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Bah Humbug – or Merry Christmas!!!!

posted December 11th, 2016 by
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A Better Life

bah-humbugBah Humbug – or Merry Christmas!!!!

It’s the time of year when most of us who rescue animals struggle to get to Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays – – let alone Happy New Year.  We say lots of Bah Humbug – plus a few choice phrases and words that won’t make it with the editor.

Everyone is stressed – so are your pets.  Take a step back, decide the holidays don’t have to be perfect – and enjoy your family, friends and pets.  From experience, I know the perfect Christmas isn’t worth it.  I worked endlessly, years ago, to be sure my family had the perfect Christmas.  Hmmmm – – I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion.  They enjoyed Christmas, I tried to recover. 

What we do remember about holidays are all the things that didn’t go quite right.  Since then, I’ve made it a goal to enjoy the season, first and foremost.  Traditions are important, but more important is my family and that includes our pets.

Yes, a puppy under the tree looks adorable in televised commercials – and in newspapers and magazines.  But that isn’t reality.  It may look perfect – but it may also be more work than you (or your loved one) wants to invest.  Puppies are like toddlers – – lots of work, lots of messes, lots of kisses, dumped trash, tipped over tree, accidents in the wrong places.  A puppy or pet for Christmas should be well thought out.  Nothing brings out the ugly bah humbug in a rescuer than a returned Christmas gift a few days after the 25th

Enjoy the holidays, love your pets, give gifts that do not require food, walks, visits to the veterinarian unless you’ve thought it out – – everyone is on board – – and they’re excited.  If so, you’ll find lots of wonderful dogs from which to select at your local shelters and rescues. 

Merry Christmas – Happy Holidays – -

Please no Bah Humbugs

Kay Stout, Director 

PAAS Vinita

[email protected]

918-256-7227

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The Holiday Gift

posted November 30th, 2016 by
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Holiday Gift

The Holiday Gift

For most of us, there’s always at least one person on our holiday gift-giving list that has us completely stumped.  However, if in a flash of brilliance you decide what that person needs is a four-legged companion (ie something that barks or purrs), please STOP.  That cute ball of fur may warm the holiday season, but there is little guarantee it will really be the gift of the century unless you know for sure, without a doubt, there’s no hesitation you have a viable Plan B if the gift needs to be re-homed.

I’ve never received a puppy or kitten as a present.  However, as the Mom of three I’ve had many dogs and cats suddenly change their address to my house because my child is moving, getting married, leaving the country, has a boyfriend/girlfriend who doesn’t like animals, is just too busy to care for anything other than themselves.  The list may be endless, but the solution was Mom’s house.

Likewise when you give a gift of love that requires feeding, care and responsibility, please be sure you’ve also realize that gift may someday be living with you.  If that is not an option for you, then change the gift list for that person to something else.

The television and news ads will also show children getting a puppy or kitten for Christmas.  If that child lives in your house, all of us in rescue hope you have made a silent commitment to yourself that the gift has found a home and will not be returned to the rescue/shelter/breeder/craig’s list/neighbor – it will be your responsibility too.

This is the season of love, hope, holidays, families, memories, traditions and gift-giving.  Making the right choice is not always easy.  Making the wrong choice can result in a gift being returned.  There’s a huge difference between returning a gift to Target, Macy’s, et al and returning an animal. 

Write your list, check it twice, then make the right decision if it involves a pet. 

Happy Christmas Shopping

Kay Stout, Director

PAAS Vinita

[email protected]

918-256-7227

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Outdoor Cats

posted November 21st, 2016 by
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Outdoor Cats

OUTDOOR CATS: TEN WINTER WEATHER TIPS

 

Outdoor CatsBETHESDA, Md., USA – Nov. 17, 2016 – As temperatures across the country begin to drop, many people find themselves concerned about how to care for outdoor cats in the wintertime. Cats are resilient, but they can always use a hand staying warm and healthy during cold weather.

“Cats live and thrive outdoors in all kinds of climates,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “But a little extra help during the winter months can go a long way for protecting community cats.”

Alley Cat Allies offers ten easy ways people can make life outdoors even more comfortable for cats:

Protection from the Cold

  • Provide shelters to keep cats warm. These can be easy and inexpensive to build yourself, or can be purchased pre-made online. Check out our new do-it-yourself shelter video at http://www.alleycat.org/resources/how-to-build-an-outdoor-shelter/.
  • Insulate shelters with straw. Not only is straw less expensive and easy to come by (just check your local pet supply store or garden center), but straw repels moisture.
  • Remove snow from all shelter entrances and exits. It’s important to keep cats from getting snowed in.

Outdoor CatsExtra Food and Water

  • Increase food portions to help cats conserve energy and stay warm. Canned or wet food, which takes less energy to digest, should be in insulated containers. Dry food, which will not freeze, also works.
  • Keep water from freezing to prevent dehydration. To keep water drinkable, use bowls that are deep rather than wide and place them in a sunny spot. Or use heated electric bowls.

