April is Canine Fitness Month

By: Erin Ford

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Canine Fitness Month encourages us to take a step toward a healthier lifestyle for our four-legged family members.”

April is Canine Fitness Month, a chance for all dog owners to take a closer look at how they’re keeping their canines in shape. As many know, dogs can suffer from obesity just as humans do. This affliction brings a host of other issues, such as:

  • diabetes
  • damage to joints, bones, and ligaments
  • heart disease and increased blood pressure
  • decreased stamina and mobility
  • decreased liver function
  • decreased quality and length of life.

(Source: PetEducation.com)

None of us want our four-legged friends to suffer, which is why it’s important to make canine health and fitness a priority. Below are some ideas on how you can make sure your pooch is in tip-top shape.

Get walking

This may seem like a no-brainer, but this month make an extra effort to walk your dog longer and more often than usual. The proper length and frequency of walks depends on a lot of factors, such as the dog’s breed, size, health, capability, etc. A rule of thumb is to walk your dog at least twice a day, for approximately 15 minutes each time. (Source: DogingtonPost.com)

If you’re unable to fulfill this requirement, strongly consider hiring a dog walker. Getting active outside is absolutely crucial for a dog’s physical and mental well-being.

Active Play

Another activity beneficial for a dog’s physical and mental health is active play. This month, treat your dog to a new toy. You can play fetch, frisbee, tug of war, or even blow bubbles. If you live near a body of water, swimming is another great fitness activity for your dog.

Training

Signing your dog up for a fitness or training course at a local pet store is a fun way to get them active and engaged this month. A more potentially cost-effective and interactive option would be to create an obstacle course in your yard. Using various outdoor objects found in your shed or garage, you (or your kids!) can easily put together a fun, challenging series of obstacles to lead your dog through.

Shelter volunteering

If you’re not a dog owner, or your dog is already active and fit as can be, consider visiting your local shelter and see if you can volunteer as a dog walker. It will most likely require a bit of training, but it can be your mission to help shelter dogs get in shape as well.

At the end of the day, canine fitness influences owner fitness. It benefits the both of you to get out there and get active!

Sources:

https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-training/toys-and-play/ways-to-exercise-your-dog-indoors

http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/canine-fitness-month-april/

http://www.dogingtonpost.com/how-often-should-one-walk-their-dog/

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=694

Why You Should Adopt Instead of Shop

why you should

By: Erin Ford

We’ve all been there, walking through the mall, when suddenly we see them — the adorable fluffy puppies bouncing in the window of the pet store. They lure us inside with their irresistible cuteness, and we end up thinking we couldn’t possibly leave the mall without one! While it’s wonderful to give a pet a loving home, you need to consider the other options. Shelters across the country are full of pets that are waiting for a loving home, and there are plenty of reasons to adopt instead of shop!

You’re saving a life

According to ASPCA, each year approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs, 1.4 million cats). Whether it’s due to overcrowding or a lack of resources, many potential pets don’t make it out of shelters. When you adopt a pet, you’re giving them a forever home.

Not supporting puppy mills

As many people know, puppy mills are places where intensive breeding of dogs take place under cruel, inhumane conditions. Their sole purpose is to make a profit, and the well-being of the dogs is not a priority. You can learn more about puppy mills here. Many pet stores get their animals from puppy mills, so inadvertently purchases from these store are keeping puppy mills in business.

Supporting volunteers and animal rescuers

In animal shelters, volunteers and employees work hard every day, out of the goodness of their hearts, to make sure these pets are taken care of. Those supporting animal shelters do it because they genuinely care about the animals. It brings so much joy to see pets that are adopted into loving home, because it shows that the pets you come to love have been adopted into a great home, and your work is done.

Making room for more animals

Millions of pets are in need of loving homes, and shelters fill up extremely quickly. There are more pets that need homes than spaces in shelters. By adopting your pet, you’re opening up a spot for another to have a safe place to live and be adopted by a loving family.

More affordable than pet stores

Many pet stores charge exorbitant fees for their pets — some can be over $1,000. Shelters are a much more affordable option, and all the money that’s earned goes right back into supporting the shelter. Many shelters have programs where volunteers and supporters sponsor pets, and thus the adoption fee is waived. In addition, many pets in shelters are up-to-date on vaccinations and veterinarian appointments.

Most importantly, you’re giving pets a second chance

Many pets in shelters have already been owned previously. This means that many of them are already housebroken, trained, and used to living with a family. Some of them are older, so they’re quite calm and there’s no need to handle the responsibilities of raising/training an energetic puppy or kitten. In addition, when a pet is surrendered to a shelter, they can become very upset and disheartened. Adopting them and bringing them to their new home gives them a new life, can rejuvenate their spirits, and makes them eternally grateful for giving them a second chance at life.

February’s Adoptable Dog is Scooter!

