For the Love of Shelter Dogs*


Kitten Update
June 30, 2009, 3:55 am
Filed under: Foster Kittens

Our foster kittens are all doing very well. They went back to the shelter today for a check up and they all have upper respiratory infections and conjunctivitis. They’re on meds now and will hopefully be all better in a few days.

Keesa is a lot bigger now. She started out as the odd kitten out because she was from a different litter. It’s very obvious now that she’s a week older, at least, than the other kittens. She’s very big and very much a bully. But she’s adorable and loves to be held and cuddled.

Kaydence is a mess! She’s a crazy little kitty and has learned how to climb up legs. I’ll be standing at the counter fixing their food, and all of a sudden I feel kitten-claws gripping my leg and moving upwards. It’s a little freaky, but she’s too cute to be mad at!

Kesler is growing stronger. We weren’t too sure about his neurological health for the first week and a half, and we’re still not entirely convinced he’s a normal little kitten, but he’s getting a lot better. He’s learned to use the litter box, though he still doesn’t like to (he’ll go as far from it as possible to do his business). We’re trying to think of a way to encourage litter-box-usage, but so far we haven’t come up with any brilliant plans. He’s eating well and playing with the other kitties, so we think he’s just a slow learner.

Callahan is my little baby. I love him! I didn’t think I’d like a kitten this much, but I really do. If I could adopt a kitten, I’d adopt Callahan. He’s such a lovey little guy. I’ll lay down on my stomach with my arms under my face and tuck him between my arm and my face and he’ll curl up and fall asleep. He loves to be cuddled with, but he also loves to play. He’s a great little kitty.

Magnus is now named Cooper (as in Mini Cooper, though he’s not really the runt anymore). He is identical to Callahan, except Cooper has bright green eyes and Callahan has bright blue eyes. Cooper is a wild little guy, but he’s fun. He doesn’t cuddle as much as his twin, but he really likes to sit on us. He’s precious.

More pictures will follow, but I haven’t taken them off my camera yet.



For the Love of Shelter Cats?
June 13, 2009, 3:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Since our foster puppies got parvo we aren’t able to foster puppies until next summer, at least. The shelter always has a lot of kittens that are in need of foster homes, so we decided to foster a litter of kittens. We picked up our 5 kitties today – three male and two female. One of the females is from a different litter that appears to be a week older, so we have 4 three week old kitties and one 4 week old kitty.  They’re really adorable. The males are named Callahan, Kesler, and Magnus (he’s the runt) and the females are named Kaydence and Keesa.

Little Keesa, the four-week-old from the other litter

Little Keesa, the four-week-old from the other litter

Callahan

Callahan

Little Magnus, sleeping on our kitten-care-guide

Little Magnus, sleeping on our kitten-care-guide

Little Kesler, not quite sure what to do

Little Kesler, not quite sure what to do

Keesa on the left and Kaydence on the right. So sleepy and cute!

Keesa on the left and Kaydence on the right. So sleepy and cute!

I’ll keep updating as they grow! We have them until July 20, so there will be many more updates.

Mariamme and I are heading an adoption fair tomorrow, so there won’t be any kitten-cuteness until Sunday or Monday. But check back!



Yard Sale and Adoption Fair
June 8, 2009, 3:00 am
Filed under: Adoption Fair

This weekend was the shelter’s second yard sale. For a couple weeks we’d been asking for donations from the public of items we could sell, so that all the money we raised could be donated to the shelter. We got a lot of donations, from clothes to CDs to sheets to various household items.

On Friday night, the day before the yard sale, Mariamme and I went over to help organize all the donations and get everything ready to set out. Right off the bat I was assigned the task of examining and “sniffing” the sheets, blankets, towels, and other made-out-of-fabric donations. I wasn’t too thrilled about this, but I did it anyway. Most things didn’t smell worse than would be expected for a yard sale. Occasionally I came across something horrendous, usually smelling of cat pee or sweat or feet, but most of the donations were great. There was one blanket that will haunt my dreams, though. It was at the very bottom of an otherwise clean and stink-free bag. I pulled it out by the corner, just in case. It unfolded to reveal dried vomit, probably from a cat. I threw it and squealed the very stereotypical “girly scream” and backed up against the wall. The woman, Carolyn, who donated her yard for the sale and Mariamme both looked over, saw the vomit, and squealed along with me. Now, we’re not a very squealy bunch, unless there’s something with thousands of legs skittering around our feet. Carolyn said “Yeah, we’re throwing that one away.” I squished myself to the wall more and said “I don’t want to touch it again!” She came over and wrapped it in the plastic garbage bag and carried it over to her trash can. We had to ask, though, who would donate something covered in vomit (pet vomit or otherwise) to a fund-raising yard sale? I can only hope they didn’t know it was there, though I’m not sure how they could have missed it.

