A Place to Bark and Meow Blog by Bernie Berlin

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Leaving in the Morning..

Whew, all ready to go, I've got the van configued and will load in the morning.
Looks like I'll have some pups still left here, they just weren't completely well, so they have to wait and will go next time.
I'll be driving all day tomorrow and after I drop the animals off at the humane society, I will be headed to Wisconsin with Noel. If you don't know Noel's story, she was abused and has no ear on one side of her head and just a tiny bit of an ear on the other side.

She will be seeing my old vet there, Dr. Sheperd. I truly miss him..
He has taught me so much about animal care and continues to deal with me and my millions of questions long distance on a weekly basis.
He's just the BEST!!! Dedicated to the animals, always there when needed, most times never taking time out for himself..

Noel's surgery has to be done and I just can't keep putting it off, so we'll have to work out some kind of payment plan.
I will not worry having Dr. Shepherd working on her, he is well seasoned in most areas of veterinary medicine and a very skilled surgeon.

I have had to wait quite awhile for Noel to heal. When she arrived here at Christmas time her immune system was really compromised and after many rounds of antibiotics we finally have the infections cured.
She's now ready to have her surgery and hopefully will be able to hear better.

If you're not familiar with Noel's story you can click
here& here to read.

She had so many sweet people knit her hats with ears, thanks to Claudine and Vicki Howell when the weather was still cold here and we had to protect her ear holes. Pictures of her in her hats are on the links above.
An adorable pattern Vicki created for Noel, called Noel's floppy ears can be found on her blog, if you want to make floppy ears for your pets:)

Off to get a few hours of sleep, I'll check in probably by the weekend..

Monday, May 28, 2007
Back & Forth..

First of all, I want to say "Thank YOU!!!" to all those that have made donations..
Claudine had me in tears on the road..
I can't tell you how much your contributions mean to the rescue.
The vet bills and transport costs have gotten out of control and it is such a helpless feeling knowing I can get animals to places where they can be adopted and money is the thing standing in my way.
These stories and my successes are because of you; our collaboration and everyone helping me help the animals..
Claudine has been my best buddy for many years & for that I'm forever thankful. This blog & my website were built by her. She loves the animals but can't do what I'm doing.. It upsets her too much.
It just goes to show you, that we all do what we can and the cumulative actions, in the end saves the animals.
I just want to say I appreciate you all, for reading, commenting, supporting and loving the animals..

I arrived back from Chicago & Wisconsin on Saturday. I've been busy getting the rest of the animals ready to transport on Tuesday (tomorrow). We will again have a full transport. I probably won't do this many animals again without help.
It was truly a non-stop, exhausting feat having the huge numbers here this past month.
I have to say I'm not as young as I use to be.. (((giggles)))
The driving sure does take its toll on your body.
The dogs and cats that went last Thursday are doing well.
I spoke with the shelter directors this morning and many have already been adopted this weekend. Truly amazing!!!
The typical adoption once the animals get to the shelter is anywhere from 3-10 days.
Now mind you, the animals are in very good and healthy condition and this makes a huge difference.
They can go right to surgery the next day or so to be fixed.

I have received questions on how I made my connections and how a person would go about building and growing a rescue.
To answer this, it was very difficult at first trying to start programs and I had to prove myself and my credibility with the animal welfare organizations. But it has all worked out and many animals have a chance at life.

My advice is if you are thinking about doing this to start small. I started with only a few animals and over the years it has grown steadily each year. Never did I think I would be doing this much.
It took me many years to establish good working relationships with the Humane Societies.
A mutual respect and communication, that has and will make a better place & chances for the animals.
It has never been easy, everything is hard work, but the end result, the greater good is what it is all about.
Most of all be careful what you wish for, it is very difficult to get out once you start.
For at that point, you have seen the dark side of life for many animals, it is hard to turn that off, knowing that you can do things to help. You have to have a strong mind and heart, because if you don't prepare yourself, it can destroy you..
I don't say that to scare anyone, but to see what I see many days..
The evils that people do and the poor animals that suffer, well.. I know someday there will come a time that I cannot absorb anymore, but till that time, I'll do what I can for as long as I can.

