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Blog the Change for Animals: Support organizations who help people and animals

April 15, 2014 10 comments

Blog the Change April 15th is Blog the Change for Animals Day. It’s a day when bloggers unite to bring attention back to an animal cause they care deeply about. It’s also a day in which you, our friends and readers, can also do something small to make the difference in the life of an animal.

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a Blog the Change event, but even with the distance of time (6 months), I knew fairly quickly what I wanted to blog about today… organizations that helps pets and their people.

It’s been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Pamela from Something Wagging This way Comes first brought it to my attention with her Blog the Change post “Want to Protect Animals? Care About People. “ In it she talked about the connection between animal welfare issued and people in need. It’s probably something we don’t often think about, but as she pointed out, animals don’t thrive where people don’t. We are dependent on one another in so many ways.  By focusing on only one we neglect the other, and in the end, both fail. She encouraged us to find the “ways helping animals also helps people.” 

This mindset has started to change how I look at animal welfare issues. Yes, I can rail at the injustice done to animals. I can complain, bitch and moan about the fact that so many people surrender their pets at kill shelters when the going gets rough, but the reality is that is ALL I am doing. Nothing more. I am not making a difference in changing the reality. In effect, I am whining.

More and more I am taking a look at how I can contribute to making a difference that helps both the animal and their person. Sometimes it’s helping a pet get into rescue instead of being sold on Craigslist (much to the relief of the owner), sometimes it’s bringing attention to an organization that treats both the person and their human (like Downtown Dog Rescue) and sometimes it’s contributing money to the group that is making a difference and needs funds to continue doing so.

Solving the pet overpopulation problem and animal welfare issues cannot be fought on any one single front. It must include a more holistic approach. One only has to hear about battered women shelters starting to accept the battered woman AND her pet to know that they are connected. Hurricane Katrina changed how states and the federal government handle emergency evacuations. Pets are a part of the process now.

People and their animals are uniquely connected. Treat the human and you treat the pet. Elderly Man in Wheelchair

So today I would like to encourage you to support those organizations that make a difference in your communities. Care about animals? Great! Look for groups who make a difference in helping animals, but also help the people who own them. I guarantee you there is probably one in almost every community. They are out there, doing the hand work. Go find them. Support them. Volunteer for them. Share their work with your friends and family.

Don’t have any organizations in your area that fit the bill? Then consider starting one in your own community.

Need some ideas? Here are just a few organizations that make a difference in their own communities. I hope they will serve as inspiration for all of us.

 

Downtown Dog Rescue – This is a great organization located in Los Angeles County, California. They focus on rescuing dogs, but they do so in a way that looks at the problem holistically. They provide services for low-income pet owners and help in ways that allows them to keep their pets.

“…volunteers will fix a fence to secure a yard, foot a vet bill, teach a family to housebreak their dog. They offer low-cost spaying and neutering, and hold training classes for dogs and owners in a nearby vacant lot.” Program with tiny budget makes huge difference for pets, owners, Lost Angeles Times, dated May 11, 2013

The Pet Project –  This is a local Minnesota organization that, like Downtown Dog Rescue, focuses on keeping people and their pets together by providing pet food to food shelves and offering assistance with veterinary care whenever possible. They provide resources and information on housing, local food shelf locations and veterinary care. They would love to receive your donations (monetary and otherwise) so they can help more people  and pets in need. It’s all about keeping pets with their people whenever possible.

“It’s part of a fledgling movement nationally to make sure people don’t have to choose between keeping food in the kitchen or Fido in the living room.” Kibble with a cause fills Fido’s bowl, StarTribune, dated September 13, 2009.

Animal Care Network – Be The Change for Animals featured Pam Porteous and the Animal Care Network in the 4animals section back on April 30, 2012.  That article highlighted the work that Pam is doing in her community of Flint, Michigan. Focused on keeping owners and their pets together, Pam and ACN have ensured pets made it to spay/neuter clinics by picking them up and delivering them to the clinic and then back home.  They have conducted home checks on animals, done wellness checks, offered low-cost spay and neuter clinics and Pam her self  “educates families and distributes food, water, hundreds of doghouses, thousands of straw bales and other supplies.” She also offers neighborhood talks on how to care for pets. 

