Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | January 19, 2011

Are Weddings Going to the Dogs?

Lucy says, "I do"

People love pets.  Well most people, and some more than others.  At Second Chance Humane Society we like to promote this adoration – because loving pet parents make responsible pet parents.  However, one might ask where you draw the line on loving a pet?  For instance, a twenty-two year old Australian man recently took his love to another level by marrying his dog.  (The announcement read that he and his pet dog of five years, a Golden Labrador called Honey, were married in a creative and light-hearted way of bringing together family and friends.  The “Groom” stated that while he loves his dog, it is “just Plutonic love.”)  

At Second Chance we promote the concept of pets being considered part of the family.  But what exactly does this mean – and how far should you take it?  My name is Lucy, one of the dogs at the Second Chance Shelter waiting for my wedding, I mean adoption, and my commentary on this subject follows. 

Pets, particularly dogs and cats, are very social creatures and the more we are incorporated into the lives of our adoptive families the more peaceful, adjusted, relaxed and well behaved we become.  We want to feel useful, respected, included and loved, until death do us part.  Looking at it this way I am not sure how this differs from a marriage but I do feel that the signed adoption agreement required to adopt me covers this just fine.

Similar to marrying a spouse, adopting a pet means that you are prepared to accept and work on challenges and “disagreements” that occur in the process of living together.  If a member within the relationship does not like particular behaviors of another, barking or toilet bowl drinking for example, than solutions and adjustments, such as proper exercise and putting down the toilet bowl lid, must occur.

I am not promoting that adoptions take the true form of marriages and that adopters have to get down on one knee to ask a pet to come home with them.  But some level of commitment to accept pets as an important part of the family would be a wonderful shift in the human-pet bond and very likely decrease the number of homeless pets throughout the planet.

That said, I would make a lovely partner to anyone seeking a sleek, lovely, active, fun-loving lass.  Although I am not much of a cook I will nibble your ears affectionately and make you feel appreciated and irreplaceable.  Come propose (an adoption) today!

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | January 5, 2011

Second Chance Feral Cat Program

Cindy Lauper says Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Second Chance Humane Society has been operating a Feral Cat Program within San Miguel and Ouray Counties for many years.  This program promotes and administers the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) approach, proven to be the single most successful method of stabilizing and maintaining healthy feral cat colonies at the least possible cost while providing the best life for the animals themselves.

The TNR approach (which involves spaying/neutering, testing, vaccinating, and returning feral cats to their original habitat) is far more humane, effective, and less costly than repeated attempts at extermination.  Promoting stable, non-breeding colonies in the same location, rather than attempting to kill or transfer them elsewhere ultimately reduces feral cat populations as the altered feral cats prevent additional feral cats from moving in and starting the breeding cycle again. 

To further the appeal of TNR programs, they virtually eliminate nuisance behaviors associated with breeding cats, such as the yowling of females or the spraying and fighting of toms.  Furthermore, through the testing and vaccinating involved in the TNR programs, disease and malnutrition are greatly reduced and the cats live healthy, safe, and peaceful lives in their territories.  

Our Feral Cat Program has been quite effective in reducing feral cat populations within our service area but we need your help to continue its success.  If you are aware of feral cats in your area (in next week’s column we will define the difference between feral and stray cats) please call us at 626-2273 to discuss the various options for getting the animal(s) treated.  

Second Chance is also seeking volunteers who would be willing to assist with this program.  Setting traps and transporting the cats to local veterinarians takes some time and care yet really makes a difference in the lives of the feral cats as well as creating a better level of acceptance of the cats in the neighborhoods that they reside in.

My name is “Cindy Lauper” and although I was an abandoned young cat I am very social and ready for a family of my own.  I often have this little diddy running through my head about how “girls just wanna have fun!” and feel that I can certainly bring some fun into your home.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | January 1, 2011

2011 Resolutions

Merlin Makes the Blues Disappear

Do you remember where you were last year at the very beginning of a New Year?  I can tell you where I was not – and that was at an animal shelter.  But things happen and despite our best intentions life has a way of throwing us curve balls – good and bad.  But you can imagine that, if I were to make one, my New Year Resolution would have something to do with being adopted and never being homeless again…

Speaking of which, apparently it is a tradition of the Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column to always start the first pet column of the year with some resolutions.  So as this week’s columnist I feel it is my duty to break this tradition.  Resolutions are typically rather boring and unachievable – I mean – way to take the zing out of a new year by promising to do things you couldn’t do the year before?  Must be a human thing because you surely wouldn’t find a dog sitting around resolving to lose weight, finish a house project has been abandoned for months, or learn a new language. 

