Predictably, the ARL has had quite a few pet rabbits surrendered lately. It happens every year at this time when people buy bunnies as pets and then either tire of them or cannot take care of them. I hope that you were able to view my show on BCTV last week. I gave a ton of information about how to care for a pet bunny. Here’s a summary of the items discussed:
Many thanks to Karen at Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue. Their information is:
Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue, Inc.www.SafeHavenRR.orgemail: adopt@SafeHavenRR.org
Some of you may know this already because the story went around the Internet several years ago, but it's worth reminding everyone. Beware of using mulch made from cocoa beans. It can be toxic and lethal if your pets ingest it. The mulch smells like chocolate and is therefore very enticing to pets, and especially inquisitive puppies and dogs who like to chew. But the mulch, since it is made from cocoa bean shells, contains the same chemicals that can harm a pet if he or she eats chocolate. Dogs are highly sensitive to these chemicals, theobromine and caffeine, which can cause gastrointestinal problems, increased heart rate, seizures and death. Some manufacturers of the mulch claim that it has been processed to remove these chemicals. To be on the safe side, it's best to avoid this kind of mulch altogether.
Remember also not to feed chocolate to your pets because of the toxicity.
I have an hour commute to work, so that gives me lots of time to look at the scenery – some pretty and some not so nice. As I was driving through a small town in Chester County last week, I see a big sign on the front lawn of a house “Pit Bull puppies 4 sale.” Oh great, I think. As so many Pit Bulls are euthanized every day in shelters, how can these people justify breeding more? But that’s not all. In the window of the house was a great big “Beware of Dog” sign AND a snarling dog peering out the window. Yes, they bred this dog and of course the pups will have aggressive tendencies too because aggression can be genetic. Oh, and there’s one more thing. Next to the Beware of Dog sign was a great big “It’s a Boy” birth announcement. Wanna bet that this dog ends up in a shelter soon because it doesn’t like the child? How can we break this cycle? It’s so very sad and frustrating.
And while I’m ranting, here’s another one. Today, there was a man "driving" the car in front of me with a cell phone in his right hand and a cigarette in his left hand PLUS a baby in the back seat and a dog jumping all around the car. Wow, I must have missed that autopilot feature they recently added to cars! (Yes, I know this blog is supposed to be about animals but let’s get real here folks!) The guy is not only exposing the child (and the dog) to the cigarette smoke but he's endangering their lives by having his hands off of the wheel and not concentrating on driving. And the dog was unrestrained which causes more distraction to the driver. Have you all heard of seat belts for dogs? They’re wonderful. It’s simply a harness that goes around the dog and attaches into the car’s seat belt. It helps the dog to feel more secure in the car, keeps the dog safe and cuts down on the distractions for the driver. They’re available at most pet stores. I can’t criticize this driver in this blog for simultaneously smoking and talking on a cell phone while driving, but I can comment on keeping his dog safe!
The ARL picked up a dog last week in Washington Township who had been hit by a car. No ID, no microchip. This guy is as cute as can be, so how can he be a stray and nobody’s looking for him??!!
He has been recovering in the kitchen of our boarding area under the loving care of Pam, Temporary Mom to the Boarding Pets. She cleverly named him “Bumper”! He had no visible physical injuries such as lacerations or scrapes, but he’s having trouble walking on his left front leg. The vet found no broken bones which is good, but his muscles, tendons, or ligaments could be torn from the impact, or worse, he could have neurological issues. I carefully did some massage and Reiki (an energy healing modality) on him, and a wonderful ARL volunteer came in yesterday and brushed him and did some more Reiki. Through all of the handling, Bumper was calm and loving. The volunteer took him home with her to get more therapy and to see if he improves.
If anyone recognizes this sweetheart of a dog, please contact the ARL.
The ASPCA kicked off their Go ORANGE for Animals month yesterday to begin Prevention of Cruelty to Animals this month. The ARL has many things planned, first is the Pet Photo Contest. See details on the Home page. We’ll be announcing more activities in a few days.
What can YOU do to spread the word this month (and every month too!)?
Purportedly, the tragic shooting of three police officers in Pittsburgh on Saturday was instigated by an argument between a mother and son because their dog urinated on the floor. Is it so unthinkable that a dog’s simple action can create so much rage that a person is driven to murder??!! It’s unimaginable to me but I’ve seen many times where the pet causes stress in the household. And many, many times, it’s due to housetraining problems. Often, dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters because of this very issue. A quick review of the basics of housetraining for dogs is important – quite a few people may not be aware of these steps:
1. Use a consistent door/location
2. Create a consistent schedule
Establish a routine feeding and walking schedule daily. Do not deviate from this schedule, even on weekends. Take your dog outside to the designated spot immediately after each meal, immediately after each playtime, immediately after awaking and right before bedtime. Puppies need to go outside about every 2 hours.
3. Never let your dog out of your sight
Until your dog is housetrained, do not let your dog in the house unsupervised – and this means 100% of the time. Use either a crate to confine your dog when you cannot supervise him/her, or use a leash to keep him/her close to you. This way, you be able to catch your dog in the act of eliminating in the house. Then, you can immediately take him/her outside to the designated spot.
4. Reward, never punish!
Should you see your dog beginning to eliminate in the house, interrupt the behavior with “ah, ah, ah – outside!” and take the dog outside. Never, ever scold your dog for eliminating in the house. And dogs do not understand when you stick their noses in their housetraining mistakes, or if you hit them when they have an accident. This only teaches them to fear you, and to eliminate in the house when you are not looking. Instead, use praise and treats for when your dog eliminates when and where you want. The very instant that your dog begins to eliminate in this place, say “Good dog!!!” with lots of enthusiasm, then give a treat when he/she is finished.
5. Be patient!
If you are housetraining a puppy, expect training to take several weeks, depending on the breed, because of small bladders. An older dog can be trained in a few days with the proper attention. Expect your dog to make mistakes occasionally from the beginning. Please be patient and continue to follow the principles.
6. Thoroughly clean up all accidents
Carpet cleaner alone is not effective to remove pet odors in the house. Use a pet deodorizer such as Nature’s Miracle.
Just when you think you’ve heard it all (and when you work for an animal shelter, you really DO hear it all!)… I saw on the morning news that a German Shepherd in Philadelphia who was revered for saving the life of a toddler in 2006 was found abandoned yesterday by the same family she protected. The PSPCA suspects that she has been by herself in the house for about two months. She was severely dehydrated and flea-infested. That’s how this dog’s loyalty was returned? In 2006, the toddler climbed out onto the edge of a roof while the family slept. Alfie the dog barked to alert people that the toddler was out there and possibly saved the child’s live.
Even when this hero dog proved valuable to the family, she was still cast aside like garbage. I hope they find these people and cast them away – if you get my drift! How terribly sad.