“Her neighborhood talks cover the importance of spays/neuters, vaccines, and the dangers of cold weather, hot weather, and chaining.” 4animals: Stories to Inspire, dated April 30, 2012

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Blog the Change For Animals – Help a Lost Dog in Need. Help Tucker.

October 14, 2013 9 comments

Blog the ChangeOctober 15th is Blog the Change for Animals Day. It’s a day when bloggers unite to bring attention back to an animal cause they care deeply about. It’s also a day in which you, our friends and readers, can also do something small to make the difference in the life of an animal.

Today I am continuing the theme from the last Blog the Change, by asking for your help to spread the word about:
1. A little lost Sheltie in Minnesota, and
2. Another missing dog from your own area.

Two years ago next month, I lost my own Sheltie, Cupcake, when she slipped her collar after being frightened. For 11 days I lived in fear that she might be hit by a car, harmed by coyotes, or simply disappear forever, never to be found again.  Fortunately, I was surrounded by people who cared enough to share Cupcake’s story and made sure that word got out about her. People I didn’t even know spread the word and because of them (because of many of you), Cupcake was brought home safely. It was a miracle I will never forget. It’s a miracle I wish for every owner of a lost dog.

Now there is another lost Sheltie that needs our help. His name is Tucker and he has been missing since August 23 of this year. He went missing while away from home and in the care of someone else.

He is very much missed by his family, who has done everything to find him, including handing out flyers, making signs, spreading the word online, traveling to the town he went missing in every weekend, and speaking with animal communicators to try to find him.  What makes finding Tucker so much more important is that he also serves as a support dog and friend for the young man in his home. He misses him deeply.

We know Tucker is out there. We just need to find him.

Tucker has been sighted most recently sighted in Jordan, MN on October 10th.

Still Missing Tucker

How can you help? 

  1. Go to the Lost Shelties MN page and share Tucker’s picture and information on Facebook. Ask your friends to spread the word.
  2. Share this post or Tucker’s flyer (above) on Twitter or tweet “Lost #Sheltie in #Jordan #Minnesota. Support Dog. Brown and white. Do NOT chase. Contact https://www.facebook.com/LostSheltiesMN if seen.”
  3. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers and send him mental messages asking him to seek help from a person.  Ask him to let himself be sighted so we can help find him.

Help another dog in need closer to home

So many dogs and cats go missing each year. Many in your own state or in ones near you. Below I have posted several of the well-known Facebook groups responsible for reuniting lost dogs with their owners. Help make a difference for someone else in need:

  1. Take a moment to click on any one of the lost dog links below and share another lost dog  on Facebook and Twitter. 
  2. “Like” the page and help spread the word on other lost dogs in your own area.
  3. Offer an encouraging word to someone who’s dog is lost. You’d be surprised at how much it can help buoy their spirits. I know first hand how much these kind words helped me to not give up hope.

It might seem like a small thing to ask, but every share you do of a lost dog actually does make a difference:

  • Because someone shared Cupcake’s story, I met people who helped me bring her home.
  • Because I snapped a photo of a lost dog and shared it online, another lost foster dog made it back home. (I still have their thank you note to remind me why I want to continue to help others.)
  • Because someone shared, a lost dog someone found was reunited with his owner this past week.

Sharing makes a difference.

Please Be The Change that makes a difference today.

Thank you.

Click on any one of the links below and share a lost dog picture or story on Facebook or Twitter.

LOST Dogs Arizona

Granite State Dog Recovery

LOST Dogs Iowa

Lost Dogs-Illinois

Lost Dogs-MN

Lost Dogs New Jersey

LOST DOGS Texas

Lost Shelties MN

LOST Dogs of Wisc

Blog the Change: Prevent your dog from getting lost

July 15, 2013 13 comments

 

Blog the Change

Today, July 15th, is Blog the Change day. This is the day when pet bloggers write about an issue important to them and help to promote change.

I am extremely passionate about educating people on how to find their lost dog. In the past, I have written about what to do when your dog goes missing, what to do if you have a lost dog and they are too afraid to come to you and how to help someone who has lost their dog. Today, I would like to write about the ways you can prevent your dog from getting lost in the first place.

