Sunday, September 25, 2011

10 Things I didn't know when I began working rescue.

10. How many rescues there are:
For better or worse, there are a lot of rescues out there, some really good ones, and a few that make me want to gag. In my opinion, a good rescue will not only check out their potential adopters, but insist on preventatives, especially heart-worm preventative, and will be willing to take back a dog that hasn't found the right fit, there should never, be any reason for them to be back at a shelter.
9. That Transporting even existed:
I just assumed that future owners drove everywhere. If you were getting a dog from a shelter, it was a local one or if they were adopting from a rescue, it was a local one, and they just drove on over. Not the case in many instances. We've had dogs go from Florida to Canada to find the perfect home. This is where transporters come in, and they come in many forms. Some transporters drive vehicles short distances, others long distances, and others fly, whether it is with an animal on a commercial flight, or actually piloting a private plane!
8. How uninformed many people are about how to care for a pet:
First, some people don't even know what heartworms are or how they are transmitted. By the way, heartworms can not be passed to other beings through feces, only blood transfers (think mosquitoes). Hookworms can, but not heartworms. Heartworms are easily prevented with a monthly dose of meds, which are not that expensive. If you are worried about the cost of these, please, consider your finances because any animal can have a sudden health crisis and require vet care, being able to cover this is important. 

Additionally, some people just decide on a whim to get a dog, and don't consider the costs, the restrictions (you can't just have a random road trip, you're packing for two!), or if your apartments have breed restrictions. Some people think they can just adopt a dog from a shelter and return it if things go bad, but a returned dog's chances drop dramatically, and it could cost them their lives. I love adopters, but please, be a good one, get informed and if you are informed, inform others!
7.  The absolute importance of Spay/Neuter:
Each day, yep... each DAY 70,000 puppies and kittens are born, most because of accidents or indiscriminate breeding. Puppy Mills and Backyard breeders take and take from dogs to make money, but often fail to provide basic care, like space to move, food, and basic medical care. If you get a chance, look up a shelter support group on Facebook (the kind who repost shelter dogs to help them find a home) and look for their "private" folder or the folder dedicated to dogs and cats who have been put down. Now look them in the eyes. They were all puppies once, some were puppies when they died, often as young as a week old or even a few days. Mills and backyard breeders don't care... they got their $50 and that's what mattered.

Is everyone like this? No. But please, do not let another unplanned litter happen. If you aren't willing to provide excellent medical care to mother and however many puppies she has, 1 or 24 (24 being the world record), and find them high quality homes who know about preventatives and the cost of owning a pet, who are prepared and have plans for how to handle pet ownership,  then please get your pet spayed or neutered. There are actually a bunch of health benefits, like reduced cancer rates, if you do, not to mention you'll be giving the puppies and dogs already in shelters a chance to find a home. Our pets don't know how to use birth control, they need us to be the responsible ones.
6. That there is more than one way to treat Heartworms:
Most people, if they know about heartworm treatment, know about the fast kill method where the dog gets two, maybe 3 shots, stays at the vet and then comes home. All forms of treatment can have risks and this can be hard on dogs. What most people don't know is that there is another option, slow kill, where over the course of a few months the dog receives a specific type of heartworm preventative (with ivermectin, think Heartgard) and slowly kills off all the heartworms. This is considered by many to not only be a bit more affordable, but easier on the dog. Read more here
5. Some basics of getting a dog ready to travel:
Ok, for the record, Dog's get car-sick too and my car has a spot to prove it! After this incident I educated myself a bit more on some basics of dog travel. For example, skip the meal before transport. If you are traveling in the morning/afternoon, skip breakfast, if you're traveling at night, skip dinner. No food in the stomach means less chance of them feeling awful (for example, would you go on a roller coaster after eating a huge 6 course meal? Don't make you're dog do it either).

