Three Ways You Can Save Animals


The Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion on a hunting trip in July sparked a media flurry and got people clamoring about protection for animals.

Americans are animal lovers. In a recent Gallup poll, 32% of us said we believe animals should have the same rights as humans, and 62% believe they deserve some protection.

I’m one of those people. The story and images of the skeletal 2-year old dog found tied up outside a Georgia church this past weekend made me more than cringe. How can anyone be so cruel and heartless?

cc_rileyWhen you share your life with animals and they’ve captured a special place in your heart, you care about what happens to them.  I know my soft spot for animals has grown exponentially since we got our goldendoodle Riley three years ago. And I can’t imagine what kind of person could neglect, harm, abandon or mistreat any animal.

Animals give us unconditional love and bring joy. They bond with us. They watch over and protect us.  We know animals feel pain and fear, and miss us. Their eyes, expressions and behaviors tell us what they don’t have the voices to say.

Dogs, in particular, give many humans a “new leash” on life. They guide the blind and visually impaired, provide comfort for seniors as well as children who are sick or have to appear in court, improve the lives of people with disabilities and autism, can save diabetics, give independence to veterans, and help parolees turn their lives around.

Yet, sadly, according to the ASPCA, every 60 seconds an animal is abused.


To save animals, we can be their voice, channeling our passion into action.

1) Watch for signs of abuse.

When you’re out and about, do you see animals left in hot cars or dogs chained up for hours? Have you ever walked by a house and seen so many animals you worry about their care? Pay attention for:

  • Neglect: When an animal is denied adequate food, water, shelter, medical care (injuries left untreated), clean area, socialization (is it aggressive or timid when approached by owner?), or chained up in a yard.
  • Violence: When an animal is deliberately tortured, beaten, or mutilated.

2) Speak up: report animal cruelty.

sb_finnAlmost all acts of animal violence or neglect are punishable by law. Animal cruelty laws vary from state to state, but 49 states have laws that contain felony provisions. (South Dakota is the only one that doesn’t.)

If you suspect abuse or neglect of any animal, report it to your local police department or area animal control agency. If you’re traveling, call the local police department (911).

3) Support animal organizations.

Put your money where your heart is, and donate—giving for animal protection and care. (You can even make an ongoing commitment with a recurring monthly gift.)

rox_pomoIf you don’t know where to start, here are 5 great charities:

I can’t stop all animal abuse and mistreatment. But I can do my part and support dedicated people who are protecting and caring for amazing animals like my Riley. Won’t you join me?

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

A fond adieu to Alex after almost 5 years at JustGive


We have a great team here at JustGive. Today Alex, who has worked at JustGive for almost 5 years, is moving to a new opportunity in a different field. So we say a bittersweet farewell. In her time here, Alex has worked in many areas of the company, whether it be customer service, marketing, or product, with style, class and diplomacy.

Image Source:

Like most JustGive team members, Alex is dedicated to improving the world through any action, on a large or small scale, in times of harmony or chaos. She volunteers and participates in activism for causes such as the arts, human and animal rights and social justice. She has also fundraised for her favorite causes through the use of various JustGive charity registries to support SF SPCA, Make-A-Wish Bay Area, Pets Unlimited, Animal Legal Defense Fund and The Transgender Law Center.

One of the things she enjoyed most about working at JustGive was being surrounded by people working to make a difference every day, especially in the wake of disasters near and far. We’ll not only miss her extensive experience and knowledge about the ins and outs at JustGive, but her beautiful singing in the office and most importantly her hilariously dry wordplay.

In honor of her social activism and the affinity for the arts, please enjoy this video by Playing for Change, an organization working for unity through music.

We will miss you and wish you all the best in your endeavors.

The JustGive team


Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Thanks to your giving and support, JustGive expanded philanthropy and sent more than $30 million to charity in 2014!

We passed a major milestone in May, processing our 1 millionth donation, and are proud that 24 percent of giving came from 2013 donors returning to use the site. We also saw charity gift card purchases grow by 9 percent. To be more accessible and expand our services, we launched our mobile responsive site and added the ability for companies to independently buy a quantity of gift cards.

