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Posts Tagged ‘dog adoption’

Pet adoption and the fight for the millennial mind

February 8, 2015 10 comments

Woman Watching Television with DogYou may not have noticed, but the pet industry has shifted their attention to a new demographic these days, and they are getting laser focused. Who are they studying with such intensity?

Millennials, the group that is expected to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest generation this year.

And it’s not just the pet industry that is taking notice. Almost every major company inside and outside of the United States is doing the same thing. Why? Because unlike generations past, millennials have influence. It’s not just their sheer size (in numbers) that is powerful, but also their reach. Millennials are more socially connected and more socially influential than any other generation. They are also ethnically and racially diverse, well-connected, technically proficient, and early adopters. They are unlike any other generation that has preceded it. They are the movers and shakers who will be impacting our world for many years to come, much like the Baby Boomers did in previous years.

With a generation this large and influential, it only makes sense that they would impact the pet world as well.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently published a report on how millennials will change the way veterinarians do business. In “The Generation Factor: How the rise of the millennial generation could mean changes in the way veterinarians do business”, they laid out the differences between Baby Boomers, Gen Xer’s and Millenials, not only as clients but also as employees. The differences are quite distinct. For instance, the work ethic for Baby Boomers has to do with how many hours worked, while Gen Xer’s are about working smarter (not harder), and millennials are all about tasks completed and getting feedback and gaining consensus.

Puppy Wearing BowI am sure many animal welfare groups are taking notice, but I wonder if smaller, local shelters and rescues are as well? I hope they are because there is another reason that the pet industry is taking notice of the millennial generation – they think pet ownership is going to decline with them.  

This means more competition between those who are selling pets and those who are adopting them out, and the adoption side may be facing an uphill battle.

Why? Because millennials are more likely to:

  • Rent than to buy a home – This means more apartment and condo dwellers, the residences least likely to allow a pet.
  • Move frequently – More than any other generation, which makes it harder to care for a pet long-term.
  • Stay in college longer – Millennials have had a tough time in the job market due to the poor economy, so more are choosing to stay in college longer and get their masters degree or a doctorate. Owning a pet and going to college is also a possible deterrent.
  • Be impulse buyers – They are less likely to wait and go through an extensive adoption process to get a pet.
  • Purchase a pet from a pet store or breeder (including online) rather than adopt a pet from a rescue or a shelter – According to a recent survey by Best Friends Animal Society, by almost 50%.
  • Believe that animals can safely stay in shelters until they are adopted – 38% of millennials vs. 28% of the total population.

No wonder the pet industry is worried.

All hope is not lost however, millennials are also more likely to get a pet earlier in their lives compared to boomers (21 years old vs. 29 years old), be single longer (and thus, may seek a pet for companionship), and are more civic-minded and more likely to get involved tomato a difference..

Low Section View of a Man with His BulldogRescue groups have an opportunity to make a difference now. If they are not doing so, they should start working to build a relationship with millennials in their community. Organizations need to be inclusionary and seek their input. They should also be open to new and innovative ideas on how to improve the organization, increase adoptions and connect with other millennials.

Other ways rescue groups and shelters can connect with millennials:

  • Have a strong social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, etc.) and be actively engaged with followers.
  • Make your website and social media platforms a place where millennials can get information and learn something new that can help both them and their pet. You need to be the online expert they go to when they want advice and support.
  • Connect on a person-to-person basis. Two-way communication is important to them.
  • Be open to texting and responding via social media platforms. Millennials are less likely to use email.
  • Make what you provide, and what they are getting from you, is distinct and different. You want it to be share-worthy.
  • Be more customer-service oriented. Millennials are individual social media companies of their own, so what they experience with you will be shared with their network of friends and family.
  • Recognize their efforts frequently. Acknowledge the work done and the benefits experienced by the organization.
  • Appeal to their desire to make a difference. Adopting a pet needs to be less a sob story and more of a motivator to do good.

