• inspiration
  • The Amazing Day-Day

    Day DayDay DayDay DayDay DayDay DayIMG_0962Day Day

    Meet my most recent foster, Day-Day. He is truly a dream dog in every way. I cannot say enough good things about him. However, I never would have known the amazingness of Day-Day had I only judged him from our first meeting at the shelter. This little guy reminded me of such an important life lesson about judgment, stress, and the power of love…

    “Oh no. I can’t do this. I made a mistake.” was the first thing to cross my mind when I picked up Day-Day at the shelter. He was barking the loudest, most piercing bark I’d ever heard. It was incessant and made me want to plug my ears. He was so dirty, his fur was full of mats and he was covered in his own urine and feces. As we left the shelter he barked aggressively at a woman we passed on the street, and again I thought, “Oh no. What have I done? I can’t foster this dog.”

    I told myself…

    His bark is so loud, he will disrupt me and my neighbors. 

    He’s covered in his own feces and urine, he’s going to have so many accidents. 

    He barked at that woman on the street, he’s going to be aggressive. 

    He is too difficult, I cannot do this.

    And even though, as a shelter volunteer and foster mom, I should have known better, I judged him. I made a snap judgment about how he would be in a happy, safe environment, by how he was acting in a stressful, scary environment. And in doing so, I made a terrible mistake, because I almost gave up on one of the sweetest, most amazing dogs I’ve ever known.

    In reality, in a safe, comfortable, loving environment, Day-Day was a totally different dog.

    He was housetrained from day one and never had a single accident. 

    He never, ever barked. Not one single time after we left the shelter. 

    He was kind and gentle to humans and animals alike. 

    He let children pet him and bunnies sniff him, all with a sweet demeanor and happy tail.

    He was happy to go for walks or happy to just relax and cuddle.

    He was always well-behaved. He never did anything naughty or mischievous.

    He was happy to wake up early or sleep in – whatever I preferred, he was happy with.

    He was, simply put, just the best boy.

    And the fact that once we got home he proved to not only be a pretty good dog, but one of the sweetest, easiest, most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever known, reminded me of how stressful the shelter environment can be.

    At the shelter Day-Day went to the bathroom on himself not because he doesn’t know not to, but because he had no choice. No one had had time to let him out since the day before.

    At the shelter Day-Day was barking so loud because he was stressed and scared. He had a bad case of kennel cough so he felt like crap. There was no air conditioning and it was 90 degrees outside, so that made him feel even more like crap. He was uncomfortable in so many different ways. He was barking not to be annoying, but because he needed help.

    At the shelter he barked aggressively at that woman because he didn’t know he was safe yet. He had been through so much, more than we will ever know, and he was terrified. He didn’t know yet who to trust versus who he needed to protect himself from. And with just a little bit of love, that initial sign of aggressive behavior disappeared forever.

    The difference between Day-Day at the shelter, and Day-Day once he was home, reminded me how important it is not to judge a book by its cover.

    To have empathy and try to stand in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s a person or an animal, before ever judging them.

    To remember that any dog at a shelter has been through tremendous stress, and just as we would not be our best selves in the conditions listed above, neither are they.

    And to remember that behind every shelter dog, lies so, so much potential to be the companion of a lifetime.

    Day-Day has been adopted, but there are millions of other dogs just like him sitting in shelters looking for their forever home everyday. To find dogs in your area look up your nearest shelters or visit petfinder.com.



  • inspiration
  • Meet Oliver

    Meet my new foster, Oliver. If you follow Animal Haven on Instagram then you’ve probably already seen the very graphic and disturbing image of the injuries he sustained before being rescued. He was found bloody, with his left eyeball almost completely out of his head. We can’t know for sure what happened to him, since he came in as a stray, but whatever it was, it wasn’t good. There were two surgical attempts made to save his eye, but in the end it couldn’t be saved and had to be removed. He has endured so much, but thanks to Animal Haven he’s going to be ok. He is now recuperating here in my home until he’s ready to be adopted.


