Category: Newsletter 2

A Family Affair


Meet Marisa Adler, her Mom, Deb Williams, and Deb’s partner, Steve Bonnier. And while you’re at it, you might as well meet Aria, Echo and Mollie, because these dogs are a huge part of this wonderful family’s world. When you walk into their home, you can’t help but notice what a life-centric place it is. In addition to décor focused on Deb’s fetish (pinecones) there are family photos hung everywhere. In a side room, designer dog collars, sweaters and dresses…..a color-coordinated wardrode for each dog and each day, hang neatly, ready to be deployed. Deb’s latest crafts project may lie on the kitchen table awaiting the arrival of local friends who will join her for a day of crafting and one kid or another may be pouring a drink from the fridge or putting a load of laundry in the washer. It feels good to be here and everyone who enters, two-legged and four-legged, wants to stay.

This family is a powerhouse for TASP. Multitalented, all of them, they are an essential component of TASP’s daily operations. Need a nervous foster pet groomed? No worries, Deb runs Tub 64: her very own pet grooming salon in Waterford. Need to staff a Fantasy Pet Photo clinic? No worries, Steve can unpack, set up, shoot photos, tear down and transport the whole show. Deb is now an experienced Photoshop operator, cranking out beautiful pet photos at the computer bench and Marisa’s nursing training at Russell Sage College pays off when we need careful documenting of the sign-in and financial transactions for the photos. Marisa’s also an ace at getting a fussy dog to settle for that perfect pose, and Steve’s carpentry and mechanical experience are welcome on the photo set and at TASP’s storage facility, where tag sale items need refurbishing and the storage buildings need upkeep.




TASP is a Judgement Free Zone

Thanks for clicking open the second issue of Outside The Box. TASP has been busier than a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs since our first issue was published in early May.

As most of you know, we spend at least three weekends each month shooting photos of pets for donations; we also host the mother of all tag sales each Memorial Day weekend (and Labor Day weekend, too). When we weren’t busy with these fund raising activities, we were collecting and distributing donated goods, transporting animals, trimming nails, talking with vets, mentoring pet owners, building homes for animals, trapping cats for TNR, fostering critters whose people are in jail, in the hospital, and temporarily homeless, helping staff the biggest farm animal emergency shelter in The ASPCA’s history, and just generally trying to bridge the financial, logistical and cultural gaps that exist between humans, so animals don’t drop through those gaps.

In my last message in edition #1 of OTB, I told you about some national animal welfare organizations (The ASPCA and HSUS) who have dedicated significant resources toward more programs to help companion animals remain with their families. Just wanted to add one more: Best Friends now is promoting this same cause. I recently came across a video from the 2016 Best Friends conference that illustrates the outreach concept TASP operates under, better than I can say it:

When you have about an hour, please grab a snack and a cup of something, and watch this presentation on youtube; it’s another instance of the Nationals recognizing what you and TASP have known right along: keeping companion animals in loving homes is an efficient, humane way to protect at-risk pets. Consider this: your pet doesn’t care if your drapes match your sofa. They don’t care how much money you make. They don’t care who you voted for. They don’t even care if you’re a lousy housekeeper. What they care about is the love, attention and basic services they can count on you for. They TRUST you and they have FAITH in you. They renew your faith and respect in yourself (especially helpful at times when you aren’t getting a whole lot of that from anywhere else). And the poor as well as the affluent experience the desire to bond with and care for their animal companions.

Now consider this: pets aren’t homeless until they leave the home. With such a shortage of resources and places to put animals who may be loved but circumstantially at risk, why not, if it’s possible, improve those circumstances and make the animal’s own home their placement? It can actually cost a whole lot less than removing the animal from the home (The mean average of TASP expenditure per pet is typically under $200) and it is less traumatic for the pet. The owner becomes part of the solution and the animal remains where they are loved and content; everyone wins. This leaves shelters and traditional rescues with the space and resources necessary to better address the animals that truly need them.

