Happy Father’s Day (from Janet)

Just-Do-Something.org 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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Be Careful Where You Blow and Throw! (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur just-do-something.org

Most people know the basic no-no’s when it comes to be “animal aware”.

  • We shouldn’t leave animals in hot cars.
  • We shouldn’t keep driving if we hit an animal with a car if the animal is still alive but injured.
  • We shouldn’t leave animals outside in warm weather without water and shade.

The list goes on and on, and it should.

But here’s one no-no that may not be on your Animal Aware list, and it should be on your radar:

  • We shouldn’t toss our chewing gum any place but in the garbage can.

Many gum loving people are not aware that even a tiny piece of chewing gum can choke an animal, domestic AND wild. This is especially true for wild animals like bunnies, who may find a wad of chewing gum in the lawn. Gum, for animals, is too sticky and chewy and more difficult to manipulate in the mouth, causing choking and asphyxiation.  Sadly, some people chose to use chewing gum as a way of killing smaller animals who tend to eat or nibble in their gardens. Small animals will gravitate to chewing gum because of the smell and taste, without realizing before it’s too late that they can’t handle it once they put it in their mouths.

So chew away! But after you’re done (and teach your children and students and older folks this too), put it in a tissue and toss in the the can, NOT on the ground – not on any ground. Not ever.

And yes, it’s gross to pick up someone’s else wad of chewing gum on the street – but if it’s saves a life, then it’s worth it to carry that small box of tissue to do just that.

And, we have to say it: sometimes we grapple with these kinds of postings. We all know that there are all kinds of weirdos out there who get enjoyment and fulfillment out of hurting animals. Sometimes, posting a helpful hint about what NOT to do to help animals, is just the incentive for a weirdo to go do it, just because they can.  Remember that if you see ANYONE doing ANY harm to ANY animal for ANY reason, speak up and report it. That goes for reporting even the weirdo who wants to see if an animal can really choke to death from chewing gum. 

Here’s to responsible gum chewing!

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Life Stinks Sometimes (from Janet)

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For those of you who are connected to me in the fight for animals, you know that I don’t share too much about my personal life through any of our social media platforms associated with my site, just-do-something.org.

I do this for the main reason that this, my endeavors in Animal Advocacy and Welfare, is my ONLY focus, my ONLY goal for helping animals in need. Plus, I simply don’t find much in my personal life that trumps saving or bettering the life of an animal in need worth talking about on social media to the world.

However, sometimes, just sometimes, life outside of my endeavors comes rushing up and smacks into me in such a way that I cannot ignore it, push it aside, or find time for too much else.

And this is one of those sometimes.

And so, today, I am personally sharing, not knowing until after I share whether it was a good idea, or a poor one.

For two reasons: #1 I always want my name to be associated just with helping animals in need, and #2, I am very, very private.

But here I go.

In the last six months, we have had some family medical issues that have been pretty serious.

Fast forward to last week – my Mom had a stroke.

My attempts at being a glass half-full individual have been challenged a lot, especially in the last year.  I am always being challenged on many levels when it comes to the horrible, absolutely vile things I see, hear and read about in Animal Welfare. And on a personal level, our family is facing a few challenges that would even make a saner person feel just a little more crazier than normal.

My normal is being passionate about my endeavors in Animal Welfare.  So, what also makes me feel crazy is when I am unable to devote myself to helping animals in need when other aspects of my life get in the way.

So this is one of those times when I am going full steam ahead with and for my family, and only half-steaming on the Animal Welfare front. And this leaves me feeling a bunch of things that I would rather not feel.

The not so surprising thing about me is that I usually put animals before people.  So, it surprises me that right now, I don’t have the extra energy to devote to much else except being on the home front, which is exactly where I need to be.

There are many days (MANY days) where I wish I could have a clone or two of me to get by and get done all the things I need and want to do. But wishing isn’t working.

So, for a little while, my e-mails will pile, my requests for signs and shares will be sporadic, and my posts will be a little less.

Life really stinks for me personally sometimes. But still, we are blessed because it could be so much worse. Ah, there’s that glass half-full thinking again!

So even during this past week, every day – EVERY day – I am still mindful of making a difference in the life of an animal in need, and I know that for every moment I am not moving forward on those goals, there is someone else out there who is making the effort to JUST DO SOMETHING.

How wonderful it would be if for every day that I am silent on social media, someone is making a ruckus for an animal in need. I would like to think so. Maybe it’s YOU tonight, in my place.

