Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Polyhound Farm

Robert and I didn’t set out to have multiple hounds, but we sure do enjoy our sweet, quirky pack.  In addition to our current three greyhounds (Cosmo, Lily, and Mr. Spock), we also have Shelly the beagle, whom we found nearly starved to death on a dirt road near our house.  Shelly is the best little dog, and conveniently, beagles are in the hound family, too.  I say conveniently because Robert and I named our homestead Polyhound Farm.  This is a tribute to Polyface Farm, the wonderfully robust and creative farm owned by Joel Salatin, a brilliant and unconventional farmer and author in Virginia.  I first learned of Joel Salatin in The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, one of the most influential books I’ve ever read.

Racing greyhounds typically have been exposed only to other greyhounds, and so it’s important to determine how they interact with other types of animals that could be in their adoptive homes.  Southeastern Greyhound Adoption (SEGA) tests each of its greyhounds for cat tolerance and small dog tolerance.  SEGA has found that about 70 to 80% of its greyhounds are “cat tolerant.”  Greyhounds usually enjoy the company of other dog breeds.  Some greyhounds show great interest in small, fluffy dogs but generally do fine with them once they realize that that the little guys are dogs, too.  The biggest key is to introduce greyhounds and other animals slowly and cautiously.

Potential greyhound adopters complete a SEGA application, which includes questions about family lifestyle (level of activity, whether small children are in the home, etc.) and other pets.  This helps SEGA make the best possible match between adopter and greyhound.  For example, because I have no cats due to an allergy, SEGA would prefer to place a non-cat tolerant greyhound in my home.  However, 20-pound Shelly is a little beagle, and so my greyhounds have to be small-dog tolerant.  As you can see, they certainly are!

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