Posts Tagged ‘animal rescue’

Volunteer at Marine Mammal Care Center

seal pup close up


I had a wonderful experience this morning and want to share.

A couple of years ago I picked up a pamphlet for the Marine Mamma Care Center at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, CA. I stuffed it into the ever-growing pile of information I always grab up about possible volunteer opportunities to explore and share, and sadly, I sort of forgot about it.

I recently randomly checked out their website and found their WISH LIST for needed donation items, and realized we had some things that would go to great use for them, and support the animals they rescue and rehabilitate.

Those animals are the all-too-many seals and sea lions that are stranded along the Los Angeles coastline. The MMCC functions as a hospital for sick and injured marine mammals and it is a great program serving a huge need.

With El Nino weather conditions, we tend to think of it just happening this year with some storms finally bringing much needed rain, but ocean water temperatures have been warmer than usual–an El Nino condition–for a couple of years. The warmer water creates some crisis conditions for seals and sea lions. The fish they usually feed on close to the coast are being driven farther out and deeper down, since they cannot thrive in the warmer ocean water. This means that mother pinnipeds (the center mostly treats California sea lions, northern elephant seals, Pacific harbor seals, and northern fur seals) have to go away to forage farther and for longer periods of time to find enough food to sustain themselves and produce milk for their babies. The pups are left on beaches for too long while adults search, sometimes orphaned, often malnourished. When a pup can no longer sustain itself and is starving, Animal Control or other agencies brings them to MMCC for care. Additionally, fishing line, nets, and other injurious human interactions take their toll.

An average year sees about 350 patients at the center…the past two years have exceeded 700. It’s a big deal and a big job.

I love this place. Some of the many animals, both young and mature, are frolicking like you’d hope, slipping in and out of pools of water, barking, feeding–these are getting close to being released back into the ocean. Others are newly arrived, in a quiet zone, while some pretty intensive care is administered trying to nurse them back to health and viability. With as much struggle as these little guys and gals go through, I expected a pretty somber mortality rate, but surprisingly they lose only a few. A few more are deemed unreleasable and find homes at aquariums and other facilities (all of the disposition is handled by the US Government…where, when, how many get transferred to which places).

If you’re local to the Los Angeles area and are looking for a rewarding volunteer gig, check out the opportunities, from docents educating children and adult guests and field trip classes, to folks doing animal husbandry in the back and keeping things clean and running smoothly, there is always a need for more big-hearted volunteers. I suspect it can be tough work, but I bet you, like me, won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face. If you’re local or traveling to the L.A. region and want to visit to learn more about the several species under their care and see them, there are educational docents there to show you around and answer all your questions from 10am to 4pm, and they are open 365 days a year. Check them out, support their work, and you too, will have a perma-grin.

Hope For Paws

Hope for Paws

Bless the Beasts and Children: Kids Rescue Puffins

This is how youth in Iceland spend evenings:


Animal Rescue Site-1 Click to Save


I’ll admit I squinted a lot and was entirely skeptical the first time someone forwarded an email to me ages ago about this (and the similar bowl of rice for starving children, etc programs that seemed like a crock)

I don’t know why I am a doubter, but I come to it pretty naturally. I wish it wasn’t my default setting. The Animal Rescue Site is, actually, a way to help with almost zero effort on our part.

You can, actually, go to this website, every day if possible, click the purple button, and a donation of food and care is made to shelter programs for animals (find the partners here: Charitable Partners). OK–you’re right–it’s not like some evil Cruella deVil/Fagin character is sitting over a giant tub of kibble and saying “Sorry little adorable puppies–not enough people clicked on the website, so you’ll go to bed hungry tonight. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha”…but your clicking DOES actually provide food (and shelter care). Here’s how–companies pay to have their ads appear on the “click” page of the website. They are paying for eyeballs to see their ads. Based on the number of people who click each day (and you’re monitored so only one click per day can count) they are charged for their advertising. 100% of the advertising is donated to the animal charities…so it isn’t a direct equation of a click equals a bowl of food—but your clicking DOES feed the hungry puppies.


So click already, and tomorrow. and again.

The Judges’ Scores: Carrie Ann Inaba

Photo: CAI Animal Project

Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba makes newbie dancers feel good about trying difficult steps and routines, and she makes newbie, or veteran, pet adopters feel pretty darn good as well. Her charity, launched this year, The CAI Animal Project gives grants/financial assistance to existing programs doing great work with animals in shelters and adoption programs, and her original program effort, It All Starts Here, works to make fantastic animal advocates out of young people.

We know cruelty to animals is a learned behavior, so educating children about the special nature of human-animal bonding and pet responsibility can interrupt the bad cycle of a kid learning to harm. It All Starts Here goes into schools to teach about rescue and responsibility, and inspires young people to get involved. Her two-pronged approach, financially assisting those who are doing rescue work right and making kids into agents of positive animal change, should be effective on its own…but add her considerable appeal to young audiences based on the TV show, and Carrie Ann has the ears, and hearts, of a big chunk of young people. Find out more about her work, and click here to support.