Here’s a glimpse of our impact—and what we accomplished together—this year.

We’re charging into 2015 eager to do more good, fulfilling our mission to make charitable giving a part of everyday life. Here’s to making more of a difference!

Help us kick off the year in the best way possible: Set up an automatic monthly donation to your favorite charities today.


Thank you for giving.

—Andrea Lloyd, Director of Programs

Help Save Animals—Channel Your Care and Passion into Action.


We have a 2-year old goldendoodle affectionately known as “Sir Riley Flannigan.” Flannigan for his apricot color, Riley’s a mix of poodle and golden retriever that’s taken a place in my life and heart I could never have imagined.

My family had outside cats and dogs when I was growing up on the farm, but until Riley (who doesn’t shed), my allergies kept me from owning an animal as an adult. Now, sharing every day with such a loving, sensitive, energetic, and smart dog that has comforted me through sadness and sickness– I can’t imagine what kind of person could harm or hurt any companion animal.

We know animals love and remember us, and feel pain and fear. Their eyes and expressions tell us what they can’t say. They’re companions who watch over and protect us. Dogs, in particular, give many humans a new “leash” on life—they guide the blind and visually impaired, improve the lives of autistic children, save diabetics, and give independence to people with disabilities and veterans.

There’s no question our pets miss us when we’re gone—watch Bugaboo show and tell his owner, Lieutenant Gary Daughtery, how happy he is to see him after six months overseas:


Honestly, the many types of animal abuse and cruelty—what we know, see, read and hear about—can be overwhelming. I sometimes turn away from TV ads and scroll quickly past Facebook posts because they get to me. And I feel pretty helpless to stop all the abuse. There are a lot of issues to tackle.

How do we move past anger and overwhelm about how animals are treated to help save them? We can start with what we see every day and be their voice—using our passion to take action.

Learn and Recognize Signs of Pet Abuse

Pay attention to the animals around you. Are there any dogs you’ve seen chained up for hours on end? Have you ever walked your dog and witnessed another aggressive, out of control one? Or gone by a house where there are so many animals you worry about their care? These could be signs of neglect or violence.

  • Neglect is denying an animal adequate food, water, shelter (a dog house), medical care (injuries left untreaDogted), clean area, socialization (is the animal aggressive or timid when approached by owner), or chained up in a yard.
  • Violence is deliberately torturing, beating, or mutilating an animal.

Speak Up: Report Abuse

Almost all acts of animal violence or neglect are punishable by law. While animal cruelty laws vary from state to state, 49 states have laws that contain felony provisions. (South Dakota is the only one that doesn’t). Be prepared: Search online at Pets911 or PetFinder’s database to find a local animal control department, animal shelter or humane society in your area—and program the number into your cell phone.

If you suspect abuse or neglect of any animal, report it to your local police department or area animal control agency. If you’re traveling, call the local police department (911).

If you know of dog or cock fighting, call The Humane Society hotline at 1-877-TIP-HSUS and report it.

Donate—Support Organizations Working to Stop the Abuse

According to the ASPCA, every 60 seconds an animal is abused. Put your money where your heart is, and give for the education, protection, and care Stray Kittenof animals. (Consider an ongoing monthly gift.) If you don’t know where to start:

While animal issues may seem staggering and even depressing, you and I can take action to make life better for them—to end suffering and save these amazing creatures, one by one.  And the next time I sit with Riley or get a doggie kiss, I’ll feel good knowing I’m doing something to help precious creatures like him.

-Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant


Five Charitable Causes That Need More Help During the Holidays

image source: flickr

image source: flickr

During the winter months, charities need extra assistance as they work with the challenges of cold weather and the holidays. These five causes need additional help right now, and can do more with your donations of supplies and money.

1. Children

Low-income and foster kids have an especially hard time during the holiday season, when a lack of money can mean no Thanksgiving or holiday meals, and no toys under the tree.

How you can help

2. Animals

This time of year, many animal shelters are overrun with animals, and, cold weather means they face even more challenges. .

How you can help

3. Hunger

In a season that revolves around food, charities that help the hungry are stretched to fill food packages and supply meals.

How you can help

4. Homelessness

The homeless need extra care during the freezing-cold winter months. Help them stay warm and provide the basic necessities.

