Tri State CART Helps Pets & People In Disasters


It was just a little over a year ago when a local organization, Tri State CART, distributed some 28 pallets if Iams pet food to victims of severe storms in Clermont County.

In case you’ve never heard of Tri State CART, it stands for County Animal Response Team. It coordinates, educates and trains volunteers to prepare for and respond to disasters in 31 counties of the Cincinnati Tri-State area.

“Many animal owners will refuse to evacuate if they cannot take their pets or livestock, and that makes our job very important,” said Bonnie Morrison, executive director. “We help people evacuate as quickly as possible with their animals to a safe place until they can return home.”

Why Disaster Animal Response Teams

There were a lot of lessons learned from the tragedies in the Gulf Coast. One of those lessons was that animals must be considered and evacuated to best help save people’s lives.

The PETS Act was instituted in October of 2006, this act was signed into law.  It states that all counties and states have to include plans for animals in their emergency response plans.  If this is not done, their FEMA funding gets cut off.

In a disaster, Tri-State CART is one of many organizations that respond to the needs of the people and their animals.

For Tri-State CART’s disaster preparedness checklist, please click the link below.

Disaster Pet Preparedness checklist

Emilie Buchwald Is The Voice For Those Without One


NOTE:  I have a new pet behavior blog located at  Thanks!

It is a beautiful heart that can see into the eyes of children their potential for caring and love, and into the souls of animals who have no voice to speak of their needs. Love, safety, nourishment, and play ~ life’s precious gifts that can so often be taken for granted are not always available to everyone. And especially not to some, whose only wrongdoing was being born.

But, what if young, impressionable minds were taught responsibility for those without human language? What if those who are less fortunate are given opportunities? They are given a voice.

 Emilie Buchwald is that voice.

And I love her language.

A friend introduced me to his mother-in-law a few weeks back. He had a hunch she and I would have something in common. He was right.

Emilie is the author of two award-winning children’s novels. A poet and a fiction writer, she has taught literature, poetry, and writing for children. She has a Master of Arts in English and a Ph.D. in English Literature, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Minnesota. Emilie is the publisher emeritus and co-founder of Milkweed Editions, the editor or co-editor of 200 books that have won more than 200 awards and distinctions, with a million books in print when she retired in 2003. She has received the McKnight Artist of the Year Award, the Kay Sexton Award for service to Minnesota’s literary community, and, in 2008, the National Book Critic’s Circle Lifetime Achievement Award.

(No, her credentials are not what we have in common although I find writing very fulfilling and have always thought it would be fun to write children’s books ~ but the credentials do make it a little intimidating to be writing about her. )

Actually, it is what Emilie has chosen to pursue with her ‘free time’ now that she is officially ‘retired’ that connects us. In 2006, after a long and accomplished career, she began a new journey. She founded The Gryphon Press to create high-quality children’s picture books whose ultimate purpose is to educate kids about important animal issues and the human-animal connection. (It wasn’t mentioned in her bio but Emilie also happens to be a passionate advocate for those who don’t speak human.)

Her publishing company, The Gryphon Press, is named for the mythical bird that represents fair play and justice. It has sold over 400,000 books to date ~ each one compellingly written and movingly illustrated to engage kids in learning about the responsibilities of dog ownership, pet adoption and overpopulation, getting rid of puppy mills, therapy and service dogs, the intelligence of dogs, dog parks, issues of abuse, and more. Most books have won national awards.

 “I love the process of putting an artist and an author together, seeing a book take shape and putting it through production but I wouldn’t have gotten back into this if it wasn’t for an important reason,” she told me. “I was reading blogs and stories about how difficult it is to educate about animals and I just thought, ‘I know how to publish books. I can publish books for kids about this and talk in terms they can understand.’ This is a wonderful way to change things.”

 Yes, Emilie, it is!

Take for example, Buddy Unchained, the story of a happily rehomed mixed-breed dog who shares his sad memories of life before being rescued. The book sends a powerful message that caring humans can and do help, and includes resource information for adult readers.

Or Always Blue for Chicu, the daunting story of a smuggled parrot’s neglect and suffering who is ultimately rescued and reunited with his soul mate. The book makes the clear point that a bird is a wild animal and formidable pet that can live a very long life and will require significant attention.

Or Are You Ready For Me?, a book (written by Emilie’s daughter, Claire) that helps parents answer the common question ~ “Please, can we get a dog?”. In this story, a dog and puppy at and adoption center ask two children how they will be treated.

Schools and other educational institutions are using The Gryphon Press books and creating lesson plans around them.

“It’s very satisfying to me,” said Emilie. “I’ve had instances where teachers have cried because they haven’t had a way of teaching these kinds of lessons before. I get letters all the time and see kids using our books.”

The only frustration? “Not being able to do more,” Emilie told me.

To that, I’ve got to say…Emilie, you have done A LOT.


