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Posts Tagged ‘dog rescues’

Where does a rescue or shelter’s responsibility end when it comes to a dog?

January 10, 2016 20 comments

Jack Russell Terrier SnarlingWhen you work in rescue, you encounter a wide variety of situations that you not only can’t anticipate, but for which you also don’t have an easy solution. Things are rarely in black and white. Answers aren’t always easy, and many times you second guess yourself.

There is no question that rescues are there to save every animal they can. No one wants to be the one to make the decision to euthanize an animal. When an animal is in pain and suffering, the answer is a little easier because you know that it will no longer need to suffer in pain. But when it involves behavior or genetics, it can be so much harder to know what to do.

I often struggle in this middle ground. I firmly believe that many animals are euthanized when they could have been saved. Proper training and dedication can help many a dog who is fearful or has fear aggression. But, I also believe that there are animals being saved who should not be. Many of these are animals are ones who but for the perfect owner, would be a danger to others, people or human. and dedicated and self-sacrificing that without said owner, they would be a danger to others, people or animal.

Perhaps my strong sense of what is right and wrong prevents me from seeing other possibilities and options, but in a world where mistakes can happen, where perfection is impossible, I just cannot see how saving a dog that is a potential danger to other dogs is the “best” decision.

Last year, I participated in a group discussion involving a dog who had killed an older resident dog in the foster home he was staying in. The foster mom had made an urgent plea for someone to please take the dog. Many in the group expressed their condolences. Many praised her for being able to see beyond her grief to want to save the dog despite him killing her dog. A few of us expressed our condolences and broached the topic of euthanasia. She was seriously considering it.

But then, the person who had originally rescued him was able to get the dog into a no-kill shelter just south of here and he was saved. That was a little over six months ago.

Since then, I’ve often wondered…

Was the shelter informed about the death he had caused? If the shelter was informed, did they plan on or did they tell prospective new owners about the danger (I am assuming they are legally required to do so)? And, if they have told prospective owners, and he was rejected on that basis, would he spend the rest of his life in a shelter?

I also wondered if he had been placed in a new home and if the new owner knew understood the risks involved if the dog were to get loose or live in a home with another dog. I wondered if his new owner was experienced with dogs with behavioral issues. I wondered if he or she was continuing to work a training and behavior modification plan with him, like his foster mom had been trying to do, and if the he had harmed another dog since being shipped across the border.

j0387553I hope he is in a home where he is the only dog, and that he is living with someone who knows how to work with him and will make sure he does not harm another dog again, but I will always wonder.

I fully support rescues and shelters transporting dogs to places where they can have a better chance at living in a real home. I also support trying our very best to help a dog who has behavioral issues rather than choosing euthanization first. So many dogs have been saved this way.

However, when it comes to dogs with serious behavioral issues (or a history where another animal in the home was killed) I wonder where a rescue or shelter’s due diligence and responsibility begin and end. Is it okay to pass on a dog who has serious issues as long as the receiving rescue or shelter is aware of it? Is it okay to simply hope that the receiving rescue or shelter will do the right thing and inform the new owner of the possible dangers? Is there a right and wrong decision when it comes to this dog? I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t, I just hope it wasn’t passing the buck.

What do you think? Where does a rescue or shelter’s responsibility end when it comes to a dog with serious behavioral issues?

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Give to the Max Day is Thursday! Help dogs like puppy mill rescue, Maggie

November 10, 2015 6 comments

GTMD15LogoVerticalReverseThis Thursday, November 12, is Give to the Max Day! Are you ready?

MaggieNever heard of it?  The official description is below, but I can tell you that for Minnesota charities, this is the biggest day of the year. In this one event, charities can raise enough funds to keep them going for the next year. It means they can continue to help those in need, animals and humans alike, for a whole year.

About Give to the Max Day

Give to the Max Day was created in 2009 to launch GiveMN, a collaborative venture led by Minnesota Community Foundation and many other organizations committed to helping make our state a better place. That initial spark touched off a blast of online giving — $14 million in 24 hours. Since then, Give to the Max Day has become an annual tradition. Every year thousands of organizations and individuals generate donations and excitement for Minnesota causes that are working to improve the quality of life for all Minnesotans.

Give to the Max Day has become a national model for giving days.

Give to the Max is a competitive day of massive giving and fundraising. What makes it special is that ON THIS DAY ONLY charities have the chance to earn extra $$’s just by you giving.

