Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pies for Paws!...?

Quite an interesting day to say the least! I was pretty busy all day today since I was the only adoptions counselor in the dog I definitely had my hands full. One of my favorite things as an adoptions counselor is having adopted dogs and their new families come back to visit. I love seeing how happy they are and how they have been adjusting to their new homes, it truly makes my day! :)

Yesterday and today, I had three dogs come back with their owners to visit and say hello. One was a black pit/lab puppy named Lucy that is not the tiny puppy she used to be anymore, but definitely acts like one! She was sporting her bright pink paw prints collar and fashionable matching leash. The other was a black Lab named Sammy that was one of the most skiddish and nervous dogs I have ever seen come in to the shelter. Today he came in holding his head high and looked a lot more relaxed and happier than ever, a totally different dog! Harley was the last one to come in and visit, a male Pitbull that had the sweetest personality and loved to give kisses. As soon as he walked through those doors he ran straight up to me and nearly knocked me over in excitement. These are the kind of things I look forward to when I do adoptions, knowing that I'm sending them off to a better life and to a happy home. Made my stressful and hectic day not so bad!

During lunch I went out to grab a snack with a co-worker across the street, and as we were coming back we saw a big flashing sign on the side of the road. Across the street is our County Animal Services and they also have pet adoptions as well. There sign is what caught us off guard and I couldn't help but read it, it said "Adoption Special going on Today! Pies for Paws!". What could this possibly mean?? Clearly my curiosity got the best of me so as soon as we got back to the break room I called over and asked what the special was...ready for it? If you adopt a pet you get a pie...?!

 I found it absolutely hilarious! I mean it's great that they're doing some kind of special for people to be "rewarded" with after adopting a dog or cat...but a pie? Would you want a pie after adopting a pet? Sounds kind of strange to me but hey, to each their own! I guess desperate times call for desperate measures...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Amber the Bull Terrier

How many times have you seen this dog on TV commercials and at the ever infamous Target store? I bet plenty! I'm sure many of you don't know much about the dog besides that it's the poster child for Target right? I didn't know much about the breed either until a very special dog came into the shelter about a month ago...and her name is Amber. 

Meet Amber a.k.a the Bull Terrier!

Bullseye is the dog featured in all the Target marketing and advertising campaigns, while Amber is a sweet girl that lives in a shelter. Bull Terriers are known to be extremely friendly and social dogs and are definitely attention getters in public. It's hard to not to stop and be amazed by that football shaped head and short muscular body. Apart from their unusual physical appearance, their personality is much softer than that; they usually become strongly attached to their families.

Unfortunately for Amber, she was tested positive for Heartworms and is currently in Isolation being treated (it takes at least 3 months of treatment to get rid of the pest). So we're trying to keep her as engaged and enriched as possible while she's being treated. It's tough when they are kept in isolation, some of them get what is called "kennel crazy" and start to in a sense, "lose it". Dogs need constant stimulation and they thrive on human companionship, so being left alone is definitely not ideal. Her new habit is hiding under her tiny bed or cuddling with her favorite teddy bear. I researched the breed, and apparently they are also known as "the kid in a dog suit". I couldn't agree more! That describes Amber perfectly! She's a total clown and will love up on you until she's snuggled on your lap.

Let's hope I can have an update on Amber in the near future with news of her getting adopted :)

Update: The day started off with good news! Maya the Rottie and Rocky the Belgian Malinois from my previous post have all been adopted in these past couple of days! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

So many pure breeds!

Who said you don't find purebred dogs at a shelter? This Saturday was quite a busy day, like it usually is, and unfortunately a large part of the day consisted of receiving dogs. Surprisingly the majority of the dogs that came in were purebred dogs! Usually we get a varied mix, many pitbulls and small terrier/chihuahua dogs...but not today. Let me share with you three of the ones that came in and I was able to get a picture of...all are up for adoption! :) 

Jack was the first to come in early in the morning, his owner's husband passed away and she was unable to care for him alone. Big dogs are quite a a responsibility and require a lot of space, time, and money in order to care for them properly...but man are they cool! Jack came with a personalized leather leash and collar that had his name engraved on it and with the red cross rescue logo on it. St.Bernard's are known to be a large breed of working dogs, specifically as search and rescue dogs (hence the cross logo). He weighed in at a whopping 130 pounds...which is actually in the lower weight range for the breed!

