27 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Lots of joys, some sorrow, and sometimes, ARRRRGH! I’d like to propose chatting about what people do when they get to the “arrrgh” point with their dogs? We have many, as a Sanctuary, and sometimes its all I can do to keep my Sanity, and then one of them will do something particularly cute, funny or what have you, and I’ll keel over laughing, feeling thankful for every moment I hollowly threatened to “send them to the pound”. That’s our code for hilarity it seems!

    1. What is this “getting to the arrrgh point” thing you speak of? I call that LIFE.

      We also use a lot of dark humor around here. Keeps me cheery!

    2. I’ve always learned from non-human animals faster/easier than I learned from humans. My ARRRGH moments are usually internal (a frustration, a fight, or a problem that I am having with myself.) I got into rescue because it was the dogs that actually fixed my ARRRGGHHHs!
      Thus, when I get to the ARRGH point with a dog, I back off and look within. What is it about this situation/relationship that is pushing my buttons?
      Sometimes I discover that I don’t particularly like a dog. (That’s allowed, right? So maybe I need to be willing to let this dog go. Perhaps this dog has a lesson to teach somebody else and I’m in the way?!)
      Sometimes I realize that I am in *savior* mode and that the dog doesn’t need saving.
      Sometimes I find that I am less than perfect…I hate it when that happens! (But that is how/why I learn from the critters and why there is so much love and joy in my life because of them.) They love my imperfections WAY more than I choose to love theirs. The are great teachers. Some provide really hard lessons.
      Oddly enough, my threats to *send them to the pound* are usually targeted at humans. (Seems I am not immune to the power struggles inherent in our broken system—I’ll work on that.)

      1. Most days, all my dogs are a comfort and joy. Then I can reach an ARRGH point when two or more dogs are just not jiving, my assessments fail and I need a break. We have a wonderful kennel to whom I take whoever needs real time-out. They used to breed and show Beagles, now handle some dogs while “retired” but keep the kennel. They know hounds. I get a reprieve and better time to think, the dog(s) get the same and I am always happy to retrieve my rescue/personal dog after a few days :).

      2. I’ll also say that when the ARRRGGH moments just keep coming, get help.

        J is the first cat I’ve ever had to take in for a behavioral consult. He was so unlike every cat I’d ever known, so damn BAD, that some days I just had to walk away.

        In truth, the behavior consult didn’t teach me too much I didn’t already know. But it validated my concerns and gave me a support system. It also helped me ease up about some things and realize that a lot of J’s issues were just because he was smart and bored.

        There are so many resources out there when you’ve got a pet that just doesn’t quite mesh to help both of you learn to live with each other.

    3. Trust me that this happens with cats just as much…

      My worst moment with my little guy was when he was a wee blind kitten with his eyes oozing out of his head. He kept getting under my computer desk and playing in the wires, so I had the whole thing walled off with cardboard. I’m sitting there happily clicking away playing bejeweled when I realize my kitten has vanished. Somehow he pulled up a little corner of the Great Wall of Cardboard and was romping through the wire jungleland.

      Thus began the most epic battle I’ve ever had with a pet. I’m trying to tape up the damage while he’s pulling sneak attacks, biting me in the back (no love nibbles either), hissing, clawing, pulling up the tape as I’m putting it down, throwing fits when I put him in his crate to keep him out of the way…my roommate came up to ask what the hell was going on. This kitten could SCREAM like something unholy.

      I was so angry I was shaking. I wanted to hit this cat, and I’ve never wanted to lay hands on an animal. I was tired, I was stressed, and I DID NOT NEED THIS. Total ARRRGH! moment.

      When he finally calmed down we went to bed. He curled up against my side with his head resting on my shoulder, his little arm thrown over my neck, and his forehead pressed against my cheek.

      And that was the moment I realized my “foster” brat child wasn’t going anywhere.

      1. See! This is what they do! The head snuggling on the shoulder is a classic maneuver they use to prime you for the coup de grace: the little arm around the neck. Worms. The lot of them.

