Friday, April 29, 2011

The dog collars

This item was originally published on 8/25/09. It is my tribute to these special dogs.

Most people have "stuff" hanging from their rear view mirror. Hang tags, beads, garters, and other things make up the doodads which people want to keep. I have two dog collars on my mirror. Most of my friends know the stories behind the collars and the dogs they belonged to, but some of the newer people in my life have no idea of the thought processes I go through each time I get in my truck to go some place. For the uninitiated, here are the stories. So if you see a big white truck around Sarasota that has two collars, one florescent green and one blue, you will know which belonged to who and why they hang now and will always hang in my truck. Florescent green and fresh as spring. Duke was the first dog who captured my heart and was then destroyed because he was "unadoptable". I had a hard time when they killed him and I still struggle with the decision to this day. I read something this morning which made a lot of sense. In it the author discusses temperment testing. It makes a lot of sense to me. Duke was adopted out a couple of times with no problems but the third time he growled at several family members and when returned to the shelter, was deemed too aggressive to be placed and was killed. Had I been better educated I probably could have argued a case better to work with him, but I was a novice at the time and was following the standard shelter line about protecting the public. In the end, he lost his life. He started me on the road to fight for better training and behavior programs to work with dogs who are borderline with behavior. It is a fight I still believe in to this day.
The blue collar belonged to a dog I inadvertantly sent to his death. Many people who know me and read this would argue and say it was not my fault, but if I had known then what I know now, he might still be alive.
Ray Ray was 90% blind. He could see shadows but nothing else. He lived in Ft. Myers at a shelter with no luck in finding a home. He was brought up to Sarasota because I felt he stood a better chance of getting adopted up here. He was a favorite of everyone but he would lunge and snap at shadows if he could not tell where the shadow was coming from. He played well with other dogs, loved to be brushed and was simply a great dog. One day he lunged at a staff member and connected with skin. The result was death for him. Because of stupid human error, he was killed and I will never forgive myself for his death. It was not an easy death and no one involved felt it was right but once again a dog lost his life because he was deemed a danger to society.
So the collars will always hang there to remind me. I hope I never have to add to the pile. I hope we, as responsible humans will get beyond the killing. As a teacher once wrote in my yearbook: "Keep your feet on the ground, but never stop reaching for the stars." I am still grounded, but the stars are getting closer.

The BP Oil spill impact on sea creatures

One of the advantages to living in Florida is the wonderful wild creatures we come in contact with. Many of these are land critters but the ones who live in the sea are just as important to the well-being of Florida.
The oil spill is still having an impact on these creatures of the sea. To stand on the beach and watch a pod of dolphins play or observe in the dark of night the huge sea turtles make their way on a beach to lay their eggs is a sight to behold.
One year after this spill, these creatures are washing up on the shorelines of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana in record numbers. We are just now beginning to experience what that oil spill is doing to the wildlife.
Check out this blog post from Huffington. The photos are pretty graphic but the content is powerful. We need to stay on top of this and make sure it doesn't happen again. It seems despite what most in government would have us believe, the damage is still ocurring.

Pets in China

I rarely write about animals overseas. It is not that I do not care about those animals, simply I feel there are millions in the United States which need a voice before I go trying to save the rest of the world.
Because dogs and cats, considered by most Americans as companion animals, are eaten in many far eastern countries, I try to stay away from commenting on too many of these stories.
The Chinese have a growing middle class, unheard of several decades ago, and these activists are beginning to speak out about the inhumane treatment of dogs and cats in China. They can be jailed for protesting since the Chinese government does not tolerate dissention so this story from the Washington Post was a very interesting read.
Check it out here.

Another arrest in Palm Beach County for cruelty

It was a banner day in Palm Beach County for animal cruelty. Here is another story of an arrest made for animal cruelty. What can we do to stop this insanity?

Puppy dealer charged with 23 animal cruelty counts

It is with disgust I read another story which happened in Florida about a pet shop owner being charged with animal cruelty. This one happened in Boynton Beach. So very sad. Can we just close all these pet shops down?
Check it out here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Are you kidding me?

