20 DIY Hideouts to Give Your Cat More Privacy & Personal Space

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This article originally appeared here, but since we are all sheltering-in-place during the Covid-19 outbreak, I thought it might be nice to share some ideas on how you can stay busy, entertained and distracted while you are stuck at home. Not only are these projects fun for the family, but they will also give your cat the extra privacy and space they probably need right about now!

Want to treat your favorite feline to a new abode? Grab a copy of DIY Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself and learn how to build homemade habitats with easy instructions and common materials you have at home. (TIP: you can “look inside” the book online if you just want some free ideas and inspiration)

Shoeboxes and paper bags are fine for other cats. But your favorite felines deserve luxurious living spaces! This DIY construction guide includes fun and easy instructions for making cardboard trains, ships, food trucks, rockets, and other hideouts. Also included are tips for making cat climbing towers and scratching pads that they can use to stay sharp.

All twenty projects are quick to assemble and require inexpensive and easy-to-find materials. You can customize them to match your cat’s wildest desires.
Get the book for yourself or send it to your favorite cat lover!

7 Nonfiction Books About Rescue Animals (That Aren’t Dogs)

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Dog-loving readers have probably read at least a few books about rescue dogs. Their wonderful tales can be both heartbreaking and heart-warming. What you might not have realized is that there are lots of books with true stories about other types of rescue animals as well. Here’s a list with reading recommendations for some great books about rescue animals and the humans who help save and care for them. Spoiler Alert: the animals ends up rescuing their humans as well.

We hope you enjoy and are inspired to read and share these stories with friends & family!

Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion
In the spring of 2011, the book’s author Jon Katz received a phone call that would challenge every idea he ever had about mercy and compassion. An animal control officer had found a neglected donkey on a farm in upstate New York, and she hoped that Jon and his wife, Maria, would be willing to adopt him.

Jon wasn’t planning to add another animal to his home on Bedlam Farm, certainly not a very sick donkey. But the moment he saw the wrenching sight of Simon, he felt a powerful connection. Simon touched something very deep inside of him. Jon and Maria decided to take him in. [Read more…]

Goats of Anarchy: One Woman’s Quest to Save the World One Goat At A Time
Probably the most famous goats on Instagram, Goats of Anarchy takes you on a tour of animal rescue guru and full-time goat mama Leanne Lauricella’s goat rescue farm. This is a place where special-needs goats can heal, grow, and butt heads to their hearts’ content. [Read more…]

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life
When street musician James Bowen found an injured cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London, barely making enough money to feed himself, and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent but very sick animal, whom he named Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining that he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas. [Read more…]

Joey: How a Blind Rescue Horse Helped Others Learn to See
At the height of his show career, this beautiful Appaloosa’s majestic stature, strength, and willingness to work made him the perfect partner. But when an injury cost Joey his show career, he moved from one owner to the next, ultimately experiencing severe abuse and neglect. A rescue group found Joey nearly dead from starvation―and blind. Then he came to Hope Reins―a ranch dedicated to helping hurting kids who had been abused. [Read more…]

Soul of a Lion: One Woman’s Quest to Rescue Africa’s Wildlife Refugees
For animal lovers, nature enthusiasts, and the vast readership for gripping true-life stories, this African saga is a must-read adventure. It chronicles the unique Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, where Marieta van der Merwe and her family, former wealthy cattle farmers, have sold land to buy and care for embattled wildlife. We meet Sam, the “AIDS” lion infected by mistake at a vet clinic. Boerjke, a baboon with epilepsy and Down syndrome. Savanna, the one-eyed lioness. And Marieta van der Merwe herself, the inspiring proprietor of Harnas who shares her home with needy wild animals. Survivor of an early life fraught with personal tragedy in the African Bush, she now devotes herself as care-giver and ambassador for wildlife and wildland. [Read more…]

Elephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity
In 2013, people across North America were riveted by the story of Toka, Thika, and Iringa, the last three elephants at the zoo in Toronto, Ontario. Lonely for a larger herd, sick from the cold climate, and weak from standing for long days in a too-small concrete enclosure, the elephants desperately needed a change. The zoo and animal activists agreed that they should be moved to a healthier home, but the best option―the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in distant California―seemed like an impossible dream. [Read more…]