Mr. Jack is a lovable giant that is friendly to everybody and extremely affectionate; he's a huge teddy bear! We received a St.Bernard not too long ago, but he was pretty aggressive and territorial. With this breed, it is ESSENTIAL to start socializing and training them while they are still puppies to avoid behavioral issues when they are adults. They are know to be very stubborn dogs, although friendly, and are also very intelligent. OH and did I mention they drool like crazy too? 

Fun fact: There are two St. Bernard's that are pretty famous - remember the family comedy movie Beethoven?? Or better about the movie Cujo? 

Above is Rocky, a Belgian Malinois, who came in right after Jack did because they just couldn't afford to care for him. Only a year and half old, Rocky is quite a skiddish and timid boy! I had to sit in the cage with him for a while until he felt comfortable enough with me to let me put a leash on him...sometimes it just takes a little longer with some dogs and we need to be patient with them.

 A Belgian Malinois is very popular in the K9 police force in many fields of the work force (odor detections, explosive, search and rescue, etc.). They are in the same family as German Shepherds with a couple of key differences - they are faster and more agile than their cousin. The Malinois is an older breed while the German Shepherds are a relatively newer breed. The color of the Malinois is also a base color of tan or fawn with the occasional black mask on its face, unlike the Shepherd which has black markings on their coats. To be honest I've never heard of this breed until I met Rocky! They are highly intelligent dogs that are very friendly and loyal. 

Last but not least, Maya the adorable 6 month old Rottweiler puppy came in! 

Rottweilers were also bred to be working dogs and used to be hunters for the Romans, although now the modern Rottweiler's aren't the hunters their ancestors used to be. They are used as guard dogs, police dogs, guides, in search and rescue, and in other roles. These heavily muscled and big-headed dogs are HUGE love bugs if raised properly! I've met plenty of Rotties that are ridiculously friendly and awesome companions. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Stand Against the Miami Pitbull Ban

Miami is my hometown, the place I call home and where I spent the first spent 21 years of my life. I've made some wonderful memories there while growing up and I wouldn't have it any other way. But it does have one little flaw...

To start off with, I felt like I needed a change of scenery! By moving, it allowed me to grow as a person  and have a fresh start with new opportunities. I've experienced so many new things I probably would have never had in Miami and have also branched out by meeting new people. It's been a great experience thus far and I plan on continuing my growth outside of my old hometown.

Something many people wouldn't even worry about: the ban on Pitbulls. It may seem silly to a lot of people but after working at my shelter, I've met some really incredible dogs that have made a lasting impact on me; and the majority of them have been pitbulls. Thankfully, Orlando doesn't have a ban on pitbulls so I don't ever have to worry about a pitbull being put down just because of it's breed. Just the thought of that happening makes me SICK and I can't imagine how it would be like to work at a shelter in Miami and having to do that.

If anyone has a pitbull in Miami and someone reports them to Animal Services, they have no choice (thanks to that ban) but to go and remove the animal from their homes. The owners then have FIVE days to remove the dog from Miami-Dade County or it will be put down. My heart breaks just thinking of how many innocent and beautiful dogs have died because of that law :( .