  • Every hour a random drawing will give $1000 to a charity on each of the categories. This is called the Golden Ticket.
  • Two SUPER SIZE GOLDEN TICKETS of $10,000 will also be awarded to two charities.
  • In addition to that, top earning charities for each category will have the chance to win extra $$’s just by you keeping them in that top slot. Here is where Minnesota Sheltie Rescue hopes to be (small organization leader board):

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 The charity I am supporting is Minnesota Sheltie Rescue. If you haven’t been following me until recently, you should know that my dog Cupcake, and resident foster dog, Maggie, both came to me via Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR).
MNSR works so hard to help Shelties in need. When Maggie came to MNSR, she was in bad shape emotionally. She was terrified of everything – people, sounds, lights, and everything in a home. (Living in a puppy mill will do that to a dog.) Some organizations might have chosen to euthanize her immediately, thinking her unsalvageable, but not MNSR. They gave Maggie a chance. And as a result, she is now a great example of how time, commitment, patience and dedication can help puppy mill dogs like her.

Foster Maggie

Maggie has been with me nearly two years. It has taken her this long to start to come about and to become more like a real dog. MNSR never wavered in its commitment to her, or other dogs in need of longer foster care. They also haven’t balked at helping those Shelties who needed extra medical care, including dental care, surgeries, ongoing veterinary visits and treatments, and supplying the medicines that keep some Shelties alive and healthy. They help in lost Sheltie searches, promote other organizations who help pets (and people with pets) and educate dog owners on what to do to keep their pets. In other words, Minnesota Sheltie Rescue is more than just a rescue. It is an organization that helps dogs AND their community.
I hope you will help them to continue to help dogs like Maggie. I hope you will donate a few $$s to them this Thursday, so they can continue to help the community and the shelties in our community.
If you want to follow how MNSR does on Give to the Max Day, follow Minnesota Sheltie Rescue on Facebook.

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Pet adoption and the fight for the millennial mind

February 8, 2015 10 comments

Woman Watching Television with DogYou may not have noticed, but the pet industry has shifted their attention to a new demographic these days, and they are getting laser focused. Who are they studying with such intensity?

Millennials, the group that is expected to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest generation this year.

And it’s not just the pet industry that is taking notice. Almost every major company inside and outside of the United States is doing the same thing. Why? Because unlike generations past, millennials have influence. It’s not just their sheer size (in numbers) that is powerful, but also their reach. Millennials are more socially connected and more socially influential than any other generation. They are also ethnically and racially diverse, well-connected, technically proficient, and early adopters. They are unlike any other generation that has preceded it. They are the movers and shakers who will be impacting our world for many years to come, much like the Baby Boomers did in previous years.

With a generation this large and influential, it only makes sense that they would impact the pet world as well.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently published a report on how millennials will change the way veterinarians do business. In “The Generation Factor: How the rise of the millennial generation could mean changes in the way veterinarians do business”, they laid out the differences between Baby Boomers, Gen Xer’s and Millenials, not only as clients but also as employees. The differences are quite distinct. For instance, the work ethic for Baby Boomers has to do with how many hours worked, while Gen Xer’s are about working smarter (not harder), and millennials are all about tasks completed and getting feedback and gaining consensus.

Puppy Wearing BowI am sure many animal welfare groups are taking notice, but I wonder if smaller, local shelters and rescues are as well? I hope they are because there is another reason that the pet industry is taking notice of the millennial generation – they think pet ownership is going to decline with them.  

This means more competition between those who are selling pets and those who are adopting them out, and the adoption side may be facing an uphill battle.

Why? Because millennials are more likely to:

  • Rent than to buy a home – This means more apartment and condo dwellers, the residences least likely to allow a pet.
  • Move frequently – More than any other generation, which makes it harder to care for a pet long-term.
  • Stay in college longer – Millennials have had a tough time in the job market due to the poor economy, so more are choosing to stay in college longer and get their masters degree or a doctorate. Owning a pet and going to college is also a possible deterrent.
  • Be impulse buyers – They are less likely to wait and go through an extensive adoption process to get a pet.
  • Purchase a pet from a pet store or breeder (including online) rather than adopt a pet from a rescue or a shelter – According to a recent survey by Best Friends Animal Society, by almost 50%.
  • Believe that animals can safely stay in shelters until they are adopted – 38% of millennials vs. 28% of the total population.

No wonder the pet industry is worried.

All hope is not lost however, millennials are also more likely to get a pet earlier in their lives compared to boomers (21 years old vs. 29 years old), be single longer (and thus, may seek a pet for companionship), and are more civic-minded and more likely to get involved tomato a difference..

