What is old is new again: My 'new normal' still includes dogs 🐶

Guess who returned to the doggy loft for the first time in sixteen months? She has opposable thumbs and is the biggest dog lover you will find.

From March 11, 2020, until July 14, 2021, I could not volunteer at the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue on Rescue Row here in San Francisco. Thanks to a pandemic, my city and state shut down for weeks and shuttered schools and businesses for months. I missed 64 Wednesday mornings waking up sleepy old dogs. Sixteen months of being denied a steady diet of soft doggy snuggles. How many laundry loads of dirty dog beds, aprons, and towels did I skip? I can't believe I missed mopping up after these sugar faces so much.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

Who else can say they honestly like the familiar smell of old dogs?

When entering the open loft first thing in the morning, with its closed windows to keep the more than a dozen old dogs safe overnight, imagine the wall of smell that hits you first. A combination of warm soiled bedding mixed with various late-night pee offers your nose a scent only faithful dog people appreciate. I didn't realize until after being denied my morning shift for months that I missed that familiar stink. That I took comfort in the potent smell because it meant there were warm sleepy dogs behind those doors.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

What is old is new again

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Helen Woodward Animal Center Orphan Pets Celebrate with Special PAWmicon Weekend July 23-25

Helen Woodward Animal Center is getting ready to celebrate the Center’s panel participation in Comic-Con International’s Comic-Con@Home with a full weekend of heroic adoptions and PAWmicon fun at the Center July 23 – 25!

Rancho Santa Fe, CA (July 6, 2021) – For the last eight years, Helen Woodward Animal Center orphan pets have celebrated the spectacular feats of superhero adopters by paying homage to Comic-Con International with a Pop Culture-themed Dog Cosplay event entitled PAWmicon. Now, for the first time ever, Comic-Con International is including the rescue facility in its virtual July programming with a Center-hosted panel entitled Animals in Graphic Novels and Games. The virtual panel discussion, set to premiere on July 25 at 11 a.m., features Chris Ryall and Keith Arem and is hosted by Robert Rice from Omniscape. To celebrate the premiere, Helen Woodward Animal Center is throwing a PAWmicon-themed Weekend including pop-culture-named orphan pets, giveaways, photo opportunities and the highly anticipated PAWSplay Costume Competition. 

Helen Woodward Animal Center initiated PAWmicon in 2012 based on an observed parallel between orphan pets and Comic-Con attendees. While comic book enthusiasts wait all year for Comic-Con International, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite action-adventure stars, orphan dogs and cats at Helen Woodward Animal Center will wait a lifetime to meet their superheroes – individuals with one sole mission…to rescue an orphan pet. Planned as a cute adoption gimmick, the promotion drew the attention of fans and animal-lovers across the city, eventually blossoming into an annual event that has grown in pup-ularity and gained global attention with each passing year.

2019’s event surpassed all expectations set in its new location at the Comic-Con Museum. Although still in prep for its official opening, the Comic-Con Museum hosted the event in collaboration with Helen Woodward Animal Center with hundreds of attendees and 100% of its proceeds going to the Center’s pets and programs.

In 2020, PAWmicon planning was well underway when the pandemic hit. Too beloved an event to cancel, the experience went on-line, in partnership with the Comic-Con Museum, featuring a virtual schedule of on-line family-friendly events including panel discussions and interviews; access to an on-line PAWmicon vendor village; on-line book readings for kids with Center critters; access to augmented and web virtual reality experiences; on-line trivia rounds; an on-line PAWSplay Photo Contest and more.

PAWmicon 2021

This year, Comic-Con International is staying COVID-safe, once again, delaying any on-site components until later in the year. However, a July, on-line virtual experience, entitled Comic-Con @ Home, will be available for fanatics of the annual festivities, including a line-up of discussion panels featuring celebrity guests. Helen Woodward Animal Center was delighted to be accepted into the line-up with a panel focused on Animals in Graphic Novels and Games which includes Chris Ryall, Partner of Syzygy Publishing and former President & Publisher/ Chief Creative Officer at IDW Publishing. Also featured is writer/director/producer Keith Arem, CEO and president of Los Angeles-based PCB Productions. The panel is a fascinating look at the unique and special qualities that animals bring to the world of superheroes. It premieres on Sunday, July 25 at 11 a.m.