Working at the shelter I have never EVER been worried about a pitbull attacking me, the ones I do worry about and are more cautious of are the little breed dogs. Oh yes! Small dogs are more likely to be scared of people because of our large size relative to theirs, so they will probably bite out of fear unlike the bigger dogs. My main concern with pitbulls is being attacked by kisses and stopping them from licking me to death! :)

I could go on and on about pitbulls and how wonderful they are, but I'll save that for a later post. I wanted to focus this blog post on the voting that took place today and how excited I am about it! I am so upset I wasn't able to vote and I probably could have if I did an absentee ballot, but I was a little late in the game. The vote on #500 would revoke the ban on pitbulls in Miami-Dade County and this would be a HUGE deal in saving so many innocent dogs! I've seen pictures of people showing their support on Facebook and even people who share it by writing in on their I'm hoping the word spread and that people voted YES on lifting the ban!

I mean really, if you can legally own a tiger in Miami but not a pitbull...something's just not right.

Now to wait and see what the results of the voting polls are! Educating people about raising a happy and healthy dog is important and spreading the word is even more important. I hope this makes people realize that education is key in keeping a safe community for everyone.


The results were posted and unfortunately, the ban on pitbulls in Miami-Dade County still stands. I know it's a work in progress and I'm hoping this got the ball rolling and will motivate people to continue to take a stand against the ban. Here's a couple of quotes from the article in the Miami Herald about the results:

“We didn’t think it would pass... whether we liked it or not and we had to take up the challenge. We only had a few months to reeducate an entire county that has been brainwashed for 23 years.’’
Canes also said that putting the words “pit bull’’ and “dangerous dog’’ in the same sentence in the ballot question all but doomed the effort.
“The fight does not end here,’’ Debi Day, an activist with No Kill Nation...We will not let the pit bulls and their owners be forever victim to this discriminatory law...’’

Read more here:

Here's the link to the Miami Herald article:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Don't Leave Me in Here! It's HOT!

The downside of working at a shelter in Florida is the extremely hot weather we have to deal with. I am always hydrating myself throughout the day and sneaking away to cool spots in the buildings to cool myself down. The cats are luckier than the dogs because their cages and rooms are indoors, although they have access to enclosed outside patios. Yesterday we had a pretty alarming situation arise in the middle of the day that gave me the perfect idea on what topic to write about today: leaving a pet in the car!

I was doing the daily afternoon feeding around 2:30pm when a couple ran up to me and were frantically pointing to a red car and trying to tell me something. It's really hard to hear when I'm anywhere near the kennels because of all the loud barking so I had to step outside to understand what they were saying. Lo and behold there's a cat in the backseat of the locked red car and it was panting excessively...someone had left the poor thing in there! I ran back to the kennels to try and see if anyone would claim the car and got nothing, so I ran to the cat building and go the same response. I then went to the clinic and STILL no one owned up to the car, so we put out a page on the intercom and finally someone came to the car. This girl, probably in her 20s, ran to the car and kept on saying "OH my God, I'm so sorry! I wasn't going to be long! I thought he would be ok!". A vet tech from the clinic removed the cat from the car rushed him back to the clinic for immediate medical attention. Apparently she had an appointment in the clinic and left the cat in the car (since she didn't bring a carrier) while she filled out paperwork. She obviously got an earful from everyone that day about how dangerous that stunt was and thankfully the cat was ok and got the attention it needed in time. Trust me, you don't want to be that person who leaves their animals (or children) in the car.
Dogs and cats do not have the ability to easily and efficiently regulate their body temperature like we do, they're covered in fur! We have sweat glands all over our body and all they can do it pant, which isn't going to cool them off very much.
Signs of heatstroke:

  • Panting
  • Staggering
  • Warm, dry skin
  • Dry tongue and gums
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Ultimately it can lead to death :(

Take Action

If you ever find an animal or child left alone in the car, contact someone to help you IMMEDIATELY! It should be obvious that you shouldn't leave the scene until the situation is taken care of and they are safely removed from the car and given medical attention. It's important to not shock their body by giving them iced water or over cooling them afterwards. Cool wet towels, water, a fan, or spraying them down with cool water are some things you can give them after they get out of the car. 

Need more proof? I found this fantastic website called My Dog Is Cool that has a study done by the Animal Protection Institute that shows how hot a car can get in a variety of temperatures...very informative!

