Sunday, January 25, 2015

DEAF DOGS MAKE AMAZING PETS


We have a deaf dog.  Even though we have not had her tested, she will not respond to anything quieter than a mega-ton explosion.  However, she barks, plays and does all the standard “Doggy” things her counter-parts do, and is just as loving and devoted as any other dog we have ever had.  “Why” do I tell you this?  To let you know, that deaf dogs are just as great as hearing pets.

Deaf dogs really do make amazing pets.  Anything you may have heard to the contrary is most likely shrouded in myth or misunderstanding.  The only genuine limitation is that a deaf dog should not roam freely unless there is an enclosed, secured, safe area available for them to do so.  A deaf dog cannot hear a danger approaching, like a car.  Otherwise, a deaf dog trains as easily as a dog that hears.  The only difference is to use non-verbal signals, rather than verbal commands.

Like any training, you must first get the attention of whom you are trying to teach.  Deaf dogs will not respond to you calling their name.  They simply cannot hear you calling.  However, they will react with other types of stimuli.  Stomping your foot on the ground, causes vibration that they can feel.  Waving a flashlight, or clicking it on and off, will usually garner attention, especially when the dog responds and the reward is a tasty treat.  In addition, you can use a vibrating collar, which differs substantially from “Shock” collars.  These collars only vibrate and are not distressful to the animal. 

When teaching basic commands to any dog, the use of hand signals is common practice.  Therefore training a deaf dog with the use of them is perfectly natural.  As always when training, after getting the animal’s attention, a command (signal) is given to the animal to accomplish a specific act, after which a reward is provided.  Some people create their own set of hand signs for particular words like sit, stay, down, walk etc., while others learn a few basic words in American Sign Language.  Whatever you choose to do, remember the signal must remain consistent so the animal associates the “word” and the action.  Lastly, never strike a deaf dog with your hands!  Your hands are the way you communicate with the animal and should always be a positive, reassuring tool.

A common myth is that deaf dogs are more aggressive.  The reason behind the myth is if you startle a deaf dog, they will bite.  Any dog, whether deaf or not, when startled may snap or snarl out of fear.  Therefore, it is important to work with the dog so the animal is comfortable having someone come from behind and touch him or her.  A few times a day, wake your dog by very gently touching its shoulder or back, then reward immediately with a treat.  Soon the dog will associate wakening, with something good.  If you do not want to startle the dog, stomp your foot or bump the bed they are sleeping on.  Chances are the vibration will awaken them.  Again, always provide a reward.

Deaf dogs have a tendency to bond strongly with their guardians.  In the community of those who have deaf dogs, these animals are affectionately known as “Velcro” dogs, since they are most comfortable when they are near their person.  Like hearing dogs, some may develop separation anxiety.  However, the training methods to condition them to be unafraid of being alone, is the same as it is for any other dog.  Always remember, deaf dogs can do agility, therapy, etc., almost anything a hearing dog can do.  There is nothing wrong with them.  They are simply dogs that cannot hear.

If you are thinking of adding a deaf canine companion to your life, the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund’ s website, http://www.deafdogs.org/training/, is a good location to find additional helpful information and resources.

Deaf dogs may not be able to hear, but they can be as wonderful and as affectionate as a hearing canine.  Take it from one who knows.


Monday, January 19, 2015

CHANGE A PET'S LIFE


Research shows that owning a pet can help us live longer, feel healthier, and aid us in dealing with various stressors in modern life.  Because of pets, countless lives have improved.  Yet, each year thousands of pets end up in shelters across the country.  As an example, the Tehama County Animal Care Center had, this past year, 2,183 animals brought in.  It is a rather appalling number and reflects an average of five (5) animals per day, each and every day.

In 2009 “Change a Pet’s Life Day” was introduced in order to focus attention towards these homeless pets, and encourage their adoption.  However, you do not have to wait until next Saturday, January 24, to change a homeless pet’s life.  Almost any day is an opportunity to get involved with our local shelter or a rescue.  There is not a contribution of time, supplies, and/or money that is too small or unappreciated by those involved with the animals or by the pets themselves. 

