Welcome Home My Florida!
I've met some incredible animals this last few weeks and I've brought photos to share. You won't believe some of
the stories I've heard. Some good and some that would make your hair curl. Have you hugged your pet today?
The Family Pet
Adopt a stray!
They need you.
Spay or Neuter your
outdoor animals!
Don't buy, adopt!
When sending photos... Please downsize to a
maximum of 400 x 400.  
Got questions?
Email me here! Please, NO
December 2007
Rapid Bath (Jarden Direct)
Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.
Rapid Bath (Jarden Direct)
Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.
Spay The Strays!
My friend Anita is a cat rescuer in the
Kissimmee, St. Cloud area. If you'd like to see
her pets for adoption,
Click the Photo!
can change a
multitude of lives.
Be the One who
steps up
to the plate when
see a need.
Make a difference.
1) Safety first! Some toys may be attractive to your eyes but be dangerous to your pet because of
small parts which could be swallowed, poor construction, and the like. Balls need to be big enough
that the pet cannot possibly swallow them. Edible treats might contain ingredients which your pet
can't digest or is allergic to. Just because something is available in
the marketplace is, unfortunately, no guarantee that it is safe. There is less regulation and inspection
of items for pets than there is for human consumables, and you have no doubt heard about all the
recent recalls of dangerous children's toys. So read labels carefully and use your judgment.
2) Give toys that encourage healthful exercise. Dogs love to chase and toss around various objects.
Some cats can be a little harder to coax into a playful mood and seem aloof to the cutest, fluffiest,
tinkliest little toy in the store. Resort to old-fashioned home-made cat toys such as a wad of
crumpled paper pulled along on a string (don't ever leave a cat alone with a string toy, however), an
empty paper bag with a paper wad tossed into it, or an intriguing tunnel made by forming a V-shaped
peak in a throw rug or blanket. Or go high-tech with my cat's favorite toy: the dot of light from a laser
pointer. Just be sure you never shine the laser into the cat's eyes! "Cat condos" or climbing trees are
technically furniture, not toys, but they provide plenty of fun-loving exploration and romping.
3) Pamper your pet with top-quality grooming products. Clean, healthy skin and fur makes your pet
feel great and he'll enjoy even more the time you spend lavishing him with attention.
4) Gourmet goodies for your pet could include all-natural baked dog snacks from a specialty shop,
health-enhancing vitamins and supplements that double as delicious treats, a big rawhide bone
for a dog, fresh catnip for a cat, or fresh sprouted greens for either. Any new treat or food should be
offered in tiny amounts at first, to make sure it doesn't cause stomach upset. How about giving your
pet an upgrade to a more expensive, better quality food than you
have been using, and a commitment to keep feeding it throughout
the year?
5) Fact: Dressing your pet in designer outfits is a lot more fun
for you than for her. The exception might be a practical warm
sweater for a dog to wear outdoors on the coldest days. The only
reason a dog would enjoy getting a new leash is because he sees
it as an invitation to take a walk with you.
Possibly the best gift for a cat? - a cozy place to sleep. And
for a dog? - more time spent with his best friend, YOU.
If you're of a "certain age" you may have walked into a kids' toy store and
thought, "Wow! Toys are a lot cooler today than when I was a kid!" I had
that experience recently while browsing the aisles of a local pet supply
It's amazing what a variety of toys, treats, and accessories there are for the
modern house pet. If you're selecting gifts for canine or feline friends this holiday
season, the only difficulties will be narrowing down the choices and staying within
budget! Here are some pet-pleasing suggestions:
There are heart-warming stories to heart breaking tales of people and pets. As I contemplated what I would say about the subject of
Christmas and pets, I had mixed emotions about this whole great big mess (we as people) have created with animals. Bottom line is that
there are way too many human beings (and I use that word lightly),   who treat animals as though they are toys... an amusement for the
moment... something disposable. So my goal is to attempt to get you to think about the risks, dangers, responsibilities and commitment
in owning animals.

