TLC Animal Shelter Canine Center
Box 373 Newell, Iowa 50568
Pet of the Month
.Autumn is a sweet, young adult, 12 pound, terrier mix gal who fits the description of "sugar and spice and everything nice". We know nothing about her background...we do know that she is fortunate that she found a Good Samaritan who realized that she couldn't make it on her own much longer. Skinny and flea-bitten, with bald patches, she was a pathetic sight when she was rescued and brought to the TLC Autumn is certainly not a show dog, but her inner beauty radiates as she quietly accepts whatever is offered. Still underweight, with a scraggly, sparse hair coat, she is happy and healthy, becoming a more confident, responsive dog every day. Autumn deserves her own forever family to love and cherish her for the awesome dog that she is!
We are very proud to announce our new website. Please visit to hear the latest about the TLC and all its furbabies. Contact us here:
Please go check out our new website at: www.tlccanineshelter.com
The TLC Canine Center in Northwest Iowa provides shelter and responsible care for abandoned and homeless dogs, caring for these frightened, displaced animals until we are able to re-home them in forever, loving homes. We are a designated 501c3 not-for-profit organization, with no public funding, so we must operate in the most cost-effective way. We rely entirely on volunteer help. There are NO paid staff members.
Our goal is to enhance community attitudes about responsible pet guardianship. We conduct classes in area school classrooms and also offer instruction for adults. We encourage greater levels of respect, responsibility, and compassion toward both the humans and the animals with whom we share our lives.
We realize that we can’t save all the homeless animals, but we help those we can, working within the framework of the civil laws to protect both the dogs, and human parties involved. We require that all TLC animals be spayed or neutered, and receive any needed medical attention. Potential homes are screened very carefully before placing a canine, always stressing the fact that a long term commitment is involved.
Why do we do what we do? Simply for the love of animals.
COMPASSION, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, AND PATIENCE…
toward our fellow humans, and toward all the voiceless creatures that are so dependent upon us…
We would love to hear from you because we believe that by working together, we can make the world a safer, healthier, happier place for needy furbabies!!
The TLC Canine Center is located at North Fulton and Chaney in Newell, Iowa. Mail may be sent to Box 373, Newell, Iowa 50568 . Due to the nature of our work, communicating by telephone is sometimes difficult. Thanks to e mail, we can stay in touch at odd hours., so e mail is our preferred mode of communication.....send e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We love visitors, but since we are a totally volunteer organization, it is important to schedule an appointment rather than just dropping in at the Center. If you are interested in one of our furbabies, please contact us by e-mail, and we will e-mail you our basic questionnaire which is the first step in our adoption process. If you choose to proceed, we will have an associate in your area contact you, and set up a convenient time to visit with you about a TLC adoption. Once approved, a time will be scheduled for you to come spend some time with your pawtential adoptee. Hopefully, you will be returning home with a new addition to your family and home.
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE TLC CANINE CENTER
*TO BE A SAFE HAVEN FOR LOST, UNWANTED, NEEDY DOGS*
*TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT RESPONSIBLE PET CARE*
*TO FIND FOREVER HOMES FOR ALL OF OUR TLC FURBABIES*
*TO ENCOURAGE GREATER LEVELS OF RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, AND COMPASSION TOWARD BOTH THE HUMANS AND ANIMALS
WITH WHOM WE COME IN CONTACT*
BLESS THE ANIMALS: THEY HAVE NO VOICE; THEY HAVE NO CHOICE
Adopting A Friend
The TLC Canine Center is a busy place. We receive daily requesting that we take a dog. We always have a waiting list and we work with shelters and legitimate rescue groups throughout the area, so that, if they have room, they help.
Our goal is to find a loving, forever home for each one of our awesome furbabies. An adoption agreement must be signed regarding proper care of the animal. We require a home visit before considering any pawtential adoptor. We belong to a wonderful network of dog lovers who will visit prospects living in their own areas.
We send the dog on a temporary basis (an overnighter, or a weekender) to see how the dog and people get along. We do not want an unhappy situation to develop. Since we feel that meeting the animal first is important to a successful relationship, we require that the interested party visit with the animal here at the shelter. (We do not ship dogs).
Usually the relationship works; if not, we gladly take the dog back to the shelter.
We sometimes have a dog for a few days, sometimes for a week, and sometimes for months. If a dog has been abused, or neglected, our goal is to rehabilitate him/her to make a good family dog. There is no time limit on how long we keep a dog.
We have had several dogs for years before we finding understanding, loving homes. Prospective adopters are screened very carefully before an adoption is competed. We want the adoption to work, both for the sake of the people and for the sake of the dog.
