Photographers for Animals announces #BunnyWeek

Photo by Jason Putsche Photography
While much of the nation’s attention today is focused on #Bombogenesis and Blizzard conditions battering the mid-Atlantic states and New England, snow bunnies of a different kind are creating their own buzz online for Photographers for Animals’ #BunnyWeek.

Husband and wife photographers Elizabeth and Jason Putsche captured the series of adorable photographs of a mother rabbit with her two 6-week-old bunnies that are in a foster home for the Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virginia.

The photos are being showcased on the organization’s Twitter and Instagram pages during #BunnyWeek, January 26th – 30th, 2015.

“We wanted to not only help these little ones get adopted into loving homes, but to raise awareness about these wonderful animals that make great family pets,” said Elizabeth Putsche, Executive Director of Photographers for Animals. In addition to showcasing adorable images, information about adopting rabbits and the care of these sociable pets will be provided on social media.

The Putsches founded Photographers for Animals in May 2014. The nonprofit advocates on behalf of animals via photography and videography projects. Another project of Photographers for Animals is the creation of a directory of animal photographers and videographers that will provide their services for free, or at a discount, to nonprofit organizations.

“One photo can capture their heart of a possible adopter and help an animal find it’s forever home,” said Putsche. “We hope #BunnyWeek not only helps the bunnies showcased in our photos, but helps rabbits in shelters and rescues around the country find wonderful new homes.”

About Photographers for Animals
Photographers for Animals is a 501c3 nonprofit organization which uses film and photography to inspire positive change for animals. Founded in 2014 by life-long animal advocate, Elizabeth Putsche, the organization produces documentaries, online videos, and photographs independently and in conjunction with other animal protection organizations to raise awareness of animal issues. Its website is 
www.photographersforanimals.org.

Social Media and Digital Expert Jenni Brand Joins Paws PR

Jenni Brand and Beau
Paws PR, a communications firm specializing in business development and strategic communications for pet product companies and animal protection groups today announced the appointment of Jenni Brand as Senior Director of Digital Strategy.

Since 2009, Brand has been instrumental in leveraging current digital technologies to meet business objectives at Bastille Marketing. Her projects included the direction of online strategy for the US Department of Health & Human Services governmental website Flu.gov during the H1N1 crisis.

Brand will lead online and digital strategy for the Paws PR. “It used to be an organization simply needed a well-placed story on TV or in a major newspaper to raise awareness of their brand or mission,” said Paws PR President and Founder Patricia E Jones. “That’s no longer the case as savvy organizations recognize that an integrated communications strategy with an emphasis on digital strategy is necessary to achieve success. Jenni’s background and passion for pets made her the perfect fit for our clients.”

Brand enjoyed a successful 12+ -year career as a traditional marketer and made the leap to new media/digital strategist and brand leader in 2005 when she joined New Media Strategies (NMS), the Online PR and Word-of-Mouth Marketing agency credited with pioneering the new media agency space. During her tenure there, Jenni actively participated in the emergence and growth of the social media and digital strategy revolution, directing more than 100 campaigns for multiple Fortune 500 organizations including companies in the non-profit, government, CPG, consumer retail, travel/tourism and financial sectors. A few of the companies she advised include PepsiCo, CitiGroup, Ford, Blue Buffalo, Northrup Grumman and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Jenni leads Canine Capers, a “fur-stival” during Winterthur Museum’s Point-to-Point Steeplechase each May. She serves as a consultant to the Tails of Hope Foundation and its Youth Ambassador K9 Career Program (YAP™). She, along with one of her chocolate Labrador Retrievers, Beau are an active therapy-dog team for PAWS for People, contributing to the education and enrichment of incarcerated youth in Delaware.

About Paws PR—Paws PR, a division of P Jones Communications Inc., is a marketing agency specializing in business development and communications for pet product companies and animal protection groups. With offices in New York City and Baltimore, Paws PR consultants specialize in promoting pet industry clients and animal protection organizations. Founded by former NBC News producer and ASPCA Vice President of Media Relations Patricia E. Jones, Paws PR offers an integrated approach to strategic communications campaigns. www.PawsPR.com @PawsPR on Twitter.

