Unwanted Pet–What Do I Do?

Yesterday, a news story broke about six, day old, kittens being left in a cooler and found in Surrey, still with their umbilical cords attached. They were left exposed to the heat, dehydrated, and without their momma for nutrition and care. The SPCA has said that had they not been discovered they would have died within hours. I’m sure the SPCA is in need of donations for the special formula that will be required to feed these babies, but more than that they need leads to track down the sick mofo that did this.

Two of the six kittens, likely only a few days old, that were abandoned in a camping cooler on a Surrey street. They have been taken in by the SPCA.

The reason for this post isn’t actually about these kittens, mainly its intention is to bring awareness on how to do the right thing when you need to, or want to, give up a pet that you no longer want. If you find yourself in the position where you have no love for the pets in your home, you cat had a litter of oopsies, or you can no longer take care of your beloved pet, your pet (wanted or unwanted) depends on you to protect them when you can no longer take care of them. It is your social responsibility to make sure that you make the best decision for your pet for their future.

Firstly, people should know that shelters and rescues were not created as a dumping ground for irresponsible people who don’t want the pet that has been placed in their care. They were intended to help strays and abused animals find recovery and safety within a new home.

The second thing people should be aware of is roughly only 25% of all animals in shelters are adopted..the rest are euthanized. Senior animals have a very low adoption rate, and if they are cranky in their old age then that small percentage falls to an even smaller percentage.

People should ask themselves, “Am I getting rid of my pet because I don’t want it,” or, “Am I giving up my pet because I can no longer give it the proper care and attention it deserves?”

The 10 most common reasons for people wanting to get rid of a pet are:

  1. We just got a new baby!
  2. We have allergies
  3. Dominance or marking behaviors
  4. We’re moving!
  5. Litterbox or house breaking problems
  6. Aggression
  7. Our old pet doesn’t get along with our new pet
  8. Destructiveness in the house
  9. I’m elderly and unable to care for my pet
  10. We don’ have enough time for our pet

There are many things you can do to ensure you are giving up a pet you dislike, or a pet you deeply love, a better chance in the future. Responsible breeders and rescues may be able to offer you help should you need to rehome your pet. CALL or visit the person(s) you adopted/bought your pet from and ask for help/advice. The next think you need to do is GET REAL. Is your pet adoptable? You need to be aware that a dog over 10 is generally much less adoptable than a 4 year old with 6+ years left in it. Is your dog un-kept, needs grooming, or has a bad behavior problem. Easy things like having your pet groomed or having a vet check prior to re-homing will greatly increase it’s chance of finding a new home. You should also NEVER re-home a pet that is intact. PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS. If you can’t afford this, there are MANY different programs and places that will HELP you do this. Just a note to add to this overall subject, very young kittens being given up to a shelter should be left at the shelter with their mother until their can be weaned from her. The shelter will allow you to have the female back if you would still like to keep her.  If you choose to use an advertising media to re-home your pet, make and ad that will give them the best chance of an amazing future.

Example of a bad ad:

“Free to good home, 10 year old black labrador”.

Example of a GOOD ad:

“Adult black labrador, sweet, gentle, and loves children is seeking a new home with no other pets and a fenced yard. Has had a vet check and grooming recently. $50 please contact Jane Doe at 555-5555”

You need to outline what your pet needs in a home, or what is important for you. Do you care if they go to an apartment or do you want them to go to a large home with a yard? Is your dog good with other pets or children under a certain age? NEVER say “free to good home”. Free opens the doors to brokers, puppy millers, or bad owners. If someone can’t afford a small adoption fee for your pet they probably can’t afford your pet anyways.Adoption won’t happen over night, sometimes it can take a month, so have enough respect for your pet not to give up on them. You can also contact GOOD friends on facebook to see if they’d like to give your pet a new home. DON’T give your pet to the first person that calls in. Interview them, ask them questions like:

“Where do you live, what is your name and phone number?” If something ever happens to your pet you know who to contact.

“Does your strata, landlord, or spouse approve of you having a pet?”

“Do you have any other pets or any children? How old?”

“Have you had a pet before, how long did you have them for?”

“Where will this pet spend most of it’s time, how long will it be alone for during the day?”

“Do you have a fenced yard, if not do you lives close to any parks, how much exercise can you give the pet?”

“What kind of pet are you looking for?”

GET REFERENCES, ask them for their vet’s phone number or for two friends or co-workers numbers.

