As seen at the 30th annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival

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As the old saying goes, sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite photos from the 30th annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival. Enjoy!

Great Dane wins Best Lap Dog contest at Puttin' on the Dog.
Best Lap Dog winner. Puttin’ on the Dog. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Furr-911 rescues Hurricane Harvey kittens.
Hurricane Harvey kittens make an appearance at Puttin’ on the Dog festival, courtesy of FURR-911. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Owner and dog get a helping hand on the agility course.
Balancing act. Action in the agility ring at Puttin’ on the Dog. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Runner-up in one of the contests at the 30th annual Puttin' on the Dog festival.
Second place? What do you mean I got second place? The indignity of it all. Puttin’ on the Dog, Greenwich CT. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Adopt-a-Dog volunteer with her charge at Puttin' on the Dog.
Take me home! A senior dog steals the show in the first parade at the Puttin’ on the Dog festival. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

 

Nap time! Hurricane Harvey kittens take a break at the 30th annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
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It’s time for the annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival

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Whatever you do, don’t try to get a hold of me on Sunday. I’ll be busy. All day. And by the time I get home, I’ll be dog tired (literally), hot and bothered. But I’ll also be happy.

Cute Kitten, courtesy of FURRR 911. Photo by A. Bogdanovic
Bolt, a kitten rescued by FURRR 911, at Puttin’ On The Dog & Cats, Too 2016. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

On Sunday, I’ll spend the entire day shooting the 30th annual Puttin’ on the Dog festival, which will be held at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, CT. Hosted by Adopt-a-Dog, the event is billed as the biggest of its kind between New York and Boston and benefits several local animal rescue and welfare groups.

In addition to raising money and awareness for worthy causes, the festival gives animal lovers a chance to meet some of the dogs and cats that are available for adoption. It also gives dogs and their people a chance to show off by participating in various contests.

You can learn more about the fun and games here.

This will be the fifth straight year I’ve volunteered at the event. And personally, I’m looking forward to hanging out in the cat pavilion, photographing the action in the demonstration rings and on stage, and checking out the silent auction.

On that note, I’d better run. Hopefully I’ll see you on Sunday. If not, don’t call me. I’ll call you!

Sad stories become happy tails at Adopt-a-Dog

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When it comes to the stuff that makes me mad, I’ve learned to choose my battles. At this point, there’s little I can do about the state of my country or the state of its leadership. I can’t put an end to terrorism or injustice. And I certainly can’t do anything about human stupidity.

As much as I would love to, there’s no way that I can save all of the companion animals who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. As much as I would love to, there’s no way that I can find and punish the people who mistreat or discard their pets without a second thought.

Puppy dog eyes…. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

But for three years, I did what I little I could to help find “forever homes” for unwanted or abandoned pets by volunteering in the office at a local shelter. Although I had to stop doing so after I started In Brief Legal Writing Services, I’m still a volunteer photographer for Adopt-a-Dog in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Last weekend, I finally had a chance to visit the shelter and catch up with some old friends. I also had a chance to get the shots of the dogs that I’m sharing in this post. Hopefully these pups will soon be adopted, if they weren’t already.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Adopt-a-Dog by visiting their website. In the meantime, please feel free to let me know about shelters or rescue groups in your area that are doing great work. I’d be happy to do posts about them, too!

Hi there! Want to play? Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

 

This pup’s bib says it all! Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

 

 

 

The cutest kittens ever get another chance thanks to FURRR 911

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This has got to go down as one of the most turbulent weeks in recent American history. There were acts of terrorism in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey. Riots broke out in Charlotte after a yet another police shooting.

Cute Kitten, courtesy of FURRR 911. Photo by A. Bogdanovic
Bolt, a kitten rescued by FURRR 911, at Puttin’ On The Dog & Cats, Too 2016. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

But there was one day when thousands of people came together for a good cause in Greenwich, Connecticut. That was on Sunday. And I was there.

This was the fourth year that I had the honor and privilege of photographing the action in the demonstration rings at the Puttin’ On the Dog & Cats Too festival at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park. Hosted by Adopt-A-Dog, the local animal shelter where I volunteer, the event attracts pet owners and animal lovers from the Tri-State Area.

At the festival, pooches participate in various competitions including a costume contest. Their owners can check out the latest pet supplies and pet foods available from the vendors on site. Most importantly, the host organization along with other area animal rescue and welfare groups, get to introduce some of the dogs and cats available for adoption to the general public.

Please take the "chance" to help this little guy.
Chance’s story. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

This year,  FURRR 911 brought several young cats and kittens to the event. Based in Westchester County, NY, FURRR 911 specializes in rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing young cats and kittens most in need of help. Their stories are heartbreaking and heartwarming.

There’s Chance. He was thrown out of a building in New York City. And there’s TumbeLina, who was born with a disorder that affects her balance. There’s another little kitten who is missing an eye. And then there are those who were simply born into feral colonies.

They are all bundles of cuteness. They are all in need of good homes. And to be honest, if I didn’t have my hands full with Eli (a big bundle of cuteness in his own right) I probably would have adopted one or two.

As it stands, I can only hope that some of them will end up in good homes. In fact, I hope that all of the dogs and cats available for adoption will end up in homes where they know nothing but love and kindness. They deserve nothing less.

This time a pit bull was the victim

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Every once in a while, I come across a story that makes me cry. This week I found two.

