Thursday, May 31, 2007

Our re-designed site is up!

Check out our new site design, feature stories and photo winners, at!

We'll be on vacation for a week, but keep sending in your dog, cat, pet and wildlife photos, as well as your ideas for how we can continue to build an online space for people who want to read and write about animals, and find ways to connect with organizations that help them, locally and worldwide. Thank you, and have a great week!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Our new issue and re-design should be available tomorrow

We're working hard on a beautiful re-design of the Our Place to Paws Web site and our next e-newsletter issue, which should be mailed out tomorrow. The issue will feature a heartwarming short story about a stray cat adoption, an interview with animal portrait artist Peggy Dey, our May Photo of the Month winner and links to a couple of very cute videos. Stay tuned...

Monday, May 28, 2007

The cats are integrating

We've had a breakthrough at our house, where we've been trying to integrate two young Scottish Folds into our household of three rescued strays. The Folds are here indefinitely until their companion comes home from the hospital, and at a year and a half old, they hadn't seen other cats since they were small kittens.

It was clear initially that our cats, averaging about 10 years old, were not interested in adding more felines into the mix.

At first we separated them in the upstairs/downstairs fashion, and they could just barely see each other through a gap between the door and the wall. I noticed plenty of curious glances and door stakeouts, so after a week and a half I started carrying our cats, one at a time up the stairs.

There were a few puffed tails and a hiss or two, but all in all it went well. No one leaped out of my arms into any kind of fray. So I recently took the plunge and opened the door -- and voila! A five-cat household. Not one fight. Some territory has been staked, along with the afore-mentioned hisses and puffed tails. But one of the Folds especially has taken to our cats, even coming downstairs just to play with them and join in their dinnertime.

It can be done!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

News from the HSUS

Mother and Daughter “Miracle Horses” Arrive at Black Beauty Ranch after Cheating Death at Slaughterhouse

MURCHISON, Texas – After narrowly escaping death at the DeKalb, Ill. horse slaughter plant earlier this month, two horses arrived safely today at their new and permanent home: the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, a 1,300-acre animal sanctuary operated by The Fund for Animals. Monitored by rescue workers from The Humane Society of the United States to the ranch, Mariah and Sahara – a mother and daughter pair believed to have been together since the younger one’s birth 17 years ago -- will find open pastures to roam, plenty of food, and proper medical care.

The rescue of these two horses and 28 others came after The HSUS and The Fund for Animals won a court ruling closing down Cavel International, the last operational horse slaughter plant in the country. The horses had been offloaded and were queued up to be slaughtered when news of the court decision reached Cavel managers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture pulled inspectors from the plant.

At that point, the horses were reloaded onto a truck and returned to the stockyard in Cheyenne, Wyo. where they came from. After the owner contacted The HSUS for financial and logistical help, he relinquished ownership and the process to find them new homes began. While these horses were transported to safety, the majority of the horses caught in the slaughter pipeline that day at Cavel were routed to feedlots en route to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.

“Fortunately for Mariah and Sahara, theirs was a happy ending after suffering days of misery on their way to the slaughterhouse for dinner plates overseas,” said Richard Farinato, director of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. “They richly deserve to live out their days as healthy and content as possible.”

“With the foreign-owned slaughter industry effectively shuttered, it’s time for Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to keep American horses from ever going to slaughter here or across the borders to Canada and Mexico,” said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS and president of The Fund for Animals.


The HSUS paid the owners’ expenses, and took possession of the horses in Cheyenne, where they partnered with the Denkai Animal Sanctuary in Carr, Colo. to rehabilitate the horses. Five horses out of an original group of 33 were euthanized because of injuries sustained during their transport to the slaughterhouse – three before The HSUS took custody of them and two after. The 28 remaining horses are expected to recover fully from their ordeal and will eventually be placed in new homes.

Because the Congressional defunding of USDA inspections for horse slaughter expires in September, The HSUS is calling on Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503 and S. 311) to settle the matter permanently. This legislation will also prohibit the export of live horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

Through the end of March, 5,524 American horses have been exported to Mexico for slaughter. This represents a 221.3 percent increase over the number of American horses who were shipped for slaughter in Mexico during the first three months of 2006. Current data on Canadian exports is not available.


March 29, 2007- A federal district court ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop inspecting horsemeat at the Cavel International slaughter plant, effectively closing the last operating horse slaughtering operation in the United States.

March 21, 2007 – A committee of the Illinois legislature approves legislation to ban horse slaughter by a vote of 8-4.

March 20, 2007 – The HSUS files a notice of intent to sue the Cavel horse slaughter house in DeKalb, Ill. for dozens of violations of the Clean Water Act.

January 19, 2007 – U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds a 1949 Texas state law barring the sale of horsemeat for human consumption in that state. Appeals from the slaughter houses were rejected on March 5.

January 17, 2007 – Legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses nationwide, S. 311 and H.R. 503, is introduced by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Reps. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), John Spratt (D-S.C.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).

