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Strike a pose
It never fails: Every time you want to take a picture of your pet doing something cute, he dashes away or refuses to look at the camera. Even the pros aren’t immune! Jennifer Whaley, a Chicago-based pet photographer, created a necklace of noisemakers—whistles, harmonica, kazoo—to catch her subjects’ attention during shoots. The success of the necklace inspired her to develop Pose A Pet, a free iPhone camera app that provides a variety of sounds users can activate to make their pups and kits take notice. Whaley was also motivated by her volunteer work photographing shelter dogs. “There are so many pets needing homes—and too many blurry pictures trying to market them,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “A better picture would make a world of difference.” The app also has a feature for creating fliers that can be shared on social media to give shelter pets wider exposure. In addition, Whaley has created a companion website, PhotostotheRescue.com, to which shelters can upload fliers produced with the Pose A Pet app. To watch a video and download the app, visit poseapet.net.
Bad things come in small packages
What comes to mind when you think of Spain? Flamenco? Salvador Dali? How about puppy poop? Borja Gutierrez, the mayor of Brunete, was frustrated that so many of his constituents were ignoring the regulation requiring them to clean their dogs’ poop off public property. Rather than imposing fines, Gutierrez decided to make his point by sending the “deposits” back to the owners. “It’s your dog, it’s your dog poop. We are just returning it to you,” he is quoted as saying in The New York Times. Volunteers spent two weeks in early 2013 surreptitiously observing scofflaws, scooping the poop they left behind, packaging it in boxes marked “lost and found,” and hand-delivering them to the culprits. The recipients were supposedly anonymous, but in a town of 10,000, it’s pretty hard to keep that sort of thing a secret. Interviewed several months after the campaign ended, Gutierrez says he has seen a 70 percent improvement in owner behavior, but isn’t sure how long that will last. He’s already working on an idea for 2014.
The “cups” ranneth over at Bra~vo Intimates’ Bras for Paws fundraiser one weekend in August. Store owner Rebecca Aughton donated $5 from the sale of every bra to the Royal Oak Animal Shelter in Royal Oak, Mich., raising $500 for the organization. Aughton has been a staunch supporter of the shelter since staff members helped her rescue a litter of stray puppies from under a shed several years ago. She has held multiple events on its behalf, including a wildly successful one centered on animal-themed sleepwear. “They were flying out the door,” she says. Aughton has always adopted homeless pets; currently she shares her home with Felix, a 15-year-old cat, and Delilah, a diminutive young cocker spaniel who accompanies her to work every day. Her dream, says Aughton, is to create the Chloe Fund, named in honor of her deceased golden retriever, to finance low-cost spay/neuter services at the shelter. She would also like to help finance a mobile spay/neuter clinic to bring low-cost services to poor neighborhoods in Detroit. “I lived in a bad part of the city at one time,” she says. “I know how much those animals need help.”
Jumping Jack Flash
When fifth-grader Jack Kealey attended The HSUS’s Humane Lobby Day in Connecticut with his mother last June, he never envisioned where it would lead. Of the several animal protection bills being discussed that day, one stood out to Jack: the dissection choice bill. The bill required school districts to excuse students from participating in or observing animal dissections in the classroom, as long as the student has written permission from a parent or guardian and completes an alternative assignment. Knowing that he and his peers might one day have to dissect a cat, pig, or frog in school—something Jack felt was wrong—the boy put his heart into championing that bill, lobbying state legislators up to the last night of the legislative session. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Jack was asked to join Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman on the dais in the Senate chamber and given the honor of banging the gavel, signifying passage of the bill. After receiving a standing ovation from state legislators, Jack was invited to watch Gov. Daniel Malloy sign the bill into law. The 10-year-old came away from the experience eager to work on other issues, such as puppy mills and advocacy for animals in court cases. “Now I know how to do everything a little bit better … and now [the legislators] know me!” he says.