Another year is quickly coming to an end. This is the time when most people sit and reflect on the year’s progress, setbacks, and accomplishments. We’ve seen dogs raising funds and awareness for The American Cancer Society, work to change the way we travel, and win the title for “Fastest Wienie in the West”. It’s been a spectacular year for canines so far; let’s see how the rest of the year turned out.
Ten years have passed since one ordinary day became the day that changed the world. This year we observed the 10th anniversary of September 11th and we focused on celebrating the lives of our loved ones and the brave souls who risked their lives to help others. Of those brave souls, we cannot forget the brave dogs who served as well. This year the American Humane Association did a six month search where hundreds of dogs from all 50 states were nominated for the title of American Hero Dog of 2011. While there were deserving nominees from all walks of life, the winner was Roselle, the 9/11 Guide Dog. Roselle was recognized for her heroism in guiding her blind master safely down 78 flights of stairs following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. She was truly an amazing dog and we owe a debt of gratitude to her and all the search and rescue dogs that worked endlessly after the attacks to help find people in the wreckage.
The 11th annual Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade and Adoption Fair was held in Long Beach, California (as it is every year). This dog halloween event is already the world’s largest halloween event for dogs, but this year they went a step further and broke a world record for having the most costumed dogs in a parade. With over 600 costumed dog participants, this year’s parade not only broke the record, it demolished it. This event is put on each year to help raise funds for local spay/neuter programs, local rescue groups, Operation Santa Paws (collecting toys and blankets for homeless pets in local shelters) and local service projects. While the money raised at the event does go toward a good cause, the dogs who participate in the parade are also competing for prizes. The costume contests include Best Costume, Best Float, Best human Costume, and Best group. Check out Hautedogs.org to see this year’s winners.
December was a month of giving as thousands of people made donations to the needy homeless animals in shelters around Southern California. While there are always a handful of groups collecting blankets, food, and toys for animal shelters in need, two donation drives stood out this year. Presents for Paws and Operation Santa Paws collected a Fur-nominal amount of needed supplies for many animal shelters and rescue groups in Los Angeles, Orange County, and beyond. The Desperate Paws of Orange County dog club started their 2nd annual Presents for Paws donation drive in November, seeking blankets and toys for homeless pets. They organized 17 drop-off locations throughout Orange County and coordinated a handful of volunteers to help collect and sort the thousands of donations they received. Justin Rudd (founder of the organization Haute Dogs) started Operation Santa Paws in 2001. The 10th year running, this donation drive started in the beginning of December and had 37 drop-off locations in Los Angeles, 22 drop-off locations in Orange County, and 9 various drop-off locations scattered around California. They also had 21 other states participating, from Arizona to Maine. Both groups distributed the donations on December 17th to the Long Beach Animal Care Services, Long Beach spcaLA, Seal Beach Animal Care Center, and Orange County Animal Care Services; giving hundreds of needy homeless pets a toy, a treat, or a nice cozy blanket to curl up with.
What a year it turned out to be. I hope the achievements of this year will inspire someone to exceed our expectations next year and continue to better our community and enrich the lives of dogs everywhere. As always, be safe this weekend but have a very happy New Year!