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Play by the Rules

posted September 24th, 2017 by
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Play by the Rules

Play by the Rules – It Works

My son played soccer, baseball and football in high school – three sports – three different sets of rules, coaches, players.  When I asked him if he had any trouble changing sports/coaches – – he said “No”. Next question – did he like everyone on each team “No”  – – and most importantly, why did he adjust to each sport’s rules, coaches, referees, players, the weather, et al.  He gave me that “look” that teenagers have perfected and said (with great exasperation) “Mom, I want to play the game.”

Those six words I want to play the game were the deciding factor for him.

PlayFourteen months ago, we began in earnest to transport homeless dogs (a few cats) from northeast Oklahoma to Dumb Friends League in Colorado.  We just surpassed the 2000 mark!!!!  And, it’s worked so well because we all play by the same rules.

Dumb Friends League sets the standard.  And, yes, at first we would gritch about it – but quickly realized they knew what they were doing.  Today we have more than 15 area rescues/shelters who collaborate with us so every Tuesday evening 30+ dogs (and sometimes a few cats) head to a new home in Colorado.  All of our partners follow the guidelines established by Dumb Friends League.  And, yes, for some of them it is hard to follow new rules- and, yes, we understand – – but in the end when everyone plays by the same rules – more lives are saved. 

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma saw large organizations collaborate, work together and, consequently save the lives of thousands of pets – including a pot belly pig.  They agreed on the rules they were going to follow, got to work and “got ‘er done”.

So, yes, we follow the rules – – yes it works – – and yes – – when you do follow the rules everyone wins.  Like the rules – – don’t have to – – just follow them.

Your son/daughter will accept an umpire/referee’s call – – play a position the coach gives them – – and wear a uniform in all kinds of weather – – to play the game. 

Well, it works for rescue as well.

Kay Stout, Director 

PAAS Vinita

[email protected]

918-256-7227

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Therapy Dog Encourages Learning

posted May 23rd, 2017 by
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Therapy Dog

Therapy Dog Encourages Learning

at Oklahoma School for the Deaf

SULPHUR, Okla. – When Jasmine, the therapy dog, arrived at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf, the students naturally knew what to do. 

They loved her.

Therapy Dog


Jasmine, Oklahoma School for the Deaf’s new therapy dog, is surrounded by fourth grade admirers.

Jasmine and her adult humans, however, still had a few things to learn.

A Labrador-mix breed, Jasmine had been adopted and returned twice to P.A.W.S. animal shelter in Ada, through no fault of her own.

A New Leash on Life, Inc. in Norman selected her to attend 10-weeks of obedience training through their Pen Pals Prison Program at CCA-Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville. 

“We look for dogs that are easy-going, laid back and not bothered by a lot of things for placement as therapy dogs,” Barbara Lewis, A New Leash on Life executive director, explained. “They are homeless dogs, so we try very hard to match them with a working opportunity when they graduate.” 

Oklahoma School for the Deaf Counselor Gayla Jackson and Librarian Lesa Price were approved for a therapy dog in time for the prison trainer to teach basic sign language hand signals for the commands sit, stay and come. 

When Jasmine first arrived, the students gave her a sign name. But she did not want to go upstairs at the school. A New Leash on Life trainers came to OSD to help their therapy dog adjust. After coaxing by a favorite student and a few cheeseburgers, her phobia came to an end. 

“She’s a good therapy dog and a good home dog,” Jackson explained. “Once she got here, I was determined to keep her, whether she worked out as a therapy dog or not.”

Jasmine lives with Jackson after work, on the weekends and vacation breaks. The dog keeps a watchful eye on Jackson most of the time. 

Price, who shares handling responsibilities, takes care of Jasmine in the school library when Jackson is not available during school hours.

“Jasmine calms students down and opens them up – makes them feel comfortable – and she loves coming to work,” she said. “Once she goes past the guard shack, she knows she’s here.”

During the interview, Jasmine happily cuddles with students and then lies down with sigh after the lunch light flashes.

“It’s a great idea to have a therapy dog at the School for the Deaf,” Lewis agreed. “Children and even adults feel more comfortable with dogs as a companion than they do with other people. I think it’s because they are not judgmental and seem to relate to people emotionally.”   

At first, Jackson worried that her two Boston Terriers, who lack formal training, might be a bad influence. 

