2015 National Humane Teacher Award

January 29, 2015 in Animal Shelters, Animal Welfare by Mark at DBDT

Do you know a teacher that consistently promotes kindness to animals in their classroom?

Do you know of a teacher that encourages young people to explore different ways they can work in the service to the animals?

If so, then you should nominate them for the 2015 National Humane Teacher of the Year Award!


humane-society-united-states-logo-60th

Since 1981 the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and its affiliates have given the National Humane Teacher Award (formerly known as the National Kind Teacher Award) to a preschool-12 grade teacher who incorporates human educational material into their classroom. Over the past 33 years many teachers have been recognized for their outstanding work promoting compassion and understanding to their students.  One of those special teachers is Jessica Sears of Elmer, New Jersey.

In 2013 Jessica Sears created a program for her 7 – 12 graders called Project R.E.A.C.H. (Research-Educate-Act-Create-Help).

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Jessica Sears

Sears’ class is a mix of special education students who often come to school feeling insecure and reluctant to try new things. But with Sears’ guidance, the youngsters eagerly participate in R.E.A.C.H. and regularly ask to do more.

“My students need humane messaging just as much if not more [than younger students] because of situations that they may be exposed to,” she says. “They need to be able to differentiate what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Through Project R.E.A.C.H., students conduct research and use social media and other technology to educate others about animal issues. They create fliers and banners that encourage shelter adoptions and organize collection drives and fundraisers. Even practicing reading skills becomes fun when students sit in a shelter’s cat room and read to a furry audience. (HSUS, “Within Reach”, 2014)

As a result of her efforts to encourage her students to become involved with animal rights issues, Jessica was awarded the National Humane Teacher Award in 2014. You can read more about Jessica’s story and visit the Project Reach Blog at the links below.

Jessica Sears article “Within Reach”

Project Reach Blog


If you want to nominate your favorite teacher for the Humane Teacher of the Year Award visit HSUS website to fill out your nomination form.

  • The deadline for the award nominations is February 15, 2015.
  • The winner will be notified by the end of the 2014 – 2015 school year.
Barking dog courtesy of HSUS

Barking dog courtesy of HSUS

“If you’re willing to reach out and share ideas and communicate those ideas in positive ways, we really can be a voice—a very strong voice.” (Jessica Sears, 2014)

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 497 dog toys and 7412 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Tuesday’s Tails: Matilda

January 27, 2015 in adoptable dogs, Animal Shelters, Hiking with Dogs by Mark at DBDT

Welcome to Tuesday’s Tails Blog Hop hosted by DogsnPawz.com and Talking Dogs.

Tuesday’s Tails blog hop features shelter animals. Come join the fun and help a furry friend find a forever home! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the other blogs and share their dogs, cats, rabbits, and all the other animals that need forever homes on your social media sites. Please spread the word!

This week we are featuring Matilda!

*****Update on Matilda…..She was adopted today (Jan 27th, 2015)…..Thanks for sharing her story*****

Matilda is a nine month old pit bull mix who is currently [was] staying at North Country Animal League.

Matilda was a local stray who came into the shelter very underweight and in need of lots of attention. However, Matilda’s time on her own did not dampen her joy for life and people.

 Matilda is looking for a nice family that can provide her with a warm bed to sleep in, plenty of treats, and a little training so she can grow into the great dog she was meant to be.  Matilda is also good with other dogs and cats!

If you would like to find out more about Matilda visit her Petfinder.com page.

Photos were taken by Lucy Cobos Photography

Adopt a Dog

There is still time to enter this month’s shelter toy giveaway!

It is easy to enter, Just type the name of your favorite shelter into the Rafflecopter box.  

Follow this link to find out more.

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 497 dog toys and 7412 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Win Dog and Cat Toys for Your Favorite Shelter!

January 22, 2015 in Animal Shelters, Animal Welfare, Dog Toys, Toy Giveaway by Mark at DBDT

Last Thursday we told you a little more about what we do here at Damien’s Best Dog Toys.  We explained a bit about our history and started our new series of posts that highlight the animal welfare organizations that receive our toys.  We also announced that this year we are going to ask for your help in expanding our shelter partners by holding a monthly contest where you nominate your favorite animal welfare organization, and we randomly select a winner to receive a toy donation from Damien’s Best Dog Toys.  You can read the complete post here.