So my advice is to live like a dog and make resolutions that a dog would approve of:  enjoy everything you eat – regardless of its smell; only do things that make you happy; and learn one language – the universal language of love…what a year it would be if you did this!

If you need guidance in any of the above, simply come to the Second Chance Shelter where there is an endless supply of homeless furry experts on the subject of such things.  We are ready to devote our lives to teaching you, particularly of the language of love…we are experts.

My name is Banjo, because I am a mean banjo player and because when you meet me your heart will go “twang!” – one of the core words in the language of love.  If you adopt me you will learn so much more…

Happy 2011 All!!!

Call the Second C-hance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | December 23, 2010

Attitudes Toward Cats II

Peanut gets a little nutty

A few weeks ago my sibling Pinenut discussed research that explored why cats are populating rescue shelters in excessively greater numbers than any other species and whether this may relate to attitudes that people have regarding us.  The study Pinenut looked at (visit the Second Chance Humane Society website to read Pinenut’s Pet Column) revealed some interesting insights regarding the demographics of those who do value cats more and posited that many negative beliefs that people held against cats are mostly based on misinformation.

So this week I (“Peanut”) would like to identify the populous that we should be targeting to help homeless cats like me find new homes as well as address the negative beliefs that are circulating to keep us from finding such homes.  In the process I hope to return the true value and worth of a lovable purring cuddly feline to its proper place of high regard.

As to the folks who are most open to becoming new cat parents, (from a target group of eople who had never had cats) the study found that the younger (18-24 years old) and single respondents had a more positive attitude toward cats than did older or married respondents. Suburbanites had a more positive attitude than did those living in urban or rural areas. Hispanics were more likely to consider a cat than respondents of other ethnicities, and men were more likely than women to consider a cat. Households with dogs had a slightly more negative opinion about cats than households without pets or households with pets other than dogs. Respondents earning less than $40,000 or more than $80,000 annually were more likely to have positive attitudes about cats.

As to what we learn from this?  Well we clearly need to figure out how to make cat parenting more appealing to a broader demographic.  Fortunately the top three concerns for not having a cat that were identified in the study (furniture scratching, hairball coughing, and counter jumping)  are ones that can be readily addressed, indicating that awareness and educational programs could increase cat ownership. With appropriate behavioral training, scratching posts and specific diets, cats should rarely jump on counters, scratch furniture or spit up hairballs.

Based on the survey’s results, if just 10 percent of non-catowning households in the U.S. would consider adopting one cat, an additional 6.2 million cats could be placed in loving homes, The number of cats and dogs euthanized at U.S. shelters each year is lower than this number, so this could be the solution to ending pet euthanasia!  Sounds like a plan to me!

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | December 15, 2010

Attitudes on Cats I

Pinenut is pining for your love

Cats on the Low End of the Rescue Pole?

Are cats feeling the burden of the pet overpopulation problems across the country?  Looking at animal rescue statistics nationwide this would be the conclusion, as typically there are far greater numbers of homeless cats than dogs (or any other pet).  This fact is becoming an increasing concern as the gap also appears to be expanding.  Here at Second Chance Humane Society for example, I am one of 50 cats at the Shelter seeking a new home while there are only 12 dogs in need. 

These disparate figures are creating a sense that cats are not valued as highly as dogs. For example, at the third largest shelter in the country, Santa Clara County, California, 36% of the animals handled are dogs, vs. 64% cats while euthanasia totals are 80% cats and 20% dogs.  Additionally, the American Humane Association estimates that nearly three-quarters of cats who enter shelters are euthanized.

My name is Pine Nut and I ask you to join me as I attempt to resolve this dilemma so that my species does not become further neglected or discarded (other indicators: despite there being 93,6 million cats compared to 77.5 million dogs living in U.S. homes,  fewer cats receive veterinary care and less health research is conducted on our behalf).

Research that does offer insight on this issue was completed by the Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit that funds research studies to advance animal health and welfare.  They surveyed 1,102 non-cat owners about their perceptions of cats to gain insight into what may be preventing them from providing homes to cats in need.  The rest of this Pet Column will review the results of the survey while next week’s column will discuss the implications.

The participants in the survey did not currently own cats, had never previously owned one, and had never previously considered owning one. Not surprisingly, more than half of the respondents had an overall negative attitude about felines, expressing concerns about furniture scratching, hairball coughing, and counter jumping.

Other common concerns included the litter box smell, unprovoked biting, and a perception that cats can’t get along with other pets. Nearly one-third of respondents said someone in the household was allergic to cats.

