Our June donation goes to two wonderful organizations: Red Door Animal Shelter and Greyhounds Only.
Red Door is dear to me because it connected me with my bestie, Cheddar, some 15 happy years ago. That's him over there snoozing.
In addition to being a wonderful shelter for cats, they are also a safe haven for rabbits. Last week, Red Door volunteers endured extreme heat to find and capture 32 rabbits – adults, teens, pregnant moms and 15 babies – from a bad situation in Dekalb, IL. (Click here for the full story.)
"All of these Dekalb rabbits are sick with parasites, bite wounds, infections and ear mites. (Plus) each of the 36+ bunnies will need to be spay/neutered. All funds raised will be divided among the rescue groups that have taken in these poor souls."
Greyhounds Only is a not-for-profit greyhound rescue and adoption group based in Northeastern Illinois. They take in retired racing greyhounds from all over the country and find them good homes. This donation is part of a wedding present for my two friends (and former co-workers) Steve and Kathy. Kathy has a soft spot for greyhounds and opened my eyes to the negative side of dog racing.
A big thanks to both of these fine organizations for their dedication!
Our May donation is actually for a celebrated June event: the PAWS Chicago 5K!
Party Animals donated boxes of Scented Sidewalk Chalk for the treat bags of runners and walkers who raised $250 or more in donations. A big round of applause for everyone who participated!!
PAWS Chicago was launched in 1998 with an adoption event, Angels with Tails. The message that homeless pets needed to be saved was taken to the public. Before that, very few people knew about what happened to homeless animals, or were aware of pet overpopulation. They certainly did not know the vast majority of homeless animals were being euthanised.
"Through it all, the growth and evolution of PAWS Chicago has been driven by public awareness and the recognition that every person can take action to help homeless pets. This has culminated into a collective action that has had transformative results, with the killing in Chicago declining by more than 80% since PAWS Chicago’s founding." (photo courtesy of PAWSChicago website).
Woop woop! Whip up this simple but delish pudding to celebrate!
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 cups (500 mL) skim milk
1 cup (250 mL) cocoa powder, sifted
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup (60 mL) honey
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
Pinch each cinnamon and salt
1 cup (250 mL) fresh raspberries
In nonreactive saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, milk, cocoa powder and sugar over medium heat; cook, whisking constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture comes to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
In food processor, combine avocado, banana, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and cooled pudding mixture. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down side of bowl if necessary. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until set. Serve in individual bowls; top with raspberries.
I think Spring is finally sticking around! Of course, Mother Nature always has the final say but it looks like May is off to a great start!
And what would Spring be without blooming flowers! So our April donation is going to The Honeybee Conservancy. I know bees are not animals but they are vitally important and need all the help they can get: one in three bites of food we eat depends entirely on bees – and they are dying out.
The Honeybee Conservancy is a non-profit organization that works to help bees, while increasing access to organic, sustainable food in under-served communities. Check out their website and see how you can help, too!
In honor of Dusty's birthday, our March donation goes to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN. They provide elephants, retired from zoos and circuses, with herd, home, and individualized veterinary and husbandry care for life.
Elephants that have lived their lives in captivity have an opportunity at The Sanctuary to live in an expansive habitat that allows for a range of natural behaviors. Many of the elephants suffer long-term health and complex behavioral issues common to elephants that have spent their lives in captivity, such as tuberculosis, osteomyelitis, obesity, arthritis, and aggression. Because elephants have complex physical and social needs, successful outcomes are measured not only by the elephant’s physical health, but also their social, behavioral and psychological well-being.
To give the elephants full rehabilitation, the sanctuary is closed to the public but you can view them by watching Elecams, live streams of the habitat.
Dusty's favorite Birthday treat is one (or twenty) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. He especially likes them when they are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. The special secret is to soak the raisins beforehand so they get plump and moist. Try this:
1 cup butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 T vanilla
1 -1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinammon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cups oatmeal (quick cooking or old fashioned, not instant)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Soak the raisins: beat eggs and vanilla together and then add the raisins, stir. Soak for an hour or two.
Preheat to 350 F
Cream butter and sugars with mixer. In a seperate bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, cinammon, ginger & nutmeg.
Stir the dry ingredients until well blended. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix well.
Add in the egg & raisin mixture. Add oatmeal and the optional chocolate chips/nuts and combine well.
Form into balls on cookie sheet. Bake 10-13 minutes, depending on your oven (keep a watch out). Let cool on cookie sheet for 2-5 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to wire rack.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies (large ones) or about 4 dozen smaller ones.
Happy March! We're giving Stretch the Giraffe some love today with our February donation: the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
Giraffes, as a species, have been listed as 'VULNERABLE' on the list of threatened species (two subspecies, the West African and the Rothschild, are considered 'ENDANGERED'). Numbers of giraffe have plummeted by 40% over the last 30 years, due to habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation together with human population growth and illegal hunting. In some areas traditionally regarded as prime giraffe real estate, numbers have dropped by more than 95%!
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is hard at work to reverse this alarming decline, and we applaud their efforts! Check out their website to learn more about what they do and facts about this amazing animal.
In honor of Tiki's birthday, our January donation is to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center (EFRC) in Center Point, Indiana. With about 200 exotic felines, they are one of the largest rescue centers in the United States for abused, unwanted and neglected exotic felines. When you visit you will see lions, tigers, leopards, pumas, bobcats, ocelots, lynxes, and several other lesser-known types.
I visited several years ago (I'm due for another road trip!) and here is a photo I took then:
Center Point is about 60 miles southwest of Indianapolis and about 4 hours drive from Chicago; if you're ever in the area, I strongly encourage you to visit. You can even arrange to stay overnight and awaken to the roars of the cats! That is definitely on my bucket list.
Thanks to everyone at EFRC for their dedication to these beautiful animals.
And the Party Animals are ready to celebrate!
Here's an easy recipe for them. You'll need 24 cupcakes liners. That's a party!!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
Cream together the butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the food coloring and buttermilk and mix until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the vinegar and mix, then the vanilla and mix until just combined (do not overmix).
Fill each cupcake liner with batter, just more than halfway. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool while you make the frosting...
Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes on med/high speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add in confectioners sugar, mixing well to combine. Stir in vanilla extract until incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to frost cupcakes. Don't frost cupcakes until they are completely cool, or the frosting will start to melt!
Wishing everyone nothing but blessings throughout the year!
Our December donation goes to the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, or CBCM, an all-volunteer bird conservation project.
This past July, I saw a pigeon crouched on the patio table out on my back deck. It was late afternoon and still quite warm, so I had the back door open, and kept watching through the screen door to see what it would do (my cat kept a keen eye too). After a few hours it still hadn't moved much, and I realized it may be hurt or ill. So I googled around and found the CBCM. They were very helpful and a volunteer told me they were heading out to the western suburbs the next day, to a pigeon sanctuary. She said if I could get the bird in a paper bag and deliver to a drop-off point in the city, they would take it and give it any medical attention it needed.
Sadly, I'm fairly certain that when I gently picked it up off the table it was not alive anymore. But I brought it to the drop point anyway. I'd never experienced anything like that before; I was really sad but touched that it had passed in peace in my little corner of the outside, away from any harm. Anyway, I am grateful for this organization and its dedicated volunteers.