I think daily of all the furry faces, all the different personalities that pass thru my life..
I often wonder where they are & what their lives are like. I worry, yes.. I worry..
But nothing in this life comes with guarantees and all we can go on is hope for a better tomorrow.
Hope that with every good intension, every act of kindness and love, that life will be the best it can be..
Love and Life is all we have and we have to make the best of both for the short time we are here on this Earth...
Again, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of what I do and for taking the time to share my journey with me...
Blessings and Light to you all!!!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Hi everyone! This is Claudine just posting a quick update. Bernie and I talked a lot today as she drove to Chicago, I was trying to keep her awake. While we were talking I could hear lots of puppies having their own conversations in the background!

The total driving time was 10 hours because of making stops to pee-pee puppies, change litter, feed and water etc. But everyone made it to Chicago safely and the final critter count for this trip was 52! That's 52 little animals all going to loving new homes! yay!!!

I called Bernie to let her know the donation amount has now passed $1,000 and she was overcome with emotion. She is so grateful to everyone for their help. Every little helps so thank you so much!

Bernie will be driving back to TN on Saturday all day then will post an update of her trip! thank you to everyone for positing the 6 degrees badge to your blogs. It is helping so much!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Sunday Musings..

My days begin with the animals and end with them..
I've been counting my blessings lately, my family, friends, fellow artists, animal lovers & just everything good in my life...
Life can be difficult, but it is what gives us contrast, to truly appreciate the good moments.
I wear myself out most days, trying to do it all, but then all of a sudden I'll look down and laugh myself silly...
Like these pics I snapped the other day, how can you not smile and find joy in the day!!

It's at those times that I realize life is truly what you make it. So, yes!! I'm tired, but I am also happy:)

This litter just came in the other day. Sweet mom cat, who was feeling really bad and still caring for her kids. These animals are just amazing with their dedication to their babies. She is doing well and is on antibiotics.

"Tasha" is a female Cattledog/Terrier Mix. Approximately 2 years of age & about 25 pounds.
Super sweet, never leaves your side. Good with other dogs & cats.

I find it funny how I grew up in Chicago, but always dreamed of land, farm and animals.
I have changed so much in the past ten years. The days of dressing up and belonging to country clubs are gone..
These days I dream of children, a shelter, doing what I can to help others, jeans, new t-shirts, work boots and a new John Deere:)

My neighbor helped me plow a new garden yesterday, you can see part of it in the top pic of me and the dogs, so I need to get busy today, it's HUGE!!

It also looks as if I'll be making two transports in the upcoming two weeks.
So I will be in Chicago this week and Wisconsin next week. We have too many animals to just do one trip.
Anyone want to drive if I rent two vans:)
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Gifts from Universe & GREAT NEWS!!!
Today is a good day..
I was a bit down this morning thinking about finances and that my rescue efforts may have to end, when I fell in a hole..
Take a look at this hole:) I'm sure it was dug by Harvey, for he's the big digger.

I'm one who collects heart shaped rocks and just the other day when scooping the litter boxes..
Well.. I found a heart shaped scoop:)
Needless to say I didn't save it, but I'm always finding hearts in my life, in one form or another.
You all my art & animal friends too are the hearts that surround me..
I'm taking the perfectly shaped hole as a sign, that things will be alright and that should we have to close up, we have saved many, many little lives and I will continue on in whatever way I can with the animals.
No regrets, only gratitude that we have lasted this long.
I have learned so much about animal care, welfare and mostly the lessons they have taught me about love.
But with a little luck and some help from my friends I'm hoping we'll be around for a long time to come:)

"A Place To Bark" is now registered with Network For Good.
This organization helps take care of the donation bookeeping, with providing you, receipts and donation history, not only to my rescue, but to any other charity registered with them.
Claudine of course was equally excited and dropped everthing this morning to make my charity badge so we can keep track of donations made.