Christmas is coming and I can hear little puppies being put in boxes to surprise little Bobbie and Sally on Christmas morning only to find
the dog dehydrated, beaten up a bit and tossed out into the back yard just days or even hours after it's arrival. You see, puppies are cute
but do you understand the damage they can produce in a home? Are you prepared for all the trials that a new puppy can create? If not, I'm
begging you NOT to bring home any animals for Christmas presents! As a matter of fact, many rescue missions won't allow adoptions
during this time of year because most purchases of animals during Christmas result in returns.  

Pet stores will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you to buy, buy, buy. But if you only knew the background on how the majority of  
those animals are bred and cared for before reaching your local pet shops, you'd drop down and faint. But we really don't want to hear it do
we? We'd rather 'think' that all is well in the pet business and that nothing is rotting behind the scenes.  In some cases you'd be right. But
in the majority, you'll find breeding mills with cages stacked high, with no lights, no love and no medical attention. You'll find these mills
behind tall privacy fences so no one can see, and located far away from  populated areas so no one can hear.  Then there's transportation
to your local pet shop... They're crammed into large, hot, sometimes unventilated containers and carted around to meet the needs of
consumers. Don't think for a moment that the animal you've bought has been treated with tender loving care from the moment it was born.
When you buy from pet stores, you become part of the problem.  

I encourage you to avoid pets for Christmas presents. Even if you can find an agency willing to allow adoptions, do yourself a favor and
don't baulk at the requirements of the adoption agency. Be thankful they care enough for their pets that they want to make sure you
understand all the implications of bringing an animal into your home.  Pet stores don't care if you know what you're getting in to. They
simply look at their bottom line, where as rescue missions first and only priority is the welfare of the animals. They've seen the abuse and
neglect these animals have had to endure and now they are protecting them against future stress. Just please contemplate the idea of
giving animals for presents... and be sure you're up for the commitment.
Deborah Sheehy
Welcome Home My Florida
This organization has topped my list thus far, for being the best run facility I've seen yet.
Executive Director, Cheryl Marie-Gibson, pictured below, right, has been rescuing cats and
dogs for 12 years and as of the writing of this article, is now realizing her dream of what
she's always wanted. You see, they just moved into their new location on Archer Road, next
Gifts For Pets
to Dogwood Park. The property was rented to the organization
for $1 per month by a local pet lover and Cheryl couldn't be
happier. They began raising funds to renovate the home three
years ago and on November 23rd, they were able to open
their doors to the public. Cheryl is first to tell you how thankful she is for all the
donations she received within those three years. From cash to materials to
labor, everyone stepped up to the plate to help her dream come true.

Here's the basics on how she operates... They do not take animals from any
other location outside of the local animal shelter. You see, when you find an
animal and take it to the pet shelter, they have to hold them for about 3 days to
see if the owner can be found. If no owner comes forward, they go to the next step of attempting to adopt the
animal. This can take a few weeks. If the pet cannot be adopted, it would normally go to the next step and
killed.  This is where GPR steps in.

GPR operates on the Foster Care program, so if GPR has 5 Foster Homes ready for pets, they go to the
shelter and get 5 pets. Those picked will go directly to the Foster Homes and every single week-end,
(Thursday through Saturday) the pets get taken down to GPR's new location for possible adoption.  

When walking into GPR, you'll notice how warm and comfortable it is. The cats have a large room (pictured
below) with plenty of sunshine and the dogs are in a separate room with lots of sun and space. Cheryl had it
designed to have private rooms where families can sit with a pet, talk privately with a pet counselor and get
to know the animals before making the decision of adoption. Everything is kept spanking clean and
organized and the pets all looked excited, healthy and ready to belong to a new family.

