Here’s some great information from the Fairchild Foundation for how to help orphaned kittens – a great alternative than bringing them to the overcrowded shelters! Thanks to Dr. Jennifer Fry for sending this out:
Always use kitten formula such as KMR to feed orphaned kittens. Never feed cow’s milk to kittens--it can cause harmful or cause fatal digestive problems. Make sure to purchase a kitten nursing bottle. Eye droppers are not recommended as tiny kittens do not have a gag-reflex and could aspirate the milk into their lungs. Always feed them in an upright position. NEVER FEED A COLD KITTEN! Newborn kittens cannot maintain their own body heat for the first three weeks. Kittens quickly enter a downward spiral when they get cold, becoming too weak to nurse which leads to low blood sugar, coma and death. Gently warm a kitten until it is alert and mewing for food. An electric heating pad UNDER the crate is a convenient way to maintain the ideal temperature but it should NEVER be placed directly into the crate. Formula should be warmed to body temperature and fed every 3-4 hours. As they get older, every 6-8 hours will be enough. A kitten needs approximately 8 mls of formula per ounce of body weight each day. Make sure to weigh the kittens daily to ensure they are gaining weight.
Kittens under 3 weeks old are unable to eliminate on their own. The mother normally licks them under their tails to make them void. You must rub the kitten’s anus and genital area in a back-and-forth motion with a warm wet washcloth or cotton ball until the baby urinates and defecates. Stimulate the kittens to go before and after each feeding.
By 4 weeks, kittens are ready to start eating solids. Begin by mixing pureed canned kitten food with kitten formula and offer it, slightly warmed, in a small flat dish. In another week or two, you can begin adding dry food into the mix and discontinue the formula. Royal Canin Baby Cat is one of the best foods for this stage.
At 5 weeks, you can start litter box training. Kitten Attract Litter works great to get them using the box http://www.preciouscat.com/kitten-attract-p-10.html.
I was watching a television show the other day and noticed that the dog on the show just hung around with the actors, never needed to be told what to do and was exceptionally well-behaved. What most people don’t realize is that these actors-dogs are highly trained. Hours and hours are spent with them to make them look that way. Is television jading our perceptions of how a dog should behave in real life? I think so. Just like reality shows really aren’t reality (sorry to tell you, most of them are now scripted!), dogs on TV don’t naturally act that way.
We recently had a puppy returned to the shelter because the dog would not stay in the yard with the owners. They did not hire a trainer for the poor dog; they just expected him to hang around. That’s so unfortunate because this pup is wonderful…and now homeless again. It's possible that their previous dog never left the yard, but that's a completely different dog! Dogs require instructions. They don’t know what’s expected of them unless we teach them. Good training requires time and commitment to get the best results. But what a great investment! A wonderful friend for life.
Some days at the ARL can be like the Gulf of Mexico over the past 57 days: disastrous amounts of incoming pets with no end in sight like oil gushing from the well. The staff here can be like the oil clean-up workers, mopping up the mess that others have created. The ARL and other open-policy animal rescue organizations are fighting the same losing battle as the oil clean-up workers. Until the well is permanently capped and until a solution to pet over-population can be found, both battles are losing propositions.
The solution is not about cleaning up but the need to put a stop to the problem. Just as the oil spill has to be stopped by capping the well, the pet over-population problem needs to be addressed at the source. It cannot be the sole responsibility of the rescue groups, just as the oil spill cannot be stopped by the clean-up workers. If every animal lover took a personal stake in seeking solutions to the root causes, we could cap the gushing well of homeless pets.
What are some of the root causes of pet homelessness?
What else? Is there something you can pick from this list that you can take on as your own cause to resolve the problems at the root? For many people, all it takes is a little education to get them to understand the issues and to change their behaviors. Here’s a recent example: My nephew’s girlfriend is looking to get a dog and she knows not to buy one at a pet store or from the Internet, but she didn’t know about Petfinder.com. I pointed her in that direction and hopefully she’ll adopt instead of buy.
The ARL and other rescue organizations cannot do it alone – we need every animal lover’s help. A little education goes a long way. Thank you.
No other breed of dog stirs up controversy like a Pit Bull. Even the spelling of its name is now controversial! It’s Pit Bull, by the way, not Pitbull. You don’t see Goldenretriever! At least I hope we never do because it’s just plain incorrect. And so is the breed profiling that happens with Pits. Nobody understands this issue more than the staff of the ARL. The majority of dogs who come into this shelter are Pits (and Chihuahuas – but that’s a blog topic for another day). Like any other breed, some are nice and some are not. They will be treated no differently than any other breed or mixed breed who comes here for help. They are respected for their loving, affectionate nature and for their other breed characteristics – tenacity and strength. The ARL has extensive experience with Pits and all other animals, and we want to educate people about the breed and to try to get through to the people who continue to over-breed these dogs that will eventually end up here.
I just completed filming a segment for Comcast’s Pets on Demand and I worked with two delightful Pits. They were sweet, happy and loved to give kisses. That’s what the breed is supposed to do. They are very people-focused and like to please. Many people don’t know that. They see a Pit and cower in fear. Many Pits, however, have a high prey drive and may not get along with other animals. That’s part of their breeding and nothing to be held against them. But…it’s something that needs to be understood about them when adopting one.
Just as sporting dogs, herding dogs or guard dogs may not be the best pet for everyone, a Pit may not be the right dog for everyone. Breed-specific knowledge is so important before adopting or buying a dog. Do your research before you commit to a lifetime friend. Ask the staff here; they can give you the lowdown on all of the breeds.
I’m saddened when I see strays come into the shelter with no identification – no tags, no microchips, signs that nobody cared about them. Just anonymous, no-named, homeless animals. In mid-May, we picked up one of many dogs with no identification. We scan all incoming strays for microchips and this dog did not have one. Luckily, he was a very nice, middle-aged guy and we were able to quickly place him in a foster home where his foster mom fell in love with the way the little dog sat up and begged, and acted like a perfect gentleman. He loved to play with her other dogs. But along came his owner who happened to see the dog’s photo – more than two weeks after he was picked up by the ARL. The owner claimed him and was incredibly lucky that the dog had not been put down after the mandatory waiting period for strays.
I wonder how many other dogs and cats with no identification suffer that fate. Microchipping is easy and inexpensive. All veterinarians will microchip and it does not hurt the pet. When the microchip is inserted, ensure that the vet scans the chip to make certain that it shows up properly. Also, be sure that you register ownership of the pet through the microchip’s manufacturer. A microchip is worthless unless your information is registered.