As the presenters in the Best Friends video learned, animals can create bonds between people who would not normally connect. These volunteers were very honest about their expectations, their experiences working with people from a neighborhood they would normally avoid, and their feelings about how this all changed their own outlook on their fellow human. It’s clear these volunteers got as much from their outreach work as the people they served; both sides of the equation benefited. New relationships sprouted and people began honestly communicating and caring about each other when, under other circumstances, they might have been judging each other (inaccurately, I might add). TASP volunteers experience this alot and this edition’s featured project is one example of how, when we partner with pet owners and the community to save animals, everyone involved comes out a winner and the circle of friendship grows.

The Judgement Free Zone concept is one The Animal Support Project lives by and continues to encourage every day. I might not seem to have a single thing in common with another person, but if we both love and respect animals, then we have a point of agreement to launch from. And with THAT in common, the rest just falls into place.  Have YOU had an Animal-People experience like this that changed your life? How about  facebooking, twittering or instagramming TASP to tell us about your experience?

Thanks again for caring enough to opt into our newsletter. If you know someone else whom you think might enjoy this read, please use the link at the end of the newsletter to share it with them. Because we hate spam as much as you do, nobody can get this newsletter without a share or an opt-in. We at TASP wish all of you and those you love a very joyous holiday season and a healthy, productive 2017.


In Their Own Words – Feedback from the Field

Being all-volunteer, TASP is mostly made up of people who have full time jobs or school.  Even our volunteers who are retired have grandchildren to tend to. Usually, we all are so busy, we make time to get TASP projects completed, and time for our family and our own animals; but that rarely leaves time to tell anyone about what TASP is doing in the community. And to make things even more stealthy, a great deal of the people we serve don’t have access to a computer; so they aren’t able to write glowing reviews about TASP on the internet. But every once in awhile, we get a letter, a text message or an email that makes us stop and smile or cry (happy tears), and reminds us about why we’re doing what we’re doing for animals and their owners. Now that we have our e-newsletter up and running, we’re happy to have the opportunity to share some of these with you.

A text message from Wayne and his dog, “Steve:”

“….Just wanted to say again thank you for your help I don’t know what I would do without all you and the vets help and he is getting around 90 percent better has more energy just like he did before and I know he got great care and now he can sleep on couch again and rip up paper plates and towels all over house but hes back and I thank you with all my heart Im keeping your number god bless….Wayne and Steve”



An email from Rose, daughter, Kimba, and their cat, “Lincoln:”

“…… I can’t begin to tell you how much difference this will make in our lives. Lincoln will get his much-needed surgery plus the dental.  We……..were afraid that we were not going to be able to save up in enough time to that care of his problem. We found Lincoln along with his sister Holly 8 years ago, at the age of 8 months, struggling to survive under a porch on pieces of bread, cereal and milk someone was giving them because they had nothing more. I took them in, had them vetted and tried to find homes for them. No one wanted black teen cats that were not so friendly at the time. We decided we would keep them in spite of not having much means to care for them when things like this occur. We are forever grateful …… Again, thank you!”

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Say Hello to Our Growing List of Business Partners

High Fives…….

… the wonderful businesses in the Capital Region who prove they care by partnering with TASP:

