What do these dogs have in common?

The above dogs were all transfers from other shelters. Panson, the brindle shepherd mix on the left, was a transfer from a shelter in Fresno. Bisque, the Min Pin mix in the center, was a transfer from Avenal. Lastly, Culligan, the black and tan shepherd mix on the right, was a transfer from Fresno. They also all used to be strays but are now living in loving homes.

In the last couple of weeks we have been hearing the same questions over and over again; “Why are a lot of your animals transfers from other shelters?” or “Why do you transfer animals here?” To those who work in the animal industry it might seem more obvious why we transfer animals to our shelter. Nonetheless, while the answer might be simple the reason is very important.

Simply put, we transfer animals out of other shelters to save their lives. The shelters we take animals from are highly impacted by strays and often find themselves full and in dire need of kennel space. When these shelters are full they usually have to start euthanizing animals who have been there for a long time to make more space for new arrivals. It’s a very sad truth that dogs who have done nothing wrong are being put to sleep simply because they found themselves lost and without a home. Therefore, in order to save more lives we bring those animals who may be in jeopardy of euthanization to our shelter for a second chance.

Once all that has been stated, some people then ask, “Well why don’t you just transfer animals from the County shelter here who are in need?” The answer is, we do transfer from the County shelter. We transfer both dogs and cats from the County shelter next door whenever we can and when they become too full. Due to our agreement with the County shelter, they do not have to euthanize simply for space.

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Bombshell: a transfer from Kings County (recently adopted)

The other reasons why we transfer animals, begins with the fact that by coming to our shelter they receive even more care and medical treatments that they might not have received at the other shelters. We are lucky to be able to provide our animals with all the necessary vaccinations and treatments like Parvo, Distemper, Bordetella, Rabies, flea control and deworming. We also spay and neuter each animal on site. In addition to these basic treatments we screen for more severe illnesses or injuries. In recent months we have provided previously stray animals with expensive surgeries such as surgery to correct canine hip dysplasia.

We are only able to provide treatments and surgeries such as these because of generous donors. Our facility is non profit and highly depends on those who are looking to help save lives. Without these caring individuals we would not be able to help as many animals as we do; currently we are close to 3,000 adoptions for this fiscal year.

We transfer animals to us, because we have the resources to care for them and want to find them their forever homes.

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Peg Becomes Paisley: Her Journey from Shelter to Home!

From my experience working at the shelter I can attest that you come to love all of the animals. Each and every dog holds a unique spot in your memory and they become more than animals, they become your friends. However, every once in awhile there comes along a dog that begins to become more; for me, Peg was the first. Peg is a black female Labrador Retriever mix and is about three years old now.

Peg first arrived at the shelter in June of 2016, and I met her when I got hired in August of 2016. By that time, she had already been adopted twice but had not found the right fit; either there had been issues with other animals or family members in those homes. Seeing as she had been at the shelter for a couple months, as time went on, her attitude and behavior at the shelter left something to be desired. She showed signs of anxiety in her kennel through barking and, because of all the external stimuli, was also very distracted when meeting new people. She was also always too skinny; due to the stress of her situation it was hard for her to gain weight. However, whenever Peg spent time outside of her kennel she relaxed and began to reveal her wonderful personality and unique spunk.

Taking a break from her kennel at the back desk

I personally developed a relationship with Peg when I began taking her for offsite excursions; we would go on hikes and I even took her to a couple of dog friendly cafes.

On a stroll in Los Osos

From the get go she rode wonderfully in the car and never once tried to run away from me. She always respected the leash and was content to walk along side me or a little ahead of me. The more time I spent with her the more I found myself thinking, that if I could, I would adopt her. However, I knew that I could not have a dog and was just grateful I could spend so much time with her at work. At the same, time it was difficult seeing her day in and day out in her kennel getting overlooked by potential adopters.

It wasn’t until the beginning of October 2016 that a wonderful family came in and asked to meet with Peg. I personally introduced them to Peg and spoke with them about what I had learned since spending so much time with her. I explained how Peg had initially been found as a stray in Santa Barbara County and that we didn’t know anything about her previous life before the shelter. It was apparent from the very beginning that this family could see the potential that Peg held. They knew that she still needed some training, but that she would be well worth the effort. After taking some time to think about everything, the family did in fact come back to adopt Peg and take her home!