When Cupcake went missing in late 2011, I was haunted by all the things I did wrong that led to her becoming lost – I didn’t have her collar properly fitted, I took her into a new store she had never been in before, and instead of remaining calm, I panicked when Daisy became entangled with the store’s outdoor sign, which caused all the dogs to panic and run.

There is so much more I know now than I did back then. I hope by sharing these tips you don’t ever have to face losing a dog. Please share with your family and friends.  One less lost dog is worth preventing.

Ways you can keep your dog safe and prevent them from being lost:

  • Buy your dog a martingale collar and make sure it is fitted properly. These type of collars are especially great for sight hounds (because their necks are often bigger than their heads), but they can be used on any dog.
  • If you have a particularly shy or nervous dog, double-leash them so you have a fail-safe if one of them fails. (Double-leashing usually means you have one leash attached to the dog’s collar and one to their harness.)
  • Walk your dog using a well-fitted harness, and when you do walk them, make sure to loop the leash over your wrist so as to prevent the dog from bolting and pulling the leash out of your hands.
  • Make sure your dog is secure before opening the door to your house to let someone inside. This can be anything from putting them on a leash before opening the door to putting them behind a baby gate or in another room. A sit-stay is always good, but it is not foolproof.
  • Place locks on the gates to your yard. This may seem like a silly thing to do, but there are several reasons to do so. I have seen many a dog lost because a storm blew open someone’s gate, a child running in or out of the gate forgot to latch it or a contractor was working on the home and left the gate open. Placing a lock on the gate ensures no one gets in or out without you knowing about it.
  • Several times throughout the year, check your fence line to make sure there are no gaps or holes that you may have missed. Block all holes and gaps to prevent your dog from escaping the yard. Also, make sure that there are no chairs or tables near your fence so your dog cannot use it as a perch from which to jump it.
  • Don’t take your dog to the local 4th of July fireworks display. Keep them at home where you know they are safe. (In Minnesota, we had nearly 100 dogs go missing because they were frightened by fireworks.)
  • If someone is caring for your dog, make sure they know how to enter and leave your home without letting the dog out or consider blocking off the doorway so your dog cannot escape unexpectedly.
  • Don’t take a newly adopted dog to a new location like a dog park or pet store. Many newly adopted dogs get lost within the first few days of being adopted because they are scared and unsure of where they are. Wait two weeks and allow the dog to get used to you, your family and your routine before taking them anywhere with you.
  • When traveling by car, make sure your dog is contained in a kennel or is secured with a seat belt. Many dogs go missing after a car accident or when someone opens the door to the car to get out.
  • If you bring your dog to a groomer on a regular basis, have a conversation with him/her about how they will keep your pet safe so they don’t escape. Ask that your dog be contained until it is time for her to be groomed and after she is done. Also make sure that your dog is wearing a martingale collar when you drop them off and pick them up.

Prevention is key, but if your dog does get lost, here are some tips on how to find him/her again:

Lost Dog Tips

Lost Dogs-MN – Tips and Ideas

How to find a lost Sheltie – Minnesota Sheltie Rescue

How to Find Your Lost Dog (PetFinder)

Lost Dog Quick Action Plan from Granite State Dog Recovery

checkyourfenceAll photo credits are given to Lost Shelties-MN and Cindy Dahl Smith, who graciously agreed to let me share it.

 

The Adventures of Matt – Inspiration and Tears

April 8, 2013 35 comments
Matt

Matt

Back in July, I shared this picture of a special little rescue dog named Matt in my Blog the Change post on dog rescues.

I first heard about Matt from my friend Kristin who volunteered at Minneapolis Animal Care and Control (MACC). She was actively sharing Matt’s picture and story in hopes that he would be adopted or fostered through a rescue. Matt was on death row and things were not looking good. No rescues seemed to want Matt. Possible dog aggression issues made things too risky, and since only a rescue could take him, his chances of getting out were not good.

But then, an amazing set of women, Anne and Breanne, stepped forward and offered to foster him through Wags and Whiskers Animal Rescue.