Animal House Dog Grooming

Aquaduct Veterinary Hospital

Benson’s Pet Centers

Bloomingrove Veterinary Hospital

Borador Animal Hospital

Brunswick Agway

Brunswick Animal Hospital

Canoe Associates Insurance Agency

Catskill Animal Hospital

Cobleskill Vet Hospital

Conceptual Images


Crawmer’s Animal Training

Curtis Lumber

General Electric

Healthy Pet

Hoof n’ Paw Vet Services

Hoosic Veterinary Hospital

Infinity Pet Services

In The Comfort of Home

Karen L. Marbot, Attorney at Law

Kat’s Bed n’ Biskit

LaFave, Wein and Frament, PLLC

Latham Animal Hospital


Oakwood Veterinary Clinic

Pet Supplies Plus

Quest Plumbing


Riverside Vet Hospital

Schoharie Vet Hospital

Schopf Law

Shamrock Grooming and Dog Day Care


The Animal Hospital

Tub 64 Pet Grooming

Union Street Veterinary Hospital

Upstate Veterinary Specialties

VCA Brown Animal Hospital

West Mountain Animal Hospital

Wiley Brothers Hardware & Building Supply

WLR Embroidery

Please consider giving them your business in return for their commitment to TASP’s mission.


With a Little Help From His Friends……..

Ed has always been the guy in his neighborhood that everyone brought animals to. Need a place to stash your pet while you’re in rehab? Give it to Ed. Can’t deal with that crazy puppy anymore? Give it to Ed. Moving to an apartment and can’t take a pet with you? Ed will take it.

Animals have been a part of Ed’s life for as long as he can remember; at age 84, that’s a lot of remembering. He and his wife lived a modest life on a little piece of land on a back road not far from here. They ran their own business out of their mobile home and lived a relatively simple but contented existence. They were genuinely kind people; they never turned away a visitor; two-legged or four-legged.

When the wife died of cancer, life became much harder and lonelier for Ed. Their animals, mostly dogs and cats, filled the empty space that remained. They became the primary companions for this elderly man who carried food and water to them each day, neglecting his own needs to make sure they had enough to eat. But as time marches on, our bodies become more frail and our stamina isn’t what it used to be. Our animals age, too. They need more care, more amenities, and more attention. Tasks that once took just a few minutes can take much longer when we’re older. And it seems like everything breaks down around us. Facing this alone can be absolutely overwhelming, and for a proud, independent man like Ed, it’s hard to admit defeat.

Debbie met Ed when she approached him about spaying his cats. Unable to run the business anymore and living on a small monthly social security check, Ed had eventually found it impossible to offer veterinary care to any of his own animals, let alone the stray cats who seemed to materialize out of nowhere and multiply out of control. Once he was sure Deb wasn’t there to judge or condemn him, the old man was happy to accept her help.

Deb and Leona methodically and religiously showed up at Ed’s place several times each month with traps, bait and blankets; trapping and transporting, bringing the spayed and vaccinated feral adults back for release while adopting out the kittens who were still friendly enough to find adoption. They brought food and houses and straw for bedding. And gradually, the population stabilized. Now, sleek, healthy cats lounge peacefully in the sun outside Ed’s mobile home. And the kittens are all growing up socialized with loving families of their own.

During this process, trust and friendship between Ed and these two TASP volunteers grew and a bond was created. Soon it would be time for Deb and Leona to introduce Ed to some more TASP volunteers so the living condition of his dogs could be improved. Over the months that these ladies had been doing the Trap Neuter Return (TNR) of the cats, other TASP volunteers, Win, Tim, Michelene, Mitch and a group of outstanding young men from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Acacia Fraternity, were building five large insulated dog houses at a property in Pittstown. Donated kennel panels were being stockpiled and prepared. These would be the new homes designed for the 5 dogs currently living chained to aging coops in the tall weeds at Ed’s place.

Flash forward to November 4. TASP volunteers pull into Ed’s driveway to deliver the kennel panels and to meet with Ed about where to place the new homes. It was decided that arranging the kennels across the long side of the mobile home would allow for the most space and the easiest access for the old man who would be tending to these equally old dogs. On the following day, Ed and his son worked shoulder to shoulder with 8 TASP volunteers to clear the site, distribute the new houses and erect the kennels. All the while, curious neighbors came to witness the event. One even cried for joy at the change that occurred that day for animals AND people.

While we were there, all of us saw for ourselves how much Ed truly loves these animals and how much they truly love and trust him. Aged and not accustomed to a lot of company, the dogs would not have stood much chance as shelter pets. “Unadoptable,” would be the term used to describe them. But with Ed, they were friends and equals; they got the best care Ed could afford to give them.

