Thursday, September 17, 2009

R-E-S, er, C-U-E (my apologies, Aretha)...

A lot of people have weighed in on Michael Vick and the fallout from his prison sentence and subsequent reinstatement to the NFL. As a football fan, an animal lover and inveterate believer that people are basically good, I don't know what to think. On one hand, his actions were despicable and disgusting. But on the other, I do agree with what a Phildelphia woman told the Philly Inquirer - if you don't allow someone a second chance, why should they try to better themselves? I wish he'd apologized more directly and seemed truly committed to animal welfare, but I guess I'm just going to wait and see with that one.

However, my moral quandary did not keep me from laughing out loud at a story on FoxSports on MSN. The Main Line Animal Rescue League (based in DC and just outside Philadelphia) has begun placing ads in the newspapers of each of the cities the Philadelphia Eagles play, offering to donate five bags of food to animal shelters for every time Vick is tackled. Bill Smith, founder and CEO of the shelter, did say that since Vick is hard to catch, a minimum donation will be made even if the new Philly QB is not tackled.

Another major news network, ABC News, featured an initiative by the organization Pilots N Paws. This week, the rescue group aims to transport 5000 homeless animals from death row at their respective shelters to other shelters or foster homes across the country. Founded in 2008, Pilots N Paws helps alleviate the problem of transporting shelter animals long distances. When an animal is transferred from a shelter in one state to another, the journey by car or truck is long and requires frequent stops and vehicle changes, all of which is traumatizing to a group of animals who have enough to deal with. Volunteer pilots are giving their time, and some flight schools are donating their planes so the organization can fulfill its goal by Sept. 20.

PetSmart Charities has a similar mission to Pilots N Paws - the Rescue Waggin'. How cute is that?? According to The Canadian Press (via Google Hosted News), the tricked out trucks (specially constructed with air conditioning, piped in music and video cameras so the dogs can be monitored) have transported over 29,000 animals from communities with high euthanasia rates to ones with high adoption rates since 2004. The animals are moved from shelters all across the US to the Washington Animal Rescue League in DC, where they receive medical examination, social and behavioral training and, hopefully, new homes. The facility sounds like doggy Eden - a full service hospital, behavior school and cageless facility complete with cascading waterfall.

(Photo courtesy of

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