Category Archives: education

Our Weekend Adoption Center – A Magical Place

Not convinced about volunteering and helping out at your local shelter or rescue?  Please read this story shared by Larry from Blue Moon Cat Sanctuary and you’ll see part of the reason that makes rescues and shelters such a magical places!

“There is one more very important point I would like to make regarding the ‘Passion’  behind what we do here.  For many years we celebrated the number of adoptions we had.  We looked forward to filing the new vacancies with more surrendered cats and kittens.  This was always a measure of our success.
Then it occurred to us one day what was really being accomplished.

During one of our in-store adoption events at the Fayetteville Arkansas Petco Store, a young family entered the store. That Saturday afternoon was obscure and uneventful until the young girl and her parents approached us. The youngster quietly asked if she could hold one of our kittens. Her parents, standing behind her, looked at us and nodded with approval.

We opened the cage door and gently handed the young girl a 12 week old kitten.  It may have been the very first time she had actually held a live, breathing and moving animal.  We watched as her small hands trembled with some uncertainty.  Her shy and somewhat frightened look gradually turned to an innocent but pleasant smile.  She looked to her parents for approval.  They returned the smile and a few minutes later adopted the young kitten.

It was not until that Saturday afternoon several years ago that we realized we were doing so much more than saving lives and finding homes for unwanted and abandoned cats and kittens.  We were playing a role, along with their parents, in teaching children some of the most important values they will carry with them all their lives.  We are taking part in teaching compassion, responsibility, and a love for all of God’s precious creatures.  Sure, we just ‘had another adoption.’
But what did we really accomplish?
We are also impacting families, changing lives, touching the hearts and minds of children and giving them the positive values they will carry with them their entire life.”

BECKETT new family

Beckett with his new family

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What All Dogs Need Daily, yet It’s Widely Ignored

walk your dog

By Dr. Becker

October 1 to 7 is National Walk Your Dog Week, and was started in 2010 to increase awareness of canine obesity (over 50 percent of U.S. dogs are overweight or obese) as well as the behavioral problems that can arise when dogs don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation. Sadly, the majority of dogs in shelters are surrendered due to behavioral problems.

Dogs are natural athletes, and in addition, most were (and many still are) bred with a specific purpose in mind, for example, sporting, working, hunting or herding. As a result, your canine companion, whether he’s a purebred or a mixed breed, carries genetic traits that drive him to pursue an active lifestyle.

Unfortunately, many family dogs don’t get opportunities to do what their breed instincts tell them to do. In addition, most dogs won’t exercise consistently without an incentive, and most backyards don’t provide enough sensory stimulation to ward off boredom indefinitely.

Bottom line, today’s dogs need regular walks with their humans for both exercise and mental stimulation. They need (and love) to get outdoors, sniff, interact with their environment, exercise and socialize.

Many dog owners are very conscientious about walking their pets, but many others aren’t. Perhaps you’re a dog parent who doesn’t walk your pet at all, or doesn’t do it routinely. Maybe you don’t make the most of your walks, or maybe you avoid the activity altogether because your dog has terrible leash manners.

First Things First: Training Your Dog to Wear a Collar, Harness and Leash

The best way to develop a healthy, positive, consistent dog walking habit is when your pet is a puppy. As soon as her immune system is strong enough to protect her from disease (discuss this with your veterinarian if you’re not sure on the timing), she’s good to go.

Your pup should already have her own secure-fitting collar or harness and ID tag, and she should be comfortable wearing it before you attempt to take her for walks. Some puppies have no problem wearing a collar right from the very beginning; others need a short period of adjustment.

If your dog is fighting her collar, as long as you’re sure it isn’t too tight (you should be able to easily slip your fingers under it) or uncomfortable for some other reason, distract her from fussing with it until she gets used to it. It shouldn’t take more than a day or two for her to forget she’s even wearing it.

If you plan to use a head halter or harness for walks (which I recommend for any dog at risk of injury from pulling against a collar/leash combination), the next step is to get puppy comfortable wearing it. As with the collar, this needs to happen before you attempt to attach a leash and head out the door.

I recently attended the International Association of Canine Professionals conference in St. Louis where I fell in love with the K9 Lifeline Transitional Leash, which I’ve found excellent for dogs that pull or don’t have the best leash manners.

Once wearing her collar and a halter or harness is no longer a big deal, you’re ready for the next step. Attach about 4 feet of light line — cotton awning cord or light cotton rope will do — and let her drag it around the house under your watchful eye. Once she’s used to the 4-foot line, swap it for a 10- to 15-foot line of the same material, and head outdoors.

