Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | October 19, 2010

Pet Safety on Howl-O-Ween

Raven is ravenous for a new home!

Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column –

Keep Your Pets Safe on Howl-O-Ween

Typical youthful thought patterns associated with Halloween include Trick-or-Treating, fun costumes, hordes of candy, parties, pranks, pumpkin carving, and sugar highs.  But the shelter pets here at Second Chance Humane Society would like you to consider this evening from our perspective: scary little creatures, goblins, and monsters running around screaming, ringing doorbells and shouting threats to coerce sweet treats from homes, chocolate wrappers laying all about that give us tummy aches, and other assorted mayhem. 

Oh, and then there is the embarrassing and humiliating part where we are forced to wear silly and ill-fitting costumes leading people to croon about how adorable we look – while we sit  imagining it is not really happening. Yeah, Halloween is certainly not a pet’s favorite occasion (now Thanksgiving on the other hand….).

So, this Halloween I wanted to issue a few safety tips for pet parents out there, on behalf of all my canine and feline friends and relatives.  Keep us inside, safe, and away from the ghoulish symphony of miniature sugar fiends.  Even a relatively mellow dog can be overwhelmed by the Trick-or-Treating experience, so please reconsider taking your pet along on this particular outing.  We would much prefer a soft bed, non-sugary meat flavored treats, and that video where Snoopy hangs out in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin.

Another real and unfortunate danger to pets during Halloween is falling prey to “pranksters”.  Black cats like me are particularly at risk to this or even darker Halloween activities (yes, sadly, the mythology about black cats and witches still leads people to do harmful things to us).  I thus strongly urge you to keep a close eye on your kitties (particularly the stunning and exceptionally gorgeous ones (yes, like me) the days prior to Halloween and make every effort to keep them inside during this time. 

And lastly, keep your pets away from the kid’s Trick-or-Treating profits of chocolates and candies – as well as chewable and n0n-digestible Halloween decorations.  We will greatly appreciate your attention to this matter.

My name is Raven and I am ready to be your special Halloween treat (of the hugging kind not eating kind).   The silly myths about black cats spreading bad luck are complete rubbish as our original purpose has always been to serve as escorts of prosperity and good fortune.  However, the myth of mis-fortune that prevails today has led to many unfortunate results for us black cats – and we typically are the last to be adopted at shelters.

So please come and meet me and my prosperous good nature during the pre-trick-or-treating activities that will be taking place at the Second Chance Shelter from 10-2 PM on Saturday October 30th.  Also, make sure you stop by the Second Chance Thrift Shop for all your Howl-O-Ween costume needs.

Candy is being served throughout the Halloween weekend at both facilities to warm up your sugar tanks before the big night.  And please heed my closing words: have fun yet be safe this Halloween and keep your pets safely at 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 | October 12, 2010

The Colorado Adopt a Shelter License Plate – Coming Soon!

Twyla says "Twy Love!"

Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column –

The Adopt a Shelter Pet License Plate – Coming Soon!

 On June 9, 2010, Governor Bill Ritter signed into law House Bill 1214 which will positively impact Ouray and San Miguel County community members, their pets, and… their cars.  This bill not only extends the tax check-off for the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund (details on that below) until 2020 but also establishes a new automobile license plate that supports pet adoption and establishes a new funding source to help Colorado shelters and rescues offset costs for spaying/neutering and medical treatment of animals in their care.

$30 from the sale of each Adopt a Shelter Pet license plate will provide grants to support Colorado shelters and rescues, primarily in underserved areas, that may not have access to much needed funding for mandated spay/neuter programs and other medical expenses. It will also help these organizations, like Second Chance, to raise awareness of the need to adopt shelter and rescue pets.

“Coloradans have generously given to the Pet Overpopulation Tax Check- off to support shelters throughout the state,” Senator Gail Schwartz, a sponsor of the bill, said. “To additionally fund these important efforts, we now have an Adopt a Shelter Pet license plate. Pets enrich our lives and our families, but every day in Colorado thousands of animals are in shelters, waiting for a family to take them home. This new license plate will raise awareness of the availability of homeless pets and fund the effort to place these pets in loving homes and reduce animal overpopulation.”