As they entered the kennels in pairs, with their side by side houses, the dogs reacted to the new living arrangements with 100% approval.  The old coon hounds climbed right up into the straw in their houses and started arranging their nests. The two Chow sisters frolicked together and rolled in the grass outside their houses, finally able to play like regular dogs instead of gazing at each other, chained, from across the yard. The big red Chow male who preferred to have his own kennel in the middle smiled gratefully outside his new house, glancing with approval at the Chow girls and the old hounds who were now his next-door neighbors.

All the time we were working at Ed’s he kept coming over and trying to give us things: a screwdriver he wanted us to have, a 2017 calendar sporting photos of puppies and kittens, an extra set of wrenches he said he couldn’t use. He wanted so badly to do something for us because he valued so deeply what we were doing for him. As we were leaving, he touched my arm and said, “I love you all, now and forever.”

We now have a NEW TASP Volunteer, Ed’s son! He was so impressed by what TASP does that he wants to be a part of this kind of animal welfare work. We visit Ed now and then to drop off donated food and to chat with the old man. When the time comes, Ed will return the kennels and houses to TASP so they can be rehabbed and reused for the next needy dogs. But for now, he and his dogs are welcome to these gifts. And life is good at Ed’s place these days.

Ready to see the video? Click here to view.


Make Mine a Double! Charlie’s Story


Charlie’s Story

OK, so I’m old! Let’s get that on the table right now. And by the way, I’m BIG, too. So let’s just face those realities and move on from there, ok?


My name’s Charlie. I’m a purebred St. Bernard who’s lived most all my 12 years with a family who took me from a bad situation. When I was a youngster, they also adopted this guy, Copper. He’s a purebred Coon Hound from down south, a refugee from Hurricane Katrina. When Copper showed up on the scene, at first I thought maybe it wouldn’t work out….both of us bein’ big male dogs, eh? But ya know what? Copper’s been like a brother to me from the start and now, you couldn’t part us with a butterknife.

Neither of us thought we’d ever be in the position we’re in right now. After all these years, our family is gonna up and move to MEXICO! Do you know any St. Bernards who want to go to freakin’ Mexico? Our family’s solution to the dilemma about what to do with two big senior dogs was classic. They posted us on Craigslist and agreed if nobody offered us a home, they’d euthanize both of us before they left the country. This was not an option Copper and I really wanted to pursue, but heck, the family’s got the keys to the house and all the food, so they get to call the shots.

I’m not super-religious, but I’ll say one thing: there MUST be a God of some kind out there, because PAWS and The Animal Support Project came to our rescue and put us in foster care. They’re gonna see if they can find Copper and me a new home in the country where we can live out our senior years with dignity….together!

I know it aint gonna be easy; we’re both big-boned, ya know. And neither of us is a pup anymore. But we’re healthy and fit for our ages (I’m 12 and Copper’s 11).  We’re vaccinated, neutered, microchipped and friendly as heck with everyone. Most folks who meet us want to give us a hug. I hand out tissues with my hugs, cuz like all Saints, I drool a little.

Will ya do us a favor por favor (as they say in Mexico)? Will ya spread the word among your country friends that Copper and me are lookin’ for a job that pays with room and board? We make great watchdogs, welcoming committee, floor-warmers, and ice-breakers. We’ll clean up the kitchen scraps (no onions, please) and watch after the house while you’re away. And we’ll never ever move away and leave ya.  Call 518-727-8591 or CLICK HERE to download an application.