As they finalized the paper work, I said my goodbyes to Peg and found myself overwhelmed with so many emotions. I was exceptionally happy that Peg would get to sleep in a home with kind people who wanted the best for her. And yet, I was also sad that I wouldn’t be able to see her again. I should have known that actually there was nothing to be sad about at all. In fact, I was able to view an update just days later when her new family posted a photo of her on Facebook.

Now that it has been over a year and a half since she was adopted, I was even more eager to know how she has been doing. When I reached out to her adopters I was very excited to hear that she is doing amazingly! Peg is now named Paisley and lives happily in Utah with her adopted family. They say that “she is one of the best dogs they have ever had”. I was told that she loves her big back yard and especially loves playing with her new sibling (a dachshund mix they recently adopted).

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In the photos that were sent to me you can see more than a happy dog, you can see a relaxed, comfortable, and loved dog.

Her family said, “We are truly grateful for what an amazing dog she has been”. In addition, I was told that Paisley has especially bonded with the father and gets to travel with him when he leaves for trips. Sounds to me like she is sufficiently spoiled and well taken care of. I was also very excited to hear that they did a DNA test for Paisley. Turns out she is 25% Labrador Retriever, 25% mixed breed, 15% Border Collie, 15% Staffordshire Terrier, 15% German Shepard, and 15% Saint Bernard! It’s so interesting to see everything that combined to create such a beautiful dog. One of my favorite photos is this one of her in the snow.

It’s so amazing that because of the work we do, a dog like Paisley who was once a stray in California is now living a great life in Utah playing in the snow!

If Dogs Went to Hogwarts

I’ll admit it, I’ve been a little obsessed with Harry Potter recently. Over the past month I’ve listened to all the books and spent a lot of time annoying my boyfriend with random spells and facts. It’s been oddly nostalgic and exciting diving into this world of magic again since it had been several years since I reread the series.

Since everything Harry Potter is at the forefront of my mind, when it came time to write a new blog post I turned to the Hogwarts Sorting Hat for help. I thought it might be fun to select the subjects for my post using the same characteristics the Sorting Hat utilizes to place students in the appropriate Hogwarts house. Now that I’ve had a little bit of time to think on it, I’ve chosen to showcase four different dogs who are available for adoption (one to represent each Hogwarts house).


Gryffindor: This house values those individuals who are brave and show they are daring, courageous, and chivalrous. Their determination is strong and very influential.

To represent Gryffindor, I have chosen PJ who is a long bodied, tan chihuahua mix. IMG_20180319_160332_151.jpgPJ is approximately two years old and came to our shelter through a transfer from a Fresno shelter. Upon arrival, PJ had some difficulty transitioning and there were some moments when he didn’t know who to trust. Nonetheless, he didn’t let that stop him. Each day he gained more and more confidence and showed great bravery. He now loves every staff member and is having an easier time meeting new people. PJ exudes personality and can be quite daring. He especially loves meeting new dog friends and is never nervous about introducing himself. Amongst his own kind he becomes very playful and exuberant. When he’s not playing with toys, he loves playing chase or tag. When he gets going he is very fast and his legs get stretched in opposite directions as he zooms around. Not only is PJ fun, but he is also handsome. Even with his good looks, PJ maintains a sense of chivalry that draws people to him.

 


Hufflepuff: This house values fair play and these individuals are known for their hard work and dedication. When they are tested and pushed to their limits they prove they are exceptionally loyal and patient.

The choice for Hufflepuff was a little more difficult to land on. However, with the information given to us from Odin’s previous owners, and the behavior we have witnessed at the shelter, I think Odin would be an exceptional member of Hufflepuff. received_10216547961760363.jpegOdin is a Shepherd mix and only a little over a year old. While he shows some tendencies indicative of the house of Ravenclaw–he is a quick learner and seeks knowledge–he shows more than the desire to learn; Odin exhibits an extremely loyal personality like those of Hufflepuff. Shortly after meeting Odin I learned he was very friendly and eager to please. Upon our second meeting, he made sure to stick close to my side and prove his dedication and loyalty. Even with another dog present he chose to follow me around and seek out my attention. Odin has shown that his loyalty can be manifested physically, and he is willing to do anything for his friends. Being a young shepherd mix, Odin is sure to provide anyone with lots of excitement but also a loving and forever family member.

 


Ravenclaw: This house values intelligence and contains individuals who are keen to learn and seek knowledge. Their ability to reason and use logic sets them apart.