September 7, 2006 – U.S. House of Representatives passes H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, by a vote of 263-146. The 109th Congress adjourns before the Senate can consider the bill.

February 14, 2006 – The HSUS and other animal welfare groups and residents file suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the USDA "fee-for-service" rule.

February 7, 2006 – USDA announces its intention to circumvent the Congressional funding limitation by implementing a “fee-for-service” rule to continue inspections of horsemeat.

November 10, 2005 – President Bush signs the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2006, including a funding limitation on horsemeat inspections. The horse slaughter provision is scheduled to take effect 120 days later.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Top 10 Reasons Pets Taken to the Veterinarian

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently reviewed all medical claims received in 2006 to identify the top 10 reasons dogs and cats were taken to the veterinarian.

Compared with last year's list, the usual suspects -- skin allergies, urinary tract infections and upset stomachs -- remain near the top for both pets. Some conditions absent from last year's list were pyoderma (or hot spots) for dogs and tooth extractions for cats.

"Almost all pets will have one of these conditions throughout their life," said Dr. Carol McConnell, director of veterinary relations for VPI. "In general, younger pets have a tendency to eat things they are not supposed to eat, which may result in stomach problems. Older pets are prone to tumors and arthritis."

To see the entire list click here.

The addition of pyoderma to the list reflects the prevalence of skin allergies among dogs. Like humans, dogs can have allergic reactions to food or pollen. Many dogs are allergic to contact with grass or carpet. The most common allergy is a reaction to flea bites. These allergies may cause a dog to lick or chew at an area on their skin until it creates a wound. Infected wounds from self trauma are what veterinarians call "pyoderma."

On the feline side, cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections caused by viruses, urinary crystals, or even stress. Due to differences in the size and position of the urethra, male cats are more likely to get urinary tract infections than female cats. Always monitor a cat's frequency of visits to the litter box, as urination may increase with an infection.

With each of the top 10 conditions, early detection by the owner and early treatment from a veterinarian is essential. In order to detect illnesses early, pet owners should pay attention to their pet's behavior and schedule regular visits to the veterinarian. McConnell recommends that young puppies and kittens see the veterinarian every two to three weeks and older dogs and cats visit once or twice a year.

"Daily care and attention is important," said McConnell. "If you are touching your pet every day, you increase the chance of feeling a tumor, discovering an infection, or noticing if they have a sensitive area." Without detection, pet health problems can become serious and expensive.

"All of these conditions on our top 10 list can adversely affect the pet's quality of life. Some could even become fatal," said McConnell. "Veterinarians never want to euthanize a pet, especially for something that could have been managed earlier in the course of the disease. That is why many veterinarians are focusing on preventive health care. Pet insurance is a way to help them with that."

Monday, May 21, 2007

What would you like to see on our blog?

We're getting visitors, but not a lot of discussion here at Our Place to Paws. Readers, we need to hear from you. What would you enjoy reading about on the blog? What kind of information would be useful? Are there causes you care about, animals you want to discuss, pictures you'd like to submit?

Please write and let us know.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Passing the word

I received this email today and checked out the Web site, and it looks legitimate. So I'm passing the word along!

"Hi, all you animal lovers. This is pretty simple.. Please tell ten friends to tell ten today!

The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "feed an animal in need" for free. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertiser s use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.
Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

If These Pets Could Talk, What Amazing Tails They Would Tell

From PRNewswire: Some of the greatest stories ever told are based on real life events. Whether it is a heroic tale of endurance or overcoming a life-threatening illness, truth can be more compelling than fiction. Surprisingly, many of these stories are not penned by best-selling authors or seen in movies. Instead, they are true adventures of rescued pets, which have inspired the rescue community and animal lovers everywhere.

Today, Purina(R) Pro Plan(R) is launching the voting process to determine the grand prize winner in the Rally to Rescue(TM) "Doing More for Pets" Rescue Stories Contest.
Read more.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cats and the sun patch

Isn't it amazing how cats always find the one sunny spot in the room? One of my cats, Tribbs, is a master at it.

We're currently attempting to integrate two additional cats into our already three-cat household. We're fostering two Scottish folds for someone who will be in the hospital for a while. The house is divided into an upstairs/downstairs scenario, and we've had plenty of puffed-up tails as the various camps stare at each other through an open space to the side of the door.

Does anyone out there have good tips on how to integrate cats into a household? We're following some of the basics: separating them in such a way that they can see each other and smell each other -- but not get at each other -- for at least two weeks, and then integrating them slowly, trying to be sure to avoid any outright fights. So far we've been lucky -- just some puffed-up fur and a hiss or two.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another Daisy

Submitted by Lew K. -- Daisy is the oldest of the 11 cats, mostly rescues, who live with Lew and his wife (still no dog photos coming in!).

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Green Chimneys Charity Auction

Looking for an ideal Mother's Day or graduation gift? How about visiting Green Chimneys' online fundraising auction? Yes, our online auction is up and running. Every purchase will help the children and animals at Green Chimneys. Visit today!

