By the numbers
Poppet didn’t know she was about to become a celebrity. All she knew was that she hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since midnight. On June 7, the 6-month-old Siamese-mix kitten was the 10,000th pet to be altered by WeSNIP, a nonprofit spay/neuter clinic in Bellingham, Wash., that provides low-cost and no-cost surgeries to pet owners in financial need. WeSNIP—the Whatcom Education, Spay & Neuter Impact Program—has been serving residents of Whatcom and Skagit counties since 2008, when veterinarian Karen Mueller began doing surgeries in a mobile operating suite dubbed the Spay Station. “The comfort level [was] zero,” says Chris Haulgren, a WeSNIP board member. “It was kind of like car camping.” The Spay Station was retired in 2010, and today spays and neuters are performed in a facility shared with an animal emergency care clinic to cut costs. Funded entirely by grants, fundraising events, and individual donors, WeSNIP has also been expanding its trap-neuter-return work to help control feral cat populations in rural areas. The impact of the organization’s work is evident at the Whatcom County Humane Society, which reports a 79 percent decrease in cats and 82 percent decrease in dogs euthanized for lack of space since WeSNIP has been in business.
May 25 was a big day for a big dog at the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor, Mich. Magoo, a 7-year-old Newfoundland-Great Dane mix, answered the call of duty to become the first canine adopted at the shelter though the national Pets for Patriots program. Pets for Patriots was created to find homes for harder-to-place animals with active or retired members of the U.S. military, who get a reduced adoption fee and discounts on veterinary care and supplies for the life of their pet. Magoo entered the shelter in October 2011 as a cruelty case, drastically underweight at 102 pounds; good nutrition and TLC quickly brought him up to a healthy 135 pounds. His laid-back personality attracted a lot of attention, but his size was problematic for those who felt they didn’t have enough space for him or worried about the cost of feeding him, says Deb Kern, Huron Valley’s marketing director. Finally, Magoo caught the eye of Peter Ayers, a U.S. Marine who was looking for a companion for his three young children. The Ayerses were taken with Magoo’s goofy, playful spirit, and proceeded to commission him for active duty in their household. For more information on Pets for Patriots, visit petsforpatriots.org.
A Doggone Good Deal
Here’s a deal that gives as good as it gets: Buy a bag of FreeHand’s new super-premium dog food, and the company—founded expressly to help homeless pooches—will give one to an animal shelter or rescue group. FreeHand is sold through retailers, veterinarians, pet-service providers, and the company’s website, where customers can choose which organization they would like their purchase to benefit. “We’re elated by the response we’ve gotten so far,” says founder and managing director Tom Bagamane. The holistic food line launched in June in Indianapolis, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Southern California; a month later more than 12,000 pounds of free kibble was delivered to rescue organizations in those areas. To cut down on overhead and devote more dollars to rescue, FreeHand does minimal media advertising, relying instead on its FreeHand Corps of volunteers to spread the word about the food and the donation program. For more information, go to lendafreehand.com.
Magna Cum Canine
Give your organization a little C.L.A.S.S. this season. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) is offering its popular Canine Life and Social Skills program free of charge to animal shelters and rescue groups to help dogs successfully transition into new homes. Adapted for use in shelters, the positive reinforcement training course keeps dogs active and engaged while they await adoption and gives them the skills they need to become well-adjusted family members. The shelter program is designed to take the burden off shelter staff by training volunteers to work with the animals using C.L.A.S.S. techniques. “[The dogs] learn basic life skills, like how to sit, stay, walk on a leash, go in a crate, give up a toy, things to help them fit in and be a good member of society,” says Mychelle Blake, president of APDT. Pooches who pass evaluation receive their “B.A.” and are touted as adoptable on the C.L.A.S.S. website. “To be able to say that a dog has been certified is a great marketing tool for shelters” says Blake. To find out how to bring C.L.A.S.S. to your group, go to mydoghasclass.com/shelters.
When the Spirit Moves You
Catster.com reports that when a family in Marin, Calif., felt uncomfortable in their house this past spring, they did what any of us would do: They called a psychic house cleaner. Sheldon Norberg, who holds a degree in psycho-spritual healing from San Francisco State University, knew immediately what was wrong: The house had been sited incorrectly on the lot and needed to be adjusted. However, as this could not be done physically, Norberg energetically adjusted the house on the ethereal plane, giving the house a quarter-turn so it would psychically face another direction. Problem solved. Until the next day, when the client called to say that his cat was behaving strangely, refusing to leave the downstairs study and pooping in the corner. Norberg realized that he had neglected to inform the cat about the energetic realignment—the poor thing couldn’t find the “new” position of his cat door (which was right in front of him) and felt trapped in the house. Norberg made a second trip to the home to explain the situation to the cat, assuring him that the cat door was still there, although it felt like it was in a different place.
Read the rest of this issue from Animal Sheltering magazine