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How to Adopt a Stray Dog

Mar 21, 2013

Adopting a stray dog for dog lovers

As proud owners of our faithful dogs, we sometimes worry about what would happen if they got lost. They sometimes dig under the fence or find occasion to go exploring without our knowledge, but they come back most of the time. However, on the occasions this doesn’t happen, a dog ends up homeless, wandering around in the neighborhoods and streets.

What happens when you come upon a stray one? There are a few things to consider when finding a stray dog and even more to consider if you think you should keep them as your own.

Finding a stray pup

Always be cautious when approaching a stray dog. They may be aggressive or sometimes sick. Be aware of their paws and claws at all times. You don’t know them and they don’t know you, so they’ll likely be watching you just as keenly. Additionally, don’t approach an ownerless dog while your dog is with you, chances are they’ll get tangled up, which could scare off the stray.

Be aware of your surroundings even as you make the first approach. Don’t cause a scene, hold up traffic, or put yourself in harm’s way when approaching an ownerless puppy. If they run from you, don’t chase as it will only scare them even further. Instead, entice them with goodies, which you should deliver if they abide.

If you’re going to catch a dog, the best tools to use are water and food left out for them. Many dogs tend to be a little shy at first, but will quickly warm up to you once you’ve fed them and shown a little love. This will give you both a chance to examine and study one another, building that initial trust. In many cases, it’s wise not to try to catch a dog on your own, so call for assistance or back-up from a fellow pet owner or someone familiar with dogs (which is preferable).

Taking care of them 

Your own pup may be vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean the stray is. If they don’t have a collar, don’t let them mingle with your other dogs or pets. Several popular diseases, such as distemper, can affect young puppies very easily and are difficult to detect until it’s too late.

Be sure that you wash your hands regularly when handling a stray dog. This will prevent any spread of dirt and germs that could make both you and your pets sick.

Investigate

It is up to you to find out if there’s a rightful owner. Do they have a collar? A collar can hint to the fact that they’ve had a family and may have simply escaped.

While it may sound a little outrageous, you should ask them if they know where their home is (not literally). Quite simply, walk them around the neighborhood (it’s a good idea to use some of your dog’s old collars and leashes). Do they want to go somewhere in particular? Do they get excited in certain surroundings? Is someone looking for them? In most situations, a neighbor will recognize a puppy, and can help direct you towards the owners. If that doesn’t work, you can always put up “Lost Puppy” posters.

Make them comfortable

But in the meantime, you may be housing an extra boarder. So, it’s up to you to provide a good home during their stay with you. This would include a warm and comforting environment and possibly a toy to play with or chew on while you figure things out. Are they scared of being tied up or leashed? You don’t want to instill fear in your new-found friend, so begin taking note of their behavior immediately.

If you can’t find anyone to claim your stray dog, you may start considering something different. Should you adopt them? They found you, so perhaps it was meant to be. Always consider what you’ll need to do to adopt a new friend to ensure their health, comfort, and safety.

Taking them to the vet should be high on your priority list. This is to have them checked out and also see if they may have a tracking chip. If they are given a clean bill of health, take them to begin life as a new member of the family.

While not every dog that’s wandering around is necessarily stray, it doesn’t mean they all have homes. If you find a friend out wandering around, it could be a relationship destined to occur. Just be ready to take on the commitments of caring for your adopted dog- wherever they may have come from.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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October is Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month

Oct 24, 2012

Dog lovers adopt a dog at your local shelter this October

The fall is here and the cool air makes it wonderful to take walks around the neighborhood, or hang around in the park and watch the leaves fall in the wind. It’s also quite possibly one of the best months to have a man’s best friend to enjoy these times with.

A brief history of shelter dogs

Over a hundred and eighty years ago, the first animal shelter was founded in Great Britain. It wasn’t until 1866 that Henry Burgh initiated the ASPCA here in America. The first shelters were founded in 1894 and since then, shelters have housed homeless pets that were given up on by their owners. Thus, October has been designated as Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month to help families and dogs come together and promote the need to find homes for our four-legged friends.

