Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Pet's Ten Commandments

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years.
Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up
as punishment. You have your work, friends, entertainment;
I have only YOU.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words,
I do understand your voice when you speak to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that
I could hurt you; and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative,
ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm
not getting the right food, have been in the sun too long,
or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old.
You too will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please.
Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face
this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there,
because I love you so!

~ Take a moment today to thank God for your pets.
Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much
duller, less joyful experience
without God's critters.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Black Dog Express

Former NNHS shelter dog, "Chocolate," is pictured above with his new family.

Black dogs (especially black Labs) are invariably overlooked at shelters across the country. Most people may not be aware of how doomed a black dog is when it arrives as a stray or an owner release. It’s tragic that far too many of these wonderful dogs are euthanized at pounds and shelters each week. “Contrary to Ordinary,” a website dedicated to these animals, suggests that the plight of black dogs is due to what they term the "black dog syndrome." Black dogs, they point out, are nearly invisible as potential adopters seek more colorful pets. They refer to these dogs as “The Black Pearls of the Dog World”.

The NNHS shelter provides sanctuary to many “black pearls” each year. Most are Labs or Lab/Shepherd mixes. As soon as they arrive at the shelter door, the rescue team begins searching for organizations in other parts of the country where these shiny-coated, good
-natured dogs are more in demand – just in case they aren’t adopted at our shelter.

Such was the case with Pansy, Tyson, Goliath, Irie, Kool, Josie, Donner, Doodle, Piston, Phoenix, Novella, and Chocolate in February and March this year. All 12 of them were transported to a wonderful rescue near Chicago whose mission is to help the seemingly “invisible” black dogs. With help from volunteer rescue transporters (Judy, Gary, Mary, Don, and Kelley) they were driven on the first leg of their transport to a second chance at life.

Chocolate (above with best friend Bella) had been with us since June 2008. While his estimated age was 4 years, he played like a young pup. Sitting in a shelter cage for 9 months didn’t dampen his spirits. In providing us with an update on our former shelter buddy, rescue writes: “Here is a picture of Wags (Chocolate) with his new sister Bella in the spring snow storm we are having today. Bella is 7 years young since she found Wags. They are best buds. Wags is also a perfect gentleman with their two small children. They just adore him. He must think he died and went to heaven! YEA FOR WAGS! His full name, per the kids, is ‘Wags Luv Peanut Butter Slight’ (the nickname given him by a two- and a four-year old). Thanks for all you have done for him! Know now that he is happy, safe and loving life!!!!”

Josie (now named “Kiera" and pictured above) is a beautiful black Lab who was overlooked at the NNHS shelter. Now, she is the pride and joy of two adorable children, a Beagle, and a cat named Flashbulb. Life is good!

This posting wouldn't be complete without mentioning the two NNHS shelter brothers, Piston and Phoenix. The boys arrived together as pups back in October 2008. We watched them grow into adults. As potential adopters passed them by, they would jump on the cage doors begging for attention (that they rarely got). Phoenix and Piston are pictured below at a doggie day care center shortly after they were transported to Illinois. What a blessing to see these two boys enjoying their new-found freedom ... no leashes, no cages -- just running FREE like other healthy dogs!

Donner (now named Chance and pictured below) hit the jackpot big-time! It’s easy to see how much he thinks of “Brie,” his new little girl. His adoptive family writes the following: “Here are some pictures of our new dog … Chance!! He is BEAUTIFUL! Chance was rescued from Missouri, and we were blessed enough to find him and get to adopt him as our own! We've had him almost a month now. He is about 10 months old. He's great with Brie and Stewie! He listens very well, and trains very quickly so far. He follows us around in our yard, and learned his yard boundaries in just one day!! He LOVES to play ball, eat bones, and run! He naps with Brie beside her bed at nap time; and, during the night, he goes between his bed (which is at the foot of our bed) and Brie's room. He's such a wonderful addition to our family! We hope you enjoy the pics!!”

As Alain Boucheron so eloquently writes on the “Contrary to Ordinary” website:

“To appreciate a diamond, the surface must be pierced to release the dazzling display of color that comes form its heart; but to appreciate the pearl, the eye must simply gaze upon its surface to behold its soft color and peaceful beauty.”

Saturday, April 11, 2009

PURRS -- Here, There and Everywhere!

Over the past six months, a wonderful cat rescue in Illinois – PURRS Naperville – has provided a loving sanctuary for over 50 NNHS shelter cats. Rachael Resk, PURRS’ founder, is a nationally known animal communicator and feline and canine behaviorist.

Our relationship with PURRS began in August 2008 when 15 shelter cats (Hector, Nessie, Wendy, Gypsy, Turquoise, Mitzie, Lucia, Archie, Duncan, White Fang and his brother Ozzie, Brittany, Harmony, Koy, and Mitzie) really had something to PURR about. Rachael agreed to get them OUT of shelter cages and find good permanent homes for them all.

Shelter dogs headed to rescue often enjoy settling down on a blanket in the back of a vehicle with a rawhide bone and taking in the scenario as they travel. They don’t mind getting out every 1½ to 2 hours to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, have a drink of water, and then (in most cases) are ready to jump into a different vehicle for the next “leg” of a transport. Not so with cats!