A Real Tear-Jerker

The first one was an article I found on Yahoo.com. To sum it up, the story is about a man who was afraid of pit bulls — and was scared to death of what his wife’s pit bull-mix might do to their newborn baby. As it turned out, the pit bull-Lab cross loved the little girl. As they grew up together, the bond between the girl and her dog got even stronger.

But one day, everything went horribly wrong. The man, Greg Heynen, claims some neighborhood children poisoned Zack — the pit bull-cross who faithfully followed his daughter to bed every night. Zack died and for the first time, Greg’s daughter didn’t have her faithful companion by her side as she climbed the stairs at bedtime.

That’s when Greg’s own dog, Sam, stepped in. Somehow sensing the little girl’s distress, Sam escorted the little girl upstairs that night — and continued the tradition until his death six years later.

Needless to say, a lot of people commented on this story. Some of them said it made them cry. Others expressed outrage that children killed Zack. One even said that they should be poisoned as well. Others said they should be thrown in jail. Most agreed they should be punished in some way.

I agree. If these children deliberately poisoned Zack, they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. If permitted under state law, I would charge and try them as adults. Not only did they (allegedly) kill an innocent animal — they robbed a little girl of the rest of her childhood with her best friend. They robbed the Heynen family of a loyal and loving pet.

More importantly, if this was a deliberate act, these children demonstrated the depraved indifference characteristic of hard-core criminals. This is no exaggeration. Scientific studies provide irrefutable proof that children capable of harming animals can and sometimes do grow up to become serial killers.

Leo’s Story

The other story is one that hits closer to home. In fact, it’s about one of the dogs at the animal shelter where I have volunteered for almost three years.

Take me home! A dog up for adoption and an Adopt-a-Dog volunteer. Photo by A. Bogdanovic
An Adopt-a-Dog volunteer with a dog up for adoption at the annual Puttin’ on the Dog show in Greenwich last September. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

At this point, Leo, another pit bull-mix, has been at the shelter almost as long as I have. He came to Adopt-A-Dog in Armonk, N.Y., after a Good Samaritan spotted him by the side of a busy highway and rescued him in the spring of 2014.

He’s such an awesome dog that everyone at the shelter thought a family would adopt him pretty quickly. But a couple of things seemed to work against him from the beginning. For one thing, he will do best in a home with older teenagers. Secondly, he will be happiest in a household without any other pets.

The good news is that he’s thrived in the shelter’s enrichment and training program. He loves agility and he loves to swim, so he’d be a perfect companion for someone who needs a training partner!

You can learn more about Leo by clicking on the “What’s up at Adopt-A-Dog?” link in the sidebar here at inbrieflegalwriting.com tomorrow. You can also visit his profile page on the shelter’s website.

Finally, if you live in the New York metropolitan area and are interested in learning more about Adopt-A-Dog, you can also visit the shelter during our open house and adoption event on Saturday, April 23. The event, at 23 Cox Avenue in Armonk, N.Y., will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there!

Blogging for a good cause

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It’s official.

If all goes according to plan, the first entry for our brand new blog, Paws for Thought, will appear on Adopt-a-Dog’s website March 31. Of course, a lot could happen to delay or even derail the project between now and then. Then again, there’s always the chance that everything will go smoothly. Personally, nothing would make me happier.

Coming to the Rescue

Take me home! A dog up for adoption and an Adopt-a-Dog volunteer. Photo by A. Bogdanovic
An Adopt-a-Dog volunteer with a dog up for adoption at the annual Puttin’ on the Dog show in Greenwich last September. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

For those of you who haven’t heard of the organization, I can tell you that it’s one of the most awesome non-profit organizations for which I have ever had the pleasure of volunteering. Based in Armonk, N.Y., its mission is to rescue, provide shelter and then and find “forever homes” for dogs of all ages and breeds.

Doing so is more than a full-time job for the staff at Adopt-a-Dog. It is a labor of love.

The happiness and well-being of each dog that comes to the shelter is paramount, so each one is carefully evaluated upon arrival. With assessments in hand, the staff then ensures that each dog’s needs are fully addressed. Among other things, that means making sure that all of the dogs get proper medical care and those that have behavioral issues get to work with a trainer. All of the dogs get to participate in “enrichment activities” with volunteers and staff.

Prospective adopters had lots of dogs to choose from at the annual Puttin on the Dog show in Greenwich last fall. Photo by A. Bogdanovic
Pick me! An Adopt-a-Dog volunteer with a dog up for adoption at Puttin’ on the Dog in Greenwich. September 2015. Photo by A. Bogdanovic

Anyone interested in adopting a dog is also thoroughly “vetted” before they can bring their new friend home. The process usually begins when someone comes to an event or visits the adoptions page on the organization’s website to see if there are any dogs they’d like to meet. Sometimes they phone the shelter to see if any puppies are available or if they are interested in a specific breed. In any case, they must fill out an application and make an appointment to come to the shelter in order to meet the dog(s).

As part of the application process, prospective adopters must provide references, all of which are checked. In some cases — usually when the applicant has another pet — staff will conduct home visits before the adoption is finalized.

Help Wanted

If you ask anyone at Adopt-a-Dog, they’ll quickly admit that well-trained volunteers are key to the shelter’s success. While most volunteers help out at the shelter itself, a lot also lend a hand at special events. Some, like me, volunteer in multiple capacities. I do administrative office tasks at the shelter once per week, and do reference checks at adoption events when needed. I also photograph special events like the annual Howl and Prowl costume contest and Puttin’ on the Dog show here in Greenwich. Now I’ll also be doing some Pro Bono blogging.

One way or another it all adds up to a lot of hard work. But it’s also a blast, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.