Highest Rated Animal Charities


If you have ever answered any kind of letter or survey asking general questions about your likes and dislikes, how many pets you have, etc. then you have most likely received letters requesting money for the welfare of cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, farm animals, wild animals, on and on.

Most of us, who own pets are willing to give to charitable causes. We love our pets and we also know that not all animals are treated as well as we treat our own fur babies. But there are so many charitable organizations and we may wonder which ones are the best.

That is, which organizations really support the causes that they say they do.

Most do, some don’t. How are you going to decide which charities to support and which ones to ignore? Many charities are rated by a number of groups such as Better Business Bureau, Best, Charity Navigator, and others.

Of them all, the Charity Navigator rating is the one to look for. It is the most coveted rating to receive.

Charitable organizations are proud of their ratings and they most usually show the logos on their material.

Charity Navigator rates each organization by points and a percentage of points, so you have a point by point rating of the organization and their percentage as opposed to any other similar charity.

I can’t cover all the charities out there that are clamoring for your dollars, but I can give you some of the highest rated animal charities that are competing for your charitable dollars. These charities are also ones I have either given to in the past, or plan to give to in the future.

What to look for in request letter

There will be something on the outside of the letter -such as color, large lettering, partial image of animal, etc. to persuade you to open the letter.

The inside contents will give you all kinds of information on their promotion, advocacy, responsibility, emergency, injuries, why they need your contribution, etc.

They should give you information on IRS status. There will be a letter about the need, a note about your contribution deductible status on your taxes for the current year and a form to check and a return envelope.

While you are deciding whether to give or not, look for a rating, such as: Better Business Bureau, Best, and Charity Navigator.

If you see one, or all of these, you can be reasonably sure your money will be used for the cause described in your letter. You should also find information on the successes the organization has achieved through their advocacy.

One characteristic that all the following organizations adhere to is that animals experience fear and feel pain just as we humans do. They should be handled with respect and  care.

14 Charity Navigator rated organizations

Last Chance for Animals-  An international organization that advocates for animal rights. Is opposed to testing on animals.

Believes that humans should not subject non-humans to suffering and exploitation because alternatives now exist that eliminates animal use for testing. They currently have the highest rating of any organization by Charity Navigator.

IFAW-International Fund for Animal Welfare Founded in 1969.  It is one of the largest animal welfare and conservation charities worldwide.

Instrumental in preservation of habitat and emergency relief. News reports of their work already released- as first of April 2022. In Ukraine now doing animal rescue.

SPCA-Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. International organization that promotes education and advocacy for animals. Supports Global animal rescue. Offer rescue pets for adoption. Also, working in Ukraine now.

ASCPA-American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals- Rescue animals in times of disaster. Established in 1866. Advocate for animals in bad circumstances.

Humane Society of the U.S. Founded in 1954 Protect animals from abuse and neglect. Offer pets for adoption. Disapprove of animal testing.

Farm Sanctuary-Farm animals are mistreated at times on factory farms. The reasoning being that they are just going to be killed for food anyway.

Founded in 1986. An American animal protection organization dedicated to protect farm animals from abuse.

Alley Cat Allies- Founded in 1990.

Sleeping cat

Dedicated to humane treatment and protection for Cats. An advocate for humane care and control for feral cats and strays. Promote neuter and return program for feral cats.

Animal Welfare Institute- founded in 1951. Reduce animal suffering caused by human interference. Oppose animal testing.

Front Range Equine Rescue- Founded in 1997 Prevent the neglect and Abuse of wild horses through rescue and education, Maintain adoption program. Their motto: “Save the Wild Horses.” Top Charity Navigator rating.

White Coat Waste Project- Tax-Payer watch dog organization. It finds, exposes and defunds government waste funding. The group is an action group that promotes public funding projects. This project is fairly new and with good results.

Wildlife Rescue Center- Founded in 1979. One of the highest rated organizations by Charity Navigator. Maintains a hospital and temporary center for recovering, injured wildlife. Returns animals to the wild when well. Educates and informs public about wild animals.

