Tag: cat

Grrrrrrreat Reads – Not Just For 1st Time Adopters

 

It is exciting to find so many good books about pet adoption on the market. Those of us who live with adopted pets know how much they mean to a family.

 

If you have ever opened your heart to an older pet, here’s a book you’ll want to check out:

 According to William Hageman, Reporter for the Chicago Tribune,  “If you read My Old Dog: Rescued Pets With Remarkable Second Acts (New World Library) and don’t want to run out to a shelter and rescue a senior pet, you have a heart of flint.”  The book, written by Laura T. Coffey and photographed by Lori Fusaro, champions a sometimes-forgotten segment of the animal shelter population.  It contains some truly beautiful photographs of senior dogs and a very nice resource section for folks who make older dogs a part of their life. http://www.myolddogbook.com/

 

 

Perhaps the writer of My Old Dog will follow up with an equally well-built version about senior cats? Let’s hope so. In the meantime, we have an excellent book available now, offering the latest information on Senior Cat Care. Written by Susan Easterly, Your Older Cat – A Complete Guide to Nutrition, Natural Remedies and Veterinary Care is a veritable Bible of good information for anyone whose cat is reaching its sunset years. With easy to follow tables, resource lists and helpful hints, this book will help any reader get a grip on old-cat topics like the aging process, preventive care, natural healing options, chronic diseases and senior cat nutrition. The suggested reading list is most helpful and the photos are just beautiful.

 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s an excellent book on how to raise a great puppy written by Dr. Sophia Yin. Dr. Yin died a few years back, but she left behind her a tremendous wealth of writings about positive methods in pet training based on the latest research. Being a veterinarian, Dr. Yin also tempers her writings with the physical drivers behind behavior. Illustrated profusely with photos and drawings that are easy to interpret, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days – How to Start Your Puppy Off Right not only can help someone raising a puppy to do it right. It also can help the owner of a young dog understand the reasons behind behaviors they may be seeing in their pet, and how they can best modify those behaviors without ruining the dog.

 

Since we like to be even handed in our reviews, we owe it to the felines and their families to mention an equally interesting and well-designed how-to book about cats by Pam Johnson-Bennett: Think Like A Cat – How To Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat – Not a Sour Puss  From how to choose a new cat or kitten to how to kitten-proof a home to how to help your vet diagnose your cat’s ailments, this book is the one cat owners will turn to again and again over the lifetime of their cat. There’s some exceptional material in here about how to not only train a cat, but how to modify and even eliminate undesirable behaviors your cat may have developed. Personally we might have liked to have seen a few more illustrations in this book to break up the text a bit and help the more visual learners in our midst to get the message; but with so much valuable information in this book, we can forgive the lack of images and appreciate the treasure between its covers.


Legislative Corner – What is Animal Cruelty?

TASP gets our share of calls from folks concerned about this or that animal’s welfare in their neighborhood. Whether it’s a neighbor’s dog tied out in weather extremes, or dairy heifers with hip bones protruding in springtime, it’s commendable that people care enough about animals to seek help on their behalf. Sometimes what they’re seeing is actually not cruelty, according to NY State law, and sometimes it is. In the previous TASP newsletter, we talked about how to make change happen at the federal level. I thought it might be a good idea to take it back a notch and talk about state level matters, especially concerning animal cruelty.

When the topic of animal cruelty comes up, sometimes I lose a friend when I explain what TASP can and can’t do, legally. After all, TASP is not the official Animal Control officer for any jurisdiction. We’re educated in Animal Law so we can recognize it when we see it and share information on the topic with concerned members of the public. We’re glad to communicate what we’ve learned to enlighten others, but we don’t have the authority to remove animals from premises without the permission of the animal’s owner or of law enforcement officials responsible for the location where the suspected cruelty is taking place. We also don’t have the legal authority to demand that law enforcement remove an animal from its owner, even when cruelty is suspected. And we can’t legally represent you to law enforcement and make a formal complaint on your behalf about something you’ve witnessed and we haven’t.  All we can do is what YOU can do if you suspect animal cruelty:

Look carefully at the big and small picture and compare what you see to Article 26 of the NY State Agriculture and Markets Law. Remember, not everything that looks like cruelty is legally cruel under our existing laws. In this state, animals are still considered the property of their owners, just like a car or a ladder. Companion animals have a bit more protection under Article 26, but even at that, the protections are in some cases vaguely worded and up to the interpretation of officers, attorneys and judges.

