Friday, May 11, 2018

Being A Foster Dog Mom

I am a doggie mom and I am a foster doggie mom. Fostering a dog - taking a dog into your home and providing it with shelter and care for a predetermined amount of time or until a forever home is found - is one of the most rewarding things a dog person can do.  I admit I am a little biased: I have never met a dog I did not like.

April Ash 
Which Shelter Dogs Go To Foster Homes
Shelters typically foster out dogs who are too stressed out by the shelter environment or need more individual attention than the shelter can provide (including puppies who are too young to be adopted).

The most common reasons foster homes are needed are:

The shelter is overcrowded, and placing dogs in foster care frees up space to save more dogs.
Shorty Dog 

  • The rescue group wants to learn more about a dog’s personality and behavior in a home setting.
  • A young, energetic dog needs to learn some basic manners before being made available for adoption.
  • A shy or timid dog needs a safe place to come out of her shell.
  • A dog is recovering from illness or injury.
  • A senior or sick dog needs loving hospice care.

Of course, there are also foster-based rescue groups that don’t work out of a facility, but instead rely on foster homes to shelter and care for dogs. For these groups, foster homes provide the necessary caregiving, training, and assessment to help dogs find forever homes, and are a vital aspect of their lifesaving work.

Suzie Q
What Will I Need To Do As A Foster Mom
The main function of a foster home is to provide a safe, loving home environment. For the most part, this entails caring for your foster as you would care for your own dog: offering food, affection, socialization, and exercise to keep the dog happy and healthy.

As a doggy foster parent, you may also be asked to:


  • Transport the dog to and from adoption events.
  • Participate in obedience training at home and/or in classes.
  • Report back to the shelter/rescue workers with information about the dog’s personality and behavior.
  • Speak with potential adopters to tell them about your foster dog and help determine if they are a good match.

Your time and commitment level can vary depending on your schedule and the rescue group’s needs, and when you start fostering, the rescue will help match you with a dog that suits your lifestyle and home. First-time fosters can get their feet wet with “easier” dogs; the more invested and experienced in fostering you become, the more willing and able you may be to take on challenges. No matter what kind of dogs you foster, all foster homes provide the valuable service of socializing a dog and getting to know its personality. Your relationship with the dog is key information in helping the dog find its ' forever home.

Why Do I Foster Dogs
Why is fostering a dog so great? For starters, fostering is one of the most direct things you can do to save lives. Fostering:
Bobby 

  • Makes room for other dogs in the shelter, freeing up space to help more dogs in need;
  • Builds on your canine expertise;
  • Gives you those warm, fuzzy feelings only volunteering can provide;
  • Brings the fun and companionship of a dog into your life. There’s nothing like seeing a shelter dog blossom into a loving companion, and sending her off to a happy family who found their forever buddy, thanks to you.

Of course, fostering comes with one big hazard that can also be one of its biggest rewards: you just might fall in love! “Foster failures” abound in the dog rescue world, and I know because I am one myself, just ask, Honey Bunny, Coco C, Peggy, Shasha Grace, Chrissy D, Itsy,  Precious, Hope, Shorty, Crystal, Suzie Q, Amy Jo, Bobby, April, Gidget, Clinnie Bell, and Clowie.

~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Little Blue Heeler

Last week we celebrated National Dog Day.  For most family pets they were blessed with extra love, a new toy, a special snack, a Facebook post, a cute Instagram shot, but for thousands more dogs, it was just another day.  For some sadly it was there last day on this earth.

For the last two weeks I have driven a route looking for a small Blue Heeler that stole a part of my heart.  After a very long day of treating patients, two weeks ago, on a very chilly night, wind chill below freezing, on my way home, sitting at a stop sign just off I-55 was the cutest Little Blue Heeler. 


Of course I stopped even if it was near midnight.  I spent 45 minutes on the side of the road in the dead of night trying to catch this little one - every time I would get close, the little thing would wag it's tail and bounce at me, then run out of reach.  This went on till I couldn't feel my toes, my finders were numb.  I had to get out of the weather.  I vowed to go back the next day and I did - the Little Blue Heeler was nowhere to be found.   The next day - again no Blue Heeler, but there was a highway crew near the area and they took my business card and promised to call if they saw the Blue Heeler.

