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Dogtober for half-price dog adoptions

posted October 1st, 2015 by
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AdoptionsOctober is when nature puts on its grandest display of eye-popping colors, and you can help make it ‘Dogtober’ for the OKC Animal Shelter’s colorful canines by taking advantage of half-price dog adoptions.

Whether it’s a red cocker spaniel, a brindle terrier or a chocolate lab, the shelter’s adoptable dogs are in need of good homes.

“Dogs brighten our lives with their warmth and companionship,” said Animal Welfare Superintendent Julie Bank. “What could be more fun than frolicking in the autumn air with your new canine companion?”

But while it might be tempting to choose a new dog because of its golden locks, rust-colored kiss marks on its cheeks or a pair of dark, chocolate eyes, it’s important to consider lots of factors when adopting a dog. Be sure to choose a dog at the right age, size and temperament for your situation.

All adoptable pets at the Animal Shelter are up-to-date on vaccinations, treated for worms and spayed or neutered. The Animal Shelter, 2811 SE 29, is open for adoptions every day but holidays from noon to 5:45 p.m. Visit www.okc.gov/animalwelfare for more information.

Stay in touch with the City and Animal Welfare, which will have numerous outreach and adoption events this fall:

Watch City Channel 20 on Cox Cable or live anywhere on YouTube.

PupPod

posted September 28th, 2015 by
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New US pet toy ‘PupPod’ promises to keep pups active and engaged while owners are away.

PupPod allows:

  • Pet parents to watch live video of their pups and interact remotely with them as their dogs play
  • Offers a new way to reduce boredom, destructive behaviour and separation anxiety
  • Allows dogs to learn new skills while owners are at work

 Pup Pod

No more lonely, bored dogs.

 

PupPod is a new interactive pet toy that helps reduce boredom, anxiety and destructive behavior in your dog, helping them learn new skills when you’re at away. Pet parents can tune in and interact with their dog while they’re playing with PupPod as well as share and compare progress with friends via a mobile app.

Seattle based Erick Eidus, CEO and founder of PupPod said: “The response to PupPod has been amazing. After dogs have tested it and I go to pack it up, dogs tend to look at me like ‘hey, don’t take my toy away.’ You can tell they are totally engaged and want to keep playing and learning.”

“The feedback we’ve received from the Kickstarter campaign to date has been amazing. We’ve heard from dog experts as well as pet parents who all think that what we are doing is a real break-through in stimulating dogs mentally. Dogs can play PupPod on their own and the game evolves so that the dog is always challenged. In a recent interview with the Discovery Channel, their science reporter said that in four years of covering technology, he’d never seen anything like PupPod and he was super excited about the product.”

“PupPod is actually a very ambitious project. There’s the toy and treat dispenser for the dog. There’s the video camera in the hub for streaming video to a pet parents phone. There’s the PupCloud service and algorthms to analyze all the data from game play so the dog is always challenged and pet parents can start to understand what their dog is thinking and how their dog compares to other dogs of the same breed or age. And we have big plans – a roadmap for a series of toys that all connect to PupPod.”

“PupPod is really a platform to connect dogs and pet parents in a way that hasn’t been available before.”

See it at http://puppod.com/

Deaf Dogs Can Learn New Tricks Too

posted September 26th, 2015 by
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American Sign Language bridges communication for owners and albino dogs

By Brianna Broersma

 

A special group of dogs live right here in Oklahoma City.  Ceasar, Swayze, Deeyenda and Marvel are all deaf and have limited vision. Their owner, Mrs. Rojas, uses American Sign Language to communicate with them. Rojas has taught them basic signs such as “sit,” “speak” and “outside.”  Rojas says, “I look at the sign I need and teach them the behavior to go with it.”

The dogs’ hearing and vision problems can be attributed to irresponsible breeding.  In some breeds, a “merle” or “dapple” pattern is prized. This means that there are patches of lighter color fur on the dogs’ coats. Some breeders will try to breed two merle dogs together in order to increase the percent of merle puppies in a litter. However, if two merle or dapple dogs are bred together, the effect is cumulative, and it can lead to a “double merle” dog with a completely white coat. This can also remove pigment from the inner ear that is necessary for normal functioning.

Rojas’ dogs inherited their traits from such breeding practices. Ceasar is a 2-year-old Great Dane, and his deafness resulted from Harlequin-to-Harlequin breeding. (A Harlequin Great Dane has Dalmatian-like coloring.) Seven-month-old Mini Dachshund  Deeyenda had two dapple parents. Swayze, a 1-year-old Australian Shepherd, is a “double merle,” a product of merle-to-merle breeding. Rojas’s 6-month-old Rough Collie, Marvel, has an “extreme white pattern.” This removes a large amount of pigment from the face and ears, often resulting in deafness.  Rojas says, “These issues are completely preventable with responsible breeding.”