Teaching Your Dog Good Leash Manners

Initial walks should be short, and primarily for the purpose of getting your dog used to being attached to you by a lead. Find a safe environment and allow puppy to drag the line behind him for a bit, and then pick up the opposite end. Let him lead you around for a few seconds while you hold the line just off the ground. Slow down so he’s forced to slow down, ultimately to a stop. Take a short break for praise and a little playtime.

Next, let him trail the line again, but when you pick up your end this time, call him and stand still. If he pulls, hold your ground without pulling him in your direction. The goal is to teach him to put slack in the line himself by moving toward you. When he puts slack in the line, praise him and call him to you.

If he comes all the way to you, more praise and a tasty treat are in order. If he stops on his way to you, tighten the line just enough to apply a tiny bit of pull to it. Immediately call him to come again. Give praise as he moves toward you and treats when he comes all the way back. Two or three repetitions is all many puppies need to understand lack of tension in the line is what earns praise and treats.

When your pup has learned to come towards you to relieve tension on the line, you can begin backing up as he’s coming towards you to keep him moving.

Next, turn and walk forward so he’s following you. If he passes you, head in another direction so he’s again behind you. The goal is to teach him to follow (not lead) on a loose lead. Once you’ve accomplished the goal, you can continue to use the light line or replace it with a leash.

Depending on your dog’s temperament, five- to 15-minute sessions are sufficient in the beginning. Practice controlling him on the lead for 30-second intervals during each session. Exercise patience and don’t engage in a battle of wills with him. Don’t snap, yank or otherwise use the line for correction or punishment. Stop before either of you gets frustrated or tired.

After each short session on the lead, liberally praise your dog and spend a few minutes playing with him. The goal is to build the foundation for an activity both you and he will enjoy and look forward to throughout his life.

Correcting Bad Habits

Some puppies and untrained dogs naturally fight the pressure of the line rather than create slack. If your puppy freezes on a tight line or habitually pulls against it, my first recommendation is to use a halter or harness rather than a collar attached to the lead. Your dog can create serious neck and cervical disk problems by pulling on a collar/leash combination.

Also insure it’s not you who’s creating the problem. Your natural instinct may be to hold the leash taught, so you must also train yourself to keep slack in the line. Your dog’s natural response to a tight line will be to pull against it. Next, do the following when your dog refuses to create slack or move toward you:

  • Maintain the tension on the line and turn your back on her. Allow time for it to occur to her she can’t win by pulling against you.
  • Remain still with your back to her holding the tension in the line — don’t jerk the line, don’t pull or yank her toward you and don’t put slack in the line yourself, which will teach her the way to get slack is to pull at the line.

The message you want to send your pup is that pulling on the lead doesn’t accomplish a thing. It doesn’t change the scenery and it doesn’t earn praise or treats. Eventually, she’ll stop doing what doesn’t work, especially when she’s rewarded every single time she performs a desirable behavior.

The very first second you begin leash training, make sure your puppy accomplishes nothing by pulling on the line. It takes some dogs longer than others to learn to keep slack in the leash, but with patience and persistence, any puppy can learn to follow on a loose lead.

Changing Up Your Dog Walks

Once your dog has developed good leash manners, I recommend you vary the purpose of your walks with him. For example:

  • Potty walks are purposeful walks, and are usually quick.
  • Mentally stimulating walks allow your dog to stop, explore, sniff and send pee-mail and so on. Most dogs on a leash don’t get to spend as much time sniffing and investigating as they would like. Allowing your canine companion some time to do doggy stuff is good for him mentally. Dogs gain knowledge of the world through their noses.
  • Power walks during which you and your dog move at a pace of 4 to 4.5 miles an hour (about a 15-minute mile), will help him get the aerobic exercise he needs for good cardiovascular health. During these brisk walks there’s no stopping to smell the roses.
  • Training walks can be about improving leash manners, learning basic or advanced obedience commands, ongoing socialization — just about anything you can think of that can be done on a leashed walk.

Our dogs depend on us for their quality of life. Walking your dog every day and taking advantage of different types of walks to stimulate her mentally and physically will help her be well balanced, healthy and happy throughout her life.

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10 ‘Do Not Ignore’ Symptoms in Dogs and Cats

By Dr. Becker

Related image

When your cat just Ain’t Doing Right (ADR) or your dog seems a little off his game, it can be difficult to know whether to take a wait-and-see attitude, or tuck your pet into his carrier and head to the nearest veterinary clinic. This is especially true when your furry family member’s symptoms are commonly seen in disorders at both ends of the spectrum, from benign to life-threatening.

