Monday, October 15, 2012

Be The Change - Pet Relinquishment

Oct 15: Be, Blog, Read, Share the Change for Animals!

Today is a special post, "Blog the Change for Animals!". I am participating in a blog hop along with other pet bloggers that are also writing in support of various causes and coming together to share information and ideas :)

Fun Fact: October is Adopt a Shelter Pet Month !!! WOO HOO!!! My next topic will be on that :) 

The topic I wanted to touch on today was pet relinquishment; the reason why SO many shelters have SO many animals. Have you ever wondered how we receive all the pets at the shelter? Where do they come from? Why did people give them up? Many come in thinking that most of our pets were lost or stray animals and are always shocked to find out that NONE of them are lost or stray animals...but pets from previous homes that someone just didn't want anymore.

The non-profit shelter I work at only takes in owner relinquished pets, while Animal Services (county funded) takes in all animals, especially lost or stray animals. So why do people bring them in? I found an interesting study done by the National Council on Pet Population that shows the top 10 reasons for cats and dog:

"We're moving...we just can't take him with us." OH man, if I had a dollar for every time I have heard that statement, I'd be RICH! That is by far the most common reason people bring in their dogs, with finances and time commitment coming in second and third. Allergies is a big one with cats and people also find themselves with litters of kittens...and by the time they know it, they have 6 cats. Spaying and neutering IS SO IMPORTANT! And then of course we always hear the craziest stories or the ones that want to make you cry...every day is a new day.

What can we do to stop people from bringing their pets to the shelter? In truth, EDUCATION IS KEY. People need to realize that owning a pet is a long term commitment and not short term. Also, early obedience training can help avoid future behavioral issues. There are so many resources in your community that can help with training and in all other aspects of your pets life.

Somehow these resilient pets seem to have this amazing ability to move on and move forward with their lives and always are willing to forgive. They always live in the moment and it always makes me wonder...why can't we be more like that? Letting go of resentment and angry feelings will ultimately make us happier people. So how about we learn some life lessons from our pets and have a more positive outlook in life :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Zeus the Cane Corso

Meet the very amazing and sweet big boy named Zeus, the Cane Corso. I have seen many Mastiff breed dogs come into the shelter and many more mixed breeds, but never a Cane Corso! The Cane Corso is an Italian Mastiff that was bred to hunt and act as a guard dog. They are powerful big dogs that require an experienced owner and plenty of socialization and training. The Corso is known to be very headstrong and intelligent, which can be both a good and bad thing. Zeus is quite a special dog with plenty of personality; he absolutely LOVES human interaction and giving affection. He really thinks he is a lapdog too because every time we take him out to the rec yard and one of us sits down on a bench, he tries to lay down on your lap (even if half of his body is dangling off). Zeus is truly the definition of a "gentle giant".

Now here are some pictures of Jax and Edward, my ex-foster/new kitty, enjoying a nap in the middle of the day. If you didn't see my last blog post, Edward is a cat that I took in to foster for sometime while he healed from his neutering procedure. He was in a cage for the past 7 months and was unable to go into a free roam room with other cats because he wasn't he had no idea how to live outside of a cage until just recently. Every noise made him run the other way and all the smells were new to him. Watching him experience everything for the first time was incredible and it has been so rewarding to see him grow and be more comfortable at home :)

Edward took over Jax's bed and at first Jax didn't know where to go. So I found him sleeping on the floor, then right next to the bed playing with Edward...and then he eventually decided to just share and sleep right on top of poor Edward...and Edward didn't seem to mind at all! He seems so at peace in the house and has slowly become more active, curious, and playful with us and with Jax.

I think this is exactly what Jax needed, a friend to keep him company and play with...especially when I'm not home. I catch them chasing each other around the house all the time and even better, snuggling and taking naps together. They are the cutest thing and have become instant brothers! :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Foster #2: Awkward Edward

Working 6 days in a row is EXHAUSTING! I finally have a day off today and can semi-relax at home and cross of some things on my to-do list. So much to do so little time!

Let me start by introducing you to my foster for a week and half: Edward.

Honestly his name is just Edward, my boyfriend and I gave him the nickname "Awkward Edward". Edward came into the shelter in mid April and is now approximately a year old. We have four free roam rooms in our cat building where our kitties have the ability to be out of a cage and live a more comfortable life until they are adopted. Unfortunately, unuttered male cats can't be in the rooms for a couple of reasons. Intact male cats are more likely to be territorial and fight as well as mark their territory, which is called spraying or marking. Unspayed female cats are known to do it as well, but it is more common in males than with females. Urine is what's sprayed out onto walls and furniture, and it   is usually a stress reliever for the cats. It's their way of coping with dealing with stress...and at the same time it's telling you something is going on! Young male cats exhibit the behavior more and it can usually be avoided by neutering them early. We attempted making a room that had some intact males with spayed females and it was a DISASTER! The stink from the spraying was extremely difficult to get rid of and many of them would try to dart out of the door whenever they had a chance (searching a mate).

So poor Awkward Edward came into the shelter with two things against him: young male and intact. This meant that he had to stay in a cage until he got adopted. He's been at the shelter since mid-April, which means he's been living in a cage for almost 7 months! A little more than half of his life has been spent in a cage with little human interaction and outside enrichment. It's been tough getting him adopted because anytime someone visits with him in a meet and greet room, he's nervous and uncomfortable. And can you blame him? So we decided to get him neutered, I would foster him until he heals, and then return him to the shelter. Now he gets to be in a free roam room with more space and no more cage life! :)

Here he is exploring at my house and experiencing a bunch of new smells and objects. When I first opened the carrier, he ran right under the bed and didn't come out for a while. Slowly he's been creeping around and learning how to be more comfortable in his new surroundings. What I found funny is how he would bump his nose on things around the house then run away, it was his way of testing things out. Hence the name "Awkward Edward"! He was fidgety, skittish, nervous, and awkward and is still slowly transitioning into a more confident kitty.

Jax has been a wonderful foster brother to Edward :) I let them socialize whenever I'm home and they have become buddies. I've noticed Jax is friends with anybody (human and animal) that I bring he's a great first friend for Edward. He's gentle enough so as not to scare him with rough play, but friendly enough that I find Edward roaming around the house looking for him. I hope that this will help Edward show his sweet personality more at the shelter and helps him find a permanent home.