Animal Legal Defense Fund- the only animal protection organization in the country dedicated exclusively to fighting animal cruelty and injustice using the power of the law. They file lawsuits to protect animals from harm and partner with prosecutors to bring abusers to justice.

PCRM–Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is not a Charity Navigator organization but seems to have good results- Physicians promote alternatives to animal research.

In today’s medical world there are better ways to do research than performing cruel tests on animals. Have been successful in halting useless tests on animals.

Best Friends- Save Them All Is not a Charity Navigator organization yet. Their goal is to bring the country to no-kill by 2025. That is quite an ambitious goal, but they have actually had success in persuading animal take-in shelters to become no-kill shelters.


These organizations are national organizations that operate nationwide and some operate worldwide. They deserve your interest and support, if you are so inclined. It seems to me that animals shouldn’t need so many organizations advocating for their welfare.

Animals, especially pets and farm animals, are not our enemies. In fact, many, many animals can be tamed and actually learn to love humans. Those who have cats or dogs know the joy of unconditional love that animals can give. Even most wild animals would rather ignore us than attack us.

One last note: Many local communities have pet groups that you may want to support. Rescue and adoption organizations that work within your own community to help pets that find themselves in trouble can always use more help.

I’m Barbara Nelson. I hope this information will be helpful to you. Animals need our help. Questions or comments are welcome. I will always answer.

How to house train your puppy


When I wrote the article last week on how to shop for a puppy, I left out one of the most important aspects of caring for a new puppy, and that was on how to house train your puppy. I was more focused on adopting a rescue dog or a young dog that had been in a home for a while.

My mistake. I heard from several readers that wanted to know–you guessed it—how to potty train their puppy. So here is the information you wanted.

Ready for commands

Potty training your puppy is just as much work as training yourself. You will have to make the rules and follow them, or your puppy will be confused and the job will never be done satisfactorily.

Pick a Potty Spot

The first thing you need to do, depending upon where you live, is to pick a potty spot. If you live in a house with a yard, decide where in the yard you want your puppy to go when nature calls. Pick a spot that is easy to get to from the door to the outside and is away from foot traffic or driveway.

If you live in an apartment-pick the quickest way from indoors to the outdoors and select an isolated spot.

When you’ve picked the place, bring your dog to the same spot every time.

Dogs smell their territory- and pretty quickly, they will get the message: “This is my spot.” Be consistent. Bring him to the same spot every time. Soon, your dog will get the message. When you open the door, he will automatically go to his spot.

If you live in an apartment and you have a stairway to go up or down, and perhaps a hallway to the outside, keep the leash by the door and figure the quickest way out.

Signs your dog needs a trip outside

Dogs have certain ways to tell you he needs to go out. You just have to pay attention to his sign language. Your dog probably is telling you he needs a potty trip if he smells his rear; paces in circles; barks or scratches at the door; sniffs the floor; or squats on the floor.

Do not wait around or read just one more paragraph in the paper. Take him out as quickly as possible. Keep a leash at the door until your puppy learns where he must go, Open the door and he’ll go out to his spot on his own.

Schedule meal times and snack times so puppy knows when its time to eat. You follow up a few minutes after he is finished eating with an outside trip. Some puppies drink a lot of water, and you need to follow a long drink with a trip out.

Sometimes small pups drink a lot. They have tiny stomachs and tiny bladders. Keep an eye on how much they drink. They may need to go out every hour.

Once in a while puppies develop bladder infections. The only way you would know is if he seems to be going an awful lot. Take him to the vet for a checkup. If your pup has a recurring medical problem, you want to catch it early.

