Is it just me, or did Halloween sneak up on you this year? One minute, we were hosting Pet-A-Palooza and the next we were asked to judge the Pet-O-Ween costume contest at FCA Country Store, which was a ghoulish good time! BTW: be sure to check out the Photos in the Pet-O-Ween 2013 photo album on Facebook and vote for the Customer’s Choice award. The photo with the most likes at 3 pm on Friday, November 1, will receive a $50 gift card!
Since the spookiest day of the year is nearly upon us, Fur Kids Foundation wants to provide you with some tips on ways to keep your and your pet safe. We’ve dug around the Internet and found a couple of great blog posts by reputable organizations for you to check out.
If you’re dressing your pet up for Halloween, send Fur Kids Foundation a picture (email@example.com) or post it on our Facebook page or Tweet them to us. We want to see how you and your pet had fun, and stayed safe, while trick-or-treating.
ASPCA: No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents
Attention, animal lovers, it's almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying "trick or treat!" all the way to November 1. Read more.
ASPCA: Three Tips for Dressing Up Your Pet for Halloween
As most pet parents scramble to put the finishing touches on their own costumes, some are scrounging for the cutest or scariest attire they can find for their pets, too. But hold on—are Halloween costumes really okay for our furry friends? Read more.
Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker: 10 Halloween Hazards You Never Knew Could Harm Your Pet
Chocolate is only one of these 10 hidden Halloween hazards your pet could fall victim to. What you should know about costumes, burn hazards, and many other pet temptations and holiday dangers. Read more.
Petfinder: Halloween Pet Tips
Halloween can be a traumatic and even dangerous time for your pets. Here are Petfinder's eight best tips to protect them.
We’ve been pushing Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts this month. While adopting a dog is a wonderful thing, we also want to make sure that you and your family are ready for the commitment it requires. The article below was originally posted in the Client Handout of the October 25, 2013 issue of Today’s Veterinary News, and provides some great information on what to consider when adopting a dog.
BTW: You can find a list of regional and state-wide rescues in our Adoption Resources page. And, the City of Gillette / Campbell County Animal Shelter has a list of adoptable pets on Petfinder.
Did you adopt your dog from a shelter? If so, we want to hear your story. Send a picture and some information to Fur Kids Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org, post it on our Facebook page or Tweet it to us.
Today's Veterinary News Client Handout, October 25
It’s Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month: What to consider when adopting a dog
October is “Adopt-a-shelter-dog month,” an effort undertaken by the American Humane Society, the ASPCA and local shelters to promote the benefits of dog adoption through informational campaigns and discounted services to new dog owners. If you are thinking of adopting a dog, there are several things you need to consider before bringing your new pet home. Here are some things to think about when looking for a shelter dog:
Ask about the shelter’s adoption criteria: Most shelters will evaluate a dog’s behavior when it arrives, though you should always double check. Shelters will almost certainly house dogs who have behavioral or socialization problems and you need to make sure the shelter is not offering these dogs for adoption, at least not without proper warning. An overview of the dog’s behavior will also help you determine what kind of training the dog will need.
Consider your lifestyle: If you have a busy schedule that requires you to be out of the house for long stretches of time, you may not be able to make the commitment to train a puppy. At the same time, if you are looking for an active dog to take with you on runs, you may not want to adopt an older dog. Some dogs won’t be great with kids, or cats, or other dogs. Have an idea of what you’re looking for in a dog before you go to the shelter. Talking with the shelter staff should help you identify the dog most compatible with your lifestyle.
Make sure you consider cost as well. Shelters often offer services for a reduced price, but the costs of owning a dog will go far beyond those initial services. Licensing fees, food, leashes, future medication, and regular veterinary care are some of the costs that will come with owning a dog.
Research the breed: Some breeds of dog may fit your lifestyle better than others. Poodles and Schih Tzus will need to be groomed constantly. Short-haired dogs like Greyhounds will require sweaters or coats in cold environments. Some breeds will experience huge growth spurts between when they are puppies and when they are adults. Many breeds have unique requirements, and it is important that you understand these before deciding to adopt a dog.
Take advantage of opportunities to interact with the dogs: Many shelters will allow you to take a prospective adoptee for a walk or spend time with him in a visiting room. Use these opportunities to consider a dog’s behavior alongside the expectations you have for a pet. Spending time with a dog should allow you to get a feel for its energy-level and sociability. If you have children, spending time with the dog outside of his kennel will be a good way to judge how well the dog interacts with them.
