General Interest

Animal Control from a New Angle

posted July 15th, 2012 by
  • Share

by Bob Foshay 

I have been photographing animals at the Tulsa Animal Shelter for TulsaPets Magazine for about two years with the specific goal of helping to increase adoptions. As time went on, I wondered about these animals that came to the shelter. I wanted to see the other side of the stray animal issue, so I asked and was allowed to spend the day on patrol with an Animal Control Officer.

 

After all, I had only seen a small part of the job the shelter and its officers are faced with every day, and it certainly is not the old dog pound and dog catcher. These people are dedicated and committed to ensuring that the animals are cared for in a humanitarian manner with the resources, the law, politics and public opinion all being what it is.

 

Our day started at 9 a.m. The first call came in from dispatch to Officer Susan Stoker to pick up a stray cat at a woman’s house. It had wandered into her back yard and appeared to be ill. When we arrived, the homeowner directed us to her back yard where we found the cat lying lethargically on the patio. Officer Stoker carried the cat back to the truck, and we headed back to the shelter. With a little food and care, the cat appeared to be fine. It was checked for identification; if none is found (i.e. tags, ID, implant, etc.), it is placed in holding for three days to see if the owner comes to claim it. If no owner shows up, it goes to adoption.

 

The next call, which came almost immediately after we arrived back at the shelter, involved a dog hit by a car, and the dog was still trapped under the car. Back to the truck we headed for the emergency call. When we arrived on the scene, we found the woman who had hit the dog stopped and could not see the dog. She moved her car into a nearby Walgreens’ parking lot where a passerby told her the dog was trapped under her car. The woman jumped out of the car, finding the dog was trapped in the undercarriage of the vehicle.

 

   Stoker crawled under the car and found the dog was actually impaled on a long bolt. With expert confidence, she removed the dog from the bolt, brought her safely out to the patrol truck, and we hurried back to the shelter. Upon arriving at the shelter, the dog was immediately taken into the care of a vet and treated for a large puncture wound on her left side and abrasions on her legs. We stayed with the dog for about 15 minutes while she was being treated. The dog was very gentle and amazingly calm considering the trauma she had just endured.

 

Today, that dog has been fostered and fully recovered, thanks to the immediate care of Officer Stoker and the shelter staff. More than likely the dog had strayed from home; she had a flea collar on but did not have identification; due to that fact, the owner may never be located.

 

The rest of the day was more mundane; four calls dealt with complaints ranging from barking dogs to a neighbor keeping chickens in the back yard. These types of calls involved leaving door hangers describing the complaint since the people were not home.

   Wrapping up the day was a call to a dog biting, or, I should say, a dog nipping. A landlord was at the door of his rented property when the tenants were not home, and a stray dog the tenant’s children had befriended nipped the landlord on his leg and ran off. When we arrived two other Animal Control patrol trucks were already on the scene chasing and tracking the dog. The dog ultimately escaped, and we returned to the shelter for the day.

 

I learned from the day’s events that homeless pet issues come from more than spaying and neutering—although this is still a big factor. The problems are very complex and multi-faceted:

  • Overpopulation and feral animals
  • Due to age or financial reasons, some people can no longer care for their pets
  • Abused animals (fighting dogs, abandoned pets, chaining animals in bad conditions, beating, not feeding and many other conditions)
  • Nuisance issues (owners letting pets run loose, barking, etc.)
  • Unidentified pets that have strayed from home because of the failure of fencing, door latching or the owner just dumps an unwanted pet)

 

Of course, I don’t have the answers to these issues, but I can say spaying and neutering is important, along with staying current on vaccinations, proper tagging, and educating about the responsibilities of pet ownership and pet training. These issues need more research, study, and ultimately, solutions—because no matter how good the shelters are, they are not the best place for pets. Good forever homes are still the best place

Crawfest 2012 in Tulsa

posted May 19th, 2012 by
  • Share
Hebert's

A great time was had by all today at the 2012 Crawfest festival at Hebert’s Specialty Meats on 71st Street in Tulsa.   There was lots of crawfish, shrimp, red beans, beignets, and much more delectable food to enjoy, in addition to face painting and live music by the Jambalaya Jass Band from Broussard, Louisiana.  The Therapetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma organization was also on hand to show off their service dogs and explain their training process and skills.  Here are some fun pictures of the event that goes on until 7:00 p.m. this evening.  Head on out and give a donation to Therapetics to help support all that they do!

Crawfest 2012 is underway today at Hebert's Specialty Meats, just west of Lewis on 71st.

 

They have face painting

 

...and the Jambalaya Jass Band from Broussard, LA

 

...and plenty of eating going on!...

 

...and a crawfish didn't stand a chance.

