Monday, March 21, 2016

#atozchallenge 2016 Theme Reveal: The A to Z of #Dog Rescuing

There are so many misconceptions about rescuing. So, so many...



The truth is that most people don't know what rescuing really is. Or what it takes. (Or what it gives.) And most rescuers rarely talk about it. After all, most of us prefer animals over people.


No, we were not born this way. Our "introversion" often stems from a belief, backed up by the evidence we see every single day, that most humans are hopelessly, irredeemably cruel—whether by ignorance or intent.

And maybe that's true. But even if it is, it's still only most humans. Not all. And I want to be hopeful, rather than hopeless. I want to believe that there is redemption for the cruelty we, as a species, have wrought on the world. And I want to believe that, by sharing an insider's look at the actual, real hows of rescuing, and doing it with more humor than cheesiness, two things might happen:

First:
Someone with their heart in the right place might find out that rescuing isn't as impossible as they thought, and might feel motivated to get involved.

Second:
Someone with their heart in the right place and on their way to grab that homeless dog they saw just three minutes ago and take it home might realize just how irresponsible they're about to be.

An irresponsible "rescue"—a rescue carried out by an inexperienced loner, without any support or guidance—does more harm than good. You might be taking a mom away from her newborn puppies (and sentencing those puppies to death). You might be interfering with a rescue effort already in motion (which will result in losing the dog forever). You might hurt, or even kill, the dog you're trying to help. You might hurt yourself. You might get someone else hurt. You might bring any number of dangers, including disease, into your home.

My theme for this year's April Challenge, The A to Z of Dog Rescuing, isn't a tear-jerky plea for the welfare of animals. Rather, it's a guide—for that slice of the population that make the difference between most and all—on How To Rescue A Dog. The idea is to provide not just motivation but education. A successful rescue requires a whole lot of people, a whole lot of know-how, and a whole lot of luck. I can't help with the luck part, but—if you do decide rescuing is for you—I can be one of the people in your corner, and I can share what I've learned myself... which might help you have a better chance of making it a success.


Rescue isn't pretty. More often than not, it gets worse before it gets better.

But it does get better.


What you can expect this April
Brief, practical guidelines. A blow-by-blow on the how-to. A glance at considerations (safety, medical, fostering). Videos from rescue organizations. Bloopers. Humor. Some seriousness, too. (But not too much.) The Dog Rescuer's Kit (for K) will give a list of items every dog rescuer needs to carry, for instance. E day will be all about the Easy Catches; on C day it'll be the nigh-impossible ones (Catch Me (If You Can)).

Next weekend I'll be posting a Rescue FAQ as a sort of prep-intro and prequel to the A-to-Z posts. If you have any rescue- or dog-related questions, I'd love it if you shared them in the comments (or via email to guilie (dot) quietlaughter (at) gmail (dot) com) so I can include them in the FAQ and/or answer them during April.

I realize animal rescue is not a popular subject. Many pet bloggers are more into breeding and dog shows than into tick-ridden, emaciated 10-year-old mutts abandoned tied to a tree somewhere. Most people, in fact, would simply rather not know (let alone do).

But most is not all.

And I'm hoping that some of those people, the ones who stand in the gap between most and all, might find their way to this blog. You might not be many, but you're the ones that make the greatest difference. This April's series is for you.


Get a Kleenex for this one.


79 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Seriously looking forward to this…

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    1. I am so happy to hear that, Keith! Hopefully you'll find some of it useful, in light of the new addition to your family :)

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  3. Hi Guilie. It's great to see you again this year. I love dogs and you blog about them. So will come back agin and again this year too! All the best.
    Points To Ponder

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    1. Thank you so, so much, Natasha! I'm so glad you found me again, and I'll be looking forward to much back-and-forth visiting :)

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  4. I am all for rescue and all our normals are rescues. This will be educational and I will be looking forward to your. Posts.

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    1. Birgit, I'm delighted to hear that! You're a kind, kind soul to provide homes for these abandoned ones, and I'm sure they make your life better (if a tad more complicated). I'll be looking forward to your visits, and your feedback!