If you decide this person calling in seems to be a good match, VISIT THEIR HOME. Make sure they are who they say they are. If you are physically unable to do so, ask someone for help. Tell them your expectations and ask them to do a home-check for you. Allow the new person to meet your pet and spend some time with them. If in a day or two they still want your pet–GREAT. Supply them with the pet’s vet records, the name and phone number of your vet, your name and phone number, instructions on any special dietary or medicinal needs, and inform them of any identification on the dog (microchil #, tattoo #, etc). Inform them that any pet going into a new home will have an adjustment period and should it not work out to CONTACT you. After they have had their first few days or first week with the pet call them to see how things are going–it’s the least you can do.

And just know that you have done your best for the future of your pet, and you gave them a better shot at a great life rather than dumping them in a cooler on the side of the road.


Q&A On Senior Adoptions

Okay, I realize it’s not Sunday, but I feel a confession coming on. I love my weasel with all my heart, but he was a CHALLENGE (to say the least) for the first year that we had him. Granted the last 8 months have been a breeze, but I’m still scarred from the potty training, the separation anxiety, obedience training, and house destroying. But I HAD to have a puppy… I’m sure I had my reasons, but funnily enough, now I don’t know what those reasons were. What I can remember is he was just so darn cute, but since, I’ve also had some of my heart strings tugged for senior dogs that I never used to give a second thought. I decided to ask a girlfriend, whom I know has adopted her fair share of senior dogs before, a couple of questions that I thought people considering adoption may want to know before they decide on a dog.
Q: When did you adopt your first senior and what made you go that way over adopting a younger dog?
A: My own two dogs were getting up in age and I needed an energy level that matched theirs. They could no longer play non-stop with other dogs, but now just wanted to hang out with other dogs.
Q: Is it hard knowing that you won’t have a senior dog as long as say a puppy, or does that not factor in to your willingness to adopt them?
A: It is somewhat difficult knowing you won’t have them for very long, but that is never a factor in our willingness to adopt them, especially when you know how hard it is for seniors to find homes. It is nice to give them a loving environment for the end of their lives, to tend to all their needs and just be there for them.
Q: What is your favourite thing about senior dogs?
A: Once a dog gets up in age, you begin to appreciate the mellower kind of energy they can provide. They come completely trained and don’t require as much exercise and stimulation as a younger dog.
Q: Is there anything people should know about, or do as soon as they rescue/adopt a senior dog?
A: While they can still be young at heart and want to run/play etc. like a younger dog, they can have some physical limitations with mobility i.e. arthritis that will need to be managed. For example- they might want to play ball for a very long period of time, but shouldn’t as they could pay for it shortly thereafter, or the next day with stiff joints. You need to know when to stop and make that decision for them. I also made some adjustments to the back steps making them safer for my seniors.
Q: What are some senior friendly games and activities you and your dogs participate in?
A: We pretty much do the same things we’d do with a younger dog, but not to the same extent. Easy and short walks and playing fetch in the back yard are the basics. If they are able, going on group dog walks and heading back early if necessary. We’ve had 2-3 seniors at one time and usually our seniors do not have the same physical energy level as each other and so each one will get a different type of exercise for a different duration.
Q: What has been the most challenging part about owning senior dogs?
A: Not having them as long as we would like and always wishing we’d had them their entire lives. Depending on their health issues there will likely be some vet bills and medications to administer.
Q: What would you say to someone who only wants to adopt a puppy?
A: Great! If you want a pup, go for it. Each person is looking for something different- some want pups, some want older dogs. I prefer the ready-made senior, who comes with manners, is house trained, one who has a calm energy and a gentle disposition.

If that doesn’t convince you that seniors may be a viable choice- I don’t know what will. But I did hear some very alarming stats over the past few weeks. Only 25% of all dogs admitted into a shelter actually get adopted. Of that 25% only a very small percentage belongs to senior adoptions. Unfortunately, depending on where they end up, they may be euthanized for being un-adoptable. Thanks to people like my girlfriend, seniors are given very special homes who will probably erase any bad memories of their life prior, or of the family that gave them up because they were moving, or the dog wasn’t cute anymore, or the dog nipped a child, etc. Her willingness to overlook the fact that she that she will not have them very long, but focus more on the life she can provide for them is what will make their lives fully enriched and filled with joy and love. Her compassion is unyielding, and her heart ever expanding.