 

A portion of the profits go to Therapetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma. This is Casey Largent with her trainee Watson.

 

A grand time is being had by all attendees. It continues until 7:00 this evening!

Dog Training 411

posted May 15th, 2012 by
  • Share

by Mary Green

Q My mother, who is 80 years old, wants a companion dog. She re­cently lost her elderly little dog and is really lonely without him. I am con­cerned about her being able to house train a new dog, and I worry about a dog knocking her down or scratching her skin. I’m not really excited about the prospect, but I want my mom to be happy. Suggestions?  — Karen

ASeniors and pets have so much to offer each other; I hope you are open to supporting your mother in bringing a new pet into her household. Besides the companionship a pet can provide for your mother, being respon­sible for feeding and watering the dog and toileting him can really give her a reason to get up and going in the morn­ings. Dogs always seem to wake up hap­py and ready to get on about the daily business. Their happy attitude works wonders toward getting their humans motivated, too! Petting and stroking an animal has been proven to lower blood pressure—so there are even health ben­efits to pet ownership.

My recommendation would be to bring in an older dog rather than a puppy. I would also recommend a dog not over about 15 lbs. Some groups only adopt senior dogs to senior citi­zens. Dogs that are 7 or 8 years old are often overlooked at a shelter, but have a lot of living yet to do! As you meet prospective pets for your mom, look for a dog that is friendly and wants to be petted, or wants to sit in your lap, but is not “clingy.” A dog that can settle down with a toy or chew bone, or is crate trained, will give your mother suf­ficient space and time to do what she needs to do without having him underfoot.

I understand your concerns about an octo­genarian being responsible for house training a new dog. A small dog can learn to eliminate on the wee wee pads or in a litter box. You also might consider installing a doggie door if that is possible. If you fashion a small yard (maybe an exercise pen) just out­side of the doggie door, the dog can’t go through the doggie door and get to the remotest point in the yard! If a dog is in a foster situation, you might know if you are adopting a house-trained dog.

Could a family member volunteer to take mother’s dog to a training class? She could be included in doing the homework, and she might enjoy the class outings without having to manage the dog at the same time. Someone else could teach the dog how to greet properly without jumping up and how not to be underfoot. At K9 Manners & More, we have a Day Training program where the professional trainers work with the dogs, and then teach the own­ers what to do.

Don’t just rush out and get your mother a dog. Do your homework to find the right fit for her. The shelters are full of previously owned and loved family pets looking for a new family. Sometimes people lose their jobs and/ or homes, and move where they cannot take their pets. Not all dogs at the shel­ter are from hoarding situations, puppy mills or from the rough streets.

Lastly, have a plan in place for caring for your mother’s dog’s needs: veteri­nary transportation and care, purchas­ing food and supplies, and see to his or her grooming needs. And have a plan of who will take care of your mother’s dog should she be hospitalized short term, or long term, and who will be respon­sible for the dog in the event of your mother’s passing away

Know the ABC’s of Pet CPR

posted May 15th, 2012 by
  • Share

by Kiley Roberson

THERE ARE pet spas, pet daycares and many pet stores. But animal lovers want to do more than pamper their pets. They also want to protect them. So, the American Red Cross is offering pet first aid classes that include the ABCs of pet CPR.

“Pets are often our companions and even cared for at the same level as we would our own children,” says Kay­lene Kenner of Red Cross Tulsa. “Of course, do­ing what we can to in­crease their chance of survival during a medi­cal emergency is our re­sponsibility since they depend on us for care.”

Kenner has worked for Tulsa’s Red Cross chapter for six years. She says pet first aid is one of her favor­ite classes that the Red Cross offers. And she’s not alone; a typical class is full of animal lovers, who want to get savvy with safety procedures that could help a pet in distress.

From basic pet owner responsibilities, like spaying, neutering and administer­ing medications to managing breathing or cardiac emergencies and preparing for disasters, pet first aid courses offer infor­mation and advice for pet owners. Topics include managing urgent care situations, such as car accidents; wounds; electri­cal shock; and eye, foot and ear injuries.

The classes are three to four hours long and are taught by a local volunteer vet­erinarian. The maximum enrollment for the class is 12, and Kenner says they fill up quickly. Real pets aren’t actually allowed in class. Instead, mannequins are used to demonstrate techniques. Each pet man­nequin has a set of simulated lungs to give the student a good sense of how hard to blow and how hard to push when ad­ministering breaths and compressions on the pet. Very often, injured animals are scared and likely to bite. So, the course also teaches pet owners how to devise a makeshift muzzle. In addition to lectures covering topics like capturing and han­dling an injured animal, the day’s instruc­tion also includes video presentations.