Other effects include light-sensitive eyes that can have “starburst” pupils. If Rojas takes her dogs out during daylight hours, she has to put special goggles on them. The sunlight is harsh on their eyes and skin,  due to the lack of pigment, Rojas says. She also needs to put special sunscreen on them to ensure they won’t get sunburned. Often, Rojas finds it easier to take them out during twilight or nighttime hours to protect their eyes and skin.

They are viewed as a burden, and Rojas says, “Usually breeders will kill these dogs because they are not profitable.” Sometimes “double merle” dogs can have related health issues such as digestive disorders, skin disorders and seizures. They can also have allergic reactions to some medications.

She has actually had to convince breeders to give her their dogs instead of killing them.  She is hoping to get therapy dog licenses so that her dogs can visit nursing homes, convalescent hospitals or other therapeutic settings.  She also fosters/rescues deaf dogs until a permanent home can be found.

She believes “it’s easier to train deaf dogs because they get distracted less” and actually prefers deaf dogs to hearing dogs.

“Deaf dogs are just like any other dogs,” she says, regarding the training process. When teaching a hearing dog, the owner or trainer teaches with a verbal “yes” or a clicker when a command is obeyed. Then the dog is rewarded with praise or a treat.

“Well, with a deaf dog, you show the American Sign Language sign you are trying to teach,” Rojas says. “For example, ‘sit.’ You stand in front of your deaf dog and show him the ASL sign for sit. Once he sits, immediately show him the ASL sign for ‘yes!’ Then you give him a treat. He learns, ‘OK, when she shows me this sign, and I sit, I get a treat and the yes sign. Therefore, I’m doing what I’m asked to do.’   Be consistent, and they will learn.

“Teaching ‘outside’ is easy too. Just like asking a hearing dog, ‘Do you want to go outside?’ …With a deaf dog, I stand at the door and show him the ASL [sign] for ‘outside,’ then open the door. He learns, ‘OK, when she shows me this sign, she lets me out.’ So he learns to remember what each sign means with each action. It’s actually easy and less challenging than you would think. Dogs are not born knowing English or Spanish or ASL. They learn when they hear a word, or in my dogs’ case, when they see a word and learn its meaning.”

Another tool Rojas employs is a vibration collar, not to be confused with a shock collar. It is used much like a clicker. Instead of click and reward, the dog gets buzzed and rewarded. “This is an important behavior to learn since when they feel the buzz, they look for the handler for a cookie/reward or instruction in ASL.

“This is so important,” she says. “If for any reason your dog is far off—let’s say at the dog park—and you need to call your dog, you can buzz, and they will think, ‘Oh my mom’s calling me!’ They will immediately look for you to give a command, such as come here, go to the car, stop, or look here.”

For anyone with a deaf dog, Rojas and her pets are inspiration that their pets too can lead a happy, obedient, high-quality life.

She has started a Facebook group to get “double merle” pet parents in contact with one another. It includes owners from all over the country and even international members. The group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/202055833234792/. Members share information, photographs and support for raising these special dogs. For more information, contact Rojas under the name “Haulinauss Deafdog Interpreter” on Facebook.

Complete list of ASL signs that Rojas uses with her dogs:

1    Speak

2    Sit

3    Lay down

4    Outside

5    Go to bed

6    No

7    Yes

8    Good boy

9    Car

10  Cookie

11  Inside house

12  Move over

13  Back up

14  Stop

15  Walk

16  Look

17  Water

18  Food

19  Drop it

20  Come here

21  Go to dad

22  Up

23  Heel

24  Shake

Walking the No-Kill Line

posted September 25th, 2015 by
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CatsMost non-profit dog/cat rescues will advertise they are a “no kill”.  And, with few exceptions, that statement is true – – – for that rescue.  However, it doesn’t solve the problem of dog/cat over population.  The organizations faced with this reality are the municipal shelters/pounds that, by law, have to accept homeless, owner surrender, at-large animals.  Some municipal shelters are required to accept all animals that are homeless within their jurisdiction.  Can these shelters be “no-kill” – – – probably not in my lifetime.

Many rescues and shelters are no-kill of adoptable dogs/cats.  These organizations realize some animals are too injured or too sick and the humane solution is to end their suffering.  It is a decision never taken lightly and, for the most part, is done by people who truly care.

Since opening PAAS in April, we’ve been able to save 100+ dogs who’ve found homes not in Oklahoma – but in Colorado and Wyoming.  The organizations we’ve partnered with – ranging from large humane societies to foster-based – have provided a solution for 100 animals who found themselves homeless.  Following other area rescues, it is safe to say that more than 200 dogs and cats leave the northeastern half of Oklahoma every month.   It’s wonderful they will find homes; it’s tragic that each month there will still be 200+ who need a home.  Puppies and kittens seem to never, ever stop entering the world in our neck of the woods.

