Wednesday February 8th, 2023

Join Jameson Humane in Celebrating National Pet Dental Health Month

by Jeffrey Richard, Jameson Humane Volunteer

A key component of Jameson Humane’s mission is promotion of the health and well-being of all animals. Accordingly, Jameson asks our readers to take note and celebrate National Pet Dental Health month in February. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website ( includes this advice:

“Don't turn your nose to your pet's bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk. Dental health is a critical part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems.  That's why the AVMA sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February. Take part by learning more about how you can improve the dental (and overall) health of your pets.”

During this year’s National Pet Dental Health month (and regularly thereafter), people should:

  • Take pets for a regular veterinary check-up that will include examination of their mouth.
  • Softly brush their pets’ teeth using a toothbrush and toothpaste made for the species. (See specific advice below on steps to take in order to ease into brushing your pets’ teeth at home.  Note: only one percent of pet owners brush their pet’s teeth.)
  • Follow a balanced diet for pets.
  • Look for foods that are certified for Veterinary Oral Health Care (VOHC) on the packaging.
  • Look for warning signs of dental problems such as bad breath, swollen gums, brownish tartar deposits along the gum line, and bleeding.
  • Notice behavior such as pawing at their mouths or faces, which might indicate dental pain.


The AVMA website provides a step-by-step instructional video describing what you can do at home to help maintain pets’ dental health.  In addition to having a veterinarian check the animal’s teeth and gums at least once a year, people should take the following steps to help maintain a pet’s dental health:

  • Buy toothpaste and brushes designed for pets. Never use human toothpaste.
  • Brush your pets’ teeth daily but first gradually introduce them to the process:
    • Show them the pet the brush and paste and leave the items out for a week or so to let the pets get used to them.
    • For at least several days up to two weeks, before actually brushing, rub a little bit of paste on their gums to get them used to it, and give praise and treats to help associate the toothpaste application process with good things.
    • Introduce them to the brush, put some paste on the bristles and let them lick it off. Again, accompany this with lots of praise and some treats.
    • Once they are used to the brush and the paste, then begin with a little slow brushing of the teeth and gumline in one area, again with lots of praise and rewards.
    • Gradually work up to a complete brushing for about 30 seconds.
  • Give pets those products that are helpful in reducing tartar and plaque such as water or food additives.
  • Give pets treats that are specifically designed to reduce tartar and plaque. Rawhide may be okay but check with your vet first.

Veterinary services are necessary for more significant dental care, including regular cleaning and other steps such as tooth extraction.  For those services, it is particularly important that pet owners understand the need for anesthesia.   The AVMA explains in detail anesthesia and pre-anesthesia and post-anesthesia procedures and things to expect.  The website provides a list of things people can do to prepare their pet for anesthesia and reduce the risk to their pets:

  • Let your veterinarian know if your pet has ever had a reaction to sedation or anesthesia.
  • Make sure your veterinarian is aware of all medications and supplements (including over-the-counter products) your pet is receiving.
  • Keep your pet at a healthy weight.
  • Follow your veterinarian's instructions before anesthesia, especially with regards to withholding food and/or water.
  • Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding any medications you should – or should not – give to your pet prior to anesthesia.


Join Us for Veganuary

Tuesday January 17th, 2023

Join Jameson Humane in Celebrating and Experiencing “Veganuary”

by Jeffrey Richard, Jameson Humane Volunteer

Veganuary is a global campaign to spread awareness about our food system and to create a kinder, more compassionate world where animals are not bred for slaughter or for products that damage our environment and our health. Veganuary is a great chance to explore an alternative way of eating, and to experience first-hand how each of us can have a positive impact on the world around us simply by making small changes to the way we eat, what we wear, and our overall understanding and appreciation of animals as sentient beings.

Celebrating Veganuary is one way Jameson Humane advocates for “Veganic Living” or “Veganics.” Veganics is a holistic, plant-based way of living — one which excludes the consumption of all animal products including food, cosmetics, and clothing. Jameson recognizes that the transition to Veganic Living may not be easy for many people. Jameson encourages people to make the transition at their own pace. But the benefits of a vegan diet for humans, animals, and the world itself are well-established in climatological, dietary, and sociological studies and can be joyfully and directly experienced through culinary exploration.