The class only covers CPR for dogs and cats, but Kenner says the same prin­cipals can be used on other pets, as well. She also says it’s especially im­portant to know the signs to recog­nize when a pet is ill or in distress.

“Pets, especially cats, will often try to hide signs of illness until the disease or injury is very advanced,” she explains. “I recently lost my two cats, both at age 19. They hid their symptoms from me and because cats are smaller animals, their health conditions deteriorated very quickly. After taking this class I now know the signs to watch out for and can try to intervene as early as possible.”

For pet first aid and CPR, the course costs $70. The courses are offered at var­ious times throughout the year. You can sign up by going to www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. If you can’t make it to a class, don’t worry; the Red Cross has an available book, “Pet First Aid.”

“Taking a course like Pet First Aid will give you the tools and techniques to iden­tify and treat such medical emergencies as soon as possible,” says Kenner. “Allow­ing your pet a better chance for survival.”

Learn your ABCs   To find out if a dog, for example, is breathing, watch the rib cage and see if it goes up and down. Also, find the pulse on your dog, which you can locate be­hind the pad on his front or back foot. Then, feel the rib cage just behind the left elbow. If the heart is beating, you should be able to feel it there. That’s called the ABC: Airway, Breathing and Cardiac.

Pet CPR Basics

1.) Cover and seal the pet’s entire mouth and nose with your mouth and gently exhale until you see the chest rise.

2.) Give four or five breaths rapidly; then check to see if your pet is breath­ing without assistance. If he begins to breathe, but the breathing is shal­low and irregular, or if breathing does not begin, continue giving him res­cue breaths at about a rate of 20 to 30 breaths per minute, pausing every 2 to 3 minutes to check for breath­ing and pulse. Continue until you reach the veterinary hospital or for up to 20 minutes. Beyond 20 minutes, there is little chance of reviving your pet.

Yard Dog Watching the Watchdog

posted May 15th, 2012 by
  • Share

by Dolores Proubasta

“OUT OF SIGHT, out of mind.” Whether in a farm, city back yard, or rust-piled junkyard, an animal kept outside is lonely. Indoors, sheltered and enjoying the comforts and company they deny to the dog (or cat), people reason that animals don’t belong inside because of shedding, odors, breakage, etc. In reality, a pet has no more bearing on the cleanliness and good order of a home than a child does; only the adults do.

Why is it that some people get a dog—an animal who loves people more than people love people—just to lock him or her out? It makes no sense. And even worse, under average conditions this segregation evolves into benign neglect that tends to worsen as time goes by. Soon, the children don’t want to play with “it” anymore because he is too big; grandpa is afraid to go out because “it” jumps… Starved for attention, sometimes he also misses a meal or two because the family forgot to feed “it.”

Ignored by all, without affection, guidance or purpose, the yard dog will either become aloof (a form of depression), aggressive, an escape artist, destructive or a nuisance barker. Shelters are full of dogs with just such problems for which only the owners are to blame.

The overall unfairness of segregating pets outside the human circle may deteriorate into gross insensitivity or even a felony if they are not brought indoors: (1) when they are sick or otherwise incapacitated as listed in Table 1; (2) in bad weather such as thunderstorms, ice storms, flooding, tornadoes and life-threatening temperatures; (3) when herbicides and other harmful chemicals are being used in the yard; (4) when construction, regular services and other activities may cause the dog to escape; (5) at night.

A strong argument in favor of bringing dogs in at night is their unsurpassed value and reliability to warn against intruders, gas leaks, smoke and more. However, for dogs to protect people, people must first protect dogs. Left outside, the dog may be the first victim, or not be heard by those he’s trying to rouse. A garage, by the way, does not constitute “inside” for security purposes or for the animal’s sake (footnote of Table 3).

Yard dogs (and cats) usually rank with the bike and the lawn mower in the estimation of those clinging to the primitive notion that a dog belongs outside. It is a fine line between benign neglect and criminal neglect, and it is not what the owner thinks is “good enough” for the yard dog, but what neighbors, discerning TulsaPets readers and other “watchdogs” for the animals see with their own eyes. If conditions are substandard or endangering to the dog, it’s a civic duty to report them to authorities and keep the vigil.

If only the more open-minded among the outdoors-school-of-thought would pause to ponder just how fair they are to their pets—are they providing essential comforts and protection (Tables 2 and 3)? Would they not realize how much easier it would be to integrate pets into the household’s routine, treating them as companions? Of course, the operative word is “fair.”

In the final analysis, one has to question the fairness— indeed, the humaneness—of barring Man’s Best Friend from being with the people for whom he would lay his life down.