Vegetarian sisters top music chart with 'Hanging Tree' cover


Pink Strings and Hot Sauce topped the 1/9 Music Audio Chart with their stripped back cover of "Hanging Tree" from blockbuster movie, The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1. 

Talented sisters Catherine and Bo Fortney teamed up to create the musical duo Pink Strings and Hot Sauce to deliver a series of sweet and melodic covers and original tracks. Inspired by the likes of Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars and Christina Perri, the sisters also acknowledge all the help and support that they receive from their family, telling BEAT100, "We grew up around music, which was (and still is) frequently playing in our household. Our parents always allow us to pursue our dreams...We were supported with love from our family, which is why we have come so far."

After teaching themselves to play guitar, the duo earned their street performer permits and took to performing for the public in their home town of Greenville, South Carolina. Their melodic cover of "Hanging Tree," performed with their sister Julia, placed them at the top of the charts after gaining over 1700 plays from the BEAT100 community. 

Pink Strings and Hot Sauce are currently working on expanding their musical reach while working on multiple songs and videos, including the release of their newest original track "Blown Away." Speaking of their future musical careers, they tell BEAT100, "In the future, we hope to be the music playing in many people’s households and earphones -- ready to create memories and inspire dreams."

Editor's note:  Catherine and Bo Fortney have been vegetarian since 2005.



Photo credit: PinkStrings & HotSauce

U.S. News & World Report announces Best Diets of 2015


U.S. News & World Report released its Best Diets of 2015, featuring rankings and information on 41 diet plans. For the fifth year, the DASH diet wins Best Diets Overall, while Weight Watchers holds onto the No. 1 spot for Best Weight-Loss Diets. The Health Management Resources plan (HMR), a new diet on the 2015 list, takes the No. 2 spot in the Best Diets for Weight-Loss category.
The Mediterranean Diet, which was recently credited with boosting life spans, claims the No. 1 spot among Plant-Based Diets and ties for the No. 3 spot among Best Diets Overall, behind DASH and the TLC Diet. The Raw Food Diet is No. 3 on the Best Weight-Loss list, but ranks lowest at No. 34 on Best Diets for Healthy Eating. The popular Paleo diet once again ties with the Dukan plan as the overall lowest ranked diet of 2015.
New in 2015, U.S. News ranked two new diets in addition to the HMR plan – the Supercharged Hormone Diet and the Body Reset Diet. The Supercharged Hormone Diet, which aims to regulate appetite by balancing hormones, lands in the middle of the rankings. The Body Reset Diet, which is a low-calorie diet primarily based on smoothies, ranks low in most categories at No. 30 for Best Overall Diets and No. 33 for Best Weight Loss Diets.
"The Best Diets of 2015 is designed to help consumers identify a diet that suits their specific needs, whether they are trying to lose weight, control a chronic disease or achieve a healthier lifestyle overall," said Angela Haupt, senior health & wellness editor for U.S. News. "More consumers are making health and wellness a priority, but they are often overrun with confusing and contradictory information when it comes to dieting. Consumers can rely on U.S. News for in-depth tools and rankings that empower them to make better, more informed choices about their weight and lifestyles."

U.S. News' panel of health experts, including nutritionists and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health and weight loss, scored each diet for short- and long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety and nutrition. Diets are ranked in eight categories, including diabetes and heart disease prevention and control, as well as easiness to follow and likelihood of weight loss. For further details on how the rankings are calculated, see the methodology.
In addition to the rankings and data, the Best Diets of 2015 features in-depth profiles of each diet, including how the diet works, evidence supporting or refuting its claims, a nutritional snapshot and a close look at the food on each plan. Searchable tools allow users to identify diets that meet their individual nutritional, health and lifestyle needs. This year, consumers can also visit usnews.com to explore information about fitness trackers and how they can be used effectively.
U.S. News Best Diets of 2015 Rankings
*See the full list of the Best Diets online 

