Watch Tip for week of Oct. 31:
Be aware of high wind dangers. Dog houses and crates may be blown into objects or buildings. Pets escape when fence gates get blown open and fallen tree limbs crush fences. Pets on tie-outs may be flung by strong gusts or injured by flying objects. Do resident dogs in your neighborhood have windbreaks? Speak with the owners.
Read about “resident dogs” and “family dogs”
The National Canine Research Council (see link below) provides data and publishes research about canine issues and dog bites. They use these two terms to help advance discussion about dog bits, canine aggression and the behavior of dog breeds. Lumping all dogs together as just “dogs” does not provide insight into the causes of canine issues. Add these terms to your vocabulary.
They define the term “resident dogs” as “…dogs [who are] maintained outside the home (on chains, in kennels or in yards) and/or dogs obtained for negative functions (guarding, fighting, protection, breeding for financial gain)…” They state that “resident dogs cannot be expected to exhibit the same behaviors and level of sociability as family dogs.”
They define “family dogs” as “dogs [who] live inside the home and are afforded the opportunity to learn appropriate behaviors through positive humane interaction with people on a daily basis.”
Read more here: The National Canine Research Council.
Watch for hungry resident dogs and cats in your neighborhood. Look for protruding backbones, ribs, and hipbones before winter coats hide these signs of neglect. Look at every pet you pass. Can you afford to help with an anonymous gift of pet food to the household? Times are hard for so many.
Be an Organization of Just One Person and Change the Neighborhood.
Imagine if you were on a small fixed income and your rent just went up, or you just lost one of your three part time jobs. Your little family includes a dog or a cat or a few of them. How do you cope? Where can you cut expenses? Plus you are pretty sure that nobody really cares about your struggles. Then one day a big new fresh bag of pet food shows up on your porch. Now you know that someone cares! Someone has helped you this month, someone with a heart for animals! What a wonderful feeling. Maybe you can keep your cherished pets after all.
Do you know of a neighbor with pets who is struggling financially? Please think about an anonymous gift of pet food, a gift that may help keep the pets from making a tragic one-way trip to the pound. Remember that in many regressive municipalities, pets who are surrendered by their owners are not required to be kept alive for a mandatory period like stray animals, so they may die shortly after entering. That bag of pet food just might be the gift of life.
Click here to download for free an anonymous greeting card that reads “From my cat to your cat” or “From my dog to your dog.”
Not only can you possibly prevent a needless death, you can help your neighborhood be more neighborly. Your compassionate actions may contribute to a stronger sense of connection to the community for you and your neighbor both. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Live it.
Mary with her two-legged sister
Readers might recall the long post about the rescue of Mary and her companion George a few months ago. Mary was a neglected, sick, skinny, breeding Boxer kept in an old abandoned building in east Kentucky. She and George were rescued and transported to the Minneapolis/St. Paul region by Minnesota Boxer Rescue and I was one of the relay drivers who brought her to the north. Many people were involved in her rescue and rehabilitation. I was very moved by her sweet, loving nature and her terrible early life. Mary was treated for heartworm and other ailments and her loving foster mom and dad taught her how to be a house dog. They made her adoptable and deserve much of the credit. Read the original post about Mary here.
Mary grew up in a horrible environment but today she is a princess. She is greatly loved by her new family. Her mom writes: “She is really a sweet, sweet dog, and her foster worked very hard with her to train her to sit, stay, come, etc. Mary always waits for me to go up or down the stairs and through doorways. She weighs about 40 pounds now, and has no trouble eating! She’s so fun when she gets excited – she jumps! All four paws off the ground a good foot, while at the same time, managing a Boxer wiggle in the air. She loves to chase a ball around the back yard, which is fenced in and big enough for her to get a good run in. She usually runs 4 – 5 times around the yard. Then she’s done and has to take a break in the sun. She also likes to play ‘keep away’ with one of my daughter’s dolls. It’s great to see Mary running around the backyard (slowly, for her) and my daughter chasing after her, laughing.”