Veganic Living Makes Sense for the Sake of the World’s Future and Our Quality of Life

A strong case for veganism is presented by Jeannie Hudkins, a guest blogger on the Jameson Humane website, in her post of January 10, 2022, which you can find here:

Ms. Hudkins makes many powerful arguments in favor of veganism, including:

  • “Animal agriculture alone creates the most climate-harming emissions, surpassing even the combined emissions of all cars, planes, trucks, buses, and trains. The meat industry (Cargill, Tyson, JBS) now produces more greenhouse emissions than the fossil fuel industry (Exxon, Shell, BP). A whopping 51% of our nation’s heat-trapping emissions come from animal agriculture, including all processes from the gestation and birth of a food animal to its slaughter, processing, and packaging as meat and dairy products.”
  • Animal waste disposed in the world’s streams finds its way to large rivers like the Mississippi and ultimately to the ocean. This has resulted in creation of dead zones in the oceans, in which neither aquatic animals nor plants can survive. Ms. Hudkins reports that there are now 150 such dead zones in the world.
  • The water used to raise 11 billion farmed animals, including the water used to grow the crops that feed those animals, accounts for nearly one-third of fresh water usage in the world, seriously depleting aquifers around the world.
  • Animal farming has a direct and catastrophic impact in deforestation of the world’s rainforests. The loss of nearly 70 percent of the world’s rainforests just in the past few decades has contributed to the disruption of the carbon dioxide balance in the world and has greatly accelerated climate change.
  • Fish-farming is a huge source of methane gas production.
  • A plant-based diet would avoid all of those harmful consequences. Ms. Hudkins makes the following plea: “If you ate plant-based foods for one month, you would reduce over 600 pounds of harmful carbon emissions, save over 900 square feet of rainforest, conserve 300,000 gallons of fresh water, and spare the lives of 30 animals. Switching to a plant-based diet, you will single-handedly contribute to cleansing our waters, clearing our air, renourishing our soils, restoring our forests, and rewilding our oceans.”

Such conclusions are supported by authorities and scientific studies around the world. Research by the University of Oxford (UK) concludes that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – while still providing enough food to feed the world.  “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The World Animal Foundation echoes these findings: “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution. It is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry. Factory farms are a primary driver of topsoil erosion, rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss and ocean dead zones. It takes 12 times as much land, 13 times more fuel and 15 times more water to make a pound of animal protein than to make a pound of plant protein.”  (World Animal Foundation, )

Vegan Food is Delicious!!

People everywhere have discovered the pleasures and health benefits of vegan dining. Vegan and vegetarian restaurants and food options in our markets are flourishing. And even for those people who have been raised to enjoy the flavor and texture of meat, miraculous strides have been made in producing plant-based foods that satisfy their palates by mimicking those traits of a carnivorous diet.

The Jameson Humane team has been fully embracing the fun of trying out new recipes and products as well as myth-busting and learning all kinds of interesting and eye-opening facts about veganism. Click on the following link to sign up for Jameson's Veganuary, so that you will receive all the tips, recipes, and even special offers from vegan-based companies to get you started on your journey:

To see some of the fantastic vegan recipes, restaurant options, retail sources and delicious dishes Jameson Humane staff have found, as well as some fun facts and interesting myth-busting, explore the following posts:





Animal Companions Make Us Healthier

Monday December 5th, 2022

Animal Companions Make Us Healthier

By Jeffrey Richard, Jameson Volunteer

The final weeks of each year bring occasions for thankfulness, celebration, expressions of love, and renewed hope as we look forward to the new year. Feelings of comfort and joy are particularly evident among those who are blessed by the presence of animals in their lives. Jameson Humane has initiated a new program called Animal Assisted Healing, which seeks to maximize the benefits we humans can receive by connecting with and helping care for Jameson’s rescued animals (see program description below). 

According to a 2020 article about the health benefits of animal companionship on the website of the senior-support organization, Barclay Friends: “In 2017, there were approximately 90 million dog and 96 million cat owners in the United States. Three years later, the pandemic has caused a surge in pet adoptions to the point where demand is outweighing supply.”  (Seniors and Pets, A Pawsome Combination,

Why have so many more people brought animals into their lives during these anxious and uncertain times? They seem to have an instinctive appreciation of the comfort that can come from caring for cats, dogs, and other animal companions. Whether those seeking animal companions know it or not, it is widely accepted that pets can improve our physical and mental health. The Barclay Friends article summarizes some of the impacts of having animal companions:

  • Lowered cortisol, a stress hormone, and increased serotonin and dopamine, hormones associated with happiness and well-being
  • Lowered blood pressure, heart rate and serum triglycerides
  • Increased daily exercise in petting, lifting, grooming . . .
  • Lowered risk of depression and stress-induced disease

The benefits we derive from having animal companions seem to transcend those things that can be measured.  In The Power of Pets, Health Benefits of Human-Animal Interactions, the National Institutes of Health describe the tangible and intangible benefits of pets: 

Nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. The unconditional love of a pet can do more than keep you company. Pets may also decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills. 