Ginger’s Rescue. One family’s pet adoption story

posted May 15th, 2012 by
  • Share

by Brenda Hughes

Photos by Donna Fessler

LOVE MAY COME in many shapes and sizes, but for Mary and Bill Smith, it came in a pint-sized bundle of red fur. The look of love and pride on Mary’s face is evident as she talks about Gin­ger, the red Pomeranian, she and Bill rescued from the Owasso Animal Shel­ter. “It is interesting to look back at the picture of her at the shelter and [then look at her] now. She does not even look like the same dog,” she says.

Their story began over 10 years ago when the couple met in a book store. “I went in to buy a book and bought a wife instead,” Bill says with a grin. “We started talking and kept talking and had dinner that night,” says Mary.

A retired auto reconstruction ser­vice lead investigator for 12 years, Bill did causative analysis on motor vehicle accidents for attorneys and insurance companies. Prior to that, he spent 30-plus years as a police officer, the last 16 of which he was the lead major in­cident coordinator investigator for the Dallas County Sherriff’s Department. A job transfer by the Corp of Engineers for Mary brought the Dallas transplants to Tulsa. Luckily, for Ginger, the red Po­meranian, after just six months in Tulsa, they relocated a few miles down I-169 to Owasso.

One day, a coworker of Mary’s from the Galveston Corp of Engineers sent her an email saying he was going to buy a Schnauzer. He had contacted his local Schnauzer rescue but several broken appointments later had decided just to buy a Schnauzer. Mary told him to try the local kill shelters—in light of the economy a lot of people aren’t able to keep their dearly beloved pets and are being forced to surrender them to shelters.

“I told him to let me look,” Mary says. “Now, because of the Internet, there are so many shelters that have pictures on­line. I said let me see what Owasso has, and I saw Ginger’s picture. I told Bill, ‘Let’s go look at her.’ Ginger had been found wandering around an apartment complex with no collar, tags or micro­chip. Someone had called the Owasso Animal Control, who could not find anyone to whom she belonged, so they took her to the shelter.

“One day away from being eutha­nized, she went home with us that night. She was overweight and her teeth badly needed cleaning. We have been gradually reducing her food and had her teeth cleaned, and we started integrating her into the household. Ini­tially, the shelter said she was house broken, but we had housebreaking is­sues.”

Despite being rough around the edg­es, Ginger etched her place into the Smiths’ hearts and household, and they continue to work on her weak points. “Ginger is personable and loves every­one, but she had behavior issues that really needed to be taken care of,” Mary says. “The behaviors we sought training for were house breaking, jumping, and we wanted her to have [a grasp on] ba­sic obedience. She would pick up her food and take it off to eat it a piece at a time, over and over. She would get frightened when her tags hit the bowl and quit eating and would have to gather up courage to go back and eat some more.”

Clearly frightened and unsure, Ginger needed to be retrained, or more appro­priately, to be trained for the first time by someone kind and trustworthy. “That’s where I began seeking where and how we could get her training,” Mary says. “I wanted her trained in a proper method, not somewhere where someone would shock her and do terrible things to her. I was concerned about that. That’s how I came across Miss Brenda (Dog Training with Brenda).

“Before training, she was like a kid on the street that hadn’t been to West Point yet. After she got out of train­ing and came home, she’s like a young woman that just graduated from West Point. That’s the only way I know how to say it.”

But Ginger isn’t the first pooch to re­ceive a second chance from the Smiths. No strangers to rescue, they have pro­vided foster care for Schnauzers and American Eskimo dogs. Bill and Mary’s other dog Zoë, an American Eskimo dog, was rescued from the Austin area. Bill learned she had been purchased from a breeder as a gift for a teenage girl. The girl had her for two years be­fore going away to college. The girl’s mother took Zoë to a kill shelter in Aus­tin where Zoë was saved by the local American Eskimo Rescue.

Certainly earning her keep, Zoë as­sists Bill with his hearing problem—he doesn’t hear doorbells, phones and some tonal qualities of people’s voices. “She realized I do not hear them, and she goes on alert,” he says. “We were staying in a hotel in Galveston when the fire alarm went off, and I didn‘t hear it. She insisted I respond to something, so I picked her up and went to the front desk. The hotel was testing it, but they didn’t notify anybody that they were.” Needless to say, as Bill’s service dog, Zoë is his constant companion.

Bill and Mary are just one positive example of how rescue can change the lives of deserving dogs. Their advice to someone looking for a pet is to give rescue a chance because “if you have patience, you can probably find what you want in rescue.” But, Mary cau­tions, make sure you are fully prepared to take on a life and care for it. “It is not a day commitment; it is a thorough commitment,” she says. “If not, maybe they can volunteer at a shelter walking dogs or something like that because volunteers are always needed.”

As for Bill’s opinion on the subject: “Try it; it works!” he says with his in­domitable grin.