We realize that we cannot save all the homeless, abandoned dogs, but we continually remind ourselves of the STARFISH STORY. Many of you are familiar with that story, but we would like to share our version which is based on an incident that really happened to us:
It had been a long, stressful day, and I almost didn't answer the phone...but I did. A man explained that there was a tiny dog zigzagging through traffic in front of his main street store. "If you want to save her, you better come quick!"
When I arrived, sure enough, a frightened little dog was dodging in and out between speeding cars. I took out the hot dog that I had brought along, sat down on the curb, and held it out to the dog, calling softly. She would come close, then dart away; come close; and dart away. Finally, the temptation was too great, and I had her in my arms.
As she gobbled down the hot dog, I realized how painfully skinny she was under the dirty, matted fur. As I gently wrapped a blanket around her, a bystander said, "Why do you do this? For every dog you find a home for, there are a dozen more at the pound, two dozen more tied up and forgotten in backyards around the country, and thousands more being bred by unscrupulous breeders, only to end up unwanted and neglected. Why do you bother? Don't you know that what you are doing doesn't make any difference at all?" I smiled as I looked down into the eyes of the small, dirty dog. "But it does make a difference. It certainly makes a difference to this dog."
We cannot save them all....but we save the ones we can.
It is our goal to deal with compassion...kindness....gentleness...and patience...with humans and furbabies everywhere, and to make a difference when we can! We believe that working together we can make the world a safer, healthier, happier place for furbabies in need!
Come Visit Us!
We are easy to find. We are just 10 miles east of Storm Lake, Iowa. It is almost impossible to get lost, cause Newell is a small rural town. The physical address is North Fulton and Chaney. We love to have visitors, but you do need to let us know you are coming. The best way to contact us is by email@example.com.
We operate the TLC simply for the love of animals. WE COULD USE YOUR HELP!!!!
TLC Animal Shelter Canine Center
North Fulton and Chaney
Newell IA 50568
Click here for a list of pets at this shelter
LIVE RABBITS ARE NOT EASTER TOYS
It’s Easter time, and what would make a more perfect gift than an adorable floppy eared bunny? Baby rabbits and soft baby chicks are soooo adorable, that they are hard to resist. After all, you think, wouldn’t this be a perfect, low-maintenance “starter pet” for a small child? THINK AGAIN! These animals are not well suited for children, and it’s a sad fact that most of the ones that are purchased as impulse pets will not live to see their first birthday, because as soon as they grow out of the cute baby stage, they are given away, banished to lonely lives in outdoor hutches, or just released outside, a sure death sentence.
Most children want a companion that they can hold, carry and cuddle, and rabbits are not cuddly. They are ground-loving , prey creatures that actually are physically fragile, and require specialized veterinary care. Children are naturally exuberant, and loving, but “loving” to a small child usually means holding, hugging, and carrying an animal around in whatever fashion their small hands can manage…exactly the kinds of things that make most rabbits feel insecure and frightened. Handled in this way, they will often get fidgety and start to scratch or bite simply out of fear. The rabbits that do survive the first few months , quickly reach maturity, and when they are no longer tiny and “cute,” the kids usually lose interest, and the rabbit, who has no voice to remind you he’s hungry or thirsty, or needs his cage cleaned, is gradually neglected. If you are impulsively thinking of adding a rabbit to your family, it is important to understand that rabbits have a lifespan of 7-l0 years, and they are high maintenance creatures. BEFORE acquiring a rabbit, here are a few points to consider:
*Housing: A rabbit’s cage should be at least six times the size of an adult rabbit…It should not have a wire bottom, as the wire can injure the rabbit’s feet. There should be room for a litter box, toys, food and water bowls. It should be kept indoors… NEVER left outdoors.
*Playtime: They are inquisitive, intelligent, and very social by nature, requiring plenty of exercise and interaction with the humans. An energetic young rabbit needs at least 30 hours a week of time outside her pen or cage on a regular basis..
*Grooming: Rabbits shed their coats 3-4 times a year, which necessitates regular brushing.
*Diet: They need fresh water, fresh grass hay, at least 2 cup of fresh vegetables, and a very small serving of plain rabbit pellets EVERY day.
*Health: Like cats and dogs, rabbits should be neutered or spayed. The risk of uterine cancer in intact female rabbits is alarmingly high, and unneutered males are likely to spray.
Mary Cotter, president of Rabbit Rescue and Rehab in New York City stresses that “Rabbits should NEVER be bought on impulse. Adults must be willing to take full responsibility, committed to being actively involved on a daily basis for the possible l0-year lifespan of a rabbit, or they should not consider a live bunny. A rabbit is not a toy, so if you are not ready to promise him ten years of your life, you’re not ready to give him as a pet. A better choice would be a chocolate rabbit or a stuffed rabbit that will be almost as cute, and a lot less work.”