Okay, true to my word, if Michael Vick is in the news in any way I will post it.
It seems they have come out with a new app for cell phones. This one allows you to virtually dog fight. Sick, sick, sick.
So Michael Vick spoke out against it. Check out this article and then vote at the poll on the bottom. After you do that, write the makers of this app with your disgust. I disagree with this writer. Michael Vick has no remorse except to use sound bites for his good, no matter what the HSUS thinks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Munson the wonder dog

Working with rescued animals is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I hear many, many people tell me they could never volunteer with animals because they would want to take them all home. I tell them you learn to not give your heart away to each animal you come in contact with or you will take them all home. Most of us who work in rescue have multiple animals because of that.

Munson was the first dog I ever really, truly fell in love with. He inspired me to write his story while I was employed at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and I have followed his life closely since then. Well, as close as I could without being considered a stalker. This story I wrote orignally, although with high hopes, did not end up being Munson's forever home.
He is in his forever home now. His Mom's name is Pam and his sister is named Sere. He has ingrained himself in their lives and Pam says she cannot imagine her life without him. He even has the UPS lady stop her truck in front of the house. Not to see Pam mind you, but to give Munson a treat.
He was so well-loved by the people who came in contact with him, they all now want to make a trip to see him the next time we go. In doggie world, that means a lot.

So on the trip to see him on Monday, I fell in love all over again. I assured Pam should anything ever happen and Munson needed a home, he was welcome at my house anytime.

I am so thankful to Pam for providing him with a wonderful home. I can only hope all the shelter dogs can end up in as good a place as this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Breed-specific diseases

In cruising the internet, I found this interesting release from the Orlando Sentinal blog about animals.
You should find it interesting reading. Check it out here.

Florida Panther found in Seminole County had been shot

Considering there are less than 200 known Florida Panthers in the state, finding one who had traveled as far north as Seminole County is news. Find one dead because of a gunshot wound is simply horrific.
Check out the story here. I will keep you posted when I hear an update on this ongoing story.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wolves removed from the Endangered Species List in budget bill

I am not a rancher in Wyoming or Idaho. I don't know when they became unknown to the Florida landscape except on St. Vincent Island, off the coast of the Panhandle. Those wolves are the only free-roaming wolves in the state now although I know Florida was thick with wolves in the 1840's when my family settled in central Florida.
I do know I think it a travesty to take them off the endangered species list and a double travesty there are hunts already being planned it that happens.
Check out the story here and then write to Congress and let them know your objections. We cannot stop fighting against the destruction of this beautiful creature.

Wolves Removed from the Endangered Species List in budget bill

Wolves Removed from the Endangered Species List in budget bill

Even South Dakota has overpopulation problems

When you think about crowded shelters and overpopulation of dogs and cats, South Dakota is not a place which comes to mind. At least not to me. I think about big cities and heavily populated areas like the one we live in.
Apparently, I am wrong. Very wrong. It seems even South Dakota has had a rise in animals being picked up by Animal Services. They attribute it to more people moving to their area and fewer people spaying and neutering their pets. They are not afraid of printing their numbers or statistics (unlike some animal agencies I know) and you can check out the story here.

The excitement in seeing an old friend

When I received the call last week my heart dropped to my toes. Durning the course of working with rescues there is always the one dog you hope you never hear about again. You say a prayer of thanks every year that passes when you don't hear except with good news.
Munson, who everyone who ever volunteered at the HSSC knew and loved, was placed in his forever home several years ago with a German Shepherd named Sere and a human named Pam.
He was, without a doubt, the love of my life. I always stated if anything happened and Pam could not care for him any longer, he would come home with me. Of course, my friend Kerry said the same thing.
Pam called last week and Kerry called me. "Do you want to go see your boy?" she asked. Was she kidding? Of course I wanted to see Munson.
It seems he has been able to slip his collar so Kerry is taking an Easy Walk Harness down to Pam to fit him so he can't get away again and perhaps have a confrontation with anyone.
So today I get to go visit Munson. My favorite dog of all time. The dog who should have come home with me. My buddy. I am beyond excited and can't wait to see him. Hopefully, I will get a photo and will post it later this week.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Picking up after your pet