As many Pet Column readers know, Second Chance Humane Society operates a Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance Program that benefits low income San Miguel and Ouray County residents and their pets.  This fund makes it possible for low income pet parents to afford to spay/neuter their pets and do their part in reducing the euthanasia of the thousands of homeless pets in shelters state-wide.  This Program is funded, in large part, by the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund (CPOF) which, in 2009, resulted in 5,425 spay/neuter surgeries being performed state-wide.

CPOF also helps Second Chance create and implement education programs encouraging community members and visitors to be responsible pet owners by having their pet’s spayed and neutered.  All donations to CPOF are used to directly benefit Colorado pets as administrative services are provided through the State at no cost to the Fund.  Additionally donations to this Fund are tax deductible and most importantly – will save the lives of many pets! 

So now this fund will be augmented by the Adopt a Shelter Pet License Plate.  They will be available in December and hopefully we will see many cars adorned with them in our communities.  It is a great new way to make a difference in the lives of homeless pets!

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 | September 29, 2010

World Animal Day – SCHS Helpline

FrostBite with the Frosty Toes

Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column –

Get Help from the Second Chance Helpline

My name is “Frostbite” (because of my cute white paws) and as the author of today’s Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column I wanted to promote World Animal Day.  Although this day is officially celebrated internationally on October 4, here at Second Chance we are celebrating it throughout the week to broaden its impact and I hope you will join us.

World Animal Day was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence, Italy as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. Since then it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and is widely celebrated in countries throughout the world.  It is intended as a day of celebration for anyone in the world who cares about animals. It is not restricted to any one nationality, creed, religion, political belief or ideology, it belongs to everyone. 

The ascribed mission for this Day is four-fold: To celebrate animal life in all its forms; To celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom; To acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives and; To acknowledge and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives.

Through promoting this Day globally it is hoped that success if found in uniting the animal welfare movement throughout the world.  Additionally World Animal Day encourages people to embrace all animals and the unique concerns of each, in every country. It is felt that increased awareness of animal issues cannot fail to eventually lead the way to improved standards of welfare throughout the globe. 

Second Chance is encouraging its surrounding little Southwest Colorado region to join the movement simply by acting with compassion to make a difference in the lives of animals – those in your household, neighborhood, town, country or wherever you feel you can make a difference. 

As a homeless cat here at the Second Chance Shelter I can suggest two critical ways that you can show compassion toward animals – adopting a homeless cuddly kitty like me or volunteering at the Shelter and cuddling a cuddler like me.

In closing I would like to share a few poignant and applicable quotes that I found on World Animal Day website, they are words to live by:

If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals – Albert Einstein

If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution – and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity.  – Jane Goodall

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights.  That is the way of a whole human being –Abraham Lincoln

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 | September 12, 2010

Micro-chipping Your Pet is Safe!

Matika the Meticulous

Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column –

Micro-Chipping: Safe & Effective

Dear Pet Column,

I noticed that Second Chance Humane Society recently had a Micro-chip clinic at the Shelter.  I have a cat that could probably benefit from a micro-chip as she regularly slips her collar when outside.  However I have heard scary things about micro-chips and I don’t want to put my cat through the surgery to have it implanted.  Please advise. 

Sincerely, Meek about Micro-Chipping

Dear Meek, my name is “Matika” and the best answer your question is – I sure do wish my parent had made the right choice to micro-chip me!  I find comfort, as I sit here in the Second Chance Shelter waiting for new parents to adopt me,  knowing that my new micro-chip (I received when I arrived here) will link me to them for the rest of my life.   

To dispel the myths or “scary things” you have heard about micro-chips please read closely: 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 – I barely even felt mine.  The serial number that micro-chips are encoded with can be read by a scanner that most veterinary offices and shelters possess (despite rumors to the contrary, microchips do not have GPS capability to track a missing pet, nor can they be accessed by a satellite, so your pet can not be tracked by a government entity or identified beyond a range of about three to 12 inches). 