Matt was not an easy dog to take and both Anne and Breanne knew that they would have to work with him before he could be introduced to their two dogs, but they did it anyways… and they allowed us to join them on their journey, via Matt’s Facebook page, Adventures of Matt.

I can only speak for myself, but watching them work with Matt was inspirational. They not only showed us what was possible, but they were also brutally honest about their work with Matt., They acknowledged Matt’s set backs and celebrated his successes, and we celebrated along with them. They also shared their knowledge about dog behavior in a way that was not only educational but interesting. Matt became the star of the show. You were bound to learn something new if you were following Matt. I loved that.

Maybe that’s why it is so hard to believe that Matt’s journey is now over. This little red dog who inspired so many peacefully passed away Sunday night. It was not an easy decision for his foster moms and rescue to make, but I have no doubt they made the right one for Matt.

You see, a few weeks ago, Matt started vomiting and became seriously ill. A visit to the vet determined that Matt had an obstruction in his intestine. He would need surgery. The obstruction turned out to be a small squeaker from a squeaky toy. It had done enough damage that 5 inches of Matt’s dying bowel also had to be removed. Matt made it through surgery and was sent home to heal. But, it wasn’t long before Matt was ill again and another surgery was needed to save his life. His bowel was telescoping in on itself.

Things were looking very serious this time. The prognosis was not good. And yet, despite all odds, Matt came out of surgery doing better than expected. In fact, he was doing so well that he was able to come home soon after surgery. It seemed he had made a miraculous recovery. Soon he was eating and playing again, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Until Saturday.

Matt started vomiting again and was very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, a third surgery was out of the question. Matt’s little body just couldn’t take another one so soon. All options had run out for our little red friend.

So on Sunday Matt’s moms gave him the very best day a dog could ask for – he saw all of his old friends, including my friend Kristin, played with all his favorite toys, as many as he wanted, and was surrounded by love all day, and even played a bit.

In the end, his mommas were there to hold him as they lovingly sent him on his next new adventure. I have no doubt Matt is up in heaven showing all the other dogs his new social skills, the ones he learned from his moms.

Today, my heart is with Anne and Breanne.

Thank you for allowing us to join you on your journey with Matt. We loved every minute of it. 

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A Loan From God

God promised at the birth of time,
A special friend to give,
His time on earth is short, he said,
So love him while he lives.

It may be six or seven years,
Or twelve or then sixteen,
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?

A wagging tail and cold wet nose,

And silken velvet ears,
A heart as big as all outdoors,
To love you through the years.

His puppy ways will gladden you,
And antics bring a smile,
As guardian or friend he will,
Be loyal all the while.

He’ll bring his charms to grace your life,
And though his stay be brief,
When he’s gone the memories,
Are solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But lessons only a dog can teach,
I want you each to learn.

Whatever love you give to him,
Returns in triple measure,
Follow his lead and gain a life,
Brim full of simple pleasure.

Enjoy each day as it comes,
Allow your heart to guide,
Be loyal and steadfast in love,
As the dog there by your side.

Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call,
To take him back again?

I fancy each of us would say,
“Dear Lord, thy will be done,
For all the joy this dog shall bring,
The risk of grief we’ll run.

“We’ll shelter him with tenderness,
We’ll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known,
Forever grateful stay.

“But shall the angels call for him,
Much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand.

The Best and Worst States for Animals – Where does your state fall?

January 24, 2013 18 comments

ALDF 2012-state-rankings-mapRecently, I happened to come across another blogger’s blog post sharing her state’s (Florida) ranking in an annual report provided by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

The report comprehensively surveys animal  protection laws for all U.S. states and territories and then ranks those states and territories based on their laws.

“…the RANKINGS REPORT assesses the strength of each jurisdiction’s animal protection laws by examining over 4,000 pages of statutes. Each jurisdiction receives a raw score based on fifteen different categories of animal protection…”

Of course, I was curious to find out what categories they included in their ranking, and I wanted to know where my state stood amongst the group (Minnesota ranked #14).