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  5. The have several shows on Animal Planet about rescuing pets. I've watched them and cried but the happy endings are so worth the tears. It's unbelievable the horror that goes on, and some of these folks are well meaning, but so over their head! And the punishment just sometimes doesn't meet the crime at all. This is a great idea and dare I say it. A great book idea!

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    1. *Huge* fan of Animal Planet here... and yes, I watch with a box of Kleenex (and some I can't watch). Rescue is hard for many reasons, but one of the toughest is how society views (and judges) the decisions a rescuer makes. It's a really thin line sometimes, and learning to trust that the rescuer knows what s/he's doing takes time... and a bit of knowledge & experience, too.

      A book! Now that's an idea :D (Thanks so much, Yolanda! Your support means the world.)

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  6. Found you on the A to Z challenge reveal link-up list, and your blog name caught my attention. I'm a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and have always loved dogs. Looking forward to reading your posts--great idea for a theme!

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    1. So glad you found me, Kristi!!! A volunteer for Guide Dogs—now that's a big WOW for me. I watched a documentary a while back about how puppies are selected and trained for different things, and it was A-MA-ZING. You have all my respect, and I very much look forward to getting to know you better. (Also, *super* happy you like this theme!)

      Thanks for coming by, and for the lovely comment :)

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  7. Good luck with your posts, I hope you manage to pass along advice to those who need it and can help.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  8. Wonderful topic - I look forward to reading very post.

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    1. And I look forward to your visits :) Thank you so much!

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  9. I'll be there alongside ya, taking notes! I've rescued my fair share of chickens, but could learn a thing or two about dog wrangling.

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    1. YAY, Sam! Wow, chickens? I'd be... at a total loss, haha. Maybe we can trade wrangling secrets? ;)

      Seriously. Thank you.

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  10. You and all dog rescuers have my utmost admiration, Guilie! I would be a total emotional wreck and couldn't do it. To assuage that guilt, I make donations whenever possible. Looking forward to your posts!

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    1. Rescue would be impossible without donations (and other non-active-rescue help) — so absolutely no need to feel guilty, Debbie. On the contrary; you and other donors, whether of time or money or any other resource, need to feel very, very proud... And very, very essential.

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  11. Thank you Guilie for sharing. You/We the people ;should make a movie about the stray dogs in Curacao. Maybe we could rescue more ( and stop the import of expensive , out of their natural environment animals!)Looking forward to your posts!

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    1. YES, Jacques! Absolutely. One of the things I love about Curaçao is that problems seem so much more manageable here, so much more "fixable"... In Mexico, for instance, it feels impossible to reach (let alone educate, or rase awareness for) 100 million inhabitants, but here it's only 150K — we should be able to reach them, and if/when we do, the change will spread faster and with longer-lasting effects. I'm so glad you'll be a part of the April series! I look forward not only to your visits but also to your feedback... I'd love to brainstorm on this with you :)

      Thanks for finding the Dog Blog, Jacques. Much, much appreciated.

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  12. I know this will have me in tears all April. Go for it, Guilie!

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    1. No no no, D... If you cry, I lose :) I'm going to try as hard as possible to keep it light and practical rather than melodramatic. There's way too much of that out there already... And, for the people who feel these things deeply, it's like rubbing salt on an open, festering wound. I wouldn't do that. Not to you as a reader, and not to myself, either... I do have to research and write these posts, after all ;)

      Thanks for coming by, darling. Three cheers for #TeamDamyanti!

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  13. Such a wonderful theme, Guilie. I look forward to your informative posts! ~Lori~

    Lori @ As the Fates Would Have It
    Lori @ Promptly Written

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    1. Thank you, Lori! I'm so glad you like the idea, and I'll be looking forward to your visits :)

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  14. Hi Gullie. I just lost one of my two beloved dogs in February (in truth, the more beloved of the two), and my husband and I are now in the process of trying to find the right rescue dog to adopt. Your A to Z posts will be invaluable. Thank you for your theme, and thank you for doing all the things you do to save lives.

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    1. Oh, no... Susan, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. But I'm (enormously) glad that s/he was so loved. And I'm super happy to be able to contribute, in whatever way I can, in helping you find a new hairy and four-pawed member of your family :) I'll very much look forward to your visits and your feedback.

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  15. What you'll be doing in April will probably make some difference in perceptions and actions. It can't hurt. Hope your April posts are successful.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thank you so much, Lee! I'm beyond pleased to see your name in the comments here :) It'll be an interesting April for sure!

