Monday

Note to Rescues-Apt Dwellers Can Make Great Pet Parents


Have you ever noticed how many rescue groups advertise MUST have fenced yard? I have, perhaps because I don't have one.
Now this makes sense if you are adopting a large active breed of dog but a Pekingese or a Frenchie?     I think not.. It also makes me wonder just how knowlegeable many of these people making life decisions for these rescues really are.
Does the dog in these photos look deprived? Is he dirty, stained or matted?  Does he look miserable? No, miserable was being in the dog pound, not being in an apartment.

From the large number I have observed, I would say approximately 50 % of the rescues with small lap dogs won't let them go to an apartment. Sadly because they can't adopt a rescue, many of those apartment dwellers who could provide good homes, get discouraged and buy unwittingly from an unscrupulous breeder.  These rescue groups who deny them are effectively fueling the production of dogs being poorly bred by backyard breeders with health and temperament issues.


Dogs thrive well in the city, just ask any New Yorker. I once knew  a woman who had Afghan hounds in her Boston apartment, she showed them too. Sounds pretty extreme knowing their exercise requirements. Well conditioned and happy these dogs did not suffer from a lack of a back yard. They were taken to a nearby dog park several times a day to run and received plenty of exercise. You may say the average person is not that dedicated, but because apartment owners must get out with their dogs, they pay lots of  attention to them. And because they live in close quarters with other people, it is nearly impossible to neglect a dog as other tenants will report it far faster than a dog in a house with neighbors farther away.
Apartment dwellers are required by the landlords to produce proof of vaccinations, whereas a home dweller is not. So a home owner can skip yearly vet visits and an apartment dweller cannot. My point is, if you are not going to take care of a dog, an apartment is an unlikely place to get away with it.

 Home dwellers can open the back door and just let the dog out, for hours at a time, unmonitored.  Most dogs who get lost do so from their owners yards. An apartment owner must walk their dog several times a day and stay with them when they romp in the dog park. And working apartment owners are much more likely to use dog day care. A friend who runs one told me almost all her clients live in apartments.

 So why all the prejudice against apartment dwellers?

Most apartment dwellers have no children or they are already grown, so the dog becomes a surrogate child. Dogs love being the center of attention, especially dogs who have come from an unwanted and abused background.
To these rescues who are prejudice against apartment living  I say this - there are millions of dogs living happily in apartments all across America. To deny potential good homes is just wrong. Do a home visit, if you see something you don't like then fine, but to deny people a dog just because you don't like their chosen legitimate lifestyle is ludicrous. Two months ago I saw a special needs dog I knew would flourish under my care as I had experience with managing his health issue. I was told the little guy, over age 10 must have a backyard to run in, and I was denied. Now his picture on the website says in bold letters..TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR THIS ONE. But he could be living with me, spoiled to pieces and his special needs tended to. Who knows what will happen to him now. And there is nothing I can do to help him.
Granted, not all rescues condemn apartment life. Some give everyone an equal chance in home visits. But the small dog rescues who will not consider an apartment, the ones who say no without even asking the person's dog experience, astound me.

These people are selling these dogs short!

There are times when I wish that people applying for charity status to run rescues also had to demonstrate proof that they actually understand dogs and their needs. How many more dogs could be saved if these groups would allow some of their rescue dogs to live in apartments? Every time a dog is placed, another dog can be rescued.

 It is the person, not the house that makes a good home for a dog.

It is not how much money they CAN spend on care, but how much they WILL spend on care. I once rescued 22 dogs from a woman who lived in the richest part of town..her dogs were all matted, neglected and starving. But her house was spotless. ..yet the dogs were ignored in that overly important backyard...


Thursday

The Adoption Option and Unregulated Retail Rescues.


Recently I have been attempting to adopt another dog. I have inquired from several local rescues...and been turned down by each. My friends rolled with laughter but I didn't find it funny. As someone who has rescued countless dogs, has been a vet tech, had her own grooming business, competed in obedience, conformation, and the field, was a volunteer for a local Canine Good Citizen program, trained and certified a Therapy dog, is writing a book, and has enough holistic knowledge that veterinarians have consulted her from as far away as Alaska, I am insulted.
In my search I have learned first hand that many rescues have no intent to adopt out the dog they have advertised. If a rescue advertises a dog with special needs who needs a special home, I see a dog my experience can help. But all they want is someone to press that donation button. Chances are that dog doesn't even exist.
Adoption has become big business.


