Greyhounds make such wonderful animal companions: They’re often referred to as “couch potatoes” due to their laid-back style, and these nonaggressive, gentle animals require minimal grooming. So what better time to consider bringing a greyhound into your home than in April, National Greyhound Adoption Month?
But even if you’re not ready to add one to your family, there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate and support greyhounds this month. You can:
1. Be an advocate. We all know that the racing of greyhounds is inhumane, with dogs often spending 20 hours a day in tiny cages—and yet the “sport” continues actively in six states. Meanwhile, in five additional states, tracks have closed but legislators have yet to enact a prohibitory statute. Kansas, for one, is working toward reopening a greyhound racing track that closed in 2008, via bill HB 2180! Talk about going backward. If you live in Kansas, call your state senator to denounce the bill, which has been adjourned until April 27.
Internationally, the Australian government allows the export of greyhounds to Macau, China, where racing dogs ultimately live in inhumane conditions and are euthanized if they don’t place third or better after five consecutive races.
Social media is a great place to help. This site shows you how you can use your Facebook and Twitter feeds to help save racing dogs (including this cutie named Brooklyn, who ended up in China). To end greyhound racing in the U.S., sign this Change.org petition.
3. Donate time or supplies to nonprofits that support greyhounds. Whether it’s taking these dogs for walks, fostering, offering meditation or Reiki, or dropping off gifts (such as laundry detergent, pet store gift cards, blankets or flea control), do what you can to assist your local rescue (and their dogs).
Need more inspiration regarding the pure wonderfulness that is greyhounds? Consider this: In addition to J.K. Rowling, Leona Lewis and Tea Leoni are just a few of the many celebrities who’ve adopted a greyhound into their home.
On a parting note, I found these pictures of gorgeous greyhounds online, posted by the people who adore them. Sometimes I wish I could have a greyhound, too!
Dogs from shelters aren’t usually the first choice when it comes to organizations looking to train service dogs. But I hope one day that can change: Nearly 4 million dogs are euthanized in shelters every year, and many of those are breeds best known for making wonderful service animals—golden retrievers, labs, German shepherds and the like. (But did you know pit bulls and “mutts” make great service dogs, too?) Here’s another factor worth mentioning: Dogs rescued from shelters know what it means firsthand to be abused and neglected, easing that connection with people in need who have found themselves in similar life circumstances.
As animal lovers know, companion animals often surprise us; they melt hearts, break barriers and make miracles. And as you’ll see, the following dogs do just that. Read on to see how these seven smart canines went from shelter dog to service dog—and now dedicate their lives to making this world a better place.
It’s a new year—which means an opportunity for new beginnings. You may have put a lot of thought into your own personal resolutions this year, like exercise more or eat less chocolate (that is definitely not one of mine!). But there are also so many ways we can all make small changes to help the world’s animals. Looking for some ideas? Here are 10 smart resolutions sure to help the animals of this world throughout 2016:
1. Support a new animal charity. You probably volunteer and send money to the same charities year after year. But new ones pop up all the time, and plenty exist out there that you’ve never even heard of—and even small individual donations can be a huge help. Spend a morning researching options and see what you find. Perhaps there’s a nonprofit in your community or a neighboring one you didn’t know about before. Or perhaps it’s a national or international charity that works hard on the causes close to your heart. So in addition to the ones you already support, choose one new favorite and map out easy and simple ways you can help out this year. By the way, do you know about my favorite charity, nearest and dearest to my heart, the Shelter Animal Reiki Association?
Did you know that today is National Black Dog Day? It’s true! Today is a day to celebrate all of the wonderful black dogs that have touched our hearts—and all of the black dogs in shelters still waiting for their forever homes.
Historically, black dogs (and black animals in general) have been stigmatized by society—they are often less likely to be adopted and the first to be euthanized in overcrowded shelters. The phenomenon even has a name: black dog syndrome. But we can change things!
According to the National Black Dog Day website, this special day was founded by lifestyle expert and pet maven Colleen Paige to create public awareness, encourage everyone to adopt a black dog from a shelter, and “show the world how much light they have inside and out!”
She’s right: They truly do shine love and light into the world and onto their favorite humans. Just last week, I was saddened to hear that Midnight Cali—the beautiful, intelligent, quirky, loving and gentle black Labrador retriever my parents adopted in 2002—had been taken by the angels at age 16 after a brave fight against the ailments of old age.
Cali with my daughter, Indigo
Black dogs are shiny! And Cali was no exception.
Cali swimming high in the Sierras at Huntington Lake
Cali loved the beach, too!
Sweet Cali in her golden years
Cali began her life as a service dog, but my parents gave her a second chance at life and a new home after she retired at age 3. She loved chasing balls, traveling to new places (especially to the beach!), swimming, taking walks with my dad, eating treats and sharing long cuddles on the couch. Most of all, she loved people and remembered everyone, even those she didn’t see often. She was always kind and gentle to my daughter Indigo, even as a toddler—and then again with my little nephew, when she visited him and his family in Southern California for Christmas. Just 9 months old at the time, he would try to crawl into her bed, but she was happy to let him in, nudging him with her wet nose and offering tail wags. Cali, we all miss you so much!
So if you’re thinking of bringing home a new furry member of the family today (or another day soon), think about visiting your local animal rescue and choosing a black doggie. Their hearts are just as big and bright! And in case you need even more convincing, check out these 10 reasons black dogs are the coolest. I kind of have to agree. Happy National Black Dog Day!
Do you have a special black dog who has touched your heart? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
I just got back from our 2015 SARA retreat at the gorgeous Ratna Ling Retreat Center; what a wonderful, inspiring and relaxing time! We offered on-site daily yoga classes to our participants … but wow, did I miss my dog Mystic! If only there were some way to combine yoga and dogs.
Well, of course there is! You may have even heard of the trend, called “doga,” which has been rising in popularity in recent years (and gives new meaning to the term Downward-Facing Dog). Doga just makes sense: As I’ve learned in my animal Reiki practice, animals are very spiritual creatures and the best meditation partners. They also love to accompany their beloved human everywhere and get extra attention any way they can, whether it’s walking on the beach, sitting under a tree or even doing yoga!
Depending on your dog’s personality (and size), doga can be an amazing way to strengthen your bond with them, relax together and practice mindfulness. Though there are many doga poses, one of the most common, according to Today.com, is the Chaturanga, where your dog lies on his or her stomach while you pet their back.
And because we can’t forget about cats, it’s worth noting that this Illinois yoga studio recently had the genius idea of bringing six shelter cats into a yoga class. It’s not only relaxing for the animals (and humans), but also helps boost awareness for the shelter and increase adoption rates at the same time.
I can’t tell if this video is serious or not, but here’s an interesting (and very cool!) demonstration of doing yoga with your cats (the cats definitely don’t seem to mind):
What do you think of doga (or cat yoga)? Have you tried it?