On the upswing, about 20 percent of respondents said they might consider a feline pet. What they liked best about cats was that we are playful, can entertain ourselves, and make people smile. These respondents indicated that they would most likely adopt a cat from a shelter or rescue group (Me! Me!).

The survey surprisingly found that 18-to-24- year-olds had a more positive attitude toward cats than older respondents. Singles, suburbanites, Hispanics, and men also responded more positively when compared to married participants, urban and rural residents, other ethnicities, and women, respectively— but according to the Morris Animal Foundation, very little marketing is being done to these groups.

Until next week when I look further into these results, I invite you to come to the Second Chance Shelter to meet me and my other feline siblings and friends, where you can learn more about how every home could be graced with a loving purr machine.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | December 1, 2010

Macro Approach to Micro-Chipping

Snoopy is Still Looking for his Charlie Brown

As the “cat-astrophy” wages on at the Second Chance Shelter – with fifty cats and kittens looking for new homes to be adopted into, Second Chance is working to boost its prevention efforts by increasing micro-chip clinics throughout its service region.  Micro-chipping your pet is the fastest and most effective means for pet parents to be reunited with lost pets.  It is quite simply an easy, affordable, and necessary practice for assuring that your pets are returned to you in the event that they are lost.

Lately, there has been a particular influx of stray cats from within the City of Ouray.  Thus, on Saturday December 18th Second Chance Humane Society will be hosting a Micro-Chip clinic at the Ouray Community Center from 11 am to 3 pm.  The event, sponsored by DogWatch of the Western Slope (www.dogwatchofthewesternslope), will be specifically targeting cat parents within the City of Ouray and offering free microchips (a $50 value!) to the first 15 participating cats.  However, this event is also open to all pet (dog or cat) parents, regardless of place of residence, for the low price of $25 per pet.  (This event will also have adoptable pets available and retail items from the Shelter pet store.)

For pet parents that are unsure about micro-chipping your pet: micro-chips are harmless and very tiny – the size of a grain of rice.  They are implanted quickly and painlessly into subcutaneous layer of your pet’s skin – no surgery is involved.  The serial number that micro-chips are encoded with can be read by a scanner that most veterinary offices and animal rescue facilities possess.  And, despite rumors to the contrary, microchips are not accessible by satellite and do not have GPS capability, and thus cannot be tracked by a government entity or identified beyond a range of about three to 12 inches. 

The serial number encoded in a micro-chip can be tracked immediately to the pet parent listed in a database (thus it is imperative that pet parents keep their contact information current).  Should you micro-chip your pet?  With an average of 8 to 12 million companion animals landing in shelters across the country each year, only about 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats are reunited with their parents…

If you are unable to attend any of our clinics we also offer micro-chipping by appointment at the Second Chance Shelter (any day of the week between 10AM and 5 PM) for the same discounted price of $25.  If you have further questions or concerns about micro-chipping please contact us at the number below.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | November 24, 2010

Relections on Saving Lives

Billie Boy the Silly Boy

Recently there has been a drop in adoptions at Second Chance Humane Society.  Although adoption rates typically tend to rise and fall they have always, by year end, resulted in an increase over the prior year.  This year, likely due to impacts of the economy upon our community members, we are not certain whether this will happen.  It is not of great concern as we believe that 2011 adoptions should resume their normal upward trend. 

But what if they don’t?  It does at least urge critical questions and reflections such as, should Second Chance change its policies?  Although Second Chance still has the luxury of not having to euthanize for time or space, will that always be the case?  (Note: this is not cause for alarm, simply because adoptions have dropped slightly this year does not mean that we will be resorting to euthanizing pets). 

As such, it would be imprudent to not at least review the impact of our policies and philosophies regarding extended animal care within our shelter.  How long is too long?  How many other pets could be rescued while a “less adoptable” pet is filling a kennel space for a year or more?  Logic shows us that we can save one dog requiring 40 days in shelter, or 8 dogs requiring 5 days in our shelter. However, our emotions are not logical, and being faced with a reality of an overcrowded shelter is not something we can easily absorb or comprehend.

So we must inquire – do we focus on the individual or the masses? Do we save one pet no matter how long it takes versus saving as many as possible? Data from the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program points to an increase in lives saved when the masses are the focus.  But this approach does not really fit our organization or the animal-focused region we serve. 

So what course to follow?  Right now we remain committed to not euthanizing adoptable pets for time or space.  Yes, we could likely rescue more pets without this commitment but we choose to make every effort to reflect the values and choices of the community that we serve.  Currently this means being very creative and adaptive and expanding our community outreach and education efforts.

