember, if YOU see ANY animal in an unhealthy, unsafe situation, JUST DO SOMETHING.  Your action may be THE action to save a life.

“Fur” Real?

Many people have the misconception that because an animal has fur, that they are immune to cold weather tragedies. Not true! Even domestic animals that are left outside too long can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia.

  • Even well meaning pet owners may not realize they should not simply put their animal outside for prolonged periods of time during the Winter. This is especially true for new pet owners who may not yet be well educated on environmental pet care and for elderly pet owners who may forget from time to time the importance of routinely checking on their pets once they are outside.
  • Take the time to speak up if you see a domestic animal staying outside for too long. Especially those that are routinely chained in one place.
    It matters to that animal.
  • Domestic pets that are in-door animals, should be limited in the amount of time spent outside in ANY element.
  • If it’s cold enough for you to feel it and be affected, then chances are you pet is being affected too.  Invite your pet inside for some warming time.
  • If it’s cold enough for you to wear a jacket, then chances are your pet needs one also.
  • Humans have boots; animals have paws.  Although the bottom of your pet’s paws may feel rough, they are sensitive to cold (and hot).  Cold surfaces like pavement and  tarred driveways can burn and blister, cause frostbite, stones can tear and scrape, and other rough surfaces can do damage – AS CAN SALT AND OTHER DE-ICING PRODUCTS (and make your pet sick if s/he licks their paws after they come indoors).  Most domestic animals dislike “booties”, so simply pay attention to the amount of time your pet is walking on surfaces that can cause irritation and injury, and take the time to gently wipe off  paws after being outdoors.  Especially if your pet has environmental allergies, which Winter falls under.  A quick paw-soak or bath after playing in the snow can be a very soothing allergy-symptom reliever.  NOTE:  If your pet appears to be dealing with sore paws from winter irritation or allergy,  causing licking, itching, and/or causing your pet to act unlike him or herself, a vet visit is in store.
    Always be on the look-out for frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Is it a Winter cold rainy or snowy day? No-one likes to sit around and be soggy. Any soft, clean absorbent towel is great for drying off your pet after outdoor time.  Be sure to routinely wash any toweling used to dry your pet.
  • Speaking of drying off, if you plan on taking your pet to a dog park or swimming area in the colder weather, watch for signs of stress, hypothermia and/or infection. 

Remember, YOU can just do something!  

  1. First, always SPEAK UP.
    Keep your eyes and ears open.  If you become aware of a situation where ANY animal is in distress or danger, JUST DO SOMETHING about it. Call local authorities and WAIT until someone comes to the animal’s aide. You may be the ONLY witness and/or the ONLY one to help that animal in that situation. Don’t be nervous or worried if you have to report an act of animal abuse or neglect. YOU are their voice.If you are not sure about what you think you see, call for help anyway. You might be saving a life.
  2. Provide shelter.
    If bringing the animal inside your home is not an option, help him/her survive the cold by providing shelter such as a sturdy cardboard box or large Tupperware bin (cut a hole for an entry way) lined with a good amount of straw (straw is the main insulator that rescuers use when helping out strays or domestic outdoor animals who stay outside). Straw provides a soft but effective barrier against the cold, keeps warmth in (if you pile it in a good amount), is pliable enough so animals can burrow and surround themselves with it, and does not mold quickly. Don’t bother with towels and blankets as these will get wet in a storm and freeze. Enticing the animal into your garage will also work.  Ensure proper bedding for warmth, as garages usually are not heated. When possible, change the straw. Make sure that harmful products normally stored in the garage are completely out of the way. Cars should never be running in the garage at any time if there is an animal in there! This is also a good time to mention that strays (especially cats) will find warmth during the winter in many unlikely places – so check under your car and in your car wheel-wells before driving off; parked cars provide warmth and shelter, so it’s a common place for a cold, homeless animal to seek out.
  3. Provide food and water.
    Did you know that many pet owners think that SNOW is a great substitute for water? Not true! If you’re uber committed to providing water in the winter, invest in a heated bird bath. Place it on the ground, for all to have access to.
    Check out this informational about WATER in the winter!
    Your knowledge on this COULD save a life.Providing stray animals with fresh, clean (dry) food and water can help them survive the cold because they will need to use less energy to scrounge up their dinner. A well-fed, well hydrated animal is also better prepared to fight off illness and infection. Steer clear of canned food as it is more likely to freeze when the temperatures drop. And check on water sources frequently for the same reason.
  • If you do take in a stray animal, make sure your first stop is with a licensed veterinarian who can assess the animal for diseases and make sure that it is immunized and safe to be around your children or other pets.
  • If you don’t want to bring the stray to a shelter, reach out to your local rescue groups to see if someone can take him/her.

Do you feed the birds in the winter?