Ava showing off her favorite toy.

Ava showing off her favorite toy.

Here is how it will work:

  • Every month we are going to put out a request to nominate an animal welfare organization to receive a toy donation. We are looking to mostly support 501 (c) 3 organizations. (But will consider start-ups and new coalitions if we can verify their existence).
  • Nominations will be collected through the Rafflecopter window below.
  • 10 days after the request for nominations has been posted, we will randomly select an organization to be that month’s winner.
  • We will notify the nominator of their winning suggestion and then put together a package to send out to the winning animal welfare organization.
  • The package will contain 2 dog toys and 25 cat toys—approximately a $30.00 value. The donation package will also contain an introduction letter notifying the recipient of the nominator’s name and a little bit about the toys.
  • We will also write up a post about the winning shelter to help spread the news about all the good work that is being done out there for the animals.
  • At this time we can only accept nominations of animal welfare organizations in the United States. Sorry.

It is a raffle where the winner is your favorite animal welfare organization,

And it starts now!

Ester inspecting the cat toys

Ester inspecting the cat toys

Enter your nomination in the space provided below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Please share this giveaway with your friends!

More entries means more fun!

Steeler says: “Enter so more shelter animals can enjoy DBDT!”

 Thank you for your participation.

Together we can make a difference for the dogs and cats who are waiting for their new forever homes.

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 497 dog toys and 7412 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Tuesday’s Tails: Gracie Allen

January 20, 2015 in adoptable dogs, Animal Shelters, Dogs, Tuesday's Tails by Mark at DBDT

Welcome to Tuesday’s Tails Blog Hop hosted by DogsnPawz.com and Talking Dogs.

Tuesday’s Tails blog hop features shelter animals. Come join the fun and help a furry friend find a forever home! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the other blogs and share their dogs, cats, rabbits, and all the other animals that need forever homes on your social media sites. Please spread the word!

This week we are featuring Gracie Allen!.

Gracie Allen is a two year old Great Dane and Hound mix who is currently staying at North Country Animal League.

Gracie Allen has a great personality and loves to run and play.

She does need some work on her manners, but is very smart and picks up on things very quickly.  It doesn’t hurt that she is extremely food motivated, which makes training very easy!


Gracie Allen would make a great addition to a family.  She is good with older children, other dogs, and dog-savvy cats.

If you would like to find out more about Gracie Allen visit her Petfinder.com page.

Photos were taken by our friend Brooke at TruckieLoo Photography and the staff of NCAL

Adopt a Puppy

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 497 dog toys and 7412 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Where do all those toys go?

January 15, 2015 in Animal Shelters, Animal Welfare, monthly toy donations by Mark at DBDT

At Damien’s Best Dog Toys we support shelters and animal welfare organizations with the donation of quality dog and cat toys.

For those of you who don’t know much about us, our business was created back in November of 2012 and we make handcrafted dog and cat toys in our home in Northern, VT. Our rope toys are made by using traditional knot tying techniques to produce rugged toys that are ideal for playing fetch, tug, or as a reward in positive reinforcement training. Our fleece cat toys are Sallie’s specialty and she can make over 250 of them in a weekend.

Dog and cat toys ready to ship out.

All our toy styles are named after dogs that have been a part of our life and Damien, who passed away in 2014, was the oldest dog in our pack and became the namesake for our company. Damien was a wonderfully mischievous dog who was adopted from North Country Animal League in Morrisville, VT in 1999. He lived an active and full life, often having to assume the role of patient and tolerant “brother” to the many foster dogs that came through our home.

Damien

Since Sallie and I are both active with animal rescue (Sallie has been the executive director of North Country Animal League for many years), we were very aware that many animal shelters depend on donations from the public in order to provide day to day services such as food and vet care, and often enrichment items such as toys for the animals are overlooked. Knowing that enrichment activities and toys are just as important to maintaining the health of animals staying in shelters, we decided that we would make dog and cat toys and donate them as a way to help out.

