May 25, 2009 Advice from Kids on Dogs

Advice from Kids on Dogs

Today I was at a loss for what to write about so I asked my number one helpers, my sons for some advice and this is what they came up with. “Mom, why not write about how to make your dog feel better?” Here is some advice from my kids Drew and Lane ages 11 and 9 in their own words.

• Give your dog a nice cool bath, but not with the hose though. It has to be a little warm.
• Make sure they are comfortable.
• The more comfortable they are, the better they feel; you’ll make them feel like a puppy again.
• Play with your dog.
• Love your dog.
• Take them on long walks.
• If your dog has mats, cut them out. Mats hurt.
• Trim their nails, because they can get overgrown and curl into the paw pad and that will really hurt them.
• Take photos of your dog in case they get lost so you can make signs.
• Use good flea products on your dog. (Frontline, Advantage, Comfortis from the vet)
• Give your dog heartworm pills every month.
• Get your dog neutered or spayed.
• Take your dog to the vet if it’s sick or hurt.
• Train your dog to be obedient.
• Check your dog’s ears for ear problems. If they are leaning their heads over, that means they might have ear problems.
• Feed your dog good food.
• Don’t give your dog too many treats otherwise they’ll get fat.
• Some dogs are really silly.
• Give your dog plenty of tummy rubs, they like it.
• Brush your dog to keep knots out.

Not bad advice from kids huh? I guess they’ve been paying attention to me after all. I can’t give any better advice that that! Remember that our children are listening to us whether we are talking to them or not. They will do as we do when it comes to our actions so be mindful of how you act and speak and treat other people and of course your pets.

Kids need to have responsibilities around the house; our kids are in charge of feeding and watering our pets daily. Trust me; our pets won’t let them forget to do it! I’ve shown them how, and what amounts to feed, and if one needs medication I’ve shown them how to put it in the food. They know how to wash the dog dishes too, after all you don’t want to eat out of dirty dishes, and neither does your dog. I have to say I’m proud that my kids came up with this list. It’s about as complete a list on good dog care as I’ve ever seen.

Teach your children from babies how to touch animals and watch them at all times. When we aren’t watching is usually when things happen, kids will accidentally hurt the dog and it will snap at them, and we blame the dog. Most large dogs can handle little kids and take all they can dish out, but some just don’t. Keep your dog’s age and body condition in mind, and little dogs and little kids are a bad combination. A 30 lb. toddler falling on a 10 lb. dog can cause some serious damage by sheer accident.
Likewise, not training your dog can cause some serious damage to small children simply by the dog being out of control. Call your vet, groomer or other pet professional to see what they recommend if you need help with training.
Remember we teach our children how to play nice with other kids; you have to teach your kids and your pets to play nice with each other too. If you do this you’ll have kids who grow up with a love and respect of animals and pets that you’ll be proud to call a member of your family.

5/8/09 The Wild Unknown World of Rescue

The wild unknown world of rescue

One thing I never knew before the Internet and getting involved with so many pet people, is what “rescue” dogs were, they weren't just dogs at the city pound. I had no idea how many breed rescues, and all breed rescues there were in the world. When you go to you will see for yourself just how many organizations are out there that help place homeless pets.

Another thing I wasn't aware of before is that there are transports for pets from one area of the country to another! Usually by way of volunteers who will drive a “leg” of a run on a weekend usually. It amazes me to this day how many good hearted souls are out there trying to get pets to their “forever” homes or into a good rescue from a high kill rate shelter.

There are Internet groups that have truck drivers volunteer to meet at specified locations at certain times to pick up animals and drive them to the next leg of their trip, and meet up with other truckers or volunteers, to get them to the next leg.

I truly am in awe of the entire process of saving these pets!

I get e-mail from these groups several times a day that sometimes I can pass on to people I know that live in the areas they are transporting through. Usually the road trip legs range about an hour or so each, and are covered by many volunteers.

From what I know so far, this is the way it works:

A person who may work for a high kill rate animal shelter, or has contacts through one will go to the shelter when they are over capacity and pull as many of the adoptable pets out of there as they can and they work to get them into rescues. Someone arranges a transport to the rescues if the rescues cannot come down to get them or are too far away. The e-mails fly and people will sign up to drive a leg or two of the trip. The animals are given health papers, vaccines if needed and any information on the pets known to them.

The animals are then pulled from the shelter and started on their way to the rescue that will help find them a permanent home, or possibly to a foster home if they are full.

These animals are then many times put on the Internet rescue sites in hopes of finding them a new home.

Foster homes are another important link in the chain of rescue. People just like you and I can do this! Fostering an animal is just like having one of your own, except they are up for adoption and many times it’s a short term home. Some animals may need a foster home because of a health issue that is being taken care of before adoption and the rescues want to make sure the animal is healthy first. While in foster care, the foster home can evaluate the pet and see what its “quirks” are and work on training. The vet bills are taken care of by the rescues, but most foster homes are responsible for providing food and grooming for the pet they take in.

Rescues get the pets checked out thoroughly by vets and they are almost always spayed or neutered before they are put up for adoption. The rescues rely on donations from the public through fundraisers, and have volunteers that help them by being foster homes for the animals, or helping with adoptions. Many of the pets that the rescues receive have health issues such as heartworm and that is very expensive to treat. Many vets will give the rescues a discount, but even with a discount it adds up to hundreds of dollars spent on one pet. Good rescues want to find the best home for the pets and they try hard to match up the families to the pets they want to adopt. Not all pets work for all homes and not all homes work for every pet. A good rescue will take your family’s lifestyle into consideration and have you fill out paperwork and answer a lot of questions and sometimes do a home visit before you will be considered to adopt. It’s a lot like adopting a child! Some people can't believe how picky some rescues are but really it’s for the benefit of the pet and the prospective new home. After all, the idea is to find a home that is “forever”.

The rescue has an adoption fee that is normally less that what it would be to buy a purebred puppy, and you end up with a dog that is healthy and already spayed or neutered to boot! You will know beforehand most of the time if the pet is good with children or other pets and good rescues will ALWAYS take the pet back should something happen and it doesn't work out or your life changes and you can no longer keep the pet you adopt.

So why not be a link in the chain of rescue and help out some pets that don't deserve to die in a shelter? Get on the Internet and look up some rescue groups or transport groups online and see what you can do to help. We may not be able to help them all, but together we can change the lives of many!