GREAT, and thank you!  In addition to providing them with fresh water (see #3), make sure that once you start putting out bird food, that you KEEP doing it through the wintry months.  Why? Once a bird finds a winter food source, it will become dependent on being able to forage in that same area as an expected food source.  Birds need to eat at least a much as it’s total body weight in food EVERY day just to survive another day of winter.  The energy a bird takes to find food can become a deadly race to store energy OR go find a new food source.  So, feed the birds in the same place, every day.

Not sure what kind of bird food is the best? During the winter, for the birds, it’s all about conserving energy and maintaining a healthy, daily weight.  Best food for that is ANYTHING that does not have to be de-shelled or broken apart. Sunflower chips, peanut butter, peanut chips, and suet are Number One go-to’s for most Northern birds. Forget the bread and standard bag of bird seed – bread is harmful to most birds and ducks, and the round millet that comes in standard bird seed is not eaten by many wild birds; it looks like a lot of bird food in one bag, but a lot of it is filler.

Smear peanut butter on tree branches and rocks. Roll some sunflower chips with peanut butter, and put these little yummy ball treats out for all the birds to enjoy. Hang suet from feeders out of reach of squirrels. Anything you spread on the ground (nuts, seeds, chips) should be spread in an area that you can keep clear of snow as best you can. Little birds have a hard time “digging” in the snow for the bits and pieces – and that takes energy away from them.  Make a point to clear snow out from your bird feeding area every day when possible. And, spread it out! Some birds are safer and will more readily eat closer to bushes than out in the open. Larger birds will push away the smaller birds – spreading out the food ensures that more birds will have a chance to eat.

Do you want to feed the ducks in the winter? A bag of corn works better than bread.  See a Canada Goose all alone in the winter? Chances are, s/he is injured and needs attention. A bird that cannot fly in the winter, WILL DIE.  Call someone to help.


No animal should suffer so horribly or needlessly.

You can help prevent that by doing right by any animal in need. Remember, not every “outdoor dog” you see chained is actually an outdoor dog. And not all cats are feral. Cats dumped during the winter months will most likely succumb to the elements, starvation or dehydration. Whatever you see, check it out and JUST DO SOMETHING- you may be the one person to save or better an animal’s life.

What are you doing to help animals combat the cold?

Share it with us, and we’ll pass it around! Your endeavors might just help someone else save a life…or just keep one warm!

Enjoy winter, and make it enjoyable for those that cannot speak for, or defend, themselves.

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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Happy Birthday To Me (From Janet) Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

My birthday is this coming Wednesday, January 17th.

Lord, thank you for giving me the compassion that motivates me to want to make a difference every day, for those that cannot speak for, or defend, themselves.

Thank you for giving me the strength to keep moving forward in my animal advocacy goals, no matter what the roadblocks.

Thank you for a healthy body and mind, that I can keep fighting the good fight, no matter what comes my way.

Thank you for opening my eyes and giving me life’s ups and downs, so I can see what truly matters in life.

Thank you for my personality – I am that larger than life, louder than everyone in the room, outspoken, take charge, fearless, thick-skinned, just jump in, JUST DO SOMETHING person when needed.

Thank you for the loving support and encouragement of my wonderful family, friends, and fellow advocates.

Thank you for blessing me with a very understanding husband.

Thank you for another beginning of a year where I promise to continue to make a difference.

Happy Birthday to me.

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The Gift of Eloise (from Janet)

What do you say about a dog you never met, across a continent, who changed your life in a profound way?  

This is how I felt about Eloise, a dog that came across my Facebook page in a random Rescue plea, like the hundreds and thousands of other postings that I see and hear about on a regular basis.  The shelter staff named her Eloise – whether or not in haste, just because she needed any name to be identified in the shelter, or because someone took the time to look at Eloise and decided that was the name for her – Eloise is how she fondly is remembered by me.

Here is that original Facebook post:

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandeAnimal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur Eloise

Roughly 2,441 miles separated us, but from the moment I saw that post, I knew I was going to get her out of that high-kill shelter environment and help find her a loving forever home.  

Pulling Eloise from the shelter:  Read the happy blog here. The shelter staff at New Leash on Life renamed her Pocahontas because they thought she looked like a little Indian.

Eloise finds her forever home:  Read the joyous blog here.  Her new family lovingly named her Sophie.

It always hurts, so much, when you can’t save an animal in need.

And it always hurts, so much, when you hear of an animal’s passing, whether s/he is your very own or not.

As many of you know, I kept in touch with Sophie’s family because Sophie had my heart and I just couldn’t bear to not get updates.

Here is my last update. Sophie was passed on Friday, January 5, 2018 surrounded by her family, in her own home. 

I would like to share the e-mail that I received from Sophie’s family:

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandeAnimal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur Eloise

The thing about losing a pet in ANY manner is this: there really are no words. 

Here’s what I will say: Every day, every where, animals are dumped, dying, hungry, cold, lonely, abused, exploited, hurt, and abandoned. Many are over looked for adoption in favor of younger, cuter, healthier animals. 