By: Torie Beckwithscooter-5

Scooter is a playful, loving, very photogenic pitbull-mix. She loves to cuddle up with a warm blanket and her favorite treat, hot dogs! She was brought to Survivor Tails 2 years ago as an owner surrender and warmed the hearts of everyone she met.

Scooter is currently living with a foster family, and is looking for a wonderful, permanent home where she can continue to live life to the fullest!

A Few Words from Scooter:

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Hi Everyone!  I’m Scooter! I am 9 years old, but you would never know it! I am very energetic and love to play with my foster Mom Shawna, and everyone else I meet. I love making new friends and showing off my modeling pictures, I have been told that I’m very photogenic! 

 

I also love wearing sweaters and finding a warm cuddly blanketscooter-3 to take a nap. I really like naps! I am not a big fan of the cold, but I love to sun bathe and hang out by the pool in the summer time. Some of my favorite foods are hot dogs and bully sticks, but I have a pretty adventurous palate. I haven’t tried anything I don’t like.

I love living with my foster family, but I really want a home and a family of my own!  I’m great with adults and teenagers, but I’d like a home with no other dogs, cats, or children.  I’d love to join your home–you can see more pictures of me here.  And, you can fill out an application for me at www.survivortails.org.  

The Feeling Animal

By: Suzanne Brint

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Muppet was definitely expressing his feelings about how excited he was to celebrate the holidays with his Foster Mom!

We have all seen the pictures and videos of animals mourning the death of pack mates; dogs staying at the gravesite of deceased owners, service dogs sensing the onset of cancer or seizures and alerting their humans, dogs staying by the side of their injured owner. The anecdotal cases are beyond counting and the incidents seemingly more prevalent day by day. The internet and social media abound with examples. The question is, do animals have emotion? Do animals feel pain? Can they sense what we are feeling?

On the day my father died, I sat on the back porch steps of our home and sobbed. Head in my hands and elbows on my knees. I was very young and other than my mother, quite alone or so I thought. Until this happened: my dog, Max, a big bully dog, had been observing me obviously. He sat on the step next to me for a bit. Then gradually, he pushed his big head gently under my arms, stepped over my legs, and pressed his body against my chest, enveloping me in a hug. And there he stayed until I stopped crying. There was no choice but to hug him back and shed my tears into his furry neck.

Current research into animal awareness is exciting as well as moving. I think anyone who has loved their pets will be aware that their special four-legged friend possesses a unique intelligence and awareness. I have been accused of anthropomorphism meaning that I imbue the pet with human qualities. But those folks who doubt will at some point need to address their doubt considering scientific findings as time progresses. We also need to understand that our emotional life and the emotional life of animals is biological in nature. Having emotions keeps us aware, safe and loved in this threatening and often scary world. Emotions help us to replicate our species. Emotions allow us to connect socially.

The history of animal sentience dates back further than most realize. Historically, animals were thought to be a kind of machine and not have any capability of thought or feeling. This philosophy was detailed by the philosopher René Descarte in the 1600’s. This would indicate that all animal behavior would be based on instinct. Animals were treated as property and utilized for work or as a food source. But over the intervening years research is proving this mindset to be incorrect. We have learned that the brain structure of primates and even dogs is very like humans. Animals even have a brain chemistry like ours. It is thought not only do animals feel pain and experience suffering, but they feel pleasure and happiness as well. A compelling statement was made on July 7, 2012 by scientists attending a convention at Cambridge University in England. They issued the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness which stated, “convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals including all mammals and birds also possess these neurological substrates”. In other words, animals are sentient and can feel emotions, can suffer, can feel pain, and can feel enjoyment.

The legal courts are recently supporting evidence that animals indeed feel and can suffer. In 2016 the supreme court in Oregon determined that pets are not “mere property” and that the abused pet in this case could be examined much in the same way as an abused child. The judges determined that animals ‘are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, stress and fear,’ the court wrote in the unanimous opinion—and so humans’ “dominion” over the animals, the opinion continues, also has nuanced contours, as do the humans’ privacy interests in the animals’. In other words, if you hurt an animal, you are hurting a living, feeling, cognizant creature and if the animal is harmed that abuse can be found a crime in a court of law.

So, without attempting to induce guilt or assign judgement on any reader’s beliefs about animals, there is remains only accepting that animals, across many species, have the ability to cognate and feel. It is not of human quality to be sure but their ability to feel is undeniable. My goal, if you made it through this piece, would be for you to consider or perhaps reconsider your view of animals and support their welfare on some level. It is my hope that through our evolutionary process we will move to a fully plant-based food system and bio-engineered protein products. It is happening as I write. If we get there, we may develop a world where human and animal pain and suffering is minimized and our mutual happiness maximized. I believe the deeper we empathize with animals, this act might allow us a pathway to more deeply empathize and become altruistic towards each other.

In the meantime, we have our pets to love and cherish. My own experience taught me that my pet could sense my feelings. I am now accepting that I must look into their eyes of those furry critters and feel theirs too.