That was the most disgusting find of the night, but there were a couple of interesting ones. Someone donated a green leather jacket that looked like either a bad biker’s jacket with a weird dye-job or something from a Michael Jackson music video. Of course, I couldn’t resist trying it on. It looked pretty unworn, so I figured it was probably safe. It fit me pretty well, but I don’t think I’d have any use for a green leather biker-meets-Michael-Jackson jacket.

Someone donated a pair of silver-sequined shorts that, I’ll admit, I was very tempted to buy. I resisted, though. The last thing I need is silver-sequined shorts. For one, I don’t wear shorts, and for two, I don’t think I’d ever wear any pants or shorts that were covered in sequins. But then again, styles do change. They could come in handy some day in the hopefully very distant future.

Mariamme and I left Carolyn’s house around 10:00. We got to her house around 7:30 the next morning to help set up all the stuff. The yard sale wasn’t supposed to start until 8:00, but when we got there her driveway and garage were packed with yard-salers. We asked her and one of TPTB from the shelter how early people started coming, and they told us the first person showed up around 6:45.

Mariamme and I got to work unloading items from the shelter van. Apparently someone who works with Pier 1, maybe at a warehouse or something, donated a whole bunch of stuff. We had one of those mini-storage-places full of donated Pier 1 goodies. Mariamme and I unloaded the truck and watched the stuff get snatched up within a few minutes. We thought that was the end of it and whoever came later was just out of luck and missed the really great stuff, but another van-load came that we unpacked and set out. The second batch disappeared really quickly as well. Unfortunately we had to leave before the third truck load arrived. We had signed up to lead an adoption fair and had to grab a quick lunch and head over to pick up the dogs.

We ended up bringing Zed, a lab/retriever/pit mix, and Tess, a shepherd mix. They were great dogs to have. Zed is a little shy, so he likes to sit quietly near you or flop himself across your lap. Tess was happy to be sitting next to you, greeting the people, barking at the dogs, or laying in the shade. She tended to get worked up when a dog walked by that didn’t come close enough for her to sniff, but she was easily calmed down.

Tess is a smart girl. She already knew how to sit for a treat. I managed to teach her “lay down” and “shake” within a three hour period. Mariamme managed to teach Zed “lay down” and he could’ve learned shake if he hadn’t been startled by every car that passed.

We didn’t get many donations and no one got adopted. Tess got seriously considered, but the woman decided to go home and think it over for a day or so. Hopefully she’ll decide that she really loves Tess and wants to adopt her.

Overall the day went pretty well. We gave attention to needy dogs, taught them some tricks that may help them get adopted, and spread the word about the shelter. We corrected a lot of misconceptions. Everyone always asks us how long we keep the dogs at the shelter, and they’re always surprised when we say “We try to keep them as long as it takes to find them homes.” We always hear “Oh, so you don’t just keep them three days and then euthanize them?” That’s the popular stereotype. True, a lot of county shelter are horrible places for dogs and cats to end up, but our shelter isn’t like that. I wish more people knew that not all shelters are the same. I want people to realize this. A lot of people are afraid to go to animal shelters because they think they’ll be dark and dirty places, filled with suffering and death. If we can just teach more people that not all shelters will be depressing or frightening I’m positive we’ll be able to find more homes for pets.

Zed, cautiously accepting a treat

Zed, cautiously accepting a treat

Sweet sad Tess, patiently awaiting her new family to come and find her

Sweet sad Tess, patiently awaiting her new family to come and find her



Puppies, and Shelter Happenings
June 5, 2009, 3:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Our other two foster puppies ended up getting parvo. Malia had to be put to sleep on May 28, and Keanu made it to May 30. I miss them, but I’m glad they’re not suffering.

