Pet rescue center in Freehold Raceway Mall

I came across this post: which represents real progress in the animal rescue world. I have not had a chance to drive out to the mall to see this store in action but the article discusses a pet store in the Freehold Raceway Mall that was set up by Monmouth County SPCA. I am not familiar with this organization or the store but the idea is very progressive.

They took a spot in the mall and have built out a store full of food, treats, dog clothing, and dog accessories to provide revenue for the shelter in addition to showcasing rescue dogs. Remarkably, the article states that in the first 8 months, the site has placed over 200 puppies and 350 kittens. The store operates like a normal shelter and there are reference checks and questionnaires. Apparently, many people in the community thought the store idea would be a miserable failure and would have a higher return rate of animals from impulse adoptions at the mall.

I have written about this idea a few times over the last couple of years and I am a huge fan of it, but I would have guessed there would be higher return rates as well. However, so far this has not been the case. The reason the idea makes so much sense to me is that the store brings awareness to rescue animals, increases the ease of adoption, and can be self-funding because of the sales of other supplies in the store. The hours of operation are much longer and as the store is a retail venture of sorts the staff has to provide customer service. The awareness issue is not a small factor in my opinion. Many people would love to save a life but are unaware of the staggering number of pets euthanized each year.

I do not know how many stores across the country have popped up of this sort so far and a google check did not have any great info, but I think this is a trend we can expect to see continue. I think the stores should experience more retail sales than the average store as well because people should be willing to pay higher prices to a non-profit and give extra business they might not otherwise give. Finally, as stores test out different ideas, the whole of them will progress and make the model even more compelling to shelters. Maybe mall owners will even offer subsidized rent in an effort to drive traffic to the mall.

Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

We almost adopted another dog :-)

Jen found a small terrier mix lost in the middle of the street. She went up to the dog to try to grab him before he got hit by a car and the dog was extremely friendly and went right up to her and let her pick him up.

The dog was thankfully microchipped and had an id tag on him. Jen called the number and the service was unable to reach the owner at the time, so she thought she was going to end up taking him home with us for the night. She by some fluke did not take a picture of said cute dog because she thought we were going to have to hold onto him for a while so I am not sure whether this is a bit of a tall tale but I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Back to the story…the service gave her a street name but not address so Jen walked the dog up the street and randomly ran into his owner who was out looking for him. It turns out his name is Teddy and he and his owner were extremely excited to be reunited. The $75 purchase of the microchip for Teddy saved his owner a great deal of heartache, so the moral of the story is that the microchip is a must have for you and your dog. This story had a happy ending because the owner cared enough about her dog to have him microchipped so if you haven’t chipped yours please take him or her to the vet today and do so.

Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

Homeless man saved by dog

We read great stories about dogs all the time including tales of companionship and utility as military dogs, therapy dogs, or other. Suffice it to say, the saying “man’s best friend” exists for a good reason. We do not post most of the stories we come across as they mostly resemble each other in that all dogs are great and help us out in many different ways. This story put a smile on our face as a dying homeless man was saved by his dog in a rather unique way:

A woman in Washington state bumped into a dog who was wearing a note that said “Help” on it. The note said his owner’s medicine wasn’t working, he couldn’t walk, needed a doctor, and that it was not a joke. The woman found a police officer who then found the homeless man, who told the story of his dog Buddy. The duo lives in the woods in a remote area and the man has a leg infection that got worse. He has no cellphone so he knew when his legs gave out that he was in big trouble.

He eventually came up with the idea to put the note on Buddy with a bright red string and told Buddy to go find help. He says Buddy understood and went down the trail until he eventually found someone who came back with help. The man says Buddy never leaves his side so it is clear Buddy understood the command and within an hour paramedics were on their way with help and took him to a hospital.

The owner is now recovering thanks to Buddy and his heroism. We read a lot of stories about homeless people and their dogs, which is not surprising given the companionship and love they provide. We have read about various charities and local rescue organizations who provide help to dogs of homeless people so if you run across a dog with a homeless person please see if they could use help with the dog. You can offer to give a Petsmart gift card, a bag of food, or take them in to your local veterinarian. In this case, there was a special Buddy Fund set up for veterinary help should you want to help with Buddy.

Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

Professional baseball player lives away from family to save his pitbull

I came across this story the other day and thought it was very remarkable:

A professional baseball player decided to move to Toronto with his pit bull while his family lives in Ontario, because Ontario will not allow pitbulls in the city. He describes his dog Slater as the perfect family dog who is well behaved and great with kids. He talks about how all the neighborhood kids come running over and looking for Slater and that over his four dogs Slater is the best behaved of the bunch.

He is fortunate to be able to own a few homes and given his flexible schedule and the different homes the family will be together most of the time. The story is remarkable because we often read story after story of family giving up dogs because they want to live in a specific apartment or wherever that won’t allow dogs and are willing to give up their pets unimaginably quickly.

