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Hope For Paws

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Dallas – rescued from gang members, originally uploaded by Eldad Hagar (Please support Hope For Paws).

The owner of this photo, Eldad, is one of my contacts from Flickr, and, along with his wife, Audrey, runs the non-profit organization, Hope For Paws. They are based in Los Angeles where Eldad can often be found in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods rescuing injured or stray animals. The pair also rescues animals from shelters who are facing euthanasia. Eldad & Audrey open their home to these animals, pay for any medical attention, even surgery, that the animals may need, and work to find forever homes for the animals. How do they afford all of this? Eldad & Audrey have published a book, Our Lives Have Gone to the Dogs, that contains pictures of and stories about many of the animals they have rescued. The price of the book is $9.95, and 100% of the proceeds goes directly to paying veterinary and surgery bills, and to providing general care for all of the animals. I already have a copy of the book but my donations won’t stop there.

I would like to think that such an organization exists here in Chicago but I don’t know of one. Anyone know of something similar to Hope For Paws in Chicago?

Posted by Francesca

Kids and travel

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Recently, our friend and his two young daughters visited our home. The oldest girl (we’ll call her “M”) was touring the upstairs of the house when she spotted the shower curtain. “Oh, I love maps!” she exclaimed, for the shower curtain is a map of the world. I said, “Really?” And she replied, “Oh yes, and I love to travel, too!” This caused me to smile and I said to her, “Wait, are you MY kid?”

It warms my heart to hear a child say that she is interested in travel, especially at such a young age. The educational opportunities associated with travel are endless – and it doesn’t have to be exotic, international travel. Exploring within our own country, or even our own state, can be adventurous and cultural. A family with young children may not have many chances to get out and travel, so how else can we foster and promote a child’s desire to see and learn about the world? Toys and games, that’s how. M’s birthday is coming up so I wanted to get some travel-related gifts for her. While searching for such gifts, I found two awesome websites that sell travel-related items for children of all ages, games and toys that are fun and educational. The first is I’m A Good Little Traveler!; the other is Magellan’s Toy Shop. Amazon.com also yielded some wonderful finds, as well.

On another note, I am tired of people telling me, “Your travel days are over now that you have a baby.” Uh, excuse me, what? I beg to differ. Why are so many people of this belief? Why can’t we travel with our child, no matter how old she is? By the way, Lucia is 14 weeks old and already has been on an airplane. I’m sensible so I know that backpacking through Laos and Cambodia might not be the best trip to take with a toddler or young child. But why can’t we spend a week in Costa Rica? Why can’t we rent a villa in Italy? I refuse to believe that my travel days are over, and I know my husband feels the same way. There are plenty of resources available for traveling families, the first being BootsnAll. There is an entire forum on the message boards devoted to Traveling With Children. Through BootsnAll, I came across the article, 6 Ways that Traveling with Kids Can Actually Improve Your Travel Experience by Karen Banes, which made me feel a whole lot better.

My motto has become: Have kid, will travel. Don’t tell me I can’t.

Posted by Francesca