I have written about this subject before, in fact, many times before. If you own a dog in Sarasota County, the law says you must pick up after your pet.
The area I live in has a lot of dogs and their owners are pretty proficient in scooping up the poop. There are always going to be one or two though, and in the past several weeks I have cleaned up several times from poop in my yard which did not belong to any of the dogs living in my household.
I figure they are from the puggle who lives across the street and runs around like a crazy dog when his owner lets him outside. I have spoken to this particular young man and he say okay and then ignores me.
Last night I was walking Buzz along with my ever-present plastic bag when Buzz had to go. As I bent down to clean up after him, a man was walking down the street who admonished me to leave the poop on the ground. "Good fertilizer," he said.
If everyone in my neighborhood felt that way, I cannot imagine the mess we would have in our yards. I sure wouldn't want to walk anywhere.
So if you live in the county, please pick up after your dog. Your neighbors will appreciate it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Young men and male dogs

Due to my absolute, beyond a doubt certainty dog training helps all dogs, I watch all the training shows I can on television.
Victoria Stillwell, the trainer on "It's Me or the Dog" on Animal Planet had a brand new episode on last Saturday. The dog was a Presa Canario who was owned by a young man, 20 years old in New York.
The young man was having difficulty with the dog in every area possible. Aggression, destruction, marking territory within the house etc. You name it, this guy was experiencing it. His girlfriend and all his friends were scared of the dog and no one could handle him except the owner.
One of the points made in the show, was the attachment this young man had to his dog's testicles. Even after the problems Victoria showed were directly due to the dog's unneutered condition, after the humans had visited the shelter with 70% of their dogs being bully breeds and being denied training by the experts because his dog was not neutered, the kid still hesistated.
I believe Victoria called it penis extension, or attaching the way a human male feels about his own gentalia to his dog.
By the end of the show, the young man had made an appointment to have the dog neutered, but he fought the idea throughout the whole show.
I know many, many men who think the same way. They believe, mistakenly, an unneutered male dog will lose his personality and his drive. There is a growing movement which believes male dogs should not be fixed until they have reached maturity due to bone and muscle development, but I could find no hard facts showing this or any studies done which point this way.
One of the biggest arguments I had with my ex was on the neutering of my last male Rottweiler. John was okay with spaying my females but was adamant about keep the testicles attached to the males. Junior was 4 years old when we split and he was boarded at the vet, neutered and then taken to my new home in Sarasota, but it was done. He was mature by then but have no idea if it affected his bones and muscles and he was never aggressive so I am sure that was not a concern of mine.
We must educate out young males about this procedure. We have to do it or the newest generation of males will grow up with many of these same attitudes see today. Let's not allow these antiquated attitudes continue to flourish with our young men.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Congrats to some former rescue dogs

One of the most rewarding things which can happen to an animal person is to see a dog or cat years after their adoption, in the same household, doing great and becoming a champion.

Jazz earned her Onyx title today. To see this girl with her family, which includes two other rescued dogs, happy with tail wagging makes my heart simply burst with joy. This beautiful, orange and white hound mix had been a revolving door dog before she went home to live with Stacy and Galen Groff and their other rescue, Gizmo. To see the photo of her, with her ribbon, makes me very happy.

Jett is another rescue dog. He runs flyball like Jazz and is one of 3 rescued dogs my neighbor across the street saved. She has all three dogs involved in some activity and it works. I am not quite sure when they find the time, but it works.

Please join me in offering these beauties a heartfelt congratulations.

Pitbulls and parolees

One of the advantages of living by yourself is being able to pick and choose what you want to watch on television. When you reduce the number of channels you have to choose from, the choice is even easier. I have lived without a full cable lineup for over 3 years and have not suffered in the least. I will concede I missed several cable channels including A&E and Animal Planet, but the money saved helped in other areas. When my son was discussing moving back home for a year, one of his requests was the cable lineup be full again and he would pay the difference. I, of course, said okay and now I have the pleasure of watching Animal Planet and many of the shows which continue to hold my interest. A couple of weeks ago I saw a listing on the guide for Pitbulls and Parolees. Having no idea exactly what the show was about, I was pleasantly surprised. The rescue featured on this show is located in California (where else?) and I have found myself watching it with undivided attention. It is obvious to any viewer the love which is given to this special breed of dog and the problems which are faced on a daily basis, not only from the care of the animals, but the use of parolees to care for the dogs. It is a very interesting concept about giving second chances. The dogs' percentage is higher than the parolees, but many are at least making an attempt. If you have not seen the show, try and catch an episode if you can. Check out the program here and if you can, send them a little something. Check out Tia's website here. It all helps, even the viewership.