If you are unable to open your home up to a pet, then consider volunteering.  I cannot emphasize enough about how extremely vital volunteers are to the animals at the shelter.  By spending time with the dogs and cats, you add a richness to their existence that many have never previously known.  Many of them are scared and confused.  Therefore, any time spent with the dogs and cats aids in calming them, and increases their chances of adoption immeasurably, as well.  If hands-on with the animals is something you prefer not to do, there are numerous other venues in which a person can get involved, all of which help tremendously.  If you are interested in volunteering at our local shelter, please give them a call at 530-527-3439. They would enjoy hearing from you.

If you do not know what kind of pet you want, or there are other constraints, then adoption may not be the commitment you want or need.  Fortunately, fostering is another option to consider.  The most common reasons animals require that extra-special home care are:
·         Babies without a mother require bottle-feedings. 
·         Under-aged pups and kittens are too young for adoption. 
·         Mothers who are nursing kittens or puppies require a quieter, nurturing environment. 
·         Animals recovering from an injury or illness may need limited activity or medications given. 
Fostering is a wonderfully rewarding experience.  Whether you only foster once or decide to do so again, you will know that you personally helped save lives.  Besides the benefits that both human and pet receive from a foster situation, removing the animal from the shelter makes room for another.  Therefore, every animal that is living in a foster home equates to two lives saved.

If you would like to “Change a Pet’s Life”, but do not wish to adopt, volunteer, or foster, then a donation can be just as effective.  Many times the shelter’s residents require medical care that the county budget simply cannot afford.  Extra funds provided for these special needs animals can go a long way in making a pronounced difference in their existence.  If you prefer not to make a monetary donation, then contributing an item or two also benefits them.  Items always welcomed are: canned wet paté-type food, dry puppy food, dry kitten milk and dry baby-Kat kitten food, towels, wash rags and blankets, Frontline for dogs and cats, grooming supplies, paper towels, bleach, and laundry detergent. 

However, if you truly wish to “Change a Pet’s Life”, then seriously consider adopting a homeless animal.  The Care Center has an amazing array of animals who would love to get a forever home.  I also just happen to know that on Friday, January 23 and Saturday, January 24, a two –day “Change a Pet’s Life” Adoption Event is occurring at The Tehama County Animal Care Center at 1830 Walnut Street, Red Bluff (530-527-3439).  If any dog or cat is adopted during this event, P.E.T.S. will pay the spay/neuter charge, so that their ADOPTION fees will be exceedingly low! 


You can “Change a Pet’s Life”, and it’s never too late to start.


Monday, January 5, 2015

SMILE AND YOU WILL HELP THE ANIMALS


We are so excited about a new program from Amazon.com!  It is a super easy way to give (at no extra cost to you) to our favorite charity: P.E.T.S. (Providing Essentials to Tehama Shelter). 

Simply begin your Amazon Shopping with https://smile.amazon.com/ and choose “Providing Essentials to Tehama Shelter” as your charity of choice, and Amazon will donate .5% of every purchase you were going to make anyway to P.E.T.S (Providing Essentials to Tehama Shelter)!  It is the same account you already use with the addition of the Amazon Smile benefits.

But don’t stop there - Go to the “PETS Tehama“ wish list and send the Tehama County Animal Care Center a much needed item from the list. You’re help will feed or care for a homeless pet in need.  It could not be easier.

The Care Center is Tehama County’s “critical care” center for lost, abandoned and abused homeless animals in Tehama County and P.E.T.S. is doing all it can to help.  Now you can too. Thank you. 





Brighter Tomorrows


Next week we begin a new year.  For many, the coming year brings the hope that its tomorrows will be better than those that have passed.  The coming year can offer a perceived opportunity to change certain facets of our lives.  A multitude of resolutions are created, or at least contemplated, that will provide us a means to improve at least one small portion of our existence.  If shelter animals could vocalize, I truly believe they also would say that they hope their tomorrows are better than the ones they have had.  Regrettably, they do not have the ability to improve their lives without our assistance.