Our initial plan for Damien’s Best Dog Toys was just to send out monthly toy donations to area shelters. But as our donation numbers grew, we decided to shift into sales to support our donations. Participating in local dog events and our Etsy.com shop are our primary method of supporting our donations. However, in 2014 we expanded into a few retail stores in Vermont and, recently,  Hound About Town in New Jersey. Because we are able to sell through these different venues, we have been able to continue to donate toys to local animal welfare organizations. As of January 11, 2015 we have donated 497 dog toy and 7262 cat toys. We like to say that at Damien’s Best Dog Toys we are on a mission to ensure that every dog (and cat) gets some play in their day.

But Where Do all These Toys Go?

We have donated thousands of toys over the past couple of years and I will have admit we have not done the best job of sharing information about where the toys end up. But in 2015 we hope to change that.

It is our goal for 2015 to feature at least one donation receiving shelter a month, and since we have some catching up to do we are actually going to feature two organizations for January. The first organization is CanINE Express and the second is Brown County Humane Society.

Canine Express

Canine Express

CanINE Express is our primary partner in distributing our toys to shelters. Every month CanINE Express transport vehicles make a several thousand mile journey from Indiana to the Northeast. CanINE Express gathers dogs from from 14 shelters in Indiana and coordinates and delivers them to 23 different shelters and rescue groups in located throughout the Northeast. The volunteers of CanINE Express have been making this monthly trek since 2004 and have saved thousands of lives because of their tireless efforts.

The volunteers for CanINE Express stop at North Country Animal League on the first Friday of every month to drop off several adoptable dogs so that they can find their new homes in the Vermont countryside. It is at this brief stop that the volunteers also pick up a package of toys from Damien’s Best Dog Toys for a return trip to Indiana where they will be distributed at their debrief meeting. Each month we donate at least 10 dog toys and 250 cat toys to the Indiana shelters.

Willamena with toys2

Cat and dog toys ready to ship out

 

Spotlight on Brown County Humane Society.

One of those Indiana shelters that receives a couple of our toys every month is Brown County Humane Society located in Nashville, Indiana.

“Brown County was organized in 1966 when several civic minded individuals realized that the animals in Brown County were in need of a voice. For several years they rescued abandoned and abused pets, fostered them in their own homes and worked to find loving permanent homes for these displaced pets.

In 1977 the BCHS leased a building and opened the doors to Brown County’s first animal shelter. This arrangement worked until 1982 when the lease expired. Again the society was back to placing animals in foster homes and working hard to raise money for a permanent animal shelter. In 1986 a generous BCHS member donated 6 acres of centrally located land with a barn to the BCHS and enough money was in the bank to construct a new animal shelter.

The current Animal Shelter opened on January 5, 1987. In 1988, the BCHS was successful in getting an Animal Control Ordinance passed in Brown County. Shortly thereafter the BCHS reached an agreement with the newly formed animal control board to provide a place for animals retained by the animal control officer.

In 1992 the barn was renovated and fencing erected. The BCHS could now provide shelter for abused and homeless large animals.
Exactly 13 years after first opening the current animal shelter, on January 5, 2000, construction on major additions to the shelter began. This renovation included adding additional dog kennels, isolation rooms, a ‘meet a pet’ room and a larger lobby/office area.”(www.bchumane.org/our-history)

Brown County Humane is just one of the many shelters out there that is doing wonderful work housing and adopting out dogs and cats who are in need of loving homes. Sending some dog and cats toys every month is the least that we can do to support their efforts. You can find out more about the work that BCHS is doing by visiting their webpage.  

Brown County Shelter

Brown County Shelter

What’s New For DBDT in 2015?

In 2015 we really want to expand our shelter partners and we want to accomplish this task with the help of our friends.

