Moving!!

Confession: I’ve been a bad blogger. And I know you’ve noticed because Google Analytics has been cheerfully telling me about how my readership numbers have totally dropped off a cliff.

So, I’m going to re-invent my pet blogging. Over the next few weeks I’ll be splitting off some of the more personal posts from this blog and moving them over to my new  home, Fluff Puppy. Don’t go there yet, it’s a mess and not a bit personalized. But it will be soon!!

Swift-Silent-Fluffy

dog tagsStealth Doggie! In an effort to try and break Tyler of the habit of chewing on his tags, I’ve (finally!) moved all of his ID information to a tiny slip of paper held within the new little gold cylinder now hanging from his collar. The lack of jangling tags has rendered him swift and silent–like a canine black ops Marine. No way to predict when he might attack and lick you to death!

A Remembrance Day

I’ve reached the point where the memories are warm and fuzzy and don’t hurt as much as they did a couple years ago. I think some of that healing has to do with Tyler, my little man. I think Bailey must have arranged for Tyler to find me.

I remember my sweet girl Bailey with a smile and maybe a little bit of a misty eye. But the pain of her loss has gone numb. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, or indicates that I love her any less. I think it’s an acceptance of reality. We all have to move on, right? Even so, I know that on this one day, January 15th, she will come to my mind and I’ll remember her. Sweet girl. Rest in peace.

My heart dog, Bailey. March 11, 1996 – January 15, 2010.

 

Top 5 Considerations Before You Adopt a Pet

 Pet Net Contributor

I am excited and honored to be participating in this year’s 2012 Pet ‘Net Event! Organized by Petside, Pet ‘Net brings together pet-focused bloggers to write about a single topic. The next 5 days (November 26 to 30) will be dedicated to this year’s topic: Pet Adoption.

Because this year marks Pet ‘Net’s 5th anniversary, my supporting posts are all in 5’s!

And be sure to visit the Pet ‘Net hub page everyday this week to enter your zip code. After all the zips are tallied, a $5,000 donation from Petside will be given to a local animal shelter in the winning community. The winning shelter will be announced on December 17.

Read. Learn. Enjoy. (And maybe, Adopt!)

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Of all the posts I’ve written for this week, this one is by far the most important. For a successful pet adoption, the kind of adoption that lasts a lifetime, careful thought must be given. If you’re thinking of adopting a pet, make this post the START of your research. Go on to read about pet adoption on the wonderful sites of  Petside, Petfinder, and the ASPCA sites. Talk to the animal advocates at the shelters in your area. Enter this new phase of your life with your eyes as wide open as possible, and your house in order. Do not risk a failed adoption. Fall in love wisely.

Do You Have The Time?

When you bring a pet into your life, you’re making a long-term commitment. Some pets–like parrots–can live for decades!  Also, it’s important to think of the day-to-day time needed for grooming, training, exercise, and companionship. These are all important aspects of being a pet parent and will vary depending on the species or breed you adopt. If you only come home to sleep, then there are definitely some pets that are not for you–maybe an aquarium of fish?

Do You Have The Money?

At the basic level, there’s the cost for food. Some pets may also need special nutritional supplements. Consider the cost of veterinary visits, along with the need for items like flea repellents and heartworm pills. And the possible cost for professional grooming. If you’re in an apartment or rented house, you my have to pay a premium to the landlord in order to have a pet. If you own your house, you may want to consider an addition to your home-owner’s insurance so that you’re covered in case your new dog bites someone. (From Petfinder: Estimated Yearly Costs of Pet Ownership.)

Click here to read how research and asking questions helped Lily find her furever home with a family who had allergies.

Do You Have Family Buy-In?

Make sure your wife/husband/partner/roommate wants a pet as much as you do! Also, consider the children of the household–are they old enough/tall enough to hold their own with a 120-pound Great Dane? Talk to your family about what kind of pet they want. And have a good discussion about who will do the work of caring for the pet. Don’t expect the kids to carry the load alone, because that’s not going to happen no matter how many promises are made! What about allergies?

