Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Volunteer

After seeming to blow into our community on a strong north wind, this woman, this foreigner from the east coast, decided to devote her spare time to our local Humane Society.  How dare she?  How dare she not be from Wisconsin, let alone our community, that is?
Given her obvious passion for animals of all shapes and sizes, it didn’t take long for this woman to dig herself in deep at the Humane Society…it didn’t even take long before she was allowed in the back of the facility.  It was impressive since so few volunteers are permitted entry into the Society’s equivalent of Area 51.  What proved even more impressive with each day she volunteered, though, was not the generous amount of money she donated to the Society’s cause…it was the way this woman gave of herself.
She walked dogs, did laundry, arranged events, engaged people, and encouraged others.  She never hesitated to argue with someone when making a plea to spare an animal from a death sentence, either…arguments that too often were mercilessly ignored.  She cleaned cages, kennels and runs, fed animals, transported displaced pets, talked with rescues, sought lost dogs, and grieved terribly whenever a companion animal was killed for any reason.  She started programs, wrote articles, and attended conferences and seminars.  She never complained because there was simply nothing she would not do to help the animals.  She didn’t just speak about her passion for animals, her actions demonstrated her unwavering commitment to the Humane Society and its cause day-in and day-out.
Outside of the shelter’s walls, this woman’s passion for people was just as obvious as her dedication to the animals was inside the facility.  Her willingness to help permeated the very air around her.  Standing next to her, you knew you were in the presence of someone who really cared not only about your pets, but about you and your human family members.  Standing before her, you knew she’d babysit your kids just as readily as she’d keep an eye on your dog if you needed her to.  There was just nothing she wouldn’t do if there was a good enough reason for her to take action.
Sadly, the proverbial wind is scheduled to blow again and it will carry this once-foreigner, now respected animal advocate and friend, to California.  Just like Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the community that welcomes our friend and her husband will not know the type of person that has arrived within its limits…until she demonstrates that she doesn’t do anything halfway just like she did here.

Thank you Victoria Grace.  Thank you for all you have done for this community.  Thank you, too, for all you have done for the animals.  Thank you, in advance, for all you are going to do in your new hometown.  We will remain grateful to you long after you are settled into your California home.  You will be truly missed.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas to You

Take a moment to answer the following question Dirty Harry posed to a movie villain or two … Do you feel lucky?  Lucky enough to win a contest even?  If so, January, 2012, may be your lucky month if you read my blog regularly!
Beginning with the first week in January, 2012, and continuing through each of the month’s remaining three weeks, I am selecting a winner of a contest I am hosting to thank my loyal readers!  Every week, I will draw the name of a person on whose behalf I will pay the fees to adopt a dog or a cat from a Humane Society or animal shelter located within a 100-mile radius of Manitowoc, WI!  That’s right! I’ll pay the adoption fees and introduce four animals to four loving homes this upcoming January! 
All you have to do to enter the contest is share your pet adoption story, or any pet-related tale, and let me know you follow my blog via email, on Facebook or by sharing a link to your website along with a backlink to my blog.  To win, you must have an approved adoption record on file by the date your name is selected (unfortunately, a pending adoption through an animal rescue will not qualify you to participate in this contest).
The first winner will be selected by random drawing on January 7, 2012, from among all contest entrants.  One additional winner will be announced during each subsequent week throughout January!
If your name is selected in any one of the four random drawings, I will meet you and your new pet at the appropriate adoption location, speak with the staff members who arranged your adoption of a dog or cat, and pay all of the fees associated with your pet’s adoption!
Now is the time to stop reading and start making plans to adopt a pet from a Humane Society or shelter within 100 miles of Manitowoc!  Take a few minutes to send me your story and let me know what you think of my blog to make sure you are entered in this contest, too!
Do you feel lucky?  I hope so!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ticked about my microchip

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about microchips lately.  And my thinking recently led me to conduct a non-scientific research project that I’m sure 4 out of 5 actors who portray dentists on television would approve of.  Rather, I’m pretty sure they would.
In Wisconsin, the microchip market is basically divided between two microchip companies, Home Again and 24-Hour Pet Watch.  Being familiar with some of the differences between the two companies’ business practices, I decided to have my newest addition, my dog Pixie, implanted with a Home Again microchip to further my understanding of the differences between Home Again and 24-Hour Pet Watch.
I could have gone to the local Humane Society to have a Home Again chip implanted for $30, but decided to have my vet perform the simple task for $54 instead.  I was impressed, but not positively, by the 540 percent markup given that a Home Again microchip only costs $10,( or possibly $0) but know my trusted vet has bills to pay just like the rest of us.  Anyway, with Pixie comfortable on the couch next to me after we returned home, I proceeded to try to register Pixie’s chip in the Home Again system.  Yes, I tried…
I tried until I was informed that I could not use my debit card to pay the $16.99 required to register Pixie’s microchip.  Fortunately for me, Home Again was more than willing to accept a credit card as payment…and, according to the company’s fine print, Home Again was also more than willing to automatically charge my credit card annually to keep Pixie in its system…all for my convenience.
When I called Home Again to ask if only credit card holders could successfully register their microchipped pets, a customer service agent told me I could use my debit card to pay the registration fee, after all…as long as my debit card had a big name.  I stopped listening to the person clearly reciting a scripted response to my inquiry and just thought, “WHAT A STUPID, DISCRIMINATORY SYSTEM.”  Yes, I was really thinking that loudly.
My research experiment has led me to wonder why Home Again is in business.  Why do people pay to register their pets with this company when 24-Hour Pet Watch charges nothing to register a pet microchipped with its product.  Oh, and by the way, 24-Hour Pet Watch only charges $6 per chip, almost half of what Home Again does.  Can anyone tell me why Home Again remains in business?  My research indicates that it shouldn’t be…at least not in the microchip business.