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For the Love of Louie *Michigan Lost Pet Lookers



Tax breaks for pet foster parents...make sure you claim yours  Use your key for the next article

 [Animal foster parents can now claim expenses for their foster pets!]
Animal foster parents can now claim expenses for their foster pets!

In a landmark tax court case, Jan Van Dusen emerged victorious against the IRS. Van Dusen claimed many tax deductions on her 2004 tax return, for all the expenditures she'd put out for the 70 (yes, you read that correctly) stray and feral cats she had fostered, as part of her volunteer work with Fix Our Ferals, a non-profit California charity.

Van Dusen claimed over $12,000 related to cat food, vet bills, garbage bags, and other items for her care of the cats. In 2009, a judge finally ruled that because her expenses were used toward a charitable organization, she was legally allowed to claim them. In fact, 90 percent of her vet bills, cleaning supplies, and food was tax deductible.

What does this mean for you?

If you've ever fostered an animal or know anyone who has, you're probably aware of the expenses associated with it. Beside just opening your heart and home to an unfamiliar animal, you also usually have to provide food, gas used to transport the animal to vet appointments or potential adopter meetings, and all the supplies that come with taking care of an animal.

"People have claimed these types of expenses before, thinking it makes sense because they're doing this service for a charitable organization, they should be able to recoup some of their out-of-pocket costs," said Rachel Hirschfeld, estate planner since 1999 and pet trust lawyer who created the Pet Protection Agreement found on Hirschfeld was one of the first in the country to focus on pet trust laws for the security of pets' futures in cases where their owners might no longer be able to care for them.

Hirschfeld is thrilled with Van Dusen's victory. "There are so many people who want to foster and help animals, and this ruling will make it easier for everyone. More people will foster knowing it's a legal expense and this will help the whole community," she said. She suggested that a great next step would be tax deductions for people even after they've adopted the animals. "If you're adopting from a charitable organization or shelter, you're really helping out the shelter. The whole world would be a better place if people adopted more animals." (Side note: I adopted my foster dog, and would love to know I could claim her expenses! Wouldn't many of you feel the same way? I know I'm not alone as a "foster failure").

How to get the most money back

Hirschfeld has some tips for foster parents planning to claim deductions on their taxes.

Collect and retain all your receipts associated with foster pet purchases
Write a note on every receipt and be specific (ie if you go to a hardware store and buy cat litter or lights for the room the dogs are kept in, circle the items on the receipt and write a note about the purpose of the item)
Remember that as of right now, the only tax-deductible purchases are for foster pets, not resident pets

"This is huge what's happened here!" said Hirschfeld, and encourages all pet foster parents to take advantage of this and share with all their animal networks to help raise the rate of fostering, and thus saving, animals in shelters across the country. "This shows that people are starting to really see animals as actual beings."

Ironically, Hirschfeld used to be terrified of animals. Now she tells the story of adopting her foster dog. "When you adopt an animal, it actually changes your heart."

NOTE: An approved charity is one that is recognized by the IRS with the 501(c)(3) designation as a Not-for-Profit organization.

Be sure to save all receipts, and any single donation over $250 requires a written receipt with verbiage stating that no goods or services were exchanged for the donation.



​Missing or Found pets

Lost & Found Animals in Northern Michigan –

Mid-Michigan Missing Pets Network –

Sharing to Save Michigan Animals –

Michigan found strays and owner unclaimed Dogs in shelters –

Lost & Found Dogs, MI –

West Michigan Missing Pets Network –

Lost Paws Finder –

For the Love of Louie *Michigan Lost Pet Lookers* –

​​​Resources, tips, and tools for lost pet owners

We recognize that the sudden disappearance of your beloved companion animal is emotionally shocking. We're here to support you!

Your lost pet needs and deserves swift action and mounting awareness. Should you find yourself in a position with a lost pet, here are tips and suggestions:

*Social Networking

There is undoubtedly strength in numbers. Despite what the media commonly suggests, there are numerous compassionate, dedicated, and loving individuals willing to assist. Generating awareness of your lost pet's disposition can be gained through social networking. We encourage you to share your pet's story on our page; and, we will assist with spreading awareness. We understand that panic may prevent you from properly disclosing pertinent details. We offer a list of suggestions to successfully aid in describing your lost pet.

Missing date and location of disappearance:

If possible, please include city, county, and streets

(circumstances surrounding disappearance may prove beneficial)
Contact information: Actual names do not need to be disclosed;

however, a phone number is advantageous 

Pet name and nicknames Physical description:

Please include detailed information including pet type, breed(s), color(s), weight, spay/neuter status, and unique physical characteristics

Collar/Harness, ID, Microchip:

We recognize collars and tags can become accidentally removed. However, if you suspect your pet was wearing a collar or identification prior to his/her disappearance, please include collar/harness color and ID information. Further, if your pet has a microchip, please alert others and make sure your contact information is current 

(you can contact the microchip company to verify).  

Pet temperament:

Is your pet well-socialized…does he/she like other pets, men, women, or children? Is your pet fearful or anxious? We understand that lost pet behavior can temporarily transform. We also understand that certain triggers can aid in reverting your pet back to his/her original nature.
Key words, commands, and positive triggers: Does your pet positively respond to nicknames, talk of treats, car rides, a particular person, etc.? Are there special words or phrases that should be used to lure your pet?

