1 Chillin’ with the Reindeer
2 Window on Christmas
3 Gift from a Snowman
4 Christmas Eve With Santa
5 A Meowey Christmas Gift
6 Festival of Lights
7 Winter Welcome
8 On Santa’s Lap
9 Snowy Evening
10 The Best Gift of All
11 Angels on High
12 Festive Frame
13 Shiny Things
14 Christmas Robes
15 Sparkling Menorah
16 Candy Cane Lane
17 Follow the Star
18 Hello, Rudolph!
19 Holly Frame
20 Snow Globe
21 Naughty or Nice?
22 Checking His List
23 My Snowy Front Yard
24 Elf on the Shelf (Safely)
1 Be My Valentine
2 L’amour Toujours
4 Luv Meter
5 Carnival Fantasy
6 My Heart is Wherever You Are
7 King/Queen of Hearts
8 Love is in the Air
9 Rose Frame
10 Mardi Gras Crowns
11 Love is All Around
12 Dream Balcony
13 Heart Frame
14 Mardi Gras Frame
15 Flip Flops
16 Meet Me On Bourbon Street
17 Come Mardi Gras With Me
18 Mardi Gras 2022
19 Frame of Beads
20 Fleur de Lis
1 City on the Hill
2 Blue Woodland
3 Cool City Night
4 After the Blizzard
5 Sunrise on the Farm
6 Winter Vista
8 A Walk in the Park
9 Winter Night
11 Sledding with My Pal
12 Meet Me in the Hot Tub
13 2022 o’Clock
14 Snow Family
15 Handful of Luv
16 Time for a Hot Toddy
17 Think Superbowl!
18 Let’s Superbowl Party!
19 Cozy Toastin’
1 Rudolph’s Family
2 Holiday Tabletop
3 Gift From a Chilly Friend
4 Christmas Story
5 Gift From a Kitty
6 Hanukkah Lights
7 Cabin Buddy
8 On Santa’s Lap
9 Silent Night
10 Special Gift
11 Heavenly Host
12 Festive Frame
13 Shiny Things
14 Christmas Robes
15 Meet Me at the Menorah
16 Candy Cane Lane
17 Follow the Star
18 Hello Rudolph
19 Holly Frame
21 Naughty or Nice
22 Checking His List
23 Snowy Scene
24 Elf on the Shelf
Those of you who have been participating in our Fantasy Pet Photo Clinics at Benson’s in Pittsfield already know Erin O’Brien as the ever-smiling, ever-joking ever-competent photog and computer operator who turns even the most incorrigible pet model into an absolute work of art. One Sunday each month, Erin meets us at Benson’s ready to set up and shoot our fund-raising photos that draw folks from all over Berkshire County.
From our first meeting, Erin understood immediately what it was TASP was trying to accomplish with our mission to keep pets out of the local shelters through pet crisis intervention and mitigation. And by the time we handed her Zippy’s very first Fantasy photo, we were signing Erin up to be a TASP volunteer. Since then, TASP is stronger and so much better off for having Erin on our team.
But don’t take our word for it, take it from Erin: “
“I stumbled across a TASP photo clinic at the Pittsfield Benson’s a few years ago and was so impressed with how patient Steve was with my dogs and how friendly the gang working the clinic was, that I volunteered to help out at future events.
Before you know it I had learned a ton about PhotoShop, how to photograph wiggly dogs, and how to set up and tear down the photo clinic equipment. But more importantly, I had met some of the best people I’ve ever encountered in the TASP family of volunteers. You are all so dedicated, talented, and hardworking. I’m impressed at every event with how much everyone does for animals in their spare time and not-so-spare time…….And of course, I’ve gotten to know some of the cutest, nuttiest, and sweetest animals and their loving pet parents. The regulars at our events are the best for how supportive they are of TASP and it is obvious how much they love their fur babies.”
Not only is Erin a one-woman photo clinic, able to expertly handle every aspect of our process including setup, animal-handler, photographer, computer operator and admin; she is also an accomplished graphic artist with an absolutely joyful personalty that engages volunteers, pet owners and critters alike! Erin has been a volunteer with the outstanding Berkshire Humane Society for years and is a valuable resource to TASP and local residents who may need help navigating the animal welfare world on her side of the mountain.