Low Section View of a Man with His BulldogRescue groups have an opportunity to make a difference now. If they are not doing so, they should start working to build a relationship with millennials in their community. Organizations need to be inclusionary and seek their input. They should also be open to new and innovative ideas on how to improve the organization, increase adoptions and connect with other millennials.

Other ways rescue groups and shelters can connect with millennials:

  • Have a strong social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, etc.) and be actively engaged with followers.
  • Make your website and social media platforms a place where millennials can get information and learn something new that can help both them and their pet. You need to be the online expert they go to when they want advice and support.
  • Connect on a person-to-person basis. Two-way communication is important to them.
  • Be open to texting and responding via social media platforms. Millennials are less likely to use email.
  • Make what you provide, and what they are getting from you, is distinct and different. You want it to be share-worthy.
  • Be more customer-service oriented. Millennials are individual social media companies of their own, so what they experience with you will be shared with their network of friends and family.
  • Recognize their efforts frequently. Acknowledge the work done and the benefits experienced by the organization.
  • Appeal to their desire to make a difference. Adopting a pet needs to be less a sob story and more of a motivator to do good.

Despite some of the concerns about pet adoption declining, rescue groups and shelters should be very excited about the impacts millennials can bring to the rescue community. Their innovative and creative ideas, combined with a dedication and desire to help, has the potential to make a real difference in animal rescue.

I know one millennial animal rescuer who is making a difference on a daily basis here in Minnesota. I am often in awe of her ability to motivate people and get them involved in rescue. She is well-connected, uses social media extensively and has saved more dogs and cats than anyone I know. She is a force to be reckoned with. Just imagine what could happen if we had 100 more people like her. 

Resources: 

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!!

Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue – Minnesota Sheltie Rescue

July 23, 2012 13 comments

Today, Monday, July 23rd I am participating in an event called Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue. We are asking all dog bloggers to participate in a special online global event designed to bring attention to dog rescues. BTC4animals.com is proud to partner with Blog Catalog, Dog Rescue Success and YOU to harness a global online community to help save the lives of dogs in need.

This is Hakim. Hakim loves to be around people, play fetch, and be petted! He loves to go for (leashed), walks and plays chase with the other dog in his foster home. He is an absolute sweetheart!
Hakim is 8 years old and available through MNSheltieRescue.org

Across this country there are dog  rescues who, with very little funding, and a small dedicated group of volunteers, commit to fostering, training, promoting, vetting and caring for dogs that might otherwise be abandoned, abused or killed. They have a thankless job. One that requires hours and hours of work, and lots of time spent raising funds, so they can manage the difficult of job of saving dogs’ lives and finding them loving homes.

Maybe you have you have never adopted from a rescue before, or  you don’t really know what a rescue does.

Let me tell you a little more about one particular dog rescue and the work it does to help save Shelties in Minnesota. This is a group that I volunteer for and support – Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR).

MNSR is a 501(c) tax-exempt, non-profit organization. They are an all-volunteer foster-based rescue organization that houses all of its dogs in foster homes until they find their forever homes. Since their founding in 2003, they have found homes for almost 500 Shelties in need.

MNSR not only works with dogs in their care, but also with other rescues and shelters to help dogs in need. They help individuals who may be thinking about surrendering their dog by providing them with resources and information that may help them work through an issue or problem, or if this is no longer an option, they work with the owner to help their dog make a smooth transition to a foster home and eventually to their new forever home.

Below is a list of just some of the things Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR) does on a regular basis. As you read through the list, keep in mind that this is an all-volunteer dog rescue organization, operating with limited funds.

What does MNSR do?

  • Rescues dogs from a wide variety of places and circumstances – owner surrender, shelters, puppy mills, etc.
  • Makes every dog a top priority by dedicating the time, money and care needed to have the best opportunity to find a forever home.
  • Provides medical care for every dog it takes into its care. This includes dental extractions, anti-anxiety meds, heartworm preventative, and Frontline.
  • Conducts home visits with every potential foster home and adoptive family.
  • Offers shy Sheltie training classes for its foster dogs and foster parents. Classes are led by a positive reinforcement dog trainer.
  • Provides support, guidance and assistance to foster parents, adoptive families and strangers who’s Sheltie is missing or lost.
  • Shares adoption listings for Shelties in other states, or with other rescues, who are in need of a home
  • Provides support and guidance to people looking to rehome their pets but who are not looking to surrender to MNSR.
  • Shares resources and tips on everything from working with a shy or fearful dog to dealing with thunderstorm or fireworks phobia to pet food recalls to helping you keep your pet.
  • Provides ongoing support to adoptive families as they get to know their dog.
  • Shares opportunities to attend training seminars and events for volunteers to learn more about helping dogs.
  • Promotes training opportunities available for all Sheltie owners.