The plan is simple.  At the beginning of every month we are going to put out a request to nominate an animal welfare organization to receive a toy donation. We are looking to mostly support 501 (c) 3 organizations. (But will consider start-ups and new coalitions if we can verify their existence).  Nominations will be collected through our comment feed, our Facebook page, or through the Contact Us page. Then 10 days after the request for nominations has been posted, we will randomly select an organization to be that month’s winner. We will notify the nominator of their winning suggestion and then put together a package to send out to the winning shelter. The package will contain 2 dog toys and 25 cat toys—approximately a $30.00 value. The donation package will also contain an introduction letter notifying the recipient of the nominator’s name and a little bit about the toys.

It will be fun, like a raffle, and the winner can be your favorite animal welfare organization!

Willamena with toys

Willamena inspecting the next donation before it leaves.

 Are you interested?

We will start the nominations next week. Just look for the Request for Nominations Post next Thursday.  

We hope to see you then!

Damien with his one of his toys.

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 497 dog toys and 7262 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Tuesday’s Tails: Cello

January 13, 2015 in adoptable dogs, Dogs, Tuesday's Tails by Mark at DBDT

Welcome to Tuesday’s Tails Blog Hop hosted by DogsnPawz.com and Talking Dogs.

Tuesday’s Tails blog hop features shelter animals. Come join the fun and help a furry friend find a forever home! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the other blogs and share their dogs, cats, rabbits, and all the other animals that need forever homes on your social media sites. Please spread the word!

This week we are featuring Cello!.

Cello is a young Schnauzer mix who is currently staying at North Country Animal League.

cello1

Cello is a a little shy at first, but after a couple of minutes she is an affectionate and goofy girl who loves to play with her toys.

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Cello is looking for a quieter household with understanding people that will socialize her and show her that the world is not such a scary place.

cello2

If you would like to find out more about Cello visit her Petfinder.com page.

Cello’s’ photos were taken by our friend Brooke at TruckieLoo Photography.

Dog Adoption

Don’t forget to visit all the other wonderful adoptable animals featured in this blog hop!

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 497 dog toys and 7262 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Benefits of playing with your cat

January 8, 2015 in Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Cats by Mark at DBDT

At Damien’s Best Dog Toys we know that interactive play is extremely beneficial to the health and well-being of your dog. It provides mental and physical stimulation, helps build the human-canine bond, and relieves boredom and can reduce problem behaviors. Puppy Leaks and Victoria Stilwell both have great articles about the benefits of play for your dogs. You can read their articles here:

But did you know that play is also very important for the health and well-being of your cats. The educational staff of Doctors Foster and Smith highlighted 4 benefits of playing with your cat.

  1. Exercise
    Exercise is vital for keeping your cat healthy. Playing with your cat and having your cat romp around with others is a perfect way for your cat to get exercise, both physically and mentally.
  2. Release of Anxiety
    Anxiety and stress are as harmful to cats as they are to the rest of us. Cats under stress are more apt to develop behavioral problems such as aggression, urine marking, or obsessive-compulsive disorders.
  3. Relief of Boredom
    Cats especially, being naturally curious, can get depressed and lethargic. Cats need some sort of challenge every day. Watch a cat try to grab at a ball that is spinning around randomly in a circle. He is concentrating so hard that a simple movement of your foot can send him skyrocketing into the air. Whether he is looking out the window at chattering birds, or chasing a feather stick, he loves and needs to play.
  4. Bonding With Other Cats or Animals in the House
    Cats chase other cats, cats entice dogs to chase after them, and cats even chase dogs in some households! This type of behavior provides much-needed bonding. Playing with your cat can even bond him to you – and who couldn’t stand more bonds in their lives?

You can read the full Doctors Foster and Smith article here. 


Since DBDT is focused on helping supporting the health and happiness of the dogs and cats staying in animal welfare organizations we thought that it only made sense to expand our rope toys to include cat toys. As a result, we are now offering two different cat toy packages for sale at our Etsy.com store.

First is the rope cat toys.

These handmade cotton rope cat toys are based on a tradition “monkey fist” knot design and inspired by our popular Ava style dog toy. Each set of toys will come with one rope ball and one rope ball with small loop handle (Ava Dog toy style). The toys will be delivered to you with a separate small bag (about 2 tablespoons) of cat nip. You can marinate the toys in catnip for extra cat fun!  Click here to go directly to our Etsy.com store.

willamena with toy 2_copy
Next are our fleece cat toys.