Maybe someone else would have looked at Sophie, who was a little worn, pretty haggard, and definitely tired, and passed her by without a second thought.

But Sophie’s family looked at Sophie, and gobbled her up, loved her inside and out, and gave that girl as much love, care and adoration as any animal deserved.  It didn’t matter to them that she was a little worn, pretty haggard, and definitely tired.

No-one knows Sophie’s beginning, or her journey up until she ended up at the shelter. However, in the short time between shelter life and new home life, Sophie loved and lived A LOT.  And in the end, that’s all anyone can ask for. 

I have thought about Sophie every day on some level since I first saw her picture in that Facebook post.  And, I will continue to think of her every day, as I carry her in my heart no matter what.  Sophie’s last day is written on my calendar, but it’s not a date that I will ever forget.

One dog changed the way that I view others, has made me see the positive, creative ways that people can come together to make a difference, and has given me optimism that there are lots of warm, wonderful people out there whose hearts are big enough to love an animal with any kind of challenge, no matter what the circumstance.  Look closely at Eloise’s shelter picture.  Her tail is wagging.  Wagging.  And that means hope. Eloise left me with many gifts. Impacted by a dog I have never even met. Wow.

I love you, Eloise.

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Sophie, above, with her family.

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Be A ‘Little More in 2018 (From Janet)


Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

Happy, wonderful New Year!

People have such good intentions this time of year when it comes to making those New Year’s resolutions.

“I will go to the gym every day and lose that weight.”

“I will donate 15% of my salary to a charity.”

“I will have less clutter at home.”

But often, the grander promises get pushed back, and before you know it, another whole year has passed and you find yourself making those same resolutions again.

This year, why not try something on a smaller scale, but possibly way more impacting – why not try “a little more”.

This New Year, I will try:

“to be A Little More kinder.”

“to be A Little More compassionate.”

“to be A Little More grateful.”

“to be A Little More freer with my time.”

“to be A Little More giving of myself.”

“to be A Little More tolerant.”

“to be A Little More patient.”

“to be A Little More empathetic.”

“to be A Little More generous.”

“to be A Little More helpful.”

This New Year, I will try:

“to be A Little More LESS selfish.”

“to be A Little More LESS caring.”

“to be A Little More LESS excuse-making.”

“to be A Little More LESS involved.”

“to be A Little More LESS self-absorbed.”

“to be A Little More LESS fearful.”

“to be A Little More LESS of a procrastinator.”

…“to be A Little More.”

You just never know who YOU are making a difference for, when you just try a little more.

Just Do Something…a little more.

YOUR ‘Little More is up to you. But YOU can do it. We ALL can.

It’s YOUR New Year. How will YOU be making it count for an animal in need this year?
Think it, then do it – every day. It matters.

Happy New Year!

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Because Christmas is coming, again (From Janet)


Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur

There are do-gooders, and then, there are do-gooders. Whether you are the former, or the latter, the majority of people feel that if they do just one charitable thing during the Holiday season that maybe they normally don’t do at any other time of year, that their obligation is done for the year, until next year.

How sad for them. How sad for those living lives of misery the other 364 days a year.

Being kind, compassionate, giving, aware, responsible and conscientious, is a way of life.  Doing the right thing, EVERY time, is a choice. A conscious decision made with someone else’s very best interest at heart. And it doesn’t matter if that someone else is a four-legged, or two-legged, living being.

What matters is that, if the ONLY thing that motivates you to be charitable is the Holiday season,
then you should live as if every day is the Holiday season.

Giving of yourself, extending yourself is a gift; it’s a blessing – it’s a privilege. If you are able-bodied, you can give of yourself. And with that, the possibilities are endless. Endless.

If you think you are too tired, too busy, too broke, too depressed, too lazy – welcome to the world of being alive. We all feel “too something” at one time or another.  If you’re up to your eyeballs in “too something” be thankful that you are. It means you’re living. It means you have choices you can make. It means you can do something to change your part of the world. It means that you can do something to change the world for someone else.

So many animals have so little freedom. Their lives aren’t their own. Their choices, lives and destinies are decided for them, based on who owns them, who captures them, who abuses them, and who neglects them.

The Holiday season is no different for these animals, than any other miserable day.  And for many animals, the Holiday season is tragically even worse.

It’s a poor excuse for someone to think that the only time of year that they need help make a difference is during the Holiday season. There is something wrong with society if the push to increase charitable acts only comes at Christmas time and at the end of year.

We can ALL make a difference EVERY DAY, in some way.  And, we should. We are ALL obligated to make the world a better place for ALL living beings.

Does everyone feel and think this way? Nope. Should we? Yep.

Be a 365 do-gooder, and encourage others to do the same.

And if you cannot bring yourself to be 365, then start NOW, planning for the next Holiday season. Because Christmas is coming, again.

Happy Holidays,

Animal Advocacy Founder signature Janet Bovitz Sandefur

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