Friday, December 19, 2014

Doggie Style Donation

If you're an animal lover you are already well on your way to being a decent human being. And if you're a rescuer of pets, then you probably find yourself wanting to donate a bit more around the holidays. I've mentioned this before, but it is essential that you try to make sure your donations go to small or local organizations. Just donating to the Humane Society or other nationwide organizations has very little impact on the lives of pets in shelters. But you can donate directly to your local shelter and see the pets playing with the toys and eating the food you donated!

  Santa Wiley was feeling the Christmas spirit this year when he heard about the donation drive Doggie Style petstore was having. I've written about these stores before, here, but the short version is they are in Philadelphia, have a fantastic inventory, and showcase adoptable pets, like all pet stores should! They work with an organization called Saved Me, formerly known as Operation Ava.  When Wiley found out they were doing a donation drive in which the manufacturers of certain brands agreed to make a donation to shelter animals for items purchased, he immediately thought of our good friends Katie and Jackie, who live in Philadelphia just a few blocks away from the Passyunk Doggie Style store.  

Jenny, as usual, thought only of herself. 

We sent a card to Katie and Jackie with some cash, and asked them to buy some gifts on Wiley and Jenny's behalf. Jackie had to work, so Katie took our very good friends April and Amy, whom we have written about before, and April's new rescue dog Huck. 

April and Huck were visiting from North Carolina, where April goes to grad school. Huck got to see lots of Philadelphia sites.

This is a list of the participating donors at the Doggie Style drive. Let's give them a little love if we can?

Huck was very impressed with all the store had to offer. 

It was tough for him to decide what he wanted.

 Decisions decisions.

Unfortunately for Huck, Pumpkin, the store cat, was very unimpressed with him.  She let the humans fuss over her, but she wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit when it came to dogs.

Maybe she needs a costume like Jenny's?

Anyway, Katie, April, and Amy bought lots of goodies. . . 

and, just so you know, I asked them to buy some cat food to put in the donation box so we could give Pumpkin a little love. 

The ladies were kind enough to pose for a picture for the blog, and the fine people at Doggie Style were kind enough to indulge them. 

And Huck? Well, he's not going to miss the opportunity to pose for a picture. 

So, if you're anywhere around the Philly area, you can head to one of the Doggie Style locations, get your Christmas shopping done, and make donations in the process. If you don't live around Philly, you can still donate to Saved Me.  You can also order from Doggie Style and they will ship products to you!  

Please remember your local shelters over the holiday season. The elves will be working extra hard but money can get pretty tight, and shelters can fill up after Christmas with puppies bought by people as gifts without realizing what being a responsible pet owner actually entails. 

I've been taking some fun Christmas pics of Wiley and Jenny I'll continue to share over the next few days. If you have any you'd like me to put on the blog, just email me at Thanks!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Circus Stella

I think I might know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "aww, another cute picture of Wiley, but he looks a bit smaller here."  Well-guess what? This isn't Wiley! This is Adrian, and she's a Circus Dog! Read on my friends, read on.

It's not every day that one gets to take a trip back in time to the days of King Henry VIII and the English Renaissance, but one of the perks of teaching high school English in Pennsylvania is we have a great Renaissance Faire in Manheim.  Each year the senior English teacher and I take our AP Language, Literature, and 12th grade Honors classes to the Faire for the day, where we compete in the writing contest, in which we have had many winners, several 1st place!   After about a dozen years of attending, we have seen nearly everything the Faire has to offer on its school days, although this year they switched to Henry VIII instead of Queen Elizabeth I, which was a nice change of pace. 

The teacher I attend with is also an animal lover and mom to two dogs, Daisy and Dobby. Dobby is from the Hillside SPCA, which is the same shelter Wiley came from! Anyway she and I always head to the animal exhibits. For example, there is a greyhound rescue organization that usually has a stand at the Faire, and for the past few years there has been a "Court Jester" act with their Border Collies, who are "untrained" and thus run into the audience to try to steal turkey legs, and hilarity ensues.

 After we saw their show, we were heading around the fairgrounds when we came to a crowded venue and saw a man walking on a ladder in front of a small stage. Then this man was juggling on the ladder. It was impressive enough to get our cynical, seen-it-all-here attention, so we stood in the back. However, after the juggling was over, we heard some mumbling audio (we were in a bad spot) about dogs, and I took off like a shot, climbing over people to get right down to the front and leaving my other teacher-friend behind. BOL! (Bark out loud!) 

Well, readers. . . this performance turned out to be more than I could have ever anticipated! The act's name is Circus Stella, with two acrobats, Dextre and his wife Jana, and their five rescue dogs! In fact the act is named after Stella, seen below. 

Rescued as a puppy, she is clever, talented, and according to their website, full of attitude.

I also saw Mabel, who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself.

Lastly was Adrian, and of course I was struck by her similarity to Wiley with the reddish coat. 

She was much smaller and more slim than Wiley in real life, but she definitely bears a resemblance no? 

And to watch her walk across these. . . 


I don't know what you call them but she was wonderful.  

She got plenty of applause at the end of the show of course, and she didn't let it go to her head.

When the crowd let out, we saw they had tshirts for sale, but there was no one there selling them because Dexter and Jana were still backstage. We decided to go get lunch and then come back to buy a shirt.

We hit the jackpot upon our return. Dextre was selling the shirts, and I shamelessly starting talking up the Rescue Dog Blog and gave him my business card. He responded with kind interest, bless his rescue-loving heart, and asked if we wanted to meet one of the dogs! Uhhhh. . . . OF COURSE!

So he brought Adrian out for us, and we were lucky enough to get in some good pets and scritches, which made my day anyway. Here I am, kneeling in her presence. I didn't even do that for Henry VIII!

Dextre explained a bit more about what goes into training these rescues, and how he ran five miles a day for a few months with a rescue after he first got her, just to help her relax and learn to get out her nervous energy. He didn't even start the training until those months were over and she was in a better, calmer state of mind. But now look at these animals! 

They are all shelter dogs that so many people would have passed by. Just think how many people  "have to" get a full-bred dog because they believe that's what they need to be able to train them. Circus Stella is proof that the right people, with the right hearts and talent, can find dogs in shelters who are destined for greatness! In saving their lives, they also gain talented and loyal co-stars and spread the great joy and value in rescuing animals!  

I want to thank Dextre and Jana for what they do. Yes, they are talented. The show is really fun and you should check out their schedule to see if they're ever going to be performing around you. They travel all over the country. But more importantly they are doing an incredible service to their particular dogs and shelter dogs in general. Thank you Dextre for taking the time to talk with us and giving us something to talk about most of the way home. Wiley was a bit jealous when I showed him the shirt though. 

For more information on Circus Stella, check out their website here.   This page lists the five dogs and gives some background. I recommend following them on Facebook as well if you're on social media. They post some fun dog-related content. 

Okay, now readers, it is the holiday season you know. I would love to see pics of your pets, no matter what kind of animal they are, in their festive holiday gear. You can email me at or contact me via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram below, to share your pictures. I will share them here on the blog. Here's Wiley's contribution from today, our second snow day so far this school year. I'm not thrilled about the weather, but he doesn't seem to mind. 

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