These fleece cat toys are the same toys that we donate every month. Each fleece toy is handmade and stuffed with about a tablespoon of catnip. The toys ship out marinated in cat nip! Each toy is about 3 inches long and a little over 1 inch in diameter. Each set of 5 fleece toys will contain at least 2 colors per set. Colors will vary depending on availability. Click here to go directly to our Etsy.com store.

fleece toys 1


 When you purchase a handmade rope toy from Damien’s Best Dog Toys you are supporting this initiative to donate dog and cat toys to animal welfare organizations.   At Damien’s Best Dog Toys we believe that every dog (and cat) deserves some play in their day.

 

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 485 dog toys and 7012 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Tuesday’s Tails: Snuggles

January 6, 2015 in adoptable cats, Cats by Mark at DBDT

Welcome to Tuesday’s Tails Blog Hop hosted by DogsnPawz.com and Talking Dogs.

Tuesday’s Tails blog hop features shelter animals. Come join the fun and help a furry friend find a forever home! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the other blogs and share their dogs, cats, rabbits, and all the other animals that need forever homes on your social media sites. Please spread the word!

This week we are featuring Snuggles.

Snuggles is a 8 year old domestic short hair who is currently staying at North Country Animal League.

Snuggles is a sweet boy who is not cut out for life in the shelter and get nervous in new situations.  But he lives up to his name once he gets to know you.

Snuggles is looking for a nice relaxing home without children.

If you would like to find out more about Snuggles visit his Petfinder.com pages.

Snuggles’ photos were taken by staff at NCAL.

Adopt a Kitten

Don’t forget to visit all the other wonderful adoptable animals featured in this blog hop!

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 485 dog toys and 7012 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Tuesday’s Tails: Petey

December 30, 2014 in adoptable dogs, Animal Welfare by Mark at DBDT

Welcome to Tuesday’s Tails Blog Hop hosted by DogsnPawz.com and Talking Dogs.

Tuesday’s Tails blog hop features shelter animals. Come join the fun and help a furry friend find a forever home! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the other blogs and share their dogs, cats, rabbits, and all the other animals that need forever homes on your social media sites. Please spread the word!

This week we are featuring Petey who is a 18 month old American Staffordshire Terrier mix who currently staying at North Country Animal League.

Petey is incredibly intelligent and affectionate guy who loves to play with his toys and be the center of attention.

While at NCAL, Petey is learning his basic obedience commands such as sit and down and is quickly picking them up.

Petey will need to go to a home without any cats or small animals.

If you would like to find out more about Petey visit his Petfinder.com pages.

Petey’s photos were taken by Brooke at TruckieLoo photograph.

Dog Adoption

Don’t forget to visit all the other wonderful adoptable animals featured in this blog hop!

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 485 dog toys and 7012 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!

Tuesday’s Tails: Topper the Cat

December 23, 2014 in adoptable cats, Animal Welfare, Cats by Mark at DBDT

Welcome to Tuesday’s Tails Blog Hop hosted by DogsnPawz.com and Talking Dogs.

Tuesday’s Tails blog hop features shelter animals. Come join the fun and help a furry friend find a forever home! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the other blogs and share their dogs, cats, rabbits, and all the other animals that need forever homes on your social media sites. Please spread the word!

This week we are featuring Topper the Cat who is currently staying at North Country Animal League.

topper

Topper was a local stray who came into the shelter with an injured front leg.

t3

After some rehabilitation time with our vet, Topper is ready to find his new home!

His leg is still not 100% but our vet believes he is in no pain and walks better everyday.

t 1

Topper gets along well with other cats and loves to play. He is not the biggest fan of dogs though!

If you would like to find out more about Topper visit his Petfinder.com pages.

Topper’s photos were taken by the staff at NCAL and Cobos photograhpy.

Adopt a Kitten

Don’t forget to visit all the other wonderful adoptable animals featured in this blog hop!

Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 485 dog toys and 7012 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!