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Be MORE for Animals this Memorial Day (From Janet)

Just-Do-Something.org Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare


Warm weather is here, the pools are ready, and Memorial Day Weekend is upon us.  At least in Western New York, Memorial Day kicks off the start of warm weather celebrations and relaxation. By this time, in our area, the fear of frost is gone, and everything is suddenly greener over night.

Despite this long holiday weekend, we are on social media – signing and sharing, spreading awareness, replying to e-mails and endeavoring to make the world a better place, if even for a DAY, for animals in need.

Unfortunately, during holidays (and the nicer weather), many people become MIA when it comes to Animal Advocacy. Sunshine, yard work, pool parties and the like become the highlight, while the sometimes unpleasant “task” of championing for the voiceless takes a back burner.

There is nothing wrong in celebrating holidays and long weekends with friends and family, taking a break from the computer to enjoy warm weather and all the fun that comes with that. But imagine if EVERYONE took a break from advocating during the nice weather or holiday seasons? What then?

Animal suffering doesn’t stop on holidays. Or when the weather warms up (in fact, many animals suffer MORE in the warmer weather for obvious reasons like lack of shade, lack of water, and being left in hot cars). But sometimes, people want to “forget” that and rather, enjoy the summer months without “thinking” about “that kind of thing”.

How wonderful if, during the nicer weather and the warmer long holiday weekends, that we all still made the decision to JUST DO SOMETHING, every day, to better or save the lives of animals in need.

Yep, this means that you may have to actually carve out time from your nice day off work or long holiday weekend to plan for that. My laptop is never far from me when I travel out of town, because even on MY vacations, I always take the time to champion for animals. The great thing about being an Animal Advocate is that a dedicated person can advocate from ANY place, you just have to make the time.

This Memorial Day, have FUN. Enjoy the sunshine, those cold glasses of iced tea on the deck, and special times with friends and family. And, while you’re at it, take a moment or two to enjoy your blessings during your long holiday weekend and remember those who aren’t as blessed. Then take that thought, and do something with it, to positively impact a four-legged someone who is quietly waiting in misery for a better life to come along.

Because they are out there, every day – even on Memorial Day.

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If You See It, Say It (from Janet)

Animal Advocacy Blog Animal Welfare janet Bovitz sandefur just-do-something.org“I couldn’t do what  you do, it’s too hard.’

“I wouldn’t want to think about something that makes me so sad”.

“Why bother, its just going to die anyway.”

“That’s gross.”

“Animals aren’t my thing”.

“It’s just an animal.”

Etc.

Personally, a person’s misguided opinion of my endeavors to help save or better life doesn’t impact me. I honestly don’t care if you want to help, or that you can’t see something my way, or that you don’t understand my passion, or that you can’t handle hearing about the things I see or do.  I’m going to do this no matter what you say, and I do.

But here’s something that does impact me – to the point of tears.

A story first.

I’m not feeling my best. I’m hot, I’m tired, and I don’t feel well. I am driving home from work and wondering if I will get home safely because I am slightly dizzy. But then I see him, or her. A tiny field mouse. In the middle of rush-hour traffic, at a four-way stop. Maybe no-one else sees him/her, or maybe they are in too much of a hurry to stop. But … I always – ALWAYS – stop. So, out of my car I go, waving cars to slow down, as I try to help this little mouse get off the road and onto the grassy side. You would think one small mouse running around on blacktop would be easy to corral into a simple direction – but it’s not. What makes it even harder is that my balance is off, so as the mouse is weaving all over the place, so am I. Nonetheless, fifteen – FIFTEEN – minutes later, I have successfully herded this little guy (or gal) to the side of the road, into a grassy patch away from the cars. I wait a little while to make sure that this mouse is not coming back into the road again.  As I am getting back into my car, a man pulls up beside me. He says, “you are one of the kindest people I have ever not met”. And then he thanks me for taking the time to help that little mouse out of the road.

I smile, and blow it off  with an “it’s nothing; I am always happy to help an animal in need”. But we both know, it IS something, and it’s wonderful and yeah, I am sort of kind like that.

And that’s when I get teary. Alone, in my car, kindness recognized by a complete stranger for me helping an animal in need. That is a day maker.

I still don’t feel well.  But yet, I feel terrific just the same.

When YOU see someone helping an animal in need, that’s a wonderful thing. We don’t NEED to hear it, but you will rock someone’s world just by saying thank you. So if YOU see it, say it. Give someone an unexpected day maker.

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Happy Mother’s Day! (From Janet)

Just-Do-Something.org Janet Bovitz Sandefur Animal Advocacy Animal Welfare

ALL sentient beings deserve kindness and compassion.  ALL. OF. THEM.

