Rescue And Recycle to Help Cats!

You guys!

Today we’re going to learn about a neat organization that’s in the process of forming so they can help cats through recycling!

First off, I apologize for my absence. You see, I’ve been living like a refugee. In a bedroom. Sharing one litter box with everyone else. Why? Because we an an incident here at the apartment and, until things are resolved and repaired (I assure you, I had NOTHING to do with it), we will be living at the grandparents’ house. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Moving along, let me introduce you to Rescue and Recycle, an organization that is still in the process of getting its 501 3(c) status. Though still small, their idea is a sound one and I wanted to give it a bit of exposure in the hopes that someone who would like to help might be able to do so! I spoke via email with Michael Alexander, the generous soul behind this project. Here’s what he had to say!

WeeKee, a kitty that Rescue and Recycle helped out of a bad situation. Michael says it was one of the best rescue experiences of his life!

WeeKee, a kitty that Rescue and Recycle helped out of a bad situation. Michael says it was one of the best rescue experiences of his life!

C: Michael, tell me about RAR.
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M:We’re trying to start the world’s first charity metal recycling company. We hope to make an incredible impact on the lives of cats, dogs, and other pet species by raising money on a scale other charity efforts can’t. Its two founding members are myself, and my girlfriend Alexa.
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C: An interesting concept. Tell me how it began.

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M: It all started years ago. We fell on hard times in my 20s, and had to resort to redeeming cans and bottles, and finding scrap metal to get by. Searching for garbage finds during all sorts of weather helped me appreciate the plight of feral cats. I saw them often while out finding salvage, and what I saw worried me. I wanted to help but my situation didn’t allow that.

As cat lovers we could simply not ignore the problem, and we definitely didn’t want to contribute to it like so many around here do. We also really started thinking about how we could start a charity of some kind to benefit animals in need. [W]e see how crucial low-cost spay/neuter is for pets in communities where love of animals exists, but not much money or education is available. We knew more needed to be done and two individuals alone could not manage the entire problem.

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C: So how will recycling help?
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M: At first we dreamed of a foster care center, or some sort of shelter/sanctuary, which we were going to support with a scrapping program. Then it became more clear as time passed that it would be best to focus on one or the other. The scrapping was the one that would bring in income whereas the other options would have required donations and volunteering to survive. Also, there were many other organizations filling the rescue/shelter role, but one thing they all constantly need is money. That’s where we are hoping RAR can become effective, providing a fundraising option the rescues themselves cannot. Our plan is to provide support to other rescue groups primarily, but to also have some of our own programs when necessary. Our biggest focus is on spay/neuter and reducing shelter killing(with the eventual goal of eliminating it).

Skittles, one of the kitties whose trust Michael and Alexa earned - with food.

Skittles, one of the kitties whose trust Michael and Alexa earned – with food.

C: Eliminating it would be ideal, yes. What do you still need to get started?

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M: We are currently struggling to get the equipment we need to really get a good start. We’ve vetted some cats around here, organized a spay/neuter roundup, and fed a lot of cats, but we really need a truck & trailer to take our work to the next level. We also could use tools, a drop-off site, advertising, and volunteers who would be willing to gather from their network of friends(reducing our need to manage all of it directly, and to gather materials in quantities it would be impractical to pick up individually).
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C: How much metal would you say is going to waste presently?
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M: In just this county (Black Hawk County, Iowa) alone there are over 12 million pounds of assorted metal thrown into the municipal waste stream. Approximately $800,000 of this is copper pipe. $4,000,000 worth of car batteries. If the rest were steel it would be about $850,000 worth. There’s also copper wire, brass/bronze, aluminum, titanium, nickel, lead, magnesium, zinc, platinum(catalytic scrap mainly), and gold/silver(jewelry, computer equipment). Even 10% of this market would represent at least half a million dollars a year from just one county in Iowa.

A selection of kitties saved by Rescue and Recycle. That little guy on the left seems to have face planted in the food dish.

A selection of kitties saved by Rescue and Recycle. That little guy on the left seems to have face planted in the food dish.

C: Your ultimate goal has numerous facets, not only to help cats, but to help the environment and people with autism, correct?

