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What did you get the dog for Christmas? Dogs are happy-go-lucky and eager to please, so whatever you got them they no doubt played with and destroyed, but they didn't really need it. Think about it. They're amused by things like socks and sticks, and they already have a live-in butler -- that would be you, you can-opening, poop-collecting sweetheart -- there's absolutely nothing you need to buy them. Here's what you do: Tell your beautiful pet you're getting a jump on next year's gift by donating to -- and participating in -- Hope Animal Rescues' Polar Plunge. Today at noon at the Alton Marina (1 Henry Street, Alton, Illinois) under the Clark Bridge, animal lovers with big hearts and high core temperatures are going to wade into the Mississippi River for the sake of all the pets who have yet to find a permanent home. You don't need to do laps or anything excessive, but you do need to be completely submerged to be a true plunger. Participants get hot chocolate when they emerge, and folks who want to cheer 'em on are welcome to come, and hopefully donate (there's no minimum suggested donation, but every bit helps). For more information on Hope Rescues and its noble work, visit -- you can also donate there. For questions about the Polar Plunge, visit
Sun., Jan. 1, 2012

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