Archive for the 'Charity' Category

Picking Up Where Bob Barker Left Off… Have Your Pet Spayed or Neutered!

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I am of the opinion that responsible pet owners should spay and neuter most of their cats and dogs. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the PSA that Bob Barker made after every airing of “The Price is Right” but I do know that I heard him say have your pet spayed or neutered hundreds of times. My mom watched the show regularly and it was on during the siesta that we always took during hay making season.

But what about neutering stray cats? My daughters spent last summer regularly volunteering at an SPCA on Gozo. One of this organization’s goals was to neuter and spay ALL of the feral cats on the island. I thought that this goal would someday make for an interesting metaphor. That day has not yet come. Unlike many other SPCAs in the world, the one in Gozo has a very well-contained and quantifiable problem, but it still a big problem. I recently read a letter sent to the editor that was written by a visitor to the island. She praised the efforts of the SPCA and went on to say that the health and relative happiness of the feral cats on the island influences her decision of where to vacation. I am presently living in another country with a less healthy feral cat population and I can see how that can impact people who are extra sensitive to the plight of cats.

I am under the impression that the SPCA’s main reason for neutering feral cats is so that the reduced population will translate to better welfare for the remaining individuals. While doing a bit of research I discovered that wildlife conservationists make a strong case against feral cat populations. They also want cat owners to keep their pets indoors. Cats kill small birds and animals and they will do so even if they are provided with adequate nutrition by well meaning individuals. Without a neutering program, feral cat populations will usually increase in number rather than health when people supply additional food.

I have some compassion for feral cats and my daughters have lots of it. If you feed stray cats, please take some time to read through It is primarily a site promoting participation in (and donations to) Trap-Neuter-Return programs and it has a lot of resource material.

Used Shoes are Awesome

Friday, November 21st, 2008

With the World Economy in a desperate state, I am picturing lots of people considering cost saving measures that they would have scoffed at a few months ago. I am presently living in a different part of the World with a different economy. Used shoes are sold in surprising quantities around the corner from the main food market. Some are in small shops and some are laid out on carpets on the sidewalk.

I am not an enthusiastic shoe browser, but I have developed an eye for them while keeping a close eye on my shoe obsessed kids. The surprising thing about the used shoe market is the high proportion of very well made shoes. My memories of North America are getting fuzzier, but I seem to recall used shoes being a very stigmatized product. Anybody who would be so gauche as to sell shoes at a yard sale would have to practically give them away. Here, the market value approximates the degree of utility and the style. I have walked about 30 miles in another man’s shoes so far this month and I feel think that I spent my seven bucks wisely.

yellow shoes


If You Haven’t Got a Penny…

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

People’s grave concerns about the economy are bound to affect how they celebrate Christmas this year.

Christmas parties are already being canceled
by cash strapped employers. There is no talk of this year’s Tickle Me Elmo.

My wife and I made a no Christmas presents pact years ago. It was not entirely a financial decision. Gift giving can be stressful for many of us.

Food is going to be a major focus of Christmas in my house this year. Free streaming Christmas music will probably play a role as well.