Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A plea to adults

The longer I work with dogs or actually, work with dogs and humans, the more frustrated I become. The reason for my frustration is the apparent lack of education by adults, but more so by parents, when dealing with a dog and a dog's behavior.
Dogs, as we should all know, cannot talk. They can snarl, they can bark, they can growl, they can snap and they can bite, but they cannot talk.
Every time a dog does one of the aforementioned things, it means something. It is their only method of communicating. When they are dealing with another dog there is not a problem. The problems arise when they are dealing with humans.
My plea to all the readers of this blog is to educate yourself. Educate yourself before you own a dog or allow your children to bring home a dog. Or any other pet for that matter. Owning a pet should be a happy event. Children can learn to be responsible when dealing with a pet, but they should also be taught how to be safe around a pet. Don't assume they know. How could they if you have not taught them?
Every day I thank my parents for being responsible and teaching me about animals. If adults and parents alike would educate themselves and their children, there would be less homeless animals in this country, and fewer bites.

5 of the 7 dwarfs (gerbils)

We currently have five adorable gerbil pups available for adoption. (Sneezy and Dopey were recently adopted.) They came to us when the family pets had a litter of seven and the owners realized they were not prepared for caring for a litter of gerbils. This is one of the most common reasons gerbils are surrendered to us.

Gerbils love lots of attention. They will do much better if they are handled every day instead of just left in their cage to keep themselves occupied. They also do much better when they are adopted in at least pairs. They will live much longer when they have a pal then if there is just one gerbil in the home.

We adopt our gerbils with the cage they arrived in. Doc and Grumpy will be adopted together and Happy, Bashful, and Sleepy will be adopted together. The adoption fee for a pair of gerbils is only $10.

A gerbil is a great way to teach a young child the responsibility of having a pet. The commitment for gerbils this age should be four to five years. They are entertaining to watch and if you have been handling them every day they will recognize your voice when they hear you talking to them.

The gerbils are residents of the Jungle Room so come on in and ask to meet the remaining five of The Seven Dwarfs!

You can meet these adorable creatures at the HSSC, 2331 15th Street in Sarasota or call 955-4131.

Pocket pets part 3: Gerbils

A gerbil is a rodent a little bigger than a mouse, but not as large as a rat. They're usually 2-4 oz, and their long tails are covered with fur and end in a tuft.

They come in dozens of different colors and can make fun and entertaining pets for kids and adults. They can be friendly pets if they are handled.

Gerbils require a minimum of care and are low-maintenance, create little odor, and they do not need frequent vet visits.

Like most other rodents, they are social and should live with other gerbils.

Because I do not believe in purchasing animals from stores or pet shops, if a gerbil is what you are looking for, cruise petfinder and your local rescue group. Chances are you will find some.

Special dog in Sarasota

Droopy is a 1 year old male, lab/chow mix who weighs 48 pounds.
Droopy is just a year old and already he has had at least two homes because people didn’t really think before saying yes to having a pet. The first owner looked and said “Oh what an adorable puppy” then they gave Droopy to a friend. The friend never stopped to ask the landlord if they could have a dog. Guess what? The landlord said “no pets’ and now Droopy is here with us.

At the last home, Droopy lived outside all of the time. The previous said he isn’t housetrained but if he was outside all of the time how would they know. Our recommendation is to treat him like he is a very young puppy and use a crate to help with the housetraining. Droopy just needs someone to work with him and teach what is acceptable behavior.
Droopy has been with children from seven years old to 12. He is very playful and active. He is super friendly. Droopy loves to go out to the yards with his dog walkers and K-9 coaches for a good game of fetch.
Droopy will be a great dog for an active family. He is going to need training because he is young and has lots to learn. Ask about our four-week training class just for our adopted dogs here at the shelter.
Droopy is now up to date with all vaccinations, on monthly preventatives for fleas and ticks plus heartworm preventative. He will be neutered as part of the adoption and he is micro-chipped too!
If you would like to meet Droopy, drop by the HSSC at 2331 15th Street in Sarasota or call 955-4131. You can also check out Droopy and all his friends here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Adopting a senior pet

I love Jill Rappaport on MSNBC. She owns shelter dogs and promotes adoption of shelter animals. Although this report is several months old, it is a good story on why a senior pet may be a better choice than a puppy.
This goes along with my first featured pet this week, Cappy.

Special senior dog in Sarasota

Cappy is a 10.5 year old neutered, male Chow Chow mix. He weighs 73 pounds and has a red/white coat with a little gray sprinkled in.
So what makes this boy so special? It isn’t necessarily something that he can be proud of but it stills makes him very special to us and we hope to you.
Cappy is the third oldest dog here at the Humane Society. (Only Gordon and Mini Misty are older than Cappy.) He is 10.5 years old. Cappy has been at the shelter longer than any other dog. He recently celebrated being with us for just over six months. If you want to call it a celebration.
Cappy didn’t do anything wrong that made it necessary for him to be brought to our shelter. Unfortunately, his only owner of ten years became too ill to be able to care for Cappy. There weren’t any friends or family that could give this big old lug a home so he came here with the hope that he would find his second family.
Cappy is an affectionate, still playful boy. He is sweet and he really enjoys just being with you! He looks forward to seeing his favorite dog walkers and K-9 coaches every day but we all know it isn’t as special as looking forward to starting his day in his own home with a family to love him.
He is house trained, has been neutered and is up to date on his shots. Cappy has been micro-chipped too. Cappy isn’t comfortable with any little dogs. He really likes just hanging out with people.
The big fellow is at the end of Pod 1 Row 2 in kennel #20. You remember his buddy Slimmer used to live down the row from him until Slimmer found his new family. (Just in case you were interested Slimmer has a new name to go along with his new home and family. His name is Duke. He loves swimming in the pool and playing with his two new four legged pals.)
Now wouldn’t you like to be the one that can change things for our pal Cappy like things have changed for Slimmer. Please come by the shelter and ask to meet our favorite senior Cappy!!
The shelter is located at 2331 15th Street in Sarasota or you can call 955-4131. Check out Cappy and all his friends here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The pitbull battle rages on

Before I began volunteering for animal rescue, I didn't notice stories about animal bites as much as I do now. I think it was because the rules around dogs which my parents pounded in my head I have always followed and have never had a dog bite me since I was 7. My father yelled at me, not the dog, because I was doing what he had told me never to do. I was messing with the dog around the dog's food dish. Daddy thought the dog had a right to eat in peace and not have kids messing with him when he was trying to eat.
In the last 5 years, I have noticed these stories more and more and once again I am going to go on record saying it is a sensationalism factor the newspaper's use to attract readers. Pitbull attacks sell and mixed breed dogs don't.
All dogs will bite given certain situations. All children should be instructed in how to behave around a strange dog, or for that matter, a companion dog. These are dogs, not children, and react to different stimuli than humans do.
The minute they begin trying to take my dog, simply because of the breed, is when I am hitting the streets in protest. Most of these sensationalized stories are simply that, sensationalized.