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M: It is our hope that the non-profit that is the first to corner this market is Rescue And Recycle. We want this resource to help pets in need, and in turn help our society be the place it should be. We would also like to eventually operate on a large enough scale to hire, and we’d like to focus a lot of our hiring on higher-functioning autistics. I have high-functioning autism(which used to be called Asperger’s Syndrome), and believe this sort of work is very compatible with my nature. We recently had a son as well(his name is Keenan), and we would like to leave the world a kinder place for him than we found it to be.
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C: How are you furthering you goals right now?
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M: Right now we also need our 501c(3), but the process is expensive and likely won’t happen until we get a truck&trailer. In the mean-time we’ve been building relationships with rescue groups in the area, volunteering when able, and making friends in a broader sense. We’ve appealed to various organizations, and we even tried a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo(though that did not go well).

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C: What do you need the most?
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.M: We could really use help from those with non-profit experience, or any leads on useful grants. If all a person can offer is to like our Facebook page or subscribe to our Twitter feed, we appreciate it. A mountain is just a pile of atoms like a pebble. Small contributions can make a big difference if they happen enough.

More kitties saved by Rescue and Recycle.

More kitties saved by Rescue and Recycle.

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There you have it! Neat, no? Please take a moment to stop by Rescue and Recycle’s Facebook Page and/or friend them on Twitter to follow their news. If you know of someone that would be interested in this story, please share! Let’s do our part to help get this great initiative off the ground!
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Love,
Crepes.
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Rescue And Recycle: http://fb.me/rariowa and @rariowa   Visit HERE for a list of things you can drop off for donation if you’re in the Iowa area.

 

 

Meet Save-A-Pet Illinois!

You Guys! Today, we’re going to meet Save-A-Pet Illinois, a no-kill rescue in Grayslake, IL that’s working hard to save lots of animals! Please welcome Dr. Mittens, a 10-year old FIV+ orange mancat who is here to tell us all about Save-A-Pet Illinois. Dr. Mittens himself has a harrowing story of frostbite and rescue.
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Crepes: Welcome, Mittens!
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Mittens: It’s actually Dr. Mittens.
Dr. Mittens, single and searching

Dr. Mittens, single and searching

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Crepes: My apologies. Welcome, Dr. Mittens!
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Dr. Mittens: Oh boy, hmmm hello everyone! I have to say I’m a bit uncomfortable being in the spotlight. I feel like I’m blushing all the way to the tip of my whiskers. Meow, meow…okay a deep purr in and purr out, I’m ready!
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Crepes: You can do it, Dr. M. Tell me a bit about Save-A-Pet IL.
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Dr. M: This may be a bit official, but Save-A-Pet is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and one of the largest no-kill cat and dog rescues in Lake County that operates a full-time adoption center. They provide a safe haven for abused, neglected, injured, or lost pets or animals that have escaped euthanasia. They will never put a limit on the amount of care they will provide for us and they never give up on us. Save-A-Pet offers all of us, rescued dogs and cats, the greatest opportunity for a second chance.
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Crepes: It sounds like you really like this place.
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Dr. M: They have a wonderful and compassionate staff that takes care of us every single day of the year and many volunteers that help out in different ways. They really helped lift my spirit!….shhh, between you and me, I know angels exist because they are right here.
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Crepes: Angels are important. MomFOD tells me I am one, in fact.  Tell me, what are your facilities like?
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Dr. M: It’s a big building, with a whole section for the dogs and separate rooms for the cats. There is a kitten room, the main cat room (all adult cats) and then a special room where all of us, FIV positive cats, live. The last two feline leukemia cats recently found a home so their room is empty.
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CrepesFor those who don’t know, Feline Leukemia can be spread through contact, so they must live in a house with other like kitties or by themselves. So very pleased to hear you find a place for Feline Leukemia patients.
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Dr. M.: How cool is that? There are large bay windows with bushes and trees right outside. The bird feeders attract activity all year around and there is always something going on. That’s a special programming just for us. This keeps us entertained…and we also get to see everyone that comes in looking for their new family member.
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Crepes: This sounds like quite the facility!
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Dr. M: They also have some quarantine rooms, that’s where all of us start our stay. We get all our shots, get tested for feline leukemia and the FIV virus, micro-chipped and have to provide a little “brownie” to make sure we don’t have any intestinal parasite.
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Crepes: Ah yes, a “brownie.” How very clinical of you, Doctor.
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Dr. M: Their staff then schedule our spay/neuter surgery with one of the vets they work with. It goes without saying that any one of us that needs a special surgery or treatment gets an appointment with a specialist vet. We get only the best!
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Crepes: That sounds like an excellent program. Do you have a large foster program?
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Dr. M: The foster program is quite active, especially during “kitten season.” There are various fostering opportunities, something for everyone. Some people foster year round while others may do it based on their availability. Feline foster needs cover everything from bottle-fed kittens, pregnant or nursing moms, kittens not old enough to get fixed, adult cats recuperating from surgery or a special treatment, cats not faring well or in need of some extra socialization, and of course cats that may have a medical condition, such as diabetes or cancer. Training is provided if we need special care, like insulin shots or fluids. I’m telling you they are on top of everything.

