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.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Oh, Behave!

The ASPCA seeks to help people build healthy, strong, loving bonds with their pets.  Behavioral problems are a major reason that pets end up in animal shelters.  This doesn’t have to be the case.  Veterinarians or animal behavior specialists can help resolve minor behavior problems before they become major.  The ASPCA offers free pet-behavior advice through its virtual pet behaviorist team at   Additionally, the ASPCA spearheads studies of the behaviors of shelter pets to better understand what makes some animals more appealing to adopters than others.  Pet adopters should keep in mind that each animal truly is unique.

I learned new things about the physical uniqueness of animals at Zoo Atlanta.  Each giraffe has a different spot pattern, each gorilla has a different nose pattern, and each zebra has a different stripe pattern.  They are like fingerprints on humans.  I took this knowledge and started looking for the uniqueness of other animals.  For example, by paying attention to their comb patterns, I can differentiate between my chickens.  Also, I was amused to discover that the crows of roosters are different.  During last month’s century, Pedal for Pets, I was riding down a road and heard a rooster.  His cock-a-doodle-doo was much higher pitched than that of my two roosters.

If every animal is physically unique, it certainly makes sense that their personalities are different, too.  I’ve seen this firsthand with all of the dogs I’ve had over the years.  There has been something special about each one.  Usually, it’s something endearing, like the special bark that my cocker spaniel Garth had when he cornered a box turtle.  Then there’s my greyhound Cosmo, who has a shoe fetish.  (One of his nicknames is Imelda.)  If you leave your shoes within reach, Cosmo is likely to steal one and take it to the basement.  Fortunately, he doesn’t chew on them; he’s just a kleptomaniac:

The quirkiest dog I’ve had is my greyhound Mr. Spock.  Some of his habits are downright funny.  He eats breakfast at the same time I do.  When he finishes, he walks over to me and burps!  Mr. Spock is also a stickler for rules.  He knows what areas of the house are off limits.  If an interior door or dog barricade is left open for a moment and one of the other dogs slips through, Mr. Spock will just stand at the boundary he knows he’s not supposed to cross.  Sometimes he even scolds the other errant hound when he/she comes back.  Overall, though, Mr. Spock is pretty insecure.  He would be omega dog if I had that many.  He generally gets along with my other dogs, but I have learned that he doesn’t always act well around dogs outside of our pack.  Therefore, and unfortunately, I’m not able to take him to outings with my greyhound club or similar events with other dogs.  However, Mr. Spock loves people and behaves well when I take him to the local nursing home, the farmers market, or other places where it’s just humans.  The key has been to understand Mr. Spock and to work with his unique personality.

The ancient Greeks advised us to “know thyself.”  We also need to know our animals.  By learning about our pets’ individuality and, when necessary, taking appropriate corrective action early, we can help stop the abandonment of innocent animals and alleviate the senseless killing of adoptable animals.

No comments:

Post a Comment