Mav’s Rescue Friends was set up with the goal of helping animals in need. At this point, Mav’s Rescue Friends is currently in the very early innings, but long term we will have two primary causes: 1) to rescue and treat animals who have been abused and are in need of critical care, and 2) to provide funding to smaller rescue groups who have acute financial needs.

Over the past few years, we have been fortunate to meet a variety of amazing people and rescue groups that do incredible things for animals, and this will be our effort to help advance the animal rescue effort in our own small way. We are still just in the learning stage and are unsure how our thinking will evolve, but please visit us again down the road and see how we are progressing.


Maverick, Cosita, Jen and Adrian Meli (aka the fourth wheel)

“Dogs have given us their absolute all.  We are the center of their universe.  We are the focus of their love and faith and trust.  They serve us in return for scraps.  It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.” ~Roger Caras

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Soldier reunited with his dog

I saw this the other day and thought I would post it:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2580631/Adorable-moment-retired-soldier-reunited-Iraq-dog-partner-flew-Germany-adopt-year-separated.html

Retired Air Force Sergeant Simpson was reunited with Robbie, the working dog with whom he spent four years serving abroad. Sergeant Simpson was unfortunately unable to adopt Robbie when he finished his service though because Robbie was not done serving. This was recently corrected when Robbie retired and the two were united in Germany. The heartwarming pictures of the two have since gone viral.

The two are very lucky as all too often the brave men and women serving our country are unable to adopt their working dogs.  It is hard not to be touched by such a happy ending here!

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An Act of Dog

I came across this website called an Act of Dog:  http://anactofdog.org/An_Act_of_Dog/Home.html where an amazing artist is using art to save animals.

The artist Mark Barone and colleagues are seeking to raise $20mm to help put an end to the 5500 dogs each in shelters throughout the country. He has committed to painting 5500 dogs in shelters and creating a memorial to use art to bring attention to the cause. In his words, a painting can capture the emotions of the dogs stuck in shelters and bring the moment to life so they aren’t forgotten.

They are going to create an exhibition and their ambitions are very large and real. They have already garnered an enormous amount of press coverage and there is a documentary being made of what they are doing. Their goals and cause are amazing to say the least, and I wish we had more Marks out there. I can’t wait to see how this effort progresses-they are doing a tremendous amount of good.

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Is pet food killing your little pal?

I came across this article online and thought it was definitely worth a read:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2546512/How-pet-food-killing-dog-feeding-parsnips-yoghurt.html

The basic premise of the article is stated more strongly than my title-the premise being pet food is killing your dog. I have read a lot about different pet diets over the years including raw diets, various types of pet food, etc. Maverick had pet foot allergies when he was a puppy that made his hair fall out so we had to give him a special type of wet food. As we researched dog foods more we learned that a lot of the mass market brands were stuffed with carbs and had very little protein.

After reading this article, I started googling around seeing what advances have been made in dog food over the past couple of years and the good news is that new niche/high-end food brands are coming out and taking share from the low-end dog foods out there. Just as humans are learning to eat less processed foods and more organic diets, I think it makes intuitive sense that this is likely also the best solution for dogs as well.

I don’t have enough information yet to know if this extends your dog’s life by 1% or 30% on average but I am going to hunt around for studies and see what I can find.

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Happy New Year

Well, happy New Year to you if you happen to come across this blog. I always enjoy reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for in my life (amazing wife, two great dogs, etc-I could be hear all night). I have only kept this blog on life support so to speak, as I still have been playing with a bigger idea I hope to tackle for a non-profit over the medium term-so, if you are reading this, it is probably by accident.

I generally do not believe in doing things unless I can do them well, and it was clear to me from my efforts in 2012 that I was inefficient at best and could do much better with a better thought through strategy. I continue to read, learn, and collect statistics with the hope of honing my general ideas. I need to spend more time speaking to people more knowledgeable than I am about a lot of the issues/ideas I am bouncing around so that is my resolution for 2014.

I hope you and your family had a great holiday and wishing you the best in 2014.

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Interesting idea about taking pics of terminally ill animals

I saw this article the other day and the pictures at first were near impossible to look at:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2510103/Beautiful-heart-breaking-pictures-terminally-ill-elderly-pets-final-embrace-loving-owners-just-die.html

The article is about a photographer who takes pictures of terminally ill dogs with their owners in happy settings before the animals are euthanized. I think a big misconception with a lot of dog owners is that when it is time for their animals to move on they want it over as fast as possible and don’t want to be in the room when their friend is euthanized-because it is too sad.

I think the reality is that our pets are with us through thick and then and everything is easier for them when we are around. A dog in a cold room alone with a veterinarian being euthanized is not a way to go vs. you being in there to hold the dogs paw and comfort him or her as they move on.

This picture idea is another interesting idea. In the days or weeks before a dog has to be euthanized, I think it is actually a nice idea to celebrate the life you have shared together in your favorite setting. That may mean you take your loved one to the park or McDonald’s to get a hamburger but taking pictures to celebrate the happiness you have shared together and create positive lasting memories seems like a great tribute to your furry friend.