A devoted pet mom and animal lover, Erin gives her whole self to her dogs: Gentleman Bud and Zippy the Wonderpup. And it’s clear they want nothing more than to be with their Mama, even when she’s not dressed up like one of them. Both dogs are so well trained by Erin they are even welcome at her workplace at Habitat for Humanity. Friends always look forward to seeing the latest facebook post from her about her dogs’ accomplishments and antics.
TASP’s appreciation for Erin just keeps on growing. Now that the COVID nightmare is under control in the Northeast, she’ll be managing our Fantasy Photo Events at local weddings, parties and other shindigs around her area. Stay tuned to our website and facebook page for more news about this expansion of our supporters’ favorite fund raiser that will earn more revenue for local pets in need.
Meantime, keep an eye out for Erin and her incredible smile in the Lenox-Pittsfield area. She’s the person every pet and every human wishes to be around……. and once you meet her, it’s a sure thing you’ll agree.
Thanks for clicking on this, our 6th issue of the TASP e-newsletter. We’re a little late getting this out to you for myriad reasons all relating to juggling volunteer activities amid jobs, families, aging pets and “The Invisible Enemy.” At this writing, Rich and I are in pseudo-isolation here on the farm, observing social distancing as much as is practical. The business I work for is considered essential so it’s off to work I go each weekday, with my mask dangling from my rearview mirror, ready to be donned at the least sign of an approaching human.
I count my blessings daily about my own health and the location of our home that is 20 minutes from civilization in any direction. Being farmers for so many years, we became accustomed long ago to stockpiling two weeks’ worth of groceries meds and staples in our basement; that’s what country people do. And having the privilege of just being able to let the dogs out into a safe, secure yard where we don’t have to worry about sharing a 6-foot radius with a stranger while leash walking is something we can’t possibly take for granted. Our hearts go out to all the folks with pets in the cities who have to share elevators and sidewalks to exercise their best friends. We know this piles stress upon stress right now.
Speaking of stress-upon-stress, I’ve been observing animals (my own and those of local owners in need) as they go to the vet clinics and hospitals these days and I recognize this is not an ideal situation for anyone concerned: pet/vet/guardian. For those of you who haven’t yet had to avail yourselves of a visit to the vet since February, here’s how social distancing at the vet’s office goes: you drive up to the building, text or call the vet front desk to announce your arrival, and then a gloved, gowned, masked vet tech comes out to take your pet from you. They carry or leash-walk the pet inside while you sit in your car and await a call from the vet who discusses diagnosis and treatment with you. Then you wait some more while that work is done, and then another call from the front desk to collect the fee via credit card over the phone. At last, the vet tech brings your freaked out pet back to your car and you drive them home, hoping that the pet will forgive you for what you just put them through.
It’s all necessary. But so many things can go sour throughout a process like this, it’s hard to list them all here. There’s the possibility of the pet falling or getting loose from its leash/collar during the walk to and from the vet’s building. There’s the possibility that the gowned, masked, gloved vet will misread the pet’s symptoms because that pet hadn’t previously ever seen a human dressed like this (usually they’re already under anesthesia by the time the prepped surgeon shows up) and is reacting with such stress that temperature, pulse and respiration, the benchmarks of all vet visits, aren’t even close to what they are back home. Even blood levels change in the presence of severe stress. And then there’s the possibility that the pet may be so stressed by this kind of management that they don’t trust you anymore when you offer the opportunity to go for a ride. Don’t think these things can happen? They are ALL things that have already happened to me and to pets I brought to various vets since the COVID-19 sci-fi movie started. Not every time, but enough that I think it’s important to mention it and suggest a way to make things a little easier on everyone.
So for starters, I suggest that as pet owners, we should all be working to desensitize our pets to the approach of a masked person. Hand the pet a treat, pull out the mask and let them smell it. Hand them another treat. Put the mask on and treat. Take the mask off and treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat. If you have different kinds of masks, do this with all of them. Then do it in different places…in the bedroom, in the car, outdoors, and so on. Keep associating your pet’s favorite things with the mask, gradually working up to the point where you can wear the mask in their presence without them emptying their bladder/colon and without them fleeing when you reach out to pick them up.