Do You Have The Space?

That 120-pound Great Dane I mentioned above? Might not do well in a small, cramped apartment. Some pets, like birds, have a minimum requirement for sunlight, sleep, and air quality. You may need to “pet-proof” your house–rabbits have been known to chew on electrical cords that run along the floorboards, and puppies will chew on just about anything. Consider your neighbors–will your squawking parrot disturb them? Does your lease even allow you to have a pet? Check out local and state regulations because within some jurisdictions, certain dogs and exotic pets are illegal.

Do You Have The Right Pet Choice?

Research! Go to sites like Petfinder, the ASPCA, and Petside and read about different breeds/species to find a pet that will fit your lifestyle/living space/family situation.  Do not go blindly into a pet adoption. Research to find the pet match that will insure you a beautiful and happy relationship for a lifetime! Before you adopt, understand the needs of the pet you’re considering and accept the adjustments you will need to make in order to bring your new buddy into your life. It will be worth it!

 ~|~

PET ADOPTION FACTOID: More than 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays started in 1999 when Helen Woodward Animal Center began the program with Iams and 14 participating shelters in San Diego County. Today, thousands of pet adoption centers and rescue organizations from around the world participate in the program from October 1 to January 2. Working together, more than 7 million pets and counting have been adopted to date.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays

Top 5 Ways You Can Volunteer To Help Orphaned Pets

 Pet Net Contributor

I am excited and honored to be participating in this year’s 2012 Pet ‘Net Event! Organized by Petside, Pet ‘Net brings together pet-focused bloggers to write about a single topic. The next 5 days (November 26 to 30) will be dedicated to this year’s topic: Pet Adoption.

Because this year marks Pet ‘Net’s 5th anniversary, my supporting posts are all in 5’s!

And be sure to visit the Pet ‘Net hub page everyday this week to enter your zip code. After all the zips are tallied, a $5,000 donation from Petside will be given to a local animal shelter in the winning community. The winning shelter will be announced on December 17.

Read. Learn. Enjoy. (And maybe, Adopt!)

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 You can’t adopt a pet, but you want to help because you love animals. Here are my top 5 ways that you can volunteer to help orphaned pets.

Walk A Dog or Play With Cats

Need some exercise? Like to walk? Connect up with your local shelter and make time to walk dogs waiting for adoption. If you’re more of a sit-and-converse kind of person, check into spending time playing and cuddling with the shelter’s cats. Do one or both–the benefits of exercise or de-stressing are obvious!

Shelter Drive-By

I love this idea from Dr. V of Pawcurious! Next time you go to the grocery store, big box, or warehouse store, take  a look at your local shelter’s online wish list (or give them a call) and add an item (or two) to your grocery list. Drop it off at the shelter on your way home. So easy!

Facebook And Other Social Platforms

Find your local shelter on Twitter, Facebook or one of the other social sites, and retweet, repin, repost, +1, like, share, whatever it takes to magnify their messages and advance their cause. Be a butterfly and flap your wings to create a wind of positive change for your favorite shelter!

Click here for a Team Leader’s love letter to the volunteers she’s never met face-to-face.

Foster

Dogs and cats living for long periods of time in a kennel or cage start to forget what it’s like to live in a home. Also, shelters can get crowded, which could lead to some excess pets being euthanized. Fostering can save a life until a furever family is found. Can you take a dog or cat into your home for a short period of time?

Host A Fundraiser

Do you like to party? Have a knack for organizing? A drive to make money? Host a fundraiser! This can be as simple as setting up a FirstGiving account for your favorite rescue, to a black tie affair for several hundred people. It can be a learning tool for your kids–help them to organize a pet food drive as a school project!

Bonus! Shelters Helping Shelters

Did you know that many shelters are themselves volunteers for other shelters? For instance, recently my pals at Helen Woodward Animal Center volunteered to take on 50 dogs and cats who had been awaiting adoption when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the US. These orphans were on death row because of the huge influx of pets awaiting their families after being separated due to the storm. Instead of euthanasia on the east coast, these transplanted orphans now have a new chance to be adopted in San Diego!