To celebrate the release of this special virtual discussion panel, Helen Woodward Animal Center is dedicating the weekend of July 23 – July 25 to PAWmicon. Pop-culture-named orphan pets, Comic-themed giveaways and adorable photo backdrops for life-saving adopters will be available all weekend long.

On Saturday, July 24 at 9:30am, the fun really ramps up as the PAWSplay Costume Competition returns in-person, to the Center’s education pavilion. Those who wish to participate can sign up here: https://my.animalcenter.org/event/pawmicon-2021/e346864. The entry fee is $10 per pup and all proceeds support the pets and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Cosplayers will serve as judges and be available for photo opportunities after the contest. A Comic-themed Kid’s Craft will be available for younger attendees and a Coffee Cart and Shaved Ice will also be on site for sweets and treats.

Limited-edition PAWmicon t-shirts will also be available online soon: https://www.bonfire.com/store/helen-woodward-animal-center/. Proceeds support Helen Woodward Animal Center pets and programs.

At its core, this unique event has one life-saving mission: To inspire individuals to perform a superhero action of their own and adopt an orphan pet. Upon adoption, these furry sidekicks will quickly reveal their own superhero abilities to save us right back.

For more information about PAWmicon, visit www.animalcenter.org or https://myz.animalcenter.org/event/pawmicon-2021/e346864.

For more information about the Comic-Con Museum, visit www.Comic-Con.org/Museum.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Helen Woodward Animal Center PR Director Jessica Gercke: JessicaG@animalcenter.org, cell (619) 977-0999 Helen Woodward Animal Center Communications Manager Fernanda Lopez: FernandaL@animalcenter.org, cell (925) 755-6369

***

About Helen Woodward Animal Center

Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, non-profit organization where “people help animals and animals help people.” Founded in 1972 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the Center provides services for more than 90,000 people and more than 10,000 animals annually through adoptions, educational and therapeutic programs both onsite and throughout the community. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the International Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive, the International Remember Me Thursday® campaign and The Business of Saving Lives Workshops, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world. For more information, go to: www.animalcenter.org.

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Until Aug 1st Pet Food Express’ FILL THE FOOD BANK CAMPAIGN seeks to help raise 100k lbs of dog food

PET FOOD EXPRESS’ FILL THE FOOD BANK CAMPAIGN TO HELP STRUGGLING CALIFORNIANS FEED THEIR DOGS

Campaign will collect monetary donations to gift 100k pounds of nutritious, FirstMate dog food to pet food banks, relieving financial burden of necessary care for 100s of families

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OAKLAND, CA (July 6, 2021) -- Pet Food Express kicks off its annual Fill the Food Bank campaign to help hundreds of struggling California families to continue to care for their beloved dog(s) with free, nutritious food and avoid surrendering their pet to a shelter.

From July 5 - August 1, Pet Food Express will collect monetary donations in its 64 California stores and online at www.petfood.express/fillthefoodbank to directly benefit local, pet-centric food banks, shelters, and rescues.

100% of the funds donated will be used to purchase and distribute 5-pound bags of nutrient-rich, FirstMate dog food. Pet Food Express has set a 100,000 pound goal for 2021 and will match the first 10,000 pounds of donated dog food.

“The food donated through our Fill the Food Bank campaign will help many California families burdened by COVID with financial hardships,” said Megan Kniepkamp, Community Outreach Manager at Pet Food Express. “As pet parents ourselves and passionate pet advocates, we understand the bond between a pet and its family. And during these trying times, it’s important that pet families remain intact for the well-being of all.”

Visit the Fill the Food Bank page at www.petfood.express/fillthefoodbank to donate; to locate the closest participating food bank, shelter, or rescue; and to share the campaign with friends and family.

A $10 donation gifts a 5-pound bag of FirstMate dog food to a pet family in need. All 20 program partners are low-threshold or open-admission organizations who are interested solely in the welfare of California’s pet population.

