Tag Archives: animal rescue

Tom Colvin and his pal Gurdy


We are doing a series of interviews with interesting people making a difference in animal welfare. They may be staff, volunteers, or regular citizens.

First up is Tom Colvin, executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. He was recently named to the Companion Animals Advisory Council for Humane Society of the United States. Other responsibilities include Iowa Federation of Humane Societies (president), Iowa State University External Advisors Committee, Iowa Wildlife Center (board), Iowa Farm Animal Coalition, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators,  Better Business Bureau (board)

Do you remember the first animal you saved? I was nine. I was walking through my neighborhood, like kids do, and I saw another kid with a puppy trapped in the corner of his garage. He was whipping it. I stopped him, and his parents rehomed the dog.

How did you get into animal rescue? The house I grew up in was at the edge of town, and the veterinary office was right across the street. This vet was cool. He would allow us to watch surgeries, as long as we promised not to get sick or pass out.

How many animals (and humans) do you live with? I live with 15 two-legged companions (one wife, Carol, and 14 chickens), three horses, six cats and four dogs.

What’s the most expensive thing your pet has ever ruined? I had a yellow lab named Rusty. I made the mistake of leaving him unattended in the car for five minutes, and when I came out, he’d destroyed the interior.

Best perks of having furry family members? Cuddling with them, especially on colder nights like we’ve had lately! My wife and I have at least three dogs and four cats rotating in and out of the bed overnight. I’m also fortunate that I get to bring my dogs to work every day. Their companionship is a definite bonus!

If you could come back as the pet of any celebrity (living or dead), who would it be? Betty White!

Has there been any rescue situation that completely caught you off guard (either happily or negatively)? When we found Duke, the dog that had been shot and left to die in the river, that caught me off guard. Not that we found him, or put our resources into helping him, but the public support. It was amazing the way our community rallied around this dog. And then we found the absolute perfect person to adopt him. It couldn’t have been a better fit, although it was a little unexpected; we weren’t really thinking a young, single woman who already had two small dogs and lived in a townhouse would be “the one.”

What person or event do you think has been most influential in animal welfare? The biggest impact on the animal welfare industry was made when the public decided adopting is cool and the right thing to do.

Is there a group doing work you think others should know about? Innovative projects like IowaPetAlert.com, the Fence Project Des Moines, and BOGOBowl.com  are important because they think outside the box to improve the lives of animals.

What’s the key to the success you’ve brought to Iowa animal welfare? Focus on the animals. Never give up. Never take no for an absolute answer. Do what’s right, in its right time.

If one of your pets could speak, which one would it be and what would he/she ask you? Our terrier mix Gurdy   would ask, “Why can’t we have popcorn every night?”




Best psychiatrist


We believe in happy endings.

We know we're not the only ones. Start a conversation with a stranger, and if they have a pet, you're almost guaranteed to see a few phone shots of Sparky or Molly. They make us very happy, these funny, furry, oh-so-wise companions of ours.

Take me to the Tshirts!So, our project is celebrating the joy of happy endings.

But it’s more than that.

We are not a subsidiary of a corporation, or backed by venture capitalists. We are just everyday people who love animals and want to make a difference. What that means is we don’t have a big bank account. Every choice we make has consequences that affect other things –it’s always “this” or “that”, rarely, if ever, “both.”

Best psychiatristRaising money via crowdfunding will give us the opportunity to connect with more organizations who need our help, to reach out to more buyers who share our belief that every dog needs healthy food in its bowl, and will allow us to team up with independent retailers who want to help the organizations in their communities but are also walking a fine financial line. It will give us resources to extend our reach farther and faster so that working together we can make a bigger impact sooner.

Happy Endings shirtBut we need you. The good news – no, the GREAT news, is it’s easy!

If you think what we’re doing is worthwhile, pledge to support us! We have lots of levels of rewards (benefits) starting at $10. You can choose one of these really cute T-shirts for an easy, wearable way to make a statement! Or buy BOGO Bowl for your own dog and we’ll send a double match to your favorite organization. You can even choose to keep a bowl full at your favorite organization for a whole year! Now that's a happy ending!

Take me to the T-Shirts!

There are ways you can help everyday, too.

  1. Talk about BOGO Bowl and our projects within your circle of influence.

  2. Share the link to this blog with your friends, family, coworkers, the people you sit next to in church, your vet, daycare provider – anyone and everyone you think might love dogs as much as we do.

  3. Think about buying BOGO Bowl for your own dog.

We believe together we can be the cause of lots and lots of happy endings. Go TEAM BOGO Bowl!

*You may notice we have two campaigns going on simultaneously. Why the split? Because people are different, as are our rewards, and so are these crowdfunding sites. IndieGoGo is more kicked-back, with humor and a bit of an edge. StartSomeGood is exactly what its name claims: a place to jump start something good in the world. We wanted to give our supporters options that make them happy. And we didn’t want to come begging too often and wear out our welcome.


A new addition

Getting a new dog, or a dog for the first time, is always exciting and fun. Bringing a new member of the family home is a big cause for celebration, and it’s important that things go well so that the new family member feels safe and secure. Even experienced pet owners can run into some complications settling a new dog into their lives and families and getting them on a schedule that works for everyone. So, to help you have the smoothest transition possible, we’ve outlined some of the most common challenges faced and some simple suggestions you can use to make things easier.

mosbyGetting on a Schedule
Don’t be scared by the thought of having to set a schedule for your new friend. He will start to feel loved and at home quicker if he knows what to expect and when. Things like feeding at the same time every morning and night and taking him out for walks at roughly the same time of day will make him feel secure and get him settled quicker into your family’s routine. Show him where his bed his and which toys are his. Keeping his stuff together by putting his toys on or around the bed will help him to quickly recognize, “These things are mine.” Set a routine that works with your schedule and is easy to keep so that everyone involved is happy and stress free.

Introducing to your current Dog
The first meeting of your new dog and your current dog is very important. It should take place in a neutral space like a park so that your current dog doesn’t feel overly possessive of his home before he gets acquainted with the new dog. Keeping both dogs on a loose leash will help you and a friend or family member to remain in control of the situation while giving them the freedom to go where they want and do what they feel like doing. Keep the energy low and positive and let them sniff, make noises and get to know each other in whatever way they want to. Don’t be afraid of this meeting or what will happen, and speak in soothing tones to keep everyone calm.

Introducing to your Kids
Every child wants a dog to love, pet and play with, so bringing home a new little buddy for your child can be very exciting and high energy. However, when bringing home a new dog and introducing him to your kids, keep in mind that the dog isn’t sure what’s happening, and a calm environment is what will suit the meeting best. Even though your child will be understandably excited, explain to your kids how important this first impression is and that loud noises or quick movements might cause the new dog to be afraid. It’s also a good idea to keep your new dog on a leash during this first meeting, just to make sure you are in control if the reaction is not immediately what you would want. But remember, this is an exciting moment, so let your happiness and affection for the new dog shine through!