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Posts Tagged ‘dogs for adoption’

Sorry NO PETS SOLD HERE… anymore

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I just read a tweet from @phxdogblogger that caught my attention. The city council of West Hollywood, California has “voted unanimously to ban stores from selling cats and dogs in a move aimed at curbing puppy mills and kitty factories.”

Now granted, West Hollywood does not currently have any stores selling cats and dogs in their city, but perhaps this will start a trend. Perhaps if we take away one of the means by which puppy mills and kitty factories make their money, we can start to reduce the numbers of cats and dogs who are used, abused and mistreated by puppy mill owners. And, just maybe some of those 3 million shelter dogs and cats could be adopted into loving homes instead of being euthanized each year.

What do you think? Should we start a trend?

Adopted Dogs: Little Stories of Hope

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Sometimes it can be difficult to volunteer at an animal shelter. The animal shelter is the place where you hear sad stories of pets who lost their home when their owner died or became disabled, or where they were given up because the couple had recently had a baby and their dog became more work than they could handle, or the cat was given up because it became ill or needed medication. If you’ve worked in a rescue organization or in an animal shelter, then you know what I mean.

But, every once in a while a story comes along that lights up your day and leaves you with a smile on your face, and if the story is really touching, it brings tears to your eyes. Today was just such a day.

Two very special dogs that we have had at our shelter recently found new homes and today many of us volunteers got not one, but two, e-mails giving us an update on their progress. I couldn’t help but share the joy.

The first dog, a Beagle, came to us so massively overweight that he could barely walk across the parking lot. The owner hadn’t been able to walk him due to a disability, and so she fed him lots and lots of treats instead. When he came to us, Bear (name changed for privacy purposes) was clearly miserable and he had a hard time moving his body. The poor boy was so sweet that he was an instant hit with the staff and volunteers. Everyone worked with him and walked him slowly around the property so he could work his way up to a longer walk. We all worried that potential adopters wouldn’t see the beauty that lay within this sweet boy. Well, today we found out that Bear has not only lost weight, but he is very close to making a 3/4 mile walk down to his new owner’s mailbox in the morning! A very big accomplishment indeed! In his new home, Bear enjoys walks along the country fields and roads where he now lives (could there be a more perfect place for a Beagle?) and he is starting to climb snowdrifts. According to his new owner, he actually started to run the other day! To see what Bear looked like when he came to us and know that he is well on his way to enjoying the rest of his life with some very loving and dedicated parents was enough to bring tears to our eyes. Bear is one very lucky boy!

The second e-mail update came from the new owner of one our very special dogs that stayed with us for a very long time. Ralph (name changed for privacy purposes), is a high-energy Springer Spaniel, who just needed some additional training and someone very special who could continue to work with him and exercise him on a regular basis. Back in November, Ralph had been adopted only to be returned when the family realized they couldn’t handle his high-energy needs. As you can imagine, it was very disheartening to all of us to see him come back again. No one wanted him to go to another home unless it was a very good match. Lucky for Ralph, his special family was out there, ready and waiting for him. He got adopted by a family with children. The e-mail shared all the wonderful news of how well he has fit into their family and how he goes on daily walks and is already enrolled in a canine training class. It even shared some of his obedience successes! It appears Ralph is even more affectionate with the kids than their last dog. And he is showing some promise as a hunting dog! The e-mail ended with the phrase “We cannot understand why the family in November returned (Ralph), but we’re sure glad they did!” That one phrase brought tears to my eyes.

Yes. It can be hard to volunteer at an animal shelter, but once in a while the good stories make up for it all. I hope that more people choose to adopt a cat or dog and add to the list of good stories. I promise you, those are the ones we want to hear anyways.

Adopted Cats and Dogs: To rename or not?

January 6, 2010 26 comments

Being a volunteer at an animal shelter, I see a lot of dogs and cats. I also see a lot of interesting dog and cat names. Some of them are REALLY interesting! Either way, I’m always interested in the names people give their pets. It’s fun to find out the story behind their names.

I think what always surprised me was when people would rename a dog or cat after they adopted them. I’ve always believed that I should let my newly adopted dog or cat keep its given name (especially when the dog or cat came from another home) because it seemed less confusing for them. Since they were already adjusting to a new home and a new owner, the last thing I wanted to do was make them adjust to a new name too. Thus, my cats,Nick and Sebastian, kept their names as did Indy, Aspen and Daisy. Jasper (and his sister, Jasmine) I named myself because they had come from a pet store and were never given names.