In my opinion, the best candidate for Ravenclaw is Dougal. 20180328_174332.jpgDougal is not simply smart but also very dependent on learning. He already knows the commands “sit” and “down” and his desire to learn makes him easy to work with. All you need is a few treats and Dougal will be happy to do almost anything for you. He is very easy on leash and when introduced to agility he was very good at jumping over obstacles. However, when left alone and bored he gets anxious and therefore seeks activities to stimulate his brain. In other words, he is dependent on learning because without something to keep his mind occupied he seeks other activities. One of the abilities that Dougal has acquired through focused practice, is the capability to jump over 6ft fences. Dougal has deduced that being surrounded by family is the highlight of his day and to be left alone is anything but fun. Therefore, he has learned a way to follow his family anywhere. Dougal’s main desire is to widen his range of knowledge and continue training in order to become the most talented and well behaved golden shepherd around.

 


Slytherin: This house values ambition, cunning, and resourcefulness; they don’t let little things get them down and have a lot of self-preservation.

Last but not least, Puzzled is my selection for the Slytherin house.20180330_141922.jpgWhile some Slytherins are thought to be “evil”, not ALL Slytherins have truly been evil. If you are a true fan of Harry Potter you can acknowledge that there are some very good Slytherins. Puzzled is obviously not evil, he is simply extremely motivated. Even though he might be small, since he is a chihuahua mix, he is full of personality and ambition. At approximately four years old, Puzzled is no longer a puppy but still very lively and ready to continue his adventure. Puzzled has set his mind to becoming something more than just a dog; he wants to be an independent member of a family. He wants to go out into the world and make something of himself so that more people know who he is. It’s also true that he’s not afraid to let his voice be heard or stand up for himself when confronted. Even in the shelter he has shown his resourcefulness. For example, while alone in his kennel he likes to bark to gain the attention of the other dogs and any potential adopters. Hopefully, Puzzled won’t have to wait much longer to find his new place as an influential member of a family.

 

 

From the story of Harry Potter, you learn that there is always more to an individual beyond the traits that are valued by their school house. The same applies to the dogs I have chosen to represent each Hogwarts house; each dog has their own distinct personality that makes them unique. If you have questions about any of the dogs mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. It wasn’t the easiest thing to pick only four dogs for this little experiment of mine. When I first came up with this idea I couldn’t really imagine how it would come together. I hope that this post has been at least a little amusing to read because it has been fun to create.

Photos of Odin taken by Hayley L.

Header Image from Vector Graphics by <atarget=”_blank”href=”https://www.vecteezy.com”>www.Vecteezy.com</a&gt;

 

Rusty’s New Home

We all hoped and wished that one day Rusty would be sleeping in a loving home accompanied by an individual who would protect him and provide him with the patience and dedication he deserves. Even so, I don’t think any of us could have imagined how perfect Rusty’s forever home would really be for him. It took him a while to find his home and it took a couple tries; however, Rusty was finally adopted by Scott on February 25th, 2018 and is now truly flourishing and learning how to be a part of a family again.

We originally transferred Rusty into our care from the county shelter on December 21st, 2017. As you can imagine, shelter life is difficult on any animal and the longer their stay, the harder it is for us to find solutions for their pent-up stress and anxiety. In Rusty’s case he progressively became more and more averse to his kennel and would spend a lot of his time trying to escape. The fact that he could jump 6 ft fences meant that even when he was out of his kennel, and in the yard he would continuously try and find escape routes. Consequently, we tried to provide him with a lot of time outside of his kennel–he visited with staff in their offices and spent time behind the front desk with our customer service team.

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Rusty enjoying a break from his kennel

Still his anxiety began to become so prevalent that we were concerned about Rusty hurting himself when he would jump in his kennel. To lend a hand with his fragile mental state, he was provided with a prescription of Trazadone (an anti-anxiety medication); it helped to comfort him some and make his day-to-day life in the shelter easier.

However, his condition could only truly be alleviated by adoption and time spent in a home. Rusty has been living in his home for three weeks now and all the updates from his adopter have all been positive and heartwarming.

