Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fluorescent Bulb Danger
Thanks to my friend, Kay Shevling, back in Kansas City, for this warning she posted on the comments section. It's important, so I decided to bring it to the front page:
I do want to mention an issue about the fluorescent bulbs. About 10% to 15% of our population has a hypersensitivity to light called "ScotopicSensitivity Syndrome" or Irlen Syndrome; This conditionis often exacerbated by fluorescent lights -- one of the reasons forthe high rate of dyslexia in our schools. I probably have talked aboutthis with you before, but it is the reason I wear tinted glasses. Theseglasses filter out the light waves that bother me most.I would suggest that anyone who has a family member who has beendiagnosed with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Migraine Headaches, orother stress-related problems check the web site or have that personscreened for Irlen Syndrome before they completely change tofluorescent bulbs. They may want to maintain an area where lighting ismore gentle for that person or persons (there does appear to be agenetic component to the syndrome).

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Light Bubb Comes On
I haven't noticed it so much in this part of Arkansas, but my dad, a native Arkansan, used to pronounce light "bulb" as light "bubb," and he would get so mad if any of us tried to correct him, it became a family joke.
This may seem pretty basic for those of you already in the green, but one of the easiest things you can do to help the environment is to switch your regular light "bubbs" out for the more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulb.
We started doing this a couple of years ago as the old ones burn out. Go to the cool Environmental Defense website and you can see how much money this will save you on your electric bill:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stopping Pesky Junk Mail
I'm finally beginning the process of stopping my mom's catalogues from clogging up our mailbox. I say "finally" because Mom died a year ago this week.
When we put in the change of address to have her business mail sent to us, it wasn't long before the catalogue companies found out her "new address" as well.
I had long ago signed ourselves up to keep our names off of junk mail lists. Mom, however, did most of her shopping, all of her life, by mail order and loved to get catalogues.
I knew I should stop the junk long ago, but I guess it was the last act of finalizing her business that made me hesitate.
Mom was concerned about the environment, though, and I know she would approve of me ending the slaughter of some trees and the energy it takes to produce and deliver that paper.
I'm calling the toll free numbers on the catalogues, but if you haven't opted out of junk mail, you can look at this website, which gives a pretty comprehensive list of ways to stop the junk:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Toilet Talking II
It's amazing to me what's learned by one simple idea that leads to a post here. On Monday, I started toilet talkin' about septic tanks here in the country. I received a comment and e-mailed leads that took me on a t-ping journey of the Internet.
First, my writer friend here in the Ozarks, Mary Nida Smith, commented that they use a quart of buttermilk on their septic tank to keep the good bacteria growing. After a search on the Internet, I learned that is indeed, an enviornmentally friendly way to keep your septic flowing. However, most people use some yeast with it as well.
On my search, I also found some people complaining that Charmin toilet tissue is not good for septics, despite what the package says. I've long argued the point with my husband, who says, "Are you sure this is ok for the septic?" (because no one wants a backed up septic - think of the wedding scene from "Meet the Parents").
After an hour or so of reading up on toilet paper, I decided the jury is out. While some people have had bad experiences with Charmin clogging their septic system, others say they've used Charmin just fine. However, Scotts seem to be the recommended TP for a septic. I've used Charmin all my life and just had a horrible experience trying to use a cheaper brand, so I don't know if I'm brave enough to switch again just yet. I think I'll just schedule a pump out for later in the year and let the plumber tell me if we have a wad of non-desolving Charmin in there.
I'll save the post on pumping out the James River basin here in the Ozarks for another post.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Toilet Talkin'
Since it is time for our monthly septic tank maintenance, I thought it appropriate to talk toilet this week.
Sorry, city folks, I know this doesn't affect most of you. I know we didn't give much thought about our water and sewer systems until we moved here.
I knew we had to put something into the septic system to help it stay clean and I didn't know what to use that would be environmentally friendly. The mix is basically just a bunch of bacteria that allows the solid waste in the system to break down. My aunt was ordering something off of the Internet, so we shared the mix. When we finally got down here full time, she said she found out Ridx was just as environmentally, is cheaper and easier to get (since we can pick it up at the local grocery).
I did some research of my own and didn't find anything unfriendly about Ridx. It is all natural and supposedly completely safe for the environment.
On Wednesday, more toilet talking as I write about septic pumping and the problem specifically, in the James River basin in the Ozarks of aging septic systems.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Pet Recycler's Journey
Today, I'm happy to have this from Randi Berger, author of My Receylced Pets: A Diary of a Dog Addict:
As a child, my 2 rescued Benji type terriers, Lucky and Skippy, made more sense to me than any humans, so I grew up with them as my significant others. But at age 11, I started playing the flute and my dogs fell to the bottom of my priority list. Lucky passed away when I was in my teens and, one day when I was in my early twenties, Skippy had disappeared. When I went to retrieve him out of the same shelter that my family rescued him from as a puppy, my life would never be the same. The second half of his life was spent devoid of my attention and I didn't realize that he had become a senior with cloudy eyes, was now 14 and was unable to stand. He had been hit by a car and had 7 fractures in his pelvis. When I called out his name, his tail wagged against the back of the cage in the hospital section of the shelter and he began to urinate on himself. I couldn't believe he remembered a voice he had barely heard in years and would forgive me for ignoring him most of his life.
Due to his age and injuries, the vets we phoned didn't want to treat him, only euthanize him, but I found one who was optimistic and believed he would heal on his own. Within a month Skippy healed, became my born again, indoor, pampered, puppy and I was given another life with him.

