My goodness, the birds have arrived at the ARL! We have lovebirds, parakeets and a cockatiel (who loves to imitate the rooster also in the critter room!). Here are some tips for keeping birds, and if you are looking to get one, below are a few guidelines to make your selection. Please adopt!
Make it as roomy as possible so that your bird can stretch her wings and flap them. It would be best if the bird is able to make short flights in the cage as well. Horizontal bars on the sides of the cage are very important for birds that like to climb. Bar spacing needs to be small enough that the bird cannot get its head through them. The cage should be placed in a draft free area, not in direct sunlight, and against a wall or in a corner.
Bowls, Perches and Toys:
Ceramic or stainless steel bowls are best; bigger birds will often chew up plastic bowls which can be harmful.
A perch give the bird a place to stand but also gives them an opportunity to exercise their beaks and keep their beaks trim. Perch size should fit their feet. Variety in both size and shape is important to exercise your bird’s feet. Natural branches are great for providing this variety.
Toys for birds are designed in lots of combinations of woods, leathers, ropes, chains, bells and even acrylics. Toys such as swings and ladders are designed for chewing and climbing, and add a stainless steel mirror so your bird can see how pretty she is!
Find a vet who specializes in aviary care. Not all vets know about birds – it’s definitely a specialty and they may be difficult to find. Ensure that your bird has an annual checkup. Familiarize yourself with sign of illness: Change in color of the bird’s droppings, change in eating and drinking habits, change in behavior, e.g. not as vocal, huddled low, lethargic, feather condition, etc.. or any symptoms of respiratory problems such as wheezing or open mouth audible breathing, discharge from eyes or nostrils, etc.
If You Are Considering Getting a Bird:
I was speaking with a friend the other day, an otherwise intelligent lady, and was shocked when she said that “any pet you get from a shelter will have behavior problems.” Lucky for her that she’s a very good friend and I didn’t blast her too badly! But this statement was eye-opening for me. I guess since I’ve worked for shelters and rescues for over 10 years, I know what she said is untrue. Do most people share my friend’s opinion? If so, then we all have a lot of educating to do.
There are a multitude of reasons why pets end up in shelters. Tops on the list are: Financial reasons, divorce, moving to a place that doesn’t accept pets, children’s allergies to the pet, no time for the pet and even that the pet’s owner passed away or had to go into a nursing home. Without a doubt, pets are turned in for behavior issues too. Cats who have litter box problems, dogs who bite or have housetraining issues. Most reputable shelters will screen the pets for behavior issues and those with severe problems will not be placed up for adoption. However, there are no guarantees that if a pet passes this temperament testing process at the shelter, it won’t have behavior issues once it gets adopted. Pet behavior is highly tied to the way it’s treated by the family. A shelter pet may need a little extra training in order to help it adapt to the new home. Or it may not! Many adopted shelter pets fit right into their new homes right away.
So to say that all pets in shelters have behavior problems is very unfair. There are no guarantees in life. That the cute little puppy someone bought or the sweet fuzzy kitten their neighbor gave them are just as likely to have behavior issues as a result of genetics or improper treatment. It's time to dispel the myths of shelters pets. Will you help spread the word?
Do you remember my blog post from April 15 about a dog hit by a car? Well guess what? He’s healed and ready to find his permanent home! Nicknamed “Bumper,” this handsome Sheltie and possibly Border Collie mix is the best dog. He gets along with everyone – people, children, and pets. He sleeps in his foster parents’ bed and loves to be snuggled.
Another incredible dog is awaiting a forever home. She’s Liberty, a sweetheart of a Rottie/Shepherd mix. She’s a big girl with a big heart. Yes, she could use a bit of a diet (I know I can too!) but Liberty will make someone very happy with her loving nature. She’s currently in foster care too.
Won’t you please consider either one of these special dogs? Their information is posted on the Adoptable Pets page of the web site – http://www.berksarl.org/adoptable_pets.htm.
Please tune into the ARL’s monthly BCTV show tonight at 7:00pm. We will be discussing proper care of pet birds. Believe it or not, the ARL receives birds who have not received the proper care. Some have lost most of their feathers. Also, we will be announcing the new ARL foster program for older and special needs dogs. And as always, we'll have a parade of adoptable pets. Please tune in for an informative show!
Our temperatures are now getting into the 70’s regularly so it’s time for the annual reminder - please do not keep your pet in your car, even if it’s just for a few minutes while you run an errand. The temperature in the car can climb very rapidly. I tried this for myself on a day that was about 75 degrees, and I encourage you to do this too just so you know how the pet feels. Shut the engine off, crack the windows slightly as you would if you’re leaving your pet in the car. Sit for a while and notice how uncomfortable it gets. Now…put on a coat. Yes, a coat. Because your pet is wearing a perpetual fur coat and what seems comfortable to you will be hot for your pet. Not good, huh?!
Here’s an article from msnbc.com with more information: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30723511/
Against my principles, I had to watch the Dog Whisperer on Friday night because he did a show about puppy mills. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like some of Millan’s methods. He is not the magician he claims to be. I have worked with so many clients who have tried some of his methods, only to create worse behavior problems. Anyway, I was thrilled that Millan was putting a spotlight on the puppy mill issues. His show is very popular and I hope that some people got the message not to buy puppies from pet stores and over the Internet as a result. However…I was completely unimpressed with how Millan supposedly “rehabilitated” the behaviors the mill dogs. It was a joke!! Those dogs no way near exhibited the behaviors of mill dogs! The Pekinese was very aggressive to people approaching him, however he was walking nicely on a leash and not at all shut down. When they showed the scene with Millan “rehabilitating” him, the dog was obviously drugged. Any professional could see that. Another dog supposedly had an obsessive-compulsive disorder which Millan demonstrated he could “cure” by simply doing a poke at the dog and saying “shhh.” Again, what a joke. Either this dog was not truly OCD or they drugged her. It was downright silly.
The other dogs whom Millan worked with no way near exhibited the extreme behaviors of puppy mill survivors. They showed a couple of small white dogs with happy, wagging tails and nicely groomed hair. The Akita that Millan worked with walked nicely on a leash and took treats from him. All things that most mill dogs will not do…
If Millan really wanted to show the world how badly these dogs are treated, he would have put his enormous ego aside and showed a dog who freezes in place at the sight of a human, flattens to the ground when you put a leash on her, is so severely matted that you can't get a brush through their hair, or bolts away like a wild animal. That would have been an impressive show.
The Animal Rescue League and many other rescues are often criticized that our adoption policies can be too strict, that we may refuse to adopt to someone if they do not meet our requirements. These policies have been developed in order to protect the pets, to help ensure that they do not get returned to the rescue, and to attempt to educate people about how to treat their pets. As an example, we request that pets do not live outside or are left to roam freely. This has been a controversial policy for some people.
Why do we have this rule? First and foremost, it’s for the safety of the pet. Pets who wander are more likely to be hit by cars, attacked by other animals, be a nuisance to neighbors, and could even be a target of abuse from deviants. A pet left outside has no protection from the weather.
I completely support this guideline because I have a dog-aggressive dog. My worst nightmare is when I am walking my dogs and a loose dog runs up to my dog. All bets are off if that dog gets in my dog’s face. My dog will not be happy and he will show it! And the offender simply doesn’t get it – their dog could get hurt – and it baffles me why someone would subject their pet to harm.
The ARL and other rescues are not trying to prevent people from adopting, as some may accuse. In reality, we’re attempting to make the world a better place for the animals.