Foster Homes are essential to this operation. Without them, they have no where to house the animals until
an adoptive family can be found, thus increasing euthanasia (fancy word for killing) and that's why GPR
exists. They want to end the killing. Without Foster Homes, rescue groups can end up in huge trouble by
taking on more animals than can be handled, thus creating stress not only for the caregiver, but for the
animals as well. A losing proposition all the way around. GPR is always looking for new Foster Homes, so
please visit them to find out more about this amazing program.

I asked Cheryl how many adoptions take place in an average week and she explained that they can have
anywhere from 5 to 20 take place every week. Funds come from private donations, fund raisers, yard sales
and grant money from private business & charities. It's a never ending battle to raise the funds it takes to
keep the wheels turning. They depend on us to help them in lots of areas... Cash of course, supplies and
volunteer work. When visiting today, there were two young men  helping by cleaning cages, and playing with
the animals. It looked like one big happy family!

Here's advise... Don't shop, adopt! Be throughly prepared to bring a new pet home by doing your homework
on the responsibilities of pet ownership and be ready to commit to bringing an animal into your home as
part of the family. Don't involve yourself with animal ownership, to 'see if you'll like it'... With that attitude
comes failure as you're not really committed to making it work in the first place. Bring the whole family to pick
out a pet because this is a family matter. Everyone in the house will be affected by this decision.

Lastly, if you find yourself on Archer road, just one mile west of 75, stop in and visit GPR. They'll be there to
welcome you in. (Non-Profit status confirmed)
Warm welcomes will greet
you here at
Gainesville Pet Rescue!
Pamela & Cheryl
Adopt me!
What's the number one pet least likely to be adopted between dogs and cats?

Answer: A black Cat. (And they make the sweetest pets)! Don't allow silly
superstitions to interfere with one of  the greatest playmates you can find!
This side of the facility is landscaped to
the T and very nicely laid out, built up and
ready for private tours. They have a tall
wooden porch with tables and chairs
which sits atop of one of the areas where
at least 2 white Bengals were eating
lunch. All the cages looked new, strong
and very large. The animals all were
visually healthy, the complex was clean as
a whistle and you'll find the experience
quite educating.

While you're there, you'll also see
alligators from a few babies to full grown...
The big guy in the slide show had his
upper jaw damaged, they believe by a

Please... take a moment to see the slide
show... We were there three hours and
have some great photos to share. And
also, let's think
about how we
can pull
together to help
these folks get
the work
completed to
the Bird
Wendy and
Glenn are very nice people who love
animals and would like to share their  
stories with anyone ready to listen.
Construction material, mulch, concrete,
food, muscle, some animal hugs and help
feeding... Let's step up to the plate and
help... Are you with me?
I was standing
there talking to
Wendy, when I
felt a tugging at
my shirttail...
Clyde was
cleaning the lint
off my shirt...
rolling the fabric
and cleaning as
he went. Too cute!
This is another amazing place that rescues the abused, neglected
and forgotten 'pets' of people who are just simply unsuitable for
animal ownership... I'm sorry... but I got so stinking mad when I heard
some of the stories, like a beautiful Macaw that was seized as a part
of a drug sting... The owners had given it meth, cocaine and the good
Lord knows what else that bird ingested. Another bird was simply too
loud for it's owner and was put into a dark closet for TWO years!
No light, no affection, no medical care... It was fed one time a day... that's it. Those
people should be in jail... but they're not. It's just a bird... they say. Not a big deal.

Birds, I've come to find out are extremely needy creatures. They thrive on attention
and can become depressed and wither into nothing without it. They have got to be the
the most difficult pet to have in the home. They're wild creatures, that have been domesticated and if we don't make sure they pair
up with another one of it's kind, then we humans have to step in to be their companion. I'm an animal lover, but I've got to tell you, I
couldn't give the attention they need, so I've never opted for having one as a pet.