Not all cruelty or neglect is intentional and not all cases of neglect are considered by law enforcement to be prudent to prosecute, from a resource-availability perspective. An elderly pet owner who isn’t able to trim their pet’s nails or whose dog/cat’s fur is matted isn’t necessarily intending to hurt their pet. On the contrary, they may be distressed, embarrassed and/or ashamed that they aren’t able financially or physically to keep up with the animal’s care. It may be their only companion and so they may be reluctant to let it go. There may be no relatives or neighbors nearby who can/will help them with the tasks, or they may not understand the physical discomfort that long nails or matted fur can cause an animal.  The owner’s arthritis, poor eyesight, lack of resources or the onset of their or their loved one’s illness may also be legitimate reasons for a lapse in a pet’s care. Swooping in to judge/accuse/publicly shame the owner in such cases without knowing the backstory adds to the tragedy instead of helping overcome the issue for the long term. Those are the cases where TASP might be able to help by paying for grooming or vetting for that pet. Or, if the situation is a sinking ship, TASP may even offer to help the owner place the pet in a more secure home so the owner can move on to assisted living. But before you set us on that pet owner, why not drop by with a cup of coffee, a little tray of cookies or some animal-related trinket that shows you care, so you can get acquainted and learn more about why your neighbor’s animal looks the way it does and how we outsiders might be trusted as worthy to help?

I actually had a very nice lady call me once with great concern about abused dairy cattle on a farm near where she lived. It was spring and she said she was seeing the female cattle standing outside with hip bones protruding. She said they looked starved and were all muddy and she was sure they were being horribly neglected. She didn’t stop in to talk with the farmer and she didn’t research on the internet to learn more about how to judge a cow’s body condition score. She just drove past the farm day after day on her way to and from work and with each pass, she got herself more and more worried about these poor cows. When she called me to talk about it, I assured her I would take a look, but that these cows were probably fine, given it was calving season. I gave her a brief rundown in what makes cows look the way they do so she could understand why what she was seeing might be expected at this time of year. And when I drove over to take a peek, my hunch was confirmed; there was no shortage of food available to those cows and they were happily chewing cud when I got there. This lady was a very well meaning person unfamiliar with dairy farming. She was judging the appearance of these cattle against the condition of her pet dog and saw a disturbing contrast. But those familiar with dairy farming will tell you the cow’s physical structure is far different from any dog’s (let’s start with just the number of stomachs for an example) and a heifer’s body condition fluctuates with the time of year and her calving/lactating cycle. As it turns out, these cows were in fine condition; they had just been calving and that takes alot out of the system so the Moms all naturally looked a little droopy around the hip bones at that time.  There was no law broken here.

So here’s a test for you…. a couple of photos of a suffering dog. Is it a case of animal cruelty/criminal neglect?

 

 

 

 

Answer: Not. This dog had a loving owner who spent thousands of dollars in her attempt to overcome her dog’s allergies. She trusted her veterinarian to diagnose and treat this dog, but unfortunately, this particular vet was having difficulty getting a grip on the case. The stack of invoices and reports in this little guy’s vet history attested to a year’s worth of repeated trips to the vet, each time with a new proposed treatment that was supposed to stop the tormenting itch. By this time, the dog had ulcers from too many steroids, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection from too may antibiotics and he was half his normal weight. At the recommendation of her vet, his owner was about to euthanize the 2 year old West Highland Terrier when she reached out to her coworker who reached out to TASP.  We had the dog properly diagnosed and treated by another vet with more experience in helping animals with severe allergies. The dog’s Mom gratefully surrendered him to TASP because she didn’t feel equipped to deal with the care he would need going forward. He’ll always need allergy shots and carefully controlled diet and environment, but here’s a recent photo of Spencer …..he actually needs regular haircuts now!