A perfect Easter gift for any child would be the beautifully illustrated book, The Forgotten Rabbit by Rabbit Society educator, Nancy Furstinger. Wearing its heart on its sleeve, this story has a mission, but it is a worthy one, telling the story of a rabbit who was purchased as an impulse pet and later forgotten and neglected until she was rescued by someone who gave her a forever home and showed her the meaning of love. The story is touching and draws attention to the plight of unwanted pets purchased without adequate planning and preparation. Appropriate for any child over five, the book offers honest, charming insights into the proper care of a rabbit as a companion animal. It is suspenseful, moving, and in the end, joyful. The active language will delight children while helping them build vocabulary skills. The book can be purchased from a local book store, or online from Amazon.com
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.---Anatole France
HEARTS AND FLOWERS DAY
Valentine’s Day is the day when we shower our loved ones with candy, flowers, and red hearts. According to CBS News more than 18 BILLION dollars will be spent on cards and gifts, with l0 billion spent for someone close, 3 billion spent on friends and acquaintances, and more than 5 billion spent on pets. It’s great to make this special day as much fun for pets as it is for humans, but there are some items that need to be kept out of paws’ reach. Poison control experts see a rise in animal emergencies every year, many involving chocolate and lilies which are extremely toxic to animals, so please heed their advice and don’t leave goodies lying around.
* A small amount of alcohol can do a lot of harm, and fatal respiratory failure can occur if a large enough amount is ingested.
* Gum, candy and other treats that contain xylitol can result in a sudden drop of blood sugar and can cause your animal to suffer loss of coordination and seizures.
*Flowers are beautiful, but don’t let pets chew on lilies or any plants or flowers, especially those with thorns…Biting, stepping on, or swallowing thorns can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs.
*Although candles are romantic, nosey pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.
As you make every effort to show that special someone just how much he/she is appreciated, take a moment to reflect on why we do special things for our dogs. Keegan Baur offers this list:
Is excited to see me every time I come home (even if I have only been gone an hour).
Is always in the mood to cuddle or play
Enjoys long walks to anywhere
Never complains about his food
Helps me clean up spills in the kitchen
Doesn’t care what TV program we watch
Shares my belief that any time is a good time for a nap
Loves me unconditionally…absolutely…positively…no matter what
ALWAYS appreciates a treat…
There are very few healthy commercial treats (check the ingredient list!) ,so here’s a guaranteed-to-please recipe for home made GOURMET SALMON CRUNCHIIES
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, while you combine :
1 14 ounce can of salmon. DO NOT DRAIN
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup shredded cheese
¼ cup water
Mix thoroughly and drop by SMALL spoonfuls on greased baking sheet. ( Dough will be sticky)
For training size treats, you can get 30 on the average baking sheet.
Bake for about 12 minutes. (For extra crunchy, leave in for a minute or two longer)
Cool completely before you let your dog indulge! (These freeze well!)
Another healthy treat is sweet potato chews. All you need is 5 minutes prep time and a raw yam or sweet potato. If you have forgotten specific instructions, here they are:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Scrub the sweet potato or yam…no need to peel.
Cut into thin slices (the thinner the slice, the shorter the cooking time) and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer.
Bake for about 3 hours for slightly chewy treats or bake longer to get them crunchy. (If you have a dehydrator, pop them in there instead of the oven.)
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO YOU AND BOTH THE TWO-LEGS AND FOUR-LEGS IN YOUR LIFE!!!!
THE NEW YEAR IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A NEW BEGINNING
A new year is here. It is like a book… its pages are blank, and we are given the privilege of filling the pages. The book is called Opportunity, and its first chapter is BEGINNING. Oprah Winfrey explains it this way: “We bid a fond farewell to the old, cherishing the memories that we hold, and anticipating the things that are yet to come. Cheers to the New Year and another chance for us to get it right,” Her words ring true in 2014. This year gives us 12 months…52 weeks…365 days…8760 hours…52600 minutes to open our arms and hearts to the possibilities of new beginnings. Many of us involved in the welfare of companion animals feel frustrated at the inadequate attention given to the problems of overpopulation, neglect and abuse, and are resolved to step out of our comfort zones, and commit to doing more! We can make a difference, but only if we seriously determine to follow through with our intentions. Yes, I know that most New Year’s resolutions are broken within a few months, but I challenge you to keep this commitment for the entire year. Make your own OPPORTUNITY book…doesn’t have to be fancy…an inexpensive notebook will be great…Put your journal-book in a spot where you will see it often, and make it a fun project for the entire family. Each time a family member does something for the animals, jot it down in your BEGINNING chapter! The truth is that no matter how little time, money or experience you have, it is possible to create a brighter future for needy animals. MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Aren’t sure where to begin? Here are two specific suggestions:
Local shelters rarely have enough volunteers for walking, socializing and providing basic training for shelter dogs. Don’t use the excuse that your life is too hectic to dedicate time regularly, there are many other ways to help dogs. Monetary donations are always needed, but donations of dog beds, towels, cleaning supplies, and toys are welcome…just call your local shelter and find out what is needed, and throw a party, requesting your guests bring those items in lieu of gifts. Or place a container in the entry or closet, and when you buy groceries, include a couple items for the dogs…when the container is full, give it to a needy neighborhood dog, or the local shelter. (Invite your friends to add to the box!)