Make Mine a Double! Copper’s Story


Copper’s Story:

Howdy! The name’s Copper. And 10 years ago, I came north from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Back then, I was a handsome young buck of a purebred Coon Hound; just a year old an’ all full of myself. I lived till now with my family in the country, outside of Troy, NY. That’s where I met my pal, Charlie. I gotta tell ya, Charlie taught me everything about how to be a good dog. He’s been my best friend and mentor all these years. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

Now, I guess you could say Charlie and me are entering the “Sunset Years.” We take it pretty easy these days; most of our fiestas are really siestas, if ya know what I mean.  We spend most of the time lying outdoors, watching the squirrels make fools of themselves when weather’s nice or snoozing in our beds in the basement when the weather turns sour. Now and then I still like to go out to the woods and howl a bit, just to let the foxes and coyotes know where the property line is.

If it weren’t for the fact that my family’s moving out of the country, you probably wouldn’t even be hearing from us. But yeah, that’s right. The family’s moving to Mexico and they said if Craigslist couldn’t find us a new home, they’d put me and Charlie to sleep permanently. Lucky for us guys, a volunteer from The Animal Support Project saw our posting and brought us to foster care. TASP joined with PAWS (Pioneers in Animal Welfare – they’re old friends with TASP from the Katrina days) to work together on our case.

Things here in foster care are fine; the foster-folks are real nice and the food’s good. But I gotta tell ya, if me and Charlie could have our wish, it would be for a little more space and a few less dogs. Not that we’re complainin,’ but somebody asked what we dream of, so I’m just lettin’ ya know.

We’re both pretty healthy. Been vaccinated, microchipped and neutered. I’ve got a fatty tumor under my neck, but it don’t bother me and heck, don’t every old guy have a lump or a bump somewhere? At least mine’s harmless. And aside from a little stiffness in the morning, we’re plenty fit from all the years of livin’ out in the fresh air and getting’ lots of exercise.

Do ya think you have room for a couple of old farm boys like us, or if not, do ya know someone who has room for a couple of big lawn ornaments? If ya call, maybe we could talk it over. 518-727-8591. Or you can download an application right now if you CLICK HERE.

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Resources to Remember



Vet Sci 101 – Winter Safety for Pets

Vet Science 101 – Winter Safety for Pets

Now that winter is on its way, there are different dangers that our pets may be exposed to, such as frigid temperatures, ice melt and antifreeze.  In this edition of Vet Science 101, we will discuss these wintertime dangers, symptoms of exposure, and what to do if your pet encounters one of these situations.


Extremely cold temperatures can cause serious problems for animals that are outside for even short periods of time. Most pets are not bred to withstand temperatures below freezing (32 degrees F). People mistakenly think that their pet is not affected by the cold because they have a fur coat, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Cats and dogs can suffer, and even die from hypothermia.

Hypothermia occurs when an animal’s internal temperature becomes too low for the body to function normally. It can affect all animals but those who are wet, small, elderly, young, or outside with no shelter are most affected.  Symptoms of hypothermia include:


  • Severe lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased responsiveness
  • Low body temperature (on average below 98 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Discoloration of skin – especially red or blackened extremities
  • Pale or white gums


Hypothermia is a medical emergency and you should seek immediate veterinary attention if you find an animal with these symptoms.


However, if for some reason it is absolutely necessary for your pet to be outdoors for an extended period of time in cold weather, make sure your pet has access to the following at all times:

  • Shelter with draft-proof walls and good bedding such as straw or cedar
  • Fresh water that has not frozen
  • Ample quantities of fresh food (exposure to the cold increases the body’s need for fuel and calories)
  • Blankets and/or coats


Antifreeze and ice melt


Antifreeze is an extremely dangerous winter toxin.  Pets are attracted to the odor and taste of it. Ingestion of antifreeze can cause acute, fatal kidney failure. Be sure to clean up any antifreeze spills that may result when adding or changing the antifreeze in your car and make sure antifreeze is in sealed containers that are out of reach of children and pets. If your pet does ingest antifreeze, seek immediate veterinary attention.