A great billboard

I made a trip to Gainesville over the weekend for my new job and I didn't have to drive so I got to purvey the sights going up and coming back.
I saw a great billboard on I-75 with big headlines which said something like:
Adopt a Pure Florida Pedigreed dog
Then the local humane society's name.

What a great hook. Maybe it will take off.

Making the right decision

I read stories all the time about boneheaded decisions made by judges. I often wonder how closely the letter of the law is followed and where common sense plays a roll.
The case this week in our area where a judge returned 4 animals to a woman who has been charged several times with animal cruelty just flabbergasts me.
Animal rights' activisits in this area have lodged complaints more than once against this woman and the last time the Manatee County Sheriff officers actually found dead and decomposing animals along with live animals who had no food or shelter on the property. Her excuse was her home was in foreclosure. What? Excuse me? And the judge gave her back 4 of those animals?
She supposedly runs an animal rescue. To do what? Rescue the animals and then abandon them with no food or water?
Sorry folks. I find something terribly wrong with this picture.

Special Labrador available for adoption

Onyx here, I am a 16 month old black beauty.

I was surrendered to Lab Rescue because my owner had three jobs and no time for me. He really loved me, and wanted me to have a happy home with lots of attention. I have spent time with children 7 and over.

I am very friendly with dogs. I love to retrieve and I am becoming a water lab, too. I love toys and am always ready to play. I am house-trained and crate trained, an all-around perfect girl.

Please come visit and lets play ...I bet you and I will become fast friends and make that special ""furever"" home and family that I am so looking for.

If you are interested in meeting Onyx or adopting one of our other labs please contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida here or call 1-866-464-LABS.

LRRoF has all our labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mutt Mutterings new Mutt


First let me clarify, I am not a mutt. I am a German Shepherd. My name is Rin Tin Tin.

I have agreed to take over this column for my buddy and for my human friend. (She really, really likes me.)

I am 7 years old and although my chin hairs and muzzel are a tad grey, I am a nice mellow fellow. I don't like motorcycles. They are way too loud for me to be comfortable around, I don't have any other faults I can think of.

I am very housebroken and like most kids, especially if they are well behaved like I am. I am considered a senior and there are not many of us around, but I have some really good years left.

The shelter has been kind of busy, but not for me. At least, not yet. I am hoping my luck will change, but will continue to whisper in my friend's ear about once a week and let you know who got to go home, and who hasn't.

I did hear my buddy, Skunk's girl, Shila got adopted. She was pretty shy, but was a cute little thing. Her ears were as big as mine, only they flopped and she had a tiny head. My friend calls them airplane ears. (On me, they are very distinguished because mine don't flop.)

I know this report is kind of slim pickens, and I hope to have more news from the kennels next week. My friend hasn't been in much so I haven't gotten to speak to her.

Until next week, Auf wiedersehen,

Rin Tin Tin

Mutt Mutterings

Mutt Mutterings is looking for a new representative for the animals.
Our friend Skunk, lost his job and a replacement is in the future. Now, before you get mad at me, I am not replacing him because of anything he did wrong, but because right now he is unavailable. I am also anxiously awaiting the return of our Frisky Feline, Quackers, who is still looking for a home.
I have been extremely busy this week with my new employment and that will continue today, when I make my way to Gainesville to meet with a group of volunteers.
This doesn't mean I expect you not to visit all the local rescues and find a new best friend. They are out there and waiting. All the puppies and kittens, dogs and cats, mice, gerbils, rabbits and every other critter under the sun.
You didn't let me down last week so my hope for today is just as many get adopted. And remember, if you don't find your new best friend, keep looking. They are out there, they need you and you are their final hope. Please opt to adopt today.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Special cat in Englewood

Meet Patch.She is a beautiful female kitty.

She would love to be your new best friend.

You can meet her and all the other kitties up for adoption at Puffy Paws Kitty Haven Open House, every Saturday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at 270 Lakeview Lane in Englewood or call 941-473-5406.

Special dog in Sarasota

Trooper is a 52 pound brindle Chow Chow/Pit Bull mix who is 8 months old

When people come to our shelter to find themselves a new family member many times they know just what they want or just what they don’t want. What happens to that one dog has two breeds that a lot of people are not educated about? They walk right by his kennel even when he is the very first dog that they will see.
That is exactly what happens to our boy Trooper. Trooper arrived at our shelter in August of this year because his owner was not able to care for him properly. He had gotten Trooper as a young puppy and didn’t realize that there was going to be more than cuddling and playing with him.
Tropper is a beautiful brindle color. The best we can figure out is that he is a cross between an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Chow Chow which means he is the best of East meets West. He is up to date with all of his vaccinations and microchipped.
This handsome, rugged boy is just eight months old but he has already learned his basic commands sit and shake plus he walks very well on a leash. He is excellent riding in the car. He loves to go with you instead of staying behind.
He is friendly, affectionate, playful and active. A lover boy and a great kisser! A bit timid and nervous at first but he really wants your love badly. His favorite thing is a belly rub!

Trooper is a real favorite with our staff and volunteers. Come on in and see this good boy and you will understand why. You can visit with him at 2331 15th Street in Sarasota or call 955-4131. Check him and all his friends out here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Special cat in Port Charlotte

Meet Zoe: a 9-year-old spayed female domestic short hair cat.

She’s very affectionate and friendly and would like nothing more than a loving `forever home` - where she will always be safe (100% indoors please) and loved.

Zoe would do best in a home with an older couple. You can visit Zoe at The Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, 3519 Drance St. in Port Charlotte or call 941-625-6720 or visit her and all her friends here.

Special dog in Sarasota

Gracie is a 65 pound Labrador Retriever mix who is 7 years old

The lovely Gracie was brought to us when her owner was financially able to care for her properly. Gracie was not on her monthly preventatives and she had a very bad eve infection that had not been treated at all. She was a bit underweight and had been living her life outdoors instead of being a real member of the household.

The first thing that happened upon her surrender to us was a thorough examination by the veterinarian to determine just what needed to be done for Gracie. A senior blood profile was completed, she began treatment for her eye infection and she was put on a proper diet as well as having her thyroid checked.

Gracie is a sweet and gentle giant! She is very affectionate, loving and calm. It has become a new way of life for her now that she is interacting with people every day instead of just being left in a yard all alone.

Please stop by and ask to meet the lovely Gracie!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pocket pets: Part 2 Degus

Okay, keep reading. I bet you have no idea what a degu is do you? I didn't until a friend of mine began talking about hers.

The HSSC was then blessed with a donation of 44 and had to try and find homes for all of them. This is what happens when someone adopts a pocket pet, or any pet for that matter and thinks they will breed them to make money.

Degus are small, furry critters who are native to Peru. They are not nocturnal like most rodents are. They are also highly social and intelligent.

There is a website devoted to them, and my friend simply loves hers.

Once again, these are small and furry but still need care and attention. You can find them at many shelters after being bought at a pet store. Please don't purchase what you can adopt.

Special dog in Port Charlotte

Introducing Rico: a 1-year-old neutered male hound mix.

Rico is a playful and active dog that will do best with an active family.