Sure enough - the sweet thing showed up, the crew called but I was busy seeing patients.  I called my kennel staff and they went to the site, food in hand.  But after an hour they to had to give up.  But the Little Blue Heeler had a grand meal of bacon and dog food.

Over the next two weeks morning and night I drove that route looking for the Little Blue Heeler.  Last weekend my husband helped me search an abandon building near the location hoping to find the Little Blue Heeler. 

Finally, on Thursday night, two weeks after the first sighting, the Little Blue Heeler was found.  Dead along side of I-55.   I am just heartbroken.  I can't imagine how scared that poor little thing was out there all alone, cold, and hurt.

To the person who dumped the Little Blue Heeler - I don't even know what to say to you.  The Little Blue Heeler was full of life and wanted so badly to trust...

Maybe next week will be a better week.
~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl being the voice for those who do not have a voice.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halloween Safety for Your Four-Legged Family

Halloween should be fun and not frightful for you four-legged family.  There are a few things to remember to help make your Halloween fun and pet friendly.
Shiloh Ann as a Bumble Bee 

1. Constant visitors can be stressful.  Do not leave your pet near unattended doors or unattended strangers.  Slipping out the door might look like a safe way to get away from strangers or that open door could look like an great opportunity to chase off unwanted strangers.

2 If you decided to take your dog with you trick or treating - use a reflective leash and have an up-to-date ID tag attached.

3. If you are planning a Halloween get together at your home, remember to a dog, Halloween costumes can cause even the sweetest dog to turn in to a biter.  You should find a secure place within the house for your dog to hang out why your company is partying.  Supply your dog with toys or treats to keep the occupied.
Sugar Sue as a Lady Bud 

4. Candles are dangerous around pets - use battery operated candles in your decorations.  Also avoid glow stick products the liquid inside the glow stick is toxic to pets.

5. If you are going to dress up your dog - make sure your dog is comfortable in the costume.  A festive bandana is simple and stress-free.

6. Did you know that "During the week of Halloween, calls to the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline increase by 12 percent, making it the call center’s busiest time of year." They say the four most common food-related Halloween hazards for pets are chocolate, candy, candy wrappers, and raisins. Make sure to keep these far away from your four-legged family. 

Hoping each of you a happy and safe holiday.
Connie
Bed and Biscuit Boarding 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Loosing a Fur-Child While Traveling

This article was printed in the Blytheville Courie
The Humane Society has been busy the last couple of weeks, several volunteers have been in the boot-hill of Missouri looking for a lost dog.  The dog’s name is Rainy.  Rainy is a 2-1/2 year old Boston Terri.  Her mom was involved in an accident on the southbound side of I-55 at mile marker 1. Once Rainy’s mom was able to get out of the vehicle, she immediately started trying to find Rainy – mom lost sight of her as she ran across the northbound side of I-55.  Since the accident Rainy has been seen once in a cornfield near the accident site.  Volunteers have spent days and nights covering the farmland and ditches but Rainy is still missing. 

This week if you have a moment take a ride out around mile marker 1 or say a short prayer for Rainy and her mom, Rainy’s Mom after twenty days in Blytheville searching daily for Rainey, has returned home.  It must, be a horrible feeling to know you fur-child is lost and you have to leave them behind.   
Most of us think this situation will never happen to us – but just in case, we want to share a few tips about finding your lost pet while traveling.

If you dog gets loose or lost, finding them within the first few hours is crucial.  Veterinarians have confirmed that even a small pet such as a small dog or cat can trot indefinitely at 3 miles per hour. So, if for some reason your pet must run frantically non-stop, and if he does so at just 3 mph, he could travel 24 miles in just 8 hours; 36 miles in 12 hours; 72 miles in a full 24-hour day.

Although not always true, when lost and on his own, a dog tends to roam, sometimes in circles, sometimes in rather straight lines. A cat on the other hand, will tend to run/hide, until he finds a safe spot in which to hole up that is not already occupied by a tough opponent, a spot which is dry, and one which offers some protection from the elements.


