The ARC Advocate
August 2011 - Vol 1, Issue 6   

Coming Oct. 1: Unity's "Blessing of the Pets"

ARC's own Rev. Virginia Schnaitter, a longtime volunteer at Feral Cat Day, will lead a "Blessing of the Pets" special event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1 at Unity Church of Sarasota, 3023 Proctor Rd. Bring your pet for a special blessing and enjoy raffles, door prizes, children's games, live music, a pet show, and displays from local animal rescue organizations including ARC, Sarasota in Defense of Animals, Cat Depot, and Sarasota County Animal Services.

Visit ARC on Saturdays!

Johnny Rocket and SukiLittle "Johnny Rocket" is among the first animals to find their forever home through ARC's new adoption efforts. He's pictured here with new owner Suki Wilberding, who adopted Johnny after visiting the ARC office at 1408 State St. during a recent Saturday morning Farmer's Market. You and your friends can do the same: ARC is open during every weekly Farmer's Market. So spread the word and come on down! 

Credits & Contact 

Editor and Writer: Chris Hawes

Contributing Editors: Caroline Resnick and Brenda Terris

Contact: 941-780-3046 or


The ARC Advocate is sponsored by Animal Rescue Coalition, 1408 State Street, Sarasota; website is

Animal Rescue Coalition.  

"Chip" Miller: Retired Paramedic Now Helping Feral Cats


Chip Miller, a retired paramedic, leads recovery at ARC's Feral Cat Day  

"Like little recovering people."


That's how Edwin "Chip" Miller, head of recovery at ARC's monthly Feral Cat Day, describes the care he provides to the dozens of cats that receive surgery at the monthly clinic.    


Miller, who worked as a paramedic and firefighter for 25 years, monitors the recovering cats' vital signs to ensure they are safely awakening from anesthesia. He pays attention to the same ABC's -- "airways, breathing and circulation" -- that he was taught to focus on as a paramedic.


His most common tools are a stethoscope and a long Q-tip. One of his most common challenges is choking cats: those who are fed too much food prior to surgery occasionally end up vomiting while unconscious, and Miller's expertise in clearing their airways is essential. He estimates he has saved the lives of at least two dozen cats in the two years that he has volunteered at Feral Cat Day.


"I love the challenge of keeping a cool head, and being able to work under pressure," Miller says. "And I love being able to do something simple and save a life."


The earliest career inspiration for Miller was the television show "Emergency." But for Miller, his profession is also deeply meaningful. As a teenager, he became familiar with medical terms by helping his older sister study for medical school. His biggest inspiration came from his father, who perished in a car accident in 1970. "That influenced me a lot. I realized there is something I can do to help."


Miller greatly enjoys volunteering at Feral Cat Day and encourages others from medical professions to become involved. "This is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done," he says. "I feel more appreciated than ever." 

Emergency Medical Fund: Walmsley Tackles Some Tough Cases   

Abby and Ben-Ben have promising futures thanks to Dr. Laurie Walmsley, ARC's medical director, with her work through the Emergency Medical Fund.

Abby needed casts on both her front and hind legs.  



Abby, a six-month-old female black labrador/mixed breed puppy, was brought to Ashton Animal Clinic by Sarasota County Animal Services after being hit by a car. She had two fractured legs -- one in the front and one in the back. Dr. Walmsley splinted both legs and found a medical foster home for the puppy; Abby will fully recover in just a few weeks and needs a home.



Ben-Ben needed his eye removed

because of an unknown injury.   

Ben-Ben was rescued by Sarasota County Animal Services during an investigation into animal cruelty.  When Ben-Ben arrived, he was dangerously emaciated from lack of food and water, weighing four pounds when he should have weighed 10. Ben-Ben was also infested with fleas, suffered from a chronic respiratory infection, had numerous other parasites, and needed his right eye removed due to an unknown injury. Since being treated by Dr. Walmsley, he's gained more than two pounds, recovered from the respiratory infection and is healing well. He's now being fostered at the Ashton clinic and, like Abby, needs a home.


The Emergency Medical Fund has provided relief and comfort to hundreds of stray or abandoned animals whose injuries or conditions would have otherwise left them in misery, or led to their death or euthanasia. Please help us save more animals like Abby and Ben-Ben by donating to this compassionate effort.   


Click the donate button below: 


Make a Donation 


Guest Column: Help Save a "Pitch Pooch" (Overcoming "Black Dog Syndrome")  


Chili is a well-trained, sociable lab/pit

mix who's been waiting for a home

since October 2010.

"Chili" first arrived at Sarasota County's Animal Services shelter as a puppy in October 2010. He's well-behaved, walks easily on a leash, and even gets along great with other dogs. But like other black dogs (and cats), his color is one reason why he is constantly overlooked.


Carolyn Repeta, a volunteer with Sarasota in Defense of Animals, is fostering Chili to give him a break from stressful shelter life. But Chili desperately needs his own home. If you'd like to take him in, contact Carolyn by clicking here. A word to cat lovers: Chili is scared of cats and avoids them, so don't be discouraged from adopting him.


To learn more about "black dog syndrome," read this column from Maria Goodavage, a former staff writer with USA Today who now writes the "For the Love of Dog Blog" for dogster (click here to read more):   


Of the muted rainbow assortment of colors dogs come in these days, those who are black have the hardest time getting adopted. They'll languish in their shelter cages day after day, week after week (if they're lucky enough to not be killed first), and watch as their brown, yellow, red, white and other color neighbors go off happily to new homes.


A black dog may be the sweetest, friendliest dog in the shelter, but because of his color alone, he may well be passed over until the clock hits the deadline and he must make room for another dog. Each year hundreds of thousands of black dogs and cats are killed for no other reason than because they're not the right color. This phenomenon even has a name: Black Dog/Cat Syndrome.


The reason behind it has nothing to do with racism. And while the unfortunate notion that black dogs are unlucky or more dangerous plays some role in the syndrome, experts think the main reason black dogs are harder to place is more likely that they don't attract our attention. (Black cats may suffer more from the "unlucky" superstition.)


Pitch pooches don't stand out. Their faces are less easy to see, and even pleading eyes and the plaintive "please take me home" expressions can be lost on a black dog's dark face.  Black dogs suffer partly because they're not easy to photograph. Black dogs suffer even online, on adoption websites. Black dogs are notoriously difficult to photograph.


Check out this photo of the black puppy on the right. He's cute as can be, but he kind of looks like apitch puppy

black blog in the photo. Ironically, this photograph was used on a well-meaning person's Flickr photostream to attract people to adopt black dogs.


Fortunately, more rescue organizations are trying to do something to remedy the plight of black dogs and cats. The Best Friends Animal Society is hoping to help thousands of black pets find forever homes: during its "Back in Black" adoption event, which runs through Sept. 17, anyone who adopts a black pet from a participating shelter gets  50 percent off adoption fees. The list of shelters isn't terribly extensive, but at least it helps get people thinking about the plight of black dogs and cats.


Dogsters, even if you don't adopt a black dog during this event, maybe you could help your local shelter learn about how to better promote black dogs online. There are many web tutorials on how to photograph black dogs so their features stand out. This one at is very helpful. It's astounding that something so simple can mean the difference between life and death .... 

ARC is a charitable, (501)c(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to end the killing of adoptable dogs and cats by means of a proactive spay/neuter program, comprehensive adoption effort, feral cat program and various other initiatives designed to recognize the profound benefits to people of animal companionship.