For example, we have 4 senior cats that have been in the shelter for 15 months now.   Since finding them an adoptive family is not working, we are focusing on finding them long-term foster families.  We hope that this will move the cats into loving homes, as it eliminates the financial obligations of adopting an older pet.  By keeping these cats in the foster program Second Chance continues to be responsible for their medical needs while the foster family is responsible for simply giving them a loving home. (Anyone interested please call the number below.)

Another resourceful practice involves increasing mobile adoptions and other outreach opportunities and transferring highly adoptable pets to the Front Range where adoption rates continue to outpace the number of adoptable pets they have.

We recognize that these are not long term solutions and they are available to us because we have the resources to pursue them.  This may not always be the case and it is not for many shelters across the nation where overcrowding and understaffing is a daily reality.  We are grateful to our caring communities who make it possible for us to continue providing second chances to pets in need and we will continue to exert every effort to do so to the greatest extent possible.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | November 17, 2010

Cold Season for Furry and Non-Furry Family Members

Jay-Z is Cray-Z for YOU!

Cold Season Targets Furry and Non-Furry Family Members Alike

Yo, whassup?  My name is Jay-Z, I am 9 weeks old, and full of spunk and pizzazz!  I was rescued recently by Second Chance Humane Society with 17 of my siblings, cousins, aunties, and mom.  We are now all healthy, spay/neutered, micro-chipped and ready for new homes.  While I have been snug in the Shelter I hear that it is getting cold outside so I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about…colds.

Colds can impact dogs and cats just as they can humans.  And we usually contract them in similar ways – under stress when our immune systems are lowered and we cannot fight off contagious “bugs” that are typically in the environment.  Recently rescued pets do have a higher risk of developing these issues, due to the stress of change in environment, etc. but family pets are also susceptible when there is a family or household stressor or change. The heightened pace of the Holiday season and pets being left behind as the family goes to visit Grandma for a week would be an example of this.

Feline upper respiratory infection (feline “URI”) and canine “kennel cough” are the animal equivalents of a human cold or flu infection.  In cats and kittens with URI, symptoms may include sneezing; fever runny nose; red or water eyes; nasal congestion (often seen as drooling or open-mouthed breathing); ulcers on tongue, lips nose, or roof of mouth; lack of appetite or thirst; and lack of energy.

Dogs and puppies affected with canine kennel cough often exhibit a hacking or honking cough, sometimes followed by gagging. Some dogs and pups may have only a runny nose. Without veterinary care, they may become lethargic, run a fever, and lose their appetite.

If you are concerned about your pet exhibiting these symptoms, seek veterinary care as soon as possible (immediately particularly for young pups and kittens or for adult pets who stop eating).  Follow the veterinarian’s instructions closely. Use all medications exactly as prescribed, even if your pet’s condition seems to have improved. Encourage your pet to rest as much as possible by providing a quiet, warm spot (like your lap!) and avoid new situations or stimuli until your pet is feeling better.

Provide food as recommended by your veterinarian and encourage your pet to eat; try warming a high-quality canned food. Gently wipe any discharge from the eyes and nose with a warm, damp towel. To help ease the discomfort of a congested cat, use a vaporizer or place the cat in the bathroom and run hot water in the shower for a few minutes each day. Provide lots of love and concern and be patient; your loyal companion will be ready to join in your normal family activities soon.

As I mentioned, recently rescued or adopted pets have a higher risk of catching a cold while we are adapting to our new environment.  Fortunately my entire family of 18 is a healthy bunch and we have settled in quickly to the Second Chance Shelter.  Whoever has the fortune of adopting one (or more) of our musically inclined family (or any pet in need of a new home) will simply want to transition us gently into our new family and give us some quiet time every day for the first week or so.  Soon we will be singing and dancing about!

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | November 3, 2010

November 2nd Brings Protections for Pets

 

Chipeta Couldn't be Sweet-ah!

November 2nd Brings Progress for Animal Protection Measures

 

I wanted to share some exciting election result news that we are all celebrating here at Second Chance Humane Society!!!  Nearly 1 million Missouri voters sent a powerful message through the ballot box on November 2nd to shed the stigma of being the puppy mill capital of the country by approving Proposition B, a statewide ballot initiative to establish basic standards for the care of dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities.

Missouri is home to an estimated 3,000 puppy mills breeding hundreds of thousands of puppies, far more than any other state in the country.  Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. Dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles while the puppies are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog’s health, genetic history or future welfare.

“The Humane Society of Missouri has seen first-hand the unspeakable cruelty and atrocious conditions of substandard puppy mills. Often living in their own waste, many of the thousands of dogs we’ve rescued from substandard puppy mills suffer from eye, ear and respiratory infections, parasites and malnutrition. Sadly, many also are “cage crazy” spinning endlessly in small cages they are never allowed to leave,” said Kathy Warnick, president of HSMO.