But, I know that my opinion is only that, mine. I’d be interested in hearing what others think. Did you change your dog or cat’s name after you adopted him or her? If so, why? What name did you change it to? Is there a story behind your dog or cat’s new name? I’d love to hear it!

As a side note, MSNBC recently published the Most Popular cat and dog names of 2009. They also published the Most Unusual dog and cat names. Pretty interesting stuff. Check it out!

What’s In A Lab?

December 29, 2009 3 comments

Daisy – A Yellow Lab with a lighter shade coat color

I recently had another pet sitter ask me where I get the topics for my blogs. Honestly, they just come to me, usually through my every day interactions with animals and people.

For instance, I was at a department store the other day buying some things to give as gifts next year. While at the register, the cashier noticed that I had a lot of items with a dog or cat theme to them. I explained to him that I was a pet sitter, and just like that I had my next blog post! Kind of…really, it was what happened next.

The cashier asked me if I knew of any AKC breeders who had Red Fox Labs. Huh? Red Fox Labs? What the heck? Was this a new way for breeders to create a designer dog and call it something familiar? Was there a new Lab making it’s appearance into the Labrador Retriever world that I didn’t know about?

I had to find out.

It turns out that in addition to the standard yellow, black and brown Labrador Retrievers, there are also these Labrador Retrievers that certain breeders sell as “White or Snow”, “Silver” or “Fox Red” Labs. Who knew? I was floored because I thought I was pretty well educated on dog breeds, but here were these new Labradors Retrievers that I had never heard about. Except, they’re not… New… I mean. Genetically, Labs only come in 3 colors: black, brown and yellow. What some breeders call “White Labs” or “Snow Labs” are really just yellow Labs with a lighter shade of coat. What some breeders call “Silver Labs” are actually brown or chocolate labs with a mismarking in coloring or simply a cross between a Weimaraner and a Lab. And now for the Red Fox Lab… it turns out it’s just a Yellow Lab with “red fox coloring” – as defined by AKC standards.

When I first adopted Daisy, people would always ask me if she was a “White Lab” or a “Snow Lab”. Honestly, I had never given it any thought because I had always thought of her as a yellow Lab who just happened to be white in color. It turns out I was right. She was a yellow Lab… with a lighter shade of coat. And, I was lucky enough to adopt her. Not buy her from a breeder.

But, people who are buying White Labs, Snow Labs, Silver Labs and Red Fox Labs from breeders, usually for exorbitant prices, are actually buying… A LAB. Not a rare breed. Not a new breed. Just a Lab. And, in some cases, a Lab that isn’t even recognized by the AKC, but is considered a mismarked dog.

So why do I tell you all of this? It’s not because I really care what color Labrador Retriever you want. It’s a preference. I prefer my Daisy, and love her white coat color. If you prefer a yellow Lab with a reddish coat color I’m not going to judge you for having a preference for that color.

But, as a consumer, you need to be aware (here’s a great place to start). Know what someone is selling you. If the word “rare” is being used to describe the Labrador Retriever you are interested in buying, walk away. Anyone who would lie to you about this isn’t likely to tell you the truth about the dog or it’s parentage. If they want to charge you an exorbitant amount of money for this “rare Lab”, question it. Chances are they are just looking to make a quick buck and if that’s the case they’re not a reputable breeder. And chances are they could be a puppy mill or backyard breeder – not the type of people you want to buy a dog from anyways.

The truth is that it doesn’t matter what color Lab you get. Because what’s in a Lab is A LAB. If you want a special coat color, great, just remember that color doesn’t change the breed or the price. It’s still a Lab.

‘Tis the Season… To Get Rid of Your Pet?

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Appalled by the title? Me too.

Unfortunately, this is the time of year when people find they can no longer afford their pets or don’t have the time to dedicate to caring for them, and end up bringing them to the local animal shelter. So, at one of the most family-focused times of the year, these dogs and cats (through no fault of their own) find themselves looking for a new home. A home where someone will love them and care for them and in some cases, train them.

I was walking dogs this past weekend at the shelter I volunteer at and saw so many worthy dogs that deserved a second chance at a home. I saw two Golden Retrievers under 2 years of age who look to be purebred but were given up because their owners had no time – just imagine the potential of these dogs if someone had the time!