How you can help

5. Disaster Recovery

Many victims of recent natural disasters lost all their possessions and may have no place to live during a time of year that should bring comfort and joy. Give them a reason to smile this season by helping them recover.

How you can help

Donating supplies may seem like a great idea, but an influx of tangible items is often difficult to handle and to deliver after a disaster, when systems are overtaxed. Donating money is a better choice and allows nonprofits working in the area to provide what survivors need most—even sourcing items locally that can help rebuild their economy.

Donate money to help survivors recover from:

This holiday season, put your money in the hands of the charities making a difference for these pressing causes. That creates a happy holiday for you and for those in need.

50 Ways to Save Animals

50 Ways to Save Animals

Every year in the U.S. over 20,000,000 cats and dogs end up in a shelter. Of these, over 15,000,000 are euthanized. Many compassionate people and programs around the world are working to protect animals from neglect, cruelty, and extinction.

  1. Spay and neuter. Each year, millions of dogs and cats are put to death in animal shelters. Spaying and neutering eases the overpopulation problem and prolongs the life of your dog or cat.
  2. Never buy an animal from a pet shop. Adopt your companion animals from shelters. Pet shops buy from puppy mills and large-scale breeders who contribute to the population crisis and whose over-bred animals are often very unhealthy.
  3. Never give an animal as a gift. Many an animal has been abandoned because people aren’t prepared to care for it. Discuss it with your friends and family first.
  4. Take notice and take action. Never ignore stray animals on the street, where they can become victims of disease, starvation, and human cruelty. Contact you local animal shelter to report a lost animal.
  5. Support your local animal shelter. Animal shelters and SPCAs always need help socializing cats and walking dogs, fostering animals, and cleaning cages and pens. If you cannot volunteer, send a contribution.
  6. Report abuse. Call your local humane society if you witness any type of cruely or abuse. It is common knowledge that violence towards non-human animals is a precursor of violence towards humans. Dogfighting is illegal and should be reported immediately.
  7. Keep them safe at home. Be sure to keep collars and tags on dogs and cats (even if they are indoors). In case of an emergency, they can be returned home safely. Be sure to have a secure fence for dogs in your yard.
  8. Use natural cleaners. Hazardous chemicals are harmful to your animals’ health. Use only non-toxic cleaners in your home, and always clean up antifreeze (which tastes sweet to animals). Contact the Environmental Protection Agency (800-424-9346) to learn how to properly dispose of hazardous chemicals.
  9. Attend a humane dog training course with your dog. Learn to communicate with your dog, who is eager to please but isn’t always clear on what you expect.
  10. Provide exercise for your dogs. Dogs need walking, running, digging, and exploring. Find your local dog-friendly park or work with your community to create one.
  11. Keep cats indoors. Indoor cats live longer, safer, healthier lives. Cars, pesticides, feral cats, and storm drains are just some of the reasons to keep cats indoors. With love and shelter, cats do not feel deprived.
  12. Educate yourself. Read books to learn to care for your companion animal properly.
    Compassion of Animals
    Understanding Your Dog
    The New Natural Cat
  13. Consider a more plant-based diet. Plant-based diet greatly reduces risk of cancer and obesity while helping to reduce the negative impact that factory farming has on animals.
  14. Drink alternatives to cow’s milk. To keep milk production high, dairy cows are artificially inseminated and confined to feed lots. Soy milk and nut milks offer a low-fat, healthy option to cow’s milk.
  15. Eat alternatives to meat. Soy-based products are a great substitute for cholesterol-free bacon, burgers and cheese.
  16. Choose organic, free-range chicken. A growing number of people are looking to “free range” as an alternative to factory farm poultry and eggs. The birds supplement their grain feed by foraging for up to 20 percent of their intake and are often moved regularly to fresh pasture.
  17. Choose organic, cage-free eggs. Millions of egg laying hens are confined in battery cages. The birds cannot stretch their wings or legs, and they cannot fulfill normal behavioral patterns or social needs.
  18. Choose organic, grass-fed beef. Cows, calves, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and other animals are kept in small cages, in jam-packed sheds, or on filthy feedlots, often with so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably. They are deprived of exercise so that all their bodies’ energy goes toward producing flesh, eggs, or milk for human consumption.
  19. Educate yourself. Read books about factory farming and the effects meat & dairy have on your health.
    Diet for a new America
    Battered Birds, Crated Herds: How We Treat the Animals We Eat
    Fast Food Nation
    Forks Over Knives (a great documentary)
  20. Buy non-leather products. Leather accounts for 50% of the by-product value of cattle raised for meat. Many alternatives are available, such as satin/fabric dress shoes, sythetic running and hiking shoes, and canvas recreation shoes.
  21. Boycott fur. Whether killed by steel-jaw leghold traps or electrocuted on fur farms, animals raised and killed for fur suffer tremendously.
  22. Choose non-animal fabrics. Avoid eelskin, ivory, pearls, feathers, wool, and angora. Choose instead cotton, ramie, canvas, vinyl, nylon, linen, rayon, faux pearls, rubber, or hemp.