  2. What is the difference between a shelter and a rescue? Is it that a shelter is community funded and a rescue is by donation? Shelters only take local animals, rescues take from all over? Shelter is Kill, rescue is no-kill? I realized that I don’t really distinguish the two – besides putting “kill, no-kill” in front of them and thought maybe I am missing something here.


    1. That’s a good question and I’ll be interested to read what other people have to say. I generally think of shelters as places with physical facilities which may be publicly or privately funded, open or limited admission, kill or no kill.

      Rescues may or may not have a physical facility and are always privately funded (even if only by the people doing the rescuing). A rescue to my mind would be categorized as limited admission (of a sort) and no kill. Because it’s not a rescue if you kill the pet!

      A broad generalization describing the difference between rescues and kill shelters: Rescues do because shelters don’t.

      1. I think one thing you said, Shirley, needs to be in bold & caps….RESCUES DO BECAUSE SHELTERS DON’T.

        I had just such a talk with a neighbor of mine a few months ago…he looked in my backyard and asked (again) how many dogs we had. I repeated…only 2. So he looked back and said then why do I see 4 dogs out there? So I had to explain that one was a foster and another was a dog that had been running through the neighborhood the past few days and I ‘finally’ lured him with a hot dog to come to me. Cute fat beagle…although he didn’t have the luster to his fur – he had a few years on him – and his color wasn’t exactly what I recall of ‘most’ beagles…probably graying of the muzzle had helped that along. Well, my neighbor made some comment about me calling animal control (AGAIN!) and I said – no way…not in this case.

        Most of the time I do call AC is only when I can’t locate the owner but I know that some of the AC GUYS are real good about going around in neighborhood and getting out and talking to people (and they’d know who the dog belonged to). They really do try to educate people and are working hard, especially with young guys & their pit types (pushing hard for neuter & spay…and since teaming up with me I’ve gotten them info to pass out where a local pittie rescue does “spay day” for only $20 you can have the pitties done – spay & neuter).

        Anyways – back to the neighbor. I explained to him that this old guy wouldn’t do well in a shelter and he needed to be in a rescue. My neighbor had no clue about rescues. So I spent my morning watching 4 VERY different dogs play (and the kiddos, too) while trying to explain the reasoning behind rescues. He thought the idea was silly when we have AC…but when I gave him the stats for our local shelter and told him how many animals were killed there last year, you could literally have heard a pin drop…in the grass. Appears they recent had a dog that they were unable to keep up with due to their medical bills (as he had just found out he had breast cancer and was no longer working & his wife was retired) – their ‘solution’ was to take their dog to AC and drop him off for another home to find him & love him. I think he realized that he had sentenced his dog to death without someone who loved the dog to be there with him when they put him down. It was awful to see him so crushed by a system that he ‘thought’ was there to help the animals. (And it broke my heart, quite frankly, to be the one to tell him the truth.)

      2. Some shelters do. And many shelters try! (Some do better than others.) But the doing can’t be done without the support of more than just the shelter…rescues play a critical role. In my area, what I’ve seen is that when Animal Control makes choices that local animal lovers don’t like, they are motivated to rescue. Some work WITH Animal Control (many in the community call them the shelter…but their legal mission is control, and when money is tight the sheltering is secondary to control, and then they really sort of fall behind in BOTH areas!)
        But Animal Control doesn’t work with all the rescues. They’ll pick and choose, and maybe touch bases once in a while, but I’ve been through several volunteer orientations (you have to do it again every time they change managers or volunteer coordinators.) And they have NEVER called me to volunteer. I’ve been approved to foster, they have NEVER called or emailed about any dog(s) in need of foster. I’m a professional groomer and I’ve offered to groom dogs on site for free. They called me once. Years ago. I really helped the dog–it felt great!
        I can help animals without helping Animal Control. I do rescue. I have dogs here that would be dead or miserable if they were there. At public meetings they say they don’t have enough volunteers. I stopped going, I stopped listening. I do my job and hope they stay on track to do theirs. In the past, I’ve seen where they’ve *gone after* those who did rescue rather than those who willingly relinquish their excess inventory to be killed. Why do they want to kill the ones that someone wants to save? Don’t they have enough to do killing the ones that nobody wants? Or killing the ones for free at the owners request?