This serial number encoded in the micro-chip, detected by a simple scanner, can be tracked immediately to the pet parent listed in a database.  Nothing scary there… and the best thing is that micro-chips save lives – thousands of them.  Consider that an average of 8 to 12 million companion animals end up in shelters across the country each year. Sadly, only about 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats are reunited with their parents.  And of those not reunited, almost 4 million are euthanized.

Obviously, I am not a part of that 2 percent of cats reunited with my parents.  I did not have a micro-chip.

As with any ID method, it is imperative for pet parents to keep your database information current.  More than once pets have arrived at Second Chance with a microchip that did not link to a working phone number or address, thus rendering it useless.

We hope that community members will visit Second Chance Shelter (any day of the week between 10AM and 4 PM) with your pets to take advantage of the great deal offered year round on micro-chipping.  This is the absolutely best way to assure that your pets can quickly be returned if lost and Second Chance is making it affordable at only $25 per pet (normal costs range from $50 and up). 

Because Second Chance believes so strongly in providing all pets with a secure identity source, all adoptable pets, such as me, receive a microchip prior to adoption.  I also happen to come with a great sense of humor, loving and playful personality, and dashing good looks. 

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 | September 7, 2010

Proper Puppy Socialization & Training

Violet the imdogenator

Second Chance Humane Society Pet Column –

Proper Puppy Socialization & Training

My name is Violet and I am one of 8 puppies placed at the Second Chance Shelter recently in our quest to find new homes.  As you look at my photo your heart will melt for, I will admit, I am adorable and immediately emit the human urge to hug and nurture me.  And, I know how to exploit this urge by giving a little puppy lick here and a tail wag there…but before you cave into my bundle of cuteness I hope that you will reflect upon what it means to adopt a puppy…

Similar to human development – the early stages of puppy development really holds an impact upon a dog’s overall life.  Thus, when becoming a puppy parent it is critical that this responsibility is taken seriously.  Proper training and socialization can prevent many of the “problem behaviors” that dogs later adapt in compensation for not receiving this kind of attention. 

Having been born a mere ten weeks ago, my siblings and I are finding the world an exciting but sometimes scary place.  Every day we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch new things, some of which can be frightening at first.  Thus, socialization is the best way to help us with this and it is very critical that this occur as soon, after eight weeks of age, and regularly as possible.

 In the process of socialization, puppy parents must be mindful of about the risk for puppies (with undeveloped immune systems) being exposed to potentially fatal diseases from other animals such as parvo, distemper, and hepatitis.  Thus, you want to be clear with your veterinarian when your puppy has completed his vaccinations and can be safely introduced to other animals.  Until then you can begin the socialization process in your home with pets you know are vaccinated.   Introduce your puppy to different types of people and pets: loud, quiet, young, old, tall, short, active, inactive, etc.   Also, have people wear hats, glasses, backpacks, gloves, masks, helmets, big jackets, hoods, and other possibly threatening stimuli. 

Additionally you want to make sure your puppy’s socialization processes are positive.  If your puppy is afraid of certain objects, remove the stimuli and re-introduce very slowly, adding positive reinforcement to the situation like treats and praise.  For example, if your puppy is afraid of someone wearing a hat, have that person feed the puppy yummy treats.  This way the puppy will learn to associate the initially frightening stimuli with something positive instead.

To expand upon the socialization process you should also start basic training.  Teach your pup how to gently accept treats, chew on toys rather than human appendages, not to jump on people, walk nicely on a leash, and about appropriate/inappropriate barking.  Also teach important basic commands such as sit, down, stay, & come. 

Training your puppy to be content when left alone for certain periods of time is critical too.  Using enrichment toys such as Kongs and safe chew toys (available at the Second Chance Shelter) can really provide a benefit to this phase of training.  Come in to the Shelter today to meet me and discuss with the Shelter staff whether you are ready to commit to raising an adjusted and socialized dog.

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 | September 1, 2010

Spay/Neuter Does Save Lives

Yang believes in Spay/Neuter to Save Lives

Do you believe that spaying and neutering pets saves lives?  If you were a homeless pet you probably would.  My name is Yang and I was recently transferred to the Second Chance Humane Society Shelter from a shelter where there were more cats than shelter space.  Fortunately Second Chance had space and resources to provide for me until a family arrives and chooses me as their new furry family member.