When Skippy had to be put to sleep three years later at 17, I went into a dark depression and was lost without him. My college degree meant nothing to me. I had to leave the state to get away from anything that reminded me of him. Several months later, while in my travels, I heard the screeching of car tires and a dog's anguished scream as he was hit by the car. That catapulted me back to Southern Calif. where I began looking in shelters to find my Skippy. It was then that I learned that over 75% of the animals were euthanized in public shelters. I slowly started the greatest mission of my life and began taking out one or two dogs at a time to save them. That was 1987.

Today, over 20 years and 10,000 dogs later, my all- volunteer charity, Recycled Pets Rescue, has been the model to help other rescues flourish. I was always drawn to the severely abused, handicapped or senior dogs that were written off by shelters, vets or trainers, so I learned everything I needed to rehabilitate them emotionally and medically, extending some of their lives miraculously past the age of 21!

My focus today is to educate the public on the importance of spaying and neutering and making a lifetime commitment to our pets, before we bring them into our lives. This will eliminate any pet from being abandoned at any age. The adult, rescued dogs ultimately make much better pets than puppies. They have already experienced and lost a human bond, so they are far more appreciative and bond much more intensely than the puppies. They also are more willing to please.

My book which received a Writer's Digest Inspirational Award, MY RECYCLED PETS:DIARY OF A DOG ADDICT, is for all ages and tells my life story with the astonishing synchronicities and miracles that I've experienced rescuing thousands of dogs. It is guaranteed to help shift peoples' belief systems about what is possible for us on earth and I wrote it to give back to the world all that I continue to receive with faith, miracles, inspiration. My rescue has taught me how to overcome limiting, negative beliefs and, by focusing on what we want to create, we can see what others say is impossible, come to life.
Today, through my speaking and writing, my passion is in inspiring the world to also overcome all limiting beliefs that are preventing them from living their dreams.

