DEAR JOAN: I had a bird feeder suspended from a tree that I really enjoyed; however, at night the fallen seeds attracted rats.
Do you know of any bird feeder that addresses this problem?
DEAR DIANE: The problem may not be your feeder but your feed.
If you buy premium brands of bird seed, you greatly reduce the amount of seed that gets spilled, because it's not really being spilled. In the search for the tasty morsels, the birds dump out the stuff they don't care for.
Premium brands are made up of all tasty morsels, so there is little spillage. Check out the varieties offered at stores that specialize in wild birds.
You also can rake up any fallen seed in the evenings, or get a feeder with a large dish beneath it.
The rats may then just climb the tree to get to the feeder, so you may have to put it on a metal pole.
DEAR JOAN: I recently joined Northern California Poodle Rescue, which is a little misnamed, as it rescues and rehomes around 120 poodles and poodle mixes each year -- more mixes than purebred poodles. The group was founded by Patty Moulthrop more than 30 years ago.
Patty wanted to become a poodle breeder but couldn't justify bringing more dogs into the world unless something was done to help those already here in shelters and facing euthanasia. While Patty now is well known as a breeder of champion standard poodles, she has been directly responsible for saving more dogs than she has bred.
NCPR is entirely volunteer run. There are no salaried employees and 100 percent of any funds raised by NCPR go directly to the care of the dogs, which includes not only the daily expenses but also medical care. No dog is placed without first being spayed or neutered.
The group has been operating out of a very small area. There is no place for volunteers to do any office work, groom dogs or accommodate all of the dogs in need.
NCPR has identified a building that was formerly a veterinary hospital in the East Bay. It will need a new roof plus installation of additional dog runs, so a capital campaign has been launched to raise $1 million; about $250,000 has been raised thus far.
This facility would enable NCPR to at least double the number of dogs rescued and rehomed each year, has facilities for bathing and grooming the dogs, provides space for would-be adopters to come and interact with the dogs, and has office and work space for volunteers. We also envision having services for the broader dog-owning community, such as assistance with training issues, speakers on topics related to dog ownership, etc. This would double not only the number of saved dogs, but also the number of individuals and families whose lives are enriched when they adopt one of these dogs, and give us the ability to provide support for dog owners.
Could you put out the word about the campaign?
DEAR CECILE: Consider the word put out.
If you can contribute to this cause, please go to www.norcalpoodlerescueadoption.com to donate and read about the Homeward Bound Capital Campaign and the good work this group does.