Tagged: “Pet Care”

Thank You to Our Residents

Thank You to Our Residents

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began in March, the shelter, like all businesses in the County shut down.  Our volunteers, who we already knew were wonderful, really stepped up and within 2 days took all our adoptable animals home to foster so they could get the attention they needed and not have to just sit in a kennel or cage.  For the animals, that was huge!  But we worried about our community and the people and animals we serve.

Typically spring is a busy time at the shelter.  Kitten season is beginning and calls start coming in about pregnant cats or unexpected kittens popping up.  Days get longer so kids, and dogs, are outside more – hence more lost pets.  Sadly, we also tend to get in more owner surrenders as pets sometimes conflict with the summer travel plans.  With the shelter closed, except for emergencies, what would happen to all those animals?

Well, our residents really stepped up.  People who found strays did what they could to return the animal home with just some support (scanning for a microchip, taking lost reports) and suggestions from us.  Posting pictures on Craigslist, Facebook (yours and ours), Josie’s Lost Pets Facebook page and Nextdoor.com are just a few ways that individuals took it on themselves to help reunite families with their lost pets.  Awesome!  Why bring it to the shelter if you can do this from home?  And usually the animal belongs to a neighbor anyway so it’s easier for everyone if the animal is close to home – not to mention the favor you are doing by saving the owner the City fees required to redeem a pet from the shelter.

We’re also hearing about kind people who have taken in orphan kittens or moms and babies and are doing what they can to nurse them along until the shelter can reopen.  Double wow!!!  You don’t want to pull kittens from the mom too young.  Their best chance of survival is for the kittens to remain with the mom until they are at least 5 weeks old then pull them to make sure they are tame and socialized with people.  If you don’t know how to age kittens, we have posted a chart on our Facebook page, but basically if they are walking and playing (and look coordinated doing so) then they are old enough to pull.  By keeping the kittens out of the shelter until they are old enough to spay/neuter and put up for adoption you reduce the strain on our budget and our limited staff.  We are happy to help you get the kittens (and mom!) fixed, vaccinated and microchipped, and take the hassle out of finding the right home for them, especially if you did the hard work of raising them.  This makes for a great partnership with our community.

In fact, you did such a good job that we only took in 35% compared to what we received last year during March and April!  This is the beginning of Rohnert Park becoming a model of a humane society where everyone does their part to help out the animals.  Imagine if all the dogs and cats (and rabbits) in Rohnert Park and Cotati were microchipped and currently registered – we offer chips for free to our residents – the shelter could function as just a temporary lost and found and not have to house animals long-term.  What a concept!  What if everyone worked with trainers or behaviorists to resolve behavior issues before surrendering their pets?  Amazing idea!

The silver lining to this COVID virus is that it got our community going on the path of being proactive and involved in helping animals.  As we slowly start to reopen let’s work on keeping this momentum going.  Go to our website for the link to apply to be a foster parent or shelter volunteers.  Together we can save them all!!

There’s nothing worse than simply abandoning unwanted pet

There’s nothing worse than simply abandoning unwanted pet

You probably thought that with that ugly growth on her nose that it would be a quick euthanasia.  But we are committed to giving every animal a chance, so we struggle with these decisions.  Did you drop her off because you found out that it’s cancerous and the treatment was costly?  That would be useful information so we wouldn’t waste our time and limited resources repeating whatever tests you had done.  She is still eating and loving and active, so she doesn’t seem to be in a critical state…yet.  But knowing what you know of her history would help us make a better treatment plan.  Not that we can cure her if it is cancer.  Or realistically find her an adoptive family.  But it would help to know her prognosis so we could possibly find her a hospice or rescue situation.

The same is true of the older Yorkie that came in as a stray.  Our tests show that she is hypothyroid.  Did you already know that?  Has she been on medication and just got lost (if so, where are you to claim her back?  She’s been on Facebook, Nextdoor.com and in the Press Democrat and Community Voice)?  It’s expensive to have to do these tests, and a waste of money if it’s something the parents already know.  We have to start from scratch to find the right level of medication to control her thyroid.

If you don’t want her back because of this condition, please come in and surrender her to us.  Having her name, at the least, can help a scared dog feel more comfortable; and knowing if she is 9 years old or 14 (our vet tends to be generous in aging animals!) would be helpful too.   Having her full medical history, again, can assist us in our treatment and placement plan.

You don’t have to abandon your pet here. We will take him in (or refer you to the right shelter for your area that will).  We truly try not to judge or shame people for surrendering their animals even when the reason seems frivolous to us.  There is no blame or finger-pointing!  We know that most people take the decision to surrender a pet seriously and are heartbroken to have to do it.  There is important information that only you know that can be very helpful in placing an animal in a new home.  Does he hate being brushed?  Is she afraid of loud noises?  Has he ever lived with children or other animals?  Is her limp from a past injury or something new?  Don’t make us guess and try to figure these things out!

We want to help your animals and we know you want the best for them too.  Owner surrendered animals are scheduled by appointment so that we know we have the space to accommodate them. Your willingness to work with us will help them get that second chance at a new family.  We also have behavior counselors available and other resources that might help you solve whatever issue you are struggling with so that you may not have to surrender the pet you love. Call us at 584-1582 and talk to us about your issues and concerns to give us a chance to help before you get to that breaking point and just leave the animal tied to our door!