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Hard to believe this stuff is still happening

Saw this article the other day and was pretty surprised by it:  http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2013/11/georgia-regents-university-dogs-112013.html

The article details an investigation that discovered dogs have been used in dental implant experiments after which they are euthanized. Shockingly, the use of animals as test subjects was not even required by the law-the school simply decided to do it. The implants in question had already been approved for use in humans yet the school still permitted the teeth of dogs to be pulled, implants to be put in, and then euthanasia afterward.

In other words, a bunch of dogs were needlessly euthanized after being purchased from an unscrupulous animal dealer. So much progress has been made over the past five years on the animal welfare front, but there are still plenty of stories like this around that need to get their due attention.

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Houdini finds his own home

I randomly saw this online and thought it was a great story: http://living.msn.com/family-parenting/pets/houdini-the-dog-escapes-shelter-finds-new-family.

I am posting far less these days (almost not at all), but this just put such a smile on my face I wanted to post it:  Houdini was at an animal shelter and decided to take things into his own hands. He snuck out of the shelter to go and find his own human, literally pushing the door handle down and then the door open.

The next day Houdini was brought back to the shelter by a caring family who found him on the side of the road and wanted to adopt him. Houdini now has a new family to call his own. As they say, dogs always find us, we don’t find them ;-)

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Rollie euthanized

I could not believe this story when I read it but it actually happened: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/leadership-amid-outcry-euthanized-dog-20051338

By “it,” what I mean is that a dog named Rollie was euthanized after the dog was picked up as a stray even though the owner tried to retrieve Rollie. Why was Rollie euthanized? Good question. The owner was told she had to come up with the $100 fee within 72 hours or the dog would be euthanized. She tried to get the money but was unable to. In response, Rollie was euthanized.

This is a pretty shocking story to say the least and the backlash has been severe. Volunteers quit the shelter and adoptions decreased significantly. There has since been a leadership change but this is one more example of how far we still have to go in dog rescue.

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I read an article about an awesome new non-profit called Givewell; please check out www.givewell.org. I think they have a fantastic idea that they are working on and have the opportunity to make a huge impact on charitable giving. From what little I know about them as of right now, I would even go beyond this and say they in all likelihood will make a large impact.

GiveWell is a non-profit whose mission is charity research. They have some very strong minds behind it and take their charter very seriously. Fundamentally, they are bringing in depth research in addition to data, analytics and intelligence to the charity review field. This is exciting to say the least and has the chance to disrupt a lot of conventional thinking in charitable giving.

Many people in the world are charitable and there are a huge number of charitable organizations. People are largely well intentioned. That said, charity is tough and there is a great deal of money squandered along the way in the pursuit of accomplishing good. Just like there are some companies that are better than others; there are some charitable organizations that do much more good per dollar of donation that others. The problem is that these organizations can be very difficult to find and evaluate.

Enter GiveWell. Their goal is to look at tons of charities and do in depth research on them, narrowing down the field to the very best. Once they do this, they will publish their results and direct people to give money to those charities. When you pick a small handful of charitable organizations, you can have extremely stringent criteria. Importantly, they seem very self aware and realize this is all a learning process and are refining their model as they go along. We know how hard this is just from our small effort at Mav’s Rescue Friends. We started by trying to figure out how to rate local animal rescues to influence donations to them but realized our small effort was not going to be able to do that effectively so have slowed things down recently to reevaluate. We want to figure out a way to help eradicate animal euthanasia but are constantly refining our thoughts (still not having come up with an idea with which we feel comfortable pushing forward).

Finding a way to analyze charities is a great idea to start, but the idea seems much bigger than that to me. GiveWell has the opportunity to do an incredible amount of good in a variety of different ways.  First of all, they will surely help steer some amount of charitable giving to charitable organizations that will use the funds very well relative to other organizations. Next, over time as they become better known and more influential they will affect the way charities operate so as to focus on maximizing good by creating best practices. Finally, they have and will continue to inspire a great deal more giving as people will feel that their money is going to be put to good use as opposed to being wasted.

I have gone through the site a bit and will update this over time hopefully as I see more on them, but from what I can tell there is a lot of horsepower behind this effort. I enjoy their work, website, and transparency and can only imagine that Givewell will continue to grow, improve, and influence the world of charitable giving. I am looking forward to following how they evolve and the good they are able to do. I think it is just a phenomenal idea and it seems like a capital-light way to inspire a lot of good in the world. I am excited about their potential to say the least.


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Against Malaria

I was recently made aware of a charity called the Against Malaria Foundation that is doing amazing things from what I can tell. Malaria is a huge problem and kills millions of people and this foundation’s mission is to raise money for nets to save lives.

Their website www.againstmalaria.com has a great deal of information and makes donating extremely easy. For a few dollars, you can buy a net that will help save an individual’s life. As I read more, I realized how unaware I was of the huge issue Malaria still is and about how these nets can help save a great deal of lives.

Malaria kills over a million people a year and sleeping under a net that is treated with insecticide is apparently the best way to prevent it. The mosquitos predominantly attack at night so being under the net at night is largely sufficient. The website points out that for every couple of hundred nets purchased a life is saved.

Numerous websites I have come across rate this charity very highly, pointing out what a large percentage of the money donated goes to the nets and how little goes to administrative costs. If you are looking for a charity that is well run and does a great deal of good, I highly recommend you look at this site. You can do a great deal of good with a  little amount of money.

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