I first learned about Network For Good thru Six Degrees.
Six Degrees is a charitable initiative of Kevin Bacon in partnership with Network For Good.

I am asking that those of you who believe in what I am doing, to help spread the word and this charity badge to your blogs and websites. Together we can help the animals and continue on..

Blessings and Light to you all...
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Tuesdays News..

Today was a busy, busy day..
Whoa!!! I'm pooped, but did get quite a few things done.

We got a new little one in. Her name is "Tiny" and she is, about 4-5 pounds. I was told she is a long hair Chihuahua, but I'm thinking she has some Pom in her. Very much though the Chihuahua temperment. Scared to death at the pound, she would have never had a chance. She warmed up to me pretty quickly.

A more mature gal, who has some hair issues. She has a stripe down her back that is missing hair.
She'll have to go to an experienced Chihuahua home.

I'm starting to prepare for the next transport which will be the week of Memorial day.
So much to do, where does the time go??
These guys I'll be doing private adoptions for, they are fixed and ready to go. I do fewer private adoptions these days due soley to the numbers we have been taking in. The Humane Societies have a much better viewer audience and lets face it, a better place to showcase the animals. I do the private adoptions, so that I have some long term connections and get to know how they are doing. I will say, that the Humane Society is very good about sharing where the animals have come from and I do get updates from the owners who adopt from them.

Here are our guys ready to go:

"Harvey" is a male Great Pyrenees, approximately 2-4 years of age. SUPER Sweet, laid back, good with other dogs & housebroken. He is a guy who drools and is very hairy, please consider this when thinking of adopting him. A once a month appointment with the groomer will make help the hair situation greatly & keep his coat fabulous. He is a very handsome guy who never wants to be too far from your side. Great Studio dog, keeps my feet warm:)

"Paris" A female Golden Retriever/Collie Mix. She is a year and a half. Great dog!! Loves people, good with other dogs, loves to play, carry toys around, gives you high five, sits and is housebroken. She is a talker though, so just to warn you if you want a quieter dog.

"Mandy" A female Australian Shepherd. She is approximately 2-4 years of age. Recommend for experienced owners of this breed. Loyal to her owner, she will guard the property. Wary of strangers. Loves to herd. She is very active and would be a great agility dog. She picks and chooses who she likes, does best with male dogs.

"Peepers" A female Rhodesian Ridgeback/Catahoula Mix. She is 1-2 years of age. Loves people, good with other dogs, mostly housebroken, fully crate trained. Loves to run and plays hard!!

Cats & Kittens, Oh My!!!

Well once again it's that time of year that we have little ones..
I am very happy for these guys will have places to go with the contacts we have made over the past year:)
If there is a special someone you see, please feel free to contact me in regard to a private adoption.
Otherwise they will be on their way to humane societies Chicago or Wisconsin or Nashville Cat Rescue in 3 weeks.

This litter of kittens is so darling!! Exotic mixes. Siamese mom and dad was part Siamese, he looked like a Snowshoe mix.
Our friends at the fix foundation took him in and the mom will be going there as soon as she is done nursing.
This mom is also nursing, an add in kitten that I found at animal control by itself.
He was only a few days old and almost dead, but she is taking good care of him, I'll post a picture in a few days.

This litter there are 2 black kittens, 1 orange and a tiger striped. They came in with eye infections and are doing well.
Their mom is a dilute calico. Very nice girl!!
The picture of her was taken at the pound, I haven't had a chance to get pics of her here.

We also have a litter of 5 tuxedo kittens, one of which is featured at the top..
So that is the cat news for today..
This post is dedicated to my friend Claudine, my biggest cat fan:)
Have a GREAT day!!
Monday, May 14, 2007
Be Careful what you wish for..