Taking one of the shelter dogs for a walk is a good way to determine the level of training the dog has received. If he jumps and pulls at the leash, he may require additional attention and training, which is a commitment you will have to consider. You can also use a walk to see how the dog interacts with people and other dogs.
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian: Oftentimes shelters will offer to vaccinate and spay or neuter the dog you adopt. These services, while necessary, are not a substitute for regular veterinary care. Your veterinarian will be able to help you establish a preventative care plan for your new pet, addressing things like heartworm and parvo prevention. Developing a relationship with your veterinarian early will help with any future health issues your new dog might run into.
Did you know that October is Adopt-A-Dog Month? Fur Kids Foundation encourages you to consider adopting a dog from a shelter or a rescue organization this month – as long as you’re ready for one. You can find a list of regional and state-wide rescues in our Adoption Resources page. And, the City of Gillette / Campbell County Animal Shelter has a list of adoptable pets on Petfinder.
Just to make you smile, Mashable pushed out 17 reasons a shelter dog could be your best friend earlier this month. Get your smile on!
Coping with losing a loved one is one of life’s great difficulties—regardless of the species. The death of a pet is a hard reality all owners must eventually face, and each of us handles mourning differently.
Recently, I lost my 11-year-old wolfhound lab, Lucy to bone cancer. It has devastated me. But I know that grieving is an important part of this life process, and a part of this process for me is writing. So, why not write about this process for the Fur Kids Foundation blog.
Lucy was a part of my everyday life. And now that she is gone, I still find myself stumbling out of bed in the morning to greet her, only to see her corner empty. It’s hard to go home for lunch or even after work knowing that her goofy mug won’t be there. I’ve even gone as far as scheduling my day so I make sure she can be let out at lunch, and then realizing she is gone. It hits me like a ton of bricks and I feel so empty. And items like her dog beds, leash, and even the photos that litter my shelves have been hard to look at—I’ve had to put most of her items in my spare room. And when it gets hard, I break down.
See, for me the first step was to give myself permission to grieve. Lucy was my companion for more than 10 years and losing her was tremendous. There are many ways to grieve:
You can cry and scream and try to let it all out—sometimes you may even feel the need to repeat an episode like this a few times.
You can talk with your friends and let them know that you’re having a hard time dealing with losing your fur kid.
Or, you can journal or write a letter to process the emotions that you are feeling—or, take a cue from me and write a blog, story or poem. Some other ways to express your feelings may include tapping into your creative side and painting or drawing, or really let your emotions out while participating in a grueling hike or hitting the gym on a regular basis. Whatever it is, allow yourself to grieve and be patient with yourself.
In my case, I knew that Lucy wasn’t going to be with me for much longer—at an appointment my vet found the bone cancer. Knowing this, I chose to find ways that I could memorialize my pet while she was still with me.
Each day we did something I knew Lucy enjoyed—we went for a walk at the park, went to Yappy Hours, ate peanut butter, cuddled on the floor while I watched a movie—and I took her photo. I then posted it on social media. Many of my friends knew what was going on, and found this to be a way to support me and Lucy through this journey.
There is this fun ceramics place in town called Hands on Pottery, but she also has potting clay at the store so people can make their own art pieces as well (a sample of what I made is to the top left). Knowing this, I asked for a pound and a half of the clay to be cut and rolled out so I could press Lucy’s paws into it, and stamped a message in it as well—Lucy left “paw prints” on my heart—and then painted it a fun color. This is a minimal fee and now I have a nice garden stone in my yard that will always remind me of Lucy.
I also reached out to Photo Imaging Center in Gillette, who was having a “Pictures in the Park” special, and had some photos taken with her, again for a minimal cost.
However, there are many other ways to memorialize your pet when they are gone.
Take a cherished picture of your pet to an artist and have them make a painting or drawing of the picture. There is an awesome artist in town who can do this for a very fair price, Herb Kalenberg: Artist. (Feel free to let him know that Fur Kids Foundation sent you.) However, if you Google dog portraits or even flip through any pet focused magazine, you’re sure to find an artist selling this kind of service. You are also welcome to try your hand at it as well.
Create a funeral or celebration of your pet’s life and invite friends and families, and their pets to take part in the festivity.