  3. Joy? After a year, my shelter dog will finally sit through an entire grooming session (including nail trimming) in one go, without any freakouts. WOOT!!! And… I actually started stripping her as well. When I first got her, she would tolerate a few passes with the brush, OR one-two nails being trimmed, and nothing more.

    And- she’s learning to play as well! She brought a toy to me the other day – a VERY rare occurrence for her!

    She’s a GOOD DOG!

    1. Well done! Now come do Mulder please. She’s progressed to the “I won’t immediately leap off the table but you are not trimming any of my nails” stage. Which took some effort.

  4. I recently discovered up in the Minden, LA area starving dogs (lots of them). After speaking to some of the locals, the constant statement that came out of the conversations were that the local hunt clubs set loose the “gun-shy” dogs into the wild, rather than place them in homes or take them to no-kill shelters. I have been able to feed some of these dogs while up there, noting that they are not “super-fearful” of people, indicating that they have been around people before. These dogs are so starved that their rib cages and spines are able to be seen, even the spinous process on the tops of their heads are seen. I watched as I drove through one night these dogs eating road kill, drinking dirty water. I have offered them fresh food and clean water. I have several concerns… One, that this may not only be a trend up in Minden, but throughout many of the Hunt Clubs, especially places like Louisiana or Mississippi. The attitude I have come across is that if the dogs are not fit for hunting, they are fit for nothing and they are tossed away like garbage. While driving we came across a pure bred doberman pincher on the highway.

    I called the Animal Control Center in Minden to get the Foreman to return my call. I have yet to receive a call. I called and left a message with the Mayor in Minden. I have yet to get a return call from him either.

    I notified the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries to see who has a complete list of all registered Hunt Clubs in Louisiana including the names, addresses and phone numbers and e-mail addresses of these clubs and no one seems to know anything about who oversees any of these clubs or regulates them.

    These dogs have been subject to frost-bite, starvation, animal attacks. It is unsure whether or not they have been dewormed, received vet checks etc..

    It is not the animals fault that ignorant individuals treat these dogs as chattle leaving them to fend for themselves in the wild; many becoming food for larger preditors.

    A friend of my family had an outdoor camera on one night. After noticing her cat disappeared, she opted to watch the footage and watched as a racoon savagely ripped apart the live cat, eating it alive.

    I have attempted to have Animal Control work with me to get volunteers to round up these dogs and get them to vets. If you notice when you see these dogs, most are typical hunting dogs, which to me, sounds like it puts the validity to the story of the gun shy dogs being turned out to become wild pack dogs.

    This absolutely has to stop.

    I do not have the tools to go out and get these dogs, nor the crates to bring them to the vets for check up. I have a terminal disease called Pulmonary Hypertension, and therefore, no energy to lift large dogs nor do I have the finances and I am in no condition to run after dogs or to take on more than the three large dogs I already have. I put this on my bucket list of things to do before I go, as I want to make a big difference in some way.

    I need to see if I can get volunteer Vets, Volunteers to round up the dogs and cages to get them transported and some tools to grab the faster dogs.

    If anyone is willing to help me in this endeavor, please contact me at Norwayblonde@aol.com and put in the subject line – stray dogs.

    I would like to see some of these dogs if possible turned into service dogs.

    I would like to see the Wildlife and Fisheries put in their training courses contact names and numbers of people who are willing to go pick up these gun shy dogs and puppies and place them with either the no-kill shelters or service dog trainers.

    Right now all I have is this…. one big problem… I am throwing it out there to ask for all possible help to resolve these numerous issues. Anyone on board with this that is willing to help in either physical ways or financial ways to get these things done and put a stop to turning out stray dogs? I fear that if it is being done here, it is being done country wide with hunt clubs. I am not saying all of them do it, but obviously someone is doing it, otherwise we wouldn’t see so many hunting dogs starving… Thank you for your time and God bless you.