There are a lot of dogs without homes and are living in your hometown shelter, instead of enjoying the free air of the great outdoors and a companion to share their life with. Many of these dogs are given up on by their owners because of incompatibility, lifestyle changes, and sometimes for reasons (more like excuses) like ‘the dog did not live up to the owner’s expectations’. However, the fact remains that there are no bad dogs, just bad owners who do not understand what it takes to build a solid relationship with their companion. And truth be told, not everyone is a dog person (even those that sometimes think they are).

Find a compatible friend

While it may seem unlikely that you would find a quality companion at a shelter, the reality is that your options are almost limitless. Dogs of all breeds and sizes come in every day, so it is very unlikely that any future dog owner would be unable to find a compatible friend here.

You’ll be able to pick a dog that matches your personality. Do you have a lot of energy? Perhaps you enjoy relaxing. Outdoor activities more like your style? Could you be searching for a playmate for your other pup? Having a dog companion to do all this and more is more reason to visit the shelter and pick out one.

When you visit the shelter, ask whether you can spend some time with the dog before you settle on a final decision. You want to be certain that you make the best decision for the both of you, and that they’ll be comfortable in your home setting and lifestyle. For some, it can be difficult to say no to the so many puppy-dog eyes that just want someone to be their friend. However, it’s always best to keep both you and the dog’s best interests in mind.

Upon adoption, all dogs are vaccinated and treated, so you don’t have to worry about these expenses during your first trip to the vet. In other words, it is possibly the most economical route for adding a dog to your family. Aside from the cost of the shots, adoption fees amounts are normally a matter of a few dollars. Just be sure that your home and heart are ready for the new family member (don’t forget food, water, time, and a lot of love).

Share with your friends

You don’t necessarily have to adopt a dog; you can always play a part by sharing information with others you know. Social networks help information travel fast, so why not post a few hints and recommendations for your friends and associates to see and take note. Every time someone reads and shares, it becomes more likely that a shelter dog will find a new home.

You can also locate a shelter close to you and inquire how you can help promote adoptions this month. Flyers, posters, and volunteers can help spread the word about shelter adoption and motivate pet lovers to open their home to a new companion. Playing a part, no matter how small it may seem, will help a shelter dog find a happy home. Don’t hesitate to help in any way you can.

Bailee, of Midland Texas, is the proud owner of Dragster, a Welsh corgi, and annually adopts a shelter dog who is on the verge of being euthanized. She pays for all the shots and vet bills, and then she searches for an owner, making sure it is just not anyone who gets to keep the dog. She finds prospective owners that can provide a good home and gives the dog away to make someone’s life that much better.

This October, do your part as a fellow pet lover or owner and help spread the word about your local shelter. Whether you’re planning on taking a new friend home or just helping a friend find a companion to share their life with, it is possible to make someone’s life better.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Welcoming Your New Rescued Sweetheart

Jun 15, 2012

Proper dog care for your adopted dog

Adopting a dog is a wonderful feeling, especially when their happy tail and bottom wag around to find that they’ve finally joined their new family. But while the initial introductions are an awesome experience, adjusting to their new environment and new friends will still take a little time. That’s why it’s important as your dog’s new and loving owner to ensure that you welcome your dog into their new home as smoothly as possible.

Know who your dog is

Start out by getting as much information from the shelter as possible. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t take just their words to heart. A trip to the vet is your next step which needs to be done as soon as possible. From there, you’ll be able to get an idea of the health and condition of your new friend. This is because most animal shelters are overwhelmingly populated and as dogs come and go, information can be lost or simply misled. An initial visit to the vet will give you an in-depth look into your dog’s care, age, and present health condition which you’ll need to address with a particular diet and other specific needs.