    So, now that you know Oliver’s story, I wanted to tell you a little bit about what it’s like to foster, since I get a lot of questions about it. For me, fostering can be both deeply saddening and greatly rewarding. By opening your home to animals in need you’re opening yourself up to the reality of the cruelty and injustices animals face every day. And that can be painful. To look next to me at this sweet little boy and know that just days ago he was in so much pain that, as his medical chart stated, he was gasping for air…that is heartbreaking. However, there is a very rewarding flipside to this. By fostering you get to witness the amazing transformation that animals are capable of making. Despite everything they have been through, a beaten down, sad, scared animal, when treated with love and kindness, can blossom back into a sweet, happy, trusting being. As their wounds start to heal and their pain starts to dissipate, you as their foster (or adopter) get to witness this miraculous change.


    Fostering can expose you to heartbreak, to pee on your floors and to some sleepless nights….BUT today, after spending the whole night watching this dog writhe in pain, I forced my exhausted self out of bed to take a shower. And when I came out of my bathroom I found that the little dog who had been awake all night, was finally comfortable and peaceful in the safety and warmth of my bed. And that…well that makes this whole process priceless. 💙


    If you have any questions about fostering, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. I will try to answer them all in an upcoming post.



  • favorites
  • 11 Inspiring Instagram Accounts To Follow Today

    Today I’m sharing 11 of my favorite inspiring instagram accounts. These accounts inspire me every single day. I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of the ladies behind these accounts in person, and the ones I haven’t met yet I’ve been lucky enough to communicate with, and they are all super sweet, kind-hearted individuals. Each of them in their own way is doing their part to make this planet a little healthier, a little more beautiful and/or a little kinder. Follow their accounts for some wonderful, witty and beautiful inspiration.


    Lindsay of @lindsaysb is witty as can be and always eating the most delicious plant-based foods! Her photos prove how delicious plant-based eating can really be. And as I can attest, she’s just as funny in real life as she is on instagram. She has a skill for finding the most delicious plant-based dishes in NYC. And when she’s posting her own cooking, her posts often include the recipes right in the comments section. Follow her at @lindsaysb.


    Rachel of @rachLmansfield is the queen of breakfast. Every culinary creation that this new bride posts is beyond enviable. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve commented on her drool-worthy posts, “I need this NOW!” She’s known for creations like double chocolate oats and blueberry muffin overnight oats drizzled with vanilla almond butter. Follow her at @rachLmansfield.


    Paris of @greensandfries is always posting delicious vegetarian and vegan foods. Her account first caught my eye because I loved the name, which epitomizes everything I’m about…healthy plant-based foods, like greens, while still enjoying delicious food, like fries. Her account proves that yes you can be really into healthy, cruelty-free eating while still enjoying delicious food! I find her approach to healthy, kind eating so relatable. Follow her at @greensandfries.


    Kim created @bestofvegan to show that vegan eating can be easy and so delicious. Everyday she posts vegan recipes submitted to her by others. The actual recipes are included right in the instagram posts! If that isn’t healthy eating inspiration right at your fingertips, then I don’t know what is! You will be amazed by some of the creativity and delicious dishes posted on her account. Follow at @bestofvegan.


    Eleni of @conveythemoment runs a beautiful fashion and lifestyle account. She follows a vegan diet so most of her clothes and accessories are vegan friendly too. I started following her way back when she had only a few thousand followers and I was drawn to her gorgeous pictures and kind demeanor right away. Since then she’s grown to be wildly popular. Plus, she lives in Calgary and posts pictures of some of the most beautiful natural landscapes ever! Follow her at @conveythemoment.


    Ullenka of @dehappy5_mama has a beautiful account that showcases the healing power of plant foods through amazing food art. Ullenka found her way to a raw vegan diet in an attempt to help her daughter who struggled with a horrible and severe case of eczema. In adopting a raw vegan diet Ullenka saw her family’s health drastically improve. And she shares their inspiring improvements with all of us through her beautiful photos. This is an amazing account to follow if you have children with skin or health issues. And when you head to her account look for her daughter’s before and after pictures. You will be absolutely amazed. Follow her at @dehappy5_mama.


