Monday, February 26, 2007

Citizen Safety is Never a Waste of Money

Remember the bill that requires states to include pets in their disaster plans or risk losing federal funds? Remember the statistics citing that as many as 44% of those who chose not to evacuate for Hurricane Katrina remained in danger because they would not leave their faithful, furry companions?

Now, some States and Counties are doing the best they can to ensure the safety of their citizens in the event of an emergency. Arlington County, Virginia, has allocated 10% of a Homeland Security grant to purchase and stock an emergency trailer that will be used to transport supplies needed to set up a temporary pet shelter in the event of a disaster.

Of course, as expected, some citizens are grumbling over what a waste of money this is and that it would be better spent on the people of the County rather than the pets. However, if you take just a moment to review what we have learned from Hurricane Katrina, it is obvious that having a plan for Arlington pets is, in fact, helping to ensure the safety and welfare of Arlington citizens, as well. If New Orleans had also had a plan for pets, wouldn't there be 44% fewer people left in danger?

Spay/Neuter: The Truth

Spaying and neutering pets. It's a tough topic to cover in just one blog post and sometimes a bit controversial but with Spay Day USA tomorrow, now's as good a time as any to touch upon the subject.

Spay and neuter is such a fundamental topic for animal shelters that it seems unnecessary to mention. Doesn’t every thinking person agree that spay and neuter is the answer to ending the suffering and death of our surplus (unwanted) companion animals? This is not news, but there still seem to be people, even veterinarians, who are perpetuating the old ideas about waiting until an animal has been through its first heat cycle or even had its first litter(!) before neutering. Shelters across the country have been performing so-called early age neutering for 20 years without adverse effects. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association both support early age neutering.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington started pre-adoption spay and neuter surgery in 2005 for all dogs and cats at least eight weeks old and weighing at least two pounds. Why is this so important? No dog or cat adopted from the League will create a litter of animals that may end up unwanted, uncared for, or abandoned. We think this is reason enough to do everything we can to promote spay and neuter not only for our adopted pets, but for all the dogs, cats, and house rabbits in our community. We sponsor Spay Day every year and subsidize low-cost surgeries for residents year-round with money from our Hantke Memorial Spay Neuter Fund. Until every pet that is born has a home, the campaign for spay and neuter will be a primary mission for all those interested in animal welfare.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Designer Dogs?

What's all the hype over the latest and greatest breeds of designer dogs? Labradoodles, goldendoodles, puggles, cockapoos, boggles. While people are paying hundreds, maybe thousands, for a special new breed of dog, we've got a ton of them right here at the shelter, but we usually call 'em mutts or mixed breeds.

They aren't "pure" Golden Retrievers or Labs, rather a hybrid of some pretty great dogs and adopting one won't take a chunk out of your savings.

Here are some of the "new" breeds we tend to see at the shelter:

Labrotties (lab, rottie mixes)
Shepradors (lab, shepherd mixes)
Chowperds (shepherd, chow mixes)
Hybrahounds (hound mixes)
Chorkies (chihuahua, yorkie mixes)
Shuskies (shepherd, husky mixes)
Berriers (beagle, terrier mixes)

But we're always meeting some even more interesting blends so stop by your local shelter for the most unique breed of loyal companion that won't break the bank!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pedigree Says It Best

Call me sentimental, but everytime I see this Pedigree dog food commercial I get just a bit choked up. I have seen commercials and ads for homeless animals that make every attempt to tug at the heart strings, using images of abused, sick or ailing dogs and, of course, they are sad, but this one just does it. It's true! Normal, healthy, mixed-breed dogs are the stars of this clip and the stars at just about every animal shelter in the U.S. They are often good dogs who are given up for unsensational reasons such as "not enough time" or "moving to a place that does not allow pets."

Kudos to Pedigree for hitting this nail on the head and for supporting animal shelters!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Protect Paws in Winter

While we’re preparing for winter snow and ice, we need to remember to protect our pets, especially dogs, from harsh de-icing chemicals. Dogs’ paws are particularly vulnerable in winter. Snow and ice can get between their toes, and chemicals can cause their paws to dry and crack. On walks try to avoid areas that have been salted or have other chemical de-icers. Inspect your dog’s feet when you come inside. Wash them off with warm water and dry them thoroughly. And consider using a safe product like sand or kitty litter or a de-icer called Safe Paws. If you can talk your dog into it, you can also protect his or her paws with dog mittens.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sunroom for Kitties

Indoor cats may finally enjoy the fresh air without the dangers that outdoor cats face. The Cat Veranda is the purrfect little sunroom that allows Fluffy to enjoy the fresh air and bask in the sun without the worry of encountering a treacherous world full of wild animals, speeding cars and freezing temps.