Here is a loose schedule to follow that will make life the easiest for both you and your puppy. Just remember, take your puppy out often:

1. first thing in the morning

2. After all feedings

3. Anytime he is acting like he needs to go

4. The last thing before you crawl into bed at night.

Other Things to Remember

Praise him, give him a treat when he goes out and when he actually does his business where he is supposed to. Pretty soon, he will be going out on his own. That is the ultimate goal and you will really want to praise him a lot. Mission accomplished.

Puppies, young dogs, old dogs, may have an accident in the house. If this happens, take him out immediately to his spot. You are reinforcing where he should have gone.

Be calm, be patient. Do not punish him, or yell at him after an accident, it will only confuse him and make things worse.

Clean the area right away.

If you make the rounds visiting friends for games, dinner out, short trips, etc., be sure your pup is used to going to the bathroom when necessary outside. Make sure he has been trained to follow your commands

If he is good with strangers, and children, take him along. If he has trouble behaving with strangers it would be better to leave him home. If you are just going to be gone a couple of hours, he probably can say home by himself.

Final points

If you are going to be gone several hours or overnight, it would be best to leave him with a friend. If you are going to be gone for a week or longer, it would be best to board him.

Better yet, most dogs like to ride in the car. Make some small trips and let him learn to travel in the car and potty at a

In the car, Ready to hit the road

designated spot. An adult dog in a car is a thief deterrent. Remember to gauge the weather and do not leave your dog in a hot car or a freezing car. If you do travel with your dog, stop every hour or two to let him relieve himself.

If you have to be away and your doggie friend cannot go, you will ask a friend or pay someone to take care of your dog while you are away. If your dog is not completely outside trained yet, be sure to give your pet sitter information on how to keep the training going while you are away.

For bad weather, keep an umbrella close by to keep water off both you and your dog when it’s necessary to venture out. For snow conditions, be ready to shovel a path to your dog’s special spot.

If training seems to be slowing down or not going well, Take your dog to the vet for a checkup to make sure there are no health issues.



I’m Barbara Nelson and I hope this answers all your training questions. Please let me hear from you.

Keep your pet safe during the Holidays

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la,la la la la

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la,la la la la.”


It’s the first of December and everybody is thinking about the Holidays: What to buy for Dad, mom, big brother, Aunt Jean, etc. Who will we invite to our Christmas Eve party, What will Continue reading “Keep your pet safe during the Holidays”

How to care for a pet rabbit

Biology of the Rabbit

In my last article on Rodents, some of my readers indicated that they had a rabbit as a pet when they were young,

farm domestic rabbits -Onkel Ramirez-Pixabay

and thought maybe a rabbit was in the same family as the rodents. The answer to that question is no, they are not the same family, but they are both mammals.

A quick definition of a mammal is that they are warm blooded, they have hair or fur and feed their young with milk. That makes both Rodents and Rabbits mammals, but Rabbits are of the family Leporids. Rabbits require a lot of care as pets.

Dwarf Rabbit -here and Now Pixabay

They differ from Rodents in that Rabbits have two pairs of incisor teeth while Rodents only have one pair. These teeth continue to grow as long as the animal lives. The long ears of Rabbits help regulate heat. The average body weight of a female rabbit is 4 to 13 pounds. Average weight of a male rabbit is 4 to 11 pounds.

Rabbits are descended from the European Wild Rabbit. They also have a third eyelid which may be to keep out dirt and debris since Rabbits are burrowers. There are over 100 different breeds of rabbit descendants, all stemming from the European wild Rabbit.

Jack Rabbit Rich Roberson Pixabay

There are The many small, varied in color farm rabbits, Pampas rabbits, Jack rabbits, Alaska White rabbits, the Hare, dwarf rabbits, just to name a few. The New Zealand White rabbit is used most in biomedical research.

Female rabbits are called Does, male rabbits are called Bucks and baby rabbits are called Kits Normal litters are four to ten kits. Kits are weaned at 4 to 6 weeks.

Dwarf Rabbits            Pixabay

Rabbits were brought to England from France over 900 years ago. In England, farm fields were separated by hedgerows. Rabbits burrowed under the hedgerows and quickly multiplied.

