Kindness is ALWAYS in Fashion

This year has been a tough time, but lashing out, turning on our friends, hating others, or doing acts that are just plain mean are unacceptable, so let’s spread kindness….to two legged and four legged! We are blessed to live in the best country in the world! Americans will never agree on everything, or completely understand why some people have some points of view, but hateful and cruel acts are never productive, while kindness is always fashionable, and an act of kindness, no matter how small, is never wasted. From our economic crisis to our political chaos, the concept of making a difference can get lost in the enormity of it all, but the reality is that those who focus on reducing suffering and making individual communities better places to live are happier than those who spew discord and discontent. According to Steven Rowley, “Dogs can help to ground us and guide us to act in kindness rather than hatred. Dogs live in the present; dogs don’t hold grudges…. and dogs let go of all their anger daily, hourly, and never let it fester. They absolve and forgive with each passing minute. Every turn of a corner is the opportunity for a clean slate. Every bounce of a ball brings joy and the promise of a fresh chase. Perhaps if humans learned these lessons, lives would be enriched.” Dogs offer so much, asking so little in return, and by offering our time or money—or just sharing our love of animals—we can improve our world and make life better for both humans and animals. . We’ll feel better about ourselves too, and that’s a great deal.

Specific ways to get involved in the animal welfare cause include:

  • Promote spaying and neutering. Millions of adoptable dogs are euthanized every year, and by spaying and neutering your animals, you will make sure that you are not contributing to the already overpopulation problem.
  • Become involved in legislation to better the lives of our dogs. Help fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws, and for the abolishment of puppy mills. Puppy mills need to be put out of business for good, and we need to complain enough and often until our message is taken seriously.
  • Schedule regular visits to your area shelter to socialize dogs to get them ready for adoption. Just by playing fetch and giving individual attention is a great way to help. Shelter dogs always appreciate a little walk!
  • If you can’t donate your time, you probably have plenty of useful supplies lying around. Contact your local shelter for specific needs. Blankets you may not need can still be used to keep pets warm and comfortable. Those squeaky toys, balls, and stuffed animals your kids no longer play with may provide entertainment for lonely dogs.
  • Volunteer your specialized skills or talents. If you have expertise in web design, grant writing, carpentry, or other areas, a shelter will certainly welcome your sharing it.
  • If you are planning a school, office or special occasion party, consider a dog drive. Each guest can bring pet food, toys, bedding, etc. to your party, all destined for the local shelter. In lieu of gift exchanges, consider donations in the name of your office or social group to your local animal welfare organization. Hold a community yard/bake sale and donate the proceeds to a shelter.
  • Companion animals play important roles in the loves of their caregivers, but sometimes the elderly or ill have trouble providing essential pet care. If you have a neighbor or friend in need, offer to assist by walking the dog, feeding him, driving him to the veterinarian, etc. These small acts of kindness will be appreciated.
  • You may not be able to end pet overpopulation or stop animal neglect, but every act of kindness will help reach those goals. Kindness always makes a difference—blessing the one who receives it, and blessing the giver. Everyone, human or canine, deserves to be treated with respect and kindness….period…no exceptions. Kindness is always fashionable and always appreciated

You can do something big or you can do something small, but whatever you do in kindness is better than doing nothing at all.


Our First Plea for Help in Fifteen Years!

Our first plea for help in fifteen years!!!

Most of you know that Iowa still ranks as number 2 in the number of puppy mills in the state in Iowa. For fifteen years , the TLC Canine Center has been actively working to raise awareness to the problem, and help Iowa dogs…we now have a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY, but we NEED HELP. We understand that animal rescue groups are all struggling, but we would appreciate it if all of you would just post our plea for help on every site you can think of, and list a link to our center- – perhaps some will be led to help our venture. As Mother Teresa observed, “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot. TOGETHER WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS!”

Ellen Hartstack has been involved with the TLC for eight years, and she has committed to re-locating to Iowa in the Story County area…a very needy area that received a great deal of negative notoriety recently because of one of the 10 worst puppy mills in the entire country was located in that area. This facility has finally been closed down, which offers the TLC the opportunity (and responsibility) to turn a Bad Newz Puppy Mill into a GOOD NEWS rehabilitation and training center for homeless dogs out here on the Iowa prairie.  We have the option to buy the perfect place right down the road from the Bad News Mill…All perfectly situated to be exactly what we want and where we need it.

Our goal is to help find forever homes for deserving dogs and train dogs with behavior problems who might be in danger of losing their homes. WE NEED $100,000 TO BRING THIS DREAM TO REALITY! IMPOSSIBLE? As Shel Silverstein asserts, “Nothing is impossible. Anything can be.” We have been pledged $50,000 but WE NEED MATCHING FUNDS. I am reminded of Mother Teresa’s observation: “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot. TOGETHER, WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS.” On behalf of the many Iowa dogs that are lonely, frightened, suffering, and sometimes dying, we humbly ask for your help. Working together we can make the Iowa prairie a safer, healthier, happier place for needy dogs. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

God Bless & Merry Christmas!
Pauline and Ellen
Co-directors of the TLC Canine Center

Your Local Shelter Needs YOU!

“I looked at all the unfortunate, homeless, neglected animals…the cast-offs of human society. I saw in their eyes, love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal. And I said, “God, this is terrible. Why don’t You do something? God was quiet for a moment, and then spoke softly, “I have done something. I created you.” –Jim Willis

In l996 Capital Humane Society in Lincoln, Nebraska, designed a campaign to acknowledge and promote the important role of shelters and other animal welfare organizations and to increase public awareness of the needy dogs found in every community.  National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week now proclaims the message: YOUR LOCAL SHELTER OR RESCUE GROUP NEEDS YOU. These groups help untold numbers of animals, usually with limited resources and very little recognition.  You don’t have to be an animal expert to help; everyone has skills and talents that can be utilized; you just need the desire to lend a helping hand. If you don’t know your local group, there is no better time to get acquainted.  Do a little research to check them out and if you feel comfortable with them, call and find out how you can help support the work they do for the animals in your community.