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  16. An interesting and important topic - I will definitely be coming back. I know it must be hard, but every rescuer makes the lives of those dogs easier <3

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    1. That's a lovely thing to say, Tracy; thank you! <3

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  17. This already had me in tears - of joy, Guilie! I see a book, really! Your posts are going to be such valuable information. I hear you on just picking up a puppy and making off home with it in the name of rescuing it - with no plan or forethought. I am looking forward to learning a lot from your posts. Thank you - so far, yours is my favorite theme! Hugs! And Yay! for being on the same team!

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    1. Aw, Vidya... THANK YOU! I'm so pleased you like the idea for this series, and I'll be looking forward to your visits and feedback :)

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  18. Great topic we are looking forward to reading your post. We don't have a theme, other than the pawesomeness of living with us, but we are still participating in the A to Z challenge, we have our A and B post all ready to go starting April 1st. ~Yin, Yang, Chimera, Socks, Scylla, Fenris & Tuiren

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    1. Thanks so much! And glad to hear you are joining the A-to-Z after all — looking forward to reading!

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  19. I can't think of a better topic. Especially educating people how to approach rescues. Just being able to recognize a stray versus a wandering pet. I live in the country and keep my dogs close to my home. However, I do see pets exploring close to the road. This is near and dear to my heart. Cheers.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ann! Nothing beats finding a kindred spirit when it comes to animal welfare. I'll be looking forward to your visits — and to your own posts! Science is sorely needed in the world, today and always.

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  20. What a fantastic topic (much more erudite than the crap you'll see at my place). I love my dog. A more loyal friend you'll never find.
    Plus, he can lick his crotch (see? see? This is the type of sophomoric nonsense you'll find at Penwasser Place).

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    1. Dogs are worthy of admiration, even awe, for many reasons, not least of which is the fact they can lick their crotch :D You made me laugh out loud (that's two for two, Al — no meager feat). And now I'm looking forward even more to your posts ;)

      Thanks for the visit. A fellow dog lover is always a pleasure to find. (The sophomoric humor is, of course, the cherry on top.)

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  21. What a fantastic topic (much more erudite than the crap you'll see at my place). I love my dog. A more loyal friend you'll never find.
    Plus, he can lick his crotch (see? see? This is the type of sophomoric nonsense you'll find at Penwasser Place).

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  22. I'm a little confused. Who would be against the rescue of a dog or any animal when it needed help? it's true, not everyone is in a position to help. I can't have dogs where I live, I'm in an apartment, so it wouldn't work for me. But I applaud the efforts of anyone who can do so. I love your approach of trying to educate. That's the most important part. Also, not everyone is inherently mean. It's the exception rather than the rule. But we as a society only report something bad, not good. So the bad events stick out in our mind more. The fact that there are people getting involved in animal rescues proves that people are not all cruel.
    I like your theme and I think it's going to be interesting and informative. Wishing you much success. I'll stop by to check it out. :)

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    1. I'm so happy to see you here, Jeffrey! Thanks so much for taking the hop over, and for your faith in inherent goodness... It's a much-needed salve :) It's not so much that people might be against animal rescue, but rather that most prefer not to know... especially when, like you say, it feels impossible to help. I've been involved with rescue since I was 8, in Mexico, in the US, and now here in Curaçao, and the amount of cruelty I see, face-to-face, on a daily basis, has eroded my faith in humanity. In the vet practice where I volunteer, for instance, 8 out of every 10 dogs we see are neglected/mistreated. (And, due to the nature of the program, none of them are repeat visits, so these are all new cases... every week.) There is so much cruelty, whether—as I said in the post—by ignorance or intent. Still, "most is not all", and the people who make up that difference are the ones that make the greatest difference, not just for animals but for humanity as a whole.

      Thanks so, so much for the visit! And have a blast with the minion duties ;)

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  23. What a great theme! Our daughter is involved with diabetic cats in need, so I am learning about animal rescues and the dedication it takes. Thank you for being a caring person!