Mariamme and I met their mother (or the dog we’re pretty sure is their mother) on June 2nd. It was my birthday, and I was thinking that morning about how, if I couldn’t still have the puppies, I’d at least like to meet their mom. I was so happy she made it up to the adoption rooms! Her name is Shea (I think I’m spelling it the way they spelled it) and she’s a 5 year old Retriever mix. She’s a short  and stout junkyard-looking dog, but she’s adorable and sweet. She likes to just sit by our feet and get petted. I really like her, and I hope she has more luck at getting adopted than last years’ foster puppies’ mom, CoCo. She was adopted a few months ago, then returned because she was too active. It’s pretty obvious that her people didn’t give her much exercise; she’s a chubby little girl. Hopefully she’ll find a permanent loving home.

Shea

Shea

Shea

Shea

We’re going to be fostering kittens in a couple weeks. Since our pups had parvo, a highly contagious disease for which their is no cure, we can’t foster any puppies for another year. Kittens can’t get doggy-parvo. I’ll post pictures when we get the kitties!

Construction is coming along nicely on the new building. Well, they haven’t actually brought the building in yet, but they’re working on clearing the land and leveling the land. It took forever for the necessary parties to agree on where to put the building. Where the shelter wanted it, the county said no. Where one group of TPTB wanted it, another group didn’t. Everyone finally settled on a nice place that isn’t too close to anything, but close enough that it won’t be a ridiculous walk for people. And it’s not going to be a paperwork building anymore; now it’s going to be offices for staff. Many of the shelter staff members have lost offices due to overcrowding. One woman gave up her office so there could be one more cat adoption room. All of the staff sacrifice a lot to help the animals, so it’s only fair that they have their own offices.

They’ve promise us volunteers that after the building is in and as soon as they have the time/funds, they’ll put the extra front pens back up. I can’t wait!

I’ve been watching a lot of Dogtown lately, and I’ve noticed that every time they get in a medical case, the narrator always says something along the lines of “If this dog had been taken to a regular animal shelter, he/she would have been euthanized almost immediately. But here at Best Friends…” This is starting to annoy me. At first it didn’t, because a lot of animal shelters don’t spend money on the trauma or medical cases. But after a while, their stereotyping of all animal shelters has started to irk me. Our shelter isn’t anything like the animal shelters that keep dogs for three days and then euthanize them. We keep dogs in intake for three days, then do a medical evaluation, assess any issues/behavioral problems they may have, and then put them up for adoption if there’s nothing too serious. If there is something serious, like heartworm, we treat it.

Being a county animal shelter, we have to take in whatever is brought to us. Animal Control, the police, and citizens all bring in strays they find, and owners will bring in their pets if they can no longer keep/no longer wish to keep them. We treat what we can, but unfortunately we must humanely euthanize the rest. We treat more than most shelters, though. Take Cindy, a beagle mix, for example. She was found by a lady after she was thrown out of her owner’s car onto the road. The woman picked her up and brought her to us. Cindy had a  broken back and many other medical issues. The woman paid for Cindy’s major surgery (which cost $4000), and the shelter paid for the rest (which ended up being about $2000). Cindy recovered well and was put up for adoption. She lasted only about a day before someone took her home. Now she’s happy, loved, and healthy. We help dogs with broken limbs, gunshot wounds, and various other issues. So the stereotype of “No shelters spend money on a dog’s/cat’s/creature’s medical problems” now annoys me.

I’m not criticising Dogtown. I’m criticising whoever wrote what the narrator says. Dogtown is a wonderful place because of what it does for the animals. Their education program is great, their rescue program is fantastic, and they are very committed to the dogs. I’m hoping to visit there someday.

This Saturday is going to be full of shelter related activities: yard sale in the morning and adoption fair in the afternoon. I’ll let you know how it goes! Hopefully we’ll get both dogs adopted out. We’re bringing Zed, a lab/pit mix, and Tess, an adorable shepherd mix. They’ve both been at the shelter a long time, and we’re all really hoping they’ll be able to find a great forever home.