Bill would ban Pennsylvania pigeon shoots

I am happy to report they are sending a bill to the full legislature in Pennsylvania to outlaw target shoots which use live animals including pigeons. I understand hunting. I don't understand canned shoots. I cannot believe some folks consider this a sport. Check out the story here.

Legislating the link between child and animal abuse

For people in the rescue field, whether animal or human, the link between animal abuse and child abuse is very visable. The same hold true for animal abuse and victims of domestic violence. In fact, hurting or killing a family pet is one of the ways a domestic violence situation is judged as a potentially lethal relationship. I found this article about the possibility in Wisconson of legislating the link between child and animal abuse. After all, animals and children are the most vulnerable in a family unit. Check out the story here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April is National Adopt-a-Greyhound Month

This post is a little late, but better late than never. Please check out this article and if you are thinking about a retired greyhound, contact your local rescue. One of my good friends lost her constant companion yesterday. Scooby was a wonderful pet and a joy to be around. He was a counter surfer and I cannot tell you the number of times we had a laugh about his antics. Go easy Scooby. You were well loved and will be missed.

Delta bans bulldogs from baggage flights

In a move that excites animal advocates, Delta Airlines has banned shipping bulldogs in the baggage area of planes. These dogs sometimes suffer from breathing difficulty and the airline does not want to contribute to any other deaths aboard the airline. This is the most responsible thing to do. Check out the story here.

Think twice about bunnies and chicks for Easter

This warning goes out each year at this time and still people do not listen. Each and every year bunnies and chickens are either neglected and die or are turned into humane societies and rescue groups who become overwhelmed with the numbers. Your children do not need a live animal to take care of. A 6 year old is not going to care for a bunny and the responsiblity then fall on you. For the most part, the animals then end up in a rescue situation. Check out the story here and then think twice and then a third time.

Politicians overhaul law voted on by citizens

Missouri, which is known for its' puppy mills, voted to make it harder to breed dogs and to try and get their reputation about puppy mills under control. Of course, the politicians say the bill is too expensive so they changed it back. Leave it to the politicians. Check out the story here.

What is wrong with people?

Many, many rescue groups use every available means possible to bring their mission to the public's attention. Especially smaller and less known groups who work on a shoestring budget and are trying to place animals in homes so they are not euthanized for space. The unfortunate aspect of this falls on the smaller rescues. Smaller rescues have limited space and limited budgets. They save as many animals as humanly possible but are limited on the number they can take in. If people are not adopting the animals they have, they quickly become full with no room at the inn. When animal owners find the information on a rescue who does not euthanize or a true no-kill facility, the calls begin coming in. "We have a 14 year old dog and are divorcing. Neither one of us can take the dog so you must." Are you kidding me? You want a rescue to take a 14 year old dog because you are divorcing? The people then get angry because you have no room and tell them it could be 6 months or more before you have space. You offer to list the dog, tell everyone about the dog, and everything else rescues do when they run out of room and the people who are giving up their companion get mad at you. I understand having problems. I also understand feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances in your life but all the animal wants to do is stay with you. As a person who divorced, got custody of two Rottweilers, and moved from Manatee County to Sarasota County, never, not one time did I entertain the thought of giving up my dogs. They had to be boarded at the vet's office for almost two weeks before I got moved in my house in Sarasota, but they stayed with me. So if the smaller rescues don't promote themselves it is not because they don't want people to visit them. It is because they don't want to be inundated with animals from humans who are in essence, throwing their pets away. When you adopt a pet, make it for life.