If we pass judgement just by what we see without digging deeper to obtain more context, we can deceive  ourselves. But let’s say you did your homework. You’ve made unsuccessful attempts to clarify/rectify the situation. Perhaps, in spite of your asking your neighbor to clean up their yard, the smell of feces and/or garbage coming from the person’s back yard where their dog is tied is enough to gag a maggot; so you know Article 26 Section 353b.3.b has been violated. Or worse yet, you’ve witnessed the animal being beaten or otherwise abused (Article 26 Section 353 and/or 353a). In other words, you are convinced that you have a case of unjustifiable cruelty. Here’s what you need to do next:

First, do NOT change the condition of any of the animals on that property. Don’t groom the matted one, don’t trim the nails or make any improvements to the suffering animals. Sound cruel? Wellllll, if you change the condition of any of the suffering animals before they can be witnessed and professionally documented by a vet/officer, you’ve changed the evidence of the crime. Instead, start documenting the cruelty you suspect. In a perfect world, this would entail taking photos or video of the situation. But the important thing you need to know is, you aren’t legally allowed to step onto the property of others of whom you suspect cruelty without their inviting you to do so. This reality may be the factor that determines you aren’t able to gather images of the animal you think is suffering. If that’s the case, write down the dates and times when you witness cruelty occurring and write detailed descriptions of the incident: what kind and how many animals and how are they being abused? What evidence are you seeing? Be specific. Try to match up what you’re seeing with the actual section and subsection of Article 26 that applies. List any other witnesses present and try to be objective in your description. These notes may be reviewed by law enforcement and may eventually be considered evidence in a trial if the case gets that far.

With your evidence in hand, call 911 or visit the local police department and report the suspected cruelty. You need to file an official complaint with the local police, and you may need to insist that they take your complaint, depending on how animal-friendly the officer on duty is. After that, the case will be reviewed and an officer may visit the suspect’s home, or they may send the dog control officer (if it’s a dog that you are concerned about) to see if they see any evidence of a cruelty issue.

Don’t be surprised if the officer/DCO points out to the suspect that they are in violation of one or more sections of Article 26, and offers the suspect an opportunity to correct the situation. This is akin to an officer offering you a warning instead of a citation for speeding in your car…..and based on what the officer learns when visiting the suspect, he or she may feel it makes good sense to give the suspect a chance to get things back under control over a given period of time instead of immediately drawing them into the criminal justice system. Now, some people may say, “How can you equate suspected animal cruelty with my innocent speeding violation?” The answer is, your vehicle weighs ALOT, and when it’s going faster than recommended, the chance of your imposing cruelty on an innocent animal/human who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time is actually quite high. That’s one reason why we have speeding laws. But if an officer looks you in the eye, communicates with you, looks around your vehicle, checks your past record and feels you would change your behavior after a warning, then they’re entitled to make that judgement and give you the opportunity to self-correct. This saves valuable police and court resources for the really heinous cases that absolutely require immediate prosecution: the person who lights the stray cat on fire, the person who beats a pet to death with a shovel, the person who slashes their neighbor’s pet horse in its stall, or the person who blatantly refuses or is unable to heed the warning of an officer who has already given them official warning of their violation.

The New York State Humane Association wrote the  book on investigating animal cruelty. Literally. CLICK HERE to read their indepth procedural layout for animal cruelty investigators. This is the book by which many police departments learn how to investigate Animal Cruelty, so in becoming familiar with this manual, you can help your officers do the best job of bringing an animal abuser to justice with a case that isn’t likely to be thrown out of court.

We’re a nation of laws. They’re certainly not all perfect but they’re part of a system that attempts to provide at least a bare minimum of protection for the vulnerable. The tricky part of all this from the perspective of law enforcement is protecting the rights of animals without violating the rights of humans. As animal lovers, it’s easy for us to confuse our own standards of care for our pets with what is legally required. This is one of the root causes of misunderstandings and polarization among the community. By becoming more educated ourselves about the legal side of animal welfare, we can help law enforcement do a better job and we can also offer our law makers concrete suggestions for new bills that can update and improve laws. And that’s how we can make our community a better place for all species.