Their fur was coveted for clothing, and they were convenient for eating. One average rabbit would feed one family for one meal with no waste or need for refrigeration.

Wild rabbits are nocturnal and their main food is grass. Domesticated rabbits eat quite differently. Their average life span is 7 to 12 years.

Rabbits make good pets

Domesticated Rabbits are good candidates for indoor pets. They require as much attention as a cat or a dog. They also return love and affection to their special human. Rabbits are highly social animals. They can be litter-boxed trained and can have the free rein of the house. There is one caveat.

Baby Rabbit  conger design  Pixabay

Rabbits chew EVERYTHING: baseboards, rugs, furniture, beds, electric cords. It’s those ever growing incisors. It’s best if the rabbit has a  controlled living space such as a large crate or cage, or a bunny condo.

Rabbit housing must be large enough to house a bunny bed, a litter box, water and food containers, and plenty of space to hop around. Experts suggest at least a crate four feet long, two feet wide and four feet high with a solid bottom. Inside, cover the bottom with a blanket, mat, blanket, or towels.

The litter box can be made to attract the rabbit to use it for the prescribed habit. The litter box can be a regular one that would be used for a cat. Most are plastic and should be shallow–so the bunny can step over and in. Line the pan with newspapers and fill with hay. Makes a miniature yard where bunny will “go.”

Make sure water bowls are heavy and hard to tip over–ideally made of ceramic or metal. Rabbits may be no larger than the average house cat, but they need space to stretch out or move around.

Rabbits need a lot of care

Rabbits need regular visits to the Vet. Young rabbits need to be spayed(female) or neutered(male) if they are going to be house pets. Sometimes rabbits get sick even though they have been carefully cared for. Vet bills can be high.

Rabbits are amazing, affectionate and social. They can be great house pets, but they require more care than most people think. Rabbits are unique pets. They can live free rein in a rabbit proof room or they can be contained in a rabbit condo.

Rabbits that are caged should be let out for a few hours a day for exercise, play and some cuddling. Do not isolate them from the whole family. They thrive on social contact with humans.

Rabbit diet and Grooming

Some people refer to a salad as “rabbit food.” Well that is not so far off from the truth. Rabbits are true vegetarians. Their diet consists of hay – fresh hay every day and Timothy hay and grass every day. Alfalfa for baby rabbits and some alfalfa for adult rabbits, as well as the timothy hay, grass or oat hay. They also need commercially made fiber pellets and fresh greens every day. Fresh leafy green veggies such as collard greens, beet greens, broccoli, romaine lettuce and carrots are favored.

Rabbits need to be brushed every day when shedding. Their fur is short and dense and needs regular maintenance. Nails need to be clipped several times a year. Learn how to do it from your vet before attempting to do it yourself. Change the litter box every day.


Girl with pet. Adina Voich Pixabay

Rabbits make good pets. They are social creatures, they will want a lot of attention from their special human. They do need a lot of special care and a varied veggie diet. Plan to spend a quantity of time with them. Watch out for a kick from the hind legs. Rabbits have no defense except to run, and the hind legs can propel them at a distance for a head start.

I’m Barbara Nelson and I hope you liked this article. Would love to hear from you. My thanks to PetMD Editorial,Feb. 2016 and Biology of the Rabbit- Derian Picazo.

Adopting a Miniature Horse; Adopt a miniature Donkey; adopt a Burro Program



Most animal lovers will agree that baby animals are cute. A few more dedicated animal lovers will agree that some baby animals are adorable. I have to concede that of all baby animals, the very cutest are the Continue reading “Adopting a Miniature Horse; Adopt a miniature Donkey; adopt a Burro Program”

Miniature Pigs as House Pets


Potbellied Pigs


Ever think about having a pet that is unusual in most people’s minds? We are constantly bombarded with pleas to rescue dogs and /or cats that need homes. We have an overflow of these little pups and kittens that need forever homes.