Familiarize yourself with your local and state ordinances or legislation pertaining to companion animal welfare. Iowa now has an active organization of Iowans from every walk of life that is concerned about the care of companion animals. Iowa Voters for Companion Animals’ mission is to ensure the humane and responsible treatment of companion animals through education and grassroots advocacy. This group informs the public as to what is going on…and not going on.. in the Iowa Legislature, and to the plight of many of Iowa’s companion animals. To get information about this group, go to www.iowaVCA.org. Hopefully you will add your name to their membership! If you live in another state, check to see what groups are involved in the cause.
I looked at all the needy animals , the cast offs of human society.
I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal.
And I was angry.
“God,” I said, “This is terrible. Why don’t you do something?”
God was silent for a moment, and then He spoke softly.
“I have done something,” He replied.
“I created you.”---Jim Willis
TIRED OF WINTER?
Tired of Winter , wondering when Spring will arrive? And why are we so blessed with this nasty, cold, windy weather? Dog lover/friend Donna recently shared this explanation with me.
AND GOD CREATED THE MIDWEST
On the sixth day, God turned to Archangel Gabriel and said, “Today I am going to create an area called the Midwest, a land of outstanding natural beauty, with tall hills and rolling plains, beautiful sparkling lakes, forests, and valleys with fertile soil with abundant nutrients to grow things. I will make the land rich in resources so as to make the inhabitants prosper. They will be supervised with unconditional love and loyalty by my favorite of all creatures, the dogs.”
“But Lord,” asked Gabriel, “Don’t you think you are being too generous to these Midwesterners?”
“Not really,” replied God…”Just wait and see the winters I am going to give them. They will always need the comfort of the dogs, but especially during the cold, bleak winter months!”
And now you know why your pet offers this prayer for you, especially during this harsh season of the year:
Please watch over our humans…they are so weak, and they are continually complaining. They have no claws or teeth, they can’t run fast or fly away, nor can they burrow or build a nest in which to be safe. They seem to always be chasing to and fro, going too fast to notice the truly grand simple things around them. Help us teach them that life is brief, and making a living is not the same as making a life. They do strange things that don’t make sense. They complain about the cold, yet put on layers of clumsy clothes and go outside and dash through the snow on huge, noisy machines. They say they hate the snow, and yet make it into balls and throw it at each other. Some of them even have shoes with sharp knives on the bottom and they whiz around on ice. They are very difficult to understand, and don’t seem to work very hard at communicating with us. They expect us to know what they want, even though sometimes they don’t even know what they want. We have toys, but our humans have bigger and better toys, but still don’t seem contented. They mumble about “keeping up with the Joneses”…we have never met the Joneses, but they must be pretty special.
Grant us the ability to watch over our humans, care for them, cheer them when they are sad, make them laugh. We are trying especially hard to bring a little joy into these “cabin fever” days.
We insist on getting attention, so we can check their emotional well being and boost their morale. We pester them, so they will learn to see us in ways they hadn’t considered, bringing them closer and back into the fold…which they are part of but keep forgetting about.
Sometimes they are quite self-centered and selfish, so we ask your help to keep our love for them unfaltering. You charged us with a difficult task of caring for them and showing them your love every day, through us, so we will continue to believe that they are worth the effort. . They know not that we are their guardian angels…grant us the wisdom and patience that we need to guide them through this life.
Where ever you go, no matter what the weather, always take along your own sunshine—Anthony D’Angelo
BRUSH UP ON DENTAL HEALTH
We all know that we need to take care of our teeth so that plaque and tarter buildup doesn’t cause bacteria that can migrate into our bloodstreams, resulting in serious health problems. The same is true with our pets. Along with good food, exercise, and lots of love, regular brushing of their teeth is one of the most important things we can do for them. Poor dental health isn’t just about your dog’s teeth and gums. Over 80 percent of them are affected by dental problems including serious periodontal disease by the time they are three years old, which affects their overall well- being.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month with the “ Pets Need Dental Care Too” campaign. Remember what your teeth looked and felt like this morning when you got up? That rough, thick feel to the surface of the teeth after going only overnight without brushing. Can you imagine not brushing your teeth for a couple days…or weeks…or years?