 


In Their Words……More Testimonials From Our Consumers and Friends

I just wanted to thank you so much for all you did to help us save Rocky from NYCACC and help him recover from kennel cough without infecting our other dogs. He is a dream and we would not have been able to do it without your knowledge and help! You are an amazing resource for our community! – Lisa

 

Thank you for a wonderful time and your special treatment of our little old man – Barbara

 

You guys are the BEST! Thank You. – Johanna

 

Jack Passed away on July 31st very unexpectedly…….I cannot begin to tell you how precious all of the photos we have had taken are to me now. – Sarah

 

Thank you so much I just called them she has an appointment for tomorrow at 3:15. – Amie

 

I just want to say thank you so much God bless you for helping baby and I just wanted to update you with her how she’s doing and she is now walking again thank God…….I wasn’t able to have children do to my disease and they are my children…….and they are my world I mean that – Chrissy

 

….sometimes he regresses but I’m practicing and practicing and he’s getting better and better thank you again! – Ada

 

After paying rent and utilities I struggle with the other monthly expenses. Thank you so much! – Kathleen

 


Full Speed Ahead for Pet Retention Assistance

Well, here we are releasing the 5th edition of our “Out of the Box” e-newsletter and I still haven’t run out of things to tell all of you! In fact, each day brings more voicemails, emails and text messages presenting TASP with more requests for help of every sort. I have to admit, 2018 has been one heck of a challenging year for our little organization, with the loss of Mitch and the exponential growth in the number of requests we’re receiving. But we’re a sturdy, stubborn bunch and we keep our noses pointed into the  wind, moving one foot ahead of the other, one project after another.

These days at the Plasse ranch, when I’m not working at my paying job or tending to TASP matters, I’m caring for a number of my own and TASP’s hospice dogs and cats. Dear old Otis, our 24-year-old hospice cat, finally passed over to the other side less than a month ago. Meantime, Guidry, the Catahoula puppy I brought home from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina is now pushing fourteen and losing control of his back end. I thank God every morning that he’s able to get up with assistance and walk just a bit on the farm he so conscientiously patrolled all these years. And I thank God I have a job that allows me the privilege of being able to care for his needs at this stage of his life, and a husband who is kind enough to hand-feed Guidry when I’m not home and to help me rearrange our home’s entire basement level to accommodate this beloved old dog’s condition. I know there are people who love their animals as much as we do, but who aren’t as fortunate as we are. My heart goes out to these people because I know what it feels like when an animal leans its head up against me asking for help. How would I feel if I couldn’t afford to respond?

Believe it or not, I still occasionally encounter people who give that “deer in the headlights” look when I tell them what TASP does. And I can understand why some folks might not readily relate to the concept of helping animals and their owners through tough times. If you were fortunate enough to be born into a secure home and have not experienced the loss of your security up till now, it might be hard for you to wrap your head around all the changes a person is subjected to when their life is interrupted by a health issue, a divorce, the death of a spouse or loss of a job.  Those changes can be more readily comprehended and rationalized by a human, but what about their pet? A conversation I had recently with a nice lady on the phone illustrates this perfectly, I think. The tearful call came one night while I was working through the day’s voicemails and emails while simultaneously choking down a bowl of soup for my dinner.

This woman from a county about an hour and a half from my house was sobbing that she’d been sent to us by her local shelter.  She had contacted them looking for help for “Hennessey,” a female pit bull she’d rescued from a neglectful home two years ago. The dog was very weak, not eating for the past couple of days. When she originally took the dog in, she had her spayed and vaccinated by a local vet hospital and Hennessey had been healthy right up until this problem occurred. But between then and now, this lady had endured four surgeries; and what had been a financially secure home turned into a place where there was barely enough to go around even when things were all running smoothly. With Hennessey suddenly becoming ill, there was no emergency fund left to treat her at a vet. I listened as Hennessey’s Mom told me her story, and then my heart sank when she said, “And then the guy at the shelter told me, ‘People who can’t afford to care for an animal shouldn’t have one.’ You know, when I rescued Hennessey, I COULD afford a dog! I never planned on getting hurt and I never dreamed I’d be begging for someone to help me get her vetted now!”

These are the situations that deserve “out of the box” consideration. It’s an adult pit bull that is loved and that has an owner who wants to keep her. Should we send that dog into the shelter system and hope she finds another home where her owner won’t someday get sick and have trouble paying a vet bill? Or should we just help this pet owner through the current crisis and let the family resume life together, not overburdening the shelter with another pit bull? After all, Hennessey’s Mom was able to afford the day to day care of this dog and would probably even be able to afford vetting if this need hadn’t just occurred at the same time she was healing from her last surgery.

