Displaying items by tag: Winter

Give outdoor cats a helping paw this winter. Help us reach our goal of $20,000 by Dec. 18. Donate today!


Cats are resourceful and resilient animals — but they still need help sometimes, especially during this time of year. We need to raise $20,000 by December 18 to help more cats and kittens this winter — can they count on your urgent support right now?

Cats can survive in the colder months, but sometimes well-meaning people bring them to shelters. And as you know, the vast majority of cats who enter shelters do not make it out alive.

Jon, you can save the lives of cats and kittens with an urgent winter gift to Alley Cat Allies. Please give the most generous gift you can right now — and together we can protect these animals during the winter season.

For the cats,

Becky Robinson   
Becky Robinson

Becky Robinson
President & Founder
Alley Cat Allies

P.S. Please make a gift by December 18 to Alley Cat Allies and save more cats this season.


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Review written by Jon Patch with 2 out of 4 paws

The Snowman

Universal Pictures, Another Park Film, Working Title and Perfect World Pictures present a 119 minute, R rated, Crime, Drama, Horror, directed by Tomas Alfredson, written by Peter Straughan and Hossein Amini with a theater release date of October 20, 2017.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is not your typical aquarium. Located on Clearwater’s Island Estates, the establishment works as an animal hospital with the mission of the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine life.

The story of the rescue and rehabilitation of Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s permanent residents Winter and Hope, both Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, has inspired millions around the world through the movies Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2.

Winter was found stranded in Mosquito Lagoon, near Cape Canaveral, Florida when she was only two months old, entangled in a crab trap line which cut off circulation to her tail flukes. After disentanglement, she was transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium for treatment of her extensive injuries. However, despite exhaustive efforts to promote healing, her tail deteriorated and could not be saved. Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc., together with CMA staff, created a unique plan to attach a prosthetic tail to Winter.

Her story has inspired millions around the world with the message of perseverance and hope. People relate to the strength it takes to overcome obstacles, as brave animals exemplify that every day. By inviting guests to see firsthand how CMA cares for these animals, they create powerful experiences that can change lives and make a difference.

CMA staff and volunteers work each day to rescue marine life and provide the most advanced and effective care to maximize the opportunity to return sick or injured animals to their homes. The animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium arrive because they are suffering from an illness or severe injury.

Once an animal arrives at CMA, a team of experienced staff biologists, veterinarians and volunteers create a rehabilitation plan specifically developed based on its injury or illness, with the goal of returning it to the wild.

Sometimes the injuries are so severe, or the animal is so young, that it would not be in the animal’s best interest to release it back into the wild. CMA works with agencies such as National Marine Fisheries and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to make these decisions. If the animal is unable to be released back into the wild, it becomes a permanent member of the CMA family, and lives there to serve as an ambassador for its species to help promote environmental conservation.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Education Department is dedicated to inspiring guests of all ages to appreciate the marine environment while promoting conservation. The team strives to develop an understanding for the irreplaceable value of all marine life. By teaching children and adults the importance of conservation, ecology and stewardship, CMA believes they will apply this knowledge to make sustainable choices and take an active part in preserving the marine environment.

Review written by Jon Patch with 4 out of 4 paws

War for the Planet of the Apes

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, TSG Entertainment and Chernin Entertainment present a PG-13, Action, Adventure, Drama, directed by Matt Reeves, written by Mark Bomback, novel by Pierre Boulle with a theater release date of July 14, 2017.

