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.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Two Celebrations for Homeless Animals Day

I planned two events for today in conjunction with my focus this month on the ASPCA.  Then, a few days ago I learned that the third Saturday in August is Homeless Animals Day.  The timing couldn't be better.

This morning I got to go to the Jasper County Animal Shelter.  Several young friends from my church - Kate, Nina, Rhett, and Tom - plus a couple of adult helpers went with me.  We had a great time!  We walked dogs, cleaned out cages, and played with cats.

The shelter houses at least several dozen each of cats and dogs.  The cats use litter boxes, and so the dog cages needed more attention.  Some of us walked the dogs.  While their cages were empty, others of us helped the staff clean them.  This consisted of spraying the walls and floor of  the area with a disinfectant that kills parvovirus and other microbes.  Then everything was hosed down.  Each dog has a raised bed, which was hosed down and had a clean blanket or towel placed on it.  Finally, fresh bowls of food and water were placed in the cage.  It was gratifying to see that each animal receives adequate care.

Besides these basic requirements, the animals really just need loving human contact.  I especially noticed this with four large puppies (siblings, I'm sure) who shared a cage.  We had to walk all four of them at the same time so that their cage could be cleaned.  They obviously haven't been on leashes very much, and they were pretty scared when we first got them out.  However, after Nina, her grandfather, and I spent a little time with them, they seemed to relax a bit.  After a while, they were tumbling all over Nina, who laughed delightedly.

All of the dogs seemed to have good temperaments, including the many pit bull mixes.  One of the pit bulls made quite an impression on me when I took him for a walk.  He was so strong!  He probably doesn't weigh much more than my greyhounds, but I'm so used to my greyhounds' docility that the pit bull's power took me by surprise.  I think the shelter worker who suggested I walk him knew that this dog probably would overwhelm the children.  He wasn't a bad dog by any means, but he definitely needs someone who will work with him patiently to direct all that energy in a positive direction.

The kids had a blast playing with the many cats at the shelter.  I'm sure the cats thrived on the abundance of attention, too.

I got pictures of many of the animals.  Here's a gallery of good animals looking for good homes:


Fuzzy Fred

This cute dog is some kind of Australian shepherd mix.  She looks kind of like a possum.  Note that I'm referring to the critter on the left.

Hanging out in one of the runs while his cage is cleaned

Woof, indeed.

Thank you for the cage, ASPCA!

As I was about to leave the shelter, a sign on a shelf caught my eye.  Because of the shirt I was wearing, I had to get a picture of me holding the sign:

That was gracious plenty to make for an excellent day, but I had more fun in store for this evening.  I hosted a Dog Days of Summer Celebration at a local restaurant, Deptula's, as a fundraiser for the Jasper County Animal Shelter and the ASPCA.

The original plan was for people to bring their dogs and enjoying mingling in the grassy, shady parking area adjacent to the restaurant.  Unfortunately, it's been raining cats and dogs the last few days, and so we had to move everything inside and nix bringing dogs.  Fortunately, we still had a great time and raised $259!

Also, I made dog biscuits for people to take home to their dogs.  The biscuits were shaped like bones, fire hydrants, and mailmen:

And don't forget the cool party hats!

It really struck me today how easy it is to be of service.  By spending only a few hours, right here in our own community, we did something so worthwhile that was fun, too!  I'm so glad that A Year of Centuries has spurred me to engage with my neighbors - two-legged and four-legged - in ways that I might not have otherwise.

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