“The trainer said that it doesn’t work like that,” Jackson explained. “Thank goodness.”

Training continues for Jasmine and Jackson. They are currently enrolled in an obedience class at Canine Sports Academy in Norman soon to be followed with a class to prepare them to take the Canine Good Citizen test. After that, it’s more testing so Jasmine can become certified by Therapy Dog International. 

“I want the kids and adults to know that she actually passed her certification test, and there is nothing to worry about,” Jackson said. “Plus, the trainer is going to work on tricks with her, so the kids can be more engaged with what she does and she can become less attached to me.”

“This summer, I plan to bring her to summer camp, and I’ll probably take her to nursing homes to keep her working until school starts up in the fall,” Jackson said. “She loves working. She loves people. We’ve got this.” 

As the statewide resource center on deafness, OSD offers the ultimate learning environment for deaf and hard of hearing students who meet the same graduation requirements as students in other public schools. In 2016, 240 students lived at the school during the week, commuted from home or attended summer school classes. OSD operates two satellite preschools at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and the University of Arts and Sciences of Oklahoma in Chickasha. As the statewide resource center for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, OSD provides thousands of free evaluations and direct services each year for students attending local public schools, their families and educators. The school is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

For more information, phone (580) 622-4900 or (888) 685-3333 toll free or visit the website at www.osd.k12.ok.us/.

In a Perfect World

posted May 13th, 2017 by
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Play by the Rules

In a Perfect World

 

I don’t mean perfect no flaws, but manageable reality that brings a smile to my face.

We’ve been open 2 years and 1 month.  Our direction is different – but it is working and the options for homeless/unwanted dogs and cats is improving.  We’re not to perfect, yet, but I can see “manageable reality” down the road.  Two years ago I didn’t even want to look down the road. 

From my point of view – these are the components of manageable reality for most of us in rescue.

#1)      Low-cost spay/neuter programs for those who are income qualified.  Thanks to grants we now offer this program to the outlying areas around Vinita that include Bernice, Disney, Ketchum, Langley, Cleora, Welch, Pryor, Miami, Fairland, Afton and Bluejacket.

#2)      A long-term investment in the community to help all pet owners keep their pets, be sure they are “fixed” (spayed/neutered), and up-to-date on shots.  Thanks to a grant from Pets For Life, this is a manageable reality in Vinita.  You will see our little van sprinting around town on a mission.  If Lacee (Pets for Life representative) knocks on your door – she really is there to help!!!

#3)      Expanded partner relationships with municipal and 501©3 rescues.  The system is simple, the protocols are reasonable and the outcomes are wonderful. Our dogs (and occasionally cats), arrive at Dumb Friends League in Denver or the Buddy Center at Castle Rock and, within days, are in their new homes.  The pictures and stories we get validates the success.

Two years ago I would have never imagined this journey.  Fortunately, we were open to new ideas and solutions, the Board of Directors was supportive, the grantors understood the value of the programs, and we’ve developed a system that works.

Frankly, Mark Zuckerberg has no idea how much help Facebook is for all of us in rescue. It keeps us connected and provides a platform that is easy to navigate.

So – we’re close the manageable reality.  And that feels good.

PAAS is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), organization. Donations are tax-deductible; checks may be mailed to PAAS, P.O. Box 491, Vinita, OK 74301 or by credit card on our website at paasvinita.com. For more information, call 918-256-7227.

 

K

 

Kay Stout, Director 

PAAS Vinita

[email protected]

918-256-7227

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Supply and Demand

posted March 18th, 2017 by
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Supply and Demand

Supply and Demand

Supply and DemandThere is a direct correlation between supply and demand.  A long time ago, there were Cabbage Patch dolls.  My daughter was the target age at that time and, yes, her world included one of the dolls.  Were they overpriced – – yes; did they remain a collector’s item – no; did supply eventually exceed demand –  – yes.  The same philosophy applies to limited edition cars, trucks, jewelry, and clothing.  Yes I have one expensive purse.   Is the brand as expensive today as it was 10 years ago – – No, not even close.  The supply eventually outnumbered the demand, other purses caught the attention of women and today you can buy one of the purses at a reasonable price.

This correlation also applies to dogs and cats in rural Oklahoma.  There is a consistent over-supply of cute, adorable, big, little, fluffy dogs and sweet, purring cats.  Because the supply far outweighs the demand, their value in the marketplace is diminished in Oklahoma.  Thankfully for all of us involved in rescue, the demand outstrips the supply in other states.  As a result, every week hundreds of Oklahoma dogs (and many cats) find themselves in a van, the back of an SUV, or riding shot-gun – headed to their new home. 