“This is a tremendous victory for the hundreds of thousands of dogs suffering in Missouri’s puppy mills,” said Elizabeth Oreck, national campaign manager for Best Friends Animal Society.   However, this accomplishment for animal protection will hopefully not be limited to only puppy mills in Missouri.  If it can be done in the nation’s largest puppy mill state, we are more likely to see similar reforms enacted in other states, where the industry is not nearly as strong and entrenched.

 “We are more hopeful than ever that the strong momentum around puppy mill cruelty will push other states to follow Missouri’s lead, causing a ripple effect throughout the nation,” said Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). “In no other state were the stakes higher for puppy mill dogs, and Missourians have set an admirable precedent for reform.”

Prop B amends Missouri law to require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise; and adequate rest between breeding cycles. The measure also prohibits any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets and creates a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations.

“While dogfighting and other bloodsports often dominate headlines, puppy mills are just as insidious a form of animal cruelty,” said Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dogs are part of the family in the United States, and they should not be treated like breeding machines or a cash crop.

So the momentum is gaining.  Lawmakers in Iowa and Oklahoma, the second- and third-largest puppy mill states in the country, enacted puppy mill legislation earlier this year. Last year, 10 states approved legislation to crack down on cruelty at puppy mills.

My name is Chipeta, as a recently rescued but still homeless Blue Heeler puppy here at the Second Chance Shelter in Ridgway, I hope that this wonderful news inspires readers to consider a similar Proposition for the State of Colorado.  Puppy mills have no place in a civil society. 

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | October 26, 2010

Doggie DNA Testing – Solving Curiosity & More

Merlin the Mysterious

My name is Merlin, and I am a handsome “Lab mix” here at the Second Chance Shelter.  When I am introduced as such people often ask, “mixed with what?” The response carries the theme of, “your guess is as good as mine”.  So I decided to research a new option to “breed-guessing” which comes in the form of an easy genetic swab test that can reveal a dog’s breed and ancestral origins.  Below is what I have learned: 

 In 2006, a team of scientists at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York established a canine DNA bank in pursuit of creating a canine disease identification system by genetically mapping the gene(s) contributing to those diseases.  The intent was that this DNA bank would help with diagnosing varying canine diseases but it has led to low-cost and simple DNA testing and results for the general population.

 However, since there is a strong correlation between certain ailments and disease with particular breeds (for example, Labrador Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia and Collies are prone to blindness), once breeds are revealed from DNA testing, veterinarians can institute preventative care from a health maintenance and preventative perspective.

 Thus, DNA testing goes way beyond curiosity of breed identification. The information that DNA testing can provide can help in diagnostics of both behavioral and medical issues of dogs.  For example a local dog parent of a “Lab mix” who submitted a sample for DNA testing found out that her dog was a Dalmatian (among a few other things) – and not a Labrador Retriever at all which helped to explain some medical and behavioral anomalies that were specific to the Dalmatian breed.

 A representative of one of the world’s most experienced canine DNA laboratories, stated, “A dog can look one way but he is genetically a much different animal. In the same fashion, dogs can have the same genetic mix and look completely dissimilar. After years of doing this, it isn’t as black and white as some might think.”  Thus, dog parents who are submitting DNA tests for their dogs can find surprising results.

 Still, dog DNA research continues to maintain a focus upon identifying and finding treatments and cures for various canine diseases (and this research helps human DNA research, as we share many of the same genes and diseases).

 An article on this topic in a Fido Friendly magazine that I came across reports that much of this research integrates DNA testing and medical therapies, for example, finding that some dogs (but not others) respond to certain treatments depending on their DNA.  This suggests genetics plays a role in the development of many diseases, including cancer.  Those in the field of canine DNA testing are confident that they will eventually be able to identify those genetic tendencies that are responsible for the increased risk of specific cancers in certain breeds.

 But in the meantime, if your “mutt” is of mysterious heritage that you would be interested in discovering – for the purpose of gaining insight toward a medical or behavioral issue or simply out of plain curiosity – you can purchase a DNA test kit at the Second Chance Shelter for only $15.  After collecting a sample (simple swipe of the inside of their mouth) there is a fee of $60 for test results and shipping.

 As for me, I do strongly resemble a Black Lab, but as I have a white chest and white patches on my feet and an affinity toward counting sheep in my sleep, I am thinking I am closely related to the Turkish Akbash Dog  or maybe the Slovak Cuvac.  Regardless, I am really hoping to find a new home soon and most importantly I am athletic, loyal, and a bit lonely and ready for love.

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