Spring Safety Tips For Pets


It’s hard to believe but it’s finally spring! We can all go out and work in the yard or play. I bet your pet is also enjoying the longer days and nicer weather. With the season change, I thought it’d be a good time to devote another column to reminding you of some things to consider when it comes to your furry or feathered friend.

Whether you’re in a home or an apartment, this is the time of year when we all like to keep our windows open. Please check all of your window screens to make sure there are no large holes. You don’t want to take chances on any insects, particularly mosquitoes that could have west nile virus. Birds can chew through screens so make sure their cages are kept out of reach of open windows.

In the same thought, always make sure you know where your pets are when you’re opening doors. All it takes is a split moment for a flighted bird, dog or cat to be past you on their way outside.

When it comes to spring cleaning, always be aware that household cleaners and chemicals are toxic to pets. Air fresheners can even be deadly to birds so use them with caution.

Are all of your pets’ vaccinations current? If not, now is a good time to make a visit to the vet.

Before you let your dog romp around in your back yard, if it’s fenced, make sure there is no winter damage that will allow your pet to escape. Also, this is a great time to make sure you are current with your license and identification tag, you may even want to consider microchipping as a permanent means of identification. Avoid letting your dog play in areas that have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. If you suspect your dog has accidentally walked on treated lawns, call your veterinarian right away.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to know which plants in your garden may be toxic to your pet. Here is a sample of some plants to be careful of:  Azalea, Boxwood, Caladium, Chinaberry Tree, Daffodil bulbs, Elephant Ear, Foxglove, Holly berries, Hyacinth bulbs, Hydrangea, Lily of the Valley, Mushrooms, Philodendron, and Rhododendron. If you suspect your pet has eaten a poisonous plant, call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Always be mindful of conditions that could cause your pet to over heat. Heat stroke can be deadly but it’s so preventable. Never leave your pet inside an enclosed car in warm temperatures. Make sure your dog or cat has plenty of fresh, cool water and plenty of shade. Shaving your dog or cat can actually make it more susceptible to heat stroke because its fur was designed as an insulator.

If your pet is starting to overheat, one of the first warning signs is an increased and noisy panting rate. Other symptoms include thick saliva, red mucus membranes, hot skin, dazed look, vomiting and diarrhea, and an inability to move or get up. If you suspect your pet is overheating, offer small amounts of water or completely soak your pet with coot water. In extreme cases, contact your veterinarian immediately.

When it comes to traveling with your pet, make sure you call ahead. Airlines have policies on when they will and how they will allow pets to travel in cargo holds (due to safety issues with regard to the heat). If you take your dog to the beach, remember saltwater can cause vomiting or dehydration. It’s better to carry some extra water just in case. On boats, pets should always have life jackets. If you’re hiking, it’s best to avoid letting your dog drink from streams that could be contaminated with parasites and always carry a first aid kit for those unforeseen emergencies.

And, one last note. Be nice to your neighbors…clean-up after your pooch and please don’t leave a barking dog outside for hours.

Happy spring!

Livy Lu Found Her Forever Home


This past weekend was a very special event. Shelters and rescue groups from throughout the Tri-State joined forces to find forever homes for over 1800 dogs, cats, rabbits and even rodents. Bringing an animal into your home is such a wonderful gift and even more so when you are offering your heart to another living being who has somehow been let down by life in its past.

It is one thing to adopt an adorable puppy still so filled with rambunctious happiness, but so often the adult dogs who just aren’t as cute are the ones who face the most uncertain future. And for the ones who, by no fault of their own, have the most baggage by humans who failed them…well, they will be lucky if they find themselves with a kind foster parent or in a caring no-kill shelter.

Livy Lou Was One Of The Lucky Ones

A little terrier mix with a long white beard, bushy eyebrows and ears that flop over, Olivia (better known as Livy Lou) was 15 pounds of sheer terror when the Strubbes came by the shelter where Livy Lou had been spending her days. She was caged with large dogs – many at least double her weight – who didn’t understand the magnitude of their size or the concept of leaving a frightened animal alone. There really wasn’t enough space for that distance anyway.

The year was 2004. Sharon and David Strubbe had just become empty nesters and their house was getting awfully lonely without their long companion, a beautiful Samoyed who died just weeks earlier.

So, the couple visited the SCPA. “I didn’t want another big dog,” Sharon said…each time they left. They went back three times and each time she walked out crying because she didn’t see what she wanted but she hated leaving behind so many dogs that each had a need for love.

Their fourth attempt to find a new friend was at the League For Animal Welfare. “Is this one still here?,” Sharon asked of the dog in the picture. “Well, you had better meet her,” was the staff person’s response.

It turns out Livy Lu was all set to be adopted the week earlier. That is until she snapped and bit the woman’s ankle as she was paying the fee.