Special interests and likes:

Does your pet enjoy toys, treats, fellow animals, children, etc.?
Identify factors you feel would lure your pet to safety (ex/someone calling out his/her name or nickname, squeaking a toy, speaking of "treats", offering an exciting car ride, sitting quietly, etc.).

​Did you know that its possible for long spaghetti-like worms to burrow in and out of your dog's heart? It can be a slow painful death if left untreated.. and all it takes is one single pesky mosquito that is carrying the disease to infect your dog...

Here is what it is and how you can prevent it from happening to your dog:

Those worms are called heartworms and can measure over one foot in length. Heartworm starts as larvae that is transferred from infected mosquitoes to dogs. The disease not only effects the heart, but can also effect other organs such as lungs, kidneys, and liver. The most common symptom can be shortness of breath, coughing, or tiring easy. Some dogs may not show symptoms until the final stages of heartworm.

If you are unsure if your dog has heartworm, a blood test can be used to determine if a dog does or does not have the life threatening disease.

The good news... Heartworm is very easy to prevent and can be prevented with a monthly heartworm preventative pill/tablet. Puppies as young as 6-8 weeks of age can start on the preventative. See your veterinarian to get your dog started on heartworm prevention. Don't let your pooch get a heart full of worms!



By Starre Vartan
Mother Nature Network
April 27, 2015

Original Link

If you’re a parent, the idea of adding the care and feeding of an animal to your responsibilities might feel like too much work. But having a dog, cat, bunny, hamster or other animal as a part of the family benefits kids in real ways. Studies have shown that kids who have pets do better — especially in the area of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), which has been linked to early academic success, even more so than the traditional measure of intelligence, IQ.

Even better news is that unlike IQ, which is thought by most experts to be unchangeable (you can’t really change your IQ by studying), EQ can improve over time with practice. Animal friends can help kids do that by cultivating the very skills that lead to better Emotional Intelligence. (And pooches and kitties aren’t even trying; it just comes naturally.)

The following EQ skills are developed by children with pets:

1. Compassion: According to this overview of the scientific literature by Nienke Endenburg and Ben Baarda in The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interaction, “If there are pets in the house, parents and children frequently share in taking care of the pet, which suggests that youngsters learn at an early age how to care for and nurture a dependent animal.” Even very young children can contribute to the care and feeding of a pet — a 3-year-old can take a bowl of food and set it on the floor for a cat, and at the same age, a child can be taught to stroke an animal nicely, maybe using the back of the hand so they don’t grab the animal. Supervising kids during the first few interactions is a teaching moment. Later, once they have learned the ropes, their memory and understanding of a life outside themselves will be stimulated each time they interact with the animals. Older kids can be responsible for walking a dog or playing with it in the yard, cleaning out a cat’s litter box, or taking veggie scraps from dinner to a rabbit or hamster. A study of 3- to 6-year-olds found that kids with pets had more empathy towards other animals and human beings, while another study found that even just having an animal in a classroom made fourth-graders more compassionate.

2. Self-esteem: Caring for pets also builds self-esteem because being assigned tasks (like filling the dog’s water bowl) gives a child a sense of accomplishment and helps him feel independent and competent. Pets can be especially good for children who have very low self-esteem: “[A researcher] found that children’s self-esteem scores increased significantly over a nine-month period of keeping pets in their school classroom. In particular, it was children with originally low self-esteem scores who showed the greatest improvements,” write Endenburg and Baarda.

3. Cognitive development: Kids with pets play with them, talk to them, and even read to them (that last activity is more common than you’d think), and the data backs up the idea that this additional low-stress communication benefits verbal development in the youngest kids. “Pet ownership might facilitate language acquisition and enhance verbal skills in children. This would occur as a result of the pet functioning both as a patient recipient of the young child’s babble and as an attractive verbal stimulus, eliciting communication from the child in the form of praise, orders, encouragement and punishment.”

4. Stress reduction: In surveys of kids who are asked about who they would go to with a problem, children regularly mentioned pets, indicating that for many, animals can provide emotional support and an additional way to mitigate negative emotions when they are feeling stressed. “The ‘social’ support given by pets has some advantages compared to the social support given by humans. Pets can make people feel unconditionally accepted, whereas fellow humans will judge and may criticize,” write Endenburg and Baarda. Animals are great listeners and are non-judgmental — if a kid does badly on a test or angers their parents, an animal will still provide loving support.

5. Understanding the cycle of life: Talking about birth and death with kids can be hard for parents. Learning about them via the lives of animals can be an easier way for both parties to learn about these basics of life. While experiencing the death of a pet can be difficult and painful, it can also be an important learning experience. “… the way in which their parents and others near to them deal with the situation will have an influence on how children cope with death in general throughout their lives. It is important for parents to discuss their feelings of sadness openly and to share the associated feelings with the child. Parents have to show that it is all right to have such feelings. Learning to cope with sad feelings, for instance when a pet dies or is euthanized, is important and parents have to help their children with it,” write Endenburg and Baarda.

In addition, experiencing or talking about the other side of death — birth — can be a simple and age-appropriate way to begin the discussion about sex.

Of course all of the above positive benefits depend on the structure of the family, the number of siblings or other non-parental adults around, and of course a child’s own genetic tendencies, but only children and those with few siblings (or the youngest of a group) often become more pet-oriented.

If any of the above concepts sound familiar to adult readers, that’s because some of the same benefits are relevant for grown-ups too, including the social support and stress reduction.


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