More and more of these crises are being brought to our attention now because we’ve been making happy endings for at-risk pets for over ten years….and good news is contagious. We’ve done our best to offer whatever help we can remotely over the phone and internet to these distant counties. Proof of financial need can be texted to us; payment of a vet bill can be made over the phone in most cases. We’ve mailed pet store gift cards to people needing supplies where we can’t reach them and we’ve had supplies shipped directly to needy animals from places like chewy.com. We’ve shipped first aid supplies to the cat whose rearend was ripped up by the new family dog and we’ve helped explain in layman’s terms things like abcess care, second intention healing, tapeworm, flea prevention, kidney failure and amputation to worried pet owners facing big and small decisions. We’ll keep on fielding the requests from wherever animals are at risk in the Capital region and do our best to respond with enduring solutions. If we can’t be there personally, then we’ll work with those who are there……like the man in Amsterdam who requested help for an injured cat belonging to his neighbor who speaks Ukranian fluently but has trouble with English. I have strong faith that TASP will find ways to grow support in the areas farthest from our reach through partnering with other individuals and groups, so if you know someone who might want to team up with TASP in places like Fulton, Montgomery and western Schenectady counties, please have them contact TASP through our website, or call me at 518-727-8591. After all, TASP can’t be everywhere all the time, but with so many caring animal lovers in our region, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t work together to prevent an animal’s suffering when their owner hits on hard times.

Thanks from the heart from all of us at The Animal Support Project for caring enough to open and read our messages, and for supporting our mission. We wish all of you and your families: two-legged, four-legged, furry, hairless, scaled and feathered, warm-blooded, cold-blooded, old and young, a very beautiful holiday season and a new year that fills you with joy, prosperity and gratitude. Will be back in touch in the spring with more good news for y’all.


High Fives – Thanks to Our Growling List of Business Partners

High Fives…….

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

Adirondack Veterinary Clinic

Animal House Dog Grooming

Animal Wellness Veterinary Services

Aquaduct Veterinary Hospital

Benson’s Pet Centers

Bloomingrove Veterinary Hospital

Borador Animal Hospital

Bought Veterinary Clinic

Brunswick Agway

Brunswick Animal Hospital

Campbell Supply

Cambridge Valley Vet

Canoe Associates Insurance Agency

Catskill Animal Hospital

Cobleskill Vet Hospital

Conceptual Images

Crawmer’s Animal Training

CourierTronics

Duncan & Cahill Contractors & Engineers, Inc.

Fane Construction

Fuzzybutts Grooming

General Electric

Hallam ICS

Healthy Pet Center

Higher Ground Farms

Honey Badger Farms

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

Lifetree Pilates

Latham Animal Hospital

Lowes Home Improvement Center, Latham, NY

Lydall Corporation

Mud Hollow Farm

Oakwood Veterinary Clinic

Out of the Basement

Pet Supplies Plus

Quest Plumbing

Regeneron

Riverside Vet Hospital

Ross Valve

Schoharie Vet Hospital

Schopf Law

Shamrock Grooming and Dog Day Care

Stewarts

The Animal Hospital

The Village Animal Clinic

Tub 64 Pet Grooming

Union Street Veterinary Hospital

Upstate Veterinary Specialties

VCA Brown Animal Hospital

West Mountain Animal Hospital

Whalen Tent

Wiley Brothers Hardware & Building Supply

WLR Embroidery

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


Tip o’ the Day – The Biggest Mistakes New Animal Owners Make

We’ve all seen the movies and read the books about animals and people living happily ever after. And animals really do enrich our lives, no matter what the species. But all living things have physical and emotional needs.  They’re not appliances we can turn on and off as we find necessary. They need the right food, the right medical care and the right enrichment to live an acceptable quality of life…..and most importantly, they need our time and attention. Once we bring a pet into our lives, we become their primary source of these things. They depend on us to know what they need because they can’t always tell us themselves. In this issue of our newsletter, we thought it might be helpful to use the internet to learn in advance what others have to tell us about the animals we want to make a part of our family.

The most common mistakes new animal owners make…….

Thinking of acquiring a cat? CLICK HERE to learn how to avoid the most common mistakes new cat owners make.