  5. Minden, LA has something called a Rescue Shelter, but in actuality it is not a rescue shelter, it is solely a spaying and neutering facility. The Northwest Louisiana Humane Society is full up with dogs. They are so busy that they can’t get to the phone calls and their phone mail boxes are full. They need some help getting some of these animals distributed so they can receive others as well.

    The Shelter number is 318-219-7387 – although they ask that you contact them through their e-mail. I am sure you can google them to get the e-mail address.

  6. The following groups are why 5 million precious, innocent, healthy souls are murdered in animal “shelters” every year:

    PeTA = Unethical

    HSUS = Inhumane

    ASPCA = Cruel (Nothing is more cruel than taking someone’s life away)

    “Best Friends” Animal Society = Digraceful excuses for “Best Friends”

    Kill “shelters” = Disgraceful excuses for “shelters”.

    STOP DONATING to these S.O.B.’s, or you will be funding the murder of innocents.

    The following person…. with the help of other individuals, all acting “independently together”, who can stop the mass murder:
    Y O U, the person reading this right now.
    Send THIS to your local animal shelter, animal control facility, pound, Mayor, etc, and urge them to make your city or community a No Kill one, and ask your neighbors to do the same:

    THE NO KILL EQUATION: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/nokillequation.html
    Send THIS to your local City Council Members and Mayor, and urge them to support it, and ask your neighbors to send it to them, also:

    THE COMPANION ANIMAL PROTECTION ACT: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/capa.html

    The most powerful weapon we have is our voice. But we must use it, to make a difference.

  7. ‘Pet Overpopulation’ Disproven:

    By Bett Sundermeyer


    For years, most people in the United States have been told that that there are “too many pets and not enough homes”. We have been told that there is a pet “overpopulation” problem. We have been told that the reason that America’s animal shelters are killing millions of pets every year is because of this “overpopulation”. We’ve heard this over and over and we have accepted this as truth without question.

    Until a few years ago, I too believed that there was a pet overpopulation problem. After all, I have seen the large numbers of animals at shelters, and who would believe that an animal shelter would kill thousands of animals every year if there actually were enough homes for all of them? The caring and rational people who work at animal shelters would not do such a thing……. would they?

    The truth is that pet “overpopulation” is actually a myth. It does not exist. I know this sounds heretical to many people especially to those who have fostered many animals, or to the people who watch animals being killed by the thousands at shelters every year. The first time that I read that pet overpopulation was a myth on a book cover, I thought it was crazy. I am sure that people felt the same way the first time someone suggested that the earth might actually be round, not flat. It is hard to change our belief system when we’ve been taught one thing our entire lives. But, people finally realized that the earth really was not flat after all, that people were not sailing off the edge of the earth and people will soon realize that pet overpopulation is a myth as well.

    But, let’s look at the numbers to make some sense of what the true facts are. According to a national study done by Maddie’s Fund and the Humane Society of the United States, 23.5 million people in the US will get a new pet each year. Some of those people have already decided where they will get that pet i.e. they will adopt from a shelter, go to a breeder or get a pet from free to good home ad etc. However, 17 million of those people have not yet decided where they will get their new pet. So these “undecideds” are the homes that are up for grabs. These 17 million people could be convinced to adopt.*

    Today, between 3 and 4 million animals are being killed in “shelters”. So it’s pretty clear that the “demand” for pets each year (17 million) far outnumbers the “supply” of animals being killed in shelters (3-4 million).

    And the supply of adoptable shelter pets each year is actually even less because a large portion of that 3-4 million being killed are actually lost pets that should be reunited with their owners. For example, Washoe Co., NV animal control returns 65% of pets to their owners. Conversely, most shelters in the US average a return of only about 5%. If Houston’s animal control i.e. BARC would utilized the same Return to Owner program as Washoe Co. with the same success, it would save the lives 8,100 more animals every year; that’s 8,100 animals that BARC would not need to adopt out or put in foster care and 8,100 empty kennels for the animals that truly are homeless. It is also a savings of $972,000 every year which could then be directed to programs like free spay/neuter or a Help Desk to keep animals from being relinquished by their owners.

