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Spring Kittens

posted April 29th, 2016 by
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Spring Kittens

ALLEY CAT ALLIES

Five tips to Help Spring Kittens

Photo Gallery Demonstrates Each Tip

BETHESDA, Md., USA – April 12, 2016 – As springtime begins so does “kitten season” – when babies are born to cats who have not yet been spayed or neutered. People don’t always know the best way to help these kittens. Sometimes taking home a kitten found outdoors is the best way to help and sometimes it’s best to leave them outdoors with mom – it all depends on the situation.

“If you come across a kitten outdoors, you may be tempted to bring her home with you, but that may not be the best thing for the kitten,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Deciding whether to take a kitten home with you or leave her where she is should be carefully considered based on the individual kitten’s situation and age.”

Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the humane treatment of cats, offers five easy ways people can help cats and kittens this spring. Visit www.alleycat.org/Kittens for a comprehensive guide to caring for kittens.

Tip #1: Leave kittens with mom.

Like all babies, kittens are best left with their mothers who instinctively know how to help their offspring grow up to be strong and healthy cats. Neonatal kittens, four weeks old or younger, need around the clock attention and depend on mom for 100 percent of their care. Kittens five to eight weeks old can begin to eat wet food but are still being weaned. (To determine the age of a kitten, use Alley Cat Allies’ Kitten Progression Guide at www.alleycat.org/KittenProgression.)

If you know the mother is present, it is best to leave kittens with her. To determine whether the mother is caring for the kittens, wait and observe for two to four hours to see if the mother returns. She could just be out looking for food. If she doesn’t return, the kittens could be abandoned. A young kitten living outdoors who does not have a mother present should be taken in and fostered.

If you are unsure, Alley Cat Allies has a number of resources available to help. The Alley Cat Allies’ National Cat Help Desk can provide advice and direction for a number of situations. Another option is the Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network – local individuals and organizations that may be able to help with hands-on advice, information about borrowing equipment, and veterinarians or clinics that can spay and neuter feral cats. To request a list of Feral Friends in your area, visit www.alleycat.org/FeralFriends.

Tip #2: Don’t bring neonatal kittens to an animal shelter.

Most shelters are not equipped or trained to provide the necessary round-the-clock care for neonatal kittens. If a kitten can’t eat on her own, she will likely be killed at the shelter. Realistically, it’s never a good idea to take a cat to a shelter, no matter the age or level of socialization. There are some shelters who have lifesaving programs for cats, but across the nation, more than 70 percent of cats who enter shelters are killed. That number rises to virtually 100 percent for feral cats. Killing is never the answer—it is inhumane and it fails to stabilize or reduce outdoor cat populations.

Tip #3: Volunteer as a kitten foster parent for a local rescue group.

There are kitten foster parent programs across the country. Though it is an investment of time and requires training, volunteering to foster young kittens is lifesaving and rewarding. To learn the basics of kitten care, register for Alley Cat Allies’ free “Help! I found a kitten!” webinar at www.alleycat.org/KittenWebinar.

Tip #4: Support and practice Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).

TNR is the only effective and humane way of stabilizing and reducing community cat populations. In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped and brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol that a cat has been neutered and vaccinated) before being returned to their outdoor homes. Learn more about TNR at www.alleycat.org/TNR.

Spaying and neutering community cats prevents new litters, drastically reducing the impact of kitten season. Cats as young as four months can have litters, so it is important to spay and neuter kittens as soon as they are ready. A good rule of thumb is the 2 Pound Spay/Neuter Rule – kittens can be safely spayed or neutered at two months of age or as soon as they weigh two pounds. Learn more about pediatric spay and neuter at www.alleycat.org/spayneuter.

Tip #5: Advocate for policies and programs that protect cats.

Contact your shelter and local officials and tell them you support lifesaving policies for cats, including spay and neuter funding and spay and neuter before adoption. Write letters and call in support of community outreach and education programs that spread awareness about spay and neuter, community cats and TNR – you can make a big difference. Learn how you can help your local shelter save more cats’ lives at www.alleycat.org/HelpShelters.

Visit www.alleycat.org/5KittenTips for the Alley Cat Allies “Kitten Season” photo gallery and download high-resolution images for each tip.

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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.