  • Give monetary donations. Most groups are struggling financially, so every penny counts. It’s great to send a check to the national animal welfare organizations, but don’t forget the legitimate, hardworking groups in your own back yard.
  • Spread the word. Does your community really appreciate the local shelter’s dedication to needy animals? Talk to your family, co-workers and neighbors about the importance of supporting local groups.  Many people don’t realize that shelters not only take in homeless animals, but often rescue injured, abused or neglected critters. Stay alert to what is going on in your own neighborhood, and if you suspect abuse or neglect, document your suspicions and report them.
  • Involve your family, friends, and co-workers. Designate a day to donate spare change or tips for the benefit of the shelter. Make it an event, and remind everyone of the important work the shelter does. Suggest donations rather than personal gifts for holidays and birthdays. Have a jar on the counter at home where the kids (and adults!) can drop small change. Then when a sizable amount is collected, make a family trip to the shelter.
  • Do your part. Spaying or neutering your pet is one important thing you can do to reduce the number of homeless pets in your area. Our shelters are already overcrowded with unwanted pets, and spaying or neutering will reduce the number of homeless pets.  If you have a neighbor or friend who has an intact animal, perhaps you can influence them….if cost is an issue, maybe offering to pay a portion of the bill would be an incentive.  Learn about possible programs that offer affordable programs.
  • Two simple words.  The words, THANK YOU, are powerful, and will encourage overworked, underpaid, and often discouraged shelter workers.  Send a letter, card, or e-mail to your local group, and let them know you care.

In the ideal world, there would be none left to rescue, none left to buy, none left to suffer, none left to die, none to be beaten, none to be kicked….all would be loved. Until then it is up to you and me to help just one, or two, or three…until they’re all free…one dog at a time.

Our Best Friend Deserves More Than Life on a Chain

There are many things that you can do to help make life better for a dog that is tethered in a back yard without much human interaction. The first thing to do is to get acquainted with the dog’s caregivers.

Be sure your approach is positive, so you don’t come off sounding critical. Lecturing them about the evils of leaving their dog outdoors will not solve anything. Explain that you are a dog lover, and would enjoy the chance to play with their dog, or take him for walks a few times a week. Be sure to stress that anything you offer is free…everyone loves free stuff.

If the dog has no adequate shelter, you might offer to bring them a dog house. If you are willing to spend some time with the dog, you will probably form a friendly relationship with the dog’s caregiver, and perhaps rekindle a bond between him and his dog.

There are many success stories from this approach, but even if this doesn’t happen, remember that helping the dog a little is better than doing nothing at all. You may not be able to convince the caregiver to take the animal inside, or even convince him to put up a fence.

If the dog was never really wanted in the first place, perhaps an offer to find him another home will be successful, but even if all you can do is get a decent doghouse, some toys, and regular walks, that is a success because the dog’s life has been improved.

Animal control and human agencies receive regular calls from citizens concerned about animals, but until the public understand the problems, and laws are changed, nothing significant will be accomplished. Documentation shows that chaining dogs is not only inhumane treatment of companion animals, but is also dangerous, because chained dogs often develop behavior problems. They become bored, boredom leads to frustration, and frustration leads of excessive barking and aggression. The number of animal bites and attacks by chained dogs will only continue to grow if we do not educate the community and break the never ending cycle of generations accepting this practice.

Most of our communities do not have any anti-tethering ordinances, and realistically they are not likely to pass them soon, but many communities are considering limited tethering laws. To make a positive impact on your community you must convince people that extended tethering is not acceptable, and although it is difficult to change attitudes, it is possible. To learn how you can more effectively help chained dogs in your neighborhood, go to sites such as , and .

Get involved; it is not impossible to make life better for our dogs, and safer for our community.

God put dogs on earth for a reason, and I’m sure it wasn’t His plan for them to be treated so cruelly, and abused so often by man. Why would someone have a dog only to keep him tied to a tree? And why won’t they listen to reason about how cruel that is—why can’t they see? If people would realize this treatment brings their dog pain, they would surely stop this horrible practice, and take them off of their chain. ~Robyn Kirby

I Bit A Child Today

I spend my life at the end of a chain. You got me as a puppy and I misbehaved, so you tossed me outside with a doghouse and chain. You never taught me how to live in your world; yet you expect me to abide by its rules. I’m a big dog. What breed am I? Doesn’t matter. Wait: I know my breed– Chained Dog. We come in all shapes and sizes, and I’ll tell you one thing: we are not happy dogs.

I am exploding with pent up energy from never getting to run or stretch my legs, and pent up anger from living a solitary life when I’m meant to live as part of your pack. I was domesticated by humans to be a companion, a helper, but you chain me to this dog house and leave me alone. I have no life except to guard my solitary patch of dirt. If you cross into my territory despite my warnings, there is a good chance I will attack you to protect myself and the dirt, the only thing that is mine.

I bit a child today, and now they are taking me away. I am so scared, and I don’t understand what I did wrong, but I will die. Both the child and I have paid the price for your irresponsible behavior.

If you have a dog at the end of a rope, please consider the frustration, loneliness and potentially aggressive behavior that is possible, and make the adjustments necessary to allow him to be part of your family. Report to the authorities if you see a dog at risk, and educate others that dogs are not fit to be tied.