California Condor Makes Comeback but Wind Power Seen as Threat

March 11th, 2021

California Condors have made an inspiring comeback from near extinction, but worries remain about how many will be killed by wind power.

A possible solution… make more birds?

To help compensate for any birds that may be killed by their turbines, wind power company Avangrid Renewables wants to breed California Condors in captivity. If all goes as planned, they will release six 1.5-year-old condors over a three-year-period. Watching these birds grow does seem like a fun job.

It’s a good thing North America’s largest flying birds are roaming the skies again. Just look how handsome they are. santana

Saving California Condors

So, if a wind power company wants to join in with captive breeding — the more the merrier, right? Well, not everyone agrees, but doing something to negate the impact of wind turbines on condors is better than ignoring the problem.

According to a recent New York Times article, conservationists say that wind companies should be forced by the government to do more to prevent the bird deaths. What can be done?

A recent study from Norway found that painting at least one turbine blade black brought about a 70 percent decline in bird deaths. Ars Technica has more on this study. What are your thoughts on wind companies breeding condors?

CA Condor Facts

These condors have a nine-foot or more wingspan, and they can weigh more than 20 pounds. They also live up to 60 years in the wild!

The condors lay only one egg per year, and they aren’t sexually mature until six or seven years old. This slow mo reproduction rate is part of the reason the bird are endangered.

Condors are also face threats from lead ammunition used by hunters. Switching to non-lead bullets can help save these endangered birds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says there are now about 160 California Condors flying around freely in Central and Southern California. In Arizona and Utah, there are about 80, but the total condor population is 440 birds. That’s only possible because of captive breeding programs.

It’s Help a Horse Day. Foster a Horse.

April 24th, 2020

You’ve heard a lot about fostering pets, but did you know that horses need fostering too? April 26 is Help a Horse Day, so there’s no better time to learn more.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ASPCA is expecting to see a rise in the number of horses that need rehoming. Right now, equine adoption organizations across the country are asking for more foster homes for horses.

There are only so many stalls available to rescue groups, and that’s why finding foster homes for horses is so important. When you foster a horse, your local rescue group has a stall open for the next horse needing help.

If you have the land for a horse, or if you can secure a stall at a local boarding barn, you may be a good match. To learn more, visit

If you can’t foster a horse, please observe Help a Horse Day by spreading the word to others.

How Staying at Home to Avoid Spread of Coronavirus Changes Things for the Better

March 26th, 2020

Covid-19 is some horrible stuff. People are dying, or becoming extremely ill. Doctors and nurses are in trouble without the supplies and support they deserve and need. There’s a major disruption of daily life, employment and the economy, but there are some things about self-isolating, or obeying safer-at-home orders from your local mayor that are good.

Eek. Yeah, some things about this pandemic are good.

First, some of us are getting back to better conservation of resources. It’s nearly impossible to find paper towels (and toilet paper) in the stores. For me, it’s been impossible lately. That means I really think twice about what I’m using paper towels to do. I’m making more sustainable choices that will hopefully continue after this disruption is just a memory of 2020.

Second, it’s helping us be more flexible. I’m guilty of sticking with what I know I like, and even going to multiple stores to get those items. But, I’m learning that it’s not that big of a deal to not have my favorite foods, as a long as I have food! I don’t have to be as picky as I was. Healthy, yes, but not picky. I’m finding I can make my shopping routing much more simple than it was before.

Third, we’re driving less. I didn’t have to commute, but my husband did. Now he’s working from home, saving gas, helping to lower pollution, and having more time to enjoy simple things. Maybe some companies will be more flexible in the future about allowing employees to work from home.

Fourth, more time with pets! Yeah, people’s cats are making appearances on video conferences, but that’s great. Everyone is getting to know each other in a whole different way. And dogs, the walks they’re getting! Which brings me to….