Ticks on Your Pets

posted April 29th, 2016 by
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Ticks

Ticks On Your Pets

How to check for and remove

Checking for Ticks on Dogs and Cats
Carrington.edu emphasizes the importance of regular, thorough tick checks to avoid potentially dangerous tick-borne diseases. The procedure is pretty straightforward:
Check the entire body, including between toes, inside ears, under armpits and around the face.
If you find a tick, prepare to remove it immediately. You will need alcohol, gloves and tweezers to do so.
Latch onto the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible.
Pull the tick straight up.
Kill the tick and place it inside a dated jar in case you need to have it tested later.
Disinfect the area where the tick latched on.
Give your dog a treat as a reward for its patience.
Preventing Tick Infestation
While it is impossible to guarantee that your pet will never get ticks, you can prevent infestation by cutting the grass regularly, clearing brush from around your home and avoiding walks through the forest, according to PetMD.com. A variety of shampoos, topical treatments, tick collars and other treatments are available, which either stop ticks from latching onto your dog or kill them as soon as they do. Consult your veterinarian to see which treatment options he or she recommends.
Keeping your new pet tick-free will keep it healthy and happy and prolong its life. Make it a priority to do a tick checkup before you let your new dog in the house. The sooner ticks are caught and removed, the less likely your dog will be to contract a tick-borne illness.

Ticks

Dog Food for the Slow Cooker

posted April 29th, 2016 by
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Slow Cooker2

Dog Food

Dog Food for the Slow Cooker

Written By Amica Graber

2016.04.20 – 4:45pm

The harmful impacts of processed dog food are frequently underplayed. Meat is often sourced from the abattoir leftovers, and according to one horrific exposé, even euthanized pets can sometimes go into the manufacture of dog food.

On the flipside, preparing your dog’s meals at home can save you cash, and some say that it can help your dog live longer.

I can barely throw my own meals together, so if you’re skeptical — I get it. Luckily, there has always been one invention in my kitchen that has been a godsend when I can’t get it together: the slow cooker.

Slow cooking your dog’s meals takes all of the hard work out of cooking. Have you got a refrigerator drawer of crumpled-looking carrots that you abandoned in favor of takeout? Throw ‘em in the slow cooker for your lil buddy! Didn’t get round to finishing that chicken? TO THE SLOW COOKER!

But, there are some caveats to DIY dog food. For some reason, feeding dogs cheese is pretty popular right now. I fed my dog cheese once, and perhaps he has a touch of Gwyneth Paltrow about him, but it made him sick as — well, a dog.

Dogs love eating cheese. So do I, for that matter. However, dogs don’t have the lactase in their stomachs to break it down efficiently, which can lead to diarrhea (check), odious gas (double check), and even long-term digestion issues.

To navigate the murky land of knowing what to feed your pet, we designed this nifty infographic to make it as easy as pie.

Slow Cooker Dog Food

The Intricacies of Pet Rescue

posted April 21st, 2016 by
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What's in Your Dog Shampoo

The Intricacies of Pet Rescue

By Pat Becker

 

The year 2014 seemed destined to race forward, pushed and prodded by the ever-increasing number of planned projects and events scheduled for all of the animal rescue and pet organizations in our state. The need for funds in our country to cover the cost of pet advocacy is growing daily, in part because of the awareness factor stimulated by national organizations such as the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States. More specifically, the people who run the pet help facilities in our city and state are desperate for financial help.

Every successful rescue has a leader—a CEO of sorts—with a board of directors and at least 100 volunteers. Some aid administratively; some assist at events and outreach projects, and some foster pets. “It takes a village…” is a trite phrase compared to the number of people involved in a truly successful pet advocacy group.

I have the heartfelt pleasure of knowing each of the folks who run these different organizations in OKC. I have witnessed their joy when things are going well and their tears when things seem futile. Statistically, the groups are run by women. Not so much of a revelation here; we are by nature, nurturers. The average age of volunteers is 45 to 65. (The “Empty Nest Syndrome” is a great recruiting motivator.)

It’s remarkable to me how these people can stay connected when they deal, from time to time, with the horrors of pet cruelty or the necessity for making the gut-wrenching decisions of pet euthanasia.