Dogs depend on healthy teeth and gums for survival. Like their caregivers, they are susceptible to bacterial plaque, tarter, cavities, and tooth aches. Periodontal disease, caused by bacteria and their toxins, if left untreated, will damage the teeth, gums, and supporting tissues. They can also spread through the bloodstream to other organs, including the kidneys, liver, lungs and heart. Since dogs cannot brush their own teeth, it is the responsibility to the caregivers to keep their teeth and gums in tiptop shape. According to recent surveys of dog caregivers, almost all confirm that they would proactively do anything to help their dogs live longer, healthier lives, but fewer than l0 percent recognize dental care as one of the top health concerns for dogs. Very few recognize the importance of brushing their dog’s teeth.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include brownish or discolored teeth, tarter buildup at the gum line, swollen, bleeding, or receding gums, irritability, decreased appetite or reluctance to chew, eat, and drink, pawing at the mouth, rubbing the face on the ground, and persistent bad breath.
To help your dog keep a healthy, lifetime grin, humans need to practice preventative care.
*Don’t dismiss doggie breath. A dog’s bad breath is often an early warning sign of dental problems.
*Pay attention to your dog’s eating habits. If she is reluctant to eat hard kibble, it could be due to a tooth ache.
*Provide fresh water daily. Bacteria can escalate inside bowls containing water that is more than a couple days old.
*Treat your dog to a raw baby carrot or two every day. Raw carrots help scrub plaque away as well as provide vitamins and fiber.
*BRUSH her teeth…no, we are not kidding! The idea of brushing your pet’s teeth daily can be a bit daunting at first, but it’s the best way to keep gum disease from getting started. If you have never done this, start off easy. Begin by handling his mouth for a couple minutes every day for a few days. Stroke around his face, and then reward him with praise and maybe a carrot! For the next week, work toward getting your dog comfortable with having his mouth handled . Don’t even try to brush….next week’s Paw Prints will cover basic tips for actual brushing.
Please don’t be one of the majority of caregivers who will become discouraged …as Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. “ With patience (and carrots) , you’ll eventually have a dog who happily lets you mess with his mouth!!
THE QUESTION IS: AM I CRAZY?
Feedback is good, right? Well, there was a lot of feedback from last week’s Paw Prints….Most of it centered around a three-word-question: “Are you crazy?” Now, admittedly, there are days, if you were to ask my family about my mental health, you might get an affirmative response, but before we get too personal, let me complete the question: “Are you crazy? You REALLY don’t expect us to brush our dog’s teeth.” Yes, I really do! An effective dental health program for dogs involves three components:
1. Diet. It is important that you feed your dog a high-quality dog food. To find out how different foods rate, please check www.dogfoodadvisor.com
2. Routine professional cleaning. Just as with humans, dogs need their teeth checked by a veterinarian on a regular basis.
3. Home care. The best method of home care is brushing. Most dogs can be acclimated to brushing the teeth if you take it slowly. Hopefully many of you have been handling your dog’s mouth on a daily basis for the past week, and he feels more comfortable with your lifting his lip and rubbing your finger gently along the gum line. You have talked gently to him while you stroked around his mouth, and rewarded him with praise and a carrot .
Once the dog is comfortable with having his mouth touched, it is time to move on to his teeth. But rather than beginning with a brush, it’s easier to go in with a strip of gauze, or a warm washcloth wrapped around your finger. Lift the dog’s lip on one side, and with a the washcloth wrapped around your finger, rub the outer surfaces of both upper and lower teeth. Then switch to the other side. If he resists, quit the session. Doing this once a day for a week or so will result in your pet’s getting used to having your fingers inside his mouth, and make it easier to move on to the next step: a toothbrush. Dr. Holmstrom, author of Veterinary Dental Techniques recommends using a soft, child-size toothbrush or one designed specifically for dogs. You can also buy brushes that fit over your index finger. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and with a gentle, circular motion, brush the entire outer surfaces of the teeth, especially the area where the base of the tooth meets the gum. Do NOT use toothpastes made for humans, as these usually contain detergents and since dogs are more likely to swallow than spit and rinse, human toothpaste can cause stomach upset. Pet toothpaste comes in so many lip-smacking flavors that most dogs accept it eagerly.