A Woman, Her Dogs, and their Journey
North on the Iditarod Trail
by Debbie Clarke Moderow
At age forty-seven, a mother of two, Debbie Moderow was not your average musher in the
Iditarod, but that’s where she found herself when, less than 200 miles from the finish line, her
dogs decided they were done running.
FAST INTO THE NIGHT (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2, 1016) is the gripping
story of Moderow’s journeys along the Iditarod trail with her team of spunky huskies: Taiga and
Su, Piney and Creek, Nacho and Zeppy, Juliet and the headstrong leader, Kanga. The first failed
attempt crushed Moderow’s confidence, but after reconnecting with her dogs she returns and
ventures again to Nome, pushing through injuries, hallucinations, epic storms, flipped sleds, and
clashing personalities, both human and canine. And she prevails.
Part adventure, part love story, part inquiry into the mystery of the connection between humans
and dogs, FAST INTO THE NIGHT is an exquisitely written memoir of a woman, her dogs,
and what can happen when someone puts herself in that place between daring and doubt—and
soldiers on.
DEBBIE CLARKE MODEROW, originally from Connecticut, went to Alaska in 1979 for a
mountain-climbing expedition and met her husband, Mark. For the Moderows, dog mushing has
always been a family affair. Debbie ran the Iditarod in 2003 and 2005, completing the latter in 13
days, 19 hours, 10 minutes, and 32 seconds. In 2013 Debbie graduated from Pacific Lutheran
University’s Rainier Writing Workshop with an MFA in creative writing.
Debbie is available for interviews and her tour will take her to Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis,
Boston, Burlington (VT), and of course all over Alaska.
What does an average reader or “armchair adventurer” need to know about the Iditarod?
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race starts every year on the first weekend in March. Mushers and their sixteendog
teams leave Willow, a little north of Anchorage, and travel 1,000 miles, day and night, across the state of
Alaska to Nome. The race passes through 22 checkpoints along the way, where mushers have sent food and
supplies before the race. There are also veterinarians at each checkpoint, who assist watching over the dogs.
You grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. Can you describe the unlikely trajectory, from east coast
suburbia to Alaska’s Iditarod Trail?
I must admit, on the surface of things, it seems unlikely that my childhood in Greenwich would have led me
to this life in Alaska. But from the youngest age, I’ve always been a winter person—and a dog person. Those
two traits tend to override logistical circumstances.
Looking back, my Iditarod journey was a logical outgrowth of my parents’ adventurous spirit. My mother
was an aviator in the thirties, and actually flew her plane under the Brooklyn Bridge. My father, as well as
Mom, lived for outdoor adventure. I grew up fly fishing in upstate New York, skiing in Vermont, riding
horses in Wyoming, and simply exploring the woods behind our house with Dad’s hunting dogs traipsing
alongside me. Once I visited Wyoming I knew that one day I’d move west. Looking back, it’s easy to connect
the dots from Connecticut west to the Rockies, and north to Alaska’s Iditarod Trail.
How did your life with sled dogs actually begin?
It began when my husband Mark and I adopted our first husky, a retired Iditarod sled dog named Salt. The
moment Salt walked through our door, our lives changed forever.
At the time our children Andy and Hannah were 5 and 6 years old, and I had recently suffered a series of midpregnancy
miscarriages. First Salt drew me out of my grief; his insistent adventurous spirit re-ignited my
own. Then, in a matter of a few years, he mentored our young family, and a few young pups, about the joys of
the dog sledding trail.
So your mushing life began as a family effort?
Yes, it did. We hadn’t had Salt for more than a week or two when the kids borrowed a harness and sled so he
could pull them around our yard. A few months later, we acquired two puppies with the idea of having a tiny
team. Then Mark came home from work one night and announced he’d signed the kids up for the one and two
dog junior races the following day. So began the real fun of the Salty Dog Kennel.
During the next ten years our dogs were first and foremost for Andy and Hannah. From junior races to
weekends camping with our dogs, from training runs after school to building sleds way past everyone’s
bedtime, we all enjoyed the family kennel.
When Andy and Hannah were 7 and 8 they wanted to run in the two and three dog races—so we added some
puppies into the mix and there were five dogs living in our backyard. When they turned 11 and 12, they
needed a five and a seven-dog team. By the time they left for college, both bid a tearful farewell to the
family’s 20-dog team. I shed my own tears: the prospect of the empty nest looked pretty bleak. That’s when I
decided to run Iditarod.
What breed are Iditarod sled dogs?
Our dogs, like most in the sport, are Alaskan Huskies—a
working-dog blend of huskies and hounds developed over
many generations to be well-suited for winter travel. Because
these dogs are mutts, they vary in size and temperament. Ours
are smaller than some, ranging from 35-55 pounds. They are
all different colors. Some have brown eyes, a few blue. Some
ears stand up, others flop over.
Our particular dogs are sensitive and playful. Training them
requires patience and positive reinforcement.
Because Alaskan Huskies are not inbred, they live particularly
long and healthy lives. Most of our dogs enjoy running as 12
year olds. Many live to see at least 14-16 years.
What draws you to adventures with sled dogs?
My relationship with the dogs is the inspiration for our
adventures. Running a dog team is shared effort; your
connection with the beating hearts on the line defines every
twist and turn of the trail.
My dogs know everything about me. From them I cannot hide a bad mood, growing anxiety, or fatigue. In
turn, I know them intimately—how Tiger holds her tail tells me much about her attitude. When Gouda’s ears
go down, I know he needs an extra snack. To collaborate with their honest, steady hearts brings out the best in
me; in connecting my sensibilities to theirs I’ve learned much about them—as well as what it means to be
What are the qualities necessary to be a successful musher?
Both canine and human members of an Iditarod team need to enjoy and train to perform as winter endurance
athletes. When I took on the Iditarod challenge, I was highly motivated to be the best I could be—to hold up
my end of the bargain for the dogs. I trained at the gym, altered my eating and hydrating habits, learned to
cope with extreme sleep deprivation. Tending to my own nutrition and fitness was a key ingredient of our
While preparations are extremely important, long distance mushing is a calling—an obsessive and irresistible
desire to spend long miles with incredible canine companions on a challenging and invigorating wilderness
Describe your experience on the trail, as a female musher.
This is a question I’m asked often. The truth is
that I don’t think of myself as a female musher,
I consider myself a musher. Men and women
compete on a gender-blind basis in our sport, so
I take that for granted.
Of course every individual brings strengths and
weaknesses to the trail. At 5’2” and 125 pounds,
I have a weight advantage—and a relative
disadvantage in arm strength. That said, my
ability to work intuitively with individual dogs
might result from years of mothering. On the
other hand, some have argued that my first
incomplete race might have benefitted from my
husband’s more matter-of-fact approach. But I
don’t really see a “matter-of-fact” manner as
gender specific.
Bottom line is that each individual musher, regardless of gender, brings his or her own advantages and
disadvantages to the trail. During a 1,000 mile journey, one’s strengths and weaknesses are magnified.
There’s no hiding from them. You have draw on your particular talents and muddle through the rest.
What is the running-life of a sled dog? At what age do they first run in harness and how old do they
We first put our pups in harness around nine months. Because their joints are still developing, during their
first season we make sure to take them on very short and slow runs. We pair them with older dogs in order to
settle them on the line with good mentors. It is not until the following season that they train as full members
of the team.
On their very first outing in harness, our pups almost always pull like they’ve been on the line for a lifetime.
Just like a Labrador puppy seems to know how to swim as soon as she bounds into water.
Our older dogs usually run with the team until they are at least 12. Of course every dog is different. There are
11 and 12 year olds who thrive running Iditarod. They key with the golden oldies, as we call them, is to run
them slowly. They are perfect trainers for the up and coming generation.
How cold does it get on the trail? How do the dogs respond and how do you?
I’ve run in temperatures from negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees above zero. The dogs deal with
the cold far easier than humans do. Alaskan Huskies are a “double-coated northern” breed; because they live
outside in the winter, they acclimatize early in the season. For additional protection from the wind, we dress
them in insulated jackets. For a few thinner-coated dogs, I have special jackets trimmed with wolverine. One
houndy boy even wears a hat. Sled dogs far prefer temperatures down to negative 20 degrees over anything
warmer than twenty above.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your dogs?
During Iditarod, my dogs and I navigated 1,000 miles of wilderness trail, during which we were challenged
by weather and trail conditions we’d never experienced before. I think it’s fair to say that both my huskies
and I wrestled with opposing passions of daring and doubt.
Because sled dogs insist on living in the present, they are graced with a nimble and resilient spirit. This
strength of theirs is, for the most part, infectious. As long as I tapped into their happy focus, our shared miles
were relatively carefree.
Like any marathon journey, Iditarod miles are long and not always pretty. On a few occasions my dogs and I
suffered a momentary disconnect with one another—affecting our ability to move on. But in the end, we regained
our shared momentum.
To complete—together—such a long and complicated journey, was to contend with the messy nature of
success. As in everything in life, some miles were “better” than others; looking back several of our stumbles
could have been prevented, others were random twists of misfortune.
It was gratifying beyond any measure to cross beneath the burled arch in Nome. Not because of simply
getting there, but in having persevered to become the best team my dogs and I could be. Maybe the joy of
reaching our planned destination gave me a chance to glimpse what truly matters: that giving something your
very best effort is far more meaningful than any prize. The happy ending of my story is a gift to share—but
more important lessons can be found along those windy miles short of the finish line in Nome.
It all started with one retired Iditarod dog. Beware: If
you decide to adopt a sled dog, your life could change
You’ll never need another doorbell. Greeting visitors is
a specialty of our huskies—they are people-focused
dogs who live for meeting humans.
A dog team is a canine community. Among those dogs
living outside your window are close friends, lovers,
antagonists. Elders, students, and young rascals. Lead
singers, and those who can’t carry a tune.
If yours is a family dog team, your children will sob
uncontrollably leaving for college—saying goodbye to their dogs.
Everyone will ask you how you remember all 26 names, and you want to ask
them if they could ever forget the names of their closest friends.
You will buy dog food by the ton, and know the caloric value of one pound of
kibble as well as the Omega 3:6 fat balance in various oils.
You will consider the length of their toenails far more than your own.
Love songs on the radio will no longer remind you of an old boyfriend; instead
you’ll think of your lead dog.
Your definition of a romantic anniversary present is a new sled, handmade by
your husband. Or maybe better: the perfect new shovel for scooping the dog yard.
If you decide to write a book about Iditarod, it will take you forever. You’ll
outlive the dog-stars in your story. To have their ashes on the shelf next to your
writing desk will give you the determination to throw out one more draft and try
The Gregorian calendar no longer matters after you sign up for Iditarod. It’s all
about miles per month, the rookie meeting in early December, and your
appointment with the Iditarod Trail on the first Saturday of March.
Sometime near the start of the race you’ll realize you forgot to schedule all your
personal medical appointments—but your dogs have just had full physicals,
bloodwork, and EKGs.
On race day the prospect of 1,000 wilderness miles will reduce you to tears, but at
the sound of “5...4...3...2...1...go,” it’s just you, your dogs and the trail underfoot.
Everything is right in your world.
After the first week on the trail, when you travel at all times of the day, you
realize that you never understood the cycle of day and night before.
Who knew that two hours of sleep is a wonderful luxury?
Who also knew that sleeping fully clothed on a dirty plywood floor is also a
After several days on the trail you acclimatize to the cold and do chores
barehanded at 10 degrees.
Six weeks after the race you will still sit upright in bed at 2:00 AM and wonder if
you overslept when should have been leaving the checkpoint.
When the race is over you will put each of your dogs in a crate to fly home ahead
of you. It’s the worst thing ever—to explain to them that you have to stay for a
boring finisher’s banquet, and that you’ll see them “day after tomorrow.”
You will experience mixed emotions when you reach the finish line. The journey
of a lifetime has come to an end, but the real challenge comes readjusting to life
off the trail when it’s no longer just you and your dogs.
Blue and Holloman art gallery, 2/6
Barnes & Noble, 2/7
Iditarod Week, 2/29-3/6
Anchorage Museum, 3/4
Third Place Books, 2/15 (Lake Forest Park)
Village Books, 2/16 (Bellingham)
Powell's City of Books, 2/17
Common Good Books, 2/21
Harvard Book Store, 2/22 (Cambridge)
Jabberwocky, 2/23 (Newburyport)
Northshire, 2/26 (Manchester Center)
Fireside Books, 3/1
Coronado City Library, 4/5
Carlsbad City Library, 4/7