Dogs are being imported from other countries for some rescues to sell.
Other adoption charities are just fronts for puppy mill breeders who release dogs that they have worn out.
Local animal control facilities do for the most part work with local rescues to save  mostly purebred dogs..but once animal control has turned over the dog they are free to sell it.  There is no city follow up to see what happened to the dog.
People are making way too much money off of adoptions. One dog I inquired about had not even had his heart checked or a blood panel work up. But he had his shots, which they probably bought at Tractor Supply for five dollars and gave themselves. The cost of adopting this dog ? Five hundred dollars. They had him only two days and had less than 50 dollars invested in him. Sure I realize that sometimes the cost covers the medical bills of another dog. But this was a tiny rescue out of 3 peoples' homes. It was obvious this charity was income for these people. As someone who has in the past, spent so much of her own income on rescue dogs I am feeling disillusioned. When animal haters pEta and HSUS came into existence, the need for rescue swelled to huge numbers. Why is that? It is good that there are more laws on the books to prosecute animal abusers and stop puppy millers..but why is it that there are more abusers and more puppy mills than before? I am old enough to remember when the word puppy mill didn't even exist, and neither did they. Now they supply too many rescue organizations. Many of the dogs being imported from foreign countries like Mexico are just coming from American puppy mills that have moved to avoid prosecution. They use their network of retail rescues to sell their dogs under the guise of 'being rescued'. This isn't adopting, it is shopping.
How can you be sure you are not getting swindled? How can you be sure you are not buying from a puppy mill front?  There are good charities out there but there are more bad ones. So you can either adopt from Animal Control, or a National Breed Rescue.
And you can always be put on a waiting list from a reputable AKC breeder but the wait will in all likelihood be a long one. Both a reputable breeder and a National Breed Rescue will vet you thoroughly. If you pass the vetting process it will be well worth it. National Breed Rescues spare no veterinary expense on adoptable dogs and reputable breeders don't either. AKC.org is a good place to start to look for both a National Breed rescue and a reputable breeder.
And be patient, it takes time.

Texas Vets Allegedly Euthanize This Dog for Being Old


Look at that face, how could someone kill her? Allegedly two Texas vets did just that on October 6th at a  Texas Shelter even after two fosters offered  to help her out. Her crime? BEING OLD.
She deserved a second chance, but allegedly these two doctors, didn't think so.
Many, many senior dogs are put down for no reason other than old age. Yes seniors often have health problems, but no more than any poorly bred puppy mill pup. Yes, your time with a senior is limited, but they come already house trained and full of doggy wisdom.
This really struck a nerve in me because I adopted my own Japanese Chin senior when he was old too. He has given me four years so far of unconditional love and been a pure delight to live with. He enjoys his toys and runs in the park as much as any younger dog. I don't know a single person who has adopted a senior and regretted it. Not one.
I emailed the veterinarians, who allegedly refused to let her be fostered. They did not respond. Many Jap Chin rescue groups would have taken her in, yet these doctors chose to end her life, why? Volunteer staff on hand claim there was nothing wrong with her except for her age.
Why is it that these doctors info pages at one of the businesses they run, paint them as animal lovers, yet they chose to kill this one? Was it because she couldn't make them any money ? Most vets under county contract are paid per procedure. Is it possible that letting a foster take her would cut into what they get paid for killing dogs? If caring for animals was a priority instead of looking at her as a procedure fee wouldn't they have let her go into the rescue system? Many rescues would have paid any medical bills she would incur.
To make this even more suspicious, the volunteer workers claim that the  County City Council voted to get rid of these two veterinarians from their payroll yet they fought back by getting lawyers to keep them in.  When did running a shelter become so lucrative? Had they been terminated in August as the City Council wanted  perhaps the sweet faced little girl pictured above would still be alive.

The headline of a corporation they own says this -

ENHANCING THE HUMAN/ANIMAL BOND

 Really? Someone should have told that poor Japanese Chin.

 Why are volunteers at the shelter calling for the removal of these doctors? Why did the city council become dissatisfied with their employment?
And why are not more people outraged?

I am reprinting here the words of a Texas volunteer who works with rescue and alerted us about this dog.

I have rescued pekingese in Texas and there is a huge wonderful peke network out in cyberland who helps. When a peke landed in this shelter, my response was always the same until lately. This shelter WAS WONDERFUL. They had a fantastic foster program and the furry fuzzies went to fosters asap until adopted. We were not needed to rescue them. I told folks No worries. Please move on to one in danger. A few months ago the county 'let go' the wonderful director and hired a team of 2 vets who had their own for profit agenda. Things changed drastically and many dogs died needlessly.
. This little senior was owner surrendered October 6 because she is old. 2 volunteer folks were there and begged to take her home to forever foster for the rest of her time on earth. The vets took her and killed her the same day. This is unacceptable and MUST CHANGE! I have been told city council voted the vets out in August but the vets hired a lawyer to appeal so they are still in charge of the shelter. Please share. This is just one dog. Imagine how many others. 
frown emoticon we rescued a Japanese Chin senior that could be this one's twin. She was adopted and had a happy life until she passed on her own terms. Even if the 2 fosters had been denied, we would have taken her and R.D. would have given her a fantastic senior life. This baby was a dollar sign and never given a chance. What kind of vets would do this when great alternative options were standing in front of them?


NOTE: after this was originally published, one of the doctors did respond.
He claimed that he examined the 12 yr old Chin and found her to  have a heart murmur grade 4 to possibly 5/6, cataracts, and some arthritis. The owner said she has seizures.These are all typical conditions for a 12 yr old Japanese Chin.  None of which would deter a breed rescue from taking her in, nor would it deter some from adopting her.
Cataract surgery is common in this breed and many dogs live happy lives even with cataracts. Both her heart condition, seizures and arthritis are easily controlled with the proper meds and diet. I have accomplished this myself as have many others.
But here is the part that really bothered me. The woman who owned this Chin surrendered her to animal control. The vet claims he was in surgery and examined the Chin after she left and that he called her and asked if the Chin could be put into foster care..he claims the woman said no, she wanted her put down. Well that may be true, and in some states if an owner tells a vet clinic to euthanize a dog they are required by law to do so..but this woman didn't take her dog to a vet clinic, she took her to animal control and surrendered her.