Great activity for dogs and their humans

Yesterday I spend a little while at the Barkaholics Flyball Tournament at the Manatee County Civic Center. Admission was a bag of food or treats which are going to be donated to two local rescues. What fun! There were dogs there of every shape and size, many were mutts and just as many were rescues. Lots of border collies and aussies, of course, and everyone was having a great time. The dogs are so happy once they complete the runs. They have no idea what times they post or even if they post a time but are happy running and chasing the ball. For a good time, check it out. Maybe this is something you would enjoy doing with your dog.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pennsylvania approves hunting porcupines

In what seems like eons ago now, I had an experience with a porcupine. It wasn't in this state, but in Colorado. I was staying at a guest ranch a friend of mine owned and had gone out in the spring to help clean cabins, open trails and do general maintanence at the ranch to get ready for the summer tourists.
I was in my cabin one night and kept hearing the crunching noises coming from outside my cabin door. Not being an easily spooked person, I had to get up and investigate. (I mean, what are the chances there is a crazed, psychopathic killer outside my cabin up in the Rockies, 21 miles from the closest town.)
Sitting right outside my door was a huge creature with quills. I had never seen a porcupine before and when I realized what it was, I closed the door. the problem with that was he/she would not leave.
When the owner of the ranch arrived in the lodge for breakfast, I told him about my evening and the critter. He wanted to know why I had not awakened him the minute I awoke. He said they were destructive etc. and they were destroyed when one was located.
After explaining the porcupine had cornered me in my room with no chance of escape, he forgave me.
So check out this story. It makes me a little sad.

Taking a mental health day

It happens with frequency although most of us don't like to admit it. goes. I am not superwoman. Surprised? I know I am.
It is important for each of us to realize we cannot function like automatons when we have so much emotional crap going on in our lives.
My life has reached that stage in the last week and I will probably not be posting as frequently as normal for the next week or so, although I will still be posting.
With everything going on in my personal life, which you don't want to hear about, working in a highly, emotionally charged job, trying to keep up with all the animal news in this area, I am taking a day or two off to recharge my batteries, connect with loved ones, catch up on all the stuff I have put off and generally take it easy.
I learned a long time ago it was important to take care of yourself first. Everything else just falls into place.
Please continue to send me your animal news. I will still get everything posted up. I just have a hard time staying connected when I am out of town without a laptop. Have a great week.

Animal Services spring adoptathon

Sarasota County Animal Services will hold its' spring adoptathon this Saturday, April 16th from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at 8451 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota.
Animal lovers can meet dogs, puppies, cats and kittens for adoption at reduced fees.
This adoptathon is also9 being dedicated to the memory of Sumner "Matt" Matthes who was a huge supporter of the county adoptathons and will honor our shelter volunteers with information on becoming a volunteer and supporting your county shelter.
This event is sponsored by Sarasota in Defense of Animals. Please call 941-861-9523 for more information. We hope to see you there.

When tragedies strike close to home

Every day animal advocates work tirelessly to eliminate the pain and suffering of animals in their areas and around the world. Every day animals continue to suffer.
The same can be true in the human world. Sometimes tragedies happen which are simply so horrific, they cannot be explained and we cannot comprehend why they had to happen at all.
There are no words of comfort which can be extended to the people these tragedies have visited. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and I still feel as if I have done nothing.
Please hug your pets but don't forget your children and parents or anyone who you love. Tell them you love them often and don't allow your job or anything else to come in the way of letting them know how much they mean to you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Breeders ship massive numbers of puppies to east coast

So sorry I did not see this story when it ran. It is an interesting one about the numbers of puppies shipped to the east coast of Florida for selling purposes. Read this and tell me why we in animal rescue want to close pet shops. You can check out the story here.

Commonly asked questions about service dogs

After the item I ran a couple of days ago about people obtaining fake papers for their pets to become service animals, a friend of mine sent me this link to the ADA with a Q&A. It is pretty interesting so check it out here. Thanks Kerry!

Pet shop owner charged with animal cruelty

Okay. Here we go again. Can we just shut down all the pet shops in Florida to prevent this from happening over and over again? Check out the story here.