100% of the Net profits from the sale of my book, goes to Recycled Pets Rescue. For a donation to my rescue, I am sending personally signed copies anywhere in the U.S. and worldwide with postage added. Information is on my web site at
The book is also available on all Internet sites.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Disposable Pets
"That's 20 to 30 tons of animal carcasses that end up in the landfill each year."
- Carl Woodland, spokesman for the Castaway Animal Rescue Effort on city euthanizing of animals.
This week's posts are going to focus on the most tragic of things that end up in our nation's landfills - household pets.
For a country that prides itself on its humanity, it's the most horrific and disgraceful type of waste. The above quote was from a story ran by the Springfield News-Leader last week on the problem of unwanted animals in one of the largest cities in the Ozarks. According to the article, the city of Springfield, Missouri municipal animal shelter killed in excess of 2,700 unwanted pets last year - or 68 percent of the poor souls who found themselves unlucky enough to be considered disposable. To see the entire article, go to:
But make no mistake about it, the problem isn't confined to Springfield, or any other small, medium or large city or small town in America.
Depending on who you ask for an estimate, between 6 - 15 MILLION unwanted pets are killed each year because they do not have homes.
To put that in perspective, one would have to add the total human populations of Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas to come up with the low ball figure of how many pets our government is putting to death each year.
But don't blame our government. They are only having to perform this unimaginable (and expensive) task because of a combination of irresponsible owners, puppy mills and backyard breeders.
This problem has once again made front headline news in recent weeks because of the mortgage crisis, which has forced many homeowners into foreclosure. As a result, many of these people are leaving behind their pets, further overburdening an already overpopulated system of unwanted animals.
But this problem is not a new one. While researching story ideas to pitch to editors this week, I happened upon an article in Mother Earth News about the pet overpopulation problem. I was sitting here nodding my head in agreement with the article and thought it was a recent one until I read a statistic in the story from 1972. I then realized I was reading one of the magazine's newly archived articles from past decades. It was dated January 1973.
So why can't rescue groups and animal lovers get a grip on this problem? Because people love their pets. They love them so much, they often treat animals as an impulse purchase. How many times have you seen that cute little puppy in the window and wanted to take it home? Not only are our faithful companions displayed as impulse buys like the latest tabloid we can't resist, parents often feel the need to show their children the "miracle of life" by allowing their pets to have a litter of cute little puppies or kittens.
As one manager of a munipal shelter once told me, "For every parent who has told me they wanted their children to see the miracle of life, I tell them to come back here on kill day and have them also witness the tragedy of death."
For any animal lover who has had the very unpleasant experience of being around a shelter for "kill day," it's something we never forget.
The other obvious problem are puppy and kitty mills, which churn out "purebred" cats and dogs for pet stores (It's no surprise that Brittney Spears' dog she purchased in a boutique in Hollywood was recently linked to a puppy mill in the Midwest). As well, backyard breeders, or people who hobby breed is another problem. People feel if they buy "just one" it isn't perpetuating the problem.
I admit that in 1982, I bought my first dogs from a backyard breeder - someone who didn't care about the health, welfare or continuation of good genetics in a breed. I went to get one Maltese puppy and ended up with two because I felt so sorry for the other one, who was in the back of a kennel shivering and alone. I also allowed my two Maltese have two litters of puppies in the 1980s when the information on the pet overpopulation problem was not as accessible (although according to that 1973 article in Mother Earth News, was just as problematic).
In 1996, after I lost the first of those Maltese, Angel, we went to look for a truck and ended up coming home with a fun-loving 6-year-old weiner dog named Hershey. The owners were going to take her to the pound because she "didn't fit into their lifestyle." Hershey had the bad luck of being purchased by this couple's daughter and son in law. When they had children, they decided Hershey wasn't welcome and passed her off to their parents who worked long hours and really didn't want a dog to take care of.
Hershey was lucky. She found her way to us before going to the shelter, where the local Dachshund rescue may or may not have found her in time. I'm not sure, given her attitude toward children, she would have even made it past the temperment testing and on the adoption list. She may well have been marked for certain death.
Hershey went with us everywhere for 9 years before she died. She traveled, she fished and became a fixture when we went out on the boat. She is now buried on our land here in the Ozarks. In the meantime, 4 more dogs found their way to us. Emma wandered up to our home one balzing hot day in 2001. She had recently had puppies, but they were no where to be found. She still has an extreme fear of being left after she takes rides in the car. Molly is a little red weiner dog. As her owner handed her over to me to give her up, she grimaced and said, "We don't like dogs that lick." Dakota, our weiner/beagle mix, was living in filth in a poor neighborhood in KCK when we heard she spent most days chained to a pole outside by herself. When she barked, the "man" of the house usually came out and kicked her around. When I went to pick her up, I saw their children had learned from their father when one of them, about 5 years old, knocked Dakota off the couch for barking at me. They couldn't even find her food or water bowls when they handed her over. Finally, as we were in the middle of our move last year, we saw a pitbull being dumped on the side of a road in a city where there's a strict, no tolerance policy of the breed in force. When I looked in the rear view mirror, the dog now known as Sade to us, was chasing the car that abandoned her down the road. When we went back for her, she was curled in a fetal position, alone and afraid. She had multiple cuts on her face and her ears were almost unrecognizable pieces of chewed raw meat.
Right now, all of 4 of my dogs are curled in their beds, and underneath blankets warm and safe from their pasts.
I chose not to buy "just one" puppy from a breeder or a pet store because for each puppy just one person buys, there 6-15 million more already here that don't have loving homes.
Please don't buy "just one," because if you and just 1 million more people adopt a dog that's been deemed disposable, rather than buy "just one," you are not only helping relieve an overburdened system, you are not adding to the problem by creating more demand for an already flooded market.
I didn't start rescuing dogs until the 1990s, but I did get my first rescue cat, Tabitha (who died last summer at age 19) in 1988. Cats are even more endangered because they are even less likely than dogs to be adopted from a shelter.
Believe me, all 5 of my dogs and all of our rescue cats were good pets. You can find pets in any shape, size and breed (even purebreeds) from shelters and rescues.
On Wednesday, I'll feature an author who has written a book about "Recycled Pets" and give some tips on how to find the perfect recycled pet for your family.