You might be thinking that this is a pretty comprehensive list. I agree.

MNSR is a very dedicated dog rescue organization who does a lot to help dogs and their owners. Although I think they are exceptional, I know there are other dog rescues out there doing similar things. That’s why it’s so important to support them whenever you can.

How can you help support dog rescues like MNSR?

  • Adopt, don’t shop. Want a particular breed? There are a lot of dog rescues, like MNSR, who specialize in specific breeds.
  • Foster a dog. Every dog that makes it to a foster home is one less dog that will be euthanized. Not sure you can give them up? Ask to participate in a foster-to-adopt program for a local dog rescue.
  • Donate time, money or supplies. Dog rescues are often operating on a small budget. Any support you can provide will be gratefully accepted. Don’t have a dog rescue in mind? Donate to MNSR.
  • Spay and neuter. The truth is that until we end the supply of dogs entering our shelters, we will never stop killing them. Sharing the miracle of birth with your kids might be cool, but chances are one of those puppies will end up in a shelter and be killed because there just isn’t any room for them.
  • Encourage your friends and family to adopt.
  • Donate your time – Last week, I wrote a post about how you can help if you can’t foster (“I could never foster a dog or cat…”). There are a wide variety of ways you can help a dog rescue.
  • Tell others. Post this to Facebook and Twitter: SPREAD THE WORD – BLOGGERS UNITE FOR DOG RESCUE – Promote dog adoption on July 23rd! http://bit.ly/pO7dZp #BtC4A

Dog rescues make a difference.

Please support them, and the work they do, whenever you can.

Lacie is a beautiful, loving young sheltie mix girl who will make a wonderful companion for that special someone. Through no fault of hers, she’s been shuffled around quite a bit in her young life. This little girl is a sweetie.
Lacie is 3 years old and will need to be on a diet and exercise regimen, but she is really, really sweet!

I am Winston. I am told that I am just the cutest little thing to come along in a long time. I am now learning to deal with two very bossy diva foster sisters (who are Shelties like me) and some cats, but we all get along really well. It would be more fun, however, if the cats would run every now and again – oh a good chase would be so great!
Winston is 8 years old and a mellow fellow most of the time, but he would love a friend who would love to play with him!

Mattie is a beautiful bi-black Sheltie/Eskie, and she just loves to be the princess. She loves playtime in the yard and has quite a few favorite stuffies that she carries outside even to go potty. Mattie is a very affectionate little girl.
And, Mattie has passed the Canine Good Citizen test!
Mattie is 7 years old and will need someone who can feed her on scheduled times and take her for walks.
She is available for adoption through Minnesota Sheltie Rescue
http://www.mnsheltierescue.org/

Ian is a very cute little guy who has been busy learning many new skills in his foster home. Ian lived all his life in a breeding facility where he had little interaction with people. He is looking for a very special home that understands the needs of shy dogs who are just beginning to learn how to interact with people, and where he will have a doggie friend.
Ian is 6 years and about ~13-15 lbs. He is absolutely gorgeous, but will need someone special who understands working with shy dogs. He is available for adoption through MInnesota Sheltie Rescue http://www.mnsheltierescue.org/
TEMPERAMENT: Ian is very shy with people because he was not socialized prior to coming into rescue. He is not used to being petted, and does not feel comfortable approaching people yet.

I could never foster a dog or cat…

July 19, 2012 21 comments

Mattie is a beautiful bi-black Sheltie/Eskie, and she just loves to be the princess. She loves playtime in the yard and has quite a few favorite stuffies that she carries outside even to go potty. Mattie is a very affectionate little girl.
And, Mattie has passed the Canine Good Citizen test!
Mattie is 7 years old and will need someone who can feed her on scheduled times and take her for walks.
She is available for adoption through Minnesota Sheltie Rescue
http://www.mnsheltierescue.org/

Yesterday I took the dogs to the dog park for a long walk. It’s been the first day that it’s been cool enough to take them for any length of time. As we were walking, we ran into a woman we ad seen a few times before and we stopped to chat. Towards the end of the conversation, she said “You foster all these dogs right?” I laughed. “No.” I said, “but they were all fosters at one time.” We chuckled for a second and then she said, “I could never foster.”
I couldn’t help but feel sad. I hear that one a lot along with:

  • I could never foster because I would fall in love and keep the dog.
  • I could never foster it would be too much work.
  • I could never foster and then give them up.