An example is Miss Dixie and her puppies.  She was homeless.  Fortunately, for her and her puppies, she was rescued and gave birth at the Richardson Birthing Center. Fast forward several weeks.  Miss Dixie and her puppies arrived at Dumb Friends League in Denver, Colorado.  Within a week all of them (including Miss Dixie) had new homes.  They have a demand, we have the supply.

We are working very hard to diminish the over-supply.  Once that happens, Oklahoma dogs and cats will have a higher value.  We’re working very hard to make this a reality.

Sarge

posted February 17th, 2017 by
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Play by the Rules

Sarge

Sarge changed my life.  While I was at Second Chance Animal Sanctuary in Norman, they were (and continue to be) part of the Friends for Folks dog training program at the prison in Lexington.  I’d worked out an agreement with Lee, who ran the program, that he could select 3 dogs and we would get to give him one. 

Lee came into the facility, picked his three and I then took him to Sarge’s kennel.  He was met with growls – lots of growls – from a grumpy, irritated gray schnauzer.  Lee said “I’m not taking that dog”.  My response was “We had an agreement.”   It took a few minutes of convincing, but Sarge went to the training program.

Fast forward 6 months, the phones are ringing, dogs are barking and the cats are serenading.  Lee calls me and says something to the effect “We have a dog who is going to the Norman Veterans Center to be their resident greeter.”  I’m sure I responded appropriately.  Then he said “Do you know which dog?”  My answer “No”.  He said “Sarge”.  I know there were a few seconds of dead silence before I said “Sarge, are you sure it’s Sarge?”.  Yes it was Sarge.

We were also privileged to be part of the documentary The Dogs of Lexington.  You can go to you tube – type in the title and select the one by John Otto.  43 minutes long, so have your beverage of choice handy while you watch.  You will see Sarge at his grumpiest, his transformation under the care of Mr. Miller – an inmate- at the prison, and his triumphant introduction to the veterans at the center in Norman.

Then in 2015, the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association gave their “Hero Dog of the Year Award” to Sarge.  It still gives me goose bumps when I remember watching Sarge confidently standing on the stage, then a few minutes later he realized one of the veterans who was in attendance needed reassuring.  Sarge quietly went over to his wheelchair and jumped up in his lap so he could be petted.  Sarge just knew.

SargeToday, PAAS is involved with a training program at NOCC (Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center).  We see the transformation in the inmates chosen for the program as well as the shelter dogs who live with them.  Programs like this change lives – – those of the inmate, their family, the shelter dog, those of us at PAAS who witness the transformation, and the lucky people who adopt a PAAS/NOCC graduate.

This is a picture of Sarge – – – – miracles do happen –  he’s one of them.

Kay Stout, Director

PAAS Vinita

[email protected]

918-256-7227

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A Better Life

posted February 14th, 2017 by
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Supply and Demand

TA Better Lifehe program at NOCC (Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center) is a continuing reminder of a better life through the power of forgiveness that can happen between a person and a homeless dog.   We see it every week when we visit.

Google the following:  Pawsitive Change (a division of www.marleysmutts.org); celldogs.org (the original program started by Sister Pauline Quinn); go to youtube- type in The Dogs of Lexington (submitted by John Otto); and Camerado, I Give You My Hand.  This is a start to a journey that can be life-changing not only for the dogs, but especially for the inmates who train them.

With more than 61,000 inmates in the Oklahoma prison system, we have the second highest incarceration rate in the country; are prisons are at 119%+ capacity; and 77% of Oklahomans personally know someone who has been sent to a correctional facility. 

If you do further research on the internet, you will find countries that have low incarceration rates.  This translates not only into money saved, but the lives of their families.  Data proves 70% of the children who have one or more parent incarcerated will become one of the statistics.

We see the transformation of the inmates as we work with them. They learn compassion, how to give and receive love, confidence in training a high-energy, goofy, scared, big, little, four legged animal.  At the same time, they transform the life of the dog in their care.  Attend a graduation, witness the transformation, learn more about changing the outcome.  Ask anyone who works for PAAS – – we’ll be happy to regale you with true stories.  We believe in second chances.

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