Today, and always, keep in mind ALL of the four-legged Moms that, because of humans, because of us:

  • Are forced to breed
  • Are kept in captivity
  • Are not given the opportunity to have their young by their side
  • Have lost their life before their young are grown
  • Have lost their freedom
  • Do not receive consideration or compassion
  • Are not provided basic care
  • Are forgotten
  • Are left outside
  • Are abandoned
  • Are starving
  • Are sick
  • Are doing their best to take care of their young, with so many roadblocks
  • Are dying, somewhere

Do what you can, when you can – it matters.

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

Before I was a Mom –
I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth every day.

Before I was a Mom 
I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom –
I had never been puked on – Pooped on – Spit on – Chewed on, or Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and My thoughts. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom –
I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests…or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom –
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life
so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom –
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom –
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

– author unknown

Look around you. Motherhood is everywhere.  Mom’s are amazing. Every Mom, no matter WHAT living, breathing Mom she is, deserves motherhood from start to finish.

Let’s start celebrating ALL Mom’s.

Happy Mother’s Day to those incredible women who went from before they were a Mom, to well, being a Mom.
We wouldn’t be here without you. xo

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Guest Blogger, Diedra Kirk – Verona Street Animal Society

The Many Ways to Help Animals in Need

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We often see posts and hear comments about how badly people feel about animals in unfortunate situations so we wanted to post some ideas of how you can get involved even with little time or money.

  1. Volunteer at the Shelter – Shelters always need extra hands to keep their temporary residents happy and healthy.  Consider volunteering even a couple hours per week to help with tasks around the shelter.  For example, you can volunteer to walk dogs, socialize cats, help out at an event, provide customer service or data entry, or even assist in the clinic.
  2. Fundraise – You can sign up to volunteer at an event already scheduled or create your own fundraiser and donate the proceeds.  Bake sales, garage sales, lemonade stands, can and bottle drives, and fitness challenges are all great ways to raise money that you can donate as a tax deductible gift.  You could also choose to have friends and family donate money to your fundraiser instead of birthday or anniversary gifts.
  3. Donate Goods – You can always give money; however, shelters usually have a wish list of items that are in short supply or not covered by operating budgets. They can be very inexpensive things that you may have in your home or can easily buy while doing your weekly errands.  While you are out shopping for your pet, you could pick up an extra box of milk bones, a Kong or even some laundry soap.
  4. Foster Pets – It is preferable to get a pet into a home as quickly as possible even if it is not going to be their forever home.  In a foster home, animals are more relaxed, less stressed and often benefit from the socialization and training a family can provide.  This extra care results in a more well behaved pet that will present better for potential adopters.
  5. Buy from Retailers that Support Shelters – There are stores and websites that will give a portion of your purchase to the shelter in the form of a donation.
  6. Follow us on Facebook & Twitter and share the posts with your friends and family. They may not be looking for a new pet but someone they know might be. It also helps spread the word for fundraising events like The Fast & The Furriest® Race & Pet Fest!

If you are interested in getting involved with a shelter in Rochester, New York, please contact us:

Verona Street Animal Society
P.O. Box 22874, Rochester, NY 14692
(585) 727-2533 

VSASinc@gmail.com

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About Verona Street Animal Society

The Verona Street Animal Society, Inc. (VSAS) is dedicated to providing the resources necessary to enable Rochester Animal Services to more effectively serve the public’s animal care and control, pet sterilization, and pet adoption interests and, in cooperation with the City of Rochester, to support the mission of Rochester Animal Services.

Rochester Animal Services (RAS) is a municipal animal care and control agency dedicated to improving the quality of life and safety for city residents and their animals, the promotion of responsible pet ownership, and the reduction of animal overpopulation to reduce animal suffering and euthanasia. RAS enforces all New York State and City of Rochester ordinances pertaining to animal control. RAS operates an animal shelter for stray, injured, and disowned animals that serves both as an adoption center and as a site for locating lost pets. RAS strives to provide the best possible care for every animal in its charge.

Diedra Kirk is a Board Member at Verona Street Animal Society and Volunteer at Rochester Animal Services. She graduated with a B.S. Degree from Cornell University and a MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology and has had a career in product and service marketing, social media and e-business.

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Thank you to our Guest Blogger

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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 eBird.org. 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.

 

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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.

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Happy New Year, This Easter (From Janet)

Just-Do-Something.org 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.

Just-Do-Something.org 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!

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