Hydrate! I know you don't want the dog to pee in the car, but cars can get warm on the road, even with AC, and dogs need to stay hydrated. No breakfast, but give them ample opportunity to drink. Give the dog a good walk right before getting in the car, make sure they have both peed and pooped recently, or you might end up with presents in the car. For extra safety from leaks, put a thick towel in the bottom of the cage. Added comfort for the dog and protection for you!
4. How to MicroChip a Dog!
I'll admit that just because you get into rescue doesn't mean you'll learn this, but trust me it is not hard to learn as long as you have the right equipment and a decent constitution. It's a needle that is placed between the shoulder blades and then the chip is injected in (normally by lifting the scruff and placing it in the raised flap). Not only is this easy, but it can save a dog's life if they end up in a shelter. 
3. That "No Kill" shelters still kill dogs
All shelters use Euthanasia, it is how they use it that makes the difference. High kill shelters have a high turnover rate, and some dogs get 3 days to get out, and if they don't they're put down, even if they are perfectly healthy and young. No Kill shelters try to give dogs more time, but when the shelter is full, space must be made, and if a dog is considered unadoptable (aggressive, too sick, bad temperament) or if they have been listed for a long period of time (the term "long" has multiple definitions). 
2.  That some shelters (possibly many) abort entire litters of healthy puppies
Yep, you read that right. Dogs come into the shelter at different points in their pregnancy (some not showing any signs of pregnancy, some full-term) and shelters spay them, often removing the puppies and giving them a lethal injection. This is a horrible practice, and healthy pups are given no chance to be adopted. 
What makes this even worse, is that some shelters refuse to adopt out or send  out pregnant dogs, period. Basically, this means they will not let the mother dog go to rescue, even if the rescue is willing to whelp the puppies and adopt them all out. In one case, rescue was lined up for the dog and puppies, she was full term (if they'd been born that second they'd be fine) and the shelter went out of their way to send her to be spayed early so the puppies couldn't be born and were killed. This practice is not talked about, but the proof is there, and also at this link. Take a stand against this practice, I always will....
1. How many dogs need help: 
4-5 million pets are put down each year, about 13K a day. 
13,000 pets each day....
I think that pretty much says it all....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Necessity is the mother of invention - Purse Strap Leash and Belt leash

I probably wouldn't have thought of this, if it wasn't for the varrious dogs in our neighborhood who walk around with collars on. You never know when you'll suddenly need top help someone.

My easiest case was a little poodle boy names Chase, who I first spotted walking down out street, dragging a little blue leash behind him and looking rather lost. He was trotting along cheerfully but with the leash behind him and no one in sight my heart leaped into my throat and I choked out a "Stop!" I sweet talked him until he trotted past me and I just picked up the leash and he was mine! -but he had no tags... Crap. As I stood holding this sweet little boy, who was shaking, nervous about being held by a stranger. Then I noticed a truck, slowly rolling down a nearby street. I heard the man whistling and turned around, holding the poodle. He held a hand to his heard and pulled over. "Chase boy, what are you doing?" Chase looked at me and wagged, perking up to his name. Easiest rescue ever

But they are not all that easy. At one point I was walking to a friends house when a hound walked out in front of me. He was happy to see me but now what.... no collar, and I only had my purse.
A simple Purse strap, like this one, can be a standard leash or a slip lead

I looked at my purse and realized the strap could detach, so I popped it off clipped the clip around the strap and made a slip lead, and thus the purse strap leash was invented. If the dog has a collar you can clip the clip on the D-ring or around the fabric.

A fabric belt, like this one, can make a great leash
Also, you can use a fabric belt as a slip lead or belt leash. Just slip one end through both D rings (as seen above) and it makes a perfect slip lead.  Where there is a will, there is a way and don't let "not coming prepare" be your reason to no step in. You may have everything you need and just not know it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gloves (Latex and Rubber)

Ok, so I got my first pair of gloves (latex) on an earlier transport (Buddy) because his foster thought I might need a pair (Buddy had a hurt leg and was getting surgery). It turned out I didn't need them for that transport but being the horder I am I tossed them in my little plastic crate and assumed that maybe one day I would need them.

For once I was right. At one point I picked up a litter of seven puppies who had previously had a skin condition which could be contagious to humans. I found this out once I was already at the pick up and needed to transfer the pups from one crate to another. The last transport was using a wipe on her hands and unfortunately hadn't had any gloves. I loaned her another great tool from my kit, hand sanitizer, and as I stared at the pups, I realized, "Oh my god I still have the gloves from Buddy's transport!" I opened my kit and sure enough, there was the pair of gloves, almost 5 months later.
Rubber Gloves in 3 lengths

The pair i had just barely covered my wrists, but they did the job and even though the pups later tested as clean (nothing contagious) you still have to be cautious. As much as I love dogs, I would not love to exchange Sarcoptic Mange which is also called Scabies (aka the seven year itch, ouch!).  Gloves are one way you can help prevent the transfer of these ailments.

There are several types which can be helpful. The first are Rubber Gloves, like the ones associated with cleaning house. These come in several sizes and lengths. Some lengths only cover just to the wrist while others cover most of the forearm.

