Monday, February 27, 2012

I Do, I Do--As Long as My Dog (or Chicken) Is Invited

Of course, we already think of our pets as part of the family, so it is only natural that we would want to have them involved in our weddings. According to an article in the New York Times, more couples are including their dogs or cats in their weddings. One woman even talks of carrying her pet chicken, instead of a bouquet, down the aisle!

"We get asked about including dogs in weddings all the time," says Wendy DeCarlo-Young, dog trainer with Dog Obedience Group. DeCarlo-Young, who was named the best dog trainer in the city by Chicago Magazine in 2011, offers some tips for those thinking of including Fido:

First, be sure to check that the venue (church, hall, etc.) will allow a dog in the building, in the grounds, or in the ceremony.

"Then, it all comes down to the dog," she says. "Will the dog feel comfortable with all the people?" she asks. "It's best to have a handler for the dog, and to make that someone the dog is very familiar with. This takes all the pressure off of the bride and groom." It also allows someone to focus entirely on the dogs, she points out.

DeCarlo-Young suggests that that handler then be responsible for taking the dog home after the ceremony--unless, of course, the dog is allowed at the reception site.

 The next issue is training. "The dog should have basic skills," she says. "The worst thing would be to have an over-excited dog who would be jumping on people, knocking things over, or chewing flowers."

And then there is attire. If you are going to dress up your dog, DeCarlo-Young strongly suggests that you practice having the dog wear the special collar or bow tie long before the event.

Follow this advice and you can expect many happy returns!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Permanent Markers

We all know that our pets leave permanent marks on our hearts.  There are those, however, who choose to wear these marks on their skin as well. 

Quite a few Red Door volunteers and adopters sport tattoos of their current or former animal friends.  Rabbit Adoption Coordinator Toni Greetis has a tattoo in memory of Drake, her beloved Big White Bunny who passed away last year.  "It really didn't hurt too much and I'm happy to have something to remember Drake by".

Toni (and others) have gotten their tattoos as part of the Tattoo You events, where the artists at Insight Studios partner with Red Door and all proceeds from tattoos and piercings done during the event go to support the shelter and its programs.  The next event will be held this weekend, February 18th and 19th, at the studio's Wicker Park location.

Since opening in 2005, Insight has contributed more than $62,000 to various local charities through events as well as direct donations.  In fact, the studio's partnership with Red Door stemmed from a volunteer who was getting a tattoo as part of a fundraiser for Tree House Humane Society.  The first Red Door Tattoo You event was held in 2010.

Red Door Volunteer Liz Jakus got her first tattoo at the 2011 Tattoo You event.  "Everyone there is super nice- it was my first tattoo and I walked in there shaking and totally panicked. the staff was really nice and totally calmed me down making it a very good experience"

Like most people, Liz designed her tattoo to have deep personal meaning..  "Every thing in the picture has some meaning to me....the bunny was drawn from photos of my rabbit Ringo- a Red Door alum.  The lily is for my niece whose name is Lily- both of us were born in May and it is our birth flower.   The bee flying across is for my sister Maria who goes by the nick name Bee."

So if you've been thinking about getting a tattoo, or adding another piercing, consider doing good by it as well.
February 18 12pm-10pm
February 19 12pm-8pm
This benefit will be a walk in basis only.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

We've got our love to keep us warm!

As Valentine's Day approaches, we thought we'd take the time to share the story of one of Red Door's most devoted couples, Alice and Jasper.

This Californian brother and sister pair are often shy with people, but are absolutely devoted to each other.  They were rescued together, when one of them fell down a basement window well and the other refused to leave their side.  While they look very much alike, they have very distinct personalities.
Alice is definitely "large and in charge", and is likely to be the first to investigate new places or people.    Jasper is a bit of a doofy boy, who loves his food but definitely loves his sister.  Alice is also slightly larger, and her markings are slightly lighter and more grey than her brother's.  Like all siblings, they squabble and fuss sometimes, especially at mealtimes - we all know that the kale is always greener in the other bunny's mouth!  But at the end of the day, it's clearly a case of "you and me against the world".

Californians get their lovely white color and size from their New Zealand White ancestors, their deep soft coats from a dash of Chinchilla rabbit, and their colored "points" from their Himalayan cousins.  This color pattern, called acromelanism, is also found in Siamese and Himalayan cats.  These markings change over time in response to temperature conditions.

In one of their recent foster homes, Jasper and Alice spent most of their time in the kitchen, which was the warmest room of the house.  The color change from day to day was very subtle, but it was not until they went through their next shed that the dramatic color change was visible.

A few short weeks later, POOF!

Alice and Jasper are currently in a foster home, where their mom says that they have returned to their former dark-eared state. 

Won't you consider giving this devoted pair a forever home, and their own Hoppily Ever After?