A special place in your home

The next stage involves your home and everyone in it. Family members should be introduced first, and then any other pets you might have. When introducing dogs to each other, it’s always a good idea to set up a neutral meeting zone where they can sniff and inspect one another so that there are no “violation of territory” issues inside the home.

After that, it’s time to arrange household duties concerning dog care. Make sure that everyone knows what responsibilities they are supposed to take care of to ensure the proper care of the new family member. Feeding times should be arranged, as well as a potty training orientation. This is why it is crucial that everyone is aware of the boundaries within the house, such as no access to the bathrooms, kitchen, or particular living areas. This should also incorporate a familiarization with feeding areas and sleeping quarters.

Because your new family member’s habits will be unpredictable, don’t let them run free so soon. Keep them leashed and watch them with a careful eye. Many newly adopted dogs may prefer a crate in order to help them feel secure, especially if they’ve spent a lot of their life in a kennel. If that is the case, giving them a crate to designate as their own special private place in the home will ease their transition into their new lifestyle.

Getting to know each other

Be sure you have the time to spend with your new dog. If you bring them home without being able to spend the time handling and training them, they’ll have a far more difficult time adapting to their new home. These first few days and the proceeding weeks will be the foundation that your relationship will be built on for the rest of your lives.

Start out by getting to know each other through regular activities you would normally do, or used to do by yourself. Go for walks through the park and regularly interact with other people and their dogs (there is an increased likelihood of squirrel chasing during this time of year so be sure you use a leash at all times). You’ll need to focus on basic training, which is an especially effective method for teaching your new dog the basic tricks, such as “stay” and “return” while continuously developing a relationship. These are the basics for safety, and even if they’re familiar with the commands already, it’s important that they become accustomed to hearing your voice and listening to you. Also be sure to frequently use their name when addressing them so they’ll get used to knowing when they’re supposed to be involved in your conversations.

It’s also popular practice taking obedience classes together. Many local pet stores and professionals will work with dogs and their owners, providing helpful hints and covering the basics so that you can teach your dog to learn. This experience also gives the both of you a chance to spend quality time together while associating with other dogs and their owners.

Be patient with them. You don’t always know how your dog lived before they met you and their old habits may still be deeply imbedded. But with a lot of love and plenty of attention, your newly adopted dog will learn that they are here to stay.

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Adopt a Senior Pet Month

Nov 11, 2011

photoThis November is Adopt a Senior Pet month for our four-legged friends. And while picking up a cute canine companion can bring happiness to your home, there are also the elder pups to consider. Sadly, senior pups are often the most avoided when it comes to adopting, but they still need a home, too. For some folks, a young puppy with a furiously wagging tail and an excited attitude are important to an owner. But consider an older pup for a moment- quiet and calm, waiting only to be with you. Perhaps those are the best qualities that make a faithful companion.

Adopting the senior pup

Most pups reach their seniority at around seven years, depending on their breed and size. Here, most pups have begun to travel down that “old-age” hill, their physically prime years have passed them by. But that does not mean that they aren’t just as happy as a pup. In fact, they’ve learned a great many things and had many experiences.

If you’re interested in adopting an older pup, they actually have their own category on adoption lists. Your local animal shelter will likely have them posted on their website, so all you have to do is click on “Senior.” You can even go by and check things out for yourself to see if any of those faces and tails match your heart.

Taking care of your senior pup

A senior pup handles quite a bit differently than a puppy. Their age has brought them wisdom and years of learning- possibly both good and bad habits. Training should always start with covering the basics. This will help you get accustomed to what your pup knows and what they like to do. They may prefer certain foods, places they like to hang out, and even a certain spot to potty. Start by housetraining them. Show them where to potty, and what is acceptable. Don’t forget that positive reinforcement is the right way to enforce good and bad.

Older pups will usually have some aging conditions, such as arthritis, so make sure you take them to the vet within the first few days of their arrival to ensure their health. Though they may be older, their health still should be a top priority.