But that didn’t bother Sharon. If anything, it made her more determined. Sharon was going to win over Livy Lu’s heart and she wasn’t going to leave until she did it. After thirty minutes, Livy Lu still wouldn’t come close. She only barked and growled.

The rest of the story is what tells me what a huge heart Sharon and David have and makes me so grateful to know there are people in this world just like them.

A Heart Opened

They were brought into an enclosed room – Sharon, David and a little ferocious beast who took guard of the corner. Time went by. Finally Livy Lu took a step forward, wagged her tail, and returned to the only place in that space that seemed safe at the time. “I just had to have her,” Sharon said. “I wasn’t going to give up.”

And neither was Livy Lu. Sharon and David patiently kept their distance, allowing this dog who until then had no reason to trust anyone, to somehow find the strength to have courage enough to try. That’s when magic happened. Livy Lu took a leap and landed on Sharon’s lap.

“She’s coming home with us,” Sharon told her husband.

They have been together ever since. Livy Lu is about 15 years old now and is deaf. Lucky for her, the most important language of life – the language of love, needs no words.

Over 1,600 Animals For Adoption At ‘My Furry Valentine’


Last August, I wrote a blog post about a local photographer who specializes in capturing the personalities of pets. For Carolyn Evans though, her work goes so much deeper than her talent. She devotes so much time and energy into finding permanent, loving homes for animals who are without much hope.

If you know me, you know I have a special heart for what she does.

And so, I’m eager to help get word out about a huge event coming up next weekend that Carolyn is organizing with help from a friend, Kathy Parsanko, and a crew of other committed volunteers.

With Carolyn at the helm, for the first time EVER, shelters and rescue groups from our entire Tri-State region are pulling together with one unified mission: to educate the public that adoptable animals from shelters and rescue groups are one of the best sources for finding a new family pet -­‐-­‐ and to achieve the highest number of homeless pets ever adopted in Cincinnati in one day.

 My Furry Valentine, the Tri-­‐State’s largest Pet Adopton Event, will be held Saturday, February 11, from 11 am to 6 pm. with the main event being held at flexi USA, Inc. Headquarters.  (8494 Firebird Drive
West Chester, OH 45014) There are other participating locations – for a list, please visit


Over 1,600 adoptable animals will be looking for their permanent home. Could you be one?

Pet overpopulation is an enormous problem in the U.S., and in our area. More than 33,000 homeless, adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year in our Cincinnati region, as a result.

Participating Shelters and Rescue Groups

ABC’s of Bullies, Adams County Dog Pound, Adore-­‐A-­‐Bull Rescue, All Dogs Come From Heaven, Animal Adoption Foundation (AAF), Animal Friends Humane Society, Animal Rescue Fund, Bluegrass Boxer Rescue, Boone County Animal Shelter, Brown County Animal Shelter, Campbell County Animal Shelter, Cincinnati Lab Rescue, Circle Tail, Coalition to Ban Dog Auctions, Clermont County Humane Society, Franklin County Humane Society, Friends of Noah, Grant County Animal Shelter, Golden Retriever Rescue & Adoption of Needy Dogs (GRRAND), Greyhound Adoption of Greater Cincinnati, Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART), Homeward Bound Greyhound Association, Humane Association of Warren County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center, Joey’s Greyhound Friends, Inc., Kenton County Animal Shelter, Kyle’s New Hope Animal Rescue, League for Animal Welfare, Maverick’s Mission Rescue, Maysville Rescue Team, Michelle’s Spoiled Rotten Foster Dogs, Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue, Moore Love Rescue, No Kill Tri-­‐State, Ohio Pug Rescue, Our Gang Rescue, Owen County Friends of Animals, Pampered Pets Animal Rescue (PPAR), Paws Adoption Center, Puppy Pals Rescue, Queen City Greyhounds, Recycled Doggies, Sacred Hearts Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, Save The Animals Foundation (STAF), SPCA Cincinnati Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP), The Scratching Post, This Little Piggy & Me Guinea Pig Adoption & Rescue, Three Sisters Pet Rescue, Tri-­‐State CART (County Animal Response Team), UCAN Non-­‐profit Spay Neuter Clinic, United Pet Fund, Wags & Whiskers… and more continue to register daily!

 Donations Accepted

My Furry Valentine is accepting donations that day on behalf of the Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry (providing temporary food assistance for animals whose owners are struggling financially.) They accept unopened, unexpired bags of dog/cat food and kitty litter. And also for Blankets and Bones (a community outreach program that provides comfort to dogs in shelters) accepts new or gently-­‐used blankets and new rawhide bones. Anyone bringing a donation to the event will be eligible to win one of several great prizes.

My Furry Valentine is sponsored by Flexi USA, Alcott and PhoDographer. More information, including adoptable pets and satellite adoption locations for the day is available at

This is a GREAT PSA on pet adoption!

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