When is it OK for legislation to govern love?

NEVER!

This week’s Human Rights Campaign in support of marriage equality no doubt inspired a sense of hope for humanity with many (most?) of us. The message that legislation has NO business dictating who we love was loud and clear. There’s plenty of work to be done to drive this to fruition AND ensure ANY law that meddles with matters of love are stopped — including idiotic, money-wasting, ineffective breed specific legislation (BSL) that dictates what types of dogs we can love.

My friend Erika, a fellow volunteer at the local county animal shelter, posted this picture today that speaks volumes. It’s a picture of her and “Mama Mia” loving each other in the only place where they’re allowed to be together — in confines of Mama’s kennel at the shelter. They are the perfect match, but Erika can’t adopt her because she lives in a city that senselessly bans Pit Bulls. This is wrong.

Cesar Millan once said something that resonated with me — something to the affect that a Pit Bull is just a dog in a Pit Bull outfit. Before the Pit Bull witch hunt, Rottweilers were the target and before them, it was Dobermans, German Shepherds… Perhaps, your dog’s breed will be next.

Persecuting entire categories of living creatures based on breed, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, physical/mental capabilities, etc. is wrong and discrimination-based laws should never be tolerated!

Sadly, in the case of BSL, millions of lives are senselessly lost because of it every year in the US alone. Some of these animals may be punished simply for visual similarities with banned breeds — mistaken identity is frightfully common during Pit Bull labeling.

Animals can’t change laws. Animals can’t rally those who can with equality memes
. We MUST be their voices not just through fighting discrimination-based laws, but through saying ‘no’ to irresponsible breeding — don’t buy from puppy mill sourced pet stores. Spay/neuter your pets. If you’re looking for a particular breed, consider a breed specific rescue. Check local shelters frequently in person or online via sites like PetHarbor.com or PetFinder.com to find your perfect pet.

Enough is enough with all laws that encourage discrimination of any form!!!

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How I stupidly discriminated and you probably do too

I volunteer at a county animal shelter where my official title is “dog walker”. Initially, I focused solely on walking the little dogs because, the big dog section — filled mostly with Pit Bulls — intimidated me. The idea of getting in a kennel with any Pit with their substantial mass, “locking jaws” and general vicious reputation terrified me.

Then, one day the shelter’s kennel manager asked if I would join a new, small committee who’s charter is to drive up adoption rates. In less pretty terms, for the sake of the affected animals and the sanity of shelter staff, we needed to brainstorm ideas on driving down the euthanasia rate — an unfortunate reality in a county shelter when funds are limited and capacity is full.

Without hesitation, I agreed to join the committee and hoped to add value. During the first meeting, the objective became more specific. Our charter was to drive up the adoption rate for Pit Bulls. We discussed the cause of the over abundance of Pits in shelters and I disclosed I wasn’t a fan of “the breed”. I still wonder why they didn’t excuse me that day based on my stance at the time.

One of my first committee tasks was to write bios for the Pit Bulls’ kennels so they’d stand a better chance of attracting a potential adopter. I worked with the kennel staff who know them well to collect personality information. Regardless of the sweet individual facts I’d learn about each Pit, I’d still pass them up during my dog walking sessions, but it didn’t take long before I called BS on myself & thought “How can I write those nice things about the dogs if I didn’t believe them?” So, I forced myself to walk at least one Pit during each of my dog walking visits.

I started with a Pit named Jersey. She was in the room during one of our committee meetings & she didn’t eat me, so I figured we had a small foundation of trust that we could build on. Before long, I worked my way up to walking mostly Pits — after all, they often have lived in the shelter the longest & probably need/deserve a walk the most.

In addition to my hands-on learning, I began researching Pits. Here are a few facts I discovered:

While the above knowledge helped me put a swift end to my prejudicial opinion on Pit Bulls, it was two pits from the shelter who lovingly taught me a new chapter in the age old lesson that “You can’t judge a book by its cover”:

Suzie: While taking her for a walk at the shelter, my husband tripped & fell. Suzie immediately laid down next to him and placed her head on his chest. I saw it with my own two eyes. This was the first time they had met, but she treated him like he was her life long companion who needed her comfort. It was one of the kindest swift reactions that I’d ever seen in a situation where a human needed help. She got adopted that day — not by us (we have a house full of rescues), but where ever she is I hope she’s with a family who deserves her love.

Jersey
: The first Pit at the shelter who showed me that despite human ignorance and her less than happy history with owners who let her down, she still loves people unconditionally and can see and bring out the kindness in them.

This post is dedicated to Jersey — who after spending the majority of her life in the shelter, found her forever home this weekend. I wish her a lifetime of the happiness she deserves. Thanks for opening my eyes, sweet girl!

Grant a shelter dog’s wish.

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Foster Kittens Officially Ready for Adoption

Today was the last day of fostering the kitties. They’re now 11 weeks old & ready to find their permanent homes. Weened? Check! Spayed/neutered? Check! Vaccinated? Check! There’s only one more critical check pending & that’s the “Adoption” check.