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Rusty and his Owner Scott out and about

When I asked Scott how Rusty has been, he said “At home he (Rusty) is awesome and very relaxed”. This simple fact was awesome to hear because it was certainly hard for Rusty to relax while he was at the shelter. Furthermore, we were uncertain how he was going to do living with a small dog because while at the shelter he was always too aroused and anxious to play with other dogs. However, Scott stated that Rusty has done well with their other dog in the home and he wants to play with her frequently. Rusty has also had a couple play dates with a Saint Bernard and they have a lot of fun rough housing together. While Rusty has done well with dogs so far, Scott still plans on socializing him further because he seems to be still a little socially awkward with new dogs.

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Rusty and his friend, taking a break from playing

I further asked Scott if he felt like Rusty has become the companion he was looking for when he came to the shelter to adopt. Initially, Scott came in looking for a dog who could comfort him if he were to awaken from a night terror. Scott explained, “He (Rusty) is a phenomenal companion, really like my best friend. More than I was hoping for…His intuition is great. The first night I woke up with his paw on my chest after a night terror.” Scott’s experience with Rusty and the way Rusty has naturally fulfilled certain duties is exceptionally inspiring. Rusty just needed to be given a chance to be able to show us what he is made of.

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Scott and Rusty

When speaking with Scott I was also curious to find out how Rusty’s anxiety has changed or developed in different settings. Scott remarked that he has taken Rusty to work with him and “his anxiety has been alright just gotten uneasy a few times with loud noises”. In general Scott likes to take Rusty with him whenever possible. He even acknowledged that leaving Rusty alone the first couple times was harder for him than it was for Rusty. In fact, Rusty is no longer regularly taking Trazadone because he doesn’t need it anymore.

Rusty’s stay at the shelter was longer than most and I can’t fully explain why. There are a lot of different factors that come into play when you try and determine why certain dogs don’t get adopted immediately. In Rusty’s case it could have been that he is a fence jumper, that he chases cats, or something else entirely. However, Rusty did eventually find a good home and he now has a chance at a new life. received_10156407251589551.jpeg

Valuable Helping Hands

Our volunteers not only provide us with hours of their time, but over and over I’ve seen volunteers dedicate their heart and soul to the animals. The work our volunteers do truly leaves a positive impact on the lives of the homeless dogs and cats. Moreover, they also indirectly influence the lives of the staff and adopters. Countless time I’ve seen the way volunteers warmly welcome adopters and share the animal’s stories. I too have been treated with great kindness and offered friendships that will last for years to come. The shelter would not be the same place without our volunteers.

Our shelter welcomes volunteers in many aspects of the daily routine. We have the most volunteer involvement when it comes to socializing and walking the dogs. Without these volunteers our dogs would not be exposed to as many new people, and they would not get as many walks. The animal care staff does make sure to take the dogs out to the yards for potty breaks and play time with friends, but when we have volunteers walking dogs it makes our job easier and the dogs get even more exercise (which they can always use).

Rusty especially loved getting walks (recently adopted)

Our dog walking volunteers are especially helpful with our more energetic and stressed canines. For dogs, like Pepper, who find shelter life extremely hard, the more time out of the kennel they receive the better they do when we have visitors. Without our dedicated volunteers Pepper would be in her kennel more frequently and thus more stressed than necessary. While on walks Pepper gets to relax and take a break from barking; she especially loves sniffing around the walking path and watching the squirrels scrounge for seeds.

Pepper and I taking a break

Volunteers are also free to spend time with available dogs in their kennels. Kennel time is also a great benefit to dogs like Pepper because it can help teach them how to remain calm and collected even while strangers and dogs walk by. When volunteers spend kennel time with a dog, they encourage good behavior by using treats and calm, gentle, and happy words of encouragement. If the dog becomes worked up and starts jumping, the volunteer will turn their back and ignore them until they resume a calm and respectful demeanor. When volunteers do these types of activities, with multiple dogs every day, it truly helps their kennel presentation and overall behavior. We also have a volunteer training room in which individuals can work with the dogs on basic training techniques.

Our volunteers don’t only help with walking dogs; in fact we have volunteers that help with laundry, dog grooming, cat grooming, kennel repairs, photography, letter assembly, and weeding (just to name a few)–I’ve seen it all done by volunteers. It’s amazing what a community can do with people who care about animals.

If you enjoy working with animals and have some free time, I highly recommend going to your local shelter and asking about the volunteering options. I myself volunteered in wildlife rehabilitation when I lived in the Bay Area.

One of my favorite activities was feeding the baby squirrels

I always found my time spent volunteering extremely rewarding, even when I spent the majority of my time doing laundry and cleaning. The reality is, that clean towels and bedding are always necessary in order to help care for homeless animals.