. . . .

Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.


Dogs and cats (each in their own way) can help people who are struggling with anxiety or illness by helping them focus on the here and now – an ability or perspective commonly referred to as mindfulness. According to the NIH article:

“Dogs are very present. If someone is struggling with something, they know how to sit there and be loving,” says Dr. Ann Berger, a physician and researcher at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. “Their attention is focused on the person all the time.”

Berger works with people who have cancer and terminal illnesses. She teaches them about mindfulness to help decrease stress and manage pain.

“The foundations of mindfulness include attention, intention, compassion, and awareness,” Berger says. “All of those things are things that animals bring to the table. People kind of have to learn it. Animals do this innately.”

The Human-Animal Bond

People enjoy a heightened sense of self-worth in caring for their pets and other animals and in turn are comforted when animals reciprocate with affection and support. Those of us who have developed bonds with pets know this to be true. The physical and mental mechanisms at play are complex from a medical and psychological perspective.  But we don’t need to understand the neurological details; we know intuitively (and from our experience) that caring for animals fulfills our need to be needed.  Nothing beats the joy we feel when our pets rush to greet us when we come home to them.  And we are immensely satisfied by fulfilling our responsibility to love and nurture our hairy or feathery friends.

The formation of a bond of comfort and love between a human and an animal is better described by a poem than by scientific data:

Fit to Be Tied (by Jeff Richard, Nov. 2022)

When we met

You shied away

No loving looks

No happy dog games to play

I knew time must

Pass to trust

For you to see

All the good in me

To love and to share

As a fit-for-purpose pair

Two souls who found

A tie to be bound


Jameson Humane’s Animal Assisted Healing Program

Jameson Humane has long known and been inspired by the positive impacts that relationships with animals have on humans; in fact, this is one of the factors that have motivated many staff members and volunteers to join the work of Jameson Humane. Due to the serious psychological challenges so many people have experienced these last few years and the increase in mental health symptoms in our communities, Jameson Humane was called on to start an Animal Assisted Healing Program. This program is centered around the healing benefits of the human-animal bond described above. The Director of Animal Assisted Healing, Mackenzie Lovie, explains:

 “We believe that by allowing members of our community who are dealing with challenges of any kind to come and interact with our rescue animals they will have the opportunity to experience some of that healing power. Our mission for this new program is centered around the belief that our rescue animals can rescue humans with their powerful stories and unconditional love.”

The community thanks and applauds Jameson for the development of this new program and for all of the great work that Jameson does for the sake of animals and humans alike.


Dear Diary

Monday November 14th, 2022

Photo: Hope Hilman on left with Ronnie and Kate Tsyrklevich on right with Scarlett at Heartwood Haven.

Day One

Dear Diary,

Today I opened my eyes for the first time! WOW! I am so excited to experience so many new things! Look out world, HERE I AM!!!

Day Five

Dearest Diary,

Today I made new friends! They are all my age and it was so cool to be part of a family. I haven’t seen any adults around, but I have already grown so much. I bet it’s because there’s an all you can eat buffet. I feel like I am always hungry though. Hmm…now that I mention it, I think I am going to go have a snack! 

Day Twenty Seven

Hey Diary!

Sorry it’s been a while. It’s getting a little cramped in here to write. You would not believe how much I have grown. I overheard some people talking and they said I am looking good. I don’t have a mirror, but it makes me happy to know I am pretty. I try to stay clean, but it’s hard with all my friends in here with me. The sun hasn’t gone down in a while. It’s always so bright, but good news! That means it’s always breakfast time LOL - I wish they would change up the menu some though. The food’s a little bland. Well, I am off to book club.


XO, Jilly (I gave myself a name since no one else did!)

Day Fifty

Hello my Dear Diary!

I just overheard so GREAT news! I get to go to a new house soon! Somewhere called S-Town. I hope I make even more friends there! I can’t wait!!! 



P.S. I quit book club. They said my nails were “stubby” so I bit one of the girls. Luckily, no one else saw. I’ve seen what happened to some of my friends that got caught and it is NOT pretty.