    In addition, that 3-4 million “supply” could be further reduced if all shelters TNR’d (trap, neuter, released) feral cats instead of killing all of them, as many shelters do.

    That 3-4 million “supply” could be reduced further still if shelters had pet retention programs that kept many of those animals out of the shelter in the first place, as mentioned above.

    So we can see that adopting out all animals entering shelters is doable. And the fact is that it is already being done in many communities. If pet overpopulation really existed, there would be no open admission, No Kill shelters. They could not exist. But, they do exist.

    So let’s break these numbers down and get a perspective by (using Houston’s “shelter” as an example)

    According to the U.S. census, there are 310,895,000+ people in the U.S. As we discussed above, 17 million people who will get a new pet each year, have not yet decided where they will get that pet. Those “undecided” new pet owners equal about 5.4% of the U.S. population.

    The latest census shows that Houston has just under 2.2 million people. The “undecided” new pet owners in Houston would equal about 118,800 people. That is 118,800 people who could be convinced to adopt their next pet.

    We also know that approximately 80,000 pets are being killed in Houston’s five kill shelters each year. Again, we can see that the “demand” for pets by the “undecideds” in Houston (118,800) far outnumbers the “supply” of pets being killed in Houston’s shelters (80,000).

    This means that there is no pet “overpopulation”. It just means that the 80,000 pets being killed in Houston shelters each year could be saved if they were better introduced to the people who would be willing to adopt them.

    And the numbers above are a worst case scenario because again this does not take into consideration the feral cats that should be TNR’d; it doesn’t take into consideration the number of pets that “should” be returned to their owners but who are not (see above); it does not take into consideration the number of animals that could be kept out of the shelter entirely with a proactive “help desk”.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t a lot of pets entering Houston’s shelters each year. Of course there are. And I’m not saying that there aren’t irresponsible people in Houston. Of course there are. I am saying that just because 80,000 pets are being killed in Houston shelters each year does not equate to “too many pets and not enough homes”. The numbers prove that this is false. It is myth and propaganda perpetuated by kill shelters.

    I’m also not saying it is easy to save all healthy and treatable pets entering shelters. To the contrary, it is hard work. But therein lies the true heart of problem ….. saving all healthy and treatable pets is hard work and most shelter directors in the U.S. still refuse to do everything necessary to save them. Continuing on the same path of “save a few and kill the rest” is easier. Continuing to blame the public for pet “overpopulation” is easier.

    So while I will admit there is an overpopulation problem, it is not a pet overpopulation problem. The problem is an overpopulation of ineffective shelter directors who refuse to join the 21st century and put into place the programs and services that we know will save all healthy and treatable pets.

    That overpopulation problem could be solved fairly quickly…. with a pink slip.

  8. True Matt and Bett, however, not everyone deserves to be an animal owner. With abuse that goes on, some definitely should be ruled out as far as a loving environment for pets.

    1. That said – there are far less chances the animal will be abused/neglected. In fact I believe they are more likely to be killed in a shelter than abused in a home. Don’t get me wrong – there are some people who should NEVER have a pet…but there are many situations where a little education will go a long way to teach people the whys, hows, wheres, etc of being a pet owner.

  9. I am having a problem with a foster cat. I received her & her sister as feral strays. They appears much younger than they were and I didn’t *discover* their ‘true’ age until they started spraying when they went into their first heat cycle. Problem was – they chose to spray all over our beds – which were brand new! I have tried Equalizer, vinegar, Feliway (spray & diffuser)….it has come down to keeping bedroom doors closed to keep the two sister out of them. While this has stopped the problem (for the most part), if they do happen to find their way into a bedroom (little kids don’t always remember to close the doors).