Okay, some of you are still not ready to use a toothbrush on your dog’s teeth . I confess: some dogs don’t do really well with a brush …. so use a finger brush, or even a warm washcloth.. Any method is better than none, so use whatever approach you and your dog feel most comfortable with, but establish it as part of your regular routine.
Since animal care companies recognize that many caregivers will not brush, they have been hard at work formulating no -brush products, so there are many new products on the market now that claim to make dental care more convenient., including specially formulated non-toxic solutions and sprays that require no effort beyond adding them to your companion’s water or spraying them in his mouth. Some of these products are more effective than others, but before you rush out to buy one, consult your vet…Do not buy an over-the-counter solution. Brushing at home is the best strategy to prevent dental issues. With patience and persistence, you can curtail the amount of periodontal disease, reduce the frequency of professional cleanings, and provide your dog with a healthier, sweeter smile!
Taking care of your dog’s teeth is like changing the oil in your car. If you do it regularly, you can avoid bigger and more expensive problems down the line.—Dr. Brook Niemiec
LAST YEAR’S CHRISTMAS GIFT
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and humans are busily making their lists. To many people, a puppy is the perfect symbol of the true spirit of Christmas… innocence, exuberant energy, wonderment, and unconditional love. And what young child doesn’t beg for a puppy? Indeed advertisers and marketing experts have capitalized on this idea, and movies and TV have given us the idea that puppies make the perfect, heartwarming holiday gifts. They count on the flood of emotions and spur impulse purchases. But think of what happens to most of the toys and gifts that start out under the Christmas tree… by Valentine’s day, most of them have been shelved or broken or traded or forgotten. The excitement wears off, and the once exciting toy becomes something to use, use up, and then discard in favor of something newer. A living puppy is not a Christmas toy, and the reality is that there is an influx of pets that were given as gifts showing up at shelters around February because the recipients of these wonderful living gifts discover that they really weren’t prepared for a pet in their lives. There are dozens of reasons, but the bottom line is that thousands of puppies wind up with rescue groups or just abandoned a few months after Christmas. If you are considering a puppy as a gift, unless you are TOTALLY committed to the LIFETIME care of an animal, we suggest that you reconsider. Pets are living beings that require daily care, plus expenses for food, obedience training and vet bills, and “pets as playthings” is the wrong message to send to our children!
LAST YEAR’S CHRISTMAS PRESENT
T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring , not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, with no thought of their dog filling their heads.
And mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap knew he was cold, but didn’t care about that.
Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, figuring the dog was free and into the trash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below,
And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Santa Claus—his eyes filled with tears.
He unchained the dog, once so lively and quick….last year’s Christmas puppy, now thin and sick.
More rapid than eagles he called the dog’s name, and the dog ran to him, in spite of his pain.
Now, Dasher, now, Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen…on Comet, on Cupid. On Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch… to the top of the wall; let’s find this dog a home where he’ll be loved by all.
In an instant I was sad and ashamed and filled with fear , for Santa had made one thing quite clear:
The gift of a dog is not just for the season. We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons.
In our haste to find the kids the perfect gift, there was an important fact we had missed.
A dog should be family, and cared for the same; you don’t give a gift, then put him on a chain.
And I heard Santa exclaim as he drove out of sight, “You weren’t given a gift! You were given a life!”
I am a forever dog…not an “until” dog. I’m not an “until you get bored with me” dog. I’m not an “until you have a baby” dog. I’m not an “until you have decide to move” dog. I’m not an “until you have no time” dog. I’M A FOREVER DOG If you can’t give me your forever, then I’m not your dog. IT’S REALLY THAT SIMPLE.
PREPARE FOR COLD WEATHER
The weather outside is frightful, reminding us that winter will soon be here, and we are beginning our seasonal rituals to prepare for cold weather. We bring out heavier clothing, weatherproof our homes, and spend less time outdoors, but sadly, many pet caregivers seem to forget that pets can’t put on a sweater, or add a warm, cozy blanket to their beds, and if you look around your neighborhood, you will see dogs living outdoors with inadequate care. Millions of dogs live outdoors…all day, every day. When it rains, they are out there. When it’s 99 degrees, they are out there, often without shade, and when the temp drops to 10 degrees with blowing snow and winds, they are still out there, shivering, whimpering, longing to be inside. Some people just assume that their animals can adapt to live outdoors regardless of the weather, and a concerned neighbor may be the only hope for these poor animals. Without being judgmental, you may be able to convince them that they are putting their pets in danger…they may agree to make some changes…or they may not. If the dog is in distress, and no one will do anything, please don’t ignore the situation. Get involved…offer to help…and set a positive example by protecting your own pet companions in cold weather .