Despite some of the concerns about pet adoption declining, rescue groups and shelters should be very excited about the impacts millennials can bring to the rescue community. Their innovative and creative ideas, combined with a dedication and desire to help, has the potential to make a real difference in animal rescue.

I know one millennial animal rescuer who is making a difference on a daily basis here in Minnesota. I am often in awe of her ability to motivate people and get them involved in rescue. She is well-connected, uses social media extensively and has saved more dogs and cats than anyone I know. She is a force to be reckoned with. Just imagine what could happen if we had 100 more people like her. 

Resources: 

Favorite Video Friday – Pittie Pattern Baldness is sexy, just ask Neeners

January 23, 2015 7 comments

My vet shared this wonderful video the other night and I just knew it had to be this week’s Favorite Friday video.

Neeners has to be one of the cutest pibbles I have ever seen. He also has the patience of a saint. I don’t know too many dogs who would don a toupee in the hopes it would find him his forever home, but he did.

I love his video, not only because Neeners is so darn adorable, but also because it shows how loved he is by the staff at San Francisco Animal Care and Control. I hope sharing his video it will get him a new home. 102+ days in a shelter is a long time.

Neeners you are one sexy beast, toupee or no toupee. Love you Neeners!

Update Jan 23, 2015 at 12:30 p.m.! Neeners was adopted last night! Yay!

Happy Friday everyone. Please share Neeners.

Introducing a new dog into your home when you already have a dog

November 11, 2014 8 comments

The girlsOver the past couple of months, I have had several friends adopt a new dog into their household. Given the fact that each already had a resident dog in their home, it is understandable that each one of them worried about how to introduce the new dog into their home. They also worried about how the new dog would make their current dog feel and whether they would get along.

I remember how nervous I was in bringing each one of my dogs into my home. (I think you would have to be a fool not to be a little nervous and anxious!) Every dog is different and every situation must be managed to ensure success.

When Cupcake first came into my home as a foster, it was a tough go. Not because she wasn’t an awesome and very sweet dog, but because she felt like she had to establish her place as top dog right away. She claimed the couch and snarked at Daisy and Jasper whenever they came close to her. Jasper and Daisy were intimidated by her behavior. Daisy started staying in her kennel to avoid her.I think it was at this point I seriously considered giving her back to the rescue.

But then, I remembered to use the skills and knowledge I had gained from so many other trainers. I took away Cupcake’s couch privileges to eliminate any snarking. Then, I started enticing Daisy back to the couch with treats and rewarding Cupcake with treats as well to show her that staying on the floor was a beneficial spot to be. Soon, the snarking had stopped and Daisy was feeling less stressed. We worked on other things too: waiting for dinner, not stealing other dogs’ food, sharing toys, etc.

Introducing a new dog into your home when you have another dog can be difficult. I’ve been offering my own advice and suggestions when asked (think baby gates, crates and slow introductions), but then I remembered that I had attended a webinar earlier this year put on by the ASPCA. The guest speaker was well-known author and animal behaviorist, Patricia McConnell (PhD, CAAB, Author). The topic? Multi-Dog Households: From First Date to After the Honeymoon (You can find more materials and information here as well).

It was a great seminar and discussion and one that I suspect would be beneficial to many an adoptive parent and/or rescue or shelter. I’ll definitely be sharing it with my friends. You can check out her presentation deck here

So how have you handled introducing a new dog into your home? What worked? What didn’t work?

It’s okay to be nervous when first adopting or fostering a dog

July 16, 2012 26 comments

Lacie is a beautiful, loving young Sheltie mix girl who will make a wonderful companion for that special someone. Through no fault of her own, she’s been shuffled around quite a bit in her young life. This little girl is a sweetie.
Lacie is 3 years old and will need to be on a diet and exercise regimen. She is really, really sweet!
Lacie is available through Minnesota Sheltie Rescue http://www.mnsheltierescue.org/available

Have you ever felt the stress that comes with introducing a new dog into the family? Reading my friend Amanda’s post the other day, Post-Puppum Anxiety Disorder, brought back so many memories for me.