A Little Precaution Could Save a Cat’s Life

  • Do not use antifreeze, which is deadly, in an area accessible to cats. Keep antifreeze out of reach and clean up spills. Most antifreeze brands use ethylene glycol as the main ingredient, so be sure to switch to a brand made with propylene glycol because it is less toxic.
  • Refrain from using salt and chemicals to melt snow. These can be lethal when licked off paws or ingested from melting puddles and can hurt a cat’s paw pads.
  • Check your car before you drive. Look between your tires and give the hood of your car a few taps before starting it to make sure that a cat has not hidden underneath or inside the engine for warmth.

Outdoor CatsSpay and Neuter Before Kitten Season

Winter is the prime breeding season for community cats and the ideal time to spay and neuter. If you’re conducting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)—the only humane and effective approach to stabilize community cat populations—in the winter, follow these safety tips:

  • Check the traps frequently and provide a warm holding area, pre-and-post surgery. If it’s too cold for you, then it’s probably too cold for cats to be in traps, exposed to the elements, for extended periods of time. Keep traps covered and secured in a temperature-controlled vehicle or building.
  • Ask your veterinarian to shave only a small area for spay/neuter surgery. This will help the cats stay warm by maintaining maximum fur coverage.

More winter weather tips for outdoor cats are available at www.alleycat.org/WinterWeather.

###

About Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 600,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Its website is www.alleycat.org, and Alley Cat Allies is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.

Making a Distinction – Making a Difference

posted November 19th, 2016 by
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Holiday Gift

Making a Distinction – Making a Difference

People who work in rescue are passionate about their calling.  Sometimes that passion gets in the way of collaboration, working together and solving a problem.  All of us face that challenge and each of us, in our own way, chart our course.

Most recently, with the success PAAS has had transporting dogs from the Vinita area, as well as rescues/shelters throughout Oklahoma, we’ve come to realize we save lives by transporting.  Our transports are built on trust with Denver Dumb Friends League. That doesn’t work for everyone.

Some people need to interview each adopter, visit the home and check on the references.  Their focus, their success is measured much differently.  Other rescuers adopt via PetSmart/Atwoods/et al.  Some choose to ensure they find the perfect home – which can take years.  I think of them as sanctuaries where the animals are safe. Some send their dogs, one-by-one, on transports to other destinations.   Thanks to social media – especially Facebook – this works beautifully.

At the end of the year, we, collectively, have saved thousands of dogs and cats.  Each rescue, in their own way, has found the path that works for them.

This past year it has been rewarding to see rescues work together, share resources and save lives.  My hope is it will continue to grow.  If you’re involved with a shelter or rescue, I hope you will think about how you rescue, who you rescue and, most importantly, how many find a new home.

Kay Stout, Director

PAAS Vinita

[email protected]

918-256-7227

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Dog Smells

posted November 13th, 2016 by
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Dog Smells

5 Tips for Getting Rid of Dog Smells

without Expensive Products

Dog SmellsThere are plenty of great things about owning a dog. Companionship, exercise and love to name a few. But one of the downsides is that “doggy” smell that seems to be impossible to remove.

Considering the benefits of owning a dog, most owners are happy to just accept the smell as part of the deal. Dogs don’t hold themselves to the same hygiene standards as humans, so it’s not a surprise they smell a bit! But the good news is that a dog smell doesn’t need to be an unavoidable side-effect of owning a dog, as we’ll see in this article.

What Causes the Dog Smell?

All animals have a natural smell, but the dog version seems to be particularly strong and distinctive. This is mainly because dogs are larger than other indoor domestic animals, which is why cat owners don’t have a similar problem.

The doggy smell is often caused by paw sweat which is carried around the home. The continuous build-up of sweat and bacteria leads to sofas and other furniture starting to smell.

Smells may also be caused by unconscious scent-marking. Don’t worry – this doesn’t involve urinating on the carpet! Dogs naturally produce a smell to mark their territory, and this is often the main culprit when it comes to a lingering smell in your home. Other causes for a dog smell include skin oil, which is why dogs with oily skin often smell more strongly, and ear wax.

In many cases, the smell is simply because your pet is dirty. Dirt provides the perfect environment for odor-releasing bacteria (just like humans).

Tip #1 – Freshen Up Your Upholstery

Furniture is one of the most commonly overlooked sources of a dog smell. Most people don’t vacuum upholstery as often as carpets, which is why the fabric can harbor odors – especially if your pet loves to sleep on the sofa.

 The first step is to remove and wash any covers that can be machine washed. Use a high heat (check the label first though) to quickly get rid of odor-releasing particles.

For parts of the sofa that can’t be machine washed, baking soda can be useful for getting rid of smells. Just sprinkle it over areas you think are particularly smelly and leave for 2-3 hours, before vacuuming up the powder.

Tip #2 – Wash (And Dry) Your Dog More Regularly

The cleaner your dog, the less he is going to smell. When giving your pet a bath, make sure you check the feet and fur for anything he might have stepped or rolled in. Then use a dog shampoo (don’t use regular shampoo) on his entire body.