My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope
Ellie Laks started The Gentle Barn after adopting a sick goat from a run-down petting zoo in 1999. Some two hundred animals later (including chickens, horses, pigs, cows, rabbits, emus, and more), The Gentle Barn has become an extraordinary nonprofit that brings together a volunteer staff of community members and at-risk teens to rehabilitate abandoned and/or abused animals. As Ellie teaches the volunteers to care for the animals, they learn a new language of healing that works wonders on the humans as well. [Read more…]

New Book Series for PAW Patrol Fans and Dog Lovers

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Calling Paw Patrol fans and all dog lovers! Doggy Defenders is brand new National Geographic Kids picture book series debuting with four amazing canine heroes.

In each read-aloud picture book, kids can follow the real-life adventures of dogs with jobs as they help their communities and save the day. We thought we’d be among the first to spread the word, since the only thing we might love more than dogs is encouraging a love of reading. And, it also happens to be National Read A Book Day today!

Stella the Search Dog  Courageous(and ridiculously cute!) bloodhound Stella spends an exciting day at work as a Virginia police search dog, tracking scent trails, riding in a helicopter, and even saving a lost hiker.

Dolley the Fire Dog  Learn all about Dolley’s important role as a fire dog in Loudoun County, Virginia as this Labrador retriever visits the site of a fire, trains to sniff out flammable items, and teaches kids about fire safety.

Willow the Therapy Dog  Willow is a rescued greyhound and a therapy dog in Washington, D.C. Willow has a very important job cheering people up and making them feel better and shares her day with young readers as she visits a hospital, helps children read at a library book party, and brings smiles to people who need them.

Tiger the Police Dog  Together with his handler Aida, Belgian Malinois Tiger is a member off the Washington, D.C. police department. Readers join Tiger on a typical day “on the job” where he visits a police academy, trains to sniff out important items, patrols famous landmarks, and keeps us all safe.

We think these make a great gift for your favorite young reader, dog lover and teacher to add to their bookshelves! Shop online here or at your local bookshop.

Also be sure to check out Daisy’s Big List of Dog Books for more ideas.

Play Your Way To Good Manners Dog Training Book Review

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Dog lovers, there’s a brand new dog training book dropping this week. Daisy and I got an early copy so we could check it out and tell you all about it.

It’s Play Your Way To Good Manners, Getting the Best Behavior from Your Dog through Sports, Games, and Tricks. The authors are accomplished dog trainers Kate Naito and Sarah Westcott.

There are many dog training books out there, but what we really love about this one is that it focuses on The Power of Play. I think we all know that learning is faster and more effective when we’re having FUN, but we often forget this when it comes to training our dogs. This book focuses on positive reinforcement and takes the frustration out of teaching AND learning.

Training topics include these basics: sit, down, stay, recall, and leashed walking; PLUS cute tricks, advanced tips, and games to beat boredom and encourage good manners.

Go HERE to get a look inside the book.

Spot Magazine says, “If you live with a dog, or plan to live with a dog, or just like other people’s dogs, consider this book required reading. It extends the responsibility for companionship and communication to both ends of the leash, helping humans understand dogs, what motivates them, and how they learn.”

We think this one is worth grabbing for yourself or your favorite dog person. It’s being released this week and is available HERE with Amazon’s Pre-Order Low Price Guarantee, or look for it at your favorite local book shop.

My Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir by Tia Torres (Pit Bulls & Parolees)

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We are HUGE fans of Tia Torres and her pack from Animal Planet’s hit show Pit Bulls & Parolees, and are super excited to get our paws on her new memoir My Life Among the Underdogs. It’s a behind the scenes look at her life, her dogs, and her program that pairs parolees with rescue dogs.

Tia has devoted her life to shattering the stereotype that pit bulls are dangerous, vicious predators. As the top dog at the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans, the largest pit bull rescue in the United States, she and her team have rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed hundreds of animals that might otherwise have been destroyed. As she puts it, “Most of the stories in this book are about animals (and a few humans) that needed someone to believe in them and a purpose in order to show their true nobility.”

Get the Kindle and Audiobook or  Hardcover edition, all available now!

Speaking of Audiobooks. If you haven’t already taken advantage, here’s an Audible 30-Day Free Trial with TWO FREE Audiobooks of your choice!