For most cats, riding in vehicles is somewhat traumatic. Switching them from cage-to-cage on a leg-by-leg transport isn’t recommended. Even the most gentle of cats is usually frightened. Since the shelter cannot afford to send cat cages forward (never getting them back again for the next time they're needed), we always try to find one or two drivers who are willing to transport the cats non-stop to rescue. In August, Barb, a shelter employee, quickly volunteered to make the long trip to Naperville with our 15 shelter kids.

Even though Rachael had found homes for all the Missouri cats transported to her in August, by October 2008 the shelter was caring for close to 90 cats – far beyond the facility’s capacity. PURRS came to our rescue again when Rachael agreed to take 16 of our much-loved cats under her wing. For Tippy, Buster, Poki, Patsy, Star, Sephie, Leona, Lana, Cali, Tiger, Bruno, Fiesta, Winter, Chani, Charise, and Patches it meant EVERYTHING – no more living in a cage and the opportunity to be adopted into a carefully-screened home for the rest of their lives.

This is just the first part of the story. It doesn’t include the lucky cats that have traveled to PURRS in 2009 and the rescue heroes who made it possible.

More about Rachael’s loving heart and the lives she has touched coming soon!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Sister, My Friend

I looked at all the cages animals in the shelter;
The cast-offs of human society.
I saw in their eyes love and hope,
Fear and dread, sadness, and betrayal.
I was angry!

"God," I said, "this is terrible"
Why don't you do something?"
God was silent for a moment,
and then spoke softly,
"I have done something,"
was the reply.
"I created YOU!"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thanks for Taking Time

Andy and Scott have taken time out from their busy schedules to make this blog possible. Despite inumerable emails, phone calls back and forth, and a great of hand-wringing on my part, their support has remained steadfast. For that, I am so very grateful!

Andy set up the blog format in record time. When I unadvertently caused irreparable damage by tinkering with the format, he very calmly re-formated and, then, often had to reformat again. Andy, bless you for your endless patience!

Scott, on the other hand, felt more at liberty to let me know when he was nearing the end of his rope -- especially after Lesson 3 ... or perhaps it was Lesson 4.

I love you both for helping me spread the word!

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks??

Get Involved

"Animals lend a touch of grace to our lives
by teaching us the real meaning
of unconditional love and by bringing out
the kindest and best impulses in us.
They give us so much and ask for so little." ~ Carol Kline
There are many ways our community can get involved with rescue:

1. When NNHS shelter dogs are transported to rescue, we provide them with new collars and leashes – gifts from the Rescue Team to wish them good luck in their new lives.

Please Help Us! Add a couple of collars and leashes to your grocery cart once in a while and drop those items off at the shelter. Be sure the shelter staff knows they are specifically for the NNHS Rescue Program. Or, call Marlene (660-562-4612), and she’ll be glad to pick them up.

2. When our cuddly shelter cats find new homes with rescue organizations, we have to find a driver to travel non-stop with them to their destination. Most recently, that has been the Davenport or Chicago area. We provide our dedicated drivers with gas money, food money, and an overnight stay before they return to Maryville the next day – returning all our cat cages with them.

Please Help Us! We can always use more cat cages. So, if you have some you no longer use, please let us know. We’ll even pick them up if you’d like us to.

3. Our shelter is responsible for lining up drivers for the first “leg” of any transport. For example, if a couple of our shelter dogs have found foster homes in Minnesota, the first “leg” of the trip will likely be from Maryville to Lamoni, IA. Transports are almost always set up on weekends because so many drivers have full-time jobs during the week.

Please Help Us! If you can spend three or four hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning driving dogs on the first leg of their journey to a new life, we want to hear from you. Call Marlene at (660) 562-4612, email Marlene at, or tell Cindy at the shelter that you are available to drive. This is a team effort, and we welcome new volunteers!

4. We have been blessed to find amazing rescues in Illinois and Wisconsin who have made a commitment to OUR shelter dogs – especially the black ones that have been at the shelter for six months or more. When a rescue is willing to put 10 of our dogs into doggie day care of foster homes, we are thrilled. But, we don’t always have enough cages.

Please Help Us! In order to move all sorts of dogs – big, small, the more senior kids, and the puppies and kittens, we need crates of all sizes – most especially medium and large dog crates!

5. Financial Donations? We put any and all donations to very good use. The Rescue Team does not receive financial assistance from the New Nodaway Humane Society. We are responsible for raising or own funds to pay the shelter pull fees, help with vetting on the animals before they travel, and paying for gasoline needed to get them on their way – to Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin, or wherever their new families anxiously await their arrival.

Please Help Us! Any and all donations to the Rescue Program are appreciated. Unfortunately, we do not have non-profit status, so your donations are not considered tax-deductible. If you would like to help our grassroots effort to ensure that abandoned animals have a second chance at life, checks can be mailed to:

Marlene Thompson

620 West Halsey Street, Apt. 5
Maryville, MO 64468

Or, you can make a deposit to my PayPal account ( by going to

Thanks so much for getting involved!