Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Valley Humane Society’

Favorite Video Friday – Life is better with you

October 9, 2015 8 comments

Yesterday, I got word that another pet sitting client and former MN Valley Humane Society dog (where I volunteered) had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Zephyr was a sweet and precious thing who looked so very  vulnerable when she was at our shelter. I worried about her finding the right home, but fortunately, she had already captured another volunteer’s heart. She could not have landed with a better family. She had a great life and was very much loved. She was one of the lucky ones.

The number of dogs I know from our old shelter is getting smaller and smaller. So many of us lost when that place suddenly closed down. It was such a tight-knit community. Seeing so many of the dogs we adopted out now making that journey over the Bridge reminds us of the loss once again.

I have two MVHS dogs of my own, Daisy and Jasper, who will one day follow. This video and Zephyr’s death, is a reminder of how much they have made my life better. I cannot imagine my life without them.

Today’s video is a celebration of Zephyr’s life, and of the time I have had with Daisy and Jasper.

God speed sweet Zephyr.

Happy Friday everyone.

Saying Goodbye to Simba

June 10, 2012 20 comments

Simba and his sister soon after he was adopted

I am sure many of you can relate to the loss of a dog that is not your own – a friend’s dog or perhaps a relative’s beloved companion.  This past weekend I received some sad news. A longtime doggie friend, Simba, passed away. Simba was not mine, but he was still very, very special to me. He was the first shelter dog I ever helped to find a new home.

Simba ended up at our shelter (the now defunct Minnesota Valley Humane Society) after being surrendered by his family. He had grown up with kids and was lucky enough to have someone there with him all day since his former mom was a stay-at-home-mom. I can’t recall anymore exactly why he was surrendered, but I believe he was the victim of a divorce (or maybe they just didn’t have time for him anymore).

I adored him from the very first moment I saw him in our impound area. He was handsome and stoic and a typical Golden Retriever in almost every way. He was a dog that most families dream of having when they think about getting a dog. Gentle and sweet, he was happy to have any and all of your attention. I was determined to find him a good home.

Luckily, I happened to know a family that was looking for a dog at that time AND they were looking for a Golden Retriever. I also happened to know that this family would give him the loving home he so deserved.  So after a brief introduction, Simba was adopted by this loving family and brought home to live out his life in a place of love. As it so happens, this family also employed my sister, so as a result, I was able to see Simba quite often.

Not long after he was adopted, Simba’s family discovered he had tested positive for heartworm. Instead of returning him to the shelter, as many have done before when a dog is diagnosed with an illness, Simba was treated and given special care in his new home until he was healthy. What a lucky dog to have found a family willing and able to make the commitment to help him.

Simba was lucky in other ways too. He got to live on a lake surrounded by woods filled with chipmunks and squirrels and deer, and other wild animals. He could wade in the lake in the morning and nap under the trees in the afternoon. He could chase chipmunks and squirrels to his heart’s desire – doesn’t every dog dream of such a life?

Simba had several sisters, and a brother, to play with. He was gentle playmate but also strong. He could play tug-of-war with a rope bone like no other – I think he won more rounds than he lost. When his little brother Cosmo was a puppy, he would often chase Simba and grab at his ears with his sharp little teeth. The most Simba did in response was whine. He never took action to stop Cosmo from biting him. He never bit back.

He was also great with kids. Simba loved to play with the two boys in the family, and as one of the boys grew older, he would often run with him. He went on walks with his new family often over the years he lived with them.

He was a lover by nature. He greeted everyone he met with a wagging tail. He loved all the boys’ friends and was more than happy to play with them or just sit and take in the loving attention they gave him. I heard that at the end, the younger boy even moved his bed to the floor so Simba could lie on it with him.  Could a dog ask for more?

As I said, I had the opportunity to visit Simba often. I enjoyed spending time with him just scratching his belly or letting him sleep with his head in my lap. Did he remember me from the shelter? Maybe at first he did, but over time I think he just came to see me as the woman who doted on him. I readily admit he was my favorite. He was special.

That’s why saying goodbye is so hard.

Last night, his adopted mom thanked me for introducing him to their family. I couldn’t help but think I should be thanking them. They gave him a loving home and a life most dogs would love to live. It’s not often that one gets to see an animal be adopted from a shelter and have the pleasure of seeing them live out their lives in a loving home. They gave him everything a dog could ever want. Yes, today I am sad that Simba is gone, but I am also comforted knowing that in the end, he lived a good life in a loving home with a loving family. What more could any dog want?

