Tuesday Haikusday: Polar Vortex, Part Deux

Ok, seriously, this Polar guy needs to quit with the vortex and get on back up north. I mean, I actually don’t go outside, but I can see from the windows it looks pretty nippy. And then when the dog has to go out, MomFOD has to put her boots on, and then her coat, and then her leash, and then her own boots and coat and leash. It takes forever and when I’m waiting for my food it’s kind of annoying. And then there’s the fact that everyone else is complaining about it, which I also find annoying. I dunno. I’ll stop complaining and take out my frustrations in verse. Eh hem…

My zen-like aura keeps me warm while I contemplate haiku in my garden.

My zen-like aura keeps me warm while I contemplate haiku in my garden.

I’ve heard tell of cold

just like this in ancient times,

back in the 80s.


If I were a bear

I think that I’d not care. Why?

Epic three-month nap.


The dog goes outside.

Sniffs the coldness, takes her time.

You curse. I laugh, warm.

Please make sure that any outdoor animals have shelter and UNFROZEN water. If you know of homeless kitties or pups in your area, providing them with styrofoam containers stuffed with straw and covered with a space blanket would really help and could even save some lives.

Stay toasty, my friends!



PS. Greg will stare at you in the shower until you remember to Vote for the Inheritance.

Harmony House – A Green, Eco-Friendly Cat Rescue

Dear Readers!
I am excited to bring to your attention a novel concept in animal shelters. Today, we are going to be having a discussion with Harmony House, a cat rescue in Chicago, IL that focuses on being a green, eco-friendly facility.  Originally opened in the 1970s, Harmony House re-opened its doors in 2012 with their all new, earth-friendly building. With us from Harmony House is Schrock, a fancy little four-year-old fellow who helps care for the cats that need long-term recovery in the Harmony House medical ward. He loves to entertain the little kittens and occasionally passes out a much needed bath. Welcome, Schrock!

harmony house

Schrock, available and ready to love.

Schrock: Thanks, Crepes, for having me.

Crepes: My pleasure. You’re not green at all, are you?

S: No, why would I be?

C: I thought we were discussing green.

S: Yes, our location, not me. I’m a tabby.

C: I just figured because of your name that –

S: It’s Schrock, not Shrek.

C: I see.  Moving along, tell me about Harmony House’s eco-friendly building.

S: Well, it’s our only location, and very advanced in design. Our human friends were planning to replace the flooring and do other remodeling in our older shelter when a donor offered to build us a brand new home with the latest in green technology.

harmony house

Harmony House’s solar panels. Photovoltaic.

C: Was he anonymous?

S: Yes.

C: All the interesting ones seem to be. Continue.

S: This anonymous donor was doing it not only to help all the cats, but to show the community how green technology can be used in commercial buildings. Without that donor’s support, our new building would not have happened. Now, I am no expert on solar panels and geo-thermal wells, but when I heard about all the huge windows we kitties would have, I gave it my full approval.

harmony house

Kitties with a tree view.

C: I read on your website that the building’s heating and cooling needs are powered by fourteen geo-thermal wells, twenty solar thermal panels, and a solar photovoltaic system of ninety-six panels. Do you feel that the energy savings of the facility will make up for its own cost in the long run?

S: Because the expense of maintaining all of our complex systems costs as much or more as the gas and electric bills at the old shelter building, the new shelter will not pay for itself in energy savings, BUT it is a giant leap forward in living environment for our furry residents, and has attracted lots of new volunteers and adopters.

C: Photovoltaic.

S: What?

C: What are you most proud of that Harmony House has done?

S: I am proud of the attention and nurturing given to every cat or kitten here. The staff and volunteers treat us like their own pets at home. It is about one kitten at a time, and finding out what each one of us needs to fix our injuries or treat any medical problems before being adopted.

harmony house

A volunteer and kitty, both enjoying the sunshine from a safe distance.

C: And, because it’s my forte, how many special needs cats does Harmony House shelter? I know that you have four on-site special needs suites.

S: Harmony House usually has about 30-35% special needs cats at any given time, and we cats are so thrilled when an adopter is willing to adopt a cat on medication or that needs some extra care.

C:  I’ve read that the building is designed so that cats in every room have access to natural light and a view of trees and flowers. So life at Harmony House is, well, harmonious?

S: We have cats in open, sun-filled adoption rooms, and it makes our daily life so happy and relaxed that it makes it easy for adopters to get to know us before choosing their new cat.

harmony house

Kanga, looking for love and relaxed while doing it.

C: What advice would you offer to other shelters?

S: Even if a shelter cannot go cageless, having several cageless playrooms makes for a more normal life until each cat finds their forever home.


Schrock, not green.