    Mary Montague Sikes, Notes Along the Way

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    1. How wonderful, Mary! Cats are difficult animals to rescue or foster, so your daughter is truly a hero. I'm glad you came by :)

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  24. I'm looking forward to read about the how to of rescuing - but then I'm afraid I'll end up starting one on my own here! We had an ad-hoc cat rescue centre back in the day when we had a big garden but now I'm not allowed to have in the apartment I'm renting so reading your posts might get dangerous with my inclination lol. But seriously, awesome topic!

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    1. Hahahahaha... I know the feeling, Miss Andi; my dream is to own a chunk of land that I can convert into an animal sanctuary. But that couldn't happen here at home... Even with just seven dogs ("just", hahahahah), we've had trouble with the neighbors a few times. *Sigh*

      I'll be looking forward to your visits in April — and your own posts! I was an ESL teacher for 10 years (looooong ago), and I often used music in the classroom, so Teaching English With Music resonates profoundly ;)

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  25. Looking forward to this, Guilie, though my only experience is with virtual dogs and cats. I'm afraid to even volunteer at a pet shelter for those in need might come home with me to a no-pet policy apartment, but I will learn much from you this coming month.

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    1. I hear you, Beth... It's so easy to get attached, and even a big house and a big yard do reach—and surpass!—capacity :D Thanks so much for your interest, and I'll look forward to your feedback.

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  26. A socially relevant, meaningful specialised topic, and hopefully the info/lessons will reach those who need them most. While I am not a dog person, I have friends and family who are involved with animals, and I know of some of the struggles they go through. Anything that raises awareness will be good, kudos to you for your choice!

    All the very best for the A-Z, Guillie!


    Nilanjana.
    Madly-in-Verse

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    1. That's so very sweet of you to say, Nilanjana! Yes, hopefully this series will help in some way or another—and thank you for wishing it so :)

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  27. I am really looking forward to learning more. We took in a rescued boxer that had been burned by cigarettes - Jinx was so afraid of everyone but so loving. I cried when he got ill and we had to put him down.
    Thanks for stopping by - I am now at http://bunnysgirl.blogspot.ca/2016/03/today-is-a-to-z-theme-reveal-for-april.html

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    1. Aw, sweetie... What extraordinary levels of cruelty we humans are capable of, really. You'd think I'd be all jaded and cynical about it by now, but every time I think I am, it hits me again full in the face. So glad Jinx found you... He must have had a lovely life with you :)

      Thanks for coming by, Beverley, and for sharing the link to your A-to-Z blog! Off to take a peek now.

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  28. Guilie, I am really excited about your theme! What a fabulous undertaking! Loved the video: it was hard to watch that poor mama dog squeal in fright and your caption said it perfectly: Sometimes rescue isn't pretty, but it's necessary if done the right way. I can't wait to read your posts. You are indeed providing a very valuable presentation that will include a wealth of tips and resources. Bravo on choosing to do this particular theme! I hope I can share some of my rescue stories (short) in the comments when appropriate. It's often a heartbreaking road we travel ... but the destination sure is worth it! <3

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Absolutely, Michele! Please share anything, long or short; I'll look forward to it! Nothing would make me happier than if these posts turned into a conversation, with all sorts of input and questions and points of view, and I'm beyond grateful that you, my sister-in-rescue, would like to contribute. Maybe you even want to do a guest post? I'd love that!

      Thanks so much for the visit, Michele, and the support... Your comment left me with a big, big smile :)

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  29. Looking forward to learning more about rescue and what some of my girlfriends go through when taking on a new rescue or foster. Aloha, Rhonda at www.iowameetsmaui.com

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    1. Yay, Rhonda! Glad to hear it, and I'll be looking forward to your feedback :) Thanks so much for coming by!

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  30. It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so cruel to animals, especially an animal as trusting and loving as a dog. There are some sick people in this world, it's so nice to come across someone who is trying to combat it! You are definitely on my "to visit" list :)
    Debbie

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    1. Too right, Debbie—and, as you say, dogs seem the least "deserving" (if there is such a thing) of abuse and mistreatment. I'm glad you like the idea for this series, and I'll be looking forward to many back-and-forth visits :)

      Thanks for coming by!