Saving Fiona: Already Gone Viral

SO many people have already seen this great video–keep it spreading around. If it is time to add a four-legged member to your family–RESCUE, RESCUE, RESCUE!!!!!

Why Help? Because You Can (30 dolphins rescued)

March 5, 2012, on the beach of Brazil Arraial do Cabo, about thirty dolphins came aground on the beach and were all saved by caring people.

Drinking Generously–Cork for a Cause

I’m always scouring the bushes…and vines…for opportunities where we can choose to be effortlessly generous, where the things we would be doing anyway can be directed toward affecting positive change in the world. Shopping in a way that non-profits get a percentage, long distance phone plans that donate money to charities, recycling computers and cell phones and technology in a way that keeps them out of dumps and gets them into classrooms or the hands of those in need…there are avenues everywhere for us to give in a way that takes no skin off our noses.

If you are inclined to pop the cork on a bottle of wine in the evenings, or on weekends, or for special events, or whenever…think about this organization: Cork for a Cause.  The online wine merchant, an extension of Washington’s Cork House Winery, releases special vintages and appellations and dedicates profits from those purchases to charity. The sales of the bottles go toward such causes as providing free mammograms, preserving the rainforest, helping feed families in need, animal rescue, assistance for veterans in need, healthcare for children, testicular cancer screening and care, HIV/AIDS testing and awareness, Autism research, and more.

Swirl that around in your glass a bit, and go here to find out more about the impact Cork for a Cause is having…an impact that comes from people doing what they do every day. No effort, but BIG result.

The Nature of Wildworks–Volunteering in the Animal Kingdom

Someone recently told me a bit about The Nature of Wildworks, a charitable organization in Topanga, California, that is dedicated to interactive wildlife education programs, to enhance our understanding and respect for wild animals while simultaneously ensuring lifetime quality care for non-releasable wild animals. The facility is currently home to 45 wild animals that have been displaced from zoos, confiscated from people who had been keeping them as illegal “pets,” or rescued orphaned and injured animals. Most of the species living out their lives here are native to California, including snakes, birds of prey, bobcat, coyote, wolf, fox, skunk, opossum, tortoise, and more…even a blind mountain lion named Pirate. These are well cared for and highly respected animals who also work hard in the field of education. Many of the animals make classroom visits to teach kids about the amazing world outside their doors, and how to take a stand and care for wildlife.

Volunteers make the world of Nature of Wildworks go ’round, including direct animal care (after appropriate training classes and orientation). There is also volunteer need for such tasks as wildlife presentation, fundraising, clerical/office, construction, grant writing, advertising, or some other as-yet-unthought-of way for you to contribute your talents and passion. Check them out…WRITE a check to support them (tax-deductible), and align yourself with their mission to make sure we all respect and care for wild animals.

Video below is of Pirate, the blind mountain lion, and his pumpkin…LOVE HIM!!!

Black Dogs

Our friend Laura has just begun doing amazing volunteer work with the local animal shelter, Strays and Others. She is spending a great deal of time with the too many cats and kittens who are staying in a shelter home, waiting to be adopted into their forever homes (and discovering which of these wonderful felines will find their own ideal home at Laura’s condo).

All the recent cat action sends my brain, even more than usual, to dogs (a natural place for my thoughts). I was fascinated to learn that among adoptable rescue dogs, black colored dogs are passed over in disproportionate numbers for lighter colored dogs. Black dogs, particularly black Labradors and Labrador mixes, are euthanized at much higher numbers than others as they prove un-adoptable. There doesn’t seem to be a rational explanation (especially if you’ve ever known a Black Lab, Doberman, Black Standard Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, etc.)…the best guess for this oddness is that on websites and flyers posted at local coffee houses, black dogs just don’t photograph well. They turn into blobs in tiny thumbnail photos, and since there are far too many animals to scan past on any adoption website, people just scroll past the ones that don’t jump out. Isn’t that bizarre?

The website Black Pearl Dogs (Black Dog Syndrome) documents the plight of black dogs, and encourages us all to consider rescuing any animal that can be a part of our loving families. “Shelters and rescues have different policies in regards to euthanasia:  no kill to high kill.  Some black dogs will die of natural causes within the system because they will wait a lifetime to be noticed.  Many won’t even get a week.”

I grew up with the world’s greatest dog, Ebony, a Doberman/Labrador mix who was rescued from a shelter (kids had beaten her with a baseball bat). She was my everything, entirely jet black with just a tiny white patch on her neck (and as she got older, her muzzle whitened up). It is entirely beyond my comprehension that anyone would pass by Ebony or any other stunning black dog.

Thinking of adopting a dog, cat, horse, rabbit, hamster, snake, any domesticated animal? Visit a shelter, rescue a loving animal. Research the topic into the ground BEFORE you get a pet from a pet store–puppy mills are abhorrent operations and MUST be driven out of business–the pet stores are what keeps them operating.