Archive for November, 2010

‘Celebrate Shelter Pets Day’ is an online storybook story

My sweet Duchess

Today is ‘Celebrate Shelter Pets Day‘ on the Shelter Pet Project’s Facebook page. Everyone is helping by posting their happy adoption story, and it’s the sweetest list of names and faces you’ll ever see.

I do have one favorite, though. My mother posted a very special ode to her cat Daphne. Here it is:

Nov 30th is Celebrate Shelter Pets Day and I will be in NY. I celebrate Daphne today. We needed a cat that would tolerate Scottish Terriers and an autistic child. After some positive interaction, we took home Daphne, a beautiful black cat. The first thing she did was set those Scottie’s straight as to who was boss. …Thank heaven for our shelter cat who had enough maturity to survive and thrive at our house.

And thank heaven for mothers too!

Check out the Shelter Pet Project here.


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Celebrate Shelter Pets Day — Nov. 30, 2010

The Shelter Pet Project, a collaboration between Maddie’s Fund, the US Humane Society and the Ad Council to promote the adoption of shelter and rescue pets, is hosting a ‘Celebrate Shelter Pets Day’ on Facebook on Nov. 30, 2010. Here’s the deal:

Nov. 30 is “Celebrate Shelter Pets Day” on Facebook!

Don’t you wish you could do something to help shelter pets find homes? Well, on Nov. 30, you can!

Every year, millions of people consider adopting shelter dogs or cats, but many don’t follow through because they wrongly assume there’s something wrong with shelter pets.

Those of us who share our lives with adopted and rescued pets know that’s not true. We know that shelters and rescue groups are full of great pets – dogs with one ear up and one ear down, senior dogs content to cuddle on the sofa and watch TV with you, and frisky young kittens with a passionate interest in your computer keyboard.

So on Nov. 30, we’re asking you to do something very, very simple: Post to Facebook telling the world about a great shelter pet who shares, or has shared, your life.

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Connecting Paws Across North America

In the last month, I’ve received numerous requests for information on how to work towards a ban on the sale of animals in various cities across North America.  Our collective success in Richmond was made possible by many people’s efforts.   It’s time we share those resources and ideas with other groups.  I’ve established a website to link or store information on advocacy for animal issues.

See:  Connecting Paws

If you have information or a resource you feel should be added to the “Connecting Paws” web page, please leave a comment on this site.


Thanks!  ~Christie

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CTV Features BC Chihuahua Rescue

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Richmond’s Retail Puppy Ban on Best Friends’ Blog

If you’ve seen the acclaimed television show ‘Dog Town‘, than you know Best Friends Animal Society.  And today, Best Friends highlighted Richmond’s new, and soon to be implemented, ban on the sale of dogs in pet stores.

Check out their blog here.

A special thanks to Helen at the Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS) for sending me this information.

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Pets pose for a cause

"Cal" at the Urban Dance Company

By Christie Lagally, Special to the Richmond News

See original Richmond News article here

Richmond’s Urban Dance Company studio is no stranger to the pitter-patter of little feet. This locally owned and operated dance studio offers Richmond dancers of all ages classes in ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop.

But on Remembrance Day, the studio was closed to four-year-old ballerinas, and open to canine and feline feet for a pet photo shoot! Rabbits, birds and children were also welcome.

Urban Dance Co. owner Wendy Riley shares her love of dance with a love of animals, and she is always looking for ways to raise money for less fortunate animals. So she teamed up with professional photographer, Adrienne Thiessen of Gemini Visuals Creative Photography, and staged a pet and family photo shoot in the halls of the Urban Dance.

Riley arranged to have all the proceeds go to the Richmond Animal Protection Society.

As families and pet owners came in and out of the studio, Riley was busy finding places for each dog and family to prep themselves for the photo shoot.

Meanwhile, Candi Raphael, the photographer’s assistant, was herding groups of animals in and out of the upstairs dance studio between shoots. There was no doubt that Riley, Thiessen and Raphael were out numbered by happy, go-lucky Labradors, boxers and pugs, but these women kept the Urban Dance studio running with the same organization as if it were any other day.

I was lucky to arrive when Ted Fazio turned up with two adult boxers, and a little pug named Bentley. Fazio had heard about the charity photo shoot through a co-worker and brought his boxer, Raffi, and Raffi’s two friends Cal and Bentley.

In their staging area, Raffi, Cal and Bentley’s made good use of the Studio 2 to play ball and tug-of-war before their big moment in front of the camera.

All three dogs were well behaved but were surprised to find three more dogs in studio mirror that looked just like them!

When it came time for their photo shoot, Thiessen had each dog eating out of her hand, and her expert imitation of kitten meows ensured that Raffi, Cal and Bentley were all intently looking at the camera in every shot.

Raffi and his football

However, the fun for the dogs happened between shots when the dogs got lots of treats and Raffi kept going for the football that he brought with him into the studio.

Thiessen, who grew up in Richmond, is no stranger to charity photo shoots. She and Riley held a previous pet photo shoot this summer to benefit Richmond Animal Protection Society, and Thiessen has performed shoots for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Peace Arch Hospital. Thiessen says she particularly enjoys photographing larger dogs that people stereotypically fear. Her experience training her own doberman has given her the skills to work with especially sensitive dogs like pit bulls, boxers and mastiffs.

Riley and her team will be arranging a calendar of some of the day’s best shoots. You can purchase the calendars at Urban Dance later this winter and, again, proceeds goes to the animals.

And if you missed your opportunity for a pet photo shoot this time around, check back with the Urban Dance Company early next year for future dates.