Most people say the same thing, "I'll only be gone for two minutes" or "I'll just crack open a window". Would you really want to risk the life of your pet and later be saying "I never thought anything bad would happen!"? It's dangerous to leave them in the car even if it's only for a couple of minutes; the car becomes an instant oven in hot weather, even if you think it's not that hot out. So just like you wouldn't leave a child in the car, don't leave your pet in there either! Their lives are in your hands and it's your job to ensure their either leave them at home or have them tag along with you :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hemingway Kitty Cat

What does the title "Hemingway Kitty Cat" mean you ask? Have you ever heard of the term "polydactyl"? It means "many digits" in latin and cats that have extra toes are considered to be polydactyl cats or are also nicknamed "Hemingway cats". Normally, cats have 18 digits, five in the front and four in the back.

The name "Hemingway cats" came from our very own American author Ernest Hemingway who was a big polydactyl cat enthusiast...who knew? His home in Key West is now a museum and houses 60 of his polydactyl cats (which are obviously not alive). If you're curious to know more the topic, click this link! There's a long history of where these cats originated from and where their nicknames came from.

I have only seen one other Hemingway kitty at the shelter before, but she was older and pretty I could never grab her paw to take a picture of it. Our current polydactyl or Hemingway kitty from the shelter is appropriately named Mittens. He is a sweet and friendly kitten that is only 4 months old and has an extra toe on his front paws. I circled the double toe in red so it would be easier to spot. His paws are SO cute and it looks like he's wearing Mickey Mouse gloves on or sporting a huge oven mit. And to top if off he has an absolutely adorable personality, just look at the first and third picture...all he wants is some cuddling! :)

Other nicknames for polydactyl cats according to wiki: Boston Thumb cats, boxing cats, conch cats, snowshoe cats, thumb cats, mitten cats, and six-fingered cats.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My foster Ginger was ADOPTED!

Would I ever consider fostering again?

Yes, yes, and a million times YES!

My day today started off with GREAT news, my foster kitten Ginger was adopted this weekend!  I was off this weekend so it was such a pleasant surprise to see that she was going to go home to a wonderful family tomorrow! I was oh so close to keeping her but my boyfriend talked me out of it by kicking some sense into me (I needed that). I would also like to foster in the future so I can't just get attached to every animal because then I'd have a zoo! It also means that's one less animal that would have a chance at being fostered and getting put up for adoption. I'd probably consider keeping a foster if it was older and it fight right in to my home; I know how difficult it is for an older pet to get adopted versus kittens and puppies. They have a much higher chance of getting adopted so I knew I was making the right decision in not keeping her and taking her back. Thankfully it all worked out for the best and Ginger will be sent home tomorrow to a wonderful family :) 

What was the hardest part? 

Obviously the hardest part was bringing her back to the shelter and seeing her locked up in a cage for a couple of days until she was adopted. Yes I cried...what can I say, I'm a big sap and get attached to these furry friends fast, so it was quite an emotional day for me! Especially after I've seen her grow for an entire month and got used to her scurrying around the house. But the rewarding feeling I got when I saw that she was adopted FAR outweighed the sadness I felt in bringing her back. Just comes with the territory of fostering! 

Champ the Boxer

This guy came in a little while ago and I'm a little late on posting his picture....but hey, better late then never! Champ was an absolutely hilarious and goofy dog that was quickly adopted by one of my co-worker's family members. When he first came in he was bouncing off the walls, knocking us all over, and wagging his entire behind until he wore himself out. This is how he ended up after his whirlwind made processing him so much easier! Giving him his shots was a breeze when we definitely thought that Champ was going to be a challenge :) 

Owner Tip: Take your dog for a lengthy walk and/or run before heading to the vet! That way your pooch will have released plenty of energy beforehand and will be a lot more calm during their vet visit, especially if you know that they get anxious and jittery during the visit.