Social distancing mandates have impacted the way TASP does things, too. Our RPI volunteers have all had to leave the school indefinitely so we miss those young, enthusiastic faces and strong backs more than I can say. We had to shut down our monthly photo clinics that we always looked forward to as much as our supporters did. After about 10 years of these clinics, I personally had lost touch with the concept of being at home on a weekend instead of sitting at the computer at Benson’s or Pet Supplies Plus. In the tradition of improvisation, which is one of the things TASP prides ourselves in, we moved those clinics to the internet and are now emailing and mailing out photos to folks, instead of creating our art on the scene. So far so good with this approach, although it’s going to take some time to ramp up business. We are still hoping that once COVID-19 has become better understood, there will be a way for us to return with our computers, lights and cameras to the real world where people can see each other in person instead of on Zoom. Until then, take a look at the online photo clinics posted on our website and please consider sending us your orders and your comments and suggestions on how we can make the experience even better: http://www.theanimalsupportproject.com/tasp-fantasy-photos-the-fun-continues-online/
TASP also had to implement a new plan for meeting the needs of animals in our community. We used to visit homes as standard procedure for delivering supplies, investigating pet-owner’s needs and doing things like grooming, nail trims and first aid. Now, to protect our volunteers and the pet owners who need our help, we can’t go into homes, at least for now. We’re meeting up with people in parking lots and at the curb to drop off pet food and flea collars, shipping products via mail and UPS, and scoping out situations over our smartphone cameras. This approach is not what we like to do; being with animals and the people who love them is why we do what we do. But if anyone understands the value of safety, it’s The Animal Support Project. For now, this is the best way we can think of to keep supporting animals and their owners, especially through THIS tough time.
One of the most difficult things for me to say to all of you is, in 2020, thanks to COVID-19, TASP will probably not be able to meet or exceed the number of animals served last year. While we have the funds available, we are still helping qualified low-income folks with vet expenses. But with so many of our local fund raisers (photo clinics, tag sales, adoption clinics…..) being postponed or outright cancelled, TASP won’t see the same level of donations this year. Our first quarter financial review illustrated that very clearly and painfully to us. So we’re doing our best to stretch every dollar spent while still delivering the highest possible level of service to the local animals in our community. We’re making every effort to seek grants wherever we can find them to help fund the programs we already have established but alas, there are more grants available for shelters and rescues with paid staff than for all-volunteer outfits like ours who are keeping pets OUT of the shelters.
One program that we feel very strongly about is the Paws2Protect program. Through Paws2Protect, we provide free Seresto flea & tick collars to low income pet owners. We’re convinced this approach is the cheapest way for TASP to help animals and their owners avoid the costly consequences of flea and tick issues. Don’t get me wrong, these collars aren’t cheap by any means. But the cost of a Seresto collar is a whole lot less than the cost of a vet visit and treatment for things like Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, tapeworm or flea dermatitis. So with each collar we distribute, TASP saves approximately $150-$600, depending on the size and number of pets in the home. TASP just placed our order for 90 more of these collars for cats and dogs; so if you know someone in the Capital Region who earns under $30,000 annually and who needs a Seresto collar, please feel welcome to put them in touch with us. And if you know someone who wants to help sponsor this important work, please send them our way.
Personally, I’m looking forward to a time when COVID-19 is not turning everyone’s world inside-out. I’m fortunate to have a job and a home that is isolated by definition. But not everyone in my family can say this and I miss them as much as I’m sure y’all miss your friends and families. I thank God we have our pets to help us keep things in perspective, to remind us to live for the moment and to not let our worries get the best of us. Everyone at TASP is committed to keeping pets and people together in every way possible, using every tool we have available, even if a virus changes the way we do it. And if it takes setting up a kennel in a parking lot to hand out Seresto collars at a low income apartment complex and groom dogs outdoors then that’s what we’ll do. I just hope the animals aren’t too freaked out by my mask.
Life just keeps getting stranger and stranger, but one thing can still be counted on: TASP continues to keep the Fantasy Photo Fun flowing indefinitely! Until we can all get together in person, The Animal Support Project’s Fantasy Photo clinics are being updated monthly ONLINE! Now you can order your TASP Fantasy Photos ONLINE each month, at your convenience, in the comfort of your own foxhole……and know you’re continuing to help our community’s pets stay safe and healthy while you stay safe and healthy, too!
It’s easy to get a TASP Fantasy Photo emailed directly to your inbox and/or a print mailed to your home. Just send us an email at email@example.com that includes the following:
Choose your background(s). CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BACKGROUNDS.