    Sophie of @sophiegamand does amazing work on behalf of shelter animals. She created the #PitBullFlowerPower campaign which showcases shelter dogs in all their adorable potential. She heads to shelters, photographs their adoptable dogs in these super cute flower crowns and shares the photos on her instagram account. Her work has been amazingly successful in finding shelter dogs their forever homes. Not to mention her pictures are adorable to look at. And remember when I posted about Chandler the fourteen year old dog in dire need of a home? Sophie was instrumental in helping me find her a home by connecting me with @susiesseniordogs (who you can read about below). Follow her at @sophiegamand.


    Jessica of @jessicamurnane has an account that is a destination for beautiful photos, creative plant-based food inspiration and overall positivity. Her creativity in the kitchen blows me away! She’s a true recipe innovator. She’s so humble she would never admit it, but trust me, she is! She has an amazing success story of treating and managing her endometriosis with a plant-based diet. It’s been wonderful to follow her journey and get little glimpses into her life. Follow her at @jessicamurnane.


    Karissa of @veganalamode is sweet as can be! This California girl has a vegan lifestyle account that includes everything from cooking to fashion. Her recipes are delicious and she shares photos from some of the most delicious plant-based restaurants California has to offer. She also follows a gluten-free diet so this account is perfect for someone wanting to eat less meat, less gluten and lots of plants! Follow her at @veganalamode.


    Stephanie of @steph.montie is a YouTuber who is all about sustainability, compassion and health. She’s very knowledgeable about a high carb low fat vegan diet and has taught me a lot along the way about this specific type of plant-based diet. And want to know the coolest thing? She’s still in college! She is so smart and so insightful at such a young age. She may be younger than many of us but she can sure teach us a lot! Follow her at @steph.montie.


    Inspired by Susie the senior dog, @susiesseniordogs brings awareness to overlooked, homeless senior dogs. Each day the account posts older dogs from around the country that are in need of homes. This account has single-handedly helped thousands of senior dogs, who would otherwise live out the rest of their life in a shelter, find loving forever homes. Susie’s Senior Dogs was the final resource that connected Chandler (mentioned above) with her new mom. This account is the epitome of the good that can come out of social media. And that’s a beautiful thing to see. Follow the senior pups at @susiesseniordogs.



    P.S. If you want to follow me on instagram to see my snapshots of beautiful things that make the world a little kinder for humans, animals and the planet, you can check me out at @tedi.sarah.

  • inspiration
  • Chandler Update: Adopted!!

    Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 8.57.15 PM

    I am so happy to share that Chandler, the senior dog I posted about last week, has been adopted!! She is now living happily in her new home with her new mama. And in addition to the amazing fact that we all got this pup out of the shelter so fast, there was a great lesson in all this about the positive power of social media. We all know there are many drawbacks to the use of social media, but in this case it served as nothing but a positive, fast and effective medium to find a dog in need her forever home. I was absolutely blown away by how much good came from sharing her story. I first posted about Chandler on Wednesday evening and within 24 hours her story had been shared and seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

    My inbox was flooded with emails from people genuinely interested in adopting her, and I’m sure the shelter received even more. And people were serious about it. They went in. They met her. And they filled out applications to adopt her. And after just sharing her story on Wednesday night this sweet girl went home with her new mom on Monday afternoon. Truly so amazing.

    The biggest lesson I’m taking away from all this is that social media really does have the power to do so much good in this world…and if we focus on using it for that purpose we can truly make the world a better place…whether it’s for one animal, one person, a community or everyone. It reminds me of this quote I’ve seen so many times before…

    Saving one dog will not change the world. But surely, for that one dog, the world will change forever. ~unknown

    To everyone who sent Chandler good vibes, shared her story and wanted to adopt her…thank you, thank you, thank you! Together we all made such a difference in this little lady’s life.