“Food banks are essential,” Kniepkamp continued. “They reduce the risk of a returned pet to an already over-taxed rescue and shelter system by offsetting the cost of necessary pet care. We want struggling pet owners to know that there is free help available to keep their pets fed, cared for, and with them at their home.”

The 2020 Fill the Food Bank campaign turned $210,000 in financial donations from customers into more than 90,000 pounds of high-quality pet food to benefit 17 partner organizations including food banks, rescues, and shelters throughout the state.

Pet Food Express is proud to support California’s animal rescue network through its Community Outreach programs such as its Kitten Season efforts. Learn more at https://www.petfood.express/community-outreach/, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram and on Twitter for the latest updates on the Fill the Food Bank campaign.

ABOUT PET FOOD EXPRESS

Pet Food Express is California's trusted pet expert dedicated to helping pets live longer, healthier lives. Founded in 1986 by Michael Levy and Mark Witriol, Pet Food Express has reimagined pet care by focusing on the very best products. The company sells only what they trust to care for their own pets. From its variety of nutrient-rich foods like raw and fresh prepared foods and its high quality products like pet supplements to the extensive training its animal-loving customer service team gets and its neighborhood stores with pet wash stations and pet community support groups. The company has had continuously strong growth for over three decades by remaining focused on its passion and its purpose - animal advocacy. Pet Food Express has helped find forever homes for more than 23,000 animals through its 64 California stores or as host of the Bay Area Pet Fair, the largest animal adoption event in North America. The company is a committed partner to more than 275 non-profit animal rescue and shelter organizations every year, providing them with much-needed aid through fundraising, product donations, help recruiting and retaining volunteers, and adoption support. Named as a “Top Bay Area Workplace” for the last 9 years, the company's dog-friendly headquarters are located in Oakland, CA and are home to 200 employees. Learn more on the web at www.Pet Food.Express. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Instagram and on Twitter.

CONTACT: Sarah Andrus | Pet Food Express | Sarah@bloomwellconsulting.com | 415.624.5617

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It’s okay if you don’t have a dog 🐶

Do you find yourself looking with envy at the people in your neighborhood playing with their dogs? Have you spent way too much time obsessing over dog accounts on Instagram and Twitter? Before you give in to the impulse to get a puppy, let's talk about why you might want to stop and reconsider.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

Why do you want a dog?

Be honest. Look around your home, look at your daily schedule, and look at your finances. Do you have space for a dog? Do you have the time to give a dog? Are you able to provide them with the attention they need to be a happy and well-adjusted member of your family? Have you been to a pet store or looked online at the cost of food, toys, bedding, and all the basic stuff a dog needs? How about the cost of veterinary care? Are you prepared for regular check-ups as well as possible emergencies? Do you live in a place where the noise and activity of a dog will fit in, even welcomed?

It's essential to look around and ask yourself these questions before you bring a dog into your home and life. Being honest with yourself will save you both the heartache of unrealistic expectations. The potential stress, upset, and even trauma, of making this leap without being honest with yourself happens.

Don't feel bad if you realize it's not a good idea to have a dog.

Over the past few years, I have discovered is that it's not so bad enjoying the company of dogs that don't belong to me.

I love dogs very much and will always want to have them around, but I am realistic about the difference between enjoying them and being responsible for one. I started engaging more with the dogs I meet in my neighborhood. Now I am willing to wait longer before I adopt another dog. I feel good each time a dog shares some time and playfulness with me. I take home a little fluff, often some slobber, always a dose of oxytocin. How can I complain?

With the pandemic causing many people to get a dog, I have had more conversations with puppy parents. We can all use words of encouragement! Whenever possible, I offer support to both puppy and parent when we cross paths. They are always grateful, and I enjoy seeing their expressions of pride.

As we enter spring, enjoy the sun and outdoors. Wave to your neighbors and say hello to ALL the dogs! Remember that it is okay that you didn't adopt a dog. 

Tell me, have you had this conversation with yourself, or your family? How do you find ways to enjoy dogs?

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