Not long ago spaying and neutering pets was not the norm while euthanasia was – and over 17 million homeless pets were being euthanized annually.  Often these pets were offspring of cherished family pets, including purebreds. Maybe someone’s cat or dog got out just that one time or maybe the litter was intentional, but efforts to find enough good homes failed.

 Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats and a proven way to reduce the vast numbers of animals who are born only to die prematurely and without a family who loves them.  Since an organized and effective national spay/neuter campaign was launched, just over 10 years ago, the number of euthanized pets dropped to under 4 million per year.  In my opinion it is 4 million to many (that is one every 8 seconds!), but a significant improvement from 17 million.

Spay/neuter programs are indeed the reason these numbers are dropping steadily.  More regionally, last year over 38,000 of the 158,000 dogs and cats that entered Colorado shelters were euthanized – down from the previous year when over 45,000 of 163,700 dogs and cats that entered Colorado shelters were euthanized.

A reason for the success of spay/neuter programs is that many of the barriers to spay/neuter are being removed, first through education.  Pet owners are no longer keeping their pets intact because they believe it is healthier for them.  They are learning that spay/neuter of pets leads to many positive behavioral and health benefits for the pet, such as reducing its desire to roam, reducing the risk of ovarian or testicular cancers, decreasing aggressive behavior (particularly in males), and promoting longer and healthier lives of your pets.  Pet parents are also learning that spaying and neutering typically eliminates or significantly decreases a pet’s tendency toward marking (urinating in/around the house and neighborhood to “mark” territory).

Another barrier to spay/neuter that is falling to the wayside is the expense.  Now spay/neuter clinics and financial assistance programs are sprouting up across the country making it more affordable and convenient to have this critical procedure done.  Locally, low income San Miguel and Ouray County residents can participate in the Second Chance Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance Program.

Pet parents within this Second Chance service region can contact Second Chance (626.2273) for a voucher that can be used as reimbursement for a portion of the cost of spay/neuter surgeries.  This program is funded through the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund as well as the Town of Ridgway and San Miguel County and supported by veterinarians within both counties.

It should be noted that all Second Chance pets are spayed/neutered prior to adoption.  So when you decide to come and adopt me you won’t have to worry about little baby Yangs running through the house and you can just enjoy loveable, huggable 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 | August 25, 2010

The Forever Home Refuted

Scarlette is Starry eyed for a new Family

My name is Scarlette and I am a lovely Red Tick Hound waiting for a new family here at Second Chance Humane Society.  I wanted to comment on last week’s Pet Column which that silly cat Malory wrote – full of fanciful ideations that weren’t necessarily based on reality – that of the “Forever Home”.  I think the idea of a pet being able to stay with one family for a lifetime is a wonderful and even quite reasonable concept, but life can be full of surprises and it isn’t always that simple.

I was adopted out from this same Shelter about 3 years ago and had a wonderful life with a loving family. But there are times when life throws us a curve and situations beyond our control make even the best intentions fall to the wayside.  There are times when a pet parent realizes that their life circumstances have changed to the point where their pet is no longer experiencing the quality of life they had intended.  This can lead to the gut-wrenching decision of choosing to find a better situation for that pet.  It does not mean that the parent stopped loving the pet.  Sometimes it means they are putting their love before their own needs, guilt, and expectations.

Pets are “relinquished” to the Second Chance Shelter regularly.  Sometimes, it is for reasons that could have been prevented, or that could be altered with some effort and attention.  But sometimes pets develop behaviors that are beyond the capacity of the pet parent to manage.  And sometimes it truly is in the best interests of the pet and despite the heartbreak, the pet is better off being available for a new family or with some other alternative.  As such, I ask that we don’t judge others when such decisions are made. 

However, I don’t want to sound as though I am encouraging people to not commit to a lifetime of loving and caring for their pets.  But I do want to get real and encourage those who made this commitment, yet know their pets are not receiving the quality of life they deserve, to make some changes.  Such changes don’t have to mean relinquishing your pet but could take various forms such as of hiring a dogwalker if your dog is alone too long during the day.  It could mean finding another friend or family member who your pet has bonded with to temporarily take your pet in while you work through some unexpected life issue.  Or it could mean hiring a trainer or behaviorist to get help with your pet’s “acting out” behaviors.