*Take your dog for a winter check-up before winter really hits. Your vet can check to make sure he doesn’t have any medical problems that will make him more vulnerable to the cold.
*Keep your dog inside! If you have to take her out, stay outside with her. Remember if you are feeling any distress from the cold, so is she!
*It’s a good idea to have your furnace checked for carbon monoxide leaks before you turn it on, both for your own health and that of your pets. Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, but can cause problems ranging from fatigue and headaches to difficulty breathing. Space heaters, electric blankets, and other heating products that may cause house fires should be closely monitored.
*Some products made for winter can be very dangerous or even lethal to pets. Ice melts and salt, if ingested can cause serious gastrointestinal inflammation. The best way to prevent ingestion of salts and ice melts is to wash your pet’s feet after coming indoors from walks. Antifreeze poisoning is common in winter, and even a small amount of the traditional antifreeze is extremely toxic. We suggest that you use products containing less-dangerous propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
*Never leave your dog alone in your car during the winter. Just as the sweltering heat of summer can kill car-bound dogs, frigid winter temperatures can freeze them to death. Never let your dog off leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost.
*I don’t promote “dressing up” your dog, but some dogs would really benefit from a sweater with a high collar or a coat with coverage from the neck to the base of the tail, also covering the belly. Our favorites are Fido Fleece coats by Premier Pets because they are easy on, easy off, and cover the underside of the dog.
As the cold winds howl outside your door, and your thoughts turn to burrowing under a cozy blanket, remember that your dog needs creature comforts too. Make sure she has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
Winter is a beautiful time of year, and if you take a few precautions, you and your dog can have a fabulous time!
If winter comes, can Spring be far behind?—Percy Bysshe Shelley
GIVE THANKS FOR FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FURBABIES
Thanksgiving is almost here, and it appears that everyone is already frantically searching for the “perfect” Christmas gifts for those people who already have everything, but let’s pause and reflect on our many, many blessings. Edgar Guest echoes my feelings about this neglected holiday:
“It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell on the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well, but thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know a simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago… get-together days with laughter ringing throughout the house, chatting, and sharing our hopes and dreams.”
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for our faith, family, and friends, and let’s not forget our furbabies. Our pets bring comfort and unconditional love to our lives with their nurturing, therapeutic spirits, and we are thankful for them, but sharing our dinner with them on this food-oriented holiday is not a good idea. With the usual abundance of food, it’s a temptation to share, but too much fatty, rich food can give your pet pancreatitis which can be life-threatening. Bones can splinter and stick in your dog’s throat, stomach or intestines, causing choking and intestinal blockage, and if a bone perforates the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, its contents will spill into the abdomen, resulting in infection and possibly death. The tasty string often used to tie up the turkey during roasting can also tie up their innards, and even the bag your turkey comes in and the little red “popper” pose threats. Dogs should be kept away from alcohol, coffee and tea, bones, chocolate, garlic and onions, potato skins, grapes, nuts, yeast dough, and fruit seeds and pits, and you should store leftovers, trash and garbage securely away from your pets. According to the ASPCA, the number one problem that veterinarians see during the holidays is dogs eating food that they shouldn’t eat. Foods that cause the most problems include bones, turkey skin, gravy, dough and cake batter, beer, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, onions and garlic, sage, nutmeg (which is often found in sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin pies and many desserts) and chocolate. The risk to your dog’s health isn’t worth “treating” him to any of those foods, (and its tough to be thankful if you are missing out on all the fun while you sit in the emergency vet clinic with a sick dog.) When those beseeching , soulful eyes look at you, begging for a thanksgiving treat, remember that much of your feast is not fit for your pet. Webvet.com offers these suggestions for healthy treats that can safely be given in SMALL portions:
*Sweet potatoes without the skin or seasoning
*Raw apple slices
*Either raw carrots or steamed carrots (or green beans) without seasoning
*Yams with NO brown sugar or marshmallows (or nutmeg)
*Mashed potatoes without the gravy
*Pumpkin BEFORE you turn it into pie mix….PLAIN pumpkin (again without nutmeg or seasoning)
*Small bits of turkey without skin or bone
By following a few basic tips, both you and your dog will enjoy a fun, safe Thanksgiving. Have a great day GIVING THANKS for your faith, family, friends and furbabies! No price tag can be placed on any of them.
COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS
This has been a year of economic uncertainty and unwanted stress for just about everyone, and it almost seems that Thanksgiving is being overlooked. It’s beginning to look like Christmas everywhere as you are encouraged to “Celebrate the holidays”… with reminders of Christmas I love Christmas, but I am sad to see Thanksgiving being given so little attention. We are truly blessed and what better time to count our many blessing with grateful hearts, and as Samuel Pugh says “as fortunate as we are, when we have food, help us to remember the hungry; when we have work, help us remember the jobless; when we have homes, help us remember those who have no home at all, and destroy our complacency, and raise our compassion to be concerned enough to help, by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted..” Let’s also not forget to reflect on the role that companion animals play in our lives. Their cheerful spirits, their total loyalty, and their unconditional love are priceless gifts.
BE THANKFUL when your dog forgets the rules and jumps up to greet you. It means she, though old and stiff, still has plenty of life!
BE THANKFUL when you have a messed up living room; it means you have a healthy, spirited dog.
BE THANKFUL when an entire roll of toilet paper is strewn throughout the house; smile as you visualize what fun your puppy must have had.
BE THANKFUL when your dog clings to you when you leave the house; it means you have unconditional love waiting when you return.
BE THANKFUL when your dog just wants to lie contentedly by your side, because the day will come when memories will be all you have.
Rescued Dogs Everywhere offer their prayer of thanks:
I am thankful that I will never know the loneliness that I hear in the barks of dogs still “out there.” I will never have to shiver in the cold or be afraid, because I am loved and accepted for who I am and not someone’s idea of what I should be. I will feel the sun’s warmth and the rain’s coolness and be allowed to smell all that can reach my nose.
I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch…knowing that no matter what happens, they are there for me. I will be talked to and even if I don’t understand, I can enjoy the conversation, and the honest effort to communicate with me on my level. I will be taught the things I need to know to be loved by others, and if I do not learn a lesson well, they will exercise patience, not anger.
I will never be cast out because I am too old, too ill, too unruly or just not cute enough. If ill, I will be doctored. If scared, I will be calmed. If sad, I will be cheered. My life is a responsibility, and not an afterthought. My heart overflows with thankfulness, because I have a loving, forever home.
THANKS for each new morning with its light; for rest and shelter of the night; for health and food; for love and friends; for everything God’s goodness sends.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Backyard dogs can be found in any community, and left outdoors with little attention, they have suffered terribly this hot weather. Forcing a dog to live outside is one of the worst things you can do in any weather , because being alone goes against dogs’ most basic instinct. They do not get “used to it.” Think of all the barking, whining, digging dogs you have seen alone outside, desperately trying to get the attention of their humans. When the stress of enforced solitude becomes too much to cope with , the dogs usually become hyperactive, listless, fearful, or vicious. Some dogs develop obsessive behaviors, including tail chasing, fly snapping, and self-mutilation as a result of their boredom and frustration. A recent study by the Michigan Humane Society reveals that most dogs exiled to the lonely life of a backyard, with little human companionship , usually suffer from physical neglect in addition to the emotional deprivation they experience. Fleas and other parasites are common; fly-bitten ears are ignored, worsen, and become more uncomfortable for the dog. Symptoms of disease often go unnoticed in an outside dog.
Another concern is the failure of commitment you made to provide a lifelong, loving home for your dog. Outdoor dogs are often surrendered or abandoned because of the inappropriate behaviors they commonly display. Responsible humans cannot banish their dog outside for extended periods of time, and rationalize that the dog is happy with that existence.
“Out of sight, out of mind” neglect is common with backyard dogs. Often the children are given the responsibility of being caregiver, but even if the animal is the child’s pet, and his responsibility, adults must pay attention to the care the dog is receiving, (or not receiving) and provide for the dog, regardless if they are busy with work or other activities.
Dogs need to be part of the family…even years ago when man and all animals lived “outside” there was a cave or den for shelter, and man and dogs lived in small groups or “packs.” Maybe you grew up in a home where the dog lived outside….but probably there was a warm barn and other animals for companionship, and usually someone was home most of the day, encouraging interaction between canine and human. Times have changed, but it seems that attitudes toward dogs have not changed much. Some caregivers have the best intentions to bring the dog indoors as soon as he stops behaving like a crazy dog, but unfortunately he won’t learn how to behave properly in the house until he is allowed in the house…nor will he be house trained until he spends supervised time in the house , and is routinely taken outside. Good manners don’t just happen; they have to be taught.
Dogs offer steadfast devotion, unconditional love, and joyful companionship, and unless you are committed to responsibly care for a dog, please do not get one. If you already have an “outside” dog, please consider changing your relationship with him. A sad, lonely, bewildered dog, kept outdoors, wondering why he cannot be with his family, brings only sadness and unhappiness to the world. Forcing a dog to live outside is no way to treat man’s best friend!
I did then what I knew how to do; now that I know better, I do better—Maya Angelou
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