  23. Find alternatives to zoos. Animals are fascinating, but consider watching them in their natural habitat. Victims of illegal trade, forced from their families, and raised in captivity, zoo animals would prefer not to be entertainment for humans. Watch National Geographic videos, read zoology books, and visit local nature centers.
  24. Join wildlife protection organizations. Capturing young animals from the wild to sell them to zoos is a cruel practice both for mother and baby. Support organizations that protect these animals.
  25. Do not attend circuses. Animals do not naturally ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire. To force them to perform these confusing and physically uncomfortable tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks, and other painful tools of the trade.
  26. Boycott marine theme parks. Unable to use their sonar, choose a mate, escape the noise of onlookers, or travel hundreds of miles with their family, captive marine mammals routinely die of pneumonia, ulcers, and other stress-related illnesses. Wild dolphins can live 40 years, and orcas can live 90, but in captivity, they rarely survive their teens. The Cove is an amazing and heartbreaking documentary about the way dolphins are acquired for theme parks. It may change your life.
  27. Do not patronize dog tracks. The greyhound racing industry breeds approximately 50,000 puppies each year. Of these animals, only 15,000 actually become racing dogs. The rest are “retired,” used as breeding stock or destroyed. Greyhounds that actually become racers live life in small cages, usually no greater than three feet in diameter.
  28. Boycott the Rodeo. The rodeo consists of painful and often fatal events such as roping, bucking, and steer wrestling events. While the public witnesses only the 8 seconds or so that the animals perform, there are hundreds of hours of unsupervised practice sessions.
  29. Oppose bullfighting. A cruel spectacle of human dominance, the bullfight purports to be a battle to the death in which either participant, bull or matador, may die. In reality, the bull never has a chance to win. Stabbed in the side before released into the arena, the hurt animal is taunted until angry and then stabbed repeatedly until he dies a painful death.
  30. Educate yourself. Read books to learn more about how animals suffer in the name of entertainment.
    Beyond the Bars: The Zoo Dilemma
    When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
    The Souls of Animals
  31. Buy cruelty-free products. Most consumer products, from soap to cosmetics and cleaners, have been cruelly tested on animals who are intentionally poisoned or blinded. Check the packaging and only buy products that are not tested on animals.
  32. Call and write companies that currently test products on animals. Let them know you will not use your money to contribute to animal suffering and that you know these tests are not required by any regulatory agencies. Consumer pressure is why many cosmetics companies, such as Revlon, have switched to animal-free testing.
  33. Do not buy products that contain animal ingredients. Animal and animal-derived ingredients are incorporated into many seemingly innocuous products.
  34. Educate yourself. American Anti-Vivisection Society and In Defense of Animals offer free, comprehensive lists of companies that DO NOT test on animals. Animal Ingredients A to Z is an easy-to-use, consise reference guide.
  35. Provide a Wildlife Sanctuary. Leave a good part of your yard natural with bushes and ground cover. The more diverse your yard, the greater variety of birds and small mammals you will attract.
  36. Keep dead wood. Hundreds of species of birds and animals live in dead trees and feed on the insects there. Top off, rather than chop down, dead trees.
  37. Provide bird baths. Keep water in a birdbath and in a ground pan all year long.
  38. Leave wildlife in your attic or chimney alone. If an animal has a nest in an unused part of your house, leave them alone for a few weeks until the youngsters are grown. They will probably move out on their own. Seal up all entry places once the family has left.
  39. Don’t feed wildlife. Good-intentioned as it may be, feeding geese and other wildlife weakens their natural and necessary fear of humans.
  40. Recycle Christmas trees. Birds and other small animals use dead wood as nests and protection.
  41. Cut plastic six-pack rings. These rings are commonly found around the necks of wildlife, from turtles to waterfowl.
  42. Deter ants with spices. Pour a line of cream of tartar, red chili powder, paprika, or dried peppermint at the place where ants enter the house. They won’t cross it.
  43. Use bay leaves to keep cockroaches and moths at bay. Spread whole bay leaves in several locations around infested rooms.
  44. Use an alternative to mothballs. Place cedar chips (or bay leaves) around clothes or sachets made of dried lavender, mint, or rosemary in drawers and closets.
  45. Don’t kill spiders. Simply remove them and place them outside.
  46. Support whale watching. One solution to ending whaling is to support whale-watching, which is both educational and humane and supports local communities.
  47. Educate yourself. Read books about living with Wildlife.
    Wild Neighbors: The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife
  48. Teach respect for animals. We instinctively grasp the natural bond between children and animals. We fill babies’ cribs with stuffed animals, put floating rubber ducks in their baths, and enjoy animals as the main characters in many children’s books. This natural connection, the child-animal relationship, provides a great opportunity for parents and teachers to instill the core value of leading a compassionate life.
  49. Support the connection. A child’s bond with a companion animal builds social competency, social sensitivity, interpersonal trust, and empathy — all necessary qualities to building emotional intelligence and compassion.
  50. Educate your children. Provide your children books about caring for animals.
    Charlotte’s Web
    Black Beauty
    A Teen’s Guide to Going Vegetarian