There are plenty of people who go to these great lengths to save their dogs and in this case the family did not want the dog to have to suffer and stay in a run while they plead their case. Pit bull mixes are banned in Ontario and by a Blue Jays professional pitcher taking a public stand against breed specific legislation, a great deal of attention is already being brought to the issue with more to come.

As more and more high profile situations like this happen, the social pressure for change picks up which will inevitably lead to law changes. If you weren’t already a fan of his, this is a great reason to consider becoming one!

Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

How animals find their way home

I read this fascinating article in Time about the amazing ability of animals to navigate hundreds of miles to find their homes:

The opening of the article is about a cat who made it home after being lost hundreds of miles away from home. I have seen various stories like this written over time and have always wondered how these animals were able to find their way home; this article starts to delve a little bit into the topic.

It looks at pigeons, cats, tortoises, and other animals and interestingly some animals use stars to migrate while others are able to use the magnetism of the earth. It seems pretty amazing if true and the article gives a couple of good studies that evidence these phenomena. It is something I am actually pretty interested in learning about now that this article has got me thinking. We all see birds migrate or sea animals travel large distances and I have heard stories of friends’ dogs who traveled 10 miles to find them at work. Clearly, some animals have an innate ability to navigate.

The article is a quick read and at a minimum will make you think about how incredible that ability of animals to find their way around is. I’ll update this after I search around a bit. I am hesitant to conclude too much until I see more data!

Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

Petsmart commissioned adoption survey

I came across these results of a study Petsmart’s Charity commissioned on animal rescue, adoption, spaying and neutering, and other interesting topics:

They have done this study a couple of times and so interestingly you can see the changes in data that takes place over time. The data shows some progress on the rescue front but is a reminder of how far we need to go to shine a light on the problem of euthanasia in this country. Rescue groups, advocates, and others are making great progress but the end of the needless deaths of millions of animals a year cannot come soon enough. Here are some of the interesting results of the survey:


-88% of the population underestimates the amount of euthanasia

-33% of cats were taken in as strays vs. 2% from breeders; for dogs, 8% were taken in as strays and 17% from breeders

-surprisingly, 27% of dogs and 21% of cats were taken in from family members or friends vs 19% and 18% respectively from shelters

-12% of people did not adopt their dog or cat because the adoption process is too difficult

-perceptions of getting animals from breeders or pet stores have declined over the past couple of years

-78% of people who adopted a dog or cat did so because they wanted to rescue the animal

-there is a pretty large increase in the number of animals that were already spayed or neutered already when they were adopted


Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

The power of the dog. Cabal.

I recently read an incredible post by a man named Neil about a dog he recently lost named Cabal:

The story of Cabal and Neil is remarkable in that it is the story of a lot of people who rescue a dog. Neil found Cabal loose one day near his home and he struggled to get the giant white German Shepherd in his Mini Cooper to take to the local no-kill shelter. When he arrived, he told the staff how much he enjoyed knowing the Shepherd for the short time they had spent together and that he hoped they would be able to locate his owner. A short time later the shelter called with the incredible story that they found the owner who had called Cabal a pain because he always gets out of the yard. Cabal had spent his life on a farm on a chain and had not been well cared for so the shelter told the owner that the person who found him was actually quite fond of him. The farmer said to let the guy have him then.

Neil received a call from the shelter and quickly added Cabal, his first dog ever, to his home. Cabal and Neil spent their time together hiking, running around, and living life. Neil’s posts and pictures of Cabal clearly show the love they shared and discuss how Cabal taught Neil how to love for the first time according to Neil’s friends. Neil even got another rescue dog to keep Cabal company and add to their home.

While Neil was out of town one day, Cabal got a blood clot and could not be saved. As you can imagine, Neil was heartbroken and even told Cabal over the phone while he was dying that he was sorry he could not have been there. That night, Neil’s other dog grabbed Cabal’s collar and slept with it. Neil is understandably heartbroken by losing his best friend and took to his blog to share the story of Cabal, and if you have time it is a touching story.

The story gives light to the expression that dogs often find us rather than us finding them.

Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

What to do when finding a stray dog

I recently read a great post on what you should do when you find a stray dog that I thought was great: The post is very thorough and well worth a read.

The key when finding a stray of course is of course to make sure you are careful when approaching the dog to not spook the dog into running and being careful for your safety. The post makes the point (which I agree with) that you cannot tell anything from the looks of the dog whether the dog is homeless or just lost. Dogs can be emaciated, covered in dirt, or scarred and may have just run away from home and been braving the elements. Alternatively, an owner could just let their dog roam the streets because they did not want him or her anymore and the dog could look to be in perfect condition. The first thing you do once taking the dog in is to bring it to look for tags and if there are no tags take the dog to a veterinarian or shelter to see if the dog has been microchipped.

If you cannot find any information, you want to put postings online, in the neighborhood and everywhere else. Another idea that makes a lot of sense that the article points out is to go ask around the neighborhood where you found the dog and knock on a few doors to see if anyone recognized the dog.

Along the way, though, while you have the dog you have to make sure that he or she is safe in your house and that your other pets are safe. It probably makes sense to crate the dog so as to protect the safety of the stray and your other pets.