Since arthritis is very common amongst older dogs, it’s important to know how to handle them. They’ll likely show stiff signs or placing weight on one leg. Puppy massage can be a fun and relaxing time for your older pup. You can rub their joints, usually their hind legs, while they’re laying down. To help with circulation, a good chest rub is always in order. Their paws are usually a little worn out, just like ours will get, so rubbing between their little digits can prove most enjoyable.

The nice thing about senior pups is that you actually pass by all those wild years of untapped activity. While some may want a dog that is extremely active, not everyone actually has the time to handle all a young pup can dish out. If you’re looking for a pup that is there to be with you, even if just to sit by the fire with you as you read the latest novel, a senior pup may just be the right friend for you.

To most people, an aged puppy may seem a little worn out, as though they were merely a device or toy. But consider this: wine is aged for years- and the older it gets, the better it tastes. So why not pups as well? A pup aged to perfection just for you.

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National Animal Shelter Week

Nov 9, 2011

photoAnimal shelters do more than just hold on to furry critters until they can find a home- they play a big part in your community’s efforts. Along with sheltering our four-legged friends, they also protect against cruelty, animal neglect, locating and reuniting lost friends, and even provide efforts to reduce animal overpopulating through spay and neuter services. All these services take a lot of effort to maintain, and it can be hard with the very little funding they receive.

National Animal Shelter week is dedicated to acknowledging and promoting the role shelters play in their communities. What we can do is carry that torch onward and help support the animal shelters in our community by doing our part to help our four-legged friends find some happy homes and families.

Spread the word

Word of mouth is a well-known marketing skill- and it works. Tell your friends about what’s going on, and bring it up in conversations. Nowadays, there is wide spread use of the internet which is connecting everyone to everyone else. Consider linking your local animal shelter’s information to your Facebook page or Twittering a link to help get the word out. Awareness is often the biggest part of any event.

You can also try promoting your local shelter with the classic flyers and banners. Simple as it may sound, a simple letter or flyer letting folks know what’s going on can really get the word out there. Post them on telephone poles or on bulletin boards so that others can see and know.
Children will someday be adults, so involving them with supporting pet adoption can help them become aware of the world they will one day grow into. Let them know what animal shelters do and their role in their community.

Promote adoption

If you’ve been thinking about adding a friend to your own homestead, November is definitely the time to do it. Tell your friends about adoption as well. Many people don’t know that you can easily adopt a pup from the animal shelter and give a homeless pup a happy home. You can even take a moment to support adoption efforts by clicking the “like” button on the Shelter Pet Project page on Facebook.

Donations to keep those tails wagging

Some of us want to help directly by donating to the cause. Financially, many organizations have made contributions, both big and small, that help their local shelters continue their efforts and reach out to help others as well. A few coins here and there can really add up, so don’t think that you shouldn’t drop that extra change in your pocket into their funds just because it isn’t enough. When you’re helping, anything you can do is better than doing nothing at all.

Supplies!

Donations aren’t limited to monetary amounts. Items such as blankets, towels, and toys can help as well. Often, your local animal shelter will have a “wish list” posted on their website. You’d be surprised at how much a few items can really help, especially with the cold winter approaching.

Throw in a helping paw

Many shelters will welcome volunteer workers. If you have a few hours or some extra time, consider helping your four-legged friends this November. There may be a variety of types of shelters around, so find one that is right for you.

Take a few moments to thank your local animal shelter for the love and care they give our animal friends. And remember, supporting your local animal shelter doesn’t have to be extravagant, any and all help is appreciated. So do what you can to keep those tails wagging towards a happy home.

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Pick Me!

Oct 17, 2011

It’s bedtime. The old man snores a bit, though it is not as bad tonight. Usually, his sleep keeps me from my own. The day was exciting, and I’m sure we’re both a little tuckered out. We went for a walk, saying hello to some of the dogs and neighbors. The old man seemed really happy today, especially after chatting with a lady down the road. She gave him a pie she had made just for him (although he allowed me to have a piece, and I love apple pie). I can’t help but notice the difference I’ve made in his life, and he’s changed mine as well.