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PET ADOPTION FACTOID: Approximately 3 million to 4 million animals are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats) every year.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays started in 1999 when Helen Woodward Animal Center began the program with Iams and 14 participating shelters in San Diego County. Today, thousands of pet adoption centers and rescue organizations from around the world participate in the program from October 1 to January 2. Working together, more than 7 million pets and counting have been adopted to date.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays

Top 5 Pet Fostering Tips

 Pet Net Contributor

I am excited and honored to be participating in this year’s 2012 Pet ‘Net Event! Organized by Petside, Pet ‘Net brings together pet-focused bloggers to write about a single topic. The next 5 days (November 26 to 30) will be dedicated to this year’s topic: Pet Adoption.

Because this year marks Pet ‘Net’s 5th anniversary, my supporting posts are all in 5’s!

And be sure to visit the Pet ‘Net hub page everyday this week to enter your zip code. After all the zips are tallied, a $5,000 donation from Petside will be given to a local animal shelter in the winning community. The winning shelter will be announced on December 17.

Read. Learn. Enjoy. (And maybe, Adopt!)

~-~

This post is about my top 5 pet fostering tips. I hope it makes you laugh a little. And please consider this:  “failing Foster 101″ is actually an oxymoron.

Don’t fall in love

 

Gabriel Small Paws

 

“…He does the Ritual of The Spinning and Twirling Poopies….circling and turning clockwise and counterclockwise like a demented canine whirling dervish until he gets to just the right amount of spins, then he squats…” (Read the rest of the story)

 

 

 

 

Don’t fall in love

 

Wolfie Small Paws, a mill rescue

“…I have taken care of puppy mill dogs before and was fully expected a fearful and traumatized boy. I had prepped everyone at home to be very patient with him and had taken a week off of work so I could help him adjust to his new home. I made sure to follow all the rules and not take him out of his crate until we got home. In the car he was smiling with his little tongue hanging out showing us the only tooth he had left in his mouth! He would occasionally scratch at his crate door but was a very good boy. When we got home I carefully opened the crate door and out popped this friendly, out going, happy little dog. He was 10 pounds of charisma! We fell in love with him!…” (read the rest of the story)

Don’t fall in love

 

Cookie and Keeper Small Paws

 

 

“…Obviously we didn’t have much information about them. But Keeper (a male) was 1 year old and Cookie (a female) was 6 months. Supposedly they had the same mother. That’s all we knew. They were matted and had fleas, but were adorable anyway. We’d never had two dogs at once, and not a male in a long time. Fostering lasted about 10 minutes and we adopted them…” (read the rest of the story)

 

 

Don’t fall in love

Lupin Small Paws

 

 

“…I saw him from across the foyer, and it was as if he knew already that I had come for him and was his Mommy because he went crazy with his sweet Bichon wave. I must admit, he got a “Happy Meal” on the drive home. We took him immediately to the vet…” (read the rest of the story)

 

 

Fall in love

OK, so you’ve ignored my first 4 points, fell in love with that dog you’ve been fostering and who you’ve just adopted. Some people might call this “Failing Fostering 101,” but I would disagree. This is actually a high pass of Fostering 101 and graduation with a degree in “Adoption Conversion.” Congratulations!

More Information

If you would like more information on fostering an orphaned pet, check out the following articles:

 

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PET ADOPTION FACTOID: Five out of ten dogs in shelters and seven out of ten cats in shelters are euthanized simply because there is no one to adopt them.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays started in 1999 when Helen Woodward Animal Center began the program with Iams and 14 participating shelters in San Diego County. Today, thousands of pet adoption centers and rescue organizations from around the world participate in the program from October 1 to January 2. Working together, more than 7 million pets and counting have been adopted to date.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays

Top 5 Changes to Your Life After Pet Adoption

 Pet Net Contributor

I am excited and honored to be participating in this year’s 2012 Pet ‘Net Event! Organized by Petside, Pet ‘Net brings together pet-focused bloggers to write about a single topic. The next 5 days (November  26 to 30) will be dedicated to this year’s topic: Pet Adoption.