You can visit Rico at The Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, 3519 Drance St. in Port Charlotte or call 941-625-6720 or visit him and all his friends here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pocket pets, part 1

Although for most of us, dogs and cats are the first animals which come to mind when we speak of pets. As one of my faithful blog readers pointed out, there are many others, which are now called pocket pets, who share their lives with humans.

Most parents wrongly believe if a pocket pet is purchased as a child's first pet, they can then absolve themselves of all responsibility. This is not the case. Guinea pigs, degus, mice, rats, hamsters, or gerbils all require care. Many times more care than a child can be responsible for.

Today we will begin with guinea pigs. My first advice is find one at a shelter or rescue. If these are purchased from a pet store, you are only increasing the pet store's profit. Many of these pocket pets get turned into shelters and rescue groups each year and until we stop buying live animals from stores, this problem of unwanted pets will not go away.

Then do your research. You will be glad you did. Check out this care guide by the HSUS about guinea pigs. We will do degus tomorrow.

Great story with a local slant

Okay, so here is a great story on the Southeastern Guide Dogs. The school is based in Palmetto and a lot of people in this area don't know it exists. I know because they just hired me.

This article on zootoo is a great read. It speaks of the independence which is achieved by using these dogs.

If you would like to know more about their programs, or their volunteer activities, you can check them out here for more information.

November Save the Date

Okay, season has officially begun. Get your calendars out and start marking the dates because the list will fill up in a hurry.

On Saturday, November 22 The Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County is having a "Party in the Park" for pets and people.
The party will take place in Laishley Park Marina in Punta Gorda from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Enjoy a variety of activities, including: vendors and educational exhibits • agility and obedience demonstration • entertainment and silent auction • refreshments • meet and mingle with lots of canines and their families.
Leashed dogs are invited to attend with their owners for a day of paw-some fun. Various registration levels are available.

For more information visit them here or call (941) 625-6720

Open House at Southeastern Guide Dogs

On Saturday, September 27 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 pm Southeastern Guide Dogs located at: 4210 77th Street East in Palmetto will hold a special Open House.
Come find out what Southeastern Guide Dogs is all about. Guide dog demonstrations, short program overviews & information will be available, along with a tour of the puppy kennel for some Puppy Hugging, a visit to the main kennel to see the big dogs and then drop by our Gift Shop.
Southeastern Guide Dogs’ mission is to create and nurture a partnership between a visually impaired individual and a guide dog, facilitating life’s journey with mobility, independence and dignity.
For more information, please call 941-729-5665 or check them out here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Food drive for the HSSC

The HSSC is in need of food for the homeless animals who are staying there. Due to the overwhelming number of puppies and kittens this year, and the number of animals being turned in on a daily basis, canned dog and cat food, canned puppy and kitten food and dry kitten food supplies are running extremely low. Any kind of food is appreciated.
The HSSC depends on donations from the public to continue their mission of caring for homeless dogs and cats in this area.
The HSSC is located at 2331 15th Street in Sarasota. Please call 955-4131 with any questions or concerns.
Thank you.

Economic tragedy

I just got back from a quick weekend to the other coast. I try and visit other shelters when I am in a different spot to see what is working, or what they do that can be incorporated in what I do when I volunteer.

Unfortunately, the shelter I chose to visit is in the process of perhaps closing their doors. Everything was clean and the dogs and cats seemed happy, but there were empty kennels with no animals. I wondered since the economy is so bad, and so many shelters are overrun with animals right now, how it was they had empty ones.

It was explained to me they had simply no funds. They could accept no more animals because there were no funds to feed anyone else. They were trying to get their last animals adopted so they could continue a fundraising campaign to raise enough money to keep the doors open and begin accepting animals again.

In a case like this it is the animals who suffer or are assured of euthanization because there is simply no place for them to go and no money to care for them. How sad.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Make my day (I'll find out tomorrow)

Today is scheduled to be a beautiful day. Perfect September weather on the Gulf coast of southwest Florida to relax and enjoy your weekend.
If you find you need a companion to share the weekend with, please visit your local animal shelter or rescue. If you don't find what you are looking for, visit the next on on your list.
Although the economy is impacting many animals' lives because of their humans, there are many people who still believe when making a committment to an animal, it is for life. If you are one of those lifetime committment people, a shelter in your area would love to introduce you to some of their resident dogs and cats who desperately need a permanent home.
Shelters and rescues are also affected by the economy. Not only are they receiving more animals, they are receiving less money, less donations of dog food and kitty litter.
The #1 need for most shelters and rescues are ADOPTERS. They are all still bursting at the seams with dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits and pocket pets.
Please make it a good day for the animals. Opt to adopt from your local shelter or rescue. Find a new lifetime best friend.

The strength within (or when it turns to mush)

Many people, including me, believe we have the inner strength of a super hero. We can continue trying to save animals day in and day out with no effect on our mental well-being.
Unfortunately, this is not true. Many people, volunteers and staff members who work in the animal rescue field often suffer burnout.
In the biz they call this compassion fatigue. The reason is simply the overwhelming feeling that it doesn't matter what you do or say, the revolving door of animal rescue is simply that, a revolving door. You put your everything into these animals and they just keep coming.
It can be something as simple as an unclean kennel, which should have been cleaned by a staff member, or what can be perceived as an uncaring attitude by a fellow volunteer.
It is sometimes very hard to continually paste a smile on your face, regardless of your committment, and keep a positive outlook.
The key to prevent this is to know yourself. When you reach a point where you just feel what you are doing is simply not useful anymore, step out of it for a while. Take a breather and renourish your mental being. It is okay to do this and not feel guilty.
In the newspaper business, we called this a mental health day. I am taking one today. I will be blogging again tomorrow.

Special dog in Sarasota

Met is a 2 year old male Retriever mix who weighs 60 pounds.

Met was a stray dog that was turned into our friends at Sarasota County Animal Services. He was very sweet and loving. They knew he was a very adoptable dog except for one problem. Met tested positive for heartworms.

SCAS asked if we could help this young fellow out and give him a chance. Met was transferred to our shelter and in June, 2008 he was treated for heartworms. He would not be able to run and play like the other dogs. He had to be walked daily instead of getting yard time. Our staff and volunteers made the commitment to help this great dog have a second chance at life. Everyone eagerly awaited the re-test in August.

Unfortunately, Met was still heartworm positive and had to be re-treated. This setback has not discouraged the staff and volunteers or Met at all. He would definitely prefer to get to run and play but for right now he is content to be walked on his leash each day – several times a day. He still is the very sweet and very loving boy that he when Animal Services found him running loose.

If you could provide a stable and loving home for met, along with his heartworm treatment monthly, please call 955-4131 and ask about him. You can also check him and all his friends out here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Something from Katrina

In 2006, Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act. This was done in response to the 1,000's of people who refused to evacuate without their companions during Katrina and from people in other parts of the United States who saw people having to evacuate while being forced to leave their animals behind.
According to this story on MSNBC, the PETSA worked during Hurricane Ike and many more people and their pets were evacuated safely.
It is nice to know something that came out of the devastation that was Katrina works.

Mutt mutterings

Hi ya'll. My name is Skunk. (they tried to change it to Spunk at the HSSC, but I am still partial to my original name. What is a skunk anyway?)