1. DASH Diet   
1. Weight Watchers  
1. DASH Diet
2. TLC Diet
2. HMR
1. Biggest Loser
3. Mediterranean Diet
3. Jenny Craig  
3. Vegan Diet
3. Weight Watchers 
3. Biggest Loser 
3. Mayo Clinic Diet
3. Mayo Clinic Diet 
3. Raw Food Diet  
3. Ornish Diet


3. Engine 2 Diet


3. Flexitarian Diet



1. Ornish Diet 
1. DASH Diet 
1. Weight Watchers
2. TLC Diet 
2. TLC Diet 
2. Jenny Craig
3. DASH Diet 
3. Mediterranean Diet
3. Mediterranean Diet


3. Flexitarian Diet




1. Weight Watchers     
1. Mediterranean Diet

2. Jenny Craig 
2. Flexitarian Diet

3. Biggest Loser  
3. Ornish Diet


About U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars and News & Opinion,www.usnews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 25 million people visit www.usnews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Seattle-based Field Roast introduces new vegan cheese


The vegan cheese category has been awakened by the launch of the highly anticipated Chao Slices, from The Field Roast Grain Meat Company. The ideals of creating nourishing and flavor-first food without animal products have now led the Seattle Company to create vegan cheese. Chao Slices have been described as "revolutionary" and "game-changing" by people that regularly consume vegan cheese…and even by people who usually reject it. The positive feedback has confirmed Field Roast's transition into a vegan meat and cheese brand a positive one thus far.
What are Chao Slices? A rich and creamy coconut cheese seasoned with traditionally fermented soybean curd that the Vietnamese call Chao. "Chao cheese is a continuation of our fascination with combining traditional Asian and European foods to create new culinary fusions that are real, instead of fake," says President David Lee.
Instead of trying to mimic traditional dairy cheese flavors, like cheddar, mozzarella or monterey jack, Field Roast has innovated new flavors that celebrate the brilliance of the plant based kingdom: Creamy Original with chao tofu, Tomato Cayenne with spicy peppers, and Coconut Herb with black pepper. These flavors pair well with Field Roast's Deli Slices and Burgers, both cold and melted.
Chao Slices are available for retail stores and food service operations to order as of January 1, 2015. For more information about Chao Slices, please visit fieldroast.com/chaostory.
About Field Roast Grain Meat Company Founded in 1997, Field Roast Grain Meat Co. creates artisan vegan meats, made with real ingredients and traditional food making practices.  Its ever-expanding array of products includes roasts, sausages, deli slices, loaves, a frankfurter, a burger, and now vegan cheese slices.  Field Roast can be found in over 2,000 retail stores and over 500 restaurant menus nationwide. For more information, visit www.fieldroast.com.

Infographic: Survey reveals Americans support community cats


National animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society recently commissioned a Luntz Global survey designed to gauge the public’s attitude toward community cats. Best Friends, other animal welfare organizations and concerned individuals use the term “community cats” to describe these populations of felines who live in urban, suburban and rural settings alongside people but that are not companion animals. Rather than belonging to no one, these cats are part of the community and have relationships with a variety of people.

The results of the survey demonstrate that people’s support for humanely trapping, neutering and returning (TNR) cats to their outdoor homes is favored by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1… as opposed to lethal injection. (Through TNR, cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian who spays/neuters them, tips one ear as a visual signal that this cat has been sterilized and then the animals returned to their original location. In most communities a cadre of volunteers are an integral part of the process).  This heartening trend underscores the truth that Americans’ love of animals does not end with their personal pets, it extends to these “community cats.”

Nominations open for the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards


American Humane Association, the country’s first national humane organization, today announced the official start of the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ campaign, the annual year-long search for America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash. Beginning today, January 15th, dog owners across the country are invited to visit www.herodogawards.org and nominate their four-legged hero in one of eight categories. The top dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles and celebrated at a red carpet, star-studded awards gala on September 19th, where one heroic hound will be unveiled as American Hero Dog of the year – the most prestigious honor a canine can receive. The fifth annual Hero Dog Awards will air nationwide as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel this fall.