There a few other things that you should consider:
  • Walk the area looking in small spaces and under cars. If you have another dog walk it in the same area.
  • Ask those helping you search not to chase the dog if they see him or her, but to try to keep the dog in- sight until you get there.
  • Look at dusk and dawn because animals tend to move more during these hours. 
  • Put food and water at the dogs last known location including a piece of your worn clothing like a sock or shirt and check the location often.
  • Take a photo of your dog with your phone number attached to every animal shelter, veterinary office, and groomer. Don't just call, go in person as soon as possible. Visit the shelters again within 5 days. 
  • Post a reward immediately on social media like Facebook, Craig's List, and yard sale sights. Also run an ad in the local newspaper right away. Holdback one piece of information about your dog to be sure someone wanting to claim the reward is not a fraud.
  • Go door to door with flyers and post them in public places.
  • Things to do before traveling with your pet:
  • Be prepared by keeping a collar and tags with good phone numbers on your pet.
  • Keep recent pictures of your pet.
  • When traveling place your pet in a secured crate or harness and seatbelt.
  • When you find you pet please remember that once a pet is lost, he is frightened, hungry, confused, disoriented. As such, he may or may not behave as you are accustomed to seeing him do. Your much-loved long-term friend may even run from you if you see him. It's not that he has forgotten you, he has just reverted to survival mode, in which he can no longer -- at the moment -- be certain of who is a friend vs who is out to get him. Please exercise patience.



Rainy is our pet of the week – please share her picture as much as possible, some of you may think finding Rainy is a longshot, but we have found dogs 220 days after they have gone missing and we are praying for the same outcome with Rainy. 


~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tethering a Dog is Bad

The Blytheville Humane Society has been hard at work over the last few weeks.  We have made several adoptions.  One special girl Paris, who had been at the shelter for 5 years, found her forever home.  Needless to say there were many tears of joy shed, Paris had waited patiently at the shelter, seeing other dogs come and go.  She never gave up. She never became angry or sad. She lived her life with us, knowing that the volunteers loved her and someday she would find her forever home. Paris we miss you but we are beyond happy that you, our special girl, have a forever home.

Of course the never-ending job of rescue also continued. We have several new faces at the shelter and in foster homes, including one big boy named Burt who is Mastiff and German Shepard mix. Burt was living on a chain (the kind of chain you use to tow a vehicle). The chain was padlocked to his collar.  He had no shelter and little food.  When we received him he was at the least 50 pounds underweight and the flies had chewed sores on his ears. 

When he walked through the door his eyes looked hollow, he would not make eye contact, his tail was between his legs, and his ears were bleeding.  But, when he entered the kennel a big soft warm blanket and a volunteer was waiting.  When he entered his kennel space, he literally crawled in the lap of a volunteer sitting in the kennel.  We can only guess that he was trying show us how grateful he is for being out of the weather and having food. 

Do you ever wonder what a dog living on a chain thinks??
Dogs are naturally social beings who need interaction with humans and/or other animals. Intensive confinement or long-term restraint can severely damage their physical and psychological well-being. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained or intensively confined in any way, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious or aggressive.

It is common for continuously tethered dogs to endure physical ailments as a result of being continuously tethered. Their necks can become raw and sore, and their collars can painfully grow into their skin. They are vulnerable to insect bites and parasites, and are at high risk of entanglement, strangulation, and harassment or attacks by other dogs or people.

Tethered dogs may also suffer from irregular feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care and extreme temperatures. During snow storms, these dogs often have no access to shelter. During periods of extreme heat, they may not receive adequate water or protection from the sun. Owners who chain their dogs are less likely to clean the area of confinement, causing the dogs to eat and sleep in an area contaminated with urine and feces. What's more, because their often neurotic behavior makes them difficult to approach, chained dogs are rarely given even minimal affection.


Burt is gaining weight and getting healthy. He will be ready for adoption in the next couple of weeks. If you are looking for a forever big friend, Burt would love to meet you. 