Here's a sneak peek at some of the things you'll find:

* An American Airlines ( business class trip to England, complete with BritRail passes and a stay at a luxury country hotel
* A 12-day cruise on Holland America
* A day of falconry with Bobby Kennedy
* Spend a day at Green Chimneys Farm with singer Fiona Apple
* A behind-the-scenes tour of CNN with Soledad O'Brien
* A wine country tour in Napa Valley
* 2 tickets to NASCAR's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
* VIP Tickets to Ellen Degeneres or The Colbert Report
* Advice and shopping with a top interior designer
* Elegant jewelry and romantic getaways, perfect for Mother's Day
* A VIP Box at Belmont
* Birthday parties for the kids
* Backpacking, kayaking and camping rental packages
* Hawaii and Vegas Vacations
* Clocks, coffee maker and Coach bags
* A hair and style makeover
* ...and much, much more!

More items are being added to the Charity Buzz site, so be sure to check back frequently!

Founded in 1947, Green Chimneys restores possibilities and creates futures for children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges. Green Chimneys operates a residential treatment center for children, an accredited special education school, a farm and wildlife rehabilitation center, group homes, a NARHA premier accredited riding program, a horticultural therapy program with a Children's Garden and organic farm, a runaway shelter, a community outreach center, an accredited Nursery School, public recreation programs, an accredited summer day camp, a mentoring program for youth, LGBTQ programs in New York City, an adult services program in Connecticut and a variety of community and fundraising events. Each year, Green Chimneys' gives hundreds of children and their families the tools that enable them to positively experience their youth, regain a sense of self-worth and create hope for the future as independent, positive and productive adults. More information on Green Chimneys is available by visiting its web site:

It's a good time for a reminder on leaving pets in parked cars

This is a good time of year to remind everyone not to leave your pets locked in a hot car, even with the windows open. The article below says: "A car interior can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 minutes, even in mild weather. Pets that are left inside cars can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or death...."

So take care of your furry friends when it's hot outside!

Read more here:

Monday, May 7, 2007

What's happening to the honeybees?

Have you heard that honeybees are disappearing across the U.S.? No one seems to know why, but everyone agrees that the loss of the bees is scary, and could have a major impact on the environment. Read more in The New York Times.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Still not quite right!

Our Web site still isn't quite right, but at least we have some basic information up. We're hoping to have an upgrade at the end of May.

In the meantime, a note for the Fans of Barbaro, who are all pulling for the safety of the horses and jockeys in the Kentucky Derby today.

I know we all wish these beautiful horses -- and their riders -- a safe ride, too!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Web site is back up!

We're live again at and

Be sure to check back for some new content next month -- and we're still looking for cat, dog and other animal photo submissions for the next newsletter and reader photo spotlight!

Web site still down, but coming back soon!

We're still having some difficulties with our Web site transfer, but the blog will be going until and after our Web site and email are back up.

We're hoping to post a lot of new things on the site at the end of May, and another newsletter will be published at the end of the month, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you'd like to submit your cat, dog and animal photos, you can send them to

Thursday, May 3, 2007

President Signs Animal Fighting Bill Into Law

This just in from the Humane Society of the United States:

Dear Faye,

I wanted to be the first to share with you some fantastic news. Today President Bush signed the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act into law. This is the culmination of an almost six-year campaign by The Humane Society of the United States and our allies to enact meaningful federal penalties for animal fighting.

The law takes effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.

We are fortunate to have had steadfast Congressional leadership on this issue. But this campaign would not have been a success without your tireless efforts. Thank you again to each of you who sent emails, made phone calls, wrote letters and visited your federal legislators on Capitol Hill and in their home districts.

This victory reminds us to never to give up, and that there are rewards for compassionate action and perseverance. Please share this tremendous news with others and let them know that you had a part in making it happen.


Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

Web site down


Our Web site and email at are experiencing some technical difficulties, but they will be back soon, and we have plans for some new information to be launched soon on the site. Until then, look at these gorgeous wolf designs on, of all things, an ostrich egg.

For more information about the artist and her animal portraits, including commissioned pet portraits, visit Peggy Dey has been lifelong animal lover and activist, and her own home is full of rescued strays. I support her business and hope you will, too, if you have need of a portrait, holiday cards or wildlife art prints.

Thank you!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Help save our wolves!

I just took action to stop one of the worst wolf massacres in decades -- and I hope you will, too. It's easy to help. Just go to the website below to take action:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to strip wolves of crucial Endangered Species Act protections in the Northern Rockies. Such a plan would allow Wyoming and Idaho to move forward with plans to eliminate as many wolves as possible within their borders.
Please help me save these magnificent animals. Tell the federal government to maintain federal protections for gray wolves by sending a message at the website below:

Help generate 200,000 comments to federal officials -- take action at the website above, then forward this message on to others who care about wildlife.

These wolves are in trouble. But, together, I know we can save them. I hope you'll help...