I volunteered at the intake desk of an animal shelter once, so I know firsthand what they encounter. A family came in with an older female Lab to “drop off” as they put it. I asked them if she was their dog. They confirmed they “had her from a pup.” Confused, I asked them if she was vicious, had she bitten someone. “Oh, no!” the father said. “She has been great, but she’s so old now. We’d like to trade her in for a puppy.”

Well, you can imagine how I “went off” on these callous, uncaring people. I couldn’t help myself! After the family retreated with the old Lab, the shelter director advised me that at the next shelter the family would probably just swear they had found her by the side of the road.

Needless to say, I was fired from my volunteer job. That’s OK. I could see that my “focus-connection” abilities were woefully lacking. Volun-teers must have an infinite amount of patience. However, the lesson I learned from that experience gave me insight into the dire need for education of pet owners.

I noticed in 2014 some of the pet advocacy groups seem to be more resourceful in soliciting and marketing—two of the most necessary abilities in running a 501(c)(3) agency. Basically,      to hold a financially successful fundraiser, most of the expenses incurred must be covered through donations. This means the organization must adopt a PR attitude and start creating contacts it can count on year after year.

Large firms which encourage employees to volunteer or contribute seasonably are a great place to start. Wealthy donors sensitive to animal causes, foundations that give yearly grants—these, along with other sources, are imperative to success. Each organization must have a person or group of people who can write grants and make personal calls and appointments… and do it all well!

Folks, it ain’t easy! There has to be a balance between the day-to-day “hands on” jobs of taking in the abandoned, abused and lost pets; having them checked by a vet, spayed/neutered, testing each animal’s temperament, placing them in hopefully forever homes; and the administrative responsibilities of judgment calls and decision making. Sound complex? You bet it is.

So visit one of your local rescues or shelters. If you can leave there after talking with a director or volunteer and not want to help in some way, well, that would disappoint me.

 

Many hugs!

Pat Becker

Dog Talk

We Did It!

posted April 16th, 2016 by
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Looking Back

We Did It!!!!

We Did ItOn April 18, 2015 – we officially opened our doors to the public.  It was raining and we didn’t care.  At the time, in publications, we stated the following:

This is the mission of PAAS. “Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter will work with the city, county and state officials to increase public awareness of overpopulation issue. PAAS is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescue homeless and abused dogs and cats. We will be able to provide them temporary care until we can find them their “forever homes”

We have far exceeded our expectations, but the journey to get to where we are today is much different than the original concept.  We have saved more than 500+ dogs/cats/puppies/kittens and made an impact on feral cat overpopulation – 200+ have been “fixed” and returned to their natural habitats.  The 500 number alone makes all of us smile – – we did it – – we really did it.  The original concept would be local adoptions – the solution has been transport out-of-state. And, when we look in the eyes of a scared dog and know they will soon have a good home in a different state, we know we’re making a difference.

We’ve also begun a dog training program in cooperation with the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center.  From my personal experience, I know how rewarding these programs are – not only for the inmates who participate – – but for the dogs who learn trust, love and obedience.

Looking to the future – it is bright – – it involves lots of Willie Nelson “On the Road Again” music and hundreds of dogs and cats heading down the road to their new homes.  PAAS is making a difference.

Thanks, to all of you, who support us financially, bring toys, blankets, dog/cat food, kitty litter and, most importantly, walk our dogs – – – each of you have played a key role in our success.  Give yourself a pat on the back.

Ozzy’s Tale

posted April 15th, 2016 by
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Coconut Oil

Ozzy’s Tale

By Holly Brady Clay

How One Dog’s Story Became A Book And Is Still Teaching Lessons Along The Way

It has been said, “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” I believe this is true more than ever. Let me introduce Ozzy to you (also known as Scooburt), my lovable 8-year-old mutt I adopted when he was 18 months old. The decision to adopt Ozzy was the absolute best “worst” decision I ever made. 

Ozzy was very “special” from the beginning. It was not until I stood at the desk of the shelter to adopt Ozzy that I heard his very fascinating backstory.  Ozzy had previously been adopted—twice—before being returned to the shelter both times by his previous owners. It seems his former owners, who shamed Ozzy by changing his name to Winston, owned a delicate set of china dolls.  Maybe he was speaking out in angst against his newfound dog name, but, whatever his motive, he did not waste any time shredding the dolls to pieces, leaving his new owners a little more than frustrated. While for some this should have been a warning sign, I ignored all indications that he might be trouble. If I had only known what I was getting myself into! 

