Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It's Bissell vacuum contest time again.

We are in week two of voting for finalists. The weekly finalists will be eligible to win big cash prizes for the animal shelter or rescue of their owners' choice.

This year my candidate is Cole, and as always, my choice of charities is National English Shepherd Rescue.

The grand prize for the winning charity is $10,000. Barely a drop for giant animal charities that use their mailing lists to campaign; what is that, two new bespoke suits for Wayne Pacelle? But $10,000 goes a very long way for a small, lean, focused all-volunteer organization that always puts the animals first.

English shepherds that make the finals have a history of winning -- cute faces, and the kind of hair that says "You need a new vacuum cleaner" -- but they have to make the finals.

Click on the link
and go right to Cole's voting page. Yes, you have to register to vote -- but I promise you, Bissell has never sent me any spam in over two years.

If you have to search for some reason, make sure it is Cole the black-and-white English shepherd, Entrant #17534, not some other Cole. That's the exact picture above.

Cole's story, in brief, for those who are not regular readers of this blog --

Cole was only about four weeks old when he was pulled from in or under a freezing trailer on his abuser's property in the dead of a Montana winter. Along with more than 200 of his relatives, he spent the next eight months as criminal evidence in the prosecution of his former owner. Cole grew up in dog jail for a crime someone else had committed. Fortunately, he was cared for by dedicated and loving volunteers. Unfortunately, a talented young English shepherd cannot properly develop his mind while confined behind walls. By the time he was released from custody, he was a very troubled young fellow. He came to Brandywine Farm to foster, so that he could shed his pathological aggression and find a mission in life.

Turns out, Cole's mission in life was to stay at Brandywine Farm and learn two careers -- invaluable farm dog, and search and rescue partner.

Cole is now in training to be my sixth SAR partner; he should join the ranks of Allegheny Mountain Rescue Group's operational dogs some time in late 2011.

Many human beings made personal sacrifices and took risks to save Cole and his entire extended family; he seems determined to pay that back in spades.

Forward forward forward! Share on Facebook! Tweet it! Blogger friends -- do me a solid, would ya? And vote every day this week. You can vote once each day, every day, until next Tuesday.

Vote for Cole!


  1. Voted and facebooked!


  2. Also registered, voted and posted to FB. Good luck!!

  3. Just FYI I'm getting a message that the site is down for maintenance. Maybe Cole got so many votes he broke the interwebs! Anyway, I shall commence voting as soon as it is back up.


  4. Done.

    So when are you going to write a book about how to properly assess and treat dogs with severe issues like those seen at Cole's rescue.

    Let's face it, any other rescue/breed rescue/humane organization/shelter/pound would have had these dogs assessed and I doubt half of them would have come out alive.

    In 13 years of training I've never been cruel to a dog, never hung a dog (unless it was trying to eat me and I was trying to avoid being eaten) and I've never "broken" a dog. I also work with unsocialized dogs, puppy mill dogs and the odd feral dog.

    I can count the dogs I've recommended for euthanasia on one hand.

    My problem? I can't write. Worth a shit. You can. You have a gift that rescues around the world would love to share.

    So... no interest in such a project? Frankly I'm a bit surprised you haven't written one already.

    If you ever do, consider me first in line to pre-order my copy on Amazon. What an incredible read that would be - a guide to assessment and rehabilitation written by and in the style of Heather Houlahan.

    I voted under each of my six email addresses, and will vote all week. Also facebooked. Think the book idea over. I just hate to think that that knowledge is not being put to good use all over.

  5. Great photo!

    My vote seems to be #77.


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