Durham Christmas Parade 2018

A fun day full of holiday spirit at the Durham Christmas Parade 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed, and I was thrilled to participate today in Durham’s Christmas Parade. Even though this was my fourth parade this year, it was my first occasion to see and speak to Santa and to thank him for all he has done to bring joy and happiness to the lives of others. I also provided him with my Wish List for this year, which included the repeal of legislation recently passed by the NC General Assembly. I have let him know that we need to finally expand Medicaid, also, to adequately fund our education system as well as more funds to protect our environment and to pass legislation related to animal welfare. I am thoroughly pleased that Durham has brought back and continued its Holiday parade in recent years I only wish that they had far more liberal policies allowing people like me to pass on candy to the kids.

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A Fun Day at Barktoberfest 2018 at Durham Central Park

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of joining hundreds of pets and their owners who came together for the annual Barktoberfest in Durham’s Central Park. I always love this event since it gives me an opportunity to see children, pets, as well as their owners all dressed up in their Halloween costumes which can be quite original, entertaining, and amusing. I had the pleasure of serving as one of the judges who helped award prizes in one of three categories: best at pet tricks, best pet costume, as well as the owners and pets who, together, had the best Halloween costumes. I could really see how much the children, as well as adults, enjoyed this event. There are so many participants with original costumes that the judging can be quite difficult, however, everyone seemed to have fun even if they didn’t walk away as a winner.
I’d like to thank a group known as Beyond Fences which has served as a lead sponsor for this event, as well as the City of Durham and Durham’s Parks and Recreation Department. If you missed the event this year, please mark your calendar for next year, and start planning your costumes today.

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Vets to Vets United, Inc. Graduation Ceremony

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the graduation ceremony for a program started by Dr. Terry Morris, who is a veterinarian, known as Vets to Vets. It is a program composed of veterinarians serving veterans and their service dogs. The program puts together dogs who are adopted from animal shelters and who are typically trained for a period of 2 years to serve the specific needs of the veterans who adopt them. It typically costs $10,000-15,000 dollars to train each service and/or therapy animal that graduates from this program. The cost of this program is subsidized through donations as well as through the service of veterinarians in our area. The program had 19 graduates during 2018 alone, and there are currently 26 veterans on the waitlist. It was wonderful seeing the 6 service dogs who graduated from this program this past weekend. I would like to commend Dr. Morris for her dedication and commitment to this special cause which brings together not only dogs who might be euthanized if they remained in shelters, but also veterans who are in need of a service and/or therapy dog to assist them.

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Animal Rescue Weekend – Coral & Mr. G’s Journey to a New Home

This weekend I had the opportunity to take part in an activity that is near and dear to my heart – the rescue of a couple of sweet dogs. As I learned this weekend, rescuing an animal can be defined in so many more ways than just adopting. This weekend I became part a group of individuals that pour their hearts into saving animals one by one through fostering and transporting for rescues who give dogs a second chance at a wonderful life.

My small part involved giving a Pit Bull mix mom and a Jack Russell mix boy a lift from Durham, NC to South Hill, VA but that was just a small part of the three day 1247 mile trip from Youngsville, LA to Mechanicsburg, PA where Coral the Pit and Mr. G the Terrier mix will get their new chance at an amazing life. Coral and Mr. G’s saviors include twenty drivers and two overnighters, a sending rescue, a receiving rescue, and a transport coordinator/monitor from a rescue who assists others in order to keep expenses down for charities that opt to rescue from afar.

Teamwork plays a large part in any charity activity, but the dedication and devotion to saving lives were very apparent in each and every volunteer’s picture and post as they documented their loving contribution to the movement of two deserving souls destined for better times. Organizations such as StoryTeller’s Express, Inc depend on volunteers to assist them in assisting others each transport weekend and many of these trips have routes that pass through the State of North Carolina. No matter where you are within the State, you may be able to assist through providing a 1 to 1 ½ hour ride or a temporary overnight stay along the route which truly makes a difference in lowering the euthanasia rates for states in the south while providing dogs to wonderful homes with great families. Three hours out of your weekend is so little to give and most times the organizations are registered as 501c3 charities which enables you to consider your efforts as tax-deductible contributions while saving lives.

Much help is needed in our State where rescues such as these not only pass through on transport but also pull dogs and transfer them to wherever they might have a greater opportunity for loving homes. If you would like to become a part of this amazing network, I would urge you to reach out to StoryTeller’s Express, Inc via their Facebook page and consider signing up as a volunteer. This rescue not only rescues dogs themselves but also assists other rescues in keeping down costs through organizing volunteer rescues such as the one I assisted with this weekend. If you can overnight foster, temp foster, long-term foster, drive, do home checks, monitor transports, or even tag volunteers your assistance is greatly needed!
One can also offer assistance by signing up on their website.

Please consider becoming involved by doing a small part to help animals in need. Together we can make a huge difference for a worthy cause!