Attach your own photo of your subject(s) taken against a plain background. If you have multiple subjects and want them to appear in the same photo, just send us a photo of each subject separately and we’ll combine them digitally. Already been to a TASP photo clinic in the past? We can look up previous photos of your subject(s) from our archives and use them to create this month’s photo.
Let us know how you’d like to receive your photo:
Emailed .jpg photo @ $10 donation
Mailed hard copy print @ $10 donation (Be sure to supply your mailing address).
Or get both for $15 donation!
Lucite® frame for mailed photos optional @ additional $5 (covers cost of frame and mailing)
*Please be sure your email includes a phone number where you can be reached in case we need to contact you.
TASP volunteers will create your special photo and email you an invoice when it’s ready. Payment can be made through Paypal, or you can just mail TASP a check. Finished photos will be sent out within 24 hours of payment received.
With so many challenges brought about by COVID-19 and local losses from rioting, more companion animals than ever need TASP’s help to stay safe and healthy. Bringing our friends and supporters this popular activity ONLINE at this time is our way of continuing to finance our mission, while hopefully creating some much-needed smiles. As always, all proceeds are spent on supporting our community’s most vulnerable companion animals. Thanks for caring!
Well, since our last issue talked about poop, for this issue, we thought we’d supplement that knowledge by exploring the topic of (ugh!) worms and other parasites. Yep, those gross little things that seem to grow for no apparent reason inside and outside of our pets can cause all sorts of complications. If you didn’t care about your pets, chances are you wouldn’t be reading this newsletter, so we want to make sure you have a full kit of information on pet parasites. It will help you better understand where they come from, what trouble they can cause if left untreated, and what the most common treatments are these days.
First of all, nasties like worms, giardia and fleas do NOT grow for no apparent reason. They grow because they were transferred to a host and that new host has a favorable environment in which to set up camp. Didn’t know your pet was so hospitable, did you? And depending on the type of parasite, the transmission and preferred environment can vary; so can the life cycle. There are lots of good articles out there that are written to explain this in detail. We’ll list links to some of our favorites here.
Please bear in mind some of these authors work for companies that sell parasite treatments. TASP isn’t endorsing any particular one and we aren’t suggesting that you necessarily deworm on a monthly basis as some of these articles recommend. Discuss the type and frequency of treatment with your vet; based on your pet’s age, condition and lifestyle, the vet will know how often and what kind of treatment should be administered.
The gold standard for reliable information about just about any condition in animals, including all forms of parasites is the VIN:
VCA Hospitals published two very straightforward articles about potential transmission of disease (some from parasites) between pets and their families:
Perhaps the most comprehensive of all websites dedicated purely to parasites in our pets is (imaginatively called) Pets & Parasites:
Little City Dogs sells reasonably priced dewormers, flea prevention and heartworm prevention. They also have some really cute blogs about some of the different kinds of worms:
Parasites may not be a pretty topic but arming ourselves with good information about them can make a real difference in the quality of life we and our pets can share. So let’s all become parasite warriors for our pets so they and we can live together in harmony .
I have permission from my close friend and staunch TASP supporter to tell y’all this story. As they used to say on Dragnet, “The names are changed to protect the innocent.”
Like so many others these days, my friend (we’ll call her, “Lucy,”) has been enthusiastically researching her genealogy through one of those DNA sampling kits that are so popular. Through her work, she’s discovered new branches in her family tree that she hadn’t previously known about. She’s made contact with some and developed new relationships, filling in gaps in the family history and discovering some remarkable similarities between these folks across the country and her immediate family: her son’s unusually curly hair is shared by her second cousin’s son. And her father’s remarkable smile is now being displayed on the face of another of these long-lost relatives. It’s been a fascinating journey for her, to say the least.
Recently, one of these new-to-Lucy cousins came from out of town to spend a day sharing family photos with her and to generally nurture the family bond. Lucy wanted everything to be perfect for this occasion. So for the week ahead, she planned the day’s menu and agenda like a true event organizer. Like any of us, she wanted her cousin to feel as comfortable and at-home with her and her family as possible on this inaugural visit.
To fully digest this story, you need to know that Lucy has a soft heart for animals. Her home is host to a wildchild scruffy-faced something-poo-mix puppy and two ancient small-breed dogs who are still thriving thanks to her investment in a steady supply of heart meds, bronchodilators and arthritis easers. And did I mention, there are also 10 or so cats living at Lucy’s home at any given time, of a range of ages from young adult to dottering senior; this one blind, that one unfriendly toward people; yet another so affectionate she can slide under a door like a hamster to join her humans when she wants to. Rumor has it, Lucy is a candidate for her own parking spot at her local vet’s office; she visits there a lot.
