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New Beginnings Animal Rescue

We're happy to announce that our new partner shelter is none other than the New Beginnings Animal Rescue in Royal Oak, Michigan!

Something I'm coming to realize is that each individual shelter has its own unique personality. New Beginnings really does put forth the extra effort to try and provide a home-like environment for their four-legged residents. Simple touches like pastel painted walls, cat shelves on every corner and the abundance of toys and trinkets destroy the stereotype of cold, cage-ridden shelters.

 When you're a cat, everything and everyone is a toy.

The feeling of comfort transcends through the volunteers, who come in to care for the animals on their own time, as well. Dressed in their own casual clothing and relaxed demeanors, New Beginnings appears to be a refuge for human beings as well. It's a place you could imagine going to after a long day at work or school, and enjoy playing with and caring for the animals. After all, who doesn't love some good old-fashioned pet therapy? Volunteering at New Beginnings would be a wonderful way to spend your days, especially if you're unable to adopt, and you can learn more about it here.

#squadgoals

In a country where nearly half of all shelter pets are euthanized, no-kill shelters remain a beacon of hope for homeless animals in America. New Beginnings epitomizes this concept by not only being filled to the brim with loving animals, but loving foster humans as well. Their network of dedicated staff and volunteers spreads far beyond the brightly colored walls of the rescue and throughout southeast Michigan.

At only 12 weeks old, Pearl was the friendliest kitty and the first to greet us!

New Beginnings is connected to numerous foster families in Oakland County. And in this case, out of sight does not mean out of mind. Although they are temporarily residing in loving homes, these dogs and cats are just as desperately in need of more permanent ones. New Beginnings regularly hosts adoption events where you can meet all of these animals and you can find one near you here.

Times are tough and one of the main reason families are forced to give up their beloved pets is because they can no longer afford to feed them. NBAR is an exemplary rescue because it not only provides amazing care for the animals currently in their custody, but they are also fighting to keep families, who are struggling to properly feed their pets, together. The shelter provides a pet food pantry to families who have hit a rough patch and need a little extra help feeding their furry family members. But this pantry depends on monetary and food donations from the kind people who can afford to do so. Help us help this incredible shelter by purchasing any of our products, or making a direct contribution yourself!

Why Black Pets Are Less Likely to Be Adopted

The periodic visits to our partner animal shelters may very well be my favorite part of this job. I get to play with an array of different animals, as well as provide an update on the state of the animals that our generous customers are donating to. However, this particular visit to our current partner, the Michigan Animal Rescue League, had a peculiarity about it. 

You see the color of the day was black. As in, over 50% of the animals we saw had black coloring. 

We got to play with a few adorable kittens...

as well as say hello to several adult black cats. 

Leah is still up for adoption!

We've all heard the superstition that black cats cause "bad luck".

 

 "You know, places in the world like Japan, Scotland and Britain actually think I bring good luck"

And terms like "Black Dog Syndrome" are thrown around the internet to describe the negative stigma that people often associate with big, black dogs. Shelter workers often have to reassure potential adopters that this is not the case.

Spencer is a loving Lab/ German Shepherd mix and still up for adoption!

Now it may just be a coincidence that these black cats and dogs were at MARL during the time of our visit. No studies have been able to provide statistics backing things like Black Dog Syndrome but the stereotype still lingers, with shelters worldwide providing the same anecdotal evidence. Many shelters have even gone so far as to hold special events for their furry black residents, or waiving their adoption fees when the population grows to be too overwhelming.

Some animal shelters in the U.S. even prohibit the adoption of black cats around the time of Halloween out of fear that the animals may be tortured or used as living props and then discarded.

We can, as always, blame the media. Black dogs and cats are often portrayed as evil or villainous...

"Bow down to your canine overlord"

or we can blame ourselves, for perpetuating the idea that the appearance on the outside has anything at all to do with the personality on the inside. But pointing a finger does nothing, so here are some tips to help end the stereotype. 

Black animals don't often photograph as well as their lighter counterparts. In fact, there was a recent internet rumor that the reason people were less likely to adopt black pets was because they were harder to take selfies with. While that is just complete garbage, it does makes sense why a shadowy, dark picture could discourage a potential adopter browsing pictures at a shelter from choosing that animal over others.

Some photography tips include photographing darker animals in front of brighter backgrounds. Also, try increasing the brightness or exposure to bring out their features, 

 or lowering the contrast to decrease harsh shadows,

and if all else fails, change the Instagram filter...

For those looking to adopt, consider steering clear of the internet all together and, instead, scheduling a visit with your local shelter. You'll learn far more about an animal's personality while interacting with them in person than you ever could from a photograph.