Day Eighty Seven

Hi Diary,

It’s getting a little hard for me to write. I think I may have eaten too much…it hurts my knees to walk… Lucky for me everything is close within reach at all times. Even though I know I shouldn't, I'm just so hungry all the time. I keep over-hearing about S-Town more and more. I can’t wait!!!

Yours truly,

Silly Jilly

Day Ninety Five


It’s happening!!! Most of my friends have already left and I was told in three days I am moving to S-Town!!!! I CAN’T WAIT!!!! I’ll try and write more the day I leave!!! I’m just so excited!!!


Jill Jill, Queen of the Hill

Day Ninety Eight

Hey Diary! I only have a minute to write. I was told I am now 14 weeks old and it’s time! I am headed to S-Town!!! As soon as I get there I promise to write more!

I love you Diary!!!


Day One Hundred

Umm Hey Diary… So…I have a lot to update you on. These last few days have been eventful to say the least. Remember how I told you I was moving to S-Town? Well, get this - it’s not a real place! Well, I mean.. it is, but it sure isn’t where I want to end up. I was just about to get in a truck when instead I was put in the back of a van. The people talk to me! Like, directly to me!!!! And they told me I was headed to a farm sanctuary where I would be safe from slaughter. They said I would be put on a diet (yuck) and get to live out the rest of my long life with friends outside and not in a cage! I will miss my friends…

14 weeks is how long most turkeys get to live before they are sent to slaughter. Turkeys have a natural lifespan of up to 10 years. In the U.S., it is estimated that over 46 million turkeys are slaughtered just for Thanksgiving. That’s more than the entire human population of California, all killed just for one meal on one day. Each one of these animals have their own unique personality but are never given much of a chance to show it. Instead, they are kept in small cramped cages, because any expended energy is weight they may lose. With the high-stress conditions they are kept in, the turkeys can develop habits such as pecking at themselves or their cage mates, which usually results in the farmer mutilating them by cutting off the tips of their beaks and toes. If the turkey is “organic” it means that if there is any illness or disease in the flock, they will not be treated. This includes parasites. Due to the way humans have altered turkeys to grow larger faster, they are no longer able to naturally reproduce, and the hens must be artificially inseminated to produce fertilized eggs. 

Check out some great suggestions from World of Vegan on some dishes you can prepare for a cruelty-free Thanksgiving. Let’s show our friends and family what we are truly thankful for, compassion and kindness for all!

Want to learn more about the lives of turkeys?

World Animal Day: Breaking Common Animal Myths

Tuesday October 4th, 2022

Join the World Animal Day Movement

By Jeffrey Richard, Jameson Volunteer

October 4 is World Animal Day and we celebrate all month long (well, all year, really)! The mission of the World Animal Day movement, as described on its website, is as follows:

“To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals.  It's celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.  Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.”

          Here are some facts about World Animal Day (WOAD):

  • Over 1,000 events are held every year around the world to celebrate the occasion.
  • World Animal Day has 97 Ambassadors in 75 nations.
  • The organization’s grant program has funded numerous projects since the program’s inception in 2014.
  • World Animal Day has been celebrated on October 4 since 1929.

The WOAD website is replete with resources, event schedules, and suggestions as to how you can get involved.  The WOAD’s efforts around the globe bring fresh hope that animals may one day be recognized universally as sentient beings who deserve the same dignity, respect, and kindness that we humans expect. 

Refuting Animal Myths

          In the spirit of affording respect and dignity to all animals, we thought it would be appropriate to examine a few of the widespread myths about certain animals, which have no factual basis or reliable support.

          Are Pigs Unclean?

“Pigs are filthy animals,” says Jules to Vincent in Tarentino’s Pulp Fiction. But contrary to that widely held belief, pigs are not dirty. The National Geographic website for kids notes: “Despite their reputation, pigs are not dirty animals. They’re actually quite clean. The pig’s reputation as a filthy animal comes from its habit of rolling in mud to cool off. Pigs that live in cool, covered environments stay very clean.”,covered%20environments%20stay%20very%20clean.

           Will Touching a Baby Bird Cause Its Mother to Abandon It?

No. Mother birds will not abandon chicks merely because they have been touched by a human. This myth apparently stems from the belief that birds can detect the scent of humans and are put off by it.  According to the Sierra Club: “In fact, most birds have a rather poor sense of smell and are unlikely to readily abandon their young. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should go picking up every young chick you find. Young, seemingly helpless birds often have their mothers close by, carefully watching. Human disturbance (rather than human touch) near a nesting site is far more likely to contribute to a mother bird stranding her young ones.”