Urban Dance Company can be reached at 604-277-4494 or on their website at

Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist. View her blog at
© Copyright (c) Richmond News

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Richmond passes puppy sale ban. Is Langley next?

Well, it’s been official since Monday, Nov. 8th at 8 PM that Richmond’s City Council has effectively banned the sale of dogs and puppies in Richmond’s pet stores.  See the Richmond News.

But hot on the heals of this success, Langley, BC councillor, Jordon Bateman is already asking staff to recommend changes to the local Langley bylaws to take on puppy-mill style breeding in their city.  Langley doesn’t currently have any retail outlets that sell puppies after Doggie World, the most recent retailer of puppies, sold animals sick with the parvo virus.  Many of the dogs died shortly after their purchase.  See LAPM’s blog.

But Langley residents aren’t satisfied with just the lack of retail sales.  They are going after puppy-mills themselves.  See these articles.

Looking to put the bite on puppy-mills

Township takes on puppy-mill industry

Standing up for puppies

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Ban on the sale of dogs in Richmond’s pet stores adopted! Rejoice!

The amendment to Richmond’s business licensing bylaw to ban the sale of dogs in pet stores has officially been adopted!  Beginning April 2011, retail outlets cannot sell dogs in Richmond, BC.

It’s a historic moment in animal welfare history!   Rejoice!

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City Council’s support of puppy sale ban backed by community members!

Thanks to your support and the work of many animal welfare organizations, the Richmond City Council will be holding a final vote on the Amendment to Ban the Sale of Dogs in Richmond’s Storefronts.  The final vote will be held on this Monday, Nov. 8th at 7 PM in Richmond City Council chambers.  You are cordially invited to attend!

Upon adoption of this amendment, Richmond will become the first city in Canada to outlaw the sale of dogs in pet stores, and hold a place in Canadian, as well as worldwide, animal welfare history.  See the agenda.

Furthermore, during the public consultation on this bylaw amendment, supporters sent in 217 pages of comments, and only two pages represent individuals opposed the amendment adoptions.   See those public comments here.

It seems that Richmond City Council has truly represented the Richmond community by proposing and supporting this amendment.  Thank you!

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Puppy mixes it up with reptiles

"Puppy" the African Spurred Tortoise

By Christie Lagally, Special to the Richmond News November 3, 2010.  See original Richmond News article.

Puppy is not your typical household pet.

He lives at the Reptile Rescue, Adoption and Education Society in Richmond where he frequently has the run of the place.

While Puppy saunters past ball pythons, bearded dragons, red-eared turtles and iguanas — all of which have been surrendered to the rescue society by their past owners — Puppy doesn’t appear to alarm any of them.

All the reptile residents seem to know Puppy is one of their own, because Puppy is a large African Spurred tortoise.

The Reptile Rescue, Adoption and Education Society was founded by Val Lofvendahl in 2003. She was the proud owner of an iguana many years ago, when she found that the advice from the pet store about caring for her iguana was just wrong, and the iguana suffered as a result.

She vowed then that she would work to help homeless and sick reptile pets recover from poor conditions and find them new homes.

I visited the society’s rescue facility this summer with absolutely no knowledge of reptiles, and I was shocked to see how many homeless reptiles there are in Richmond alone.

“Very few were purchased from breeders; most were impulse buys from pet stores where the customers were poorly educated,” says Lofvendahl.

In fact, the Reptile Rescue is the only such rescue in Richmond, and one of only a handful of such rescues in the Lower Mainland.

corn snake

Most abandoned or surrendered pet iguanas, geckos, corn snakes, slider turtles, pythons and lizards will typically end up at this rescue facility because most shelters don’t have the expertise to care for these unique creatures.

Since 2003, more than 400 reptiles and amphibians have been taken in by the society, and there are usually about 50 in care at all times. 2010 has been a record year of intakes.

Lofvendahl introduced me to the animals that she cares for daily.

As I walked in the door, a very friendly iguana named George greeted me with dignified attention and regard.

I felt honoured to be in his presence. As Lofvendahl showed me into George’s living area, she quickly stroked his back and he closed his eyes in what appeared to be utter contentment.

George the Iguana

I got the feeling that if George had been a cat, he would have been purring. I was also introduced to some snakes that were abandoned in a drug house after the police had raided the home.

While red-eared turtles were banned from sale in Richmond’s pet stores a few years ago, a few still show up in rescues when people tire of them.

According to Lofvendahl, ball pythons are the most common snake being given up, and iguanas and bearded dragons are the most popular lizards being neglected.

I was also stunned to learn that some of the turtles, like Puppy, live up to 100 years and are sold to people who think a tortoise will be easier to care for than a dog.

While Puppy is a spritely seven year old tortoise, I met one of Puppy’s younger counterparts, Chuckles, who was just 1-1/2 years old.

Chuckles was sold to someone who had no idea that the tortoise would outlive his caretaker and end up in a shelter eventually. While Lofvendahl works diligently to find permanent homes for all the reptiles, tortoises like Puppy and Chuckles are better suited for life in an appropriate sanctuary.

The adoptable reptiles are listed on the society’s website at Like any rescue group, you fill out an application to ensure that you can offer a safe and permanent home for these creatures.

Donations are always needed to help care for these precious reptiles, and you can save your Canadian Tire money to help the Society purchase light bulbs and supplies as well as a generator. They also welcome gift cards to Superstore to buy vegetables for the lizards — one of the largest expenses at about $70 per week.

But most of all, you can pledge to never buy an animal from a pet store. There are so many homeless reptiles right here in Richmond that it will be decades before responsible reptile-loving residents have any trouble finding just the right new family member.

Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist. View her blog at
© Copyright (c) Richmond News

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