Yes – there’s a better way.  Yes – – everyone has heard the word – – – No – – they haven’t received the message.  One more time!!!!! Spay/Neuter works – – trust me.

 

Kay Stout, Executive Director  PAAS      e: [email protected]   P: 918-256-7227

KIDS FOR OKC ANIMALS

posted September 23rd, 2015 by
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by Julie Bank, Animal Welfare Superintendent

OKC Animal Welfare

 

Kids and AnimalsWhen I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian.  I was that kid who loved everything about animals. I had pictures of animals from an old calendar on my wall. I had over 50 stuffed animals on my bed at any time. My dog, Brandi, was my best friend. As I got older, I still loved animals, but the thought of going to school to be a doctor was daunting and left my thoughts very quickly.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized there were many more ways to help animals; I just didn’t know about them. I found my passion in animal sheltering and never looked back. Boy, how I wish there was something for me as a kid, however, that would have exposed me to animal issues at a much younger age. I believe it would have changed the course of my life earlier on and in college. Luckily, I found what I was meant to do but not every kid is as lucky.  Until now!

Oklahoma City Animal Welfare recently introduced a new program called Kids for OKC Animals to encourage kids to get involved and to learn about animal issues in OKC. This community engagement program is designed for kids 18 and under, giving ideas and tools to make a difference for homeless animals.  A colorful packet describes ideas ranging from reading humane books, writing stories and fundraising drives, to hands-on volunteering at the shelter. Kids are encouraged to get creative and to come up with their own ideas as well. Activities are appropriate for individuals and groups, and are great for school-based community service projects.

 

Madaline, 9, and Hank, 7, are a brother and sister team that comes to the shelter once a week with their mom to help socialize cats. They have both become a “Kid for OKC Animals.” “There are a lot of animals that people don’t want, but they all need good homes,” Madaline says passionately. “Making them more friendly and comfortable helps them get adopted,” she says. This is what motivates them to get up early on Saturdays to brush and pet the cats.

When the brother sister duo joined the Kids for OKC Animals program, they were asked to sign a pledge that reads:

I will work hard to:

  • Give time to help animals at OKC Animal Welfare.
  • Be respectful and kind to all animals.
  • Share experiences about OKC Animal Welfare with others.
  • Complete one service project per year.

They have made their pledge and have volunteered every week since. They have also both committed to bringing this program to their school to encourage others to participate and to do a fundraising drive during the holidays.

“The Kids for OKC Animals program is all about making a difference and learning that you, no matter what age you are, can do something small or big to help,” says Jon Gary, Unit Supervisor at OKC Animal Welfare. “Our goal is to help animals at the shelter and to instill empathy for animals at a young age in an effort to create compassionate adults. Who knows, maybe because of this program a kid will grow up to work with animals someday?”

For more information, or to become a Kid for OKC Animals and to receive a packet, email [email protected].

Ask the Doc

posted September 19th, 2015 by
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Ask The Doc

Anna Coffin, DVM / Guthrie Pet Hospital

 

Q: Some of my friends give their dogs over-the-counter medications and seem to do so pretty freely. I’m not so sure   this is safe. What well known over-the-counter medications are dangerous for our pets?

A: Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, Tylenol and aspirin can be dangerous for your dog and especially for your cat. In dogs, these medications can cause gastrointestinal upset and bleeding, and long term use of these products could lead to intestinal perforation. Cats do not have the ability to metabolize most pain medications, so over-the-counter pain medications should never be given to a cat. One dose of Tylenol can kill your cat!

Decongestants are another common over-the-counter medication that can be harmful to your pets. While antihistamines are very safe, it’s important to make sure that it does not contain a decongestant. The pet dosage for antihistamines is much higher than the dose that humans take.  If the antihistamine product you are giving contains a decongestant, then it would be quite easy to overdose your dog on the decongestant. High doses of decongestants can cause heart problems and high blood pressure.

 

Q: How common is diabetes in cats and dogs? It seems like I hear about pets getting diabetes all the time, so I’m curious just how common it is.

A: Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine diseases diagnosed in pets; however, there are not any current prevalence studies. I diagnose and treat multiple cases of diabetes in dogs and cats every year. One study performed in 1999 did show a threefold increase in cases. This is most likely due to the pet obesity problem plaguing our nation.

 

Q: I recently read on Facebook about a friend who lost her dog to a spider bite. Have you heard of this before, and what could I do to prevent this from happening to my dog?

A: Pet deaths due to spider bites in North America are very rare. The Black Widow and the Brown Recluse are the only two venomous spiders in North America. To prevent exposure to spiders, have an exterminator spray your house and environment on a regular basis. Keeping your house clean and free of clutter will also reduce the incidence of spiders in your home.