Saving lives, large and small

My family always had pets. Cats, dogs, birds, fish, and a hamster named Lucky. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love animals. I vividly remember my first trip to the shelter. We adopted a kitten, who became my best friend. But I left wondering why we couldn’t take them all home … “Who will take care of them if I don’t?” When I got older, I made my first donation to the ASPCA, and 10 years later I’m still an active member.

Animals enrich our lives in countless ways. They provide security and safety to those with disabilities, comfort and companionship to young and old. A recent article by The National Institutes of Health featured the health benefits of owning a pet.  “The bond between animals and humans is part of our evolution, and it’s very powerful,” says Dr. Ann Berger, a physician and researcher at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Every May since 1915, the Humane Society celebrates “Be Kind to Animals Week.” It has become a month-long campaign to raise awareness about the profound connection between animals and humans. Join me in taking action to protect, defend and celebrate the lives of all animals, large and small. There are many ways you can help:


In response to the current housing crisis, the Humane Society set up a “foreclosure pet fund” to provide financial assistance to pet owners facing eviction. This fund has distributed more than $100,000 to 57 regional shelters and animal rescue clinics. Your $10 or $25 donation helps set up pet food banks, assists with the cost of temporary boarding, and reduces the costs of emergency medical care. Or you can support your local animal shelter, or give to an organization that prevents cruelty to animals.

Speak Up

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 2 – legislation that will prevent farm animal cruelty, ensure health and food safety, support family farmers, and protect our air and water. I recently called my state representative to urge a yes vote on two important bills – CA A.B. 241, to crack down on puppy mills, and CA A.B. 233, to offer a tax deduction for adopting shelter pets. Find out about current legislation in your state, and vote to give animals a voice.


Every other weekend I volunteer with FOCAS. My local pet store lets the organization set up an adoption center for shelter cats. Even if you only have a few hours a month, Volunteer Match makes it easy to find an animal organization near you.


Share your love of animals with children, and they will grow up knowing what it means to care and be compassionate towards others. Read through 50 Ways to Save Animals with your kids today and make a difference for animals tomorrow.

Pass the message along to friends with furry, feathered or fishy family.

– Sarah Myers

Program Manager