“Forever” is a very long time and sometimes it might better be approached as “for as long as possible”.  As Malory mentioned – don’t hesitate to call the Second Chance Helpline at 626.2273 for guidance with significant changes to your pet’s behavior or situation, and please do not ignore issues of concern until it is no longer feasible to address them.  Second Chance can work with you to find solutions for keeping your pets happily at home.

I also agree with Malory in that you should consider your pets as family members.  However, in doing so, occasionally we have to make very tough decisions that are in the best interest of our family.  If it is done with love and good intentions than that is all we ask for as your family members.

I believe that I will find a new family to love and I hope to be with them for as long as absolutely possible.  Come meet me at the Shelter 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 | August 17, 2010

Commit to Giving Your Pet a Forever Home

Malory Favors Forever

My name is Malory and I am a homeless kitten here at Second Chance Humane Society waiting for my chance to be adopted into a forever home.  We like to refer to our adoptive homes as forever homes, but there certainly is no guarantee of that.  The shelter staff do a fabulous job during the “adoption interview” to make sure that we are properly matched to the right family.   For instance, they educate adopters that if they are gone from home for long stretches of time and like to come home and plop on the couch that a young Lab puppy may be a bad idea for them but an elderly cat may be a better fit. 

Despite these attempts I do see pets, who thought they were going into the “happily ever after” when they left the shelter with their new family in tow, return dejected and defeated.  Sometimes it is soon after the adoption while other times it is months or even years later.  (Fortunately Second Chance does have a policy that if for any reason the adopter is no longer able to care for their adopted pet that they are returned to Second Chance so that another home can be secured for that pet.) 

Reasons for returns vary, from pet behavioral issues to changes in circumstances in the lives of the adopters, but often they can result from adopter’s expectations being set too high.  It is important to recognize that there will always be an adjustment period – for pet and family – and that this time period can vary from pet to household.  Allowing new pets time to adapt to the new environment, routines, family members etc. is critical to this “honeymoon” phase.

To support this transition Second Chance has a policy that works proactively in supporting new adoptive families in working through unforeseen issues.  Second Chance makes follow up phone calls 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months post adoption to make sure things are going ok.  Often times if there are issues that have evolved which the staff can work with the adoptive parents to address before they become unmanageable and the pet is returned to the shelter.

Additionally, the Shelter staff offer supportive services to pet parents whether they have adopted from Second Chance or not.  If you have concerns or issues with your pets that you are unsure how to manage, or are beginning to think that you are losing patience with and considering relinquishing your pet – call the Second Chance Helpline at 626.2273.  The staff can assist you through general behavioral techniques or through referrals to additional resources.  I urge you to not ignore issues of concern until the point when it is no longer feasible to address them.  Prevention does work if applied in a timely manner.

In closing I urge all readers to remember this:  please consider your pets as family members.  Typically if someone in your family is acting out it is often in response to something that can be corrected, and avoiding it only escalates the situation.  As a young kitten I am hoping that my new adopter is prepared for a lifetime commitment.  In return I commit to returning the love and affection I am provided and repaying kindness with affection and companionship.

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 | August 11, 2010

Dog Days of Summer – Not the Dog’s Fault…

Scooter says - It's Hot - Let's Swim!

Lately I’ve been hearing people refer to the hot weather as “the Dog Days of Summer”.  This confused me, so I looked it up in the dictionary and found “Dog Days” defined as the hottest and most sultry part of the year, as well as a period of stagnation or inactivity.

So I had to ask, why are dogs, who really don’t care much for the heat, associated with heat and stagnancy?  I mean, I am a Black Lab and a) I am not often stagnant or inactive and b) if there isn’t water nearby than keep me the heck out of the heat… 

I also found that Dog Days are not referred to with much fondness, even historically.  According to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, (1813), Dog Days are “when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies”.  

Additionally, the Prologue to Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting, set in the first week of August, reads: “These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.”  I don’t think it is fair to link dogs to human error and regret.  Thus, I am going to get to the bottom of this slander against my species.