As for their facility, it still has a lot of work to be done. They've got a great piece of property and have done a ton of work to get it to
the current point. However they're not able to be open to the general public as yet. MONEY MONEY MONEY... Have any to give?
Here's a great place to put it. They're an official Non-Profit organization (confirmed) and if you don't have the cash, how about
some time? They have needs from construction to helping to feed all the critters which range from exotic birds to cats to dogs to
horses to roosters and hens to monkeys! They need you to come help with the affections needed, as well as cleaning cages and
general upkeep for a very large property.

Wendy and her husband Glenn couldn't be sweeter and they would love to meet anyone willing to lend a hand.

Next door to the bird sanctuary is something totally unexpected. Bengal tigers... everywhere! These were rescued from a circus
who didn't need them any more... They've been cared for by humans all of their life so they are not able to be returned to the wild.
So they either get killed or rescued. They are simply gorgeous creatures! I have total respect for them as when we arrived they
were eating, (thankfully) and they tore into that meat like it was pudding pie!  The few cubs on property had to be rescued
because for some reason, and I have yet to understand this one, some people believe that cubs make great pets. Aaaaa, can
you say NOT! Cubs are adorable, but they can bite your head off once they reach a certain size. A person has to be trained on how
to raise tigers in order to do this successfully... Even the pros are in danger of attack... Remember Vegas?
This little
guy is
picking at
He loves
head of hair!
Your Pet Photo

Do you have a pet
that you rescued or
adopted from a
rescue mission?
Please send us a
photo and brief
story about how this
pet has enriched
your life.
Your Pet Photo
Drawing by
Alex, the Bird
Click on the
picture to
save it then
print and
color! Can
you find all
the animals?
I want to help support rescue missions so I'm offering prints of
my drawings for $5.00 each and 100% of the money (after
mailing costs) will go into a pot for the rescue groups we are
helping and divided equally on a monthly basis. Would you like
a print? Just let Miss Deborah at  Welcome Home My Florida
know and I'll send one to you! Thanks for helping!
To find out if a non-profit is registered, go to:
http://apps.irs.gov/app/pub78    OR    http://www.guidestar.org/
When we arrived at Ziggy’s, I knew it was a bird place. I stepped out and heard
roosters, hens, and parrots immediately. They not only had birds, but dogs, cats,
pigs, goats, MONKEY’S, horses, and their partners (Jungle Animals) across the
street had tigers, gators and geese. One of the things I learned is that birds CAN
fly without breast feathers! I thought they needed ALL their feathers to fly
because of weight issues. I also learned that the most common parrot abandoned
is the cockatoo; Ziggy’s must have had twenty or more!

When we entered the area with all the birds, I heard some sad stories.  They are
too sad to share here!  Just say that many were rescued from sad situations.  
Here is one piece of advice!  Before you get a pet, you need to read up on them
to see how much work they take and find out how long they typically live.  Once
you get them, you should make a commitment to take care of them for their lives.  
If you can’t make that commitment....then don’t buy them.  Don’t buy them for your
kids either if you are not going to make sure they keep good care of them.   After
hearing the stories, I don’t feel badly about squirting my birds with a squirt gun to
keep them quiet! This is a good technique for training an animal to stop doing
something. (Try it on dogs that bark at other dogs on the TV!)  

As I mentioned, across the road was a tiger sanctuary. This place was amazing!
They had a dinning area overlooking an exhibit with a few tigers in it, with a path
leading up to two gator exhibits... one with a large gator and the other with four
smaller ones. They had four tiger cubs and a nice pink cockatoo and two ‘Guard’
geese that were playing in a kiddie pool.

This is the end of this months issue but I can’t wait to write again next month.
Until then this is Alex, over and out.
P.S. Next month I'll tell you about Owls of Ocala! VERY cool rescue group!
Hello everyone, this is Alex as
usual. This month I went to Ziggy’s
bird heaven and Jungle Animals
with Miss Deborah.  They are both
animal rescue sanctuaries. I had a
great time and learned quite a bit.
Click on photos
for a
closer view!
Meet Clyde