I saw so many little dogs… Rat Terriers, a Dachshund and even a Cocker Spaniel – all looking for new homes because their owners were moving and could not take them with them. So many people want little dogs to cuddle with at home. How much better would it be to give a dog a home that needs one desperately? How awesome would it feel to know you rescued a dog who due to the economy ended up at a shelter (not because their owner didn’t love them and care for them, but because financial circumstances forced them to give up their pet)?

I don’t know about other shelters or rescue organizations, but we are full up at our shelter. And, the kicker is most of these dogs are there due to financial circumstances not because of behavior problems.
So, unfortunately… ‘Tis the Season.

Desperately Seeking Jasmine (er, Casey?)

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

I have fostered four dogs over the past few years. Of the four, I have been fortunate enough to know where three ended up. I know how they are doing.

Daisy, my first, lives with me and is doing very well despite a rough beginning. Clyde (formerly Pixel) is a Dalmatian and came to me scared, unsocialized and very attached to his sister. He is a wonderful dog. I really had a hard time giving him up. Fortunately, he was reunited with his sister, Bonnie (to which he is very attached), and both were adopted together. They now live with a wonderful woman who has been patient, understanding and kind with both of them. I even get to see them on occasion at the dog park!

My last two foster dogs, Jasper and Jasmine, are Shelties and were purchased by a kind woman who just wanted to get them out of a pet store that was in a deplorable condition. Both came to me scared, unsocialized and very attached to one another. I considered adopting one, but couldn’t choose between them so I eventually returned them both to the shelter to be adopted. As luck would have it, Jasmine passed her assessment with flying colors and was adopted right away by a couple. However, Jasper did not pass his assessment. He was too afraid to do all the things necessary to be assessed properly (he prefers to eat his food in private). So, he came back to live with me and Daisy. They have since become great friends and companions.

As a foster parent it is always hard when you have to say goodbye, but the “not-knowing” is the worst part. You can’t help but wonder how they are doing in their new homes with their new parents. Are they okay? Do they miss their sibling? What do they look like now that they are healthy and grown up?

All I know about Jasmine is this… she attended doggie daycare one day (soon after she was adopted) at a facility where my friend works and her name had been changed to Casey. That’s it. Nothing else.

So, day after day I look for her. Every time I see a Sheltie that looks like Jasmine my heart jumps a little. “Could that be her?”, I wonder. My deep desire to know how she is doing makes me approach the owner to ask “Is your dog’s name Jasmine or Casey?” Time after time the answer has been a curious “no”. It is then that I explain the purpose for my question. Everyone is kind and understanding, but unfortunately, they cannot help me. And so, I continue to search.

It is my one great desire to see her again, to know she is okay. It would be great to reunite her with her brother, Jasper, just for a play date, but I would be happy with just knowing how she is doing. So I continue to desperately search out that one dog, that one Sheltie, that looks like Jasmine in hopes of finding the answer to my questions. My hope is that I will someday I will get my wish.

Buy a Pet for the Holidays? Think Again.

November 27, 2009 3 comments

So you might be thinking that giving a pet for Christmas would be a good idea. I mean who wouldn’t love a pet for the holidays? Right?

Before you jump on that idea and head on over to the local animal shelter, think again. Many pets bought as gifts for Christmas end up at your local shelter. Why? The reasons are many, but here 5 reasons why you should not get a pet as a gift during the holidays:

1. A pet is not what the person wanted. Owning a pet can be a pretty big commitment. Pets require lots of time, money, care, and in some cases, training. The recipient of your “gift” may not want that kind of responsibility. Even though Grandma is living all alone and could benefit from having a companion, it may not be what she wants or needs right now.

2. The pet you adopted/purchased for them is coming at one of the most hectic times of the year. Holiday movies often depict (accurately in most cases) the chaos that occurs during the busy holiday season. There’s the family to deal with, gifts to buy, travel plans to make and the multitude of other other things that we must do and take care of during this busy time. All of this “business” creates chaos and all of the emotions that come with it. Bringing a new pet into a household during this time can be stressful – not only for the pet but also for the new owner.