In researching the origins of Dog Days I found a few varied yet plausible hypotheses, such as, during the Dog Days people should remember to leave extra water out for the dogs.  Another theory was that these are the days in which dogs can overheat with too much exercise and should therefore be encouraged to just laze about.  Additionally, the term has frequently been used in reference to the American stock market in which summer is a very slow time for the market and poorly performing stocks with little future potential are frequently known as “dogs.”

Although these meanings have nothing to do with the original source of the phrase, they appear to have been attached to the phrase due to misunderstandings of the origin.  An origin which I have discovered to have ancient ties, back before the night skies were obscured by light and smog, and constellations were charted with passion and imagination.

It was then that the Romans defined the constellation “Canis Major” (which translates into “Big Dog” – due to its resemblance to a handsome dog – like myself).  The brightest star within this constellation was called “Sirius” or “Dog Star”.   Sirius also happens to be the brightest star in the sky, barring the Sun, and it rose and set with the sun. This led the ancients to believe that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. Thus this period of time was labeled “Dog Days” due to the resemblance of a clustering group of luminous balls of plasma to that of a dog – not because the canine species should be likened to sultry heat.

As such, I am writing to Mr. Webster and proposing that the definition of “Dog Days” be changed to represent that the summer months are simply the best time of year for people to adopt a fun-loving dog (like myself) into their lives.  We will seek shade with you and warm your hearts with our unconditional love and affection.  Come visit the Second Chance Shelter today and ask for “Scooter”…

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 | August 4, 2010

Double Adoptions can be Doubly Good for Household

Mork Misses Mindy - Adopt 2!

Second Chance Humane Society has been rescuing a plethora of loveable cats and kittens this summer and now they need to get them into loving forever homes.  As such they thought it would be a good time to promote the benefits of adopting more than one cat.  To encourage this action Second Chance is offering a financial incentive by waiving the adoption fee for adopters of a second cat. Since all adoptable cats at Second Chance, like myself, are spay/neutered, vaccinated, and micro-chipped, this really makes adopting two cats very affordable.

Now let’s discuss the additional benefits to adopting two cats, particularly two that are well matched and have enough physical space to live together comfortably. More than one cat creates a feline friendly environment of exercise, social interaction, and mental stimulation that single cat dwellers don’t have. In fact, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), cats housed together have more opportunity to “just be cats” by socializing and playing with each other, and this means they are less likely to be destructive or engage in other problematic behaviors.

For example, one of the Second Chance staff has a single cat and she sometimes complains about being awoken in the early morning hours by her cat seeking a playmate, while another staff member sleeps through the night because her cats play together and let her sleep.  There are the emotional factors to consider as well, until recently I was housed with my sister “Mindy” here at the Shelter.  We arrived together but she was just adopted without me.  Now I am lonely and missing her. 

Amidst the benefits of adopting two cats together I should also mention a potentially negative side of this to those who have single cats, it is referred to as “cohabitation anxiety.” Adult cats with a history of living alone are sometimes better off remaining solitary, unless you can provide enough space so that the cats are essentially living alone in the same home. Additionally, be aware that cats can take a long time to accept each other, sometimes months to stop the squabbling and start hanging out together.

When creating a multi-cat home and deciding which cats to adopt, consider that cats have varying levels of activity and sociability- primarily based on age, previous experience and exposure to other cats. Thus, pairing kittens, adolescents, and young adult cats typically meets with success, as can pairing a kitten with an experienced adult female.  In some cases, a calm, mature adult with a history of maternal or social behavior can tolerate the inappropriate behavior of a younger cat with limited social skills, and in the process “teach” the youngster more socially acceptable behavior.

Should you decide to make yours a multiple-feline household, please keep in mind that your cats are not likely to become best buddies immediately so be cautious when introducing cats to each other.  But realize that by adopting more than one cat you are not only saving an additional life but you are creating a better home environment for your new pets.  So when adopting a cat, remember there are plenty of cats like me, “Mork”, who prefer other cats to solitude. 

My name is Mork, I seek a home with others like me, Na-nu Na-nu.

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.

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