They always say to be careful what you wish for..
Life has a funny way of making things happen if you believe.
My grandfather use to say to me "Belief Gets You There.."
Just have Faith & Patience, never questioning what lies ahead, just living in the moment..
He was a very wise man, I miss everyday of my life..
We have had some really great things happen lately, that I would like to share with you!!
Because you are all a part of what I do:)

I will be receiving sponsorship for my vaccinnes & much needed medical supplies, not everything, but a good amount:)

Just to give you an idea of the costs we absorb, one tray of Distemper/Parvo vaccine, 25 shots is $125.00, Bordetella $56.00 for 25, my wormer for a big bottle of Panacur $108.00, not to mention we go thru about 40 pounds of food a day when we have large amounts of dogs/puppies, like we do lately. All animals have 2 rounds of shots before they leave here, they are quarantined here for 3 weeks or until well. Our antibiotics are very costly and when they do have kennel cough we go thru 500 tablets easily. Also, each and every animal is Frontlined and if you have pets you know how costly that is.
By doing this, the care, the quarantine we are truly creating a no kill vision.
When they get to the Humane Societies they are healthy, they get fixed and are up for adoption within days of arriving.

I have recieved confirmation that I will have sponsorship for my health certificates.
Each and every animal that is transported to another state, by law must have one.
So all along, the health certs that we have been paying for, cost ten to fifteen dollars per animal.
In a 400 animal year, it sure adds up.

Our van we rent to transport is several hundred dollars not to mention gas for the 8-10 hour drive, depending if I'm going to Chicago or Wisconsin.

One day at a time, we are slowly getting to where we need to be..

The vet bills are six thousand dollars & Noel still needs her ear surgery.
If I can't catch up, I will be forced to close.

I am taking this next transport of dogs up at the end of this month and need to stop till I've raised enough money to continue.
It saddens me, for now that we are finally getting to a place that help is available, a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, I'm at a crossroads.
I'm sure the answers will come..
I will take some time to reorganize, get the remainder of the art auction items up and do some selling of my antique postcard and book collections. Yes, there are still many art pieces here that I just haven't found the time to list. Time gets away from me with all these pets to care for. Not to mention I also need time to do some much needed paperwork.
So the next few months will dictate the future of our rescue.
I will be also looking into taking some grant writing courses.
This post was very hard for me to write.. I've learned to swallow my pride when it comes to asking for things for the animals, it still is very hard and even harder when your eyes have been opened and seen what goes on in the world..
Whatever way it will be, I will always be involved with the animals one way or another, so we'll see what fate has in store for me..
Blessing and Light to you all..

New Faces...

The next transport will be our largest ever and I may either have to recruit friends or take two trips, a week apart to get all these guys to the Humane Societies. We have 52 puppies here.. Yes:( That many...
They are spread out in our different runs, thank goodness we have a few big ones 30x30 large enough for many of them to play together and have a swimming pool. It's been hot here!!
Sad but true, I've left many behind, I just can't take any more. This county need a spay and neuter program in the worst way.

We also have 10 adults here who are just the sweetest!!
Here are a few..

"Charro" A female Daschund, possibly a mix. Brindle in color, approximately 2-4 years of age. Super outgoing, loves to jump from the floor into your arms, good with other dogs.

"Moxie" A female Chihuahua/Min Pin mix. Approximately 1-3 years of age. SWEET!!! Shy at first, but just darling after she gets to know you. 6-8 pounds. She is good with other dogs.

"Gigi" a female Yorkie approximately 2-4 years of age. Super sweet, but very Yorkie!!

I don't have much time to do much these days, I'm very regimented in daily tasks and my teaching schedule is scheduled out around my transports. So if you are waiting for an e-mail from me, I am so very, very sorry..
Gotta run, will post more pics later..
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Dedicated to Mothers Everywhere...
My thoughts are with Mothers everywhere today..
You are the people who shape the adults of tomorrow..
Teaching them how to be good and decent human beings when they grow up.
I know many of you read my blog and so do your children, I just wanted to say "Thank YOU!!"
Thank you for teaching your children, love and compassion, for the animals.
It give me hope for the future, when at times I'm so sad at the state of all the unwanted pets that come into my life.
I have had the pleasure of meeting so many children, who have left their mark on my heart.
Those children who care, comfort and show act of kindness to our furry friends.
When people say I wish I could do more..
You do so much more than you think, by teaching our little ones..
Give yourselves a pat on the back, hug your kids and your pets. You're the BEST!!!

