After last year’s Mardi Paws fundraiser post, I received a nasty email from a nonprofit organization in another part of the country who, unbelievably, have trademarked the name “Mardi Paws.” I thought it was spam but it was no joke. Lots of small animal shelters across America have a Mardi Paws fundraiser in February, and for them to be hunted down and threatened with legal action if they continue to use the name astounds me.
Before the Internet they could never have done this. They would never have known. But because folks enjoy posting pictures of dogs in costumes, this organization is spending time and money surfing the Internet looking for all us criminals all over the US who dare to infringe on their “trademark.” How incredibly nonproductive, mean-spirited, and obviously since lawyers are involved, expensive. Isn’t it nice to know that the money you donate to a nonprofit may be wasted on some crack legal team bent on creating ill will?
We are a scrappy rescue group with no physical shelter. We beg for foster homes. Though most people here are violently against euthanasia, just try getting one of them to foster a companion animal. They have a million excuses why they can’t.
Yesterday was our Canine Costume Party and it was both funny and sad. Life being what it is, many beautiful items and services donated by generous local artists and merchants for the silent auction went unsold, including one of my own paintings. It was sad at the end to pack up lush animal-themed gift baskets, gift certificates, handmade clothing and jewelry, pottery, and other artwork. Volunteers had to solicit the merchants, and it’s a lot of work.
It seems there are more small dogs participating in the fashion show than large, I think it’s just because it’s easier to dress up a little dog. Our own big dogs are not comfortable in crowds—just like us I guess. They are wary of humans as well they should be. Instead we brought our tiny Maxi, ambassador to the fact that you CAN rescue and adopt small dogs, you don’t have to support puppy mills or any kind of unnecessary breeding. We had not planned on entering her in the fashion show but we were urged on. They rate the winner by the amount of cheering and clapping, and Maxi came in second! After that you couldn’t talk to her—she claims A-list status now.
As the world becomes more savage and primitive (no matter how fancy your cellphone) many volunteers believe that fifty or a hundred years from now there may be no one left to help stray dogs and cats. It depends on who’s running the world, and it’s clear it won’t be animal lovers. Companion animals may be shot, abandoned, used for food or sport, or outlawed. They already are in many places. An animal rescue colleague in Atlanta reports 80,000 animals euthanized last year. The pound there is packed with 400 dogs and cats right this minute. Conditions are so wretched that it’s hard to find volunteers who can stomach it. Roaches and rats in the cages, filth, neglect, incompetence, indifference. A few people are trying to help, but nobody, I mean nobody, wants to spend a dime on improving conditions in any city pound.
I once read in a PETA book that they would rather have NO pets than see one more animal suffer. I didn’t get it then, but I do now. I love my pack more than anything in the world, but the price in suffering that companion animals pay so we can have pets is almost too much to bear.