I don’t think that words can fully express the gratitude that our volunteers deserve but I would just like to say Thank You!

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Tupac! (Adopted)

Patient, Proud, Peaceful…Pecan

Pecan has become a familiar face to many visitors that frequent the shelter–in fact she has been at our shelter for 131 days and is currently our longest resident cat. 131 days is far too long and it’s rare to have a cat stay with us at the shelter for so long. Pecan stands out to me because I find her personality unique, and she is exceptionally deserving of a home, yet she has been consistently overlooked by potential adopters.

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It’s no secret that there are many superstitions surrounding black cats. Nonetheless, it’s hard to say if it’s these superstitions that play a role in the lack of attention Pecan receives from visitors. However, it is true that black cats tend to get passed over more frequently. According to peta2.com “Black cats are two-thirds less likely to get adopted than white cats and only half as likely to be adopted as tabby cats”. Upon further research, I found a study published in 2013 which also reached the conclusion that “Black cats require the longest time to adopt, followed by those that have primarily black coats with other colors mixed in, and then all other colored cats” (Kogan 20). These results are easily seen on a daily basis by staff members at any shelter, but it has been especially evident to me every time I see Pecan.

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Pecan has a naturally sweet face with piercing green eyes, and a petite body covered in a short soft coat of black fur. Weighing in at just 8.5 pounds she is on the smaller side for a grown female feline. Pecan has been aged at approximately 12 years of age and we do not know her exact birthday because she was found as a stray in July of 2017 in the Santa Barbara county. She was brought to us in October of 2017 and since then she has been available on and off for different reasons.

In November she was adopted briefly but returned for potential health issues. However, we have run tests and our vet did not find any serious underlying condition that would prevent her from being adoptable. The medical conditions that we are aware of are in relation to her tail and her teeth, which are not considered extremely serious. In fact she had a pre-existing injury to her tail upon arrival at our shelter and it was determined that she could have suffered the injury from a “tail pull” or trauma to her pelvic area. As a result her tail has minimal sensation and she does not lift or move her tail much. In some cases the tail is amputated, but since she seems comfortable and not bothered by it, they decided not to do surgery. In regards to her teeth it was determined that she has moderate tarter and one fractured tooth. These findings are not surprising for a cat her age and it’s to be expected that eventually any cat will need a teeth cleaning. Even though she is considered a senior at the shelter, Pecan still holds her own and doesn’t let anyone pull a fast one on her; she is very aware of her surroundings and doesn’t let anyone sneak up on her.

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If you go looking for Pecan, she can probably be found curled up in her favorite bed usually asleep. Sleeping seems to be her favorite past time and I wish I could sleep as much as she does. I’ve found that she doesn’t mind being admired when she sleeps, but it is clear she knows you are watching. She is also content to sleep through a lot of activity, but if you have food she gets up almost immediately. She doesn’t have a huge appetite; she never eats all of her food, but she is always eager to taste the fresh serving of wet food. Seeing her at breakfast time it’s clear that she is very grateful for food but she isn’t desperate or starving.

If you find Pecan awake at any other time of the day she appears social and receptive to attention. She is especially a fan of forehead scratches, and in general other small gestures of affection go a long way with Pecan. She is the type of cat that has a more independent nature and doesn’t require a lot of attention to be happy. I think she prides herself in her ability to amuse herself and therefore, she gets to choose when she needs support from us. In my interactions with Pecan, she does not come off as needy and would probably be a good companion for someone who has to work and can’t be home all the time. I’m sure she would also do well in a home with someone who can spend more time with her, but overall I don’t think she is excessively picky–Pecan just wants a home.

You can learn more about her and other adoptable pets at: http://www.woodshumanesociety.org/

Pecan

Works Cited

Hannah. “Black Cats Overlooked in Shelters, Studies Show.” peta2, 16 Mar. 2017, http://www.peta2.com/news/black-cats/.

Kogan, Lori R. “Cats in Animal Shelters: Exploring the Common Perception That Black Cats Take Longer to Adopt.” The Open Veterinary Science Journal, vol. 7, no. 1, 2013, pp. 18–22., doi:10.2174/1874318820130718001.