Actually, rescue centers and humane societies are over flowing with animals that need homes. There are more animals that need homes, Continue reading “Miniature Pigs as House Pets”

How to Take Care of your Pet


My website is dedicated to pets-all -kinds of pets. What kind of housing is right for them, the best kinds of food for them, do they need warm or cool places, do they live in wide open spaces, or cozy small spots.  Are there people who can treat them for health problems?

What qualifies an animal as a pet?

When the subject of pets comes up, most people Continue reading “How to Take Care of your Pet”

Does Your Cat Have Senile Dementia?


Julie and Janie

Cats are the most delightful and surprising creatures. They can be exasperating and captivating, all within minutes. I have lived with cats almost all my life. When I have had cats, I have wished that I didn’t and when I was without a cat, I could hardly wait until I adopted another one.

I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about cats, their peculiarities and their antics, but one thing I was not prepared for was the diagnosis of my cat’s problem by the vet. She had already been diagnosed with early stage kidney disease, but I had expected that, since she was somewhere between 12 and 16 years old. The diagnosis for her crazy behavior was -what? Senility.

That was a surprise to me. I had never considered that cats, and dogs too, could live long enough to become senile. It seems that our pets are susceptible to the same diseases and conditions as we are.

Better food, living conditions and treatments for diseases have allowed our pets to live longer and healthier lives. As they grow older, their brainpower can slip.

Signs of senility in Cats

Does your cat have senile dementia? Here are some symptoms to look for: loud vocalizing, not using her litter box, not grooming herself, acting disoriented, staring at nothing, sleeping more and more, does not want to be petted or picked up, not eating food, but eating non-food such as: litter, paper, plastic, sand. (eating non-food is a condition known as pica).

Some of these symptoms also indicate arthritis or kidney disease and deafness or blindness. Cats may suddenly refuse food they have always eaten before. Cats depend upon smell to find their food, and if they have lost a sense of smell, it may be difficult to persuade them to eat what you have put down.

With kidney disease, cats will sometimes suffer from nausea, which drives them to eat non-foods, which, in turn causes them to vomit. After these episodes, they are frantic for food and you are right back to where you were again. By the way, if she has emptied her stomach and is through heaving up, she will beg for food. Go ahead and feed her.

All of these activities will leave your cat full of anxiety.

A Tale of Two Cats: How We Arrived at Feline Dementia

I adopted two female cats through Pet Smart’s adoption program in the fall of 2007. They were litter mates and had been together since birth. One was a tortoise shell and the other was a tuxedo cat. Janie was a cat of all colors, and her sister, Julie, was black with white markings. The story was that they were about two years old and their elderly owner could no longer care for them. Julie, the black and white one, jumped all over the cage and ran her feet up and down the glass to get my attention.

Julie and Janie

She was successful. I took them home. I soon found out that Janie had stomach problems. There were days when she could not eat at all. The vet was puzzled, and so was I. I finally allowed the pet hospital to do an endoscopy. The only thing we could find after the procedure was that she had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

I should mention something about the girl’s sizes. Julie, the black one was a small boned cat with a normal weight of about 6 to 7 pounds. Janie was a larger boned cat with a normal weight of 8 to 10 pounds. The Veterinary Hospital I was using didn’t have much to offer on how to treat Janie.


I found a Veterinarian who practiced a blend of holistic and modern medicine. We found that Janie was allergic to almost every kind of food normal cats will eat. We put her on a diet of the foods she wasn’t allergic to and The vet also put her on a low dosage of prednisone. I soon had a brand new happy cat. She gained weight and no more constant vomiting.

I also noticed Julie’s attitude toward Janie. It was one of custodial care. Julie groomed Janie every day from head to toe. She also left some food in her dish, which Janie obligingly ate. Julie slept almost on Janie every day and night as if she was keeping Janie warm and safe.