I will be coming to you each week or so with the goings on at the shelter from the dogs' point of view. I have been here for quite some time and have a pretty good relationship with the others and they may tell me things they just wouldn't say to another dog.

My play buddy's name is Shila. She is a pretty little thing. She is listed as a hound mix and had a brother here named Levi. He got adopted and she was left behind. We are kinda soul mates and tell each other our stories.

I am a black mouthed cur mix. I think maybe a little lab thrown in but the human who translates for me just calls me her Florida brown dog. I am 3 years old and came in to the shelter with no fur. Can you imagine how embarrassing that was? They said I had demodex that is from my Mom and the neglect I suffered at my last home. I didn't feel neglected but I did feel naked and itchy. It was a home and not a kennel. I guess they couldn't take care of me any more so I live here now.

My perfect home would be, hmmm, let's see: I am a rough and tumble kind of dog so a boy to play with would be good. Maybe a soft bed in his room. I wouldn't ask to sleep on his bed, but he would love me enough to smuggle me in when Mom wasn't looking.

I would like a yard to play in, too. I know, walks are nice and I like to meet new people, but just to be able to run and roll around in the grass would be heaven.

Lots of dogs found new homes last weekend. I wonder if my turn is coming soon? I heard the Roving Reporter was going to be in the shelter tomorrow. I wonder if they would let me ask him some questions about how to do this?

My girl, Shila, is a little shy so my perfect home probably wouldn't fit her. Unless you took both of us. Is that a possibility? Nah, probably not. A guy can always ask. She hides from people sometimes. She is a little scared. Not with me around though. I wouldn't let anything happen to her. (I am a softy at heart. See my toy in the picture. I just love soft toys.)

Well, that is all I can think of right now. I will be back next week with some more mutterings. Unless you fall in love with me and adopt me. It could happen. If you just can't live without me another day, please check me out here or call 955-4131 and ask about me.

Special kitten in Englewood

Meet Fluff. She is a beautiful female kitten that will melt your heart.
She is looking for that special person to love her fur-ever.
You can meet her and all the other kitties up for adoption at Puffy Paws Kitty Haven.
We have an open house, every Saturday between 1 pm - 5 pm. We are located at 270 Lakeview Lane in Englewood. Call us at 941-473-5406 or check all the cats and kittens out here .

Amnesty days for exotic pets

You simply cannot live in Florida without hearing about the python found in the Everglades who exploded when it tried to swallow an alligator.
Or maybe the iguanas which became so cold in a state park, they began falling from the trees. Florida is like that. A land with weird stories about weird creatures.
The thing is, these creatures are not native to Florida and when faced with a fine for having them and no place to turn to if you can no longer care for them, many people simply turn them loose. Obviously, that program has not been working so well.
According to the Associated Press in a story in the Miami Herald, "Residents who own reptiles that are not native to Florida can now give up their pets without facing a penalty whenever they want."

Special dog is Sarasota

Amelie is a 5 year old, spayed Labrador Retriever mix who weighs 50 lbs. The lovely Amelie was surrendered to our shelter just two days before her fifth birthday.

The allergies of a family member made it necessary to find her another place to live. No one would take her so her owner brought her to us. Amelie has lived with at least two families. Her last family had her for two years. Amelie was named after a character in a French film. After reading the description of the movie the name makes perfect sense.

“Bursting with imagination and having seen her share of tragedy and fantasy, Amelie is not like the other girls. Amelie enjoys simple pleasures until she discovers that her goal in life is to help others.” That’s our Amelie. She is shy and a somewhat timid when she first meets you. Once she understands that you want to be her friend she really enjoys spending time with you.

Amelie loves to take long walks with you. She loves to sit under the tree and listen to the birds with you. Amelie also loves to just sit next to you and help you unwind from a long day at work. She is not a total couch potato because she does love to play with you, too! You only get to spend two hours with the character from the movie but our Amelie will be able to give you a lifetime of love if you let her.

She is housetrained. She loves to ride in the car. Amelie has lived with children over six years old and another dog. Amelie is the dog that lots of people don’t notice in the kennels. She is shy and tends to stay to the back part of her kennel instead of being up front like so many of her pals but please don’t let that discourage you. Just make sure to let your matchmaker know that you are interested in meeting her and they will be very happy to introduce you.

If you would like to meet Amelie, please stop by the HSSC at 2331 15th Street in Sarasota or call 955-4131. You can also check her out on the web at http://www.hssc.org/.

Reggae Oktoberfest

This Bud's for the Dog's, mon!

Join the fun Sunday, October 5th from 2-6 pm at the new Gold Coast Eagle Distributing facility as Public Display of Affection Productions puts on Reggae Oktoberfest. Kiss a dog, eat a brat, enjoy a cold beer and listen to live reggae music. All proceeds to benefit the Humane Society of Sarasota County’s Pet Therapy Program. Tickets are $25/person. Reserve tickets online at: http://www.sarasotapda.com/ or pay Cash at the door.

Hosting Sponsor Gold Coast Eagle Distributor is located at 7051 Wireless Court in Lakewood Ranch. The location is easy to find and features a brand new, state of the art beer garden with a beautiful indoor circular bar and plasma TVs for NFL football fans. Music performed by critically acclaimed Cort Ferris. Great beer specials, Beer Pong, Corn Hole and yummy Bratwursts and Sauerkraut.

Guests will see first hand the program they are supporting. A Dog Kissing Booth will be available for attendees to get a pup peck from one of the Pet Therapy Certified dogs. See for yourself how much joy these dogs bring to others and support the Humane Society of Sarasota County’s Pet Therapy Program.

Due to Gold Coast Eagle’s food and beverage license and nature of the venue children and animals are not permitted.

For further event details, and directions please go to http://www.sarasotapda.com/, or contact Eric Massey at 809-6351.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Watch this PSA

When I noticed the program "Bones" was a new episode tonight, I quickly put my television to the local Fox station.

Within 15 minutes I knew the story was going to be on dogfighting and worried that I would have to switch it off and write a scathing blog item about irresponsible television programming. Programming which would either glorify the so-called sport or show all the dogs who were supposed to be vicious killers.

I was pleasantly surprised this show did none of that. It was a story but represented the horrors of dog fighting on top of who dog fighters sometimes turn out to be. In this case, a medical student who needed money not the drug dealer who you suspect.

Anyway, if you didn't catch the show, you will cry at the end and you can watch it here: http://fox.com/bones/ on top of seeing an interview with Cesar Milan, who was a special guest.

Most impressive of all was a Public Service Announcment which made me want to broadcast it everywhere. The dogs are doing the talking and it is fabulous. You can watch that here: http://web.mac.com/animalsite/iWeb/PSA/spot.html . Enjoy and let me know what you think of the PSA

Special dog in Port Charlotte

Meet Bear: a 6-year-old neutered male Rottweiler.

We can describe him as being an affectionate and playful dog. After all he’s a loving and snuggly big bear.

His ideal home will be one without small children and other dogs.