Adoptable Pet Of The Day

Today’s APOTD is Teekie. She has recently had a litter of puppies and was rescued (while pregnant) from a high kill shelter in LA. She only had days before she and her unborn puppies were going to be euthanized. Thanks to Dachshund Rescue Team in Abbotsford, BC she has had her puppies and can finally relax while in the care of her foster mom. BUT, once these puppies are old enough she would love a place to call home. Her profile can be viewed at: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/23872096.

Teekie and Pups: Chihuahua, Dog; Abbotsford, BC

Teekie and Pups: Chihuahua, Dog; Abbotsford, BC

LongDogConnection has no affiliation with any rescue groups posted.

Oh Calgary, Why Have You Been Led A Stray?

Yesterday, a loyal reader of mine posted on LongDogConnection’s facebook a poll asking whether or not the City of Calgary should ban Pit Bulls. Quickly I voted no, and thought that the story was just something random posted by the Calgary Herold. Well, I was wrong, there was an “incident” that they were reporting on, and they sure knew how to scare the public. Take the following photo for example:

Dog teeth

This was the photo used in the editorial. If you ask me–this dog was mid yawn and not mid attack. I voiced my opinion on how sick it is to use such a photo to scare the public. I mean really, how childish! The poll results near the end of the day were: 30% people voted YES for a ban and 70% voted NO for the ban. Reading the comments at least some people weren’t being scared into having a false opinion towards this dog breed.

User RDLarry wrote, “So when a child acts out of turn (kills an animal, steals things, etc), does that mean that after their first offense they should be put down”?

User ChaffBurner clearly has a few things to learn, “How ignorant can you get. These dogs disfigure and maim, sometimes kill thousands of children and adults every year. Many municipalities now have total bans on them. Get rid of them once and for all. they`re like rats, pure varmin”!

Man would I like to sit him in a room and blast him with factorial knowledge like the fact that a human hasn’t been killed by a Pit Bull in Canada in MANY years, I think it’s around 9-10 years actually. UNFORTUNATELY, I am unable to post a reply to this *ahem* idiot, because the Calgary Herold has stopped allowing postings on this article (surprise!).

Basically the just of this story is a woman is under investigation for using her 2 Pit Bulls to attack her friend whom was staying with her in a “near fatal mauling”. Of course one of the dogs was shot by police officers on scene for being “aggressive” and the other taken and held in custody. I have the following to say on this:

  1. Where is the proof that these were “American Pit Bull Terriers”? Because we all know that “Pit Bull” IS NOT a breed of dog, I’d like to see the CKC or AKC papers for these dogs, otherwise how do we know they are not another similar looking terrier breed?
  2. If strange men (police officers) barged into my house/dwelling my 10 lb weiner dog would also act aggressively towards them, because he would be PROTECTING his home. Golly, we love having dogs for protection, security, and even crime fighting, but as soon as they show those emotions to a cop, oh “too aggressive, let’s shoot it”.
  3. I’m bothered, really bothered by the media and their constant “calling” to get cities to ban Pit Bulls and scare the living daylights out of residents. Enough is enough!  The writer responsible for this article is Dan Dormer and I suggest everyone reading this contact him here: dave.dormer@sunmedia.ca and let him know that this IS NOT okay. Subsequent articles since can be found here.

Calgary has the lowest bite stat in all of Canada and this is without Breed Specific Legislation, clearly this should mean something, but I guess the Calgary Herold writers don’t bother looking at that side of the coin.

Trip To The Vancouver SPCA

So this weekend I had a rare opportunity to hangout with my favourite 5 year old at the Vancouver SPCA. We went with a group of about 30 adults and kids with the intention that the kids could learn more about why animals are held there, how to meet them in kennels, and how to get an animal out of the shelter. I must say at first I was some what skeptical how the kids would receive the information (especially the wee one I brought), BUT the kids actually listened and interpreted pretty well, and I must applaud the SPCA volunteers for making their information so kid friendly.

Kids were taught how to approach the kennels, get low to the ground and let the dog sniff the back of your hand before you try to touch the dog. Keep quiet and calm and let the dog feel comfortable around you. The kids actually listened and asked really great questions. This leads me to believe that we can start targeting the younger generation to help these shelters and help the animals placed there.

One of the staff asked us, “Who here already owns a dog?” Not surprisingly I was the only one to raise my hand. Then she asked , “Who here already owns a cat?” Again, I was the only one to raise my hand and every one burst out laughing. Lots of people asked me questions about my pets, how I got them, etc.