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Crepes:  What is your special needs adoption program like? Your website says you offer aid with ongoing medications and needs. Can you expound on that?
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Dr. M: Some cats are available for adoption with incentives so, for example, someone welcoming a diabetic cat into their family would be able to get supplies specifically for that medical condition and Save-A-Pet would still be coordinating the care for his diabetes with their own vet. Each case is different so it is best to check with them. I’m not too much involved in all that process stuff.
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Crepes:  If people want to help Save A Pet IL, what’s the best thing that they could do? What do you need the most?
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Dr. M: Well of course, that green paper stuff always helps, especially with vet bills, but we also always welcome additional volunteers, foster homes and supplies….and of course adopters that wouldn’t mind a special needs cat…maybe even yours truly? I’ll be waiting for you!
"Pick me pick me pick me" - Dr. Mittens

“Pick me pick me pick me” – Dr. Mittens

Crepes: Let’s hope the wait isn’t too long. Thanks, Dr. Mittens for meeting with me. If you’d like to learn more about Save-A-Pet Illinois, visit their website at http://saveapetil.org/   Special Needs pets have a little heart in their profile!

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Dr. Mittens’ Story
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On one of the coldest days in January, a teenage boy heard some loud yowling outside and braved the cold to check it out. There, in the middle of the driveway, was an orange tabby cat, spread out and unable to move. Somehow he had still found just enough strength to meow one more time. The young man quickly got his father. They scooped him up, wrapped him in blankets and immediately took him to a local vet. The cat’s temperature was so low that it didn’t even register on the thermometer. His frostbite wounds were horrible, even the skin of one of his paw pads had peeled off. 24/7 emergency care was provided by the dedicated veterinarians until he was stable enough to come to Save-A-Pet. This sweet and affectionate cat would have died if it hadn’t been for the quick action by his rescuers and for the immediate veterinary care he received. Dr. Mittens, as he has been named, has recovered wonderfully and is now ready for adoption. This handsome FIV positive cat loves attention and is the happiest when he can be in someone’s lap.  To learn more about Dr. Mittens and to apply for adoption, visit his page!
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Thank you to Dominique of Save-A-Pet Illinois for providing access to Mittens and his biography and photos!

Adopting A Blind Dog: What You Need To Know

You guys!

If you recall, I recently did an article with Tree House on what it’s like to adopt a blind kitty. Well, we couldn’t leave out our doggie friends! Today, we have with us Karen Belfi of Blind Dog Rescue Alliance to answer some of our questions about adopting and living with dogs who are vision impaired.

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Crepes: Welcome, Karen! Please tell me a bit about BlindDogRescue.org.  It seems that you don’t have a specific physical location, but that you are a network across the US and Canada. Is that correct?
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Karen Belfi: Yes. We have a series of foster homes throughout the US and Canada. Since we formed in August 2009, we have rescued over 300 blind and visually impaired dogs.
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C: Excellent! Some of the dogs that you have rescued aren’t completely blind but have impaired night vision or other difficulties. What are some of the other forms of blindness that one might encounter?
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KB: There are many causes of blindness. Cataracts and glaucoma are two common causes. PRA, or progressive retinal atrophy, starts off with night blindness, then the dog eventually loses all vision. Diabetes can cause blindness. Some dogs are born without eyes, or very small, malformed eyes. Injury can cause blindness as well.
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C: What is it like to care for a blind dog?
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KB: Really, they are like any other dog. They react differently to situations, depending on the individual dog. I have a dog with no eyes, Pete, whom I fostered for BDRA, and ended up adopting. He can adapt to anything! We moved a couple of weeks ago, and he learned the layout of the new house (and big yard) in a few hours. You can see him just walk the perimeter figuring things out. My other blind dog, Mabel, took longer to figure things out. It’s very individual. Most dogs adapt to blindness very well.
Blind dog "Malcolm" having a meet and greet.