As I read about Amanda’s nervousness and stress in adding two additional dogs into her home and her life, I couldn’t help but feel all the same feelings I had when I adopted my first dog, Indy. I fell in love with Indy the moment I met her. She literally was surrendered one day and adopted by me the next. At the shelter, I have been so certain she was the dog for me. But when I got her home I started to worry. What if she turned out not to be a good fit? What did I REALLY know about her anyways? Indy was so nervous that first night (understandably so), that I started to have second thoughts. Maybe I had made a mistake.

Thankfully, Indy adjusted and so did I. The more we learned about each other, the more we just clicked.We learned to trust one another. Indy turned out to be one of the best, most well-behaved dogs I had ever met, a discovery I never would have made if I hadn’t given her, and me, the time to get to know one another. She was quite a special dog. I have never regretted adopting her.

As I have added more rescue dogs into my life, I have learned that being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a part of the process when one fosters or adopts a new dog. Being nervous and having second thoughts are normal. It’s working past those fears and emotions, and being dedicated to working with your new and existing dog, that makes all the difference. Time can also make a big difference too. It takes time for everyone to get used to each others’ personalities and to adjust to the new routine. If you can get past those first few days (and sometimes weeks) the rewards can be great.

This is not to say that sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes it doesn’t. But knowing this, and being willing to make every attempt to work through it first, can bring about a surprising results.

I’d like to say that over time I have gotten past the butterflies in my stomach, the sinking feeling that maybe I’ve made a mistake, or the worry that I might somehow neglect one dog when doling out the love and attention, but I haven’t. Not once. Even when I boarded dogs as a part of my pet sitting business, I felt all the same nerves as I had when I fostered and/or adopted each of my dogs. It comes with the territory.

Fostering or adopting a dog is such a rewarding experience, but having the confidence to do so and to work through those initial worries and fears is the key. Trust yourself enough to know that change can be good. In fact, it can be life changing – for both you and your rescue dog.

I posted this on my Facebook page, but thought it worth sharing here as well – Fostering: Drive in the slow lane for dog/dog intros. I thought this post on the Bad Rap blog provided some great tips and ideas on introducing a new dog into your family. Granted, the foster parents had a more challenging situation than most adopters, but still some great ideas.

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. ~ ~ George Washington (1732 – 1799)

I am Winston. I am told that I am just the cutest little thing to come along in a long time. I am now learning to deal with two very bossy diva foster sisters (who are Shelties like me) and some cats, but we all get along really well. It would be more fun, however, if the cats would run every now and again – oh a good chase would be so great!
Winston is 8 years old and a mellow fellow most of the time, but he would love a friend who would love to play with him!
Lacie is available through Minnesota Sheltie Rescue http://www.mnsheltierescue.org/available

Blog the Change – Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Calling All Dog Bloggers!

July 14, 2012 29 comments

Blog the Change

Today, July 15, 2012, bloggers and blog readers are blogging about a big event that will occur on Monday, July 23rd. The event? Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue. We are asking all dog bloggers to participate in a special online global event designed to bring attention to dog rescues. BTC4animals.com is proud to partner with Blog Catalog, Dog Rescue Success and YOU to harness a global online community to help save the lives of dogs in need.

Every day dog bloggers bring attention to a variety of animal issues – puppy mills, dog health issues, pet safety, missing dogs, Breed Specific Legislation and pet adoption. On July 23rd, we are asking all dog bloggers to bring attention to the importance of dog rescues and dog adoption.

As consumers we make decisions that impact the lives of animals every day, but perhaps the one that has the most impact is the one we make when we first choose to get a pet. Buy or adopt? That is always the question.

Four million cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—is put down in U.S. shelters each year. Only 20-30% of the homes in the United States have a dog that was adopted from a shelter or a rescue. (The rest are coming from someplace else – responsible breeders, backyard breeders, puppy mills, and pet stores; but the majority of them come from a family friend or neighbor who chose to breed their dog or who’s dog became pregnant when they got out of the yard.)