I think back to the time before I was brought to my home. I spent a long time in the cages, and before that is just a distant memory that has faded with my newfound happiness. The cages, though, were not so wonderful. There were lots of dogs, but few of them were my friends. Most were busy chasing their tails out of boredom, and the rest just sat around- waiting for someone to take them home.

The cage I was in held three other pups and me. They played together a lot, mostly wrestling and chatting with one another. They constantly talked about their days of freedom and cat chasing, the bigger pup often teasing the basset hound about his short legs. We played around when the days seemed to long, but most times, they were a little too rough for me (I’ve got a big heart, but my body isn’t exactly dog-tastic).

On that special day, two strangers arrived at the door, looking and examining each of us. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, since every dog in the kennel was barking wildly. I just sat and stared at them. I’ve always been able to hold my composure, not letting anything get me wound up or out of control.

They looked and pointed at the others in my cage, all three of whom were going wild with excitement. I put my paw on the cage door and gave them my best “Pick me!” look.

Well, it worked.

On the way home, I was super excited, but remained outwardly calm. I nudged my new owners with my nose, enjoying their scent and affection. The woman held me tightly, telling me how cute I was. My tail wagged to agree.

We stopped at my new home. A nice place, not huge, but big enough for a pup my size. The door opened up, and I sprang out and began sniffing my new surroundings. I marked a few spots and then proceeded to smell the fresh air. There was a garden near. I detected fresh fruit and some flowers, probably roses. Then my new family called to me, so I followed them into the house.

The inside didn’t smell as lively. There was something…sad about it. I looked around, spotting a piano and a comfy looking couch. My family walked through the home, calling out for “Daddy,” but I didn’t follow them. They walked down the hall and went up the stairs. I followed my nose instead. The back door was ajar, so I nudged it open and looked out. A man was sitting on the porch. He seemed lonely, I could feel it. I walked up next to him and sat down, too. He was staring at his garden, the plants beginning to wilt. I nudged him with my nose, and let out a small grunt. It surprised him, but his expression quickly turned to relief. He stared down at me, his eyes brightening up.

“Hey there, buddy,” the old man said. “Where’d you come from?”

I told him that the others were looking for him, but he didn’t seem that concerned about it. Instead, he scooped me up and put me in his lap. Then he began to pet me as he examined my expression. My tail wagged, and the sadness faded from his eyes, just a little at first. But as time went on, he learned to be happy again. I guess he needs me just as much as I need him.

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own Rocky Adventures.

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ADOPT A PET MONTH – From Our Eyes

Oct 14, 2011

photoI’ve been here for a few weeks now, waiting for someone to come and take me home with them. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much traffic through here lately. One of our friends got picked yesterday. A family dropped by and took him to his new home, making the cage seem a little lonelier. Luckily, I’ve got a couple of pals to spend the time with. We chat on occasion, telling grand tales of freedom and running through the parks, chasing cats. But all we really want is for that right someone to walk through that door be as excited about us as we are about them.

Perhaps there is a little more to it, though. A home would be great, but the right home would be perfect. I often wonder to myself what the right companion would be like. Personally, I like to spend my time with my companion, a daily walk in the park and some quality time well spent. A little bit of space would be perfect, but I’m small enough that I’d be happy with anything.

The cages are quiet today, feeding time has come and gone, so everyone is just lazing about. Ace and Frank seem a little bored, both pups just lying around doing much of nothing, so I break the monotony. I ask Ace and Frank what they think their owners should be like.

“Gee, Benny, I don’t really know,” Ace says, his face deep in thought. I can tell he’s concentrating because his droopy expression is tensed up. “I kinda like to be my own dog most of the time. A companion would be nice, but I like some time to myself, too. You know, get into mischief, maybe tear up the neighbor’s garden on occasion.” Ace jumped up and added, “Gotta have some room to run or else I’d get bored.”