Jefferson’s Small Tale of Confidence

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Jefferson’s story with us started on January 26th, 2018. After traveling 140 miles from Fresno, he found himself once again in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces. Upon arrival he was warmly welcomed and made as comfortable as possible. Even so, he was scared and not sure what to expect. What made all the difference though, was that Jefferson’s friend Frankie had made the journey with him from Fresno. Now that its been a week and a half since they first arrived to the shelter, Jefferson has started to come out of his shell and his personality is starting to make an appearance.

From day one at our shelter Jefferson has been timid around people. He isn’t defensive or aggresive in any way, he simple will not approach you immediately. However, he has always felt comfortable around Frankie (another small tan chihuahua).

It is quite clear that Jefferson trusts Frankie because when they are out in the yard together Jefferson follows his lead. Jefferson follows Frankie outside and then only comes back in once he sees Frankie in your arms. Frankie is a little shy as well, but initially more trusting than Jefferson. Once Jefferson knows that Frankie trusts you, he feels somewhat reassured that he can approach you too. The more affection you bestow upon Frankie the more likely Jefferson is to accept your affection towards him.

Before arriving at the Fresno shelter, Jefferson was not neutered or micro-chipped, and therefore we have no idea if he was previously owned. After being transferred to us Jefferson was neutered, micro-chipped, and fully vaccinated. He was also examined by our vet staff and he is in pretty good health; he just has mild tartar, mild gingivitis, and a small scar near the base of his left ear. Besides that, he is a healthy 8.3 pound Chihuahua.

Unfortunately, since being neutered he has had to wear a cone to keep him from licking his surgery site. As you can imagine, the cone does help the healing process, but it does not encourage him to trust us. Given some free time without the cone (supervised of course), Jefferson loosened up and began to play with me.

It definitely took some encouragement, but he did feed off of my excitement and energy. Jefferson became more and more animated every time I reached out to tickle and scratch he belly and then he started rolling around on his blankets and tunneling in and out of them. When our play time was over, it seemed he had begun to trust me a little bit more. Furthermore, I found out that another easy way to get on his good side is through the use of treats; he doesn’t seem to be particularly picky either–he will gladly take any kind of treat.

Using treats and lots of encouragement has also helped to improve Jefferson’s ability to walk on a leash. Not certain if his hesitancy to walk on a leash stems from stress/anxiety, or simply fear of the unknown. There is a chance that Jefferson has never before worn a harness or leash; it’s also plausible that he was an outside dog, or neglected and never walked on a leash. Either way he is still working on being more confident while on leash. After placing him down with his harness and leash on, I used treats to urge him to move forward. I kept the leash loose and each time he moved towards me he was rewarded with a treat.

I was able to witness some success on leash when I took Jefferson offsite for a little adventure downtown and at a park. While downtown amongst the stores, I simply carried him around in my arms because I didn’t expect him to want to walk around strangers or by lots of cars. He seemed very comfortable with me carrying him and as we walked around he seemed curious and relaxed. The only time he seemed phased was when we went on an escalator; he squirmed a little but remained securely in my arms–nothing else seemed to bother him. We then headed to a small park where I thought he might feel more relaxed and encouraged to walk around on his own.

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When I set him down in the grass he was very interested in his surroundings but didn’t show any interest in walking around. Not until I sat down in the grass besides him did he seem to loosen up and then he nibbled a bit on the grass. Once I began scratching him on the back and around his head, he lightened up a lot and rolled on his back and wiggled around. He ended up traveling a greater distance by wiggling than by actually walking. Watching him roll in the grass and soak up some sun was really precious and I wish I had taken more photos.

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When it was time to leave the park Jefferson was pretty sad to see the grass disappear from outside the car window. Besides the one small whine he released as we drove away, he traveled wonderfully in the car. He sat on the back seat and only moved a couple of times to lie down and reposition himself.

Overall, our outing went smoothly and I really loved getting to see Jefferson’s confidence grow. With a little bit of patience I know Jefferson can become even more couragious and trusting. He just needs to wait a little bit longer; I’m sure there is someone out there who is looking for a little companion who likes the be carried around and sometimes wiggles around in the grass like a cute little worm.

Edit: Adopted

Day in the Life

A couple of months ago I wrote a small piece for the newsletter at work. The following is an expanded version of what was published. My hope was to give readers a peak into a day in the life of a shelter dog; this snapshot will also provide you with a better idea of what I, and my fellow animal care coworkers, do on a daily basis while at work.

Enjoy!