Anyway, in preparation for the much-anticipated visit from her distant cousin, Lucy determined that Simba, the giant blond male cat who is so antisocial/lazy, he spends most of his time lounging under the comforter on Lucy’s bed, needed special consideration. In addition to the endearing features already described, Simba’s distaste for humans (other than Lucy) causes him to defecate immediately any time a stranger enters his field of view. And because he is a mammoth cat, the gift he leaves any stranger is likewise mammoth and of a scent that can burn one’s eyelashes off. The cat has a reputation. Knowing this, Lucy powwowed with her family and came up with the perfect solution: Simba was securely ensconced in his favorite bedroom with his food, water AND litterbox for the duration of Cousin’s visit. Doors closed, Simba, tucked away in his little kingdom, could be spared the hubbub of the family reunion that was about to ensue downstairs. Yes, this was a perfect plan……..
Doorbell rings, Cousin arrives and is ushered into the formal parlor which is the hosting spot for Lucy’s most treasured guests. Snacks circulated, introductions exchanged, and out come the family photos that are appreciated by the family that had grown by one that afternoon. But only a small percentage into the family albums, EGAD! The security alarms are going off! Sirens shrieking, Lucy’s husband and son run to investigate while Lucy, not missing a beat in spite of the din, continues guiding Cousin through the pages of the photo albums, describing this relative and that one and sharing family memories. She has to raise her voice a bit to be heard above the alarm, but this is the only acknowledgement she will give to this disturbance in her perfectly planned day.
Turns out, according to Husband, it was the gas sensor that tripped off the sirens, but no indication that anything was malfunctioning in the HVAC system. Must have just been a fluke. Sirens are turned off and the home becomes normal again. The walk down memory lane continues in the formal parlor and more snacks are passed around now that everyone can hear each other again. But then…….
Youngest daughter walks to the back door with young wildchild dog, giving her the fresh-air break she needs. But if only that could have been all! Now, Daughter lets out a scream as she’s nearly run over by a line of firemen in full firefighting attire coming at her at speed from the home’s parking area, straight into the hallway and into the kitchen. Lights flashing, sirens wailing in the driveway, the young men are there in response to the alarm that apparently had not been cancelled at the security company’s central dispatch. “Gas leak! Everyone out,” shouts the Captain as he runs into the house.
While Lusy and Cousin continue this now VERY MEMORABLE trip down memory lane, Husband and Son explain to the firemen that all systems show no real gas incident. Firemen examine the system with them and agree this was not a gas leak incident……or was it?
Later, after all the firemen had gone home and somewhat-shaken Cousin had departed back to his, Lucy and Husband climbed the stairs to let Simba out of his exile, where they discovered: AHA! Not a gas leak, but certainly a gas incident!
Moral of this story: When situating your GI-challenged giant cat’s litter box for an impromptu lockdown, be sure not to place it too near the security system’s gas leak sensor.
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UPCOMING EVENTSMar3Sun12:00 pm Colonie Easter, St. Patrick’s Da... @ Benson's Pet CenterColonie Easter, St. Patrick’s Da... @ Benson's Pet CenterMar 3 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pmYou say you’ve never been to a TASP Fantasy Photo Fund Raiser before? Well, you don’t know what you and your best friend have been missing! Just a $10 donation yields a 4″x6″ framed keepsake[...]Mar9Sat12:00 pm Troy Easter, St. Patrick’s Day F... @ Pet Supplies PlusTroy Easter, St. Patrick’s Day F... @ Pet Supplies PlusMar 9 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pmYou say you’ve never been to a TASP Fantasy Photo Fund Raiser before? Well, you don’t know what you and your best friend have been missing! Just a $10 donation yields a 4″x6″ framed keepsake[...]Mar10Sun12:00 pm Pittsfield Easter, St. Patrick’s... @ Benson's Pet CenterPittsfield Easter, St. Patrick’s... @ Benson's Pet CenterMar 10 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pmYou say you’ve never been to a TASP Fantasy Photo Fund Raiser before? Well, you don’t know what you and your best friend have been missing! Just a $10 donation yields a 4″x6″ framed keepsake[...]
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PO Box 68
Cropseyville, NY 12052
- (518) 727-8591
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