Of course everyone knows Olivia, the dog who was found thrown down the back of the Schuykill River. After surgery a few weeks ago, the pins in her leg were removed this week and she continues to have physical therapy. Typical of young Pit Bulls, she needs training! Dedicated ARL volunteer Karen Mogel has been coming to the shelter several times a week to give Olivia lessons in being a mannerly little girl. Karen is working wonders! It’s amazing what time, patience and positive training will do for a rowdy little dog. Yes, Olivia was injured but that didn’t stop her from those characteristically puppy-like naughty behaviors: jumping, leash tugging, and mouthiness. When Olivia is ready to be adopted, her adopter will spend time with Karen and Olivia to learn how to keep up with Olivia’s training. Wouldn’t it be nice if all adopted dogs came with a personal trainer!
Occasionally, we receive complaints from people who say that our shelter has too many Pit Bulls up for adoption. While it may be true that there are a lot of Pit Bulls here, the ARL has no way of controlling the types of animals that we rescue. If the pet is healthy and well-behaved, then we have the obligation to try to find it a home! There are several reasons why we see so many Pit Bulls come into the shelter:
- They are less likely to be spayed or neutered by their owners,
- Some people who own them purposefully breed the dogs to either sell or give away the puppies,
- Some people who own them are more likely to allow the dogs to roam free, or just let them run away if they don’t want the dogs anymore.
Pit Bulls are the most misunderstood, and sadly the most exploited, by humans. These dogs are naturally very loving and loyal to humans. They were not bred to be watchdogs or to be aggressive to people. In fact, to be effective in the dog fighting ring, they cannot be aggressive to people. It’s only recently that these dogs have been deemed as a symbol of toughness to certain groups of people, and are either being breed to be aggressive or taught to show aggression to people.
However, it is a fact that Pit Bulls can be very aggressive to other animals. They can have a very high prey drive and were originally bred to fight with other dogs, so many do not get along with other dogs. If raised and trained properly and kindly, most Pit Bulls will be the best pet ever.
If you’d like to know more about Pit Bulls, the facts and the myths, please check out the Pit Bull Rescue Central web site at www.pbrc.net. It’s loaded with good information.
Nine years ago, ARL Humane Officer Alison Rudy decided to adopt a pretty black and white kitty with beautiful green eyes. “Christopher” had belonged to a lady who was ill and moving back to her home in Germany. A kind man donated money to have Christopher live in the boarding area of the ARL. For two years, this man devotedly visited Christopher but then realized it was time for Christopher to find a home. The issue was – Christopher was 10 years old. People simply don’t adopt older animals (for reasons that I just don’t understand!). That’s when Alison took him home and made him a member of her pack.
Today ended nine happy years together. Alison made the very difficult decision to euthanize Christopher due to lung cancer. He was 19 years old! His quality of life was fantastic up until recently, and according to Alison, was the very best cat ever.
Our sympathies are with you, Alison. And thanks for being a shining example of how much love an older pet brings into our lives.
Unless you’ve worked at an animal shelter or rescue, it’s difficult to know what the job is like. The kennel staff isn’t sitting around playing with the animals all day! As I walked into the building this morning past the cages where strays are dropped off overnight, I was greeted by two very angry Shepherds. Both were snarling, spitting and biting at the cage. It’s the responsibility of the kennel staff to remove these dogs from the stray area and place them into kennel runs. Yikes! As I made my way to my office, I stopped by to say “good luck” to the kennel staff and a silent prayer for their safety. It’s definitely not the first and last time that they have had to deal with dangerous animals. In fact, it’s a weekly, if not daily hazard of their jobs.
It’s not just the kennel staff working with dogs who have to deal with aggressive animals. The staff who work with the cats are constantly handling strays who are not at all friendly or willing to be touched. Getting bitten and scratched is unfortunately part of the job. But someone has to help the animals. All of us animal lovers need to express our gratitude for the difficult jobs these patient yet mentally weary people do day-to-day because they love the animals. The job is completely thankless but its rewards are seeing the animals that can be helped going to loving homes.
I need to mention that in the cage next to the aggressive Shepherds was a sweet little Shar-pei. She was silently waiting for someone to talk to her, to take her home. She approached the front of the cage and gave my hand a sniff and looked up at me with hope in her eyes. I assured her that she was safe in good hands. She seemed like a nice little dog. I hope that she was just lost and that we had a happy ending reunion for her. The staff needs more happy endings!
Last night, a 10-year-old Sussex Spaniel named Stump won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. He was the oldest dog in the history of the show to win. I jumped up and down and cried because FINALLY an older dog is getting recognition. Here at the shelter and at most other rescues and shelters, older pets are passed over constantly for young pets. I adore old pets. They are simply the best. My last two dogs were about 9 years old when I adopted them. I couldn’t have asked for better, more loving dogs than these guys.
I hear people say that if they adopt an older pet that the pet is going to die soon. I have a couple of comebacks to that statement: 1) you don't know how long that pet will live. Many surprise us and live for quite a long time. I massaged a cat several years ago who was 21! 2) there’s no guarantee that a young pet won’t die at a young age. I’ve known quite a few dogs who have contracted Lyme disease and died before the age of 5. Also, congenital defects from bad breeding (a.k.a., puppy mills) can cause a pet to die young. 3) The satisfaction that you rescued older pets and gave them homes for however long they had to live is well worth it. One of my older dogs lived for 20 months after I adopted him but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. I wrote a story about him which was published last year in a book called Pets Across America. He will remain in my heart forever as one of the most precious gifts I have ever received.