As I become fully aware of my surroundings and all the tendrils of sleep fall away, it is clear that the racket of the others is increasing in volume; all together the noise is chaotic and rambunctious. This can only mean one thing—they are here! It’s the morning and they are back! As this recollection hits home, I lose all sense of self control and suddenly add my voice to the now deafening welcome. It will only be a few more minutes until I get my own personal greeting and time in the play yard.

I see her now as she comes down the row. She stops at each kennel for a second or two and opens the doors to the outside. I recognize her immediately—she is the one who loves to run and makes those ridiculous noises whenever I act cute on purpose. As she reaches my door, I give her a hearty hello and she responds in kind. Moments later she is at the back of my kennel and she lets me out to join my friends! This morning routine is one of my favorite things because I get to blow off some steam with like-minded individuals. As we do our business and check in with each other, I see the girl letting out others into the adjacent yards. For a second, a spike of jealousy flits through me. However, I’m quickly reminded that I have all day to spend quality time with her and many other new friends.

As the rush of chaotic activity dies down, after everyone else has received their morning time in the yard, I await the return of all the staff members. I have figured out, with my keen sense of observation, that they usually return to us around 9:30 am for the morning pack walk. I especially enjoy going on pack walk because I find that it is a great opportunity to size up potential competitors and possible friends. Moreover, pack walk allows for some of the newly arrived residents to meet and greet with some new acquaintances. Personally, I think that this walking time is also cherished by the staff because they get to spend some extra quality time with me.

After taking a few extra sniffs around the path, my excitement beings to surface again as I realize that breakfast will soon be served. It takes almost all of my self control to remain patient while my bed is made and they arrange new toys for me. I do wonder why it takes them so long , but I do appreciate the clean smell, the new blankets, and the new selection of stuffies and rubber bones that I find when they let me inside. Breakfast time comes and goes too quickly, and before I know it my bowl is once again empty.

Later on I’m resting in my kennel and all at once everyone acknowledges a new arrival–voices rise in a slow crescendo as he makes his way towards me. It’s my friend from yesterday! I distinctly remember him because we spent a long time together in the meeting room and out in the play yard.


More importantly, he gave me lots of belly rubs and yummy treats. Today he stops at my kennel briefly before heading back the way he came. I’m a little disappointed he left but after a while the girl is in front of my kennel with a leash, and I almost forget why I was sad.

As we near the front doors, I see that my new friend is waiting there for me! When I glance back at the girl, she has this strange look on her face; I think it is utter happiness. Then she is saying goodbye and I have no idea why. Hoping to calm her down, I give her a couple of licks. It’s not until my new friend and I are out the front doors that I realize this is something different. This experience is all at once frightening but exciting–I look up at him and he smiles down at me and says “Let’s go home!” With that glance we make a promise: I will give him all my love and he will give me a home!

You Know Your Cats Think They are Underfed When…

I’m sorry it’s been a whole month since I last wrote. This last month has just flown by; it seems like I have been constantly consumed with different activities involving birthday celebrations, holiday plans, and lots and lots of food. Even though I didn’t have time to write, I was still able to witness several events that I wanted to share with you.

It has been four months now since I brought Chai home and introduced him into my household. He is still doing really well and has truly started to come out of his shell.

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It is clear now that Chai loves playing–LOVES it. When he can’t get Mocha to join in his shenanigans he will simply entertain himself for lengthy periods of time with a single gingerbread man toy. Even though this toy makes no noise and has no feathers on it he loves it and pounces on it and goes wild.

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The only other thing he likes more than playing, is food.

Over the last couple of months I have come to the conclusion that Chai is more like a dog because of how much he loves food. He doesn’t only love his cat food, but he loves all food; he thinks that human food should be for him and he begs for scraps just like a dog. When I eat dinner he either sits under the table or hovers some place close by waiting for some dropped crumb.

I have decided to compile the following list to capture just a few of the activities I have witnessed from Chai in his desperate search for food.