Obviously coverage is the benefit here, and these gloves can be reused. The down-side is that if you are going to reuse them, you'll need to sanitize them to protect other dogs. These can cost up to about 2 dollars a pair, I would not pay more than that. You can find these at places like your local pharmacy.

Latex Gloves.
Latex Gloves are the other option. These also come in various sizes and sometimes you can find longer ones, but the standard is just above the wrist. These are slightly less durable that the rubber gloves, but they do help to protect against transmission of parasites or disease.

The benefit is protection and that these are disposable, one use and then toss them. They are also fairly cheap, with 100 gloves (50 pairs) at about $5-$7. The down side is that they only protect the hands and wrists (not the forearm like the long rubber gloves) and are a little less durable.

PLEASE NOTE: Some people are ALLERGIC to Latex. There are other non-latex gloves that these people can use (like Nitrile gloves). Before you loan gloves to other people, please ask if they are allergic to Latex, it takes seconds and could save lives including their own!

Also, gloves can come powdered or plain. Really this part is up to you. I prefer powdered because when it's hot it helps keep my hands dry.

Whether it is just one pair you stash aside for a "rainy day" or an entire box of gloves, they can not only protect us from ailments, but can also come in handy when dogs create little messes that need to be cleaned. Do yourself a favor and stash a pair in your kit. You never know when or why you'll need them!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How NOT to transport Cat's

This week we've had to face another horrible example of how not to transport. A couple took on the responsibility of transporting 12 adult cats and 29 kittens and failed miserably by leaving all 41 kitties in the car, windows up, in cardboard carriers, with out food or water, overnight while they slept elsewhere.

Of the 41 Kitties (12A, 29K) 18 of them (4A, 14K)were dead by morning and more have died sense. The remaining ones are dealing with urine burns, dehydration and other health issues.

I wonder if this couple ever thought "I wonder how I would feel if I were jammed in a car with 40 other beings with out food, water, or air for hours on end." Perhaps if they had, I wouldn't be writing this post and instead people could be posting to find new homes for them. Instead, they're gone and the couple will never be allowed to transport again, at least not for anyone who cares for animals at all.

What a waste...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How NOT to transport a dog...

This week a woman came up with an interesting way to transport a puppy... by Air mail... in a sealed box... with no Air, food or water.
Here is little "Guess," a schnauzer poodle mix, shortly after his ordeal.

The owner claimed the sound in the box was a toy robot and cautioned them to be very careful with it.

Then the box hopped off the counter. The post office worker opened it up and found "Guess" inside, panting.

Had he made it past the desk, he would have been mailed in the cargo hold of a plane, and would have probably froze to death, had he not been injured, suffocated, dehydrated, or starved first. He was supposed to be a present for a child... kinda traumatizing to open a box full of dead puppy for your birthday.

Around his neck was a make-shift collar with money in it. When confronted about the fact that the puppy could have died, she just rolled her eyes, and left.

She did return, however, to ask for the money she paid to ship the box and the money in the collar. The post office worker did what I would have done, and told the woman to get out.

She will be facing animal cruelty charges and Guess will be getting a new family.

Remember the "ponies need food" rule of transport? Yea they need AIR too....

To read more about this story, Click Here!

Video about the story bellow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Plastic Crate with Lid

This is a 12"L x 9"W x 5"D plastic box from a dollar store.
Only $1 and it keeps your organized and safe.

Also can double as a water dish in a pinch!

Transport Binder

A Transport Binder is your Road Bible.

Things that should be inside:
  • Directions to your most common stops * (See bottom)
  •  Contacts - The names, numbers and addresses of the key figures in the rescue, who you are transporting to, the vet, the shelter, etc
  • A sheet about your Transportees - I made a basic information sheet which asks the dogs name, description (EX: the blonde lab), medications, last time fed, etc
  • Pencil pouch with pens and pencils
  • Small planner (think dollar tree monthly cal.) so I can compare my work and rescue schedules.

* A note about the Directions - I have 4 common stops and directions to every possible combination of them. Ex: Vet → Foster, Shelter → Vet, Shelter → Foster, and all reverse directions, plus directions home from every location. {going a lot of new places? Invest in a GPS}.

The reason for the redundancy in directions is because transports can change in a heart beat. You may be planning to get the dog from the shelter and take them to the foster, but when they are unable to stand up and are shaking, they're going to the vet, and you need to know how to get there.