WHEN YOU SURRENDER YOUR DOG TO A SHELTER YOU SURRENDER ALL YOUR RIGHTS TO THE DOG.
Therefore a suitable breed rescue could have been called  but wasn't. Two volunteer rescue people were there when the Chin was surrendered and offered to foster her. When I asked the vet about this he replied the dog would have suffered in the care of these fosters. Well, if they are such bad volunteers why is he letting them work there?
I have already contacted the shelter and told them this has to stop. And I honestly think enough media attention has happened now that at this particular Texas shelter, it won't happen again. But that is just one shelter. Shelters all over America consider age a factor when disposing of dogs. We need to educate people on the value of our senior dogs.
 I don't know how a person can call themselves compassionate and put a needle  in a dog like this when the dog has other options. We can't bring her back and give her the meds and love she needed. But we can adopt another senior in need. October is senior month. I love my adopted senior who is well into his teens. His small adoption fee was the best money I ever spent, so please consider a senior dog.
Look at her little face..and do it in her honor.

Please note many reader comments that named the person and the facility that killed this dog have been removed for obvious reasons. Thanks, and if you care about the plight of senior dogs please share. One final note, I have  just received photos of deplorable conditions in that shelter and permission to publish a letter presented verbally to the council leaders complaining of the management of the facility by these two veterinarians. The names of the doctors are omitted by me for obvious reasons. Quite honestly, the state of Texas should be ashamed.

Dear Commissioners,
Since voting unanimously to remove (omitted) Corporation as the managing entity at (shelter name omitted), things seem to have hit a standstill.  Nothing has happened, no sweeping changes have been made, no exit date has been given, no plan has been presented to the public, the animals continue to suffer.  I can say the animals continue to suffer because an employee who does not want to be identified, said they have just quit counting the number of animals "DIK".  That means dead in kennel.  Another volunteer stated that one of the cat kennel techs does not fill out any treatment sheets at all, just waits for them to stop eating/drinking and die on their own.  The last 2 Saturdays, fosters have shown up at the shelter for sick clinic, with their sick animals needing to be seen by a vet, only to be told there were no vets there!  Fosters and volunteers continue to be confused by constantly changing protocols and rules.  

Per the letter you received on September 2 , written by a former employee, false medication logs are frequently filled out, medical care is not up to par (not by a long shot), employees are fired under false pretenses. Here's one piece of that letter:  I recall one event where I was pulled off feral room duty and placed elsewhere for a few days, only to return to feral room to find the door locked and when opened kennels full of animals who had not been fed or watered, some deceased with mold on their food, mold that did not get there if they had been fed and watered the day before.   Why in the world would you allow this to continue for even one more day?  It's unethical, disgusting and illegal!  Another former employee has said that they also adjust the time clock so that no one gets overtime, even if that employee is still working.  I'm sure you realize laws are being broken.  The rescue group I volunteer with has been banned from pulling animals, because a few of our volunteers have spoken out about (omitted) Corp.  This too is illegal.  Our right to speak out about abuses and violations seen at an animal control facility is protected by federal law.  I even asked you to remedy the situation and that request was ignored.  Luckily, the ACLU does take such cases.

I've heard over and over again that situations arise that need immediate attention and Dr. XXX, Dr. ZZZ are unreachable.  Dr. XXX has even been heard to say that he has no emotions for animals at all.  Um...maybe he should not be working in a shelter that's supposed to be saving and caring for animals??  And do I need to mention the inappropriate behavior exhibited by Dr.ZZZ?  You know, behavior like referring to a former employee as "Ms. Booty" to various employees, volunteers and random members of the public?  How about asking an employee (who is no longer working there...imagine that) to "tuck him in" while attending an out of town conference?  

The accumulation of evidence from January to the present should be more than enough to terminate the contract with (omitted) Corp.  When can we expect them to leave?  When will the public be presented with the new management plan for the shelter?  I've watched (omitted) County Animal Control go from wanting to be more like (name omitted) from years past, to being a shelter we need to look to for direction.  Dr. White is the lead vet there now and he is amazing. Can we expect to see someone like him as the lead vet at (name omitted) soon?  You have an army of volunteers waiting to return to the shelter and help take it in the right direction.  We attended the Target Zero meeting, we've come to you in court, we've written you, we've met with you...and still we wait.

Authors note: in only a few days there has been  much furor over the death of this Chin and the poor conditions at the shelter. yourhoustonnews.com reports that the vets who run the facility will be out soon.
http://m.yourhoustonnews.com/courier/news/county-care-corporation-will-be-out-of-animal-shelter-soon/article_8c0edcc6-b395-5b74-bf15-6bfeb70068f7.html?mode=jqm