3. The person receiving the gift may be allergic to the pet. As a volunteer at the local animal shelter, I have seen many pets surrendered or returned because the person who adopted them discovered he or she had an allergy to the particular pet they adopted. I only discovered this myself after I had adopted my two cats. It turns out that I was highly allergic to them – who knew? Luckily, I was able to take precautions (and medication) to prevent me from having to give them up. But, not everyone is so lucky. Nor, is everyone inclined to start weekly allergy shots just to keep their new pet. It would be better if the person had a chance to be exposed to someone else’s pet first to see if they have any reaction. Or, that they can go with you to select the pet they want since they know best if they are allergic to a particular pet.

4. The pet you adopted/purchased for them is not the one they wanted. It’s true, not every breed or type of pet is right for everyone. Perhaps the lizard you bought for your son is not the exact kind he wanted. Or, the breed of dog you chose may not be one that is suitable for an older person or for a child. The beauty of waiting until the gift recipient can go with you to adopt that pet is that he or she can actually be the one who decides which pet is right for them. Buying a sweater that fits can be difficult when you are buying it for someone else. How much better is it when they can try it on? It’s is the same with pets. Owners need to meet the pet first to know if he or she will be a good fit for them and their lifestyle.

5. The person you adopted/purchased the pet for is unable to care for the pet. In these hard economic times many people are dealing with financial issues of some sort. You may not know everything there is to know about the person and their financial status. Perhaps he or she is about to lose their home, or perhaps they just lost their job. Buying a pet as a gift may be one of the worst things you could do right now. Financial trouble is stressful. Adding a pet into the mix could increase that stress and would likely mean the pet would be returned to the shelter – which is stressful for the pet too.

All of us want to find that “perfect” gift for the person we love. Pets can often seem like the perfect choice (especially if the person has mentioned one before), but they also come with a lot of responsibilities.

So, before you shop for that perfect pet to give as a gift, here are 5 gift alternatives…

1. Purchase a gift certificate at your local animal shelter that can go towards the adoption of a pet when the time is right. Even if the gift recipient doesn’t get a pet right away, they can still go look and see what they might be interested in and then adopt a pet when the time is right.

2. Create your own gift certificate that says you will go with the person to adopt the pet at their convenience. This makes the most sense and is best for everyone involved – pet and owner.

3. Donate money to your local animal shelter in the name of the person you are buying the gift for – the money will be much appreciated by the shelter and the person will be touched that you were so thoughtful in your gift choice.

4. Buy the person a book about the animal you think they may be interested in getting in the future (like a book about dog breeds). That way they can learn more about the animal they want before adopting it.

5. Buy the person a stuffed animal with the promise of adopting an animal after the holidays. This allows you to show your love but also gives you and the person time to prepare for the pet before actually adopting it.

My wish for this year is that every animal finds the right home with the right owner. What a beautiful story that would make if no animals were returned to the shelter after the holidays this year. Won’t you help make my wish come true?

Wednesday Winner: Posing Paws

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

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Daisy and Jasper

Today, I am plugging an event put on every year by the Minnesota Valley Humane Society (MVHS) in Burnsville, Minnesota.
The event is called Posing Paws and is a great fundraiser for the shelter. If there was ever a time to support your local animal shelter, it is now. All of them are struggling to get by with less in this economy, and MVHS is no different.

For $50 you can get pictures of you and your pets, or your whole family and your pets (so far I’ve seen families with cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs!). You can choose from 4 scenes, which by the way, are fantastic! And, about 10 minutes after your sitting, you’ll have a CD of all your pictures that you can crop or touch-up in photoshop. Or, you can take it to any store that processes photos and get cards made up for the holidays. Personally, I use my pictures for my business holiday cards and they look great!

Check it out! There is only one weekend left!
Posing Paws

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Me, Daisy and Jasper

Dogs: Adopt Me Please! The Shelter Pet Project

November 6, 2009 2 comments

42-17304144Anyone who knows me, or has read my blog to any extent, knows that I am passionate about animals. But, I am also passionate about something else… animal adoption.

A lot of people assume that adopting a dog or cat from a shelter means that they will be adopting a pet with physical problems or behavioral issues. This could not be further from the truth! Most of the dogs I have worked with at the shelter over the past 7 years have been wonderful and loving dogs. And, most of them were at our shelter due to circumstances outside of their control… home foreclosure, job loss, an owner’s death, an illness in the family, divorce, etc.

I know it’s hard to believe, but most pets are NOT in a shelter because their owner found them to be an awful pet. And yet, somehow the image still persists that adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization somehow means that the pet is “flawed” in some way.

The first dog I ever adopted from a shelter was a Shepherd/Collie mix named Indy. Read more…

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