You can visit Bear at The Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, 3519 Drance St. in Port Charlotte or call 941-625-6720 or online here at http://www.awlshelter.org/.

Special cat in Port Charlotte

Sophie is a 2-year-old spayed female domestic short hair cat.

She comes with a great resume: she likes other animals, she’s sociable and she’s litter trained. Most importantly, she’s a true love bug and just appreciates someone who will take care of her. Is that you?

You can visit Sophie at The Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, 3519 Drance St. in Port Charlotte or call 941-625-6720 or here at http://www.awlshelter.org.

Special Labrador for adoption

This handsome chocolate boy is Spencer. He is the most easygoing, happy eight year old you may ever meet.

Spencer was found lying on the side of a deserted road by a good Samaritan over a year ago. He could hardly stand, his eyes and ears were swollen shut from infections and he had very little hair. Spencer spent almost two weeks on IVs, but through it all every day his tail still wagged.

Today, after a year of good food (he has a restricted diet no wheats and flours and lots of moderate exercise (he loves to swim and fetch squeaky balls), Spencer is one of our greatest rescues. He seems truly thankful to be alive!

He is very polite and well mannered, loves everybody and everything. Mr. Spencer is a special boy and we are looking for that special family that will love and treat him as the loving gentle soul that he is.

If you are interested in meeting or adopting Spencer or one of our other labs please contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website www.labradorrescue.net or call 1-866-464- LABS.

LRRoF has all our labs microchipped, spayed or neutered, up to date on shots and each adoption comes with a 30 day pre-paid pet health insurance plan. All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable).

Not the desperate housewives yet

The HSSC currently has five wonderful dogs in our shelter that are looking for homes. (Please don’t take that the wrong way – all of their dogs are wonderful and they are all looking for new homes.) What makes these five dogs so special? They all are recent moms brought to our shelter with their five litters of puppies.

Five nursing moms were surrendered to the HSSC with a total of 26 puppies who all needed homes. One owner was moving and couldn’t take Hazelnut and her five puppies with them. Missy was surrendered with her nine puppies because they couldn’t afford their care. Black Jack and her seven puppies were surrendered because it was too many animals to care for. Sheena and her three were also surrendered because of having too many animals. And last but not least is Mama Mia, who came in with her two puppies that were actually trying to nurse on her as their owner walked them in the Receiving Department. Her owner could also not afford to care for her and her pups.

The good news is all of the puppies have found new homes. Twenty five homes – one wonderful adopter gave a home to two of Missy’s puppies. Fantastic! All of these amazing people opened up their hearts and their homes to these adorable babies.

The sad news is Sheena, Black Jack, Missy, Hazelnut and Mama Mia are still hoping for their special families to come through the Adoption Department door. Until that time comes our wonderful staff and very dedicated volunteers will spend time with each of the ladies every day. They will take them for walks, play fetch with them, feed them and clean their kennels, make sure they have a nice blanket or doggie bed to sleep on and they will give each dog lots and lots of love. These caring people will give them everything they can so these dogs will be ready for you to adopt each of them.

The rest is up to you. The girls aren’t “Desperate Housewives” yet, but are really hoping to be able to sleep in a loving home every night and wake up each morning to the same smiling and caring face. What do you think? Are you the one for Sheena? How about Black Jack? Missy or Hazelnut? And then there is always Mama Mia!

Please come by and ask to meet the ladies! We are located at 2331 15th Street in Sarasota. You can call 955-4131 if you have more questions.

Calling all kids

Reading FUR FUN

Calling all kids to read to the dogs on Saturday, September 27 from 11 a.m. until noon at
Books-A-Million, 6591 S. Tamiami Trail in Gulf Gate.

Reading FUR FUN is a program of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. Registered
Pet Therapy Dogs will be there to listen to children read.

Reading is fun. Reading to a dog is more fun. For more information call Dee Halpern at 955-4131, ext 113.

BSL just won't go away

If I hear one more "expert" politician call for the ban of a particular breed of dog I think I will just scream. This argument goes back and forth several times a year and it riles people to the point of extreme anger. http://www.mandjshow.com/videos/banning-pit-bulls/

I have said this before and I will say it again. Pit Bulldogs are not the problem. The problem is the hysteria which surrounds any injury to a child or adult by a dog. The media, which I was a part of for many years will run an inflamatory story about a pit bulldog before they will run a story about a labrador because it sells papers and television views.

If a Labrador, which by the way, has the highest incidence of bites in the state of Florida, it is not the fault of the dog. I love Labradors but I also love pit bulls. The reason the bite statistics are so high in Florida for Labradors is it is the most popular dog in the state.

Because of bite statistics, some insurance companies ban some very popular breeds. Huskys, Malamutes, Boxers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and the list goes on and on. What would happen if these bite statistics on Labradors made it to the insurance companies and they said, "Okay, no more Labradors."? People would begin screaming.

8% of all puppies born in this country have dominance aggression according to some studies. That is a percentage of all the puppies, from chihuahuas, to poodles, to labs, to pit bulls. This is not rocket science. Big dogs have big mouths. Big mouths can cause more damage than small mouths. Dogs are animals. They do not think or reason the way a human can.

Can't we all just try and use some common sense in the issue and stop all the inflammatory discussion? Eradicating a breed of dog because of hysteria won't solve the problem. It will just move on to the next breed that becomes popular. Why not have a discussion about mandatory spay/neuter to eliminate the euthanization of millions of animals in this country each year.

Rescuing animals after the storm

The stories are now coming out of Texas about the rescue of the animals. I read one story where there is a tiger roaming loose on the Bolivar Penninsula. He escaped from an exotic pet store. Go figure. You can read the story here. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IKE_TIGER?SITE=WIJAN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT This just increases my call for more regulation on selling pets like lions and tigers.

The second story I read is what I would expect coming out of Texas. Those cowboys are out rounding up the horses and cows which were displaced by the storm. It is a good story and includes the rescue of dogs and squirrels and other critters who need help.

Living in a hurricane state like Florida, it just proves what the experts have said all along. When they say evacuate, you need to go. You also need to take your animals with you. It saves a lot of grief after the storm. You can read the second story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26747431/

Skunk aka Spunk needs a home

The number of animals which pass through the animal welfare system each year is huge. Despite the fact many leave very quickly, volunteers form attachments to the longer residents because we spend more time with them.

A dog or cat who is in the system for a day or two is quickly forgotten, while one who stays for 5 or 6 months works his or her way into someone's radar and they spend time working on finding them a home.

Skunk aka Spunk is one of the dogs who fits this category. When he entered the system he was almost completely bald from demodex mange. He was a rough-and-tumble sort of guy, who needed a champion.

Many believed the reason he has not found a home is because his name was Skunk so they changed it to Spunk. He will always be Skunk to me.

He is a 3 year old Black-Mouth Cur. These dogs were originally bred in Florida to round up cattle and are a kind of labrador/shepherd/hound mix. I have said before, we always called them Florida Brown Dogs.

He gets along well with other dogs, has been around kids 7 years and older and is simply one of those dogs who gets passed by again and again. His demodex is almost all cleared up and his coat is coming in soft and brown. He loves belly rubs and soft toys as this picture shows.

