Of Bunnies, Carrots and Chewed Up Headphone Cords

A couple of weeks ago, I had my headphones on and was happily chair dancing to a little Eddie Rabbit when all of a sudden the music just stopped.  I looked at my iPod and it was still on. I checked the volume on my headphones and it was in the full volume position, carefully set to drown out work distractions. Then it dawned on me… With both hands, I picked up the cord from where it draped down from my desk and it came up in two pieces.

I looked down by my feet to see big brown eyes and a twitching nose staring back up at me. “Oops mommy,” the face seemed to say. Continue reading

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Get your “Face” out there!

Facebook

2010 was a year that many rescues and shelters dabbled in social media with varying amounts of success. For those who haven’t created a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube, or any of the other myriad social media portals, why not? Statistics say that the demographic that most rescues and shelters want to reach out to are probably on social media of some sort.

I have noticed that, of rescues who are utilizing social media, the largest number feel safest wandering into Facebook first. So I’ll focus on this social media outlet for today. Note the following statistics:

  • There are over 500 million people who have accounts with Facebook.
  • 250 million people log in on any given day.
  • 200 million people access Facebook on mobile devices (phones and pads).
  • The fastest growing demographic is women over the age of 55.
  • More than 30% of Facebook users are over 35.
  • More than 30 billion pieces of information are shared each month. (Is any of that information about you?) Continue reading
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Where Did your Purebred Come From?

Purebred dog in the Shelter

Purebred dogs come from a variety of sources. At one end, there are breeders that are working to better a specific breed and eliminate or curtail genetic traits and health issues that the breed might have. Each breed has genetic health issues that are common to that breed such as hip dysplasia in larger breed dogs. Dogs that exhibit these genetic defects should not be bred. Responsible breeders will be able to show that, for many generations back, both mother and father and all predecessors have been screened and were free of the defect.

While I, personally, think that you should adopt, if you must purchase a dog from a breeder, I recommend that you find one who demonstrates that they: Continue reading

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A Tribute to the “Spirit” of Shelter Dogs

SpiritI got a call last week, asking if I wanted a chance to say good bye.  Spirit’s health was failing and his mom had tearfully decided that is was his “time”.

I thought back to the day I’d first said hello to this timid creature. On that day, someone else had decided it was his “time”.  A large black dog, he refused to eat or come out of the back of his kennel. He didn’t growl or menace. He simply trembled and pushed himself hard into the kennel walls. I had come to the shelter that day, having signed up with a local rescue group to meet my first foster, a young shepherd mix with an energy level I thought would match that of my 2 year old golden. On my way to the shelter, they had called to say that there was a potential adoptive family coming to meet the shepherd and they might not need me. Almost 45 minutes into the hour trek to the shelter, I decided to go anyway, just in case it didn’t work out. Continue reading

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The Lay Off

The New HireWith a recent lay off in my family, I started thinking about how similar a lay off is to getting rid of a family pet.

Initially the pet is “hired” with high expectations of how he will benefit the company, how he will be trained into the position he was hired for and how well he fits in. He is outfitted with a sparkly uniform and a set of credentials to carry proudly around his neck. Fresh out of school, he is thrilled to have such a caring employer. For a time, he is nurtured and brought carefully through the initial training. Outside consultants are brought in to show him how the company expects him to behave and every new thing he learns is met with praise and bonuses. He is invited to company lunches and outings and is touted as the newest and greatest employee there. Press releases are sent out to family and friends and special “desks” are set up to aid in his transition.  He can do no wrong and is eager to show off all his talents and skills. He jumps up on people to welcome them to his department and brings floppy toys to showcase his eagerness to share. Continue reading

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Propagation is a Big Fancy Word

Feral Cats

Feral Cats on the Big Island of Hawaii

Sometimes it’s easy to look at a topic like Spay and Neuter and think that if you have taken care of your own animals then you have done your part.  And yes, you have done the responsible thing for your own pets (for their health, behavior and the potential of bringing unwanted pets into the world) and you have provided an example for others to follow.

As pet parents, we have the right and obligation to make those sorts of decisions for our pets. What you may not be aware of is the enormous number of animals that seem to be companion animals but who are no one’s responsibility.  Continue reading

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The Faces That Are Helped

Klondike

George and Elaine (names changed) adopted Klondike from a local shelter 5 years ago. They are regulars at a dog park I frequent with my dogs. Klondike is a bouncy happy wolfy type dog that runs up to greet all newcomers to the park with equal enthusiasm. Even while play bowing you can see his eyes dance back and forth between his pet parents and the dog he’s trying to entice. While he seems to really enjoy a good game of tag and chase, he seems equally thrilled to roll over on his back and let the little dogs jump all over him. You can see the huge lolling happy grin spread across his face when he hears the little fierce growls as they tug on his collar. Panting and happy, he always bounds  joyously back to George and Elaine when they call him to leave. I see him at least 3-4 days a week at the park. His coat is always immaculate and you can tell he’s well loved and a true member of the family.

Just last week I was at the dog park and Klondike came in with his normal exuberance. He gave a quick lick to Elaine’s hand and ran off to join his dog buddies. Elaine stood perfectly still for a second and then I saw tears well up in her eyes. Continue reading

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