Since the beginning of time man’s capability for cruelty has known no bounds.  Unfortunately, these past few weeks have displayed several examples of that inhumanity with regard to companion animals.  Discarded like garbage were pups and over-bred moms who could no longer make a quick dollar for their backyard breeder.  Surrendered to the shelter because they became too much trouble to deal with were elderly or sick dogs and cats who, for many years, were loyal and faithful companions.  When owners harvested illegal crops and vacated premises, the guard dogs that were abandoned wandered aimlessly until Animal Control intervened.  Lastly, chained animals endured days of deprivation of food, water and adequate shelter until a rescue from their plight occurred.

The animals that come into the shelter often have had exceedingly hard lives, and their stories, if they could actually speak, would bring tears to your eyes.  Yet, this past week there was also cause for celebration, because so many of these homeless animals arrived at the Tehama County Animal Care Center.  Undersized, understaffed and underfunded, this haven became the hope of a better tomorrow for all those that entered.

A committed staff, devoted volunteers and tireless rescue organizations worked diligently to find homes for those that were adoptable.  In addition, as the steady stream of pets arriving continued, these same people tried to find owners, provide medical care for the injured, and locate fosters to care for those too young or too ill.  In addition, they continued to ensure that those housed had not only all basic needs met, a clean environment in which to live, but perhaps most of all, that they were shown the affection and compassion few have ever experienced.

As a result of the diligent efforts of the people involved, another reason to celebrate materialized.  A wondrous event occurred at the Animal Care Center.  Adoptions, rescues, and return-to-original-owners this past week resulted in seventy-five (75) animals leaving the shelter.  Each one now has the distinct chance of a better tomorrow.  As a community, we should recognize this extraordinary accomplishment by these people.  

However, please remember many homeless animals will not be so lucky.  Their dream of a better tomorrow will never happen.  Cruelty and abuse will continue as long as there are those who are indifferent.  If we do nothing, we cannot pat ourselves on the back and proclaim, “We are not like those people.”  We become as guilty as the wrongdoers when our inaction and silence is tacit acceptance of the behaviors we abhor.

Solutions for animal abuse and cruelty issues are not easy.  Immediate fixes on a monumental scale would be impossible to achieve.  Nevertheless, cumulative small steps in the right direction can solve large problems.  All one needs to do is take that first step. 

Therefore, I ask as you drink that last little bit of eggnog at the end of this holiday season, that you consider taking that step and do something this year to help a homeless animal’s dream of a better tomorrow come true. 


Saturday, December 13, 2014

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS






Last year we had 57 animals leave the Tehama County Animal Care Center (Adopted, Rescued and Returned to their owner). This year we are hoping to EMPTY THE SHELTER for the Holidays!!!

From December 18th through the 20th , ALL spay/neuter and rabies vaccination fees for dogs and cats will be paid for by P.E.T.S. AND
the Center will reduce the adoption fees for ALL dogs and cats!
EVERY dog will be $25 or less and EVERY cat will be free and EVERY kitten will be $10 !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Adopters will also receive some goodies to bring home for their new companions. While at the Center, enjoy some hot cocoa and cookies (also provided by P.E.T.S.) while choosing your new furry family member!

This Adoption Extravaganza will begin at 10:00am on Thursday, December 18th and continue until close on Saturday, December 20th.

PLEASE help us reach our goal and get all of these great animals a HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!!!! (If you cannot ADOPT, then please repost and share... someone else may be interested... the more people who know, the better chance these wonderful animals have of finding their forever home!).. Thank you.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

HELPING SHELTER ANIMALS DURING THE HOLIDAYS



The merriest time of the year for a lot of us can be heartbreaking for many.  Charities throughout the country know this and work even harder than usual to bring a bit of joy to those in need.  While pets with homes receive an abundance of gifts and treats during the holiday season, their shelter equivalents do not often receive those luxuries.  Why can’t we also bring a bit of good cheer to these often forgotten homeless animals?

The ultimate hope is that each shelter pet has a Home for the Holidays.  However, if that does not happen, you can still help our furry friends believe the world is a little kinder during this most magical of times.  While most of us would love to provide something, it can be difficult.  There do not seem enough hours in the day, or enough money, to achieve everything we want during this season, let alone assist a shelter animal.  Doing one or more things, however, can potentially make a huge difference in a small desolate life.