Because this year marks Pet ‘Net’s 5th anniversary, my supporting posts are all in 5’s!

And be sure to visit the Pet ‘Net hub page everyday this week to enter your zip code. After all the zips are tallied, a $5,000 donation from Petside will be given to a local animal shelter in the winning community. The winning shelter will be announced on December 17.

Read. Learn. Enjoy. (And maybe, Adopt!)

~-~

Your life will change when you adopt a pet. Some of the changes won’t be fun, but the benefits will outweigh the work! Here are my 5 ways your life will change when you adopt a pet!

More Chores

Yes, having a pet means taking care of it. How complicated the chores are depends on the type of pet you pick. At minimum, you’ll need to provide food and water every day and clean out the aquarium every few weeks. Schedule time in your day to take care of your new buddy. And enjoy the fulfillment and humbling wonder of caring for a being who’s life would be the worse but for you.

Fewer Lattes

You might need to cut back on your coffee house drinks because, depending on the pet you pick, pet adoption can be expensive. Especially if you’ve fallen in love with a little dog that looks adorable in doggie duds and needs professional grooming every week. But you probably won’t miss the lattes–time spent cuddling with the pooch will take the place of time at the coffee house.

Unconditional love

Trite, but true–and probably the best of all the changes to your life after pet adoption. When you’ve had a crappy day at the office, your dog will snuggle up to you and you’ll know everything is alright. The perfect purring companionship of your cat will punctuate your evenings. There will always be someone soft and cozy to snuggle with on a cold night. You will never be home alone–and your barking companion will give a burglar pause before he tries to break into your home. And no matter what kind of stupid mistake you made today, there is no judgment in those furry eyes. Only love.

Exercise

You now have a reason to get up in the morning. You’ve got to walk the dog. You’ve got to feed the cat and change the litter pan. Taking care of your pet will make you move more. You might find you’re getting rid of  that 10 pounds you’ve been trying to loose for years.

Buster Small Paws helped his human through the loss of her mom.

 

Longer, Happier Life

It has been scientifically proven that pets make us happier and healthier. The simple act of stroking a dog or cat can decrease blood pressure and lessen stress. Heart attack victims who have pets in their lives tend to live longer than those without pets. According to a 2007 study, people with pets go to the doctor 15% less than people without pets. Having a pet can help us fight depression and give us a sense of purpose. Pets inspire us with compassion and self-esteem–which make us better people. (More details in a great article on Petside).

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PET ADOPTION FACTOID: The cost of spaying and neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for one year.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays started in 1999 when Helen Woodward Animal Center began the program with Iams and 14 participating shelters in San Diego County. Today, thousands of pet adoption centers and rescue organizations from around the world participate in the program from October 1 to January 2. Working together, more than 7 million pets and counting have been adopted to date.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays

Top 5 Places to Find an Adoptable Pet

 Pet Net Contributor

I am excited and honored to be participating in this year’s 2012 Pet ‘Net Event! Organized by Petside, Pet ‘Net brings together pet-focused bloggers to write about a single topic. The next 5 days (November 26 to 30) will be dedicated to this year’s topic: Pet Adoption.

Because this year marks Pet ‘Net’s 5th anniversary, my supporting posts are all in 5’s!

And be sure to visit the Pet ‘Net hub page everyday this week to enter your zip code. After all the zips are tallied, a $5,000 donation from Petside will be given to a local animal shelter in the winning community. The winning shelter will be announced on December 17.

Read. Learn. Enjoy. (And maybe, Adopt!)

~-~

You’re ready to adopt, so where do you go? Here are my top 5 places where you’ll find an adoptable pet!