Fifth, neighbors are exploring their neighborhoods more. We all take so much care to pick neighborhoods we like when we move, but so few of us actually spend time walking, running, biking, drawing on the sidewalk after we move. Since I’ve been working from home for years, I’ve always enjoyed walks in the middle of the day. Previously, I would just see the same few people out, or no one at all. Now, the streets of my neighborhood are teeming with people enjoying nature.

Sixth, more time with family (those you live with). If you don’t have to drive to work, you get more family time, and earlier dinner! I know that some families are separated right now, avoiding visiting each other, and many people are feeling isolated without social contact. Keep in mind: Social distancing won’t last forever!

Seventh, more hand washing. I’m a germaphobe anyway. I like it when people wash their hands. Let’s keep it up. But here’s hoping I can one day again find hand sanitizer in the store.

And finally, good grief, I finally updated this blog. Stay safe and healthy. And try to keep those good habits after this is over!

ASPCA Rescues Animals Displaced by Northern CA Wildfires

August 6th, 2018

If you’re like me, you think of the animals left behind during disasters. It’s not always a sad story, and some of these rescue images may bring happy tears to your eyes.

The ASPCA is assisting local agencies with field rescues and emergency sheltering for animals affected by wildfires in Lake and Mendocino counties.

Lake County Animal Care & Control and its animal disaster response team Lake Evacuation & Animal Protection (LEAP) requested the assistance.

LEAP and ASPCA responders have been checking individual residences for pets and livestock, and providing food and water for animals during wellness checks requested by pet owners.

In Lake and Mendocino counties, the ASPCA has assisted nearly 50 animals, including cats, dogs, birds and livestock.

This assistance from the ASPCA is possible through support from Lewyt Rescue Fund.

“Rescuing animals in desperate need of assistance during emergency situations like the wildfires burning through California is exactly why the Lewyt Rescue Fund was established,” said Wendy McColgan and Thomas Amlicke, trustees of the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust.

In Northern California, the ASPCA has assisted more than 2,500 animals affected by the wildfires. Consider helping the ASPCA with their wildfire disaster response efforts.

Images provided by the ASPCA. 

No Easter Pets, Please

March 30th, 2018

Have you seen those blue or pink baby chicks that appear in some farm or pet stores around this time of year? Well, if you haven’t, pretty please don’t go in search of them.

They make terrible gifts, even if they aren’t dyed pink. The same goes for ducklings or rabbits bought on the spur of the moment. Continue reading »

Stop the USDA Blackout

February 21st, 2017

Why has the USDA website gone dark on important information that is used to save the lives of animals?

Earlier this month, animal inspection reports and enforcement actions were abruptly removed from the USDA website. No warning. Just dark.

Without providing much explanation other than citing a vague privacy concern, the U.S. government has made the USDA website radically less useful to animal welfare advocates, journalists, investigators and concerned citizens. The privacy concern is obviously bunk as the USDA redacts any sensitive information anyhow!


Is the “privacy” of commercial businesses really more important than animal welfare and the free release of information? After all, we the people own this information. These reports are the work of government employees, and we pay their salaries. It’s not classified information, so the mysterious reasons for removing it from the USDA website can’t possibly be honorable.

Information about the inspections of labs, zoos, breeding facilities and factory farms has been available on the website for decades. We don’t know the true reason why it was removed, but we do know why it should be put back.


Why is it important to repost the deleted animal inspection reports and enforcement actions on the USDA website?

Gone is the quick access to information that can be used to help protect animals, and this could embolden animal abusers.

If animal rescue groups don’t know about animals, such as dogs, being released from laboratories, they can’t offer to rescue them and find them homes.

People purchasing dogs from breeders no longer have quick access to inspection reports. Puppy mills must love this.

Animals could potentially die, or endure suffering longer than they otherwise would have suffered. The same information that was for many years freely, quickly available online can now only be obtained via an official request under the Freedom of Information Act. Once the request is made, it can take months to receive the information!


What can you do to end the USDA blackout?

Sign petitions, and hold your government representatives responsible for restoring the reports! Complain, complain, complain to anyone who will listen. Make this a big deal, because it is.