The eight categories for 2015 are: Therapy Dogs, sponsored by Zoetis (also the official Online sponsor for the competition); Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Law Enforcement Dogs; Military Dogs; Arson Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs;Guide/Hearing Dogs; and Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things. Following the nominations period, which ends on February 25th, 24 semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in a first round of public voting. The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to the eight category finalists who will then vie for the title of 2015 American Hero Dog.

Over the past four years, millions of Americans have cast votes for nearly a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Victoria Stilwell, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Beth Stern, James Denton, Joey Lawrence, Lisa Vanderpump, Mickey Rooney, Burt Reynolds, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Lou Wegner, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.

Winners in each category will earn money for a designated charity partner and the overall winner’s charity partner will win an additional monetary prize. Each charity partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs in our lives, and like American Humane Association, celebrates the importance of the human-animal bond.

“The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards recognize the extraordinary work dogs do for people every single day,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association’s president and CEO. “Hero dogs do so much to keep millions of Americans safe, happy, and healthy, and it is the least we can do to honor them on one special night every fall.”

Key dates for the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ contest include:
  • January 15-February 25: Nominations period
  • March 9-May 15: Voting to determine 24 semifinalists
  • May 25-June 26: Voting to determine the 8 category finalists
  • July 4-September 7: Voting to determine 2015’s American Hero Dog
  • September 19: Fifth annual Hero Dog Awards event in Los Angeles
And because behind every hero pet there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary technician, the Hero Dog Awards will feature a second contest – the American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis. Pet owners across America will be invited to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards event on September 19. The nomination period for this separate contest will open on January 21.

More information about the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™, including complete contest rules and entry information, can be obtained by visiting www.herodogawards.org. For more information about the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, please visit www.herovetawards.org.


Photos from Hallmark Channel's 'Kitten Bowl II'




After a successful inaugural year, the Kitten Bowl is back for more adorable action. Presented by the Hallmark Channel, Kitten Bowl II premiers Super Bowl XLIX Sunday -- February 1, 2015 -- at 12 p.m. ET/PT.


“Kitten Bowl II” is presented in association with North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation. Hosted by Beth Stern, TV personality and national spokesperson for North Shore Animal League America, “Kitten Bowl II” brings a star-studded lineup that includes legendary New York Yankees radio voice John Sterling and award-winning reporter, sports analyst and commentator Mary Carillo as “Kitten Bowl’s” official play-by-play announcer. Special guest appearances include newly appointed FFL commissioner Boomer Esiason, Kevin Nealon, Regis Philbin, Mario Lopez, Maria Menounos, Kat Dennings, Bob Harper, Fiona Gubelmann, Tricia Helfer, Heather McDonald, Deidre Hall, Jenn Brown and Camren Bicondova.


Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Marc Lemoine

Top 10 workout songs for January 2015


The highlight of this month's workout music round-up is the balance it strikes between perennial favorites and relative newcomers. By veering between the two, the mix manages to send both familiar and fresh at the same time.

Starting with the hits, you've got a pair of collaborations uniting Jessie J with 2 Chainz and Wyclef Jean with Avicii. Continuing with the upstarts, you'll find a song from Penguin Prison that could pass for vintage Hall & Oates along with a club track from Alesso & Tove Lo featuring lyrics by David Bowie.

The whole affair kicks off with AC/DC's first new song in six years. The song's beats-per-minute count (BPM) is slow enough to ease you into things physically, while its thundering riff gets you fired up mentally. If you need a power track mid-routine, press play on the fastest (and most popular) song of the month: Sheppard's ode to taking plunges.

For most folks, the new year is a time for taking stock and making changes--mixing things that worked in the past with new approaches for the future. This month's top 10 list does a little of the same--blending veteran hitmakers with promising, newer acts. To that end, it might just be the perfect playlist for the new year and your next workout.

Here's the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred--the web's most popular workout music blog.

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Photo by: LocalFitness.com.au 
 
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