As dog bloggers, we can bring attention to this issue, educate people on the the importance of pet adoption and encourage them to adopt from a local rescue. There are so many wonderful rescues out there who do such good work, and most them do it with very little funds. Thankfully, many of them have a small core of dedicated volunteers who are willing to foster, train, promote, vet and care for these dogs. Without these rescues so many more dogs would die.

Let’s give these unsung heroes the recognition they deserve!  Join us on July 23rd as we Unite for Dog Rescue.

Tell others! Post this to Facebook and Twitter:

SPREAD THE WORD – BLOGGERS UNITE FOR DOG RESCUE – Promote dog adoption on July 23rd! http://bit.ly/pO7dZp #BtC4A

This is Matt – He was hours away from death when a local rescue stepped up and offered to take him in (Wags & Whiskers). Thanks to his foster mom, Anne, for offering to foster Matt and for making him feel at home. You can follow Matt on his Facebook page – Adventures of Matt.

Get involved!

  • Blog about a Dog Rescue related topic on July 23rd, 2012
  • Add one of the badges below to your blog and help spread the word
  • Interested in adopting a companion? Visit Petfinder or The Shelter Project.
  • Donate to a local dog rescue organization
  • Foster a dog
  • Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue organization
  • Share this post across all forms of social media and encourage others to participate!
  • Post one of these badges to help promote this event. Copy and paste–help yourself!

Learn more:

Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue

Pet Adoption Resources

Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue

A direct link to Matt’s page – Adventures of Matt

Daisy: The Progress of a Former Puppy Mill Dog

July 10, 2012 23 comments

Last evening I was reflecting on Daisy and how far she has come in the 5 years she has been with me. I went back and re-read some of my old posts on her (from her “Daisy the Wonder Dog”). That’s when I came across one I had written back in December 31, 2009.

My how time has passed!

In that old post, I had written about Daisy’s 2009 goals and her progress (as told from her perspective):

1. Be able to eat and drink my water with my mom in the same room.
2. Continue to build up my confidence (my posture still indicates that I am not a fully confident dog yet).
3. To sit confidently and not run away in fear when Mom touches my collar.
4. Continue to be exposed to new situations so I can build my confidence.
5. Learn how to play like other dogs (with a ball or frisbee). Anything that has to be thrown scares me right now.
6. Learning the command “heel”.
7. Getting better at following the command “come”
8. Become more comfortable being left at home on my own for a few hours (I am much better than I used to be).
9. Be okay with having my picture taken (this one may take a while).

How funny it is to look back with some perspective and realize that some of the goals I had for her back then were ones I thought would make her a “normal” dog. How silly. What I’ve come to realize is that Daisy IS a “normal” dog – normal for her. And, you know what? I’m totally good with that.

She still eats in her kennel and prefers to drink her water when I am not in the room. If it makes her feel safe and secure, who am I to mess with that?

She no longer has to stay home alone because she has Jasper and Lady to keep her company.

She has long since learned how to respond to “come”, but I hardly ever have to use it since she rarely strays very far from me. Her preference is to still walk behind me, where she feels the most safe, but she is not afraid to venture away from me to explore her surroundings. Sometimes she will even go run with Jasper through the woods. I love that.

I could care less about “heel” anymore. Yes, it’s a nice command, but if Daisy feels safer behind me than beside me I am good with that too. I’ve come to think of it as Daisy’s version of “heel”.

Daisy has also learned “sit”, “down”, “stand”, “drop it”, “find it”, “Are you hungry?” “walk” and “belly rub”.

I very rarely see Daisy’s old body posture anymore (mostly just when she sees my camera come out). Now she stands and walks with more confidence and she very rarely (if ever) cowers away from me or others. In fact, she seeks out attention from adults more often than not and she has even approached children on occasion.

We’ve also made progress on her fear of her collar. Some time ago, I realized that if I took Daisy’s collar off and only put it on when we were going somewhere, like on a walk, she would begin to see having her collar on as a reward. It’s now a sign that there are good things to come.

