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N.J. pets in need: April 8, 2019

Pets all over New Jersey are waiting to be adopted.

If you're interested in helping homeless animals but aren't able to adopt one, there are a number of other ways you can be of assistance.

Realistically, not everyone can adopt. People who live in apartments or developments that have no-pets policies fall into that category, as do people with allergies or disabilities that will not allow them to care for pets of their own. Here are suggestions for ways people who want to help can participate in caring for homeless animals.

* Help out at a local shelter. It's not glamorous work by any means, but it's vital and will be very much appreciated. You can do anything from help walk dogs to bottle feed kittens, help clean kennels or cat's cages or even help with bathing and grooming. Contact your local shelter to find out their policies regarding volunteers.

* If you're handy, you can lend a hand in many ways. Shelters usually need repairs of many kinds, so fixer-uppers can help out like that. If you sew, quilt or crochet, you can make blankets for your local shelter.

* Help out at an adoption event. Many shelters and rescue groups participate in local events by hosting a table with pets available for adoption. They also hold these program at malls, pet supply stores and banks, and can always use a helping hand.

* For galleries like this one and for online adoption sites, often a shelter or rescue group doesn't have the time or equipment to shoot good photos of their adoptable pets. Something as simple as making yourself available to shoot and provide digital files of pet photos can be a big help.

* Donate. It doesn't have to be money; shelters need cleaning supplies, pet food, toys for the animals and often even things we don't think twice about getting rid of like old towels and newspapers. Every little bit helps.

If you don't know where your local animal shelter or rescue group is, a quick online search will reveal a number of results. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to get involved but it provides immeasurable assistance.

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Mon, 08 Apr 2019 10:30:00 UTC

Vintage photos of baseball and softball in N.J.

At least lefties are in great demand in the major leagues.

Those of you who are left handed might feel somewhat slighted in everyday life. Lefties, who make up 10 percent of the population, notice the right-handedness of the world in subtle ways. Some of the "majority rules" concepts are reasonable, like doorknobs; but others, like scissors designed specifically for right-hand use, are not.

Growing up, some folks may not be aware of another hurdle lefties faced -- right field dead.

If you played stick ball in your childhood or didn't play sandlot ball, you have no idea what that means. Since the majority of people are right handed, so were the players in neighborhood baseball/softball games (in my neighborhood, for example, there were 30 kids who would play at any given time, only one of whom was a lefty). Most kids weren't good enough to "hit to all fields" and were pull hitters.

On days when there weren't quite enough kids to field a full squad, even after resorting to "own pitcher" and "batting team supplied the catcher," the ruling would be made that was the bane of all lefties: "Right field dead!"

Meaning no one had to play right field ... and meaning that any ball hit to right field didn't count. Meaning left-handers had to learn to hit the ball "the other way" or get called out when everyone got tired of running down their hits to the "dead" field.

In my neighborhood, it was exacerbated; there was a lumberyard with a barbed-wire fence bordering right field. The left-handed kid also had to climb the fence to retrieve the balls he hit in there. So Rusty, on behalf of all of us, this is my apology to you, and to your mom, who had to stitch up all those ripped jeans from climbing over that fence.

Here's a gallery of baseball and softball in New Jersey in which right field was NOT dead. And here are links to other galleries you might enjoy.

Men from N.J. who had a 'cup of coffee' in the big leagues

Vintage photos of pastimes and games in N.J.

Vintage photos of people at play in N.J.

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Thu, 04 Apr 2019 10:30:00 UTC

N.J. pets in need: April 1, 2019

Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption., where you can find nearly a 250,000 adoptable pets listed by more than 12,000 adoption groups, offers these tips to pet owners now that spring is here:

* There will be plenty of sticks and branches on the ground after winter, and they can cause choking and severe mouth injuries to dogs. If your pet likes to chew and chase, make sure to use a tennis ball, Frisbee or other toy instead of branches.

* You might be doing some spring cleaning; if a pet ingests a household cleaner, don't call a human poison control center - they won't be able to help with animals. Call your vet or the ASPCA poison control hotline, 888-426-4435.

*  Dogs can get seasonal allergies just like people ... but they manifest themselves in dogs more as skin conditions than sneezing. Check with your vet for treatment options.

* Flea and tick prevention for dogs and cats should be continued year-round, but even if you take a break during winter months, make sure to apply the preventatives before the weather warms up.

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Mon, 01 Apr 2019 10:30:00 UTC

Vintage family photos from N.J.

Get togethers with loved ones deserved to be preserved.

Over the years, I've posted nearly 12,000 vintage photos in these galleries. It's a safe bet that I've gone through 20 times that many to arrive at the ones that have made the final cut. So, I enjoy combing through old pictures; I believe vintage photos are treasures.

But, nowadays, I think there are way too many photos. Particularly when it comes to family photographs.

Digital photography and smart phones make picture-taking easier than it ever was; the camera is always there, it always has plenty of "film" and it's almost impossible to foul up a picture as in days gone by. But, what I find missing all too often is the relaxed reality of old photos.

People know they might have their picture taken at any given moment, and often adopt a pose or expression they've seen on social media; an expression that becomes the same as thousands of others. Dozens of shots can be taken to achieve the "right" one.

MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

In my opinion, though, it was the "mistakes" in old photos, snapshots with minimal planning and little chance for a "re-do" that truly captured the essence of the moment and the personality of the individuals captured for posterity.

As a pundit I know said so eloquently, old family photos are "an invitation into a moment in time unfettered by vanity." The imperfections are what made them perfect. The next time you sort through the pictures you've taken, take a tip from someone who's looked at more than a million in his lifetime: save the "mistakes." Years from now, you'll be glad you did.

Here are some family photos taken in New Jersey through the years. And, here are links to other similar galleries you might enjoy.

Vintage photos of families in N.J.

More vintage family photos from N.J.

Vintage photos of Valentine's Day couples in NJ

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Thu, 28 Mar 2019 10:30:00 UTC

N.J. pets in need: March 25, 2019

Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

Profile: Animal Welfare Association


The Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees was founded in October 1948 by local residents who were appalled by the conditions they saw at local for-profit pounds at the time. The group held their first meeting in a living room and called themselves "Baby Animal Welfare."

In 1960, AWA became the third organization in the United States to be accepted into the Humane Society of the United States' affiliate program for adhering to humane standards. Two years later, Charles Clausing, AWA's president, appeared in front of the House of Representatives concerning a bill on stealing pets from homes and the pound for research. It was part of his testimony that later became the Animal Welfare Act.

The group's shelter in Voorhees was built in 1966 and the AWA opened the region's first low-cost spay/neuter clinic in 1974. In the 1980s the group began a structured program where volunteers would bring animals to local nursing homes on a regular basis.

Today, the Animal Welfare Association has 942 active volunteers. Its clinic performed 8,081 spay/neuter surgeries and gave vaccinations to 6,958 pets in the community at a low cost in 2017 and more than 2,500 pets found homes through the AWA Adoption Center.

For more information about the nonprofit group, go to

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Mon, 25 Mar 2019 10:30:00 UTC