holidays

Help bring Christmas joy to shelter animals

Guest post by Dorian Wagner

Our pets at home are lucky. They get showered with gifts, love and attention for the holidays. We wrap their gifts, unwrap them with them and watch how happy they are to play with a new toy. Yes, they have it good, and they know it.

But what about shelter animals? They deserve a little holiday joy, too! They deserve catnip mice and squeaky toys and tuna-flavored treats and pull toys! They deserve to know someone cares about them. And that’s where Santa Paws Drive comes in.

Santa Paws Drive started as just an idea by myself to create a program similar to the U.S. Marines’ “Toys for Tots” program, but for animals. They collect toys and distribute them to needy children – and I wanted to do the same, but for needy cats and dogs in shelters. But I didn’t want to just donate a few toys to my local shelter, I wanted to make a bigger difference for more animals… all over the world.

And so I reached out to a few good friends who are well-known in the pet-blogging and Twitter world: Salina Gannon of NipandBones.com (her expertise helped create the “store” and donation process, Lynn Haigh of Pawpawty.com (her dog tweets as @frugaldougal and has raised thousands of dollars through Pawpawties!) and Kerri Schlack of TheKittenCrew.com (who raises foster kittens and, she and her husband are web design experts).

And somehow, what seemed like a crazy idea became a reality! We created SantaPawsDrive.com and the first-ever “virtual toy drive” was officially set into motion! Last year, we raised over $7,000 in cash and toy donations, and now, for our second year, our goal is to raise even more!

To pick our six Santa Paws Drive shelters, we took nominations and made our choices based on need, location and nomination note. All the shelters are no-kill, non-profit organizations. We also tried to choose smaller shelters who don’t have much opportunity for larger-scale funding. Three are located in the U.S., one is in Canada, one is in the UK and the other is on the island of Tenerife, off the coast of Africa.

We truly wish each of these shelter animals could find their forever homes for Christmas, but if they can’t, we at least want to make their holiday and merry as can be. If you can spare a few dollars to help put a smile on a dog or cat’s face, we’d truly appreciate your donation!

To help support Santa Paws Drive, you can simply visit SantaPawsDrive.com and choose to donate either money or toys and treats. Every single dollar helps! You can also place the widget or a badge on your blog to help spread the word (and please do!).

Help us make this Christmas as happy as can be for shelter animals!

Dorian Wagner is the creator of Your Daily Cute.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Pets

Thanksgiving dog and cat

ASPCA experts offer these tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Sage Advice

Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicious, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs-they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse-an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure a happy and healthy Thanksgiving for all family members, human and furry!