Summer temps are here

After moaning about the cold weather, spring came and went in the blink of an eye and summertime temperatures have arrived. This means to watch your animals closely during the heat of the day and makes sure they have lots of fresh water to drink. This also means do not leave your animals in your car while you run in the store. Although the outside temperature may be in the 80's, cars can heat up on the inside very quickly. This story was in the Orlando Sentinel and one of the dogs died. Both of the women in this story have been charged and the remaining dog is now with a foster family. Please be careful this summer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adjusting to life with "the girls"

It has been about 6 weeks since Buzz and I welcomed new roommates in my son, his girlfriend and their two doxies. Adjusting to having two new dogs in the household is proving to be much easier for Buzz than for Buzz's mom. (me) You see, Buzz is still a dog and as one, he doesn't mind the barking at all hours and at everything that moves. He doesn't mind the circling the feet in the kitchen while trying to cook and attempting not to trip over a dog so small you cannot see them. He shares his toys willingly, or will sneak them back to his bed when they are not looking. He does not care if they sniff his butt and only draws the line when they attempt to remove a Milk Bone from his mouth after devouring theirs. Like I said, he is a dog. I, on the other hand, did not train these dogs and am finding it hard to explain the importance of not treating these dogs like they were the leader in the house. I do not know if it is simply my overbearing personality or the age difference between me and their mistress. Perhaps I am simply not explaining myself as well as I could. So in an attempt to bring peace to the homefront, I enlisted the help of the best trainer I know. Not only does she do a fabulous job in training dogs, but she relates well enough to the humans in charge of the dogs to explain the importance of keeping the dogs under control while walking them or having a person come to the door. She spent several hours with us on Sunday and Kenzie, the main problem, was pretty much under control by the time she left. Her mistress was instructed on the proper way to get the dogs under control and assured everyone she would continue to work on the problems until we got them corrected. My son and I promised we would not hound their mistress and would be a part of the solution and not the problem. Kenzie and Hazel are both good dogs who need some training. They have been allowed to rule the home for several years and we started today to get that control back. It was a productive day. Thanks Iris.

Fake service dogs

For anyone who truly needs a service dog, this story is a slap in the face to the organizations who provide these dogs. It seems if you want to take your dog with you in certain places or situations, you can purchase a certificate which says your dog is a certified service animal. These kinds of scams make people distrustful. Can you blame them? Check out the story here.

Every day behind the scenes

Most people have no clue how dogs and cats come to reside at shelters. Many believe they are all given up by their owners or simply appear by magic in a kennel.

The story of Myles happens every day in this country. Every day another stray is held for 5 days, and depending on space, health and temperment, put on the adoption floor or euthanized.

Iris had gone to Animal Services to pick up a rabies certificate. That was all. She was admonished to make sure she didn't return with any more dogs. She was told to not even look at them.

When she arrived at Animal Services, the worker there asked her was there any room at Satchel's Last Resort. Satchel's is in the same boat all the rescues and shelters in this area are in. FULL, with capital letters. No space at all. Not even an empty crate. It was explained this dog was picked up as a stray, had a couple of small medical issues and was extremely fractious.

Although Iris knew there was no room at the inn, she took a peek at the dog.

He is young, only 10 months, and when she was told he had less than 24 hours to live, she went into save mode. This required getting on the phone, going back to Satchel's to try and figure out if we could put this dog in with another, trying to figure out which dog and then going forward.

Suzy, a highly social, friendly pit bull had room in her kennel but would the new dog accept her?

Time for a meet and greet with a dog who the kennel staff at Animal Services had not been able to approach for 5 days.

When Iris retrieved the dog from the kennel at Animal Services and took him outside, she said the change was dramatic. He turned from a fractious animal who no one could approach, to a 10 month old puppy who loves people and other animals. He play bowed to Suzy and the race was on.

First battle won. Now we needed to get his medical needs taken care of. He needed to be neutered, have his ears and mouth, which were bright red with inflammation treated and get his shots. We were lucky in he was not heartworm positive. The vet had room to take him in and now his medical needs were addressed.

He arrived back at Satchel's a different dog than the one Iris met on Thursday. He was hours away from dying and now he is a young, American Bulldog looking for a home. Now, he has only been at Satchel's for a couple of days, but all indications are he is going to make someone a wonderful pet.

If you have room in your heart and home for a wonderful, new family member, please contact Satchel's at . Sometimes it is the smallest victories which mean so much. They mean alot to this guy. His name is Myles and he is looking for a permanent home.