He is housebroken and knows several commands and like all the animals in the shelter, needs to find a permanent home to call his own. If you would like to meet him, please drop by 2331 15th Street in Sarasota or call 955-4131 and ask about him.

The truth about puppies

Puppies are the cutest. There is nothing in the world so sweet as puppy breath and the wagging of a little tail while you hold this bundle of fur in your arms.

The truth about puppies is they are a lot of work. I have come to the conclusion the reason they are so cute when they are small is the amount of work it takes to raise them. Their cuteness is their ticket to a new home.

Most people when viewing dogs in a shelter ask for puppies first. When they see the puppies, they are sold and don't even continue walking around to view the other animals. These people mistakingly believe the key to having a good dog is to get a puppy.

For some new owners, this is true. I met a gentleman this weekend who fell in love with a puppy after his last companion had died. He saw the puppy's picture, fell in love, came in and met the puppy, fell in love all over again, and adopted the puppy.

There is no doubt this puppy will have a good home. The gentleman was knowledgeable about dogs, knew just what he wanted, started his search, found just what he wanted and adopted him.

The mom and dad who come in looking for a dog or puppy are sometimes not as clearcut. The dad wants a puppy but mom, realizing just how much work a puppy can be, really wants an older dog. They look at several animals, including a puppy and end up taking the puppy home. Dad got his wish. Mom is happy with the puppy until the weekend is over.

The honeymoon period is off and mom doesn't want to have to take the time to train the puppy. By Tuesday or Wednesday, the puppy is back in the system looking for another home.

Puppies require work and time and lots of love. If you are thinking about adoption, please consider an older dog if you are not sure about a puppy. It saves you and the puppy a lot of heartache in the end.

Save the date

Join the Humane Society of Sarasota County for the spooktacular 11th Annual Howl-o-ween Dog Costume Contest and Parade Saturday, Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. at Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota.
Hundreds of creepy and cute costumed pets and their people will parade down Main Street and around the park. Awards will be given in 13 prize categories. Sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association and Friends of the Shaney Man, the spookfest will be emceed by WFLA-TV Reporter Jackie Barron. Besides enjoying the enchanting parade, guests will have a chance to tour HSSC's new, 26-foot mobile adoption center, learn about its pet therapy and education programs and enjoy pet-friendly activities.
Contest registration is $10 per dog; all proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of Sarasota County, which shelters nearly 4,000 abandoned pets each year and provides pet adoptions, humane education, affordable spay/neuter referral services, and programs for children, seniors and those with special needs. Parade spectators are welcome free of charge.

The first 100 dogs registered for the contest will receive goodie bags filled with treats and surprises. Registration begins an hour before the event; pre-registration is available at Max's Dog Bakery, 1375 Main Street, Sarasota, online via PayPal at http://www.hssc.org/ or by calling HSSC at 955-4131, ext. 121.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A outpouring of love

Last Saturday, the Humane Society of Sarasota County held Senior Adoption Day. This day was set aside for senior residents of the shelter in hopes of finding new homes for them.
The area once again came through with double digit adoptions. Many of our senior residents were given a new chance at life.
Rin Tin Tin, a senior shepherd who came to the shelter with heartworm, was fostered by a nice 12 year old boy and his mom. Many of our other homeless animals who didn't qualify as seniors also found new homes.
Desoto, a young border collie who was a terrified of human contact when he first entered the system was adopted as was a 13 year chocolate labrador named Bear. Three senior cats found homes and Henry the rabbit also left the facility.
With the economy still hovering on the downside, the love the people in this area have for homeless pets continues to amaze me and thrill me at the same time.
Mahatma Ghandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” The people who came out on Saturday show we are a pretty great area.

Finding a job

As many of you know, I have been diligently searching for a new spot to call home. With the restructuring of the paper, my career of the past 30 years went down the tubes. Although I could have begun my search at other media outlets, I was really tired of working for unknown stockholders who never had my best interest at heart.

I decided to join the non-profit world, which I knew would be less salary but more satisfying. After traveling and interviewing I was offered a really good job yesterday at a really good non-profit. I think I will have a great time there and one of the good things about this job is I won't have to leave the area. I may be eating ramin noodles and PB&J for a while, but I think it will be worth it.

Wish me luck in my new endeavors and I will keep you posted on how I am feeling a few weeks from now, once I get my feet wet.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The human-animal bond

Everyone who has a companion animal knows how special the bond is between them and their pet. Most of us could never conceive the thought of having to relinquish a cherished animal should something happen to us.

Shelters receive many animals from owners who must go into assisted living facilities due to health problems and it must be one of the hardest things to have to do.

The first dog I knew who was placed in one of these facilities was a senior black labrador named Gunnar. He had to learn where he was allowed to go and when he was allowed to exit the automated doors.

Last Saturday we had the pleasure of introducing them to Brownie, who will become their second resident dog.

Then another family came in looking specifically for another dog for another facility. I introduced them to Roxy, a schnauzer mix who was very gentle. They needed a medium-sized dog so the residents who were in wheelchairs could reach her but not so rambunctions she would knock a resident down if they were standing or on a walker.

Roxy went to the facility today and her introduction went well. I will let you read what our behaviorist said about the visit.

"Kelley and I took Roxy to an assisted living facility today in Sarasota. She did fantastic! She did so well, they adopted her after 30 minutes there.
She was very gentle and never jumped up on anyone. She would walk up to a resident in a wheelchair so they could pet her.
Eventually she will have the run of the whole place including elevator rides to the third floor.
She has three primary caregivers there - one daytime and one nighttime and a third for weekends. She shares an office with the Volunteer Activities Director where she will sleep
and eat. Then she will be a social butterfly all day doing as she pleases.
Everyone just loved her and her tail never stopped wagging."

How great is it she will now have a multitude of people who love her and care for her? Another great reason why we do what we do. Thanks to all the facilities like these two who realize how special the animal-human bond is.

Special kittens in Englewood

Meet Frick and Frack.

These two lovely little boy kittens would love you forever if you would give them a chance.

You can meet them and all the other kitties up for adoption at Puffy Paws Kitty Haven Open House, every Saturday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at 270 Lakeview Lane in Englewood.

You can also visit them here at http://www.puffypawskittyhaven.com/ or call 941-473-5406.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beautiful dog needs special home

In the world of make believe, all GSD's (German shepherds for those who don't know acronyms) are just like Rin Tin Tin. They are loyal, protective, smart and will do anything for their humans.

In the real world, GSD's are the same: loyal, protective, smart and will do anything for their humans.

The difference lies is what people understand about the breed. When you are adopting a rescued animal, you really don't know their history. People lie about their relinquished animals. They give shelters wrong ages and wrong temperments, say they are great with kids and they love other animals when in reality this is far from the truth.

Gypsy Woman is a beautiful, purebred GSD. She is super smart. She needs an owner who knows and understands the breed. She doesn't tolerate other animals or small children.

Anytime a homeless animal comes in with issues (and they all have them), not tolerating other animals and children can cause them to spend even more time in a kennel situation, which is not good for a dog who creates a strong bond with humans.