If you do not locate the owner, the situation gets much more complicated. Ideally, you should take the dog to the vet and make sure they are healthy and if not spayed or neutered that should be taken care of. I realize this is costly, but you are helping the dog and making it easier to find a home for the dog long-term. From there, you should be asking around to find a home for the dog or requesting that a local rescue group post the dog on petfinder. Finding a home can take a day or months, but you are saving a dog’s life so be patient.

If you are able financially to take care of the dog and the dog gets along with your household the best option is to foster the dog as long as you can. I have heard people say they aren’t home enough so it is not fair to the dog. Trust me, it is better the dog is at home a lot of hours a day alone than in a shelter. The next best step is to ask a local rescue to help locate a foster and they will help find the dog a home. The last step would be taking the dog to a local shelter, and do your best to find a shelter that will keep the dog alive as long as possible. The shelter option is full of risk and the dog may end up being euthanized so try to do anything possible to not let that happen but you may not have been unsuccessful in all of your other attempts. If you do drop of the dog at the shelter, please keep trying to locate them a home and posting him or her online.

In summary, finding a stray can be very time consuming and overwhelming, but remember you are saving a life!

Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

Staggering number of pets stolen a year

I recently read this article and was shocked by the staggering estimation that 2mm pets are stole a year:

Consider me skeptical that 2mm pets are stolen a year but whatever the number is it is much larger than I would have anticipated. The article triangulates various sources of stolen pets online and I am coninced from reading it that this is not a small problem. Dogs are stolen to be sold, for bait for fighting, for puppy mills, for lab testing, and for ransom. Pure bred dogs can be expensive so some people are attracted by this but I am very surprised that pets are such a target. Apparently, some people even hold dogs ransom, get you to send the money, and then still do not return the pet.

The article mentions an HBO documentary calling Dealing Dogs which is about a group of dog dealers in the south. I have not heard of it but I plan to watch it. The article also has some good advice on what to do if your dog is stolen. You should go out and put out flyers everywhere in a 1,3,5,10, etc radius every couple of days going further out to stop the people from being able to sell your dog.

It seems like a big problem here is education, that dogs are stolen so if you are buying a dog then you should be aware of that possibility. We have our dogs microchipped and just thinking through this I am now wondering when this would even matter in a theft. If they were lost and picked up by someone, a shelter would look for the microchip. However, if someone did not think they were lost, they would never be checked for a microchip. Maybe at some point a new owner would ask a vet to put in a microchip and they might put the chip in and then look to see that it worked but I have no idea.

I read articles every day on animal rescuing and I have been unaware of how large of a problem this is until this article. I knew this happened some time but never to this degree, so I am glad to see an article like this out there. People on the other end of such a transaction need to be educated that if they do insist on buying a pure bred dog rather than rescuing one they should go to a respected breeder and not buy a dog anywhere else.

Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment

Some of the year’s best social advances

The Gates Foundation tweeted this article: from Fast Company with ten of the year’s best social innovations. The list had some pretty great inventions from the year so we thought we would repost it:

1) “A surgical light for the developing world.” This invention was a cheap and lightweight light to help make surgeries better and safer in developing countries.

2) “A simple solar oven makes salt water drinkable.” As you may have guessed from Fast Company’s title, this invention turns salt water into drinkable water over the course of a day.

3) “Why shrink-wrapping a cucumber is actually good for the environment.” This is a book on sustainable packaging that goes over different packaging types and when best used. It has some interesting findings concerning when shrink wrap for instance may be better than renewable materials.

4) “Shaped by algorithms, a solar-powered pavilion that soaks up maximum rays.” Using math, some very smart people have come up with a way to power a building as well as a near-by building even in the strongest heat of the summer.

5) “Stanford students invent a respirator mask to save babies.” This will be used to help babies from respiratory illness, a major cause of death, in developing countries.

6) “How a foot-powered washing machine could change millions of lives.” In many countries, people spend hours a day hand washing clothing which leads to a ton of physical problems and a waste of hours a day. This will help to change that.

7) “A survival kit for 30 people that turns into a stove.” This innovation is meant to provide help for 30 people for a couple of days after a catastrophe until help arrives.

8) “Led light for the developing world.” A small, solar-powered lamp to replace kerosine lamps in developing countries.

9) “3-D printed ‘magic arms’ let a toddler hug and play.” This is one example of how 3-d printing technology is poised to change the world. Some very exciting developments have been made here already and there will be much more to come.

10) “A stove that turns wood into electricity.” This one is pretty self explanatory and even has a USB port to charge your phone!

You should pull up the Fast Company article and read about all of these advances and the amazing people behind them. These innovators did an incredible amount of good for the world this year alone and people will be able to build on these innovations in 2013. The article is a quick slideshow that will let you see pictures of the devices as well as some of the inventors and is definitely worth your time. Maybe it will even help you come up with an idea to help save the world!


Posted in Adrian Meli Posts | Leave a comment