Winter Safety Tips

By: Kaitlin McCarthy

With the temperature dropping and winter just around the corner, it is important to keep your pet warm and safe. Here are some tips to ensure your pet is comfortable during the cold months:

  • Between the cold weather outside and warm temperature inside, it’s important to
    protect your pet’s skin. Going between warm and cold temperatures quickly can irritate a dog’s skin.  The ASPCA recommends completely drying off your dog, along with his/her paw pads to remove any snowballs and/or salt from between their pads. Salt will not only irritate the skin, but if ingested can cause serious health issues.

  • If you plan on putting ice salt down on your driveway to prevent slippery spots, it’s important to use non-toxic or all natural products. Salt can get caught in a dog’s fur or between the pads of their paw and if ingested can make a dog seriously ill. Check out SafePaw or Paw Thaw at your local Petco. If you don’t feel comfortable putting ice salt down around your pet, you can also try dog boots. Boots will protect your dog’s paws from extreme cold, salt and sharp ice. It might take some time for your dog to adjust to something on his/her paws, but boots are the safest option.

  • Just like people, dogs can have a hard time warming up and staying warm once cold.
    It’s a good idea to give your pet extra blankets and pillows in the winter, especially if you dog has a short coat. Another option is to get your dog a heated dog bed or heating pad. Dr. Foster Smith online offer heated beds as well as other winter essentials. Don’t forget to keep your dog’s bed away from windows and vents, cold air can creep in giving your dog more than a cold nose.

  • For families with cats, particularly outdoor cats, it is important to provide a safe and warm haven in the event your cat is not able to get inside. Purchasing or creating a shelter can ensure your cat has a place to go in the middle of the night or when mother nature decides to let it snow. Basic shelters can be created with items from a local Home Depot or Lowes.

Adopting a Pet from Survivor Tails? Here’s what you need to know!

By: Alex Cheng, Adoption Coordinator

So you’re interested in adding a furry family member, and you’ve decided to turn to rescue! That’s AWESOME – congratulations on such an amazing decision to save a life. You’re probably super excited to get started and eager to give a pal a forever home; we’re equally as excited to work with you to find your perfect match!

Survivor Tails Animal Rescue’s most important mission is advocating for our furry friends who can’t advocate for themselves, and that includes matching them with their perfect forever home. Sometimes, the adoption process can be frustrating and confusing, and we completely understand.

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This is Ricks!  And he is adoptable through Survivor Tails!

You’re asking for an application, and an adoption phone interview, and a home visit. Why is this such an involved process?

It is a very involved process, and it takes many volunteers to help one animal find their forever home. When adopting animals out to forever families, we want to make sure everything is a perfect fit, and that the animal will be safe, happy and even spoiled in their new home. The process is meant for us to really get to know you, so that we’re absolutely sure that both the animal and your family will be completely at ease with the new addition.

A home visit seems kind of invasive and stressful!

The home visit portion of the adoption process is not meant to be invasive or stressful! We’re not here to be nitpicky about how you keep your house – we want to make sure that your new furry family member will be safe in their new home. We’ll ask for a tour, and look for areas of potential concern. Many times, your Adoption Coordinator will send you home visit notes! These are usually minor things, such as, “Noted some exposed wires – please find a way to put these out of Fido’s reach during decompression period until you know his chewing habits.” If you’re worried about the home visit, ask your Adoption Coordinator what to expect. They’re more than happy to help you out!

I’ve emailed you and you haven’t responded 😦

We respond to all inquiries from adopters! We understand that you’re excited, and we’re excited for you, too. Unfortunately, we can’t always respond super-fast, and our usual response rate is within 72 hours. Just remember that all of us are volunteers, and we have full-time jobs, families, pets and lives outside of rescue, which means we aren’t always manning our inboxes 🙂

10-14 days to be approved to adopt a dog?! But I can just walk into a shelter and take a dog home today!

You could, yes! And if you decide to go the shelter route, that’s great – you’re saving a life there, too. It takes a village to adopt out a dog at Survivor Tails: each application is worked on by at least 3 volunteers! Sometimes everything happens fast, but sometimes volunteers need a few extra days to complete a task. We’re all volunteers, after all! We’re working hard to make sure every dog is matched perfectly with a family.

I’m terrified of being denied the ability to adopt.

Survivor Tails will not deny you the ability the adopt unless we truly believe that the animal will not be a good fit for your home. We will work with you at every step to ensure that you understand what’s happening throughout the entire adoption process. We don’t want to deny any adopter – in fact, the more adopters we approve, the more animals we can adopt out!

Oh my gosh, I’ve talked to so many people, and I don’t know who to go to with questions now!

Not to fret, you can always ask your Adoption Coordinator anytime you’re not sure where to turn. That’s what they’re there for 🙂

We hope this has answered some of the questions surrounding Survivor Tails’ adoption process! If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below, or to email adoptions@survivortails.org  We’re happy to help – and if we get more questions, we can do a FAQ part two on the adoption process!