To offer you some guidance, I’ve compiled a list of symptoms that fall into the category of “Do Not Ignore.” They may or may not mean your pet is seriously sick, but they should be investigated right away by your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic.

10 ‘Do Not Ignore’ Symptoms

1.  Fainting, collapsing

When an animal collapses, it means she has suffered a sudden loss of strength that causes her to fall and be unable to get back up. If a collapsed pet also loses consciousness, she has fainted. Either of these situations is an emergency, even if your pet recovers quickly and seems normal again within seconds or minutes of the collapse.

All the reasons for fainting or collapsing are serious and require an immediate visit to your veterinarian. They include a potential problem with the nervous system (brain, spinal cord or nerves), the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, muscles), the circulatory system (heart, blood vessels, blood) or the respiratory system (mouth, nose, throat, lungs).

2. Difficulty breathing

A dog or kitty in respiratory distress will have labored breathing or shortness of breath that can occur when he breathes in or out. Breathing difficulties can mean that not enough oxygen is reaching his tissues. Additionally, pets with heart failure may not be able to pump enough blood to their muscles and other tissues.

Respiratory distress often goes hand-in-hand with a buildup of fluid in the lungs or chest cavity that leads to shortness of breath and coughing. If your pet has sudden undiagnosed breathing problems, he should see a veterinarian immediately.

3. Bloody diarrhea, urine or vomit

Digested blood in your pet’s poop will appear as black tarry stools. Fresh blood in the stool indicates bleeding in the colon or rectum. Either situation is cause for concern and should be investigated as soon as possible. Blood in the urine, called hematuria, can be obvious or microscopic. There are a number of serious disorders that can cause bloody urine, including a blockage in the urinary tract, a bacterial infection and even cancer.

Vomited blood can be either bright red (fresh), or resemble coffee grounds (indicating partially digested blood). There are a variety of reasons your pet might vomit blood, some of which are relatively minor, but others are serious and even life threatening.

4. Trouble urinating

This includes discomfort while urinating, straining to urinate and frequent attempts to urinate with little success. If your pet cries out while relieving himself, seems preoccupied with that area of his body or is excessively licking the area, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. There are several underlying causes of urinary difficulties, some of which can result in death within just a few days.

5. Coughing

Coughing in pets, unless it’s a one-and-done situation, generally indicates an underlying problem. Examples include a possible windpipe obstruction, kennel cough, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, heartworm disease, heart failure and tumors of the lung. All causes of coughing require investigation, and in most cases, treatment.

6. Fever

If your pet’s temperature spikes, it usually means his body is fighting an infection. The normal temperature in both dogs and cats is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees F. If your pet feels warm to you and his temp is higher than normal, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

7. Lethargy or extreme fatigue

A lethargic pet will appear drowsy, “lazy” and/or indifferent. She may be slow to respond to sights, sounds and other stimuli in her environment. Lethargy or exhaustion is a non-specific symptom that can signal a number of potential underlying disorders, including some that are serious or life-threatening. If your pet is lethargic for longer than 24 hours, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

8. Pacing, restlessness or unproductive retching

When a pet paces and seems unable or unwilling to settle down, it can signal that he’s in pain, discomfort or distress. One very serious condition in dogs in which these symptoms are common is gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), also called bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition that most often occurs in large breed dogs and those with deep chests.

9. Loss of appetite and/or weight loss

Often, loss of appetite is the very first sign of an underlying illness in pets. There can be many reasons your dog or cat isn’t hungry or refuses to eat, but not eating can begin to negatively impact his health within 24 hours. And for puppies and kittens 6 months or younger, the issue is even more serious.

Weight loss is the result of a negative caloric balance, and it can be the consequence of anorexia (loss of appetite) or when an animal’s body uses or eliminates essential dietary nutrients faster than they are replenished. Weight loss exceeding 10 percent of your pet’s normal body weight will be a red flag for your vet. There can be several underlying causes, some of which are very serious.

10. Red eye(s)

If the white area of your pet’s eye turns bright red, it’s a sign of inflammation or infection that signals one of several diseases involving the external eyelids, the third eyelid, the conjunctiva, cornea or sclera of the eye. Redness can also point to inflammation of structures inside the eye, eye socket disorders and also glaucoma. Certain disorders of the eye can lead to blindness, so any significant change in the appearance of your pet’s eyes should be investigated.