Here are a couple of petitions you can sign to end the USDA Blackout:

ASPCA petition :

Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) official White House petition :

Happy signing and complaining! You’re doing it for the defenseless.

Image credits: Dog drawing from page 276 of “The foxhound of the twentieth century: the breeding and work of the kennels of England” (1914); rabbit drawing from page 439 of “St. Nicholas [serial]” (1873); cat drawing from page 99 of “Our domestic animals, their habits, intelligence and usefulness” (1907).

ASPCA Rescues Pets Affected by Hurricane Matthew Flooding

October 12th, 2016

Hurricane Matthew has left many animals in need, and members of the ASPCA disaster response team are currently assisting with animal rescues and sheltering work in Lumberton, N.C.

The pictures in this post will both break your heart, and warm it at the same time. All images are credited to the ASPCA.


Lumberton is suffering from massive flooding bought on by Hurricane Matthew.


“Local officials estimate hundreds of animals may be affected in Lumberton at this point, and we will assist them with sheltering displaced animals in the community and animal rescue requests,” said Tim Rickey, vice president of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team.


“For many, pets are members of the family, and we will do everything we can and continue to go out into the field to search for lost pets and hopefully reunite them with their owners,” added Rickey.


The ASPCA is also working in other areas affected by the hurricane. In the last few days, the ASPCA has assisted almost 950 animals through pre-evacuation, field rescue, transport and sheltering needs in Georgia and South Carolina.


You can help by donating to the ASPCA.

All images in this post credited to the ASPCA.

Easy, Cheap Solution for Dog Food Mats

January 31st, 2016

After my dog first crossed the threshold into our lives, I bought one of those terrible silicone food mats with a bone design on it. It always had a weird white film, even after you cleaned it. Then, for a while, I just didn’t use a mat, but I was always cleaning up splashed water on the floor.


Use a Simple Everyday Little Rug

So, finally I decided to open up my linen closet and use a cloth mat that I already had but never used. It didn’t have a dog design, but that was OK. It can be machine washed too. If you don’t already have a simple mat like this, you can easily obtain one of these ubiquitous things at a garage sale or the clearance rack at a home store.

Note: This is in an area where I don’t walk. If you’re going to walk around the area where you’re placing your dog’s food and water bowls, you may want a mat with a slip-proof backing.

Reuse Ignored Dog Toys… for Decoration

My brilliant dog improved upon it. She loves to move her toys about the house, but she pretty much always ignored the Nylabone I had given her as a puppy.

A few months ago she decided to move said Nylabone to the mat right beside her water bowl. And she never moved it again. I thought it was cute, and decorative, and I’ve left it there.

So, the moral of this story is that if you have an ignored dog toy, use it to decorate your doggy mat. You don’t have to worry about the dog moving it. Speaking of, here she is in 2014.


Sweet and Simple and Cheap (Not the Dog, Well, Maybe)

The plain rug graced with a dog toy is so much cuter than a loud dog mat with random dog faces or “bow wow” written all over it. Who designs those things? It’s subtle, unlike my dog when she wants a walk. And it didn’t cost me anything. I just used things that were hanging around, waiting to be purposeful.

Oh, and you may be wondering where her food bowl is located. In our house, the two cats gather to be fed near the laundry room where I keep their food. So, this is also where the dog waits to be fed. (She has to do everything they do.) So, I just place her food bowl on an area rug near the laundry room, and the bowl is empty in two minutes! However, she prefers her water bowl in the kitchen.

What do you use under your dog’s bowls?

It’s Alive. Grizzly: The Bears of Greater Yellowstone

October 2nd, 2015

No, you wouldn’t want the long-clawed yet adorable grizzly in your living room, but now you can have the next best thing!




Grizzly: The Bears of Greater Yellowstone is the culmination of 10 years of work, and it’s one of the most timely books to be published this year.