You Know Your Cats Think They are Underfed When…

  1. they scrounge through the trash in an attempt to find the little bit of Cheese It dust left in the empty bag.
  2. they brave the “scary outdoors” to get the one piece of cat food sitting outside the screen door, and then desperately runs back inside at the first opportunity.
  3. they squeeze under the coffee table, lying as flat as possible, in hopes of snagging a dropped potato chip crumb.
  4. they come running when they hear the crinkling of the rabbit food bag; “I can eat rabbit pellets right?”.
  5. they stay in line of sight of their food bowl at least one hour prior to dinner time.
  6. they drool and stare at you when you open any type of can.
  7. they push the ceramic butter dish off the counter, shattering it, simply to get a taste of the soft greasy substance.
  8. they ferociously chew through the plastic bag surrounding the bread, leaving behind lots of crumbs and a cavernous hole in the loaf.
  9. they finish their food and immediately seek out the other cat’s bowl to try and get second dinner.
  10. they meow and act unfed when you come home after someone else has already fed them; “What? I didn’t just eat a full meal! That crumb is from yesterday!”.
  11. they end up in the sink because there might be some residual sauce from your dirty dishes.
  12. they magically appear any time you eat any type of cheese product; “Are you really going to eat ALL of that?”

Does your cat think they need more food? Leave a comment and share with me what your cat does!

An Amazing Black Friday

On any random day I could probably tell you a couple adoption stories; during the week we do anywhere from 1 to 6 adoptions a day and on the weekend its a bit busier and we do approximately 10-20 adoptions. However, this past weekend was a much different story because it was Black Friday weekend. For our shelter Black Friday weekend is always a big deal. Last year we did over 60 adoptions; this year we expected nothing less and prepped to have lots of people looking to adopt and bring home a new family member. Sure enough we had a crowd waiting at the door and within the first three hours we had passed our record from the year before–this year we did over 100 adoptions in three days.

What makes Black Friday weekend special is that we offer discounted adoption fees and hope to get as many animals homes for the holidays. This year all of the adoption fees were waived because they had been sponsored by other generous businesses in the area. Many people in our area were eager to adopt and having the fee waived adopt-a-thon encouraged them to adopt sooner rather than later. After the three day promotion we only had five dogs still available! Seeing so many empty kennels is truly a happy sight to behold because it allows you to fully acknowledge just how many dogs have found new homes.

Before Black Friday I had become somewhat attached to a new arrival–her name was Flannel.20171123_102344.jpg When she first arrived from the L.A. area a few days before Black Friday, I was the first one to interact with her; I had the honor of taking her from the transport vehicle and placing her into a kennel. She was a little shy and nervous but that is to be expected after experiencing that long of a car ride and then arriving in a completely unfamiliar location. Even though she was stressed, she was very gentle and sweet. She did appreciate affection and warmed up quickly with a little bit of patience. Just after one day with us she began to come out of her shell and show some more of her own personality. She eventually got everyone at the shelter to fall in love with her in a very short period of time. She ended up spending a good amount of time with us at the back desk just cuddling and getting extra love. There was just something so irresistible about her small body shape and gentle demeanor that made everyone want to take her home.

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As you can imagine, Flannel was one of the first dogs to get adopted on Black Friday. The second family to meet her decided to take her home. She was so popular that even as the day went on we still had people asking about her long after she had been adopted. It was pretty common that day for a dog to meet just one family and get adopted. On events like these everyone seems to know exactly what they are looking for and they are eager to get their new family member home. A couple days after, we received an update on Flannel and heard that she has transitioned into her new home wonderfully, and she has even done well with their horses. I am so happy she didn’t have to spend a lot of time at the shelter, and that a loving family found her.

Another animal I have kept a close eye on is Titan.Snapchat-613749552.jpg I just have been drawn to him from the first moment I laid eyes on him… it probably has NOTHING to do with the fact that he is a Siamese mix.snapchat-1595978516.jpgTitan is a seven year old male and was a transfer in from another shelter, and as you can see he is very cross-eyed. With me and most of the staff he has been nothing but sweet, playful, and loving. However, he does have a feistier side and when stimulated he does tend to love bite. For me this behavior is somewhat normalized because I have a Siamese of my own who thinks that biting is a fun past time. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a cuddle bug, Titan might not be the guy for you. He can be very loving but he doesn’t like to be forced to do anything and will try and nibble you if you leave before he dismisses you. Titan was also adopted on Black Friday, but because of his tendencies to play with his teeth, he was returned. I am obviously very grateful to have him back with us, but I know that there is someone out there who can look past his spunky attitude and provide him with the perfect home. He has a lot of personality and anyone would be lucky to get to know him and call him a friend.

There were many many more animals that I have recently worked with and loved, but these two have a special place in my heart. Titan is still looking for a home but I think he will soon find one. 20171130_154426.jpg

Happy Holidays!