I started calling Julie, “nurse Julie.” So it continued through the years until finally, last year Janie lost her eyesight and was no longer able to get around the house. She was completely lost. I had no choice but to put her to rest.

I’m not sure what was going through Julie’s mind. We were in the middle of covid and it was difficult getting to the vet’s office. She had a brief bout with a urinary tract infection. She has gained weight, since she isn’t saving food for Janie.

However, she is exhibiting almost all the signs of feline senile dementia, pica included.

Ways to Treat Feline Senile Dementia

There is no one way to treat senility in your cat. It is all trial and error. The first thing I had to do was stop Julie from eating litter. I think she was just licking the litter, but if she got some in her mouth, she swallowed it. She immediately vomited it up, along with anything else in her stomach.

My fear was that with clumping litter she could develop a mass in her stomach that she couldn’t pass. A blockage is serious stuff. I tried shredding newspaper for her box.  She would not use it. I tried just plain paper to line her box. No way would she use it. So I lined her box with newspaper and put just a light covering of litter over the paper. She will use that.

The newspaper lining seems to be discouraging her from trying to lick the litter. Clean up? not too difficult, Lay one complete sheet of paper as your top sheet, then put a light topping of litter over it. After she uses it, I can carefully scoop two or three times before pulling out the soiled paper.

Maintenance is not a big problem. Carefully slide out the soiled paper from the litter. It will sift onto the next layer of paper in the box. When I’m down to the last layer of paper, I clean everything up and re-line the box.

For Julie the trick is to always have food down for her. She is a grazer by nature. That is, she will eat a few bites and leave. Later, she comes and eats a few bites more. I have dry food down all the time, and she will eat it, but that is not her favorite fare. She likes the canned food and the stuff with the gravy on it.

Foods high in antioxidants, vitamin E, Beta Carotene, and fatty acids are recommended for these cats. However, some cats will not eat what you want them to eat.

Whatever your cat’s preference is for food, keep it the same. If she gets picky about the food, just try different things until she settles on a favorite.

Julie has three places to sleep in the apartment and I always look for her in those three places. You will spend quite a bit of time going through the house making sure your cat is not into something that will harm her.

Right now Julie is on Gabapentin twice a day to help with her arthritis pain. She sleeps a lot during the day, but will be up and about in the evening. If your senile cat suffers from Arthritis, your vet can prescribe something to lessen the pain.

I also have bought a diffuser with an essential pet remedy oil that seems to calm her. In addition, I have a rescue remedy that can be sprayed into the air, or rubbed directly on the cat’s head (just a drop or two), or put into her water bowl (just 3 or 4 drops).These are available through your vet, or at any pet store, or online.


If your cat is 14 or older and is exhibiting strange behavior-yowling, missing the box, eating non-food items, not grooming– she may be exhibiting the beginnings of senility. Check with your vet to make sure there is nothing physically wrong, before you decide she is just getting old.

Remember, along with old age, cats will have arthritis and possibly kidney disease. The vet can treat other physical causes in older cats as well.

These things you can do to help your cat cope with old age: Feed them their favorite foods, keep litter boxes clean, use a diffuser with essential oils to calm your cat, or a topical rescue remedy. Don’t change the furniture around. Leave everything in exactly the same place. Your cat may be losing her sight, but if everything is in the same place, she should be able to maneuver around.

She may not be able to jump up to her favorite spots because of arthritis, –your bed, or the couch, or in the window. In that case, set out a stool or steps, so she can climb up to her favorite place. Pet her and hold her, if she wants and lightly groom her if she likes it.  Above all, be patient. If you have had a good relationship with your cat, she will come to you, when things are not going well for her.

Squabbling over making the bed


Pictures are old. They were taken when the cats were young.

I’m Barbara Nelson, and I hope you enjoyed this story of my two cats. Feline Senility was new to me and I wanted to let cat lovers  know that it may happen to your older fur babies.

My thanks to Trupanion.com,  CatVills.com, and Animal  Health and Healing in St. Louis for information for this post.