A Call for Kongs

There is no doubt I have a soft spot for dogs.  I remember getting our family dog, “Mindy” when I was just four years old…and she lived a long life into my college days.  Sadly, not every dog is fortunate to find a happy home and spends much of their life locked in a small cage at a shelter hoping to be adopted.

A few years ago, my friend and colleague Miriam, served as a “foster parent” to Bailey while the shelter was trying to locate a permanent home.  When no home was found, Miriam adopted Bailey as she couldn’t bear the thought of her being euthanized.  With the help of donors and volunteers, Miriam and other dog owners are organizing a campaign to gather kongs for dogs at the three New York City Animal Care & Control (AC&C) shelters.

While I know that everyone can’t adopt a dog, it’s super easy to make one (or two, or three) happy with a simple kong toy.  With the convenience of the internet, you can pick, purchase, and ship a kong within minutes.  Please read below for more information provided by Miriam.  Click here for a recent article regarding the campaign.

Bailey is the chief inspector for the kongs 🙂

What is the drive?

Hundreds of dogs are euthanized at AC&C every single month.  These dogs languish in small cages for days and sometimes weeks, with little to no activity or fun to break up their monotonous days. Volunteers walk the dogs, and to try to give them a bit of attention. But with so many dogs, even a large amount of volunteers cannot reach out to every dog, every day, for more than a few minutes at a time. While we wish every dog at AC&C would be quickly adopted, until that time comes, we want every single dog in a shelter in NYC to have a Kong.  Unfortunately due to budget cuts and the increasing dog population at AC&C, toys are rarely provided.

What is a Kong?  How does it help the shelter dog?

A Kong is an oblong hard rubber chew toy. It is roughly conical with two grooves and a hollow center. The idea is to put peanut butter or a biscuit inside the toy to keep the dog interested and busy. They come in various sizes for different dogs, but are most popular in the large sizes as they are one of very few designs that a large dog cannot easily destroy.

Dogs are occupied for large chunks of time, trying to retrieve the treats from within the Kong. These simple toys are the key to helping alleviate the horrendous anxiety these dogs suffer while locked in cages listening to the cries and barking of hundreds of other dogs around them. Kongs lower a dog’s stress level and reduce their nervous energy, providing a greater chance of adoption.  Studies have shown the presence of toys in a cage increases adoption rates.

Where can I buy a Kong?

thepaws.com has the lowest price on Kongs – $5.99.  Size Large and above are preferred.  Coupon code “kcefs” provides free shipping. If you are ordering over $49, coupon code “10offdog” provides 10% off.   Free shipping is automatically applied to orders exceeding $49.   We suggest all Kongs be mailed by April 5th, 2011.

Virtually every pet store carries Kongs.   Used Kongs are also greatly appreciated!

Where do I send the Kong?

Kongs can be brought to the Stuffing Party (described below) or mailed to:

Miriam Bouchma

3 Times Square

11th Floor

New York, NY 10036

What happens after I send my Kong?

On April 7, 2011 the NYC PitBull Meetup Group will host a Kong Stuffing Party in Midtown Manhattan.  The party is going to be lots of fun – wine, mixed drinks, food, and dog themed. In addition, Kongs will be stuffed with peanut butter and treats in preparation for drop-off at Animal Care & Control of NYC’s three shelters.  (The Kongs will be frozen overnight, and delivered over the weekend).

We ask that people who attend please bring 2 jars of creamy peanut butter to help with the stuffing. To get more details about the party or to RSVP for the event, go here…


All donators will be invited to participate in a doga class (with or without your dog) in early May. Details forthcoming.  Class donated by LisaLotusYoga.com


This campaign was inspired and approved by the December 2010 “Kongs and more” drive by Vicktory Dog Handsome Dan in Providence, Rhode Island.  To find out more about Handsome Dan, please visit his Facebook page at




G and I can walk bike the streets of Amsterdam with our heads held high now that we have indulged in the late night offerings of Mama’s.  In a town where 24-hour diners and late night pizza shops are about as common as a day without rain, you can find gastronomical refuge within the dime-a-dozen Shawarma eateries.  A great way to settle both the late night munchies and the countless Belgium or Dutch biers consumed during the evening.  We’ve been to other shawarma snack bars, but our friends rave that Mama’s is the lekkerst (yummiest!)!  The only downfall to Mama’s (and probably one reason it took us so long to finally try it) is that it’s smack in the middle of Leidseplein, the U.S. equivalent of Times Square or Bourbon Street.  In other words, an area we typically avoid during our weekend outings or bike rides home from the Center.

But last night, the stars were aligned and it was finally a Mama’s night.  We attended a farewell party for G’s colleague, read: bier + bier + bier + bier, etc.  The evening was very gezellig, we were all having a great time and dinner time came and past.  With the witching hour growing near and the party winding down, our hunger pains were kicking in.  It was a unanimous decision to stop at Mama’s.  We peddled down the canal with a drizzle in the air and anticipated our meaty dish.

A & A arrived just before us and kindly ordered for all.  G & I walked in to warm shawarma pitas awaiting us on the counter.  Followed by a bowl of frites, we soon had happy tummies and G and I were officially Mama-neophytes.  No more dropped jaw reactions coupled with “you’ve never eaten at Mama’s?!?


eet smakelijk!


Salt for your frites? Ja!

On the note of late night eats, I couldn’t help but think of a few others I used to frequent in my previous cites.  During my college days in Shreveport, Murrell’s was open 24 hours with waitstaff that addressed you by honey-baby-sugar-dawlin with every roll of the tongue.  Like every poor college student whose funds were now in a bartenders tip jar, the abundance of complimentary saltine crackers + green goddess was a jackpot.  Maybe that’s why they are now closed.  Despite the limited seating, The Camellia Grill in Uptown New Orleans was a staple late night or late morning after a really late night.  The omlettes are amazing and the staff always entertaining.  If you are ever in Nola, it’s a must stop.  Like New Orleans, the NYC area food options are endless and hard to narrow down.  However, late nights in Hoboken, NJ always ended with a slice of pizza from Imposto’s on Washington.  For Manhattan, I could easily rattle off a dozen late night diners or cafes, but L’Express has always been a favorite with some of the best fries, great coffee, and excellent people watching.  Conveniently located just north of Union Square ,  it was always easy to hail a cab or catch the express train home from there.

Wishing you good eats where ever you may be!  Tot Ziens…