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....

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