Gypsy Woman needs a home. A good home where her owner understands her breed, her issues, and will work on correcting them in the right way.

If you feel you could be the home for Gypsy Woman, please call Kerry at 955-4131 and ask about her. The website is http://www.hssc.org/ and she could turn out to be your perfect companion.

The best kind of tired

I feel tired this morning, but the tired comes from a job well done. From 8 a.m. yesterday until well after 5 p.m. I talked, walked and showed dogs. Old dogs, young dogs, puppy dogs and everything in between. Our cat matchers also did a fabulous job and Latinie, a senior cat pictured here, was the first adoption of the day.

The gulf coast of Florida once again came through to meet and adopt homeless dogs and cats. We were busy from beginning to end but tempers never flared and everyone kept a smile.

Our oldest resident, 13 years old and happy as a puppy, Bear is going home with another labrador from Gulfport in Pinellas County. Several of our youngest residents, 8 week old lab mix puppies went home to loving families and all ages in the middle.

All together we had 25 adoptions. 9 More are scheduled for Monday. That makes 34 animals who have found homes with loving families this weekend.

This is the best kind of tired. Thanks to everyone who came out. If you didn't find just what you were looking for on Saturday, come visit us again next week. We will have more new residents.

Special Labrador for adoption

Here is Manolo or Manny for short. A laid back guy who is best described as a big lovable teddy bear who wants to be by your side.

He is 6 years old, 107 pounds. Recently diagnosed with an under-active thyroid, we've started him on inexpensive medicines, which he'll need to be on for the rest of his life, a good diet and regular exercise. He gets along with other dogs of all sizes and is very curious about cats and birds.

Manny is also working on his singing skills, howling in tune with emergency vehicles driving by. It is very cute! He likes to give kisses, is well-mannered, walks well on a leash, likes to swim and is playful.

If you would like to meet this lovable guy we know he would love to meet you. He is looking for his "furever" home so give LRROF a call and who knows you may meet your new best friend.

If you are interested in meeting or adopting Manolo or one of our other labs contact Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida by visiting our website www.labradorrescue.net or call 1-866-464-LABS.All applicants will have a home inspection and vet reference (if applicable).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Save the date for "Paws for Independence"

On October 19th, from 1 - 7 pm, "Paws for Independence" will take place at American Legion Post #24, 2000 75th Street West in Bradenton.

This event is to benefit The Southeastern Guide Dogs. Music will be by The Arch, with special appearance by Jacobites Pipe & Drum Pipe Major, Gary Reinstrom, along with other special guest artists.

Meet the trainers and volunteers and watch them work with these life-saving furry friends!

Drawings, 50/50 raffles all day. Food and beverages available. Tickets are $10 in advance by calling 776-5843 or $15 at the door. More information at http://www.popsextras.org/

Blog space

There is a very positive aspect about personal blogs. They are personal but are out in cyberspace for all the world to read.

Another great thing about blog space is you control it. You control the tone, the content, the comments, and how often it is updated. I can write on any dog, any cat, or any situation I would like because it is my opinion. I can do this at any time of the day or night at my pleasure. You can read it and discard it, you can read it and enjoy it or you can choose to not read it at all. That is your choice.

Vitrolic comments from any blogger about any person or subject will not be posted by me on this blog. They only hurt the animals. Events, animals needing homes, people involved in the animal welfare area will be highlighted.

If anyone wants to discuss other venues they can begin their own blog and have at it.

Housing for seniors

Wanted: living space for seniors.

We are all a tad on the more mature side and we are looking for new housing. We are polite, well-mannered and will make someone the perfect roommate.

We promise to keep you company on those lonely nights, jump in your lap when you need the comfort and not tinkle on your new carpet. We cannot promise you won't find our hair on the floor, but how many seniors do you know who aren't losing some of their hair? Some of us are experiencing middle-aged spread, but if you want to diet, we will be right there with you.

We have been rejected by our previous roommates due to various reasons, mostly because of moving or financial reasons and are looking to settle down permanently with a nice family in the area.

If you would like a new roommate or maybe even a second one, please let us know. You can contact us at 955-4131, check us out on the website at www.hssc.org or even read about us in the newspaper. We are media stars so check us out here: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080912/ARTICLE/809120306

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Special dog in Port Charlotte

Marley is a 1.5 year old spayed female.

This Labrador retriever mix is pretty on the inside as well as the outside. She’s very playful and affectionate.

Marley would be a great addition to any family. Please contact the shelter at http://www.awlshelter.com/ if you would be interested in meeting Marley.

Save the Date

Mark your calendars now and save the date for the Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County's "Tropical Tails."

On Saturday, October 11, 2008, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Laishley Park, the first ever dinner dance will begin.

Music will be provided by Charlie Kuchler. Tickets are $50.00 per person and dinner will be catered by Harpoon Harry’s. A cash bar will be available.

All proceeds will benefit the Animal Welfare League. For more information, please contact them at 3519 Drance St. in Port Charlotte, phone 625-6720 or online at www.awlshelter.org.

"Greatest" is a boxer

The end CBS's "Greatest American Dog" brought a few surprises end dispelled some misconceptions for me.

Just when I was sure I knew what the judges were looking for, they surprised me. I cannot say I am disappointed that Presley and Travis won, although Bill and Star were my favorites. What I can say is I thought the judges picked correctly.

We all believe our dogs are the best. Most of us have our favorite breeds, (mine tend to be Rottweilers, but I am partial to old hound dogs) and we begin picking our favorites in a show like this, only to be disappointed if our favorite doesn't win.

I think Presley is a fabulous dog. He is young, enthusiastic, energetic and looking for guidance. I think Travis was a smart owner. He watched what everyone else did. He knew his dog was young and inexperienced in the ways of training. Travis represents a lot of dog owners, in fact, probably the majority.

Presley was a typical boxer. At least from what I have seen in my dealings with them in the shelter. He is what we volunteers like to call a "wiggle butt." He tried so hard to please Travis but was such a teenager.

All in all, I was pleased with the show. I believe the neediness of Andrew is what cost the little Maltese the title, but he was impressive. When I watched the elephant charging towards him and he listened to his owner and never even seemed to bat an eye, I believed he had the title in the bag.

I was wrong and hope the next season is as fun as the first.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Special cat in Port Charlotte

Sophie is a 5-year-old spayed female domestic long hair cat.

Sophie loves to watch soap operas and would do well with an older couple.

She’s doesn’t care much for toys or entertainment, she prefers a nice meal and a comfy bed.
If you would be interested in adopting Sophie, please contact the Animal Welfare League at www.awlshelter.org .

Photo contest winner

This photo won the Shelter Life Category of the American Humane Society’s Photo Contest: Pets and Pals.
It was a Grand Prize Winner - Shelter Life: "Just One of the Many Reasons We Voluneer!" by Ingrid Brustad

If you want to check out some other photos from this contest, check out their website.

Pet contest from Disney

Disney has a contest going on now for pets. It is called "Bow-Wow-Ween.

The grand prize winner will win a year's worth of dog food, pet insurance, training, and $2,000 to use toward doggy treats and accessories!