Last week I posted about an American Staffordshire Terrier named Bugsy awaiting his home at the Vancouver SPCA. Well, to my delight I got to meet him. He was so sweet and so kind and surprisingly, even though he looks like a scary ‘Pit Bull’ he was everyone’s favourite dog. I thought for sure the cropped ears would scare everyone off but not at all. He was laying in his kennel just ignoring everyone but giving smiles, not jumping at the door and some people even expressed how surprised they were how well behaved he was for his breed.

The kids also learned about how easily pets can get sick and that they can sneeze and cough just like people do. The kids were fascinated by this and at the instruction of the staff didn’t pet the animals and go on to the next. They understood how easily pets can get other pets sick. They were however, able to spend some quality time with a Border Collie/ Cattle Dog cross named Amy (whom I’ll post a photo of at the bottom). She was FULL of energy but the kids adored her. They also loved being able to snuggle a guinea pig. It amazed me how many different types of pets the Vancouver SPCA branch can house–rabbits, cats, dogs, etc.

This shelter has definitely helped changed my mind about government funded rescue groups as they are doing a splendid job over there. Everything was clean, sanitary and well maintained and the animals had LOTS of treats, and outside time and all seemed very happy.


Adoptable Pet Of The Day!

Okay so it took me awhile today to find the perfect APOTD today, BUT when I saw Ms. Polly’s face it was all I could do to restrain myself from driving over there and adopting her myself! Polly may be the cutest Doxie cross I’ve seen in awhile, but I think her mix will be perfect for a family that wants the laid back side of the Dachshund and the more excitable side of the Cocker Spaniel. She is waiting for her furever home at Angels Under Our Wings Cocker Spaniel Rescue in Vancouver, BC and her profile can be viewed at http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/23569096.

Polly: Cocker Spaniel, Dog; Vancouver, BC

Polly: Cocker Spaniel, Dog; Vancouver, BC

Polly: Cocker Spaniel, Dog; Vancouver, BC

LongDogConnection has no affiliations with any posted rescues.

Mom, It’s Too Hot To Play Outside!

What’s up Vancouver? It’s going to be a gnarly 33 degrees today, and we KNOW with our usual humidity it will be too hot to run our pets outside. Their water bowl and your AC will be gettin’ a LOT of action in the next few days! So staying inside with your pet is bound to drive them bonkers, but what ways can you allow them to release energy inside your home, or even in your small apartment?

Did you know that games that involve brain work can be more tiring than taking your dog for a run? These brain games are the PERFECT way to entertain your dog in the heat (inside) without having to put in too much effort yourself! After all, we love our furbabies but entertaining them can prove to be a lot of work!

Here are some ideas to ‘get the ball rolling’:

  • Pick up a puzzle toy. There are toys that your dog can play fairly safely on his own and there are some that you need to sit there and watch him/her with (or even for the safety of the toy!). Puzzle toys can get frustrating so it’s important to know when the game is over, or when your pooch needs a little help. Everyone knows my favourite puzzle toy is the Buster Cube, but for more advanced pooches you may want to consider The Tornado by Nina Ottosson:

The Company of Animals Dog Tornado Interactive Dog Game

  • Scent games are another really great way to work your dogs brain. You can leave a pattern of treats on the floor all over the house; you can hide treats all over the house; you can throw small treats and ask them to “find it”; or you can put some peanut butter or something in different locations, ask your dog to find it, when they do click and treat. The back and fourth motion of this last idea will tire them fast.
  • Treasure hunts are not only fun for kids but pooches too! If you have a shaded porch or back yard you can build a small sand box and bury toys or treats for your dog to find. Inside you could also do this with many blankets and sheets on the floor. Tangle the toys or treats in the blankets and let the dog dig them out.
  • Hide a treat in your hand, mix it up behind your back and ask your dog to touch the hand that they think the treat is in.
  • Stuff Kong rubber/hollow toys with peanut butter, frozen yogurt, frozen stew, etc.
  • Teach new tricks like: bring the remote; grab the newspaper; put your toys away..etc\
  • Take 4-5 cups, place a treat under one of them, mix the cups up and ask your dog to pick which cup has the treat.
  • Play follow the leader. Teach your dog to match your pace, follow behind, walk through your legs, back up when you do, lift a leg when you do, etc…

Start with these and in the meantime I’ll try to brainstorm some other awesome games to play inside! Happy summer and remember these signs of heat stroke in your pooch:

  • Panting
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Foaming at the Mouth
  • Dry Gums
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Whining/Barking
  • V omitting/Diarrhea
  • Confusion/Loss of Coordination
  • Red Gums
  • Tremors

And please, when you are playing inside, give your dog water breaks.