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Keeping America Beautiful – Doggy Style

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Even though we should do our best every day to make this world we live in a beautiful place for generations to come, April is “Keep America Beautiful Month" and we’re going to take some time to spotlight some past and present innovations in the pet world that have the potential of making a huge impact in the environmental arena. From “green” doggy parks to a street lamp powered by none other than dog poop, this article is all about cutting-edge ideas with the potential to offer real solutions in keeping America beautiful.

Back in 2008, Jackass Acres K-9 Korral built what it believed to be the first entirely “green” doggy park. While one may wonder how a doggy park isn’t eco-friendly – closer inspection reveals what sets Jackass Acres apart from your standard dog park. From the very beginning, the park’s creators were devoted to making as little negative impact on the environment as possible. The entire park runs on solar energy, and all of the seating areas were made from wood that had fallen on its own. Quite literally, no trees were harmed in the making of this park. With no construction crew needed to create it, no fabricated materials being used to make the benches, and no electricity being used, this park is definitely “greener” than the rest.

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Man Surprises Wife with Animal Rescue Center

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The Sonia Breslow AAWL BuildingPhoto courtesy of ABC15 NewsWhat would the gift of a lifetime be for an animal lover? How about a $2 million donation to an animal rescue for them to build a new facility... That's what John Breslow gave his wife Sonia on her 60th birthday.  Breslow donated $2 million to the Arizona Animal Welfare League & Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (AAWL & SPCA) to build the new facility, which will make it possible for the organization to rescue more homeless dogs and cats from euthanasia.

The AAWL & SPCA helped Breslow surprise his wife and about 80 of their friends by unveiling her name on the new building at 40th Street and Washington in Phoenix.

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Real-life Advice on Preparing Your Dogs for Halloween

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There’s lots of great tips and advice on the internet about Halloween Safety Tips for Pets. Of course we need to be sure our animals are safe and secure during the first major fall holiday of the year, but sometimes the tips and advice we read can prove difficult to translate into our individual situations with our own pets.

I honestly hadn’t given a lick of thought to preparing Sally, our newest family member, for Halloween until about a week ago. First, I panicked, and my immediate thought was to forget about Halloween this year and just keep the lights off and block access to the door bell. After those two seconds flashed by, I realized that was silly and moved on to ponder some real solutions.

Sally loves kids, and if we handle it right, Halloween could be a ton of fun for her. The problem for now is that she hasn’t quite got the hang of being calm when she sees them approaching, and it’s is our responsibility to protect her and the people who come to our home. The simple fact is that an overly excited 60 pound boxer mix could easily knock one over and cause injury, even though she just wanted to give them some love.

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St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio

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There is a classic tale about the original St. Francis of Assisi, who as I'm sure you know is the patron Saint of Animals, and his friendship with the Wolf of Gubbio.

It's one of my favorite stories. But in order to tell you that story, I have to tell you this story…

Fioretti di San Francesco

The best source we have on St. Francis is from an anonymous Italian text, which history believes was written by an anonymous Tuscan writer. It’s called the “Fioretti” or “Little Flowers of St. Francis”, and it’s a florilegium (basically, lots of little stories excerpted and placed in one big story). The stories, which were composed at the end of the 14th century), were divided into 53 short chapters.

There are many interesting stories in this book. One is about how Francis and his “brothers” gave up their small home to allow a donkey to live there. 

Francis wrote about this in the Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things. He wrote, “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.”

But it's one thing to write a text. It's another thing to live it. Here's how St. Francis held up his end of the bargain:

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How a Dog Can Make a Good Life Coach

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When Sally the boxer mix came into our lives, we knew we’d have to teach her all about how our household works and what was expected of her, and she’d need to teach us all about what she likes and doesn’t like. It’s been going great, and we’re all plenty comfortable with each other.  She even gets along with the cats. (Notice that I said she gets along with the cats – they pretty much just tolerate her presence in their breathing space.)

What I didn’t expect was the lessons I’ve been learning from her.  If you’ve been around dogs long enough, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I had always picked up on how dogs are so forgiving, and that you can talk to them and they never have any judgmental remarks, but Sally has pinpointed some basic flaws in my daily life that we could all benefit from.

Sally never has a “grumpy” day. She wakes up full of joy every morning and greets all of us with a smile and a body wriggling with excitement. She’s just happy to see us. She doesn’t care if our hair’s messed up or if we haven’t dealt with our morning breath yet.

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