If you think your pet has what it takes, check it out here http://family.go.com/dog-costume-contest/prize/.

You must register onsite. (Junior would die of embarrassment if I ever even tried to put a costume on him)

Remaining fiscally solvent

I am still amazed at the number of people who believe animal shelters make money. Most of these people have no idea of the amount of money and number of people it takes to run a shelter.

This amount may vary depending of how big or small the shelter is and where it is located at. When you figure in the cost of food and supplies, manpower to care for the animals, veterinary care to ensure the health of the animals, and numerous other charges, it can be in the thousands of dollars just per day. Some uninformed people must believe this work gets done for pennies on the dollar, but this is not true.

When I decided to switch careers after my current layoff, I was told by many people to not think I would ever get rich doing this kind of work. I know many people who work in the animal welfare industry who must work a second and sometimes even a third job to make ends meet. They work in shelters because of a love of animals, not for the money.

As the economy continues on a downward trend, more and more animals show up in shelters needing food and care. Where does this money come from? It comes from reserves put aside especially for situations like this and it comes from the public.

If you ever doubt where your donations of money and supplies are going, check out your charity at www.charitynavigator.com or www.guidestar.com . Any reputable charity is not afraid for the public to look at where they proportion their money. When in doubt, check it out first.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Paws to Care campaign kickoff

The Humane Society of Sarasota County is launching "Paws to Care," a multi-tiered program designed to combat pet relinquishments due to economic hardship. HSSC is asking for nominations of neighborhoods and community groups in need to select the first beneficiaries.

"Many of our residents are being hit hard by the economic downturn. HSSC decided to create Paws to Care to provide extra help," said HSSC Executive Director Deborah Robbins Millman. "For those in economic crisis, times are tough enough without losing their cherished companions, too."

Paws to Care will provide free bags of dog and cat food and information about other Humane Society of Sarasota County pet wellness programs, including low cost and no-cost spay/neuter referral programs and pet behavior counseling. The resources will be available at scheduled times at the Humane Society of Sarasota County and will also be transported to communities in need.

The Humane Society of Sarasota County's board of directors personally contributed nearly $2,500 to launch the program. To maintain it, HSSC is seeking businesses and individuals willing to donate the food and/or make financial contributions. Grants are also being sought.

Paws to Care's first distribution event will be Saturday, October 11. The Humane Society of Sarasota County is asking people to send an email detailing why their neighborhood, church, school or other group needs Paws to Care's assistance. Two locations will be selected for the launch; others will be visited at a later date.

Nominations should be emailed to HSSCcares@yahoo.com. They may also be mailed to HSSC, 2331 15th St., Sarasota, FL 34237 ATTN: Paws to Care. The application deadline for the first distribution is Friday, Oct. 3.

The Humane Society of Sarasota County relies on community support to care for nearly 4,000 abandoned pets annually, as well as offer pet adoptions, humane education, affordable spay/neuter services and programs for children, seniors and those with special needs.

For more information about the Humane Society of Sarasota County's many programs and services or to make a contribution to the Paws to Care fund, visit www.hssc.org .

Finding that elusive employment

Who knew when I was laid off after 25 years due to a corporate restructuring, I would have such difficulty finding a job.

I have been in the media for over 30 years. I have a college education, am very computer savvy, write well, am a team player and am passionate about animal welfare.

My feeling now is it doesn't matter. If you cannot show on paper what you have been doing the past 30 years of your life, with monetary figures, no one wants you.

Of course, I have only been looking for a little over a month, and have only had one outright rejection, but have had several animal welfare groups not even bother responding to my resumes.

I will keep trying. I feel this is where my future lies. I guess it is just convincing the person that is hiring of the same thing.

Missing her brother

Shila is a small hound mix who came to the shelter with her brother, Levi, after living on a farm for the first 6 months of their lives.

A family took both of them in from the farm for 3 weeks and decided it was too much work and turned borther and sister in to the shelter.

Shila and Levi both have airplane ears. Their ears are bigger than their heads are and when alert, both look like they are going to take off soaring. Levi was adopted a week or so ago after being in the shelter for several months and is now living a luxurious life in Lakewood Ranch.

He has a new sister now, and Shila was left at the shelter. Shila misses her brother and is really in need of a home that will work through her shyness to help her become a perfect companion. She is a small girl, would do well with another dog and just needs a little patience.

If you could give Shila a perfect home for the rest of her life, please call 955-4131 and ask about her. The shelter is crowded and she needs a home.

Why do people resist training?

Although I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, I often wonder why people resist training their new dog and then 6 months later are in tears because their dog has taken over their household.

The basic reason is dogs are pack animals and they will rise to the level within the pack they are allowed to rise to. If you ever watch any training shows on Animal Planet or National Geographic, you will notice the first thing the trainers do is place themselves at the top.

I believe many people who adopt shelter animals, feel so sorry for them when they arrive home, they baby them, give them run of the household, and then are stumped as to why the dog won't behave.

It can take several months for a shelter dog to become comfortable in their new home. Once they become comfortable, they begin to test the waters to see what they can get away with. If they have been getting away with little stuff, the big stuff is next on the agenda as they elevate themselves higher and higher up the pack.

Most trainers I have spoken to will tell you nothing in life is free and the dog must view you as the leader. The sit command is the most important one you can teach and use with your new dog. They must sit for treats, sit for food and water, sit to go outside and on and on. You also need not scream at your new dog. They can hear you. They may ignore you, but never doubt they understand what you are saying. Say it once and wait for them to obey.

If you say it twice, they will learn they can push you until you command them two, three or four times. They they are in control.

When most shelters suggest training, it is of the most basic kind. Sit, stay, down and come when called. Those are the basics. We simply don't want the dog to elevate itself within your pack. If that elevation happens, most dogs are returned to the shelter as a behavior problem. So what started out as a happy occasion , ends on a bad note, for you and especially for your pet.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My secret is out

Okay, you are going to be let in on my secret. Shhhh, don't tell anyone but I am addicted to books about animals, especially dogs. I confess I just finished a book called "A Horse of My Own" which was probably written for preteen girls who love horses, but I enjoyed it.

I read extremely fast, which is good, when you read all the time. With my passion for animals, I have found I love animal books. All of them and can't wait to get my hands on one. I believe I developed this love because growing up we only had access to radio and not television. All of the kids in my family learned to read early and often and I continue this today.

In the last two months I have read a lot of books, but the two about dogs come quickly to mind and thought I would see what you readers thought of them.

When it first crossed my desk, I read "The Art of Racing in the Rain" which totally captivated me and I couldn't wait to read it from cover to cover. It hovered around 12 or 13 on the New York Times bestseller list for several months, was a book of the month for Starbucks, and now seems to have faded in the background.

Before I finished reading that, "Edgar Sawtelle" was climbing up the list so I purchased a copy and started that. I finished it last week and was very disappointed in it. I haven't quite figured out what the purpose was in the ending of the book.

If you have read either of these books, I would love to know your opinion of them. Did you enjoy the simplicity of "Racing" or were you more intrigued with the ending of "Edgar Sawtelle?"