Thanks to Schrock for joining us! You can learn more about Harmony House’s eco-friendly methods here.
To see who’s available for adoption at Harmony House, visit their Petfinder.com page. If you happen to love Schrock, you can see his little bio here.   And, if you can, make sure you suggest that your local shelter offer some natural lighting to the animals they care for. It makes a big difference!



PS. If you like our article, please like us on Facebook. We’ve almost passed the 250 mark!

So You Can’t Adopt – That’s Ok, Here’s What You CAN Do

Hi Everyone,

Alana here. I was driving along today and I was thinking about how I cannot, in my current living situation, adopt any more pets. I felt a little sad, but then I started thinking about all the things I CAN do to help out in the world of pet adoption. I wanted to share some of those thoughts with you in case you want to help, too, but are also unable to bring more pets into your home.

When you foster, this happens.

When you foster, this happens.

First, find your goal. Do you want to specifically help cats? Dogs? Kittens and puppies? Older animals? Find your passion and see if there’s something you can do in that specific niche. Narrowing it down makes it easier for you to pick a focus and you’re less like to get overwhelmed by the thought that there’s too much to do and only one of you. There are a surprising number of niche rescues out there that focus on certain breeds, older animals, injured animals, exotic animals, etc.  My focus is on special needs. My second focus is on promoting proper nutrition. My overall goal is to help bring about a no-kill America. What’s your goal?

Working within that goal, here are some ideas for ways to take action:

1) Foster. Do you want to help care for pets but are unable to make a long-term commitment? Are you moving soon or are you a student? If you have a spare room in your house (even a bathroom will do), contact your local shelter and sign up to become a foster parent. Fosters are SO important to the adoption community because they offer emergency, temporary shelter to animals who might otherwise be euthanized due to lack of space. Imagine opening your home to six little kittens who want to snuggle, play, and nap all day. Commitments can range anywhere from 3 weeks and up, and you can determine what time frame you’re willing to commit to along with your shelter.

2) Volunteer to walk dogs. Do you love to walk dogs but you can’t have one in your apartment just now? Volunteer to be a dog walker. You and the dog will get to spend some time in the fresh air getting exercise.

3) Volunteer to socialize shy pets. Do you have a special knack for bringing shy kitties or other animals out of their shells? Volunteer to socialize. You don’t have to limit yourself to dogs and cats if you don’t wish to. I once spent a day socializing a mother rat and her five babies. With a few Cheerios and some patience, I had the mother sitting in my palm and the babies running up my arm in just one morning. Socialization volunteers are very important because they help ready pets for adoption, so if you’re good with shy animals, give it a try!

4) Help organize an adoption event. Shelters are often putting together adoption events or showcasing what they do at pet shows or other conventions. If you’re good at talking to people, volunteer to go out with the event and use your skills to talk about why your cause is important and offer information on how others can get involved, too.

5) Photograph for shelters. Many small shelters don’t have access to a nice camera or a good photographer. If you’re good at photography and want to build your portfolio, offer to take photos for a shelter. I’ve photographed for Tree House Humane and my work has ended up on their website and even in their 2009 calendar. Taking photos of their adoptable pets is also key so that every pet can put his/her best paw forward on their adoption profile.

6) Write. Do you have good writing skills? Do you have something to say? Then write! Who’s going to read what I’m writing, you might ask. Well, you’re reading what I’m writing right now, aren’t you? There are many different ways in which you can use your skills. If you have something to say on a specific topic, write an article and pitch it to a few bloggers or websites. Does your favorite shelter fall behind the others in the quality of their animal profiles? They’re probably so busy caring for the animals, that they don’t have time to write about them, so step in! Write letters to your local congressman or offer to help with shelter newsletters. Do you have A LOT to say? Become a blogger! The blogging community is very supportive and it’s amazing what they can help you with if you just ask.

6) Donate your art. Are you artistic? Perhaps you paint, draw, or sculpt. Offer to donate some of your arts to your local shelter charity event for auction or sale. Baking also counts as an art, so don’t overlook what you can offer to bake sales!

8) Social network. If you love to spend time on Facebook or Twitter, follow some of your favorite sites and help disseminate information for them. You can also volunteer to help them set up or run their social media pages.

8) Donate money or other items. If you don’t have time to do any of the above, you can always donate. Money is always helpful, but consider also donating your professional services directly to the shelter or for charity auction. You can also donate supplies. Do you have extra cat litter boxes or scoops? Sealed bags of treats you don’t need? Extra leashes? An old cat tree your kitty doesn’t use? Even coupons for litter or pet food are useful. Give them to your shelter! They’ll definitely appreciate it.


Has this inspired you to do something you didn’t think about doing before? Is there something I left off the list? Comment on it! I’d love to hear from you.