The easiest and cheapest way is to spread the word about them.  You can distribute fliers for an upcoming major adoption event like “Home for the Holidays” or information about the now-adoption-ready animals in retail stores, veterinarian offices and various other businesses.  Doing this has the potential to bring them one step closer to getting their forever family.  If you can share a selfie, then you can share an adoptable pet profile on social media.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, to name a few, are excellent ways to help advertise the animals needing homes.

If you have a car and enjoy driving, help the Animal Care Center get animals to rescue facilities.  By being willing to transport, you have the ability to increase their chance for adoption.  It also frees up space at the shelter so another pet in need can have a safe place to be during this season.  By helping one in this way, you are actually helping two animals.

The Tehama County Animal Care Center’s staff can use a great deal of help exercising and socializing the animals.  In as little as thirty minutes, once a week, taking a dog for a walk or playing with a cat will have the huge benefit of getting them ready for their new home.  Working with the dogs to understand basics like sit, down, and leash walking contributes to making them more desirable to potential adopters and/or rescues.  The extra benefit is that the animals adore the attention and exercise.

If you are throwing a holiday party, perhaps you could ask your guests to bring something to donate, like those special treats or something comfortable animals can lay on.  You could, in addition, place a jar with a picture of one of the shelter pets on your desk at work and ask for sponsorship donations.  Sponsoring a spay or neuter will help lower the animal’s adoption fee and, again, increase its chances for adoption into a warm, caring home.  If you have the time and energy, take the action one step further and organize a donation drive, bake sale, raffle, or other fundraising event.  Anything raised can be designated for specific uses, like purchasing scratching pads for the cats, which are special extras the county budget does not cover.

Fostering may not be considered as an “easy” way to help, but it is considered as one of the most vital things you can do.  Temporarily opening your home to a disadvantaged animal and providing the care and love it needs truly represents the best of holiday spirit.  It can also provide you with one of the most rewarding experiences you may ever know. 


This holiday season, why not make a homeless animal’s days a little brighter?  Why not give them the special holidays they deserve?  Every animal should be able to receive the joy of the season, whether they have a home or not.  So, while we celebrate the holidays, let’s not forget our furry friends.    

Friday, December 5, 2014

COLD WEATHER PET TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS


Just as cold, wet weather can be difficult for us, it can also pose serious health issues to pets.  Some pets are more apt at staying outside, but it does not mean that they are immune to problems resultant from frigid temperatures.  Puppies, kittens, and the animal elderly, like their human counterparts, are definitely more susceptible to illness and injury in chilly environments.  Therefore, the best way to protect them during the winter months is simply to bring them inside. 

Any time the temperature drops, pets need protection.  If you cannot keep your pet inside, consider providing an insulated enclosure that will keep them safe.  Placing the shelter in a protected area, like a garage or on a covered porch, will assist in keeping the animal warmer.  In addition, be sure to raise it several inches off the ground to keep the cold from leeching up through the bottom.  Providing a flap over the entrance will also assist in keeping out cold gusts.  Line the bottom of the housing with old sleeping bags, heavy blankets, or a thick padding of straw.  No matter what you use, be sure to check bedding frequently since blankets, etc. can get wet and freeze, thus defeating their purpose of providing additional warmth.

Also be sure to match calories to temperature and activity.  If your dog spends a lot of time outside, he/she may need to have its food supply increased, especially protein portions.  Conversely, if your dog is indoors most of the time with decreased activity, then fewer calories are required.  When in doubt, always be sure to ask your vet about the pet’s diet.  Fresh water is crucial at any time, therefore should always be readily available.  Check the water often, ensuring that it does not freeze.  Since pets cannot get enough water from licking ice or snow, a frozen water bowl can lead to dehydration quickly.

Keeping your pet well groomed during the winter months will aid in keeping him/her warmer.  Matted hair does not insulate properly and puts the animal at risk.  In addition, never shave a dog in winter.  The longer coat will provide necessary extra warmth.  Short-haired animals will benefit from a warm covering when going outside.  Be sure to provide one that is not just cute.  Look for adequate padding and a good fit.  However, do not put clothes on your pet and send him/her outside unsupervised.  Some dogs wear clothes happily, others will try to get out of them and risk getting them caught in a way that can cause harm.