Make it a safe holiday – pet-proof your home

Make it a safe holiday – pet-proof your home

By Mickey Zeldes  December 19, 2014

I spent a good portion of last weekend picking mushrooms. Not to eat, although I love them. I wouldn’t trust myself to know an edible mushroom from a poisonous one. But with the recent rains, mushrooms have been popping up all over my lawn, and I don’t want my curious dogs to ingest them. Mushroom poisoning has killed more than one dog in our area, and I certainly wouldn’t want my dogs to become a statistic. This is not the typical danger you hear about when we focus on the holidays, but this has been a bumper crop of ‘shrooms lately.

Other hazards to keep your pets away from include the rich holiday foods typically served on Christmas, such as turkey. Many dogs end up in the emergency room with pancreatitis from eating a big fatty meal. Chocolate is also toxic to pets and should be kept out of their reach. Don’t trust the fact they are gift-wrapped to deter a dog. They can smell the goodies right through the pretty paper, so don’t stash edible gifts under the tree.

The Christmas tree presents its own set of challenges to those of us with pets. In a comic I saw recently, it showed the dog reacting to the tree with the thought bubble “Yes, indoor plumbing,” and using the tree for his business. Makes sense to me – how confusing is it to walk your dog up to every tree outside and reward him for peeing and then get mad when he does it on the one tree you thoughtfully brought into the house? A foster mom, who raises kittens for us, sent a recent photo of her tree with kittens peeking out from all the branches. Cute as kittens but not exactly what you want your adult cat doing. And even the tree in the lobby of the shelter has no ornaments on the bottom half – thanks to our mascot cats. Ornament? Cat toy? All one and the same!

Poinsettias and holly have long been listed on the poisonous plant list (check out the full lists on the aspca.com website) for pets, so keep them up high where they can’t be nibbled. String, ribbon and garlands have all caused problems for our curious and naughty pets. Both getting tangled up in them and getting caught in their digestive system. A few years ago we unintentionally got a $4,000 cat toy. That’s how much it cost to cut it out of my dog’s intestine where it caused a total blockage. Of course, that could happen anytime of the year – it was just coincidence that it was a red and green toy.

We’re all so busy during this time of the year and there’s so much “stuff” in our homes – gifts to give, gifts we receive, baking, cooking, decorating, entertaining – that it’s easy to overlook something that is potentially dangerous. Please take a few minutes to look around your house and pet-proof things so this can be a safe and happy holiday season for everyone.

Pets Can Bring Uninvited Guests

Pets Can Bring Uninvited Guests
By Mickey Zeldes May 2, 2014
Nothing like a bit of rain and some warm weather to wake things up. Not only are flowers and trees blooming, fleas and ticks have all come to life again in a big way.The ticks, so far this year, have been the worst we’ve ever seen, and we’ve seen some pretty heavy flea-infested strays come in recently. These poor animals suffer terribly from the itching and other side affects of having these parasites.

We’ve already paid to have our dog fields sprayed for ticks, but as the company reminded us – it’s not a foolproof method of eliminating these pests. All it would take is a stray cat or opossum with some of these uninvited guests to cut across our fields, and once again we would be infested. Spraying does help reduce ticks, though, and using repellent on the dogs helps to reduce the number they carry.

Not only are ticks and fleas bad for the animal because they suck their blood and therefore can cause anemia (we once got in a two-week-old kitten with close to 200 fleas. The poor thing was totally pale from lack of blood), but for the other problems they bring. Many animals become allergic to the saliva injected into their bloodstream when a flea bites. Just one bite and their whole body can become inflamed and itchy. We’ve all seen dogs missing half their fur and covered with scabs.

If you’ve ever been kept awake all night by a dog incessantly chewing and scratching, you know the misery that is caused by Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD). Once a dog is in full body reaction, you almost always have to resort to steroids as well as antibiotics to calm down the inflammation. In addition, fleas are the hosts to tapeworms. So with every infestation you have to be on the lookout for signs of this pesky internal parasite. Often, the signs of tapeworm can be seen with the naked eye – look for tapeworm segments which look like dried (or sometimes still moving) pieces of rice in the feces or caught in the fur around the anus. If you see them, get medication from your veterinarian to treat your pet.

If you find a tick on your pet, do not try to burn it off or smother it with Vaseline (two very outdated methods to remove them). It’s also not necessary to twist one way or the other – in fact twisting them often leaves the head imbedded, which can cause an infection. The very best way to remove a tick is with a tick remover (duh!). If you don’t have one of these handy gadgets, use a tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the head as possible and gently pull straight out. Be sure to wash the hole left behind thoroughly and apply some antibiotic ointment.

Ticks carry diseases that are transmissible to both dogs and humans such as Lymes disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The good news is that the tick has to be imbedded for 12 or more hours to transmit the disease, so quickly removing any ticks after a hike is one way to avoid contamination. After every hike it is important to thoroughly look over you and your pet. There are also tick repellants that can be applied before heading out.

There are now so many flea and tick products out that it would be a column on its own. Just know that preventing these pests is much easier than solving the problems they leave behind. Your itchy pets will attest to that.