Once washed, it’s also important to dry your dog thoroughly. Dog hair is a perfect location for bacteria, which also thrives on moist conditions. This is why “wet dog” is such a distinctive smell!

Unfortunately, most dogs hate having baths. You can often make the process more fun for them by providing the occasional treat throughout the process.

Tip #3 – Get Rid of Carpet Smells

Carpets, wood floors and even vinyl can start to smell if not cleaned regularly. In fact, flooring is probably the most common cause of a dog smell that never seems to go away. This is because your dog’s feet picks up all sorts of bacteria on walks, which are then carried into the home.

For this reason, hard floors should be regularly cleaned with an anti-bacterial floor cleaner that’s suitable for the type of material. The goal isn’t to make the floor look clean, although this is a bonus, but to kill bacteria living on the floor.

You can also use the baking soda trick on carpets to clean areas that smell noticeably bad. Sprinkle the powder on the worst areas and leave it overnight.

Note: if your carpets are heavily soiled, you may need to hire a professional carpet cleaner. This can be expensive, but provides a much cleaner starting point to maintain a smell-free home.

Tip #4 – Vacuum Three Times Each Week

Dog hair isn’t the only thing that drops off your pet. Skin particles, bacteria and dirt are all released from your dog – especially when he shakes after a walk.

That’s why it’s a good idea to vacuum at least three times per week. This sounds like a lot, but you’ll be amazed at how much dirt and hair a vacuum with strong suction will remove from your home even when cleaning regularly.

If you own a steam cleaner, the high pressure output can kill bacteria in carpets and on hard floors. Some steam cleaners also come with an upholstery tool, which can be useful for removing stubborn odors from sofas and other furniture.

Tip #5 – Brush Your Pooch’s Teeth

Finally, bad dog breath is another common source of unwanted odors. The best way to solve this is to regularly clean your dog’s teeth.

Admittedly, many dogs hate having their teeth cleaned. If your pet won’t let you clean his teeth, you can try treats that clean while the dog chews them. These aren’t as effective as a proper toothbrush though.

Summary

An unpleasant smell doesn’t need to be an unavoidable consequence of owning a dog. By following the tips in this post, you can get rid of the dog smell and make your home smell fresh and inviting.

While it’s a good idea to follow all the tips in this post, the most important is keeping your upholstery and carpets as clean as possible. These are reservoirs of bacteria that cause your home to smell, so cleaning them can have a big effect on odors.

- Andrew Webster

Home Veterinary Care brings clinic to your living room

posted October 19th, 2016 by
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Home Veterinary Care

Have you ever tried to take three cats to the vet? Or just one really stressed out cat? Maybe your large dog is sick and having trouble hopping into the car. Maybe your pet isn’t the problem, but your kid lost his shoes… again. Whatever it is that makes getting to the vet difficult, Tulsa’s newest mobile veterinarian can help.

Dr. Gabrielle Fielstra, who is also a mom to three young children, wanted to take charge of her schedule after working as veterinarian in a clinic for 10 years.

“I have thought about it for a while and it’s something I definitely think there is a need for here in town, ” said Fielstra, who launched Home Veterinary Care in June.

Many of her clients had pets that were stressed by coming into the clinic and had asked about home visits, says Fielstra.

Home Veterinary Care

Dr. Gabrielle Fielstra and vet tech Ashley Jones.

“It’s a lot more personalized,” she said. “I get to know my clients a lot better when I’m standing in their living room than in an exam room. And you can see the patients better; you can see them in their environment.”

For example, a limping dog may hide their injury in the clinic.

“The big thing is behavior, you can see the source,” Fielstra explained. “If a pet is going to the bathroom in the house, you can see their environment and what is going on with the litter box or the yard; things the client may not even think to tell you when they are standing in an exam room.”

Another service offered quality of life evaluations and end of life care.

“I can give my advice on the patient’s quality of life and if there is anything we can do to help improve quality of life or if it is time and help [clients] come to terms with that,” Fielstra said. “That’s the hardest part is getting to that point.

“We do a lot of referrals for home euthanasia,” Fielstra continued. “It’s a lot more comfortable. People are upset and they don’t want to be upset at a clinic in an exam room. We work with all of the pet funeral homes so we can help take care of the remains.”

Fielstra books her appointments in one-hour blocks allowing 15 to 20 minutes for travel, leaving 30 to 45 minutes for the actual appointment time.

Supplies are carried in the van including medications, a mini lab with microscopes and some basic tests. The exam is conducted in the house or yard if the pet is an outdoor animal.

“I think one thing that people hesitate on is the price; people assume it’s going to be really expensive,” Fielstra said. “We try to price it where it is still really reasonable.”

There is a travel fee separate from the exam fee. If you are having multiple animals examined, there is still only one travel fee. Package discounts for annual shots are also offered.

Home Veterinary Care serves Tulsa and the surrounding area Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit homevetcaretulsa.com or call 918.892.9382.

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]