~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reasons to Spay and Neuter

We are super excited that the weather is changing.  Fall and Spring are busy times at the shelter, the cooler temperatures have everyone moving with more energy and enthusiasm. 
This week we want to share with you why spaying and neutering your pet is important.  First and foremost if more pets were neutered, the need for the humane society in the community might be extinct.  I know you probably think us crazy animal people will never go away, but honestly we could be forced to just sit home and enjoy our own pets, if we weren’t out rescuing and caring for unwanted dogs and cats.
So if you need more reasons than letting us crazy dog people stay at with our pets, take a look at the list of reasons why you should spay and neuter you pet.
1. Unwanted pregnancies
The problem with an intact male is that it’s hard for him to resist a female in heat! An intact male can run away and follow the smell of a female in heat located miles away. 
2. Pet overpopulation
Sadly, 3 to 4 million of unwanted pets are euthanized each year. At least some of these deaths could have been prevented by neutering males (and spaying females). In the shelter world, this is known as pet overpopulation. This is the number one reason the humane society exist. 
3. Behavior 
Unneutered pets have all kinds of behavioral problems. In male dogs, the most common behavior is an aggressive temper.  Of course, there are many intact pets who are perfectly sweet.  Neutering, when done early in life, can reduce aggressiveness and improve behavior overall. For example, it decreases the always-embarrassing "mounting" behavior in dogs.
4. Marking
Few things smell worse than intact male cat urine.  Some people make their indoor cat an outdoor cat when they can't tolerate the smell anymore. This increases the risk of being hit by a car. Neutering, when done early enough in life, virtually eliminates the odor of male cat urine and should prevent marking in male dogs.
5. Roaming and getting in trouble or lost.
Pets are rarely taught how to cross the street safely. So as they roam, searching for a partner or looking for trouble, they might get hit by a car. Neutering decreases the urge to roam or run away from home. In addition, neutering decreases the risk of getting into fights.


An added risk of roaming is getting lost, every year, millions of pets get lost. Some are returned to their owner. Most are not.  To decrease the risk of such a tragedy happening in your family, neuter your pet, pet-proof the fence in your backyard and always keep your pet on a leash during walks. In addition, talk to your vet about the benefits of tattoos and microchips.

So since there is a need for us crazy dog people, this last week we were able to send a few of our older dogs to Mary’s Rescue.  These dogs have fore-ever homes waiting on them when they arrive. One of the benefits to working with Mary’s Rescue is we are able to follow these dogs as they bond with their new families. 
~ ConnieKayA~
   Doggie Mom 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Unwanted Four-Legged Members of the Community

This has been a trying week for the humane society, filled with dark clouds.  There seems to be no end to the homeless and unwanted four-legged members of our community.

Two dogs (different homes) on chains, limited food and water, flies literally eating their ears off.  One Moma dog, seven puppies, no shelter, limited food, now 3 puppies.  Two puppies no home, one run over.   It seems like it never ends…..

As we talked about last week, spay and neuter, will lessen the number of unwanted animals. And yes, we have a spay-neuter ordinance, but the humane society does not have the authority to enforce it.  So the next time you see animal control ask them about the spay-neuter ordinance.  If you know of someone who has a dog that has liter after liter of puppies, call animal control, ask animal control to enforce the spay- neuter ordinance.

As for the dogs on the chain, as long as the dog has food, water, and shelter there is nothing we can do.  Don’t ask us how much water or how much food, or what constitutes shelter. Arkansas’s law is vague. And yes, animal welfare groups have tried and tried to improve the law.  But each time, we are fought at the legislative level by Arkansas Farm Bureau.  See, Arkansas Farm Bureau thinks if you give a domestic animal a decent place to live and define adequate food and water, you are opening the door to crazy animal people wanting farm animals to have humane treatment.

Over the next month you may be approached by a politician out asking for your vote. When you do ask the politician if they will stand strong and support the rights of domestic animals.


With every dark cloud comes sunshine. Our sunshine this week comes with the adoption of a couple of awesome dogs locally, seven adoptions at Petco and seeing pictures, of the dog we sent to Mary’s Rescue, enjoying life with their new families. 

~ ConnieKayA~
   Doggie Mom