    We have 3 other cats – no problems with them going to the bathroom in any one of the 7 litter boxes that we have. I have tried different litter thinking that might help…it doesn’t. Both girls will use the boxes – but if given a chance the one would just rather pee on the bed…even IF she just used the litterbox!

    I have started closing them up in a small room together during the night and haven’t had any problems…but I absolutely hate having to do it because they love being with the kids – even if only to sleep with them.

    I had them checked for urinary infections – all clear. The behaviorist I talked to said that it appears to be a behavioral issue, and while I have tried everything that she told me to do – along with things that I knew to try…nothing is working. Biggest problem is that I can’t rehome her until I get this issue under control – and, in fact, the fiance has told me that if she keeps doing it that she’ll have to go. I don’t want to have her put to sleep, over something that can & should be treatable…but I fear that the fiance will put his foot down soon (especially as she LOVES peeing on his side of the bed).

    Any help…suggestions,,ideas – anything that can help I would appreciate it. THANKS A TON in advance!!!!

    1. are these cats neutered? I have had the same problem – took in a feral cat and she went into heat and started spraying. Once I had her neutered the behavior pretty much disappeared overnight.


      1. Yep – as soon as I discovered what was going on I had both of them done within 2 weeks. AND – even though we treated the beds (I soaked them down with Equalizer and after they dried sprayed ’em REAL good with Feliway spray – and even repeat it at least once a week.) I also put a Feliway diffuser in each bedroom (even though it is suppposed to cover 1000 sq ft – just to be on the safe side).

        That’s why I am so confused about this. I did exactly what needed to be done (getting them fixed) and treated the area(s) where they were spraying.

        The behaviorist told me to close them off in a small room – she said that they wouldn’t want to go to the bathroom that close to their food…and they use the litter boxes just fine in that room. In fact – they use the litterbox in MY bedroom and Daizy (the one still peeing on the beds) will use the litterbox in my room and then go pee on the bed if I turn my back. It’s just really odd. I don’t want to have to keep them (or just her) closed off from us all the time – they are lovers and want to be with us. I hate closing them in the room – they cry and howl and scratch at the door & floor under the door. It’s awful and makes me feel like a meanie.

        I have done everything I can think of, and unfortunately my vet is saying that he feels like she should be put down (as does half my family), but I can’t bring myself to do it when she doesn’t have any other problems.

  10. Sounds like she’s marking territory. With her sister, 3 other cats and a fiance to deal with, she may feel a bit crowded and stressed. Might try giving her a little place of her own at night, apart from everyone else, maybe an open crate or carrier with a soft bed and a few toys in it and a litter box just in case–placed in the bathroom or any room that can be closed off. Don’t let her in the bedroom where she’s been peeing–if possible keep the door closed whether anyone is in there or not. It doesn’t seem fair to put down a cat just for peeing on a ed–this behavior might disappear completely in a different environment. Good luck to you and the kitty!

    1. We are currently doing just that – keeping doors closed and keeping her closed in a room at night. The Feliway is supposed to help with stress (it is basically cat phermones – sorry if I spelled that wrong I am brain dead right now) – which I why I spray the beds AND use all the diffusers. I agree it could be stress – we have 5 cats, 2 dogs, 5 kids and of course me & the old man….many people get stressed just coming over to visit! LOL But she was young when I got her and her sister, so I assumed that growing up in the house she would be comfortable with everything & everyone by now. She’s such a sweet loving kitty, and while I also thought maybe if she was in a different environment that she might do better – I fear giving her to anyone because not too many people are like me and would keep her regardless of her potty habits…and I’d hate to see her just turned loose or dumped at a shelter to die without a loved one with her.

  11. In need of anyone that can help adopt five jack russell dogs (mixed). A friend of mine just found her life turned upside down and cannot afford to feed these dogs anymore and would like to send them out for adoption. Please contact me on facebook under Tammy Gaede if you are interested in helping with adopting these dogs. They have had their shots. I am awaiting a picture from my friend to get it posted on Facebook. Please help us find these five dogs great homes. Thank you.

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