The day I drove Ozzy home from the shelter I experienced what I refer to as the “bad side of Ozzy.” While in line at Petsmart—my cart full of overpriced toys and dog food, all of which I really couldn’t afford—Ozzy chewed through his leash and broke free. If that wasn’t warning enough, the next indication he was special was the countless undergarments Ozzy stealthily stole and tore up, which belonged to my wonderful and ever-so patient roommate. Another indication he was “special” was the fact that he ran away from me every single chance he could as I embarrassingly chased him for miles down the road.

Call it blind love, but from the day I brought him home it truly was love at first sight. I always compare it to what my mother would tell me as a child: “It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make, I could never stop loving you.” Well, I didn’t have a biological human child that I carried in my womb for 9 months and then miraculously gave birth to, but I finally got what she meant after all those years. No matter what he did, I still loved him. He followed me everywhere. I couldn’t be out of his sight. 

I never even knew I needed a companion in the bathroom with me! Because of this “needy” bond, we had some issues when I would leave the house. It was nothing major; a few loaves of bread would go missing, and a package of potato chips here and there disappeared mysteriously. There was also the time he stole an entire birthday cake.  Oh, and the entire plate of hamburgers that vanished. There was the dozen or so bagels incident, a tub of cream cheese, a whole pineapple, (yes, whole with the prickly covering) bananas, avocados, and potatoes… Suffice it to say, Ozzy had some learning to do. 

Through the years and with much patience, Ozzy has matured into a very well-behaved dog. We moved to Colorado together as I finished up my undergraduate degree in film, video and media. I have always been drawn to a creative lifestyle and often find myself documenting stories, whether through writing, photography or film. So one cold, wintery day in the small, mountain valley where I resided, I grabbed a pen and paper and started writing. I looked at Ozzy, and endless stories popped into my head. How could they not? I wish I could say all this just happened overnight, and then “poof!” I had a book. Quite honestly, it took me several years to find the motivation to complete my story, but once I did, the book title seemed obvious: “Scooburt Steals a Meatball.” 

What better story to write about than a dog that steals food! I submitted it to Tate Publishing out of Mustang, Okla., and together we collaborated to bring Ozzy’s story to life. This could not have been done without the help from one truly amazing friend, Zay Shaeffer. Zay, an Oklahoma native, is responsible for all of the artwork in the book, and he is truly a present day Dr. Seuss. He invokes passion and humor into every single one of his art pieces, and because of this, I knew he had to do the artwork for the book. 

The premise behind the book is about Scooburt stealing a meatball from a Great Meatball Clerk, but then understanding what he did was wrong. The lesson goes much deeper than that, delving into what it means to have a conscience and how we determine right from wrong. It is a humorous tale of a tail but with a great message for kids. The book was finalized and released in the summer of 2012. Since then, we have had many great opportunities to share Ozzy’s story, as well as the importance of adopting shelter pets. Ozzy and I have traveled throughout Oklahoma, visiting numerous elementary schools. Our main goal behind visiting schools is not only the one-on-one interaction that students are given with having a dog visit their school, but also to teach them kindness to animals.

It is also important to help them understand if they have a dream, nothing can stop them from pursuing it. I explain that I wanted to write children’s books from an early age and made it happen with perseverance. When you are 8 years old and a dog visits your school, it is safe to assume the dog must be famous. We hear kids screaming from the hall-ways about the famous Scooburt! Kids line up for hugs, and Ozzy adores them. Sometimes a good hug from a dog is all you need to turn your day around. 

As far as continuing the Scooburt series, I do have plans    for more books in the near future. You can stay up-to-date on “The Adventures of Scooburt Humperdink” by visiting    our Facebook page at facebook.com/scooburthumperdink or visiting our website (hollybrady.tatepublishing.com). For signed copies, send us a Facebook message.

Seven years later, Ozzy and I have been through some rough patches, but I wouldn’t trade him (or the experiences together) for the world. Just like so many things in life, with patience and willpower we can make anything happen. I believe the same was true for my book, as well as Ozzy. He needed someone to believe in him, and I knew I could be that person. Adopting a dog isn’t easy, but it is so rewarding. Everyone can do his or her part.

As for Ozzy, he thinks I changed his world forever, but he has no idea how much he has changed mine.