          Do Bears Hibernate in the Winter?

No.  The Sierra Club website also offers the following clarification: 

“Ask anyone which animal comes to mind when they hear the word ‘hibernate’ and their response will likely be a brown or black bear. It may be common to picture a burly, fattened-up mama grizzly slumbering away in her winter den deep in the woods while the white snow blankets everything in sight. This follows with the dangerous misconception that sleeping bears are nearly impossible to arouse during the winter months.

“True hibernation occurs when an animal drastically lowers their body temperature to nearly match their surroundings, and sleeps through the winter. Hibernating animals, like woodchucks, appear lifeless and are not easily awakened.

“Bears, on the other hand, exhibit torpor, a shorter-term reduction in body temperature accompanied by lethargy. Heart rate drops, but not as much as that of true hibernators. Though less active than usual, bears in torpor can readily respond to external stimuli. So don’t forget your bear spray on your next snowshoeing trip.”

          Are Bats Blind?

          No, they are not, according to the Norfolk, Virginia Zoo’s website: “Bats are not blind! They can see almost as well as humans can, but at night they can use echolocation, or using echoes from sound waves, to locate meals and places to land. Bats are nocturnal like a lot of other animals, so they prefer to sleep during the day and hunt at night.”

          Will An Ostrich Bury Its Head in the Sand?

          Nope.  The Norfolk, Virginia Zoo website sets the record straight:

“Those pictures you see online of ostriches with their heads in the sand aren’t what you may think. Ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand to hide from predators, but will instead either run or flop on the ground and flatten their heads to blend in with the random vegetation in their surroundings. Ostriches do, however, use their beaks to help dig holes to make nests and hide their eggs in. They will then turn the eggs several times a day. It would be hard for an ostrich to keep their head in the ground as they wouldn’t be able to breathe.”

          Are Daddy Longlegs Venomous Spiders?

Daddy longlegs is the nickname most commonly given to an arachnid whose correct name is the Harvestman. Contrary to the common assertion that daddy longlegs are “the most venomous spiders in the world,” they are neither spiders nor venomous.  Harvestmen no fangs, and have one main body part instead of two.  Source:

          Do Frogs Spread Warts?

“No, amphibians can’t give you warts. Yes, frogs and toads may have little bumps on their skin, but these glands don’t secrete anything. You also can’t get warts from a frog or toad’s urine. Warts are caused by viruses that can only be spread by humans. This one is toadally false and Prince Charming, the African bullfrog might take offense to you blaming him and his friends.”

          Are Black Cats Harbingers of Bad Luck?

In some places (including the U.S.), popular lore suggests that black cats bring bad luck, particularly if they cross your path while walking.  It should be noted, however, that folks in Great Britain and Germany apparently believe that it is good luck to have a black cat cross your path – but only if it crosses from left to right. And Scottish lore indicates that if a strange black cat arrives at a home, this portends prosperity.

But the weight of superstitious belief appears to tip in favor of the belief that black cats bring bad luck as opposed to good.  The historical roots of this belief can be traced back to medieval times.  According to the History Channel’s website:

“Written records link black cats to the occult as far back as the 13th century when an official church document called “Vox in Rama” was issued by Pope Gregory IX on June 13, 1233. “In it, black cats were declared an incarnation of Satan,” says Layla Morgan Wilde, author of Black Cats Tell: True Tales And Inspiring Images. ‘The decree marked the beginning of the inquisition and church-sanctioned heretic and/or witch hunts. Initially it was designed to squash the growing cult of Luciferians in Germany, but quickly spread across Europe.’”

“ . . . Given the belief in medieval Europe that the devil and witches were capable of taking the form of black cats, it makes sense that the superstition surrounding crossing their paths developed, says Phoebe Millerwhite, a folklorist and artist. ‘Therefore, a black cat crossing your path might very well be on a mission from a witch,” she notes. “Just as easily, it could be the devil in disguise—and no one wants to cross paths with the devil. This explains why a black cat crossing your path is considered a bad omen.’”

Nautical lore is particularly hard on black cats.  It is said that if a black cat wanders aboard a ship and then leaves, the ship will sink on its next voyage. Not surprisingly, no reliable research can be found either to support or disprove these myths and superstitions about black cats.

*Note: Jameson Humane believes black cats are some of the sweetest around and can make amazing companions. Bad luck? We think not!

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