The bears almost became extinct due to logging, mining and poaching in the area in the 1970s. The Endangered Species Act saved the grizzlies, but they’re once again facing a threat from us.



 © Thomas D. Mangelsen


Believe it or not (I had trouble believing it!), grizzly bears may lose their federal protection. It may soon be legal to pursue them in trophy hunts right here in the United States.

Are you shocked? Read more about the status of grizzly bears at the NPS. Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher.


Grizzly 610 and cubs walking along Pacific Creek Road.

Grizzly 610 and cubs walking along Pacific Creek Road.

 © Thomas D. Mangelsen


More about Grizzly: The Bears of Greater Yellowstone

This monograph is not only a great gift for the nature lover in your life, it also has all this:

  • The book honors and follows the most famous family of grizzly bears on this planet—matriarch 399 and her adorable offspring as they roam the Greater Yellowstone Park and the Rockies
  • More than 150 crisp and lovely (see for yourself in this post!) images from nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen, who tracked and photographed the bears for 10 years
  • A dramatic story of the near annihilation and ultimate survival of grizzly bears told by environmental writer Todd Wilkinson
  • Life-and-death stories, including those focusing on the relationship between people and grizzly bears
  • Forward by Ted Turner, whose foundations work for our safer, healthier future by addressing wildlife conservation, and other causes
  • High-quality 13” x 10 ½” hardcover that spans 240 pages with a nice cover hiding behind that also-nice dust jacket (What I’m saying here is that it will look good in your house, or inside a reusable gift bag)


Grizzly 399 and her three cubs cross Buffalo Fork in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Grizzly 399 and her three cubs cross Buffalo Fork in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

 © Thomas D. Mangelsen


This book will be released by Rizzoli on October 13, 2015. Follow the Rizzoli link, and you can find out where to buy the book locally or online.


Grizzly Bear 399 and cubs walking over snow-covered sagebrush in Grand Teton National Park.

Grizzly Bear 399 and cubs walking over snow-covered sagebrush in Grand Teton National Park.

 © Thomas D. Mangelsen


Let’s close with what Tom Brokaw had to say:

Tom Mangelsen is a photographic genius at bringing nature’s greatest creatures into our lives—and his work with the magnificent grizzly bears of the American West is a gift for all generations. We have grizzly visitors in Montana—usually a mama and a pair of cubs—and their presence stirs the soul for they are the essence of wild. Tom’s photographs and Todd Wilkinson’s narrative capture all of that without the need to find an escape route!” —Tom Brokaw


© Thomas D. Mangelsen

How to Get Cats to Drink More Water

May 29th, 2015

Do you also struggle with an elusive water drinker? For years, I filled my cat’s little water bowl. I never saw him drink from it, but I refreshed it anyway.

After an emergency room visit for a bladder problem years ago, I  had to make sure he got plenty of wet food. I think this was his plan, but that’s another story. So, now I see my kitty cat of 12 years drinking water all the time. You know what changed?



The Solution: A Dog Bowl

My cat started drinking out of the large stainless steel water bowl belonging to my 70-pound dog.

No, he doesn’t like dog-slobbered water, but he’s commandeered the dog’s second water bowl. The dog learned to make do with one water bowl at most times.

I think my cat likes the dog’s bowl because it’s large. But the stainless steel bowl is great because it’s easy to clean, and healthier than plastic. And it’s unbreakable!

Cheap and Easy Alternative to Pet Fountains

So, if you’re considering spending a lot of money on one of those fancy plastic motorized contraptions (cat fountains) that require tedious cleaning and replacement filters (I hear, but I’ve never had one), don’t do it. Get a big pan of water instead!

You can buy a nice steel water bowl designed for large dogs for about $10. I would recommend against getting one with a rubber bottom, as those have more of an odor. Place the bowl on a mat to prevent skidding.

Do it! And watch your kitty drink at last. But still give him wet food. Cats rule, and they deserve to eat like royalty. Of course, cats have distinct personalities, and you’ll never know for sure if this will work until you give it a try!