A few stories to make you smile..

On my last teaching trip to Boston, I had surprize visitors who drove up from Maine.
Quite the handsome, strong but silent type.. His name is Ian. Very wise beyond his years and an avid animal lover.
His mother brought him up to give me a donation that he raised himself.
An amazing act of kindness, he sold his special chocolates to help my animals.
His mother, Catherine is a fellow artist/author and just all around talented lady!!
Check her book out HERE.

Here is another handsome fellow, this is "Tristan".
His mom and him rescued a pregnant beagle/daschund from the pound and gave her a safe place, to have her babies, till she could find someone to take them.
All the pups are here and their eyes just opened.

So much to post..
But need some sleep:)
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
News at The Zoo....

So much to write and post and not enough time in the day..
Our animal control here have been calling me so much lately, even when I was in Boston teaching, with pleas of help, to get animals out so they wouldn't have to put down sweet, good dogs.
They are full to the brim and have to euthanize to make space.
I'm taking in what I can, but so many are left behind...
It truly haunts me, when I have to walk away from them, to choose who comes with me & who I've left behind.
The eyes, the looks of abandonment, the reality that these moments never needed to happen, if pet owners would have had their animals fixed.

We are in such desperate need to build and grow, but at the moment we are so in debt and struggling..
I'm not complaining all rescues face these problems. Just talking out loud.
I have to keep focusing on our successes and not what I can't control, it's so hard and somedays it does bring me to my knees.

Enough of my thoughts, here are some happy pics of those that have made it out and here to the house!!!

This sweet guy I've named "Big Gus" he's so sweet!! A more mature fellow, approximately 4-6 years of age, good with other dogs and just wants to be by your side. He'll be going to Golden Retriever Rescue here in Tennessee.

This is "Arnie" I'm guessing a Cocker Spaniel or a Spaniel mix. Male, approximately 2-4 years of age. He is matted to the skin, I'll be taking him to the groomer tomorrow in hopes we can get him shaved without too much discomfort. Scared to death of everything, but not a fear biter. Just cowers, submissive pees and runs. Good with other dogs and crate trained. Really bad on a leash, but in time I'm sure that will all change. He actually came to me today:) Isn't he handsome!!

This sweet mom, wouldn't let me take her picture.. Camera shy:) She is a female terrier mix. Approximately 1-2 years of age, female, about 17- 20 lbs. Super friendly & loving. Good with other dogs, cats & listens well. She has 5 darling pups.

These guys are so funny!!! Just sweet, happy loving pups:) Beagle/ Blue Heeler mixes.

I have a ton more pics to post, but haven't downloaded them out of my camera.
Not to mention we also took in 3 litters of kittens. I'll post more tomorrow..
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Momma's Journey
I made it home last week, but things were so hectic, I am just now making a moment to post.
I'm fine and thanks so much for those of you that have e-mailed to make sure that something wasn't wrong.
Momma is in her new home, with 4 other hound siblings.
She lives on a lake, in a beautiful home, that is just an amazingly peaceful and beautiful place.
The best part is I will always have contact with her & her family so I will always know how she is:)
I do miss her terribly, but that happens when dogs are here for long periods of time.
Her new parents follow a holistic lifestyle and so Momma is now being fed homemade meals made fresh daily..
Maybe they'll adopt me!!
This pic was taken at our overnite stay at the Red Roof Inn. Highly recommended, very pet friendly.

Pictures say a thousand words and you can tell from these, she is very happy in her new home!!

A Cinderella story this is and we are all a part of it!!
Those of you that are my friends, that support our auctions, that read this blog and donate, this is why we continue on..
Blessed Be...

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A Place to Bark is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible.

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