Multiply this save with hundreds of others which happen in this country on a daily basis and you realize there are still angels who never give up and will never give up until the animals don't need us any longer. Become an angel to a rescue dog. They will never forget it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Taking out the trash

One of the most interesting facets of animal rescue is trying to read, listen and comprehend all the emails and/or phone calls you may receive during the course of the day. My inbox is flooded on a daily basis with people money or homes or medical help or you fill in the blank, for animals and not just domestic ones. I get responses to a blog item I may have written where someone says I know just what you are talking about and I know of a ________ who really needs help. Can you send $5.00 or forward this plea to all the contacts in your email. I hear from people who really don't have the animals in mind when they write, but are trying to ruffle my feathers in one way or another. I don't forward anything sent to me personally unless I have knowledge what is in the email is true. I only deal with people or rescue groups I know or ones who have been referred by a friend and I make sure I check all these out. I am sorry your husband is dying and you need money to care for your pets. I cannot help if your child is suffering from a disease and you have started a fund to keep his dog/cat in the house because you can't afford it otherwise. You see, people lie. They lie with great frequency about things which may pull at your heartstrings enough you will send them money. In this case, they use the love of pets as the hook to reel you in. Please don't fall for it. If there is any doubt in your mind an email or post you have read is not on the up and up, don't put your credit information or personal information out there. If we are reputable, we will answer any question or email posed to us. If someone tells you they are a charity, they should have a 501 (c)3 tax id number and be listed on one of the numerous charity websites like Charity Navigator. If you request this information and you don't hear back, take it out with the trash. That is what these emails are. Please protect yourselves and do not fall for these scams because of your love of animals.

Stopping the revolving door

Anyone who has anything to do with animal rescue is familiar with the revolving door. It is the door which has animals coming back and being adopted out again several times before the adoption finally sticks. I believe this has less to do with the animals and more to do with the humans who are adopting them. That in itself is a problem, but not one which is insurmountable. I am a firm believer in education. I think the more educated you are, the better your life can be. This includes education about pets and pet care, especially when you are adopting a new pet and bringing it into your home. If you investigate the breed of dog or cat you are interested in, visit your local shelter or rescue, visit as many times as you need until you find the right pet and then give that pet time to adjust to your new home, the animals will be less likely to be returned. This brings to mind my dog, Buzz. You all know he is a rescued, Florida brown dog who is about 9 years old now. You also know how mellow he is. Buzz is one of the most gentle dogs I have ever owned and gets along well with humans and other dogs. With his new roommates, Kinsey and Hazel, there has been no sign of dominance or anything related to that until last weekend. When the dogs come in from the backyard they receive a dog treat on occasion. Kinsey and Hazel jump up in a chair to receive their 1/2 of a dog treat while Buzz gets his on the carpet. Due to the fact I gave the girls the treat before I gave Buzz his, Hazel, the smaller of the girls walked up to Buzz and attempted to take the treat out of his mouth. Let me tell you, Buzz quickly put Hazel in her place and the squeals emanating from her made you think she was being murdered. Considering Buzz has no front teeth, he is all bark and no bite but Hazel reacted like she was dying. I know this is a normal reaction and simply continued doing what I was doing, but in some households, Buzz would have been taken back to the shelter because of "aggression" towards the smaller dog. The truth is, Buzz and Hazel reached an agreement that day. Hazel knows she cannot take treats out of his mouth. Now, if I can just get him to keep her out of his dog food, we will be set. The moral of this story is: give your dogs or cats time to adjust before yanking them from your home and dropping them back at the shelter you got them from. They will work out the issues with no human involvement. That is if we allow them to do so.

Room with a View

Happy Spring to all our fans. Things have been very hectic around the shelter in the last month.

Boris and I are both doing well just like all the other animals here. The problem is, there are so many animals here.

Are humans simply not adopting animals right now or are they too busy dropping animals off? You see, we keep seeing the same faces around here day after day. This is not the way it should be except for us sanctuary dogs. We should see adoptable dogs coming in and then leaving shortly after that. It seems the adoptables are staying here quite a bit longer than normal. I am sure they are asking the same question Boris and I are asking. How come? We were under the impression things were getting better. I guess we were wrong.