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  31. Thank you for checking out my blog - I'm including a link for my A to Z challenge. I'll be following yours!! https://doggiecaperz.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/blogging-a-to-z-theme-reveal/

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by and leaving the link! Very curious about your A2Z posts :)

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  32. Looking forward to following you in A to Z. You rescue dogs. I rescue cats. But I think the hearts of all rescuers are the same, no matter who they're rescuing.
    Trisha/Scooter's Tale.

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    1. I agree, Trisha! Rescue doesn't discriminate ;) (Plus, I've rescued a few cats, too—and you and your fellow cat rescuers have my eternal respect. It's hard!)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  33. What a lovely idea and great service you are offering. I'm an expat living in Ecuador which is rampant with street dogs. Many expats have become rescuers here without any of your knowledge. I'm going to post a link to your blog for my many "rescuer" friends. Thank you and good luck with the challenge.
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Chica In Cuenca

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    1. I hear you, Scarlett... I have a couple of friends who live in Ecuador (one in Cuenca, actually), and they say the same about the stray situation there. Here in Curaçao it's bad, but... well, it's a smaller place, fewer people, and education/awareness has a broader reach. Also, being a part of the Dutch Kingdom means many Europeans live here, and although Europe is by no means a haven for animals, the general outlook is that an animal living on the street is not ideal (in Latin America it's seen as a "normal", "nothing you can do about it" kind of thing). So I feel for your friends, and I totally understand the urge to help, to do something about it. It's precisely people like your friends to whom these posts are for, so I'm super grateful to you for sharing them. I hope they find them informative, that they help them save another life. It would be an honor.

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  34. Sweet topic. I hope it educates everyone. We got our cat from the shelter. He's great. Moody, but great.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. "Moody, but great" — loved this, Mary. Yeah, shelter / rescued animals can be tough. They need space, and patience... And it sounds like your cat found both with you. That makes me incredibly happy :)

      Thanks for the visit!

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  35. I don't know much about dog rescuing so I'm looking forward to learning more. The point that got me was that by "rescuing" a homeless dog people may be depriving a litter of puppies of their Mom. That's so sad. I'm looking forward to knowing more.

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    1. I'm glad this interested you, Regina! Yeah, the puppy-mom issue is a sad one, and it's a great example of how often our "selfish" wish to save a life immediately—right now, let's do it!—might actually not be the right thing to do. I'll be looking forward to your visits and your feedback, and to your own posts! Portugal, history, legends... Yum :)

      Thanks for coming by!

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  36. Great Post!Looking forward to your series and good luck during the #AtoZChallenge. Will check back for what will be quite a learning experience.

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    1. Thank you! I'll be looking forward to your visits. (And I loved-loved-loved your blog!)

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  37. Great Post!Looking forward to your series and good luck during the #AtoZChallenge. Will check back for what will be quite a learning experience.

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  38. What a much-needed and worthwhile theme. Dog (or, I should say, Animal) rescuers are high on my list of much admired Very Important People. Kudos to you and good luck with the challenge. I look forward to learning from your posts. Gail at Making Life An Art

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  39. As a dog lover, I am so excited about your theme. We live in the country and people drop dogs off all the time. I can't really have more than 4 dogs at a time so I have gotten really good at finding homes for them. Looking forward to your posts.

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  40. What a great idea for your theme. It should be helpful, informative, and hopefully, it might even serve to convince some more people to join the fight to rescue dogs.

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  41. Dog rescue seems to be a popular topic. Or may be you are a popular blogger. The number of comments indicate on of the two. Good luck.
    Good to visit your site as a part of my A to Z visits. My theme Blog Promotion
    Welcome to A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016 - Co-Participant - Nrao - NRao Blogs
    @knoltweet
    NRao Blogs - 2016 A to Z Challenge Blog Posts
    Management Theory Review

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  42. This is a great theme! Would benefit hordes of dog-lovers across! All the very best for April Guilie :)

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  43. WONDERFUL! I'm glad you are using this opportunity to highlight rescue and I look forward to reading future posts throughout the challenge.

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  44. Looking forward to your posts. One of my cats came from a rescue organisation and I have several friends who volunteer for the local rescue group so I know the love and heartache that can go into it.

    Ros
    Fangirl Stitches - Cross Stitch Alphabets
    Travel like a Geek - A-Z Tour of Harry Potter Film Locations

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No love like Dog Love--or Commenter Love!