Not convinced yet? Here is a link to the Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue’s web site and 10 reasons to adopt older dogs: http://www.brooklinelabrescue.org/olderdog.html. My thanks to them for allowing me to post this information.
I hope that Stump is a spokes-dog for all of the “oldsters” out there who are homeless and waiting for a chance at another home. I know I will never adopt a puppy or young dog again. What you get from an older pet is a mix of love and gratitude that you see in their eyes every time they look at you.
Last Fall, dog lovers shouted "victory!" when HB2525 was passed and we all saw a ray of hope in shutting down PA's puppy mills. Today brings a new wrinkle. The Professional Dog Breeders Advisory Council, Inc., along with Clymer & Musser Law Firm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, announced the filing of a federal civil action against Dennis Wolff, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, according to a press release from the American Canine Association, Inc.
State Rep. James E. Casorio Jr., D-Westmoreland, the prime sponsor of Pennsylvania's revamped dog law – Act 119 of 2008 – released the following statement today in response:"It is extremely disappointing, but not surprising, to see commercial dog breeders attempt to challenge this law. Instead of moving forward under the law, which gives many of them as much as three years to comply, to do the right thing for the dogs in their care, they have chosen instead to try and kill the law and the commonsense regulations it contains, and to allow thousands of breeder dogs in Pennsylvania to continue suffering and dying under horrible conditions."Commercial breeders in Pennsylvania were given every opportunity to participate during the many months that House Bill 2525 was being crafted and debated. Instead, they chose to focus their efforts on killing the legislation. It is clear that commercial breeders don't want responsible, equal regulation – they want absolutely no regulation, and have apparently turned to the federal courts to accomplish what they could not accomplish in the legislature."Act 119 is not, and never has been, about putting responsible commercial dog breeders out of business. The number of concessions they received in the law – and the amount of time they have been given to comply – is testament to that. This is a spurious argument by the breeders that has no basis in fact."The purpose of Act 119, and the aim of the provisions in Act 119, is not to put commercial breeders out of business, but to make sure their business is responsible and humane. The law is aimed at breeders that are selling dogs to Pennsylvania consumers. The state has a legitimate right to regulate this business just like any other for-profit business in the state. This is a consumer protection law as well as an animal welfare law, and as such, I believe its focus and scope are appropriate."The people of Pennsylvania have sent a clear message – a message that this lawsuit, regardless of its outcome, will have no bearing on. In Pennsylvania, the days of puppy mills, and of treating dogs as just another disposable cash crop, are over. The hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians – dog owners and non dog owners alike – who helped us pass Act 119 are committed to ensuring that."
This certainly is a discouraging turn of events. The public spoke when we urged our representatives to vote for HB2525. Let's hope that our judical system upholds the law!
For those of you who didn't see the article in the Sunday Reading Eagle, Chip found his way beck to the Animal Rescue League! After wandering around for a week, he showed up in the parking lot of the shelter on Friday night. He climbed up on the wall in front of the cat room and was looking into the building as if to say, "I'm home!"
Chip's paws are very raw and cracked, but other than that, he's in good shape. He's a very happy boy, and everyone here is smothering him with lots of love.
The ARL would like to thank all of you who helped us search for Chip. We appreciate your efforts!
I received the following email this morning from North Penn Puppy Mill Watch:
United Against Puppy Mills is launching a campaign to educate the dog-buying public through a toll free "tip line." Callers will hear a two-minute pre-recorded message. Our goal is to increase awareness about puppy mills. We need your help! Although the toll-free number will appear in newspaper classified ads periodically, we are asking for your assistance in putting this phone number in front of as many people as possible.
It's easy to do. Simply print and post the attached letter-sized sign (pdf). Make copies as needed. (If possible, cut along the dotted lines to create tear-off tabs.)
Public bulletin boards can be found in many places including grocery stores, pet supply stores, hardware stores, restaurants, college campuses, and community centers to name only a few. Always ask permission before posting it in a private business, for example, in a business near a pet store that sells dogs, in your vet's office, etc. Please check back and put up a new sign when the tabs have all been taken, or the sign has been removed.
Thank you for joining UAPM's efforts to end puppy mills as they currently exist. Progress is being made because of caring and compassionate people like you!
Unfortuately, this blog software does not allow me to attach the flyer. If you email me at email@example.com, I will send you the flyer. The number for the Tip Line is 1-866-975-DOGS.
Education is the key to shutting down the puppy mills. We can do this!
Two year ago, a Whippet named Vivi escaped from the Delta Airlines terminal at JFK Airport after she competed at the Westminster Dog Show. Poor Vivi was never found. I can’t imagine how scared she must have been, and how awful this is for her owner. Because of her ordeal and many other pets who have suffered a similar fate that we never hear about, there is a web site, http://www.vivicrusade.org/, to educate people about how to make pets safer for air travel. They are collecting information about pets who have been injured in air travel, and they are working to improve the regulations. When you go to the web site, you can see monthly reports from the Department of Transportation which list pets that have been lost, injured or killed while being transported. Beware, it’s very sad to read, but anyone who is contemplating air travel with their pet needs to know this information and how to protect their pet. Please pass it along.
Please help us in locating Chip! He is a Blue Heeler who was adopted from the ARL on Saturday, and escaped from his new owners on Sunday. He has been spotted in the area of Lancaster Avenue in Reading and most recently near the interchange of 422 and 176. It seems that he may be headed back here, so we’re hoping that the sounds of the dogs barking and the smells of the shelter will lure him. But he has many streets to cross and that’s a scary thought. Please, please be on the lookout for this very nice dog. If you sight him, call the ARL. Thank you!