Returning them to the shelter where they’ll stand a better chance of finding their official families wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be — I conveniently had a plethora of distracting tasks to complete when I arrived AND I took a couple of great friends to keep me from veering off into a sobbing puddle of emotions (thank you, Shereen & Roger!).

It’s been fun to watch these furry bundles of cuteness grow from tiny newborns to these fine kitties:

Harper: Beautiful coloring, friendly & outgoing.

Mr. Magoo: Confident, funny & a total Momma’s boy — I’d LOVE it if he and Momma went to the same home (there’s a $10 sale on black cats thru Sunday, Sept 30th!).

Smarty: Quick learner, curious & super easy-going.

Cougar: A cat who knows what she wants & isn’t afraid to use her cuteness to get it. She and Smarty are BFFs & would make fantastic roomies.

As with Momma cat, we’ll continue to visit and keep an eye on on them until they find their permanent families.

All the best, my furry friends! I’ll miss snuggling you everyday. ♥

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A new beginning for Momma cat…

The Momma cat we’ve been fostering for a couple months returned to the shelter this morning where she’ll stand a better chance of finding a home. Separating her from her kittens for the last time was terribly sad. Here’s what the scene looked like…

The wimpy side of me can’t imagine going thru this again, but providing Momma with a quiet, peaceful home setting to care for her tiny kittens was worth it & hopefully the experience planted a friendly foundation in the kittens personalities.

Momma is an incredibly sweet & beautiful cat (I’d keep her in a heartbeat if I could). Please let me know if you know of anyone in the Denver area who would be an amazing owner. We’ll continue to visit her in the shelter and watch over her until she finds her forever home.

Her kittens are super close to being the proper weight for spaying/neutering, then will be available for adoption as well.

Farewell, Momma Cat! ♥

 

 

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Become a legitimate hero in less than a minute…

The awesome guardians of the furry, four-legged friends at the county shelter that I volunteer at are taking me up on my offer to help open web channels so kind fellow earthlings, like you, can easily send their love! 

You might not be in a position to take one of these sweet fur balls home, but you can now become an immediate hero by kindly granting one of their Amazon Wishes. You’ll notice the shelter is currently in desperate need of basic necessities.

Your furry friends at the shelter THANK YOU & so do I!!! :-)

 

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1st day of 12th Grade

Yikes! In the category of time flies…

A lot of you have known me & therefore have virtually known Skrockette for years. This was the first 1st day of school photo I blogged…

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This was the last “in the classroom at her desk on the 1st day of school” photo I snapped…

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Then we entered the “I can’t be seen anywhere near my mother” phase for the first day of school photos…

ImageAnd that leads us to today. Skrockette’s first day of her last year of high school. Kind, compassionate, bright and eager to jump into her next chapter. :-)

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“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today” ~African Proverb

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Making couponing modern and sexy…

That’s right, digital enthusiasts & frugal-lites alike…I said couponing & sexy in the same sentence.

Today, Valassis officially announced the Facebook product I’ve been lucky enough to manage the last few months — a couponing app like nothing else out there. Sure, you’ve seen web based coupons before, but have you seen a Facebook app that enables the entire end-to-end couponing experience all within Facebook that ALSO allows you to…

  1. Add digital (paperless) coupons directly to your grocery store’s loyalty card in addition to enabling traditional coupon printing?
  2. Leverage an array of social capabilities beyond just sharing (Tweet it, Pin it, private message/email it, see what your friends are clipping, invite them to use the app, update, etc.)?
  3. See a timeline view of your savings goodness as well as a timeline view of your friends savings?
  4. Peruse your coupon shopping list by printed, clipped, & redeemed coupons?

Yup, RedPlum Social Savings does all that, and…

  1. It’s a white-label product — skinning & deploying a brand specific instance is a snap. By “snap” I mean being up and running in days vs months.
  2. It’s integrated the best of the Facebook platform with Open Graph. Since we quietly flipped the RedPlum skinned version of the beta app live in March, it’s organically grown  a user base of 25,000 users triggering 450,000 open graph impressions — just by  us pushing it live with no promotion what so ever (until today!).
  3. For the white label clients, they get the full suite of Facebook Insights analytics reports that they can run anytime to get an accurate pulse on the performance of their app.

All of that is stacked nicely on top of our incredibly mature couponing back-end & the Valassis powerhouse of major retailer relationships (side note:  the science of coupon security is fascinating — individual serial numbers, secret watermarks etc. — it’s just like currency)!

I’ve had the opportunity to demo many new web products in my career — many of those demos were rather hairy & drove me to drink heavily. Just kidding. Sort of. But really, the reaction of demoing this product to leading retailers, manufactures & CPGs has been consistently well-received — a true indicator that we’re filling a gap marketplace in a big way.

Props to Food Lion for snagging the first early adopter spot — we’re looking forward to launching their branded instance of the app soon!

Props to the team — Lea, Mandarin, Matt, Tom, Ana, Vinod, Jay, Duane, & Ian —  for designing and building an amazing app!

Props to the best interns ever for creating this video that tells the app’s story. Enjoy!

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