I was disappointed to see that the detailed information in the report, like what put each state at that ranking and what they could do better, was confined to only the 5 best and 5 worst states.  However, I thought the information was interesting enough to share a summary of their findings. I suspect that if you live in one of these states you already know where they would fall, but it’s still worth sharing. I encourage you to review the full report yourself. It’s quite interesting.

There were 15 categories used to determine a state’s ranking.  These covered laws in the following areas:

  1. General prohibitions
  2. Penalties
  3. Exemptions
  4. Mental health evaluations & counseling
  5. Protective orders
  6. Cost mitigation & recovery
  7. Seizure/impoundment
  8. Forfeiture and post‐conviction possession
  9. Non‐animal agency reporting of suspected animal cruelty
  10. Veterinarian reporting of suspected animal cruelty
  11. Law enforcement policies
  12. Sexual assault
  13. Fighting
  14. Offender registration
  15. “Ag gag” legislation (New this year, this ranking takes into account states where laws – propagated by the agriculture lobby – aim to conceal animal abuse, food safety risks, and illegal working conditions from consumers by making it illegal to video record or photograph at agricultural facilities.)

The Best 5 States for animals are:

  1. Illinois
  2. Maine
  3. California
  4. Michigan
  5. Oregon

The Worst 5 states for animals are:

  1. New Mexico (#46)
  2. South Dakota (#47)
  3. Iowa (#48)
  4. North Dakota (#49)*
  5. Kentucky (#50)

*I thought it was interesting (but not surprising) to see North Dakota on the “worst” list. I wrote about them late last year after their citizens voted down a law that would have made animal cruelty a felony. It’s kind of hard to see them making the best list with that kind of news isn’t it? By the way, South Dakota has chosen not to make animal cruelty a felony as well. I can’t help but wonder why. Surely the people in these states love animals too. Right?

 

What was also interesting were the states that improved their ranking by more than 50%:

Arizona:  52%
Arkansas:  139%
District of Columbia:  64%
Guam:  84%
Indiana:  74%
Mississippi:  78%

What made their ranking change so significantly? They changed, added laws or strengthened their existing animal protection laws.

Some of the areas in which they made this happen include:

  • Expanding the range of protections for animals
  • Providing stiffer penalties for offenders
  • Strengthening standards of care for animals
  • Reporting of animal cruelty cases by veterinarians and other professionals
  • Mitigating and recovering costs associated with the care of mistreated animals
  • Requiring mental health evaluations and counseling for offenders
  • Banning ownership of animals following convictions
  • Including animals in domestic violence protective orders
  • Prohibiting convicted abusers from gaining employment involving animal contact
  • Strengthening provisions on the sale and possession of exotic animals
  • Expanding humane officers’ powers to be the same as other peace officers

(Credit: 2012 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings™)

So where did your state fall on the list? Were you surprised?

Blog the Change – Help Fight Minnesota Puppy Mills today!

January 14, 2013 27 comments

Blog the Change
Blog the Change is a chance for bloggers to write about something they are passionate about. I am passionate about a lot of animal welfare-related issues, but always at the top of my list are pet adoption and stopping puppy mills. Having adopted two former puppy mill breeding dogs and a former pet store puppy (who also came from a mill),  I tend to be a little passionate about this issue.

Is it fate that caused Blog the Change to fall exactly one day after two new breeder bills were introduced in the Minnesota State House and Senate? I prefer to think not.

Yesterday, January 14th, 2013, Minnesota Senate by Senator John Marty (D-66) introduced S.F. 36 and House by Representative John Lesch (D-66B) introduced  H.F. 84 . These two files (bills) address inhumane dog and cat breeding (also known as puppy/kitten mills) in Minnesota.

While Minnesota may not have the most puppy mills (Pennsylvania and Missouri claim those infamous positions), we are one of the top states to mass-produced puppies and kitties. We have some of the largest breeding kennels in the nation – many of them housing up to 300, 600 or over 1,000 dogs and puppies in one facility or “puppy mill.” I know of one facility o=in southern MN that has over 600 breeding pairs and only 7 people to care for them. Can you imagine? And yet, under current state law that is perfectly legal.

Clearly, we have a problem in Minnesota and now is the time to take action.

So what can you do?