Godspeed Simba. You were a wonderful friend and you will be missed.

Simba in his golden years (taken last summer)

When an Animal Shelter Closes

December 3, 2010 40 comments

It seems ironic (or at the very least a sad coincidence) that today on National Adopt a Mutt Day there would be such sad news to report on the adoptable mutts in my very own community.

I had been hearing rumors for days now that the shelter I have volunteered at for the past 8 years was in trouble and would be closing, but I had been hoping and praying it would not true. It was not to be, today the Minnesota Valley Humane Society (MVHS) announced it would be closing it’s doors on December 31, 2010.

To say this is a sad event is an understatement. This one small humane society has been operating on its own since 1981. Despite many people’s mistaken belief, MVHS has never been affiliated with the larger Animal Humane Society (AHS) in Golden Valley, Woodbury, St. Paul, etc. It did not receive money from the the Humane Society of the United States (by the way, MOST Humane Societies DON’T receive money from HSUS). It operated on a tight budget, with a small staff, and had to raise all of it’s money on its own – and it had a high adoption rate (perhaps that’s because it didn’t put a timeline on an animal’s life like other humane societies do or maybe it’s because of the awesome staff and volunteers who promoted the animals and tried to help animals find homes).

It is the only animal shelter servicing the South Metro area and soon it will be gone.

So what is the impact when a shelter closes?

Other shelters and rescue groups end up taking up the slack. Most small shelters and rescue groups operate on a shoestring budget already, so when a shelter closes they not only take on additional animals they had not planned for, they also take on the extra costs associated with it. It can make or break a shelter or rescue group, financially.

Staff and Volunteers feel set adrift. Many volunteers work at animal shelters because they deeply care for the animals, but in many cases, there is also a sense of commaraderie that develops between the staff and volunteers. Friendships are formed. There is a feeling that you are all united in a common cause – saving animals

The animals that remain suffer undue additional stress. Animals that have not been adopted out feel the additional stress from the staff and volunteers, who are stressed out themselves, but their daily routine and lives change too. Suddenly, they are shipped off to some other location, maybe to a place where conditions are worse than where they came from (or more stressful) or they may have a limit on the number of days they can remain before they are euthanized.

The community suffers. Shelters provide a lot of services that the community often does not often recognize – educational programs, veterinary services, dog training, personal support after adoption, spaying and neutering, pet supplies for your newly adopted pet and informational resources. MVHS even offered people a list of apartments and townhomes that allowed pets.

What can you do?

Give money to your local animal shelters and rescue groups. Now. Call your local animal shelter and ask them if they are affiliated with a larger organization or if they operate on their own small budget, and then give. Contact a rescue organization and ask what you can do to help. Most of them need money, but many of them also need foster homes for the animals they already have.

Adopt. Normally I would be encouraging people to not to adopt during the holiday season, but this year I am asking people to adopt the remaining dogs, cats, birds, etc. that remain at MVHS. If you have the space, the time and want to make a difference, please adopt. And, if you are not local and living in MN, please adopt from your own shelter or rescue organizations. So many of the dogs, cats and other animals that end up at a shelter are not there because they were bad or did something to deserve it. In fact, some of the most common reasons animals are surrendered are because: someone lost a job, someone died, a family situation has changed (e.g., divorce) or the family had to move to a smaller location, like an apartment that doesn’t take pets. People that want a purebreed dog or cat often don’t realize that a lot of purebreed dogs and cats end up in shelters every single day (I should know I have two of my own – a Lab and a Sheltie). Many rescues and shelters have purebred dogs and cats, and often rescues are geared towards a particular breed. If that’s what you are looking for, please check with a shelter or rescue group first. Please.

Volunteer. I have had so many people tell me that they could never volunteer at a shelter because it would break their heart. I’m not going to lie, some days your heart does break, but most of the time you feel good knowing you have given a dog or cat a little extra attention and love that day. Every single interaction of love and kindness matters to them. It is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. And did I mention the friendships you develop? Trust me. It is SO worth it.

It’s never easy when an animal shelter closes, but sometimes it can bring change. I hope you will be a part of that change.

Please Note: If you are coming here to read this because sent you here, please note that this shelter DID NOT close because of anything HSUS did or did not do and I completely disavow their misrepresentation of this fact in order to push their agenda to smear HSUS or any other group that supports caring for animals in a humane way.

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