George was adopted by the knowledgeable, loving foster family who cared for them both. They wrote that they just couldn’t part with him. See George and his four-legged family at right. George is top row, right; look at this excellent group sit! Since Mary and George’s families are only about 45 minutes apart, they have had a few play dates.
To everyone who had a role in Mary’s and George’s rescue and recovery: BLESS YOU, it was worth it. Big time! Bless your kind heart. Bless every one of you. Every minute, every dollar, every mile. Mary and George no longer eat old kibble off the icky floor of an old empty building. They don’t suffer from parasites any more. Mary’s eyes and nose are healthy and clear. She has a big soft bed and watches TV with Dad at night. George is adored by his new family and he plays with four Boxer siblings every day. They both bring joy to their new families and bask in their love every day. THANK YOU everyone!
Watch and listen for stray hunting dogs in rural areas during the hunting season; where may be coldly abandoned for poor performance and some may be lost. Some may be wounded from encounters with feral pigs or wild predators. Dogs don’t know how to feed themselves in the woods unless they have been taught. Feed them and help them any way you can. Call any authorities you trust to uphold compassionate animal welfare standards.
Coonhound found in the woods is saved
Austin, the big Treeing Walker Coonhound (best guess) pictured here, was picked up by animal control in the dead of winter in a Wisconsin woods. He was thin, cold, shy, and suffering from Lyme Disease when he arrived at the shelter. He has several scars on his legs that told of hunts near barbed wire fences and open cuts left to heal without stitches. His owners did not call the humane society to claim him. (By the way, this handsome couch potato is not up for adoption. He has a loving home now … ours.)
Many coon hunters are very responsible dog owners who go to great lengths to keep their dogs safe or search for their missing dogs … and as you might expect, some hunters are not. Austin’s owner probably didn’t know what to do with him. Austin is terrified of loud noises like gun shots and thunder. So did his owner give up on him? Was he dumped or just lost during a gun hunt? We’ll never know.
As you travel along rural roads and highways or while you hike in state forests, watch and listen for signs of lost and wandering or trapped hunting dogs. Barking in the woods is not typical unless a home is located there. Go investigate. Remember the true story of hikers in a state forest who heard barking in the distance and followed the sound until they found a hunting dog who had fallen into a sink hole; the dog was unable to climb out. Those hikers saved that dog. His owner was a coon hunter who had been searching for his missing dog for many days. Hunting dogs can wander many miles. It was a very happy reunion.
Watch Tip for week of Oct. 10:
Watch and listen for misguided youth who torment neighborhood dogs and cats. If you hear wailing and shrieking that does not sound quite human, immediately run toward the sound and shout loudly to stop them—the tormentors will likely run off to avoid your identification. Or call 9-1-1 to summon the authorities if these youth are too dangerous to confront.
Watch Tip for Week of Oct. 3:
As you travel country roads, watch for signs of fighting dogs tied out to posts or trees in fields and forests, without human habitation nearby, often without shelter. They are neglected and need help. They can die in severe weather. Call any authorities you trust to uphold compassionate animal welfare standards.
Some dog fighters don’t keep their dogs at home…
Because they don’t want to arouse suspicion about participating in an illegal sport, some dog fighters don’t keep their fighting dogs at home. They chain them to posts. They hide them in fallow fields, patches of woods, dry creek beds. Or they may hide them in long-vacant buildings. Before dawn or after dark, the owners stealthily feed and water their animals every few days. Unbelievably, they will even raise litters of puppies in these terrible conditions.
If you happen to drive by someone headed into a field or woods and toting a bucket or two, take notice. Come back later. If that person is gone, holler out loudly and see if you can raise a bark or two coming from that same direction. Talk to any nearby neighbors as well. If you become convinced that dogs are being kept in remote locations away from human habitation, you must take action. These dogs are in danger of dying from exposure, from neglect, from sickness, or from attack by larger predators. Call any authorities you trust to uphold compassionate animal welfare standards.