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Culture Corner

Scribblings and Screenings for the Animal Set

Game On!

For indoor cats, play can be serious business—a way for them to learn about their environment, release pent-up energy, develop social skills, and relieve boredom. It’s also a key to physical fitness, writes cat behavior expert Denise Seidl in Fun and Games for Cats! “Indoor cats are simply not as active as their outdoor counterparts, and also have less variety in everyday life, so many of them eat out of boredom,” Seidl writes. “Therefore, you will have to encourage your moggy to move a bit more.” Seidl’s book provides a blueprint for doing exactly that: It’s chock full of games and activities to get your kitties off the sofa and away from the food bowl. Lavishly illustrated, Fun and Games for Cats! explores the feline psyche regarding play and offers helpful tips for getting the ball rolling, so to speak, whether your kitty is young or old, home alone or cavorting with a house full of playmates. Seidl covers such basics as cat trees, catnip cushions, and toy tunnels, then moves on to “intelligence games”—such as hiding a treat under a plastic cup—that will flex Muffy’s brain muscles. You might as well learn this stuff, Seidl notes, because as much as cats might love playing with their feline friends, “their preferred playing partner is usually their owner.”

Driven to Survive

Wallace the pit bull was found as a stray, and the shelter that took him in was considering euthanasia due to his breed and his high drive—he was going nuts from boredom in the kennels. But he got a lucky break when he was adopted by Andrew “Roo” Yori and his wife Clara, who advocated for the dog’s survival even while on their own honeymoon. Once they’d taken him in, the couple worked hard to ensure he’d succeed in the outside world. Recognizing that his energy needed an outlet and wanting to show the world what good dogs pit bulls could be, Roo got Wallace into competitive Frisbee, where he has excelled. Wallace, by Jim Gorant (author of The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption), is moving yet unsentimental, a beautifully written reminder that sometimes all a rambunctious pooch needs is someone who’ll believe in him. (Look for an interview with Yori in our March-April 2013 issue).

Get Some Joy

In the recently launched Facebook game Joy Kingdom, players join forces with each other and Amani, king of the animal spirits, to chase away shadows and restore joy to the animals. Within this alternate reality are opportunities to help real-life creatures in need: Players earn currency called “joy,” which they can donate to animal welfare organizations, while “daily rewards” result in food donations to local shelters. Joy Kingdom is the brainchild of Sojo Studios, the company behind the successful WeTopia game benefiting children’s charities. With celebrities Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber promoting the company’s latest philanthropic-driven online game, Joy Kingdom is sure to spread cheer to animals and animal lovers everywhere. 

Dynamic Duo

Mimi and Maty to the Rescue! Book 1: Roger the Rat is on the Loose, a children’s book written by Brooke Smith and charmingly illustrated by Alli Arnold, tells the story of budding animal rescuer Mimi, and her adopted, three-legged shelter dog, Maty. Rescuing Maty “was so much fun that I decided I wanted to help tons more animals,” Mimi says, noting that she’d already rescued a bird with broken wing, a butterfly who was drowning in a rain puddle, and a baby chipmunk who had wandered away from her mother. Mimi is based on the real-life Mimi Ausland, and her actual three-legged dog, Maty. When Mimi was 11, she wanted to help feed the pets at her local shelter in Bend, Ore., so she created the website; the website has now fed more than eight million meals to pets at shelters and rescues across the country, according to the book’s postscript. Maty, whom Mimi met through her work at the shelter, is now the Humane Society of Central Oregon’s goodwill ambassador. She visits schools and groups, teaching people about animal safety and showing what a disabled dog can do. Smith, who is Mimi’s mom, hopes Mimi and Maty to the Rescue! will inspire other children to help animals.

Read the rest of this issue from Animal Sheltering magazine

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