While ice melt is not toxic in small amounts, these salt-based products can cause irritation to your pet’s mouth and skin. They can also cause serious stomach issues if large volumes are ingested. The possibility also exists for sodium toxicity and hyperkalemia if an animal eats large quantities. If possible, purchase ice melt that is pet-friendly to use at home. If your pet is exposed to ice melt during walks on streets and sidewalks, or even at home, wipe off your pet’s paws with a warm, damp cloth to prevent licking and ingestion.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is a guide only. It does not substitute for professional veterinary advice. Please contact your local veterinary clinic or emergency veterinary hospital for consultations for medical conditions. Please do not attempt diagnosis or treatment of conditions by yourself.


Tip of the Quarter – Doggie Howlzer says, “Holidays present dangers to pets.”

Every holiday season, your home is sure to be filled with fun and holiday cheer. It is a time for celebration with friends and family, and that often includes our four legged friends. It’s important to consider your pet’s safety when decorating and preparing holiday meals. Here is a list of cautions to keep in mind when living or visiting with cats and dogs.


While it may be tempting to feed your pets trimmings and scraps (even I, the good doctor, have been known to beg for a turkey leg!), please resist for the sake of your pet’s health. There are two groups of food to avoid feeding your pet. One is toxic foods which require an immediate visit to the veterinarian.

The other group is high-fat foods which can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and can affect both dogs and cats.

Toxic Foods

  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute found in gum and candies) can cause death in even the smallest amounts
  • Raisins, grapes – can cause kidney failure and even death
  • Uncooked bread dough
  • Onions
  • Certain spices/oils – (sage)
  • Chocolate (dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate)
  • Avocado (seed only)

High Fat Foods

  • Turkey (dark meat)
  • Buttery/Fried Dishes
  • Stuffing (if cooked with butter or whole milk)
  • Gravy
  • Casseroles (depending on the fat content)
  • Certain Desserts

Holiday Plants

Holiday plants may be mistaken for food by our pets. Side effects include gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as more life-threatening conditions. Be especially cautious of the following if you choose to display these plant species  in your home:

  • Lilies (all varieties, including Easter Lily and Amaryllis): these can cause acute renal (kidney) failure in our feline friends. It is very important if your cat eats any type of Lily plant that you seek immediate veterinary care.
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettias
  • Holly
  • Pine tree needles and sap
  • Christmas Cactus

CLICK HERE to see The ASPCA’s  list of the Top 5 Holiday Toxins for Pets.


Many pets find holiday decorations very appealing. However, this can lead to various types of injuries.

  • Ornaments: Pets may think these are toys and ingest (eat) them and/ or choke on them. Glass ornaments can cause cuts on paws and to the mouth and digestive tract, if swallowed. They can also get stuck in the GI tract and need surgical removal.
  • Tinsel/Ribbon/Garland/Wrapping Paper: Pets often find tinsel and ribbon quite intriguing. This is especially true for cats. If ingested, any of these items can get trapped in the intestines. This requires immediate veterinary attention and can be life threatening if not addressed.
  • Potpourri: The festive scent can entice pets to investigate. Make sure containers are covered or not accessible. If ingested, potpourri can cause GI upset (vomiting and diarrhea).
  • Christmas tree water: Many pets love to drink the water in the tree stand. Be cautious if you use chemicals in the water to preserve the life of your tree as these can be harmful to your pets.

Lights/Candles/Electrical Cords

The glow of lights and candles add a warm touch to dark, wintry nights. Our furry friends, however, may see things differently.

  • Candles or Fireplaces: Any type of flame candle or fire can cause a burn risk to our furry friends.
  • Wires/Electrical Cords: Pets may think lights or cords are toys. They may chew them and experience an electrical shock (which can be life-threatening), or create a fire risk.
  • Presents: Some holiday gifts may contain small parts, batteries, or buttons that can be hazardous if swallowed.

With careful planning and preparation, the holidays can be fun, festive, and safe for all…and to all a good night!

Doggie Howlser, M.Dog