Daisy loves water now too. She goes in the pool I set up for her, Jasper and Lady, and she has been known to jump in a lake and swim around, something she never would have done a few years ago.

Play was something Daisy had never had the chance to do, not until Jasper came along and taught her the game of tug. Now they play often and on occasion she will even play tug with me.

The one thing that we continue to work on is her fear of cameras. It is getting better, but it is a slow progress.

Looking back now I can’t help but be amazed by how far Daisy has come. From puppy mill dog to rescue dog to foster dog to adopted dog, who  could have ever predicted that a dog with such a troubled past would become the perfect companion? She has made so much more progress than I ever expected. If she hasn’t found her Inner Lab then she is awfully darn close.

Favorite Video Friday – A U.S. Veteran and His Dog

May 24, 2012 3 comments

In honor of Memorial Day, this week’s Favorite Video Friday is a bit special. It features a U.S. soldier, David Sharpe, and the dog who saved him, his rescue dog, Cheyenne.

It’s also about how this one dog inspired this returning vet, suffering from PTSD, to start a group called P2V to help save vets and rescued pets. I hope you will be as moved by David and Cheyenne’s story as I was.

If you’d like to learn more about David’s group, or help a returning vet and rescued pet, you can go to his website: http://companionsforheroes.org/

May you all have a wonderful Friday and beautiful Memorial Day weekend.

To all you returning veterans.. Welcome home. May you be greeted with open arms and paws.

I never wanted a Labrador Retriever…

November 6, 2011 40 comments

Daisy

In all honesty, I never wanted a Labrador Retriever. Volunteering at the local animal shelter as often as I did, I saw a lot of Labs come through our doors (too many in my opinion). Yet, I was never tempted to adopt one. I saw them as way too high energy and crazy for a person like me. My dog breed preferences always veered more towards Shelties and Shepherd mixes. My first dog was a Sheltie. My next two were Shepherd mixes.

Then, along came Daisy. Ah Daisy! So in need of a home that would give her the time to trust and grow and develop into the loving dog she has become. What a sweet, sweet dog she has turned out to be. She’s not your typical Lab. She doesn’t bark. She doesn’t chase balls maniacally, like many Labs. She didn’t even like water or swimming until very recently.

So you would think that since my first Lab is so atypical I might never consider adopting a Lab again. But, you would be wrong. Through Daisy, I have come to appreciate this breed more than I ever thought I could. Yes, they can be high energy and crazy sometimes, especially in their younger years, but they also are one of the smartest, sweetest and wonderful dog breeds I have had the pleasure to own. They are affectionate and loyal. Fun and entertaining. You can almost drown in those liquid brown eyes of theirs. They say so much with their eyes – happy, sad, curious, frightened, excited, bored… yup, Labs have it all.

Meeting Daisy and caring for her and helping her to discover her “inner Lab” certainly changed my mind about Labs.

Is there a dog that changed your mind about a dog breed?

What I would tell my adopted dog’s former owner…

September 2, 2011 60 comments


Having adopted several dogs over my lifetime, I’ve often had many the opportunity to wonder…

Where did they come from?

Who loved them before me?

What were the circumstances that led to their owners surrendering them?

Did their owner ever wonder what happened to them after they left them at our shelter?

I have often wished I could contact my dogs’ former owners to let them know that their dog was loved, that they had a good life, and that they had made the right decision.

I felt this most especially with my dog, Indy. My heart dog. Indy was my first dog adoption. The first dog I ever considered taking home after losing my Sheltie of 15 years, Alicia.

Indy was a German Shepherd/Collie mix and was so very frightened to be in a shelter. She had no idea what had happened to her or how she gone from a loving home to a stark, cold cement floor. She was sweet and gentle and smart and well-trained. She had me at “Woof.”

I later learned that she had been owned by a young woman who was leaving for college. The young woman had wanted her father to keep Indy for her while she was away at college, but he refused. I believe that he was the one to surrender Indy at our shelter. Can you imagine a parent doing that to their child?