Some symptoms of illness in cats and dogs are best handled by simply giving them a chance to run their course, for example, a temporary gastrointestinal (GI) upset resulting from indiscriminate snacking. Other symptoms can be so sudden, severe and frightening that you know immediately you need to get your pet to the vet or an emergency animal hospital.

The 10 symptoms I’ve listed above can fall somewhere in the middle, so hopefully I’ve provided you with some good info in the event your four-legged family member develops symptoms that point to a potentially severe or life-threatening illness.

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Volunteers Needed for the October 7th THE EMPTY SHELTER PROJECT – Spay & Neuter Event

Image result for the empty shelter project
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

It’s time to sign up to volunteer
at next month’s
The Empty Shelter Project’s
spay and neuter event!

When: October 7th, 2017 (Saturday)
Where: Heritage Hall
1025 Oates Rd.
Jacinto City, TX 77029 

  
The Empty Shelter Project will be conducting a free Spay and Neuter event
at the Heritage Hall building on October 7, 2017.
The plans are to accomplish about 300 dog and cat spay and neuter surgeries.
Along with the spays and neuters, each animal will also receive
free vaccinations and a microchip.

There are multiple shifts available both on the day of the event
and on the days leading up to the event.


To sign up, go to the link below and follow the steps.

https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/2000740/true#/invitation

PLEASE use an e-mail address that you check OFTEN,
as this will be our main line of communication with you.

If you are a Vet or Vet Tech and want to volunteer –
please send email to miller@theemptyshelterproject.org

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How You Can Help Animal Shelters in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster


September 18, 2017

Natural disasters are devastating, leaving many people without a home, and their personal belongings and family memories forever destroyed.  Animals of all species also fall victim to these horrendous events when they’re left to fend for themselves or accidentally become separated as families attempt to travel to safety.

With the help of search and rescue teams, the animals are brought to the safety of shelters and makeshift facilities in hopes of having them reunited with their families. But the influx of incoming animals can place a strain on resources and displace animals already in the shelter, leaving workers scrambling to find a place for everyone to go. Because of this, donations and support are critical after a disaster, and there are several ways you can help, whether it’s on-site or from afar.

Adopt or Foster a Shelter Animal

How You Can Help Animal Shelters in the Aftermath of a Natural DisasterDave Parker/Flickr

Being inundated with rescued animals is hard on shelters of any size, but it’s especially burdensome on smaller shelters with limited resources and those without a network of foster homes.  And despite their best efforts to house as many animals as possible, some are faced with no other option but to euthanize those already in the shelter to make room for incoming animals.  After a disaster, rescue organizations across the country band together to help take in animals from overwhelmed shelters, but they can’t do it alone.

One way you can help shelters make room – and save lives in the process – is to adopt or offer to be a foster home for animals.  People often make the mistake of thinking that shelters are adopting out animals rescued from the disaster, forever separating them from their families in the process, but that isn’t the case.  The goal in these situations is to move the animals that were already in the shelter, making room for new animals until they can be reunited with their families.

If you don’t live near the disaster area, or you’re unable to adopt, you can always check with your local rescue organizations to see if they need foster homes – and chances are, they do.  Fostering provides relief by creating an opening for the organization to take in additional animals, and you can feel good about knowing that you did your part to help save a life.

Donate

The cost of providing food and medical care for animals can add up quickly, putting a financial strain on shelters that aren’t prepared to care for a large number of animals. Monetary donations are always welcome because shelters can use the funds to purchase what they need most, whether it’s food, blankets, medical supplies, or crates to house extra animals.  Unfortunately, donation scams are common after a disaster, so always do your research to make sure your money is going directly to the organization.

Food, treats, litter, gas cards, and cleaning supplies are also a helpful donation if you prefer not to send money.  Before you go shopping, contact the shelter or rescue to see exactly what they need, or see if they have an online “wish list” of donated items.  A large donation of puppy food, for example, won’t benefit an organization that has taken in several litters of kittens.  Checking with them first will help ensure that your donation benefits as many animals as possible. (NOTE:  View K-9 Angels Rescue’s donation options HERE.)

Volunteer

How You Can Help Animal Shelters in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster

FEMA/Wikimedia

The first thing any animal lover wants to do when there are animals in need is offer to volunteer.  But before you plan a road trip to a devastated area, it’s important to have a plan in place.  Disaster areas are incredibly dangerous, and first responders and other agencies are busy trying to save people and animals.  If you want to lend a helping hand, check with national organizations that have a system in place for disaster relief volunteers.  You can also reach out to local organizations to offer assistance with transporting animals from shelters or gathering donated supplies.