Michigan Animal Rescue League

*Drumroll, please*
We are so proud to announce our first 10% partner on our new website will be one not too far from our own HQ. The Michigan Animal Rescue League is an independent animal shelter located in Pontiac, Michigan. They offer refuge to a diverse group of pets from baby kittens to senior dogs, all of whom are looking for a home and some humans to spend the rest of their lives with. These people are truly in the business of saving lives. Unlike other facilities, MARL provides a safe haven for the animals they rescue, whether it be for a couple weeks, months or the remainder of their nine lives. They do not euthanize animals except when injury, disease or temperament make other options impossible. This means that they house many long-term residents. For someone like myself who is unable to adopt a pet, it puts my mind at ease knowing that there are places like MARL who are doing their best to give each and every one of their animals a second chance. Although they make caring for all of these animals seem easy, MARL is still an independent facility and deserves all the help that it can get. From now until September 2015, we will donate 10% of all the profits from the items you purchase directly to the Michigan Animal Rescue League.


MARL

Welcoming. If I could use only one word to describe my experience at the Michigan Animal Rescue League it would be "welcoming". Luckily, this is my blog and I can use many more words to tell you exactly why that is. The staff members were extremely hospitable, introducing us to all the four-legged characters that called the shelter "home" and inviting us to accompany them as they took various dogs outside to play, so that we could take pictures. Mind you, this kindness was shown even before they knew we were planning on donating to them. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.



Meeko, the Chihuahua

The animals themselves were equally as friendly. Every single puppy dog greeted you as enthusiastically as if you were their owner returning from a long day at work. Each tiny kitten used their entire body's strength to dance around you in the play rooms. Several of the other cats pushed their heads and paws up against their glass doors, singing "hellos" and "goodbyes", as humans passed. I think it's safe to assume that the kind temperament of all the animals is a direct result of the kindness they are handled with on a daily basis.
Now on to the best part. The animals.

Cats


Kitties
Milkshake (left), Soda (middle) and Whip (right)

There isn't any way that whatever you're doing right now wouldn't be exponentially better with one of these little guys crawling on you. 

Whip, a 2 month old, Siamese mix


Soda, the hetero-chromatic cutie

Seriously. If you're not fawning right now, I regret to inform you that you're missing a soul.



Kia, a 3-month-old mackerel tabby.

Kia is the sweetest little girl and the last of her litter. Her brother got adopted while we were at the shelter, leaving the poor baby alone. Kia has a gentle demeanor and a gorgeous mackerel fur coat.



Symphony, a 7-year-old long hair domestic snugglebutt

Symphony was very calm compared to her little kitty counterparts. She loves attention and would be a very loving addition to any home!


Dogs


It's a dream of mine to sit outside on a nice summer day while friendly people bring out puppy after puppy for me to play with. That dream was realized during my visit to the Michigan Animal Rescue League. Respect.



Lady, a 9-year-old mini-Alaskan Eskimo/ Lab mix

THE SWEETEST GIRL EVER. From the second we walked into the room, she had one mission and one mission only. To steal all the cuddles. We couldn't even get a picture with her alone. Her former owners could no longer take care of her and she's just waiting to unleash all of her love on a family worthy of all of this cuteness.


Charlie, an 8-year-old beagle

Charlie is another lover. He was so excited to come outside and play in the fresh air, but came right out over when we called his name. He'd be the perfect lap dog to keep you company while you eat, sleep or laze around with inordinate amounts of Netflix.

A lovely staff member shares treats and kisses
 
Brenda and Legolas, two 2-year-old Basenji mixes

It was almost impossible to get a picture of this dynamic duo, they were so happy to be able to play outside! And just look at how excited they were to see their favorite staff member! Both of these pups have been at the shelter for over a year now and deserve to have a home in which they can run and play freely. Once they warm up to you, both dogs can transition seamlessly between being the perfect play pal to the lazy lap dog of your dreams.


Ignore my goofy smile and take a gander at Brenda's adorable mug
She looks so done with our incessant picture taking.

Brother Legolas was never far behind


Manny, a 5-year-old Manchester Terrier mix
 
Manny was a little shy until we offered him a token of our affection (a squeaky toy). He's a spunky little guy who loves to explore. Come meet your new adventure buddy today! 

 
Saying hello to his neighbor

The Michigan Animal Rescue League is one of the best shelters I've ever been to but it still doesn't compare to a forever home. Each one of these glorious creatures deserves to find a caring family and you can help make that happen. Purchase one of our products to make a contribution or simply spread the word. To find out more about the Michigan Animal Rescue League or donate directly visit www.michigananimalrescueleague.org