Blind dog “Malcolm” having a meet and greet.

C: Are there any particular household dangers that someone caring for a blind dog should look out for, such as dangerous furniture, stairs, etc.?
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KB: Stairs, of course, are a concern until the dog learns where they are. Anything that can puncture the eye, like branches, are a concern, if the dog still has eyes. This is why ophthalmologists will sometimes recommend removing a dog’s eye(s) if they are blind.
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C: What is it like to take a blind dog out for a walk? Do you always need to take the same route?
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KB: Pete pulls like any other dog! He just plows right along as if he could see. We try to get our blind dogs and fosters used to different situations. We take them everywhere – into pet stores, into the city, to the park – to get them used to noises, smells, etc. We try to make them as independent and confident as possible.
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C: Do blind dogs like to explore their environments?
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KB: They do. Their noses tend to work VERY well, so they use them to explore and figure out where they are. We teach a couple basic commands to them. “Watch” is for when something is in their way. They learn to slow down and feel for what’s there. “Step” is for when there are stairs, a curb, etc. They start to slow down and feel for the step.
This doggie's rolling in the grass so far he's blurry!

This doggie’s rolling in the grass so fast he’s blurry! No camera could catch his awesome!

C: Can you teach a blind dog to play fetch using a sound toy, or is that not something you’d want to have a blind dog performing?
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KB: I have a rubber ball that has a bell in it. Pete loves to play fetch with it. We have also gotten some tennis balls with bells in them that the dogs love to play with. There are other noisy balls and toys they can use.
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C: Can you leave a blind dog unattended in the same way you would a sighted dog?
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KB: This would also depend on the individual dog. Does the dog know the area well? Is the dog a chewer? Will the dog get into things in your absence? Are stairs blocked off? Our dogs do fine left alone. They know exactly where the stairs are, and do not tend to get into things.
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C: Please walk us through how you would teach a blind dog to perform the basic command “sit.”
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KB: It’s really the same as any other dog. Tap their bottom, or hold the biscuit high above their nose to position them to sit, then treat.
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C: How can our readers assist BlindDogRescue.org if they’re interested in helping further? What do you need the most?
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KB: We ALWAYS need volunteers. Of course we always want foster homes, but if you can’t foster, we definitely need your help!
We need people to do lots of things-organize transports for fosters (you don’t have to drive to do this!), check adoption applications, contact shelters with blind dogs, attend local events, check volunteer applications, etc. Lots of things. If anyone wants to help, they can fill out the volunteer app on our website.
FACT: Children love blind dogs.

FACT: Children love blind dogs.

C: Is there anything you’d like to mention that I’ve forgotten?
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KB: I think the main thing to know about blind dogs is that they are all individual. Many people tend to assign character traits to a blind dog. “He’s scared of other dogs, because he is blind.” “He should have another dog with him, because he is blind.” Really, that depends on the dog. Some blind dogs are scared of other dogs. But, some sighted dogs are too. Ditto having another dog in the house. Some do better, some do better as an only dog. Each dog is so individual. They’re dogs first, blind second!
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That’s it, everyone! A wonderful thanks to Karen Belfi for her help with this piece. I hope this article opens your eyes to the awesomeness of blind dogs. If you’re considering adopting one, here are some more resources for you to look at:
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You see those photos above? That’s Malcolm. Tomorrow, we meet Malcolm, who just so happens to be looking for a home, no pun intended.
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Love,
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Crepes.
**photos provided by Margaret D. of BDRA – Thank you! **
PS. Last chance to enter The Honest Kitchen Quickies Valentine’s giveaway! Just leave a comment and let me know you want an entry! (and make sure I have your email there in case you win!)