SMITHTOWN, NY – (October 14, 2015) – According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 36 percent of households in America own dogs and 30 percent own cats. However, not every owner knows the proper procedure for winter pet care; every year thousands of companion and stray animals die from being left out in this extreme weather. These cases are investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse. A common misconception is the belief that the fur on animals’ back will insulate them from suffering in the cold winter temperatures or upcoming storm. However, without proper shelter, food and water, these domesticated animals’ chances of survival in frigid temperatures is greatly decreased. Guardians of Rescue, a nation-wide animal rescue organization is expanding their “Gimme Shelter Program” to avoid the suffering of innocent animals this winter season.
"The winter of 2014 was brutally cold, and the snow and ice lead to many unnecessary deaths of cats and dogs, who were left outdoors without proper housing, food or water. Guardians are boots on the ground for these animals,” said Robert Misseri, president of the Guardians of Rescue. "Unfortunately, it’s challenging when you have lack of funds. Our members deliver houses to some of the worst crime areas in the country. Trying to convince owners to allow us to put houses there is not an easy task.”
Guardians of Rescue, a national animal welfare and advocacy organization works to protect and improve the lives of companion animals less fortunate than our own. Guardians of Rescue will be distributing:
•    Insulated houses for dogs and outdoor cats
•    For those houses that can, electric safety heaters and solar heaters will be installed
•    Food is fuel, and a proper diet is essential for all animals who are left in the elements