Plant trees or bushes as a place to go and visit your pet later on. I know that the Powder Basin Equestrian Association’s park is an area where people can request trees or bushes to be planted in their pets honor for a small fee.
Make a donation to a cause in your pet’s name to an animal charity. My first suggestion would be Fur Kids Foundation, but there are many others available.
When Others Devalue Your Loss
Unfortunately, pet loss is not appreciated by everyone, and some of your friends and family may ask “What’s the big deal?” or say “It’s just a pet!”
Fortunately, I did not experience any of this. However, there may be some people who assume that pet loss shouldn’t hurt as much as human loss, or that it is somehow inappropriate to grieve for an animal. In my opinion, they may not understand because they have not developed the level of companionship and love that many pet owners have cultivated. I truly believe what French Literature Noble Prize winner Anatole France once wrote: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
I found some tips on HelpGuide.com to use when confronted with these types of people:
I’ll be honest; I’m still moving through my grief process. And, I’m quite comfortable with that. And while I don’t think I’ve felt as empty as I do right now, I’d happily adopt Lucy all over again.
More ideas and ways to cope with the loss of a pet:
Have any of you seen this pup’s pic posted on Facebook?
This is Monty, as dubbed by There's No Place Like Home No Kill Rescue after the rescuer who took him in, Billy Montgomery (a Fur Kids Foundation board member), on Saturday, September 28, 2013. This poor pup was found lying in the corner of Arapahoe and Tepee streets in Gillette. His feet were cold, he was alone and clearly scared. The Montgomery’s warmed this little guy up and then took him to Animal Medical Center of Wyoming. A few hours later, he was gone.
From what, you ask? Parvo. A nasty virus we wrote about in May, Protect Your Dog from Parvovirus.
Just today, the Foundation saw another item posted on Facebook, but this time by the City of Gillette:
Animal Medical Center called our Animal Shelter yesterday and said that they have had about 30 cases of Parvo in the last three weeks. Please get your dog vaccinated for Parvo.
Fur Kids Foundation spoke with Darren Lynde, DVM, today and he reports that since AMC opened today, October 1, they have four more cases of Parvo on the books. Dr. Lynde is very concerned about this disease and wanted to stress that anyone who is out and about with their dogs to be very careful—especially puppies or those that have not yet had their Parvo vaccination. If you have a puppy, Dr. Lynde cautions you on taking your pet to any park until all of their shots have been given. And, if you are walking in parks, make sure to watch what you carry back inside on your shoes.
According to the ASPCA Pet Care Parvovirus section:
Parvovirus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog's feces. Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, and may survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors. It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from the streets, especially in areas where there are many dogs.
For those who attend the Foundation's Yappy Hour Dog Walks, we too caution you. If your pet has not been vaccinated, or is a puppy with out all it's vaccinations, please stay home.
So, how much does a Parvo vaccination cost?
At AMC, a Parvo vaccination runs a pet owner:
At Thunder Basin Vet Clinic, a Parvo vaccination runs a pet owner:
If you are visiting AMC to get your pooch vaccinated, it will run you an additional $27.50 for the examination with the vet if your pet only needs the vaccination. If your pet is sick, it will be $50 for the examination. If you're visiting Thunder Basin, the exam will run you $28. Dr. Lynde, with AMC, mentioned that if you just need to purchase a yearly vaccination, and can administer it to your pet, you would only have to pay for the vaccination.
Which is exactly what Betsy Nowack of There's No Place Like Home No Kill Rescue is offering to people. Because the rescue received some donations to take care of Monty, before he passed, she has opted to purchase the vaccinations and give them to people who need them for free. Betsy will show the pet owners how to administer the vaccination themselves. She does, however, encourage everyone to take their pets in for their yearly check ups and vaccinations.
Note: Tax is not factored in with these prices.
How much does it cost to treat Parvo?
The costs of treating a dog with Parvo can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the stage of the virus in the pet and the health of your pet. Get your pup vaccinated.
Created in November 2011, the Fur Kids Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides education and aid to promote the well-being of animals in Campbell County.
Your donation saves lives. It goes to work helping animals in Campbell County receive adequate veterinary care during a time when their family may not be able to afford it. Please contact the Foundation to learn more or donate now using PayPal.
The Fur Kids Foundation blog is written by board member and Founder Felicia. If you have ideas that you would like to see published in the blog such as concerns about pet-focused topics in the community or a funny story, please contact the Foundation. Enjoy!