You say you’re smitten by the puppy you just met at the shelter? CLICK HERE to learn from the mistakes of others.

You always wanted an equine and now you’ve got the opportunity to achieve that dream. Before you do, CLICK HERE to prepare yourself in advance.

Ferrets, rats, snakes, lizards, turtles……are they all low maintenance pets? CLICK HERE to find out.

Exotic birds are entertaining, colorful, and some can even talk to us. But there’s more to owning a bird than just putting food and water in a cage. CLICK HERE to find out what you may not have considered about owning a bird, before you bring one home.

 

 


Vet Sci 101 – The Scoop on Poop

As pet owners, we sooner or later will be subjected to cleaning up a very stinky mess left behind by our canine or feline friend. It’s important to learn how to interpret the language of poop so we can be an advocate for our animals who can’t necessarily describe their situation to the vet.
Did you know that a fecal sample is the window to what’s going on inside your pet? Knowing what different kinds of BM mean can help you save your pet from suffering; and a little bit of time spent being a “scat detective” can even save a life.
The AKC wrote a terrific article about this very subject. And although it’s written from the perspective of a dog lover, the general information it offers about the features of feces can be generalized to other species like cats and horses.
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/doggie-diarrhea/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=yourakc-20161121


Children’s Books on Pet Loss

 

The loss of a beloved pet is a difficult experience for everyone. How do you explain this loss to a child? There are some well written children’s books that take on this task with honesty and empathy. There are books on just about any type of pet, so take some time to find a book that will fill your family’s needs. The following books are from the RedRover Reader’s Book List.

The Forever Dog by Bill Cochran explores the adventures of Mike and his dog Corky. For years they are the best of friends and Mike creates the Forever Plan believing that Corky will always be there for him. One day Mike comes home from school to find that Corky has died. With the help of his mother Mike learns that the Forever Plan must be altered. This book portrays the journey from happiness to loss and with great care, to acceptance.

 

 

Goodbye Mousie, by Robie H .Harris tells the story of a preschool boy and the death of his pet mouse. While he experiences a flood of emotions, his parents help him prepare a funeral. The boy’s preparations are tender and tissue worthy. The gentle illustrations help lead the way to eventual acceptance.


News About Bills & Laws Pertaining to Animals

Feeling like your voice needs to be heard about Animal Welfare matters? The most effective way to make change happen doesn’t have to involve marching around with your fist up or waving a sign. Our country’s legislative process makes it possible for citizens to change laws by working with their elected officials. A politely written, thoughtful letter written to your representatives in the Senate and Congress can change minds and make more effective laws get passed. This is especially true when your letter contributes some positive ideas about how to best deal with certain animal-related issues, and includes a list of signatures from other folks who feel like you do.

A website called GOVTRACK.COM makes it easy and convenient to search all the bills pertaining to animals (or any topic you want to search, for that matter) that have been submitted to the US Congress and Senate.

At this site, you can find out which legislator introduced the bill and what its current status is. You can even read the complete bill, word for word. We recommend that if you’re going to speak out about any bill or law, it’s very important that you read and understand the entire document and don’t just take the word of someone else as to what’s in there. This way, when you approach the legislator about the bill, they will judge you as a credible contributor to the process and take you seriously. Legislators are contacted by a lot of constituents every day, and they can tell pretty quickly who’s just a complainer and who’s seriously interested in getting good legislation passed. Do your homework if you want your ideas to be seriously considered.

Many bills are amendments to laws already in existence. So you may need to back up and read the existing law and compare it to the changes being proposed, in order to make sure you know what you’re agreeing or disagreeing with. Again, don’t take someone else’s word for what’s in a law or bill. Take the time to read it for yourself. Many well-meaning people have been hoodwinked by others with a particular agenda when it comes to communicating the content of existing or proposed legislation. The best animal advocates are the ones who truly understand what they’re advocating about.