Keep in mind that thousands of people step up to help in these situations, so even if an organization doesn’t need your help right away, that doesn’t mean they won’t need it later.  Many organizations located in disaster areas will continue to need help for several months (if not longer) as they recover from the devastation and work to reunite pets with their families, so be patient until an opportunity becomes available.  Interested in volunteering with K-9 Angels Rescue in Houston, TX?  Find more info HERE!

Whatever you decide to do, know that your help is appreciated more than words can ever express.  No good deed is too small, and it’s often the simplest of acts of kindness that have the greatest impact.

 

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What to Do if You Suspect an Animal Is Being Abused

The good news: all fifty states have laws against animal cruelty.  The bad news: the law is only as good as the people who report animal cruelty.  If you witness an animal being abused or suspect cruelty, it’s imperative you report the abuse.  More likely than not, you’re the only hope for the animal to get help, as well as for charges being filed against the abuser.

And animal abuse is not something to take lightly, by any means.  Animal abuse typically signifies other types of abuse. For instance, one study found that animal abuse occurred in 88 percent of homes where child abuse had been discovered.  Another study found that up to 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers also abuse the family pet.  In fact, animal abusers are five times more likely to abuse people.

Pixabay

If you do witness animal abuse, what exactly are the steps to take?  Who should you call? Seeing an animal be abused is traumatic, but being prepared helps.  Here is a handy breakdown of what to do.  Remember it’s important to always speak up but please be prepared so you don’t put yourself (or others) in dangers!

First, Call Your Local Animal Control Agency

Always contact a professional first.  If you are unfamiliar with local organizations, dial 911.  Animal control agencies are required to investigate if a report of alleged animal cruelty is made, according to the Humane Society of the United States.  One Green Planet also offers the largest database of local hotlines to help rescue abandoned, injured, stranded, sick, and lost animals in need.  It’s important to contact a professional first before you potentially endanger yourself.  While it’s hard to see animal abuse, don’t try to steal the animal because then you could be charged with trespassing.

Document the Abuse 

Documenting the abuse in as much detail is crucial.  Take note of dates, times, any specific details.  Any photos or videos can also be helpful when agencies conduct an investigation.  But please don’t put yourself in danger.  Don’t enter someone else’s property and use caution when approaching an animal who may be frightened or in pain, according to the ASPCA.

Follow Up

Be persistent!  If you’re not getting answers from law-enforcement officers, ask for their supervisor’s contact information.  According to PETA, if you have personally witnessed an act of animal cruelty, you can go directly to your local magistrate or police commissioner and ask for a warrant to summon the abuser to court.  The animal rights organization also notes that expert witnesses can be helpful, such as a veterinarian signing a statement that in his or her “expert opinion”.

And what exactly is animal cruelty?

The ASPCA also offers a comprehensive list of physical signs, as well as environmental signs of cruelty to be on the look out for.  Be sure to review the below lists so you know animal abuse when you see it!

Physical Signs of Cruelty

  • Tight collar that has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet’s neck
  • Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn’t being treated
  • Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
  • Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
  • Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
  • Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
  • Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails, and dirty coat
  • Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
  • Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
  • Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness

Environmental Signs of Cruelty

  • Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
  • Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
  • Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
  • Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements

Animal Cruelty Seen on the Internet

The Internet can be a wonderful place for helping dogs find homes, get cat care tips and more but unfortunately, the Internet also always for many dangers for our furry friends.

Pixabay

First, you’ll have to find the background information for the particular website.  You can visit WhoIs and perform a search of the site.  Then, contact the website’s ISP (Internet service provider) to report the animal abuse.  If you believe the animal is an immediate danger, contact the offender’s local FBI branch, based on the WhoIs search.

You Are Their Voice 

Just the thought of animal abuse is enough to bring any animal lover to tears.  Tragic stories involving humans abusing animals seem to make headlines on a daily basis. Reading these stories can be difficult and make you feel as if no progress is being made to save and protect all the animals humans interact with or take responsibility for. Without voices to speak up for themselves or proper laws (and enforcement of the laws that do exist) to shield them from neglect or physical abuse, it is up to us to step in and do all we can to end the violence.  This involves speaking out and raising awareness for animals who are the victims of abuse and also even working help get laws changed or improved on a state or national level.

Please share this article within your network so others can also learn what to do if they see animal abuse!  It’s important to always speak up for those we cannot.

Lead image source: behumann34/Pixabay

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KHOU Live Coverage – Hurricane Harvey

http://www.khou.com/mobile/video/news/live_breaking/tropical-storm-harvey-coverage/287-1661280

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