1.  Join me at the rally in support of  S.F. 36/H.F. 84, the Minnesota Dog and Cat Breeder Bill on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY. 19, 2013, from 3-4pm at the STATE CAPITOL in ST. PAUL, MN.

2.  Ask your vet to sign the online petition to ask our legislators to pass the breeder bills. Our goal is 500 signatures by the end of January!!! Ask your veterinarians, vet techs and vet assistants to sign the petition. The petition has been very effective in the past in garnering legislator attention on this issue. We would like to present a list of 500 signatures or more to our legislators as soon as possible. Please call your vet and ask them to support!

3.  Educate your own State Senator and Representative on what goes on in Minnesota breeding facilities. This year there are many new legislators who have not heard from us. So, please, contact them. Even if they are back and heard from you last session, contact them again. The problem did not go away and new bills were introduced. Don’t Know Who Your Legislator is? Go to http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/ 

Be sure to tell them the bill numbers and authors’ names because conflicting bills may be introduced this session. Support S.F. 36 (authored by Senator John Marty) and H.F. 84 (authored by Representative John Lesch).

4. Learn more about the problem and sign the petition at: www.animalfolksmn.org in support of the breeder bills.

5.  Add your name to a list of Minnesotans who want to take action on the legislation to regulate commercial breeders. You can email stopthesuffering@yahoo.com and ask to be added to the database. You will be alerted when you should contact legislators asking them to support these bills.

6. Print out this PDF and share with all your friends and family and ask them to support the Minnesota breeder bill.

Now is the time to take action!

Without your help dogs like Daisy, Cupcake and Jasper will continue to suffer in Minnesota puppy mills. We need your help!

Puppy mills-24 hours

Raise $5000 for Rescue Pets This Week – Just Tweet and Post! #BTC4A

October 22, 2012 10 comments

For every tweet and blog post featuring the #BTC4A hashtag (short for Be the Change for Animals) from October 22-27, Petco will donate $1 for rescue pets – up to $5000 – at BarkWorld!

Roxie – Available for adoption through Minnesota Sheltie Rescue

Now this is a fundraiser I can get behind!

Rescues don’t see donations of this size every day. Heck, they are lucky to even see it in a year!

Having worked with my rescue group, Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, for over a year now. I can vouch for the impact a donation like this would have on one rescue, much less three.

I know, first hand, how much my small, local rescue does in my community. So many small rescues are doing the same thing across these United States. They help so many animals in need and could help so many more if only they had the money to do so. I understand the impact generous donations have on the work they do.

The money you donate pays for spaying, neutering, vaccinations, dental care, heartworm testing, and treating injuries or illness. Why not make these goals as easily attainable as possible?

Roxie was saved just over a month ago and is now ready for her new home. Her story can be the story of many other rescued pets with your help. It’s so easy!

ACT NOW!

  • Tweet this now through Saturday, October 27th at 11 AM (EST) :

Rescue pets receive $1 from @Petco at @BarkWorldExpo for each #BTC4A tweet from Oct 22-27! Learn more: http://ht.ly/eEls7

  • Blog about what rescue means to you, now through Saturday, October 27th at 11 AM (EST). Add #BTC4A to your post title. Add your post link (not just your domain) to the blog hop list below to be counted. Bonus: Each time your post is tweeted, you’ll earn more money for rescue pets!
  • Nominate your favorite no-kill 501(c)3 rescue or shelter at the Petco booth through Friday, October 26th! (BarkWorld Attendees only.)

Why It Matters

Animal organizations need funds for food, vaccinations, spays, neuters, treatment of injuries and illness – expenses that adoption fees don’t fully cover. General donations allow an organization to address their most pressing needs. Together, we can raise $5000 to assist local, no-kill rescues and shelters!

We animal lovers at Be the Change for Animals, BarkWorld, Petco, and Two Little Cavaliers believe that helping rescue pets is important. We know you do too. Make the difference. Be, Blog and Tweet the Change for Animals!

The BIG WINNERS will be announced this weekend during BarkWorld’s Petco session on Saturday!

You DO NOT need to attend BarkWorld to participate.
Simply tweet or post and help us raise $5,000!
We’ll let you know who wins, right here!!

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