Your Local Shelter

OK, I think this one is pretty obvious. Most towns have a

  • Shelter
  • Humane Society
  • Animal Center
  • Friends of Animals
  • City Pound
  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Wonderful new furry friends can be found at your local animal facility. There’s also:

Breed Rescue

Is there a specific breed of pet that will best fit into your life? One place to check is  the Breed Rescues page on the AKC website. Another way to connect with a rescue group that specializes in a specific breed is to open your search engine of choice and search  for your favorite breed’s rescue group. Here are some examples:

You may notice that there is one rescue group that shows up in just about every search for breed rescue. That group is:

Petfinder

I'm waiting for you at Petfinder!Betsy Saul, the founder of Petfinder, is one of my heroes. How amazing and simple is this idea: provide a platform for animal adoption groups to showcase their adoptable pets for the entire world to see! Yes, you still have to figure out how to get your Fido from San Francisco (where he’s being fostered) to Santa Fe (where you live), but you would not have known about how wonderful he was without Petfinder.

 

The Veterinarian

Good veterinarians often have the inside track on pets who are looking for a new home–whether it’s a caring owner who must give up a pet, or a stray who’s brought in due to care needed. If this is not your first pet, you may already know a veterinarian who can alert you to opportunities that come through the clinic door.

Facebook & Social Sites

Click to read how a chance conversation brought Chucky to his new family!

Wherever you like to hang out online, use your “Status” and put your pet adoption quest into your friends’ newsfeeds. Keep them updated on your adoption search–letting them know “I’m looking for a cat to adopt” might help them to remember that their neighbors are moving to Canada and can’t take their cat with them–they’re looking for a loving home for a sweet kitty. Search for pet groups on your social site-of-choice. For instance, try a Facebook search on adoptable pets. Looking for a specific dog or cat breed? Plug the breed name into the Facebook search bar and join any groups or pages that pop up–let the community know you’re ready to adopt.

Not Looking?

You may not be in adoption mode right now. You love animals, and you know there’s a furry buddy in your future. But maybe your work life takes up too much time, or you simply can’t afford the extra costs of having a pet at this time. Why wait to build your arsenal of pet locators? You can get your furry fix by joining online social groups dedicated to the animals you love or by helping your local shelter through volunteering or donations. And with this active participation, you just might find the fur baby that steals your heart and makes you want to come home at night–instead of working those extra hours at the office. There is nothing more wonderful than the unconditional love of a wagging tail or a welcoming purr greeting you at the door of your house that’s now a home!

~|~

PET ADOPTION FACTOID: Twenty-five percent of dogs who enter local shelters are purebred.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays started in 1999 when Helen Woodward Animal Center began the program with Iams and 14 participating shelters in San Diego County. Today, thousands of pet adoption centers and rescue organizations from around the world participate in the program from October 1 to January 2. Working together, more than 7 million pets and counting have been adopted to date.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays

A Shelter Drive-By

Iams Home 4 the HolidaysThis time of year, my company is deep into Iams Home 4 the Holidays. This is the 14th year that we’ve partnered with Mike Arms and the Helen Woodward Animal Center to help get orphaned pets adopted and into furever homes–our goal this year is 1.2 million pets!

So right now a big focus of my work life is looking for ways to help get more orphaned pets adopted. And that makes me look for ways I can help in my personal life. And I’m really excited about an idea from Dr. V of Pawcurious: A shelter drive-by.

What’s a shelter drive-by?

It’s so simple! I had to go to my local warehouse store today. Before I left, I took a look at the wish list on the Greater Dayton Humane Society’s web site. Among the listed items was paper towels and paper bowls–perfect items to purchase from a warehouse store! Which is exactly what I did–along with all the rest of the things on my list. And on the way home, I dropped the paper towels and paper bowls off at the shelter. So incredibly easy! What a difference we could make by doing a simple shelter drive-by once or twice a month!

Take action!

So here’s my challenge to you: Next week, Thanksgiving begins the madness that is the holidays. Start a new tradition for the holidays that you can carry into the new year. Establish the habit of looking at the wish list of your favorite shelter or rescue. And once a month, do a shelter drive-by when you do your grocery shopping. If your finances are in good shape, do it twice a month. If we all do it, our shelters can take the money they would have used for supplies and use it for more worthy things–like saving more animals! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

~*~