Clearly, the young woman had loved Indy. She had trained her to do almost everything… sit, down, stand, beg, come, and heel. Indy never jumped up on the couch, and even when invited up, she felt guilty and would get back down. She barked when strangers came to our door, but she loved everyone she met. She was well-socialized and great with other dogs.

A dog like that doesn’t just get that way, she was trained by someone who loved her. So very clearly she was loved.

I often wished I could have called her former owner, that young college-bound woman, and told her that Indy was okay. That she had long walks along the bike trails where she could run and sniff to her heart’s desire. That she had received lots of attention and love and belly rubs. That she lived to be 10 years old, until she got a cancer and it took her mind and her body. That she was mourned deeply and for a very long time. (That happens with heart dogs.) I wish I could ease her mind and let her know that Indy was lucky. She had the love of two people and had a good life.

Loving an adopted dog is so easy. They give so much in return.
It’s the wondering that does me in.

Update:
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to now admit that my recollection of the full story may be somewhat incorrect. After speaking with my mother today, I am now wondering if her recollection is the correct one. She told me that she remembers me telling her that the father tried to keep Indy, but he felt she was left alone so often and so long (because of his work hours) that she deserved a home where she could have more time, love and attention. In other words, he felt it wasn’t fair to her that he was gone all of the time, especially with the daughter away at college. A much more noble reason than the one I remembered. I honestly don’t remember that part of the story, but since my mother did, I have to apologize to the father. He obviously wasn’t the bad monster I made him out to be. I am actually glad that he wasn’t/isn’t. It makes me think it is all the more important that he know he made the right decision.

Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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Bringing home your newly adopted or rescued dog.

March 5, 2011 11 comments

My brother and sister-in-law just adopted a dog from a rescue. Dozer is adorable and a bit shy, so I wanted to send them something to help them along in the first few days of their new life with Dozer.

What I discovered is that there are a lot of great posts on the internet about the things you need to buy to get ready for bringing home a new pet, but for some reason most of them focus on the “things” you need (i.e., food, food bowls, crates, etc.) and not on the most important part – what TO DO and what NOT TO DO when you bring home a newly adopted or rescued dog.

I finally found one that had some of the advice I was looking for here.

Among the things it lists are:

1. Limit the space your new pet has access to (in your home).

2. Limit the amount of people visiting the animal or your home.

3. Always supervise your pets to make sure they are getting along.

4. Do exercise activities daily!

I wanted to add onto this list with a few extra thoughts:

5. If you can, wait until the weekend to bring your new dog home – It can be a bit overwhelming for a dog to come into a new environment. It makes it a little easier to adjust when they have someone there who can show them the house, get them into a routine and help them to bond.

6. NO DOG PARKS or VISITS TO THE PET STORE – I cannot tell you how many times I have a seen a dog (that was adopted from our shelter) at the dog park or a pet store only a few hours after being adopted. It is extremely overwhelming for a dog to be placed into a new home with people they don’t know (and no, hanging out with them for a few hours at the shlter does not mean they know you). Taking them to a dog park or the pet store is like throwing them into the deep end of a pool if they don’t know how to swim. Buy your pet supplies ahead of time and stay closer to home when you get your new dog. Trust me. It will pay off in the long run.

7. Never leave your new dog along with kids– This is especially true for families who have no children, but maybe have nieces or nephews who stop over. Kids are generally overwhelming to dogs anyways. They’re erratic. They run, they stumble, they change directions suddenly, they can be loud, and they can be scary to new dogs, especially if they haven’t had previous exposure to kids. Keeping the environment low-key is so important in the first few days. Wait to introduce kids to your new dog (unless they are your own). When you do introduce them, make sure they (kids) know not to run at or away from the dog, not stare the dog in the eyes, and if they do give the dog a treat, it should be on an open palm. Also, consider doing it in the yard or neutral location.

I welcome other recommendations from my trainer, rescue and shelter friends, but these are just a few of the important ones I wanted to share.

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