I used to hear similar things from friends and acquaintances when I used to volunteer at an animal shelter:

  • I could never do that because I would be sad.
  • I could never do that because it would break my heart.
  • I could never do that because it would be too hard to leave them there.

Maybe it’s true. I’m sure not everyone can foster, nor can everyone can volunteer at an animal shelter. But, these aren’t the only things that rescues and animal shelters do.

Are you good at organizing events? Help a rescue or shelter to plan their annual fundraiser or volunteer recognition event.

Are you good with talking to people? Offer to make calls to newly adopted pet parents to follow up on progress or offer to go to pet adoption events and share more about your shelter or rescue with people.

Great at writing? Rescues and shelters need help rewriting their informational brochures and packets all of the time. They could use your help.

Great at taking pictures? Offer to take pictures of their available dogs and cats. We now know that good pictures, pictures that show a dog or cat’s personality, makes all the difference in how quickly they get adopted.

Can’t commit too much time? Offer to donate supplies or money. If there is one thing both of these organizations need it’s money. I know it’s not sexy or quite as personally rewarding as “doing” something, but it is the one thing you CAN do that will absolutely make a difference in the life of one dog or one cat. Rescues often pull these animals from kill-shelters. By donating money, you are enabling them to save one more dog or one more cat.

Maybe you are considering fostering and just can’t quite get up the nerve to try. Ask a rescue if you can speak with some of their foster parents about what they do and some of the things to expect. Ask a friend who fosters. Look up one of the many online blogs that shares their fostering experiences.

Fostering can be so very rewarding. Without foster homes, rescue pets would have no chance.

To those of you who have already fostered or continue to foster – Thank you. You are truly the unsung heroes of animal rescue.

You are the ones who say I CAN. 

Everyday Heroes: Foster Families – StubbyDog pays tribute to foster families.

Finding the right dog rescue…

July 16, 2012 18 comments

This is Hakim. Hakim loves to be around people, play fetch, and be petted! He loves to go for (leashed), walks and plays chase with the other dog in his foster home. He is an absolute sweetheart!
Hakim is 8 years old and a larger Sheltie (like my Jasper). He is available through MNSheltieRescue.org

When our local shelter, Minnesota Valley Humane Society (MVHS), closed it’s doors a couple of years ago I felt such a great sense of loss. I had volunteered there for over 8 years and had made so many friends. My last  four dogs had come from MVHS – Indy, Aspen, Daisy and Jasper. And then suddenly, it was all gone.

I knew I wanted to continue to help animals in some way, but how? Several of my friends had gone to help at other shelters in Hastings or in Minneapolis because they were close to them, but many started to help out in local dog rescue groups. It was definitely a change for me and my friends. Where before we could spend time with a specific dog and maybe even work on their social skills and training, we now helped out with intake, transport, adoption events, fostering, and a variety of other things. It was a huge adjustment for me, and I suspect my other shelter friends. I liked that human to dog interaction. I liked making a difference in one dog’s life. It took me a while to understand that working in a rescue can make a difference too.

And, if you don’t know now, let me tell you – not all dog rescues are built the same. Every dog rescue has its own area of focus, its own priorities, its own way of doing things. I ended up with the right dog rescue group in the end (you will read more about them on July 23rd when Blogger’s Unite for Dog Rescue), but starting out I hadn’t a clue what to look for or what to ask and ended up with the absolutely wrong rescue (for me). Let’s just say that my experience with the first rescue group still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Knowing which rescue is right for you can be tough, but giving back and helping a dog rescue can be so rewarding when you do find the right one. That’s why I wanted to share this great post from Poochie Project’s blog called “QUESTIONS TO ASK A RESCUE BEFORE YOU FOSTER”. It is perhaps the most comprehensive list of questions to ask a rescue.

If I had known what questions to ask perhaps I would have found my awesome dog rescue group, Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, sooner.

Knowing what I know now about dog rescues has opened my mind, changed my perspectives and shown me a new way to help animals in need. But what about you? Thinking about volunteering for a dog rescue and not sure how to begin? I would read Poochie Projects post and then start researching local rescues in your area. There are so many ways to help. One person can make the difference for one dog. It’s worth your time, isn’t it?

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