“Whatever,” Frank interrupted, “your little stubby legs would be happy with a tiny fenced-in yard.” Frank’s a good dog, but he likes to tease Ace about his stubby legs. Ace responded by tackling Frank, starting a wrestling match.

“Well, what about you?” I asked Frank. He was a wild character, so I knew he definitely needed some room to run, too.

“Me?” Frank stopped wrestling with Ace and started thinking. “I’d like someone to spend a lot of time with me. You know how I am, I love to play. It’d drive me nuts to be by myself all the time. Maybe some kids to play with, too. A few games of fetch in the park and tons of room to run and dig would be perfect.” Frank sat down and asked me, “What about you, Benny?”

I thought for a moment, trying to picture what the perfect home and companion would be like. “I’d like someone who is there to play with me, but I don’t really think they’d have to spend every waking moment with me. At least enough time so that I don’t think they’ve forgotten about me.”

I’ve had an owner before, long ago, but they didn’t want me anymore, so they brought me here. A companion would be great, but I don’t need attention as much as Frank does. The rascal loves attention. I figured Ace wouldn’t be as worried about spending time with an owner, he always talks about how much he enjoys his “alone time.” That lazy pup would likely just sit around and watch the Discovery channel all day long. At least, whenever he gets out of here.

I look around the cage. Really, all we want is for someone to come and take us home. I’d love someone that I could call “mine.” I know Frank definitely wants a whole family to play with, and even though Ace likes to be alone, deep down, I know he wants a family, too.

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ADOPT A PET MONTH – Choosing the Right Dog

Oct 12, 2011

photoBefore you introduce a new member to your family, there are some things you must first consider. You have to clarify what you and your family will desire from your new four-legged friend, and what the pup will need in their new home. Remember that you are not the only one whose life is about to change, so you want to be sure that you pick the right dog for you.

Consider the proposition of a pup

First, you must ask yourself – do you have the time for a puppy?  Can you spend lots of time with your pup? Busy schedules and work can overwhelm our lives, leaving little time to actually spend with a new dog. You’ll need to be able to take the time to properly train them and make sure their life is happy. This makes a large difference, especially to young puppies who need you to spend lots of time training.

Then, consider the amount of space you have to offer them. Is there lots of room?  Or perhaps you live in an apartment or condominium. If you live under a rented roof, you’ll have to consider the size of the dog you’ll adopt. Discuss with your landlord any requirements, as there are usually pet deposits and size limitations. You don’t want to put a Labrador in a small apartment. Having a pup join your life isn’t just about satisfying your needs.  Remember to consider the pup’s needs as well.

Also consider your budget. Money can play a big part in owning a doggy, so ask yourself – what can you afford for your pup? Consider the expenses of vet checkups, shots, dog food, housing, toys, and treats to keep them happy and healthy. You may not be able to afford to properly take care of a dog. And you don’t want to adopt them, only to return them when you can no longer afford to take care of them.

The right dog for your home

The Dog.  Now ask yourself what kind of pup you seek- do you like drooling, shedding, big or small, active, or perhaps even older? There are various combinations to choose from, and every one of them has the right owner, but you have to consider if you’re the right match for them.

When picking the right dog to join your family, consider any allergies, children, and other pets that will play a part in your pup’s life. Small children and other pets will greatly affect your pup’s lifestyle and ability to interact. If you have another dog, choose compatible breeds and genders. Gender can play a much larger role than you may think, as two females tend to interact better than a male and female or two males. For small children, such as infants, you’ll want to make sure your new friend doesn’t have access to them, at least until they’ve become adjusted to their new home.

Also remember that there may even be behavioral problems, such as bladder problems or aggressive tendencies. It is best to get a history on your future friend to make sure they will fit in with your family.

Choosing the right dog for you is more than just walking into a shelter and pointing a finger at a cute pup (they’re all cute). You have to make sure that you and your future friend are going to be a good match for one another, ensuring a house full of happiness.

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