If you find a bill that you think is a particularly valuable piece of legislation which needs to be passed into law, you can follow up with action:
1) Contact the author of that bill to congratulate them on their effort and to offer your assistance with networking among the public to gain support for that legislation. If you feel some part of the legislation should be re-worded to eliminate some ambiguity that could lead to misinterpretation or loopholes later on, let the legislator know and give them your suggested change. Legislators are only human beings; you may be a human being with a better command of the English language. Put that knowledge of yours to work in helping your representative craft the most solid legislation possible.
2) Contact your local media to make them aware of the bill and tell them why their viewers, readers and listeners would want to know about it. Media can spread the word about important issues like this a lot faster than an individual can, and the media knows that animal issues are of great concern to the public.
3) If you live in New York State, Animal Advocacy Day is YOUR opportunity to meet with your State representatives in person to give them your opinion on animal welfare issues. The 7th Annual New York State Animal Advocacy Day event is coming up soon: June 5, in the Well of the NY State Legislative Office building at the Empire State Plaza. From 9:30AM to 12PM, animal welfare and animal rights groups will be displaying information about their services and offering assistance to attendees about how to effectively discuss your concerns with your representative. Then at 11:30AM, attendees can personally visit their representatives’ offices to meet with their lawmakers and discuss Animal Advocacy issues. This is a wonderful way to have direct input into the laws that protect New York’s animals and it’s a lot more effective than marching around carrying a sign. After all, negotiating is a give and take process that requires that both sides be heard clearly to develop mutual understanding and acceptance. This kind of process can’t take place in an environment where people are shouting slogans and sound bites. Constructive conversations between informed citizens and legislators are the way the most effective laws get passed.


We Make It Happen

Best Friends Forever, Tess & Tim Newbury

When you know you’re married to your best friend, that good vibe bubbles over to everything you do and everyone you touch.  It spreads an aura of peace and happiness that is contagious and puts animals and people completely at ease. And isn’t The Animal Support Project fortunate to have Tim and Tess Newbury, happily married for nearly 40 years, as our treasured volunteers! Tess, the sweet little blonde lady with the smile that lights up a room, the one who works our photo clinics each month and coaxes feral cats like Dr. Doolittle, is the perfect match for Tim, the soft-spoken veteran who uses his experience and skills to do everything from building dog houses and fences to upgrading the TASP storage facility, to teaching our younger volunteers how to properly handle power tools.

TASP deals with such an eclectic variety of situations in the course of helping animals and their owners through tough times, having a flexible couple like Tim and Tess on our crew is a gift from heaven.  Not only do they approach every project they’re asked to work with a smile and a can-do attitude, but they demonstrate to the rest of the community what TASP is all about: respect for all living creatures, whether two or four-legged.

A veteran of both the US NAVY and the US ARMY, Tim’s experiences managing logistics on submarines and working on helicopter crews make him uniquely qualified to be TASP’s Logistics Chief. Need a stretcher to carry an unconscious 120 pound Rottweiler from a disabled lady’s dining room floor for transport to the vet? Let Tim improvise the solution and you know it will be done humanely and safely. Need to erect a safe space to hold a dozen feral cats while they await vetting? Put Tim in charge and he’ll have every tool, every supply on hand to get the job done right the first time.

Tess just retired from her position working in Special Education, and what made her so successful in that job was her empathy and respect for humanity. She uses those same wonderful traits to bring the best out of people and pets in her work with TASP. Her friendly, joyful disposition draws others to her and helps them know things are going to be alright. And nothing calms a frightened pet better than Tess’s soft voice and gentle touch. She helps relax the pets and owners at our photo clinics so we can capture the perfect shot, and she is the glue that holds our volunteers together with a bond that can only come from the genuine love and friendship she feels for them.

The Newburys know the value of family. Pull into their driveway on any day and you’ll be greeted by a grandchild or two followed by Picklejack, the Pit Bull. Tim might be running that Sunday in a 5K with daughter, Nicole, or helping one of Nicole’s girls hone their archery skills for 4H. And Tess is probably out in the barn with another grandchild, gathering eggs and tossing hay to the goats.

This power-couple has been volunteering with TASP ever since they failed miserably at fostering dogs for our organization…..not once, but TWICE! But let me tell you, Gregory and Gretel, the two foster dogs who stole their hearts, could not have found a better home than the Newbury’s.  Life at their mini-farm is as sweet as it gets.

Tess & Tim Newbury have brought so much to TASP and to those we serve!  With so much treasure in their own private lives, it is an absolute honor to know they still have time to be so active with TASP. They do it because they believe in TASP’s mission: keeping families together.