Feral cats are no exception. These "undercats" of the world suffer greatly. While seeking warmth and shelter, they can easily be trapped by the snow piles that plows create. Guardians of Rescue dig out many cat colonies each winter.
To prevent your pet from suffering this winter, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends these quick tips:
•    Microchip. Many dogs and cats get lost finding their way home in the winter due to the snow and ice covering their usual scents.
•    Be Prepared. Snow and ice can lead to power outages. Make sure you have enough food, water and medicine to last through an unexpected power loss.
•    Wipe Down. Salt and antifreeze on the roads and sidewalks can be poisonous if your pet licks her feet after walking. Be sure to wipe down your pet’s paws and tummy to avoid chemicals.

"Our Gimme Shelter program has increased through awareness. This year we are gearing up for yet another cold, harsh winter,” said Misseri. "We need to get a jump start now, by asking everyone to donate whatever they can to help make the lives of these poor, neglected animals better.”
Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets, helping to rescue them, provide medical care, food and shelter, and find foster-home placements. They are also instrumental in helping military members with their pets, and to provide service dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. To learn more, get involved, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto

About Guardians of Rescue Based in New York, Guardians of Rescue is an organization whose mission is to protect the well being of all animals. They provide aid to animals in distress, including facilitating foster programs, rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to families, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors. To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit the site at

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AVMA. Cold Weather Pet Safety.

Farmer’s Almanac. Winter 2015 – 2016.