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Posts Tagged ‘MVHS’

To Foster or Not to Foster. That is the Question.

August 8, 2011 27 comments


I’m thinking about volunteering again. Fostering. Haven’t quite made the steps to do it yet. Lots of things running through my mind about it right now.

Am I ready to foster again?

Are Daisy and Jasper ready to share their home with another dog that may be here a while?

Do I volunteer with a really great organization, where many of my former friends from the now-defunct Minnesota Valley Humane Society are volunteering, or go with another organization?

Could I turn down a face like this that needs a foster now? I love Bassetts. They always make me smile.

Should I volunteer with a rescue organization that rescues a particular breed of dog like Minnesota Sheltie Rescue? I love Shelties a lot and I know the breed well.

So much to ponder and no real answers yet, but I feel my heart pulling in a particular direction.
The question is what will I do?

Have you fostered before? What things did you consider before fostering?

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 HumaneWatch.org 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.

‘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.

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: What Are They Really Saying? Now You Can Find Out!

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment

DSC00089If you’ve read any of my blog posts, then you know I am passionate about two things when it comes to animals: 1) rescuing those who need our help, and 2) helping people to understand their dogs better. Well, now I have an event that you can attend here in Minnesota to learn more about dogs and dog behavior.

The shelter I volunteer at, Minnesota Valley Humane Society (MVHS) is going to be showing “The Language of Dogs: Understanding Canine Body Language and Other Communication Signals.” on Sunday September 20th. I have watched this video no less than three times and I will likely be there to watch it again because I learn something new every single time I watch it. In my opinion, this video is a must for any dog owner. Behaviorist Sarah Kalnajs will teach you how to read your dog’s body language. I encourage you to check it out!
It will be well worth your time.

Understanding Canine Body Language Seminar (Burnsville)
(A seminar at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society)
Sunday, Sept. 20th from 3:30-6:00pm
Call 952-894-5000 ext. 30 or katea@MVHSpets.org to register

This seminar is for people only, so unfortunately your doggie will have to stay at home. Besides, it would only be boring to them – they already know what their body language is communicating! 🙂
Donations are welcome!

Dogs: Meet You Match!

May 2, 2009 2 comments
Have you met your match?

Have you met your match?

Online dating has become all the rage. Answer a few questions online and before you know it you’ve found your perfect match (and maybe a new partner for life)!

In the world of dogs, it can be hard to find a dog that is the “perfect” match for you. The dog you adopted may have looked and acted like the dog you wanted while at the shelter, but then you get him home and suddenly you realize he has way more energy than you can handle. Or, maybe he is more of a couch potato than what you wanted.

But, what if you could find a dog that is a good match for you before you leave your local animal shelter? Well, today the Minnesota Valley Humane Society (MVHS) launched a new program designed to help you do just that.

The new adoption program is called “Meet Your Match” and it is designed to help you to pick the dog that is right for you based on your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a canine companion. The program was first developed and tested by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Dr. Emily Weiss, and implemented by the ASPCA with the underlying goal of increasing the likelihood that shelter dogs are adopted (and stay with their new families) based on lifestyle.

Dogs are assessed using a special assessment process, and then based on their assessment results, they are color-coded as a purple, orange, or green. Their color-code is then displayed on their kennels and on their pictures on the website. You, as the future owner, also complete a quick survey and based on your results, the MVHS staff and volunteers will give you a color-coded Guest Pass and direct you to the dogs that match your color. This helps to ensure the match is the best one for both you and your dog.

Go ahead and take the online survey NOW to see what dog bests suits you, or better yet, head on over to MVHS and take the survey in person. That way you can immediately set about finding a dog that best matches your lifestyle.

Both staff and volunteers are excited about this new program. We hope you will be too!
And, by the way, your color-coding can also be used at any shelter that has implemented the Meet Your Match program to find a dog that best suits you and your lifestyle. I encourage you to check it out!

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