On another issue, we lost one of the really nice humans who used to work with us. Her name was Michael and she went to something called New Zealand. She told us they had all kinds of weird creatures there and she was going to learn how to take care of them and animals like us. We thought she did a great job of taking care of us and don't quite understand what else she needs to do to become better at it, but we wish her all the best. I, personally, hope she comes back to see us as soon as possible. (I know she was very fond of us because she told me so)

The weather, except for the days when it was flooding, has been great. I don't mind the rain but Boris doesn't like to get his feet wet. I am not sure why but it could have to do with his itchy skin.

Everything else around here is pretty much the same. It is only when we have new guests or new humans hanging around that our lives become interesting. If that doesn't happen, it can be pretty humdrum around here. This sets Boris on edge and he is really unpleasant when he is bored.

This is a subtle reminder to please come and visit us. If you have some time to spare, we would love to have you come volunteer. They you can meet us in person. You can also sponsor one of us or another dog which is in shelter. Donations of all kinds are always appreciated and we LOVE treats.

So until next time, keep smiling. If you are looking for that perfect pet, please contact Satchel's at and check out our dogs here . Remember, visit your local rescue or shelter when looking for a new family pet. Opt to adopt and save two lives.

Until next time,

Boris and Natasha

The Turbos

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Interesting sights while driving

Living in a resort area as I do, this time of year can be taxing on drivers. Not only are the roads filled with tourists who have no idea where they are going, but local drivers who know where they are going and are in a hurry to get there. I try to leave early for any jaunt I am taking so I can take my time and make it there safe. Yesterday, I noticed something I have not seen before despite the many years I have lived in this area. Many of the out of state license plates I observed had dogs in the vehicle. Some of them had two dogs in the vehicle. I think it is great people are bringing there dogs on vacation with them but I also think it is great they are finding available housing who will accept pets. Maybe that is a positive in the rental of properties which may be standing empty otherwise. I don't know, but it sure was nice to see the dogs enjoying vacation along with their owners.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Befriending a feral cat

The perception most people have of feral cats is not good. They are seen by many as lurking creatures who howl all night, prowl among the garbage and use the most available flower bed as a litter box. have attended several seminars on ferals and wrote a newspaper article several years ago about the feral cat population in the tri-county area. One of the most interesting facts I discovered is most ferals are simply house cats, once a pet, who had been either dumped or abandoned by their families and had resorted to surviving the only way they knew how. Many people mistakenly believe cats can survive on their own in the wild and do not worry about dumping a cat like they would a dog or other pet. The safe shelter where I work didn't have any pets until a few days ago. I had watched the cats patrol our parking area on the security cameras at night since I began the midnight shift, but most were unapproachable and I was not sure if there was a colony here, since I normally saw only one or two. Then a week or so ago, a very tall, skinny cat came slinking up to our front door. He was thin, but had a clipped ear to show he had been a TNR (trap-neuter-release) cat from one of the many programs developed just for this purpose. He had been neutered and was very friendly. It was decided he would become our shelter cat. Now, we can't really have a pet in the shelter due to the allergy factor, but we could keep him outside, feed him, make sure he had a bed, etc. I don't have a cat but I LOVE big, orange cats so I named him Pekoe, like the tea. It is a funny thing about Pekoe. He loves to snuggle and be petted. He has never attempted to scratch or get away from any of the residents here and simply curls around your legs, purring and asking for attention. Obviously, at one point he belonged and was dumped out. Pekoe belongs again. He belongs to a safe shelter, where many different residents may pass through, but they all will have someone friendly to greet them when they arrive. He is not a pushy cat and it you are allergic or don't like cats, he seems to sense that and only crawls in laps of people who like him. I wish all people could understand the importance of keep your pet and not dumping them along a road somewhere. Pekoe will receive lots of love and care here. It is too bad he had to live on the street with no love and care for a while. If you are interested in any of these programs to combat the problem of feral cats, please contact your local humane society. They are always in need of volunteers and please spay/neuter your pet. It is the only way we will continue to try and get the ferals of this area under control.