Keep an eye on your pet’s foot-pads.  If the dog seems to be walking strangely, chances are the feet are probably too cold or ice may be forming between the pads.  If you put protective booties on the dog be sure they fit snuggly.  If they are too constricted you risk compromising circulation, thus increasing chances of frostbite.  In addition, always be sure to clean off legs, feet, and stomach when your pet comes in out of sleet or snow.  If the pet cleans itself and ingests salt or antifreeze, it can become fatally ill.  Because antifreeze in any amount is lethal to dogs and cats, be sure to immediately clean up spills and buy it made with propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.

Most people know pets left alone in a car during the heat of summer can die.  The same holds true during the cold of winter.  Cars can get as cold as any refrigerator’s freezer, and pets can easily perish.  Remember also, cats often take refuge under car hoods to be near warm engines in cold weather.  Therefore, before starting your car, bang loudly on the hood or honk the horn, to give any cat a chance to escape and avoid serious injury.

If your pet suffers from cold exposure and exhibits such symptoms as violent shivering, listlessness, muscle stiffness, difficulty breathing, and lack of appetite, wrap him/her in a blanket and go to your veterinarian as soon as possible.  Do not immerse them in warm water, and please avoid heating pads, which can cause burns.

Our pets can experience mild distress to serious complications when the cold weather arrives  A few safeguards can minimize risk.





Monday, November 24, 2014

ACTS OF COMPASSION IN A SOMETIMES DISMAL WORLD


Lately, the news frequently seems dismal at best.  We hear constantly of man’s inhumanity to man and the seven deadly sins appear to be the norm in the world around us.  We often feel that it is virtually impossible for one person to make right any of the injustices done. 

Mason Cooley stated, “Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” Individuals, groups, and businesses came together to accomplish numerous acts of compassion last week.  These random acts of kindness made the world, for many furry companions, become a better place.  The people involved were not only from our immediate community, but spanned the United States.  We may never know the full names of all those involved.  Even if we do not know the individuals, we do know that they rallied together, not for gratitude, but out of concern and unbelievable compassion.

What were the unselfish acts that managed to bring some bright moments into lives that have known their share of bleakness? 

To begin with, our community came together to hold LIFT Tehama, an event which connected people in need with various services.  P.E.T.S. had the great honor of being one of the organizations involved.  People have pets and those pets are often the only forms of companionship on which they can depend.  Unfortunately, some cannot adequately provide everything required for the pets they adore.  As a small organization, we needed help to be able to assist them.  The help came in ways and amounts that stunned us.  Donations of pet food and supplies rolled in.  Volunteers from throughout the area dedicated a great deal of personal time to do all that was required, without question or hesitation.  As a result, over 150 animals were cared for because of everyone’s selfless generosity.  In addition, many other animals will benefit this coming month from food and supplies not used during the event.

The second instance of the unselfish acts of the week was regarding an un-named injured stray mutt brought into the Tehama County Animal Care Center.  He had a fractured pelvis which, to fix, would require expensive surgery, far beyond what the county budget could afford.  In addition, his intensive rehabilitation would require a dedicated foster home for a period of at least six months.  His options were extremely bleak.  “Would anyone step in to help a nameless dog?” was the question of the hour.  Quicker than a lightning strike, word of his plight spread through counties and states.  In less than 36 hours, a foster came forth.  Additionally, through the cooperative fund-raising efforts of organizations in Tehama and Shasta Counties, over twenty-five hundred dollars was raised to pay for his specialized surgery.  The funds donated were by individuals, some of which live as distant as the state of Maine.  Compassion for a no-name stray reached a new level in Tehama County and I believe history was made.

Lastly, but no less impressive, were other random acts of kindness by assorted individuals.  The Tehama County Animal Care Center again found itself the recipient of a number of dogs obtained from a hoarding situation.  A local groomer heard about them and, without a moment’s hesitation, stepped in to give them the grooming they so urgently needed.  Another citizen found puppies abandoned and much too young to live without care.  Acting quickly she gathered the tiny babies and brought them to the Center, thus ensuring their survival.  


In a world filled with troubles, we know that there will always be extreme acts of cruelty and abuse.   However, this past week we saw that one act of compassion, joined with multiple others, can improve lives.  And, for a moment, the world became a much brighter place.