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It's No Fun Being in a Shelter

Life in a shelter leaves much to be desired...a warm bed, a loving companion, and room to move. Visiting the shelter makes a difference. Plus, tips on how to tame a barking dog.

The HVAC contractors have arrived at the Cobb County Animal Control shelter and begun the installation to provide air conditioning to the dog kennel areas. The poor dogs suffered during the summer heat, as did anyone that went out there to visit them.

Life in an animal control shelter is rough. The dogs are confined, although they can move around a bit…how much depends on the pen and the size of the dog. Those that are housetrained try to hold their wee until someone comes to take them out; otherwise they “mess” up their cage. These dogs have it particularly tough because they are trying to be good.

The cats are also confined, albeit to a much smaller area. The larger cats can barely turn around and all are forced to eat and sleep next to their litter boxes. The kittens, being so small, have a bit more room but they constantly knock over their water, food, and sometimes even their litter box while playing. The cats never get out, unless a visitor/volunteer takes them out for a few moments. They never stretch their legs. They never run or jump and hardly even have the room to groom (especially if they are big kitties).

The dogs and cats all are spayed and neutered before they are adopted out - a good thing indeed. However, after their surgery, they go directly back into their cage/run to heal – with all those germs, waste, and litter. I’ve never been there when they clean the cages or runs, but I have been told they hose down the dog pens…I don’t know where the dogs are but I do know they aren’t outside playing. The cats aren’t outside playing either when their paper cage lining is changed and their poop is scooped.

The statistics show that the odds of dogs and cats making it out of an animal control shelter are not in their favor – regardless of how cute or cuddly they are. For every animal that comes in, room has to be made - either by adoption or death. And every animal brought there has to be taken in by animal control. That is the way the laws are set up. Please do not turn in your pet to animal control; and help keep your friends from having to either. Find a way to keep them; utilize available . These services provide an array of help options. 

Come to the shelter and visit the animals. They so appreciate the attention. Yes, it can be sad…but you can make such a difference in their lives. They long for human interaction, for love, and for a home. Perhaps you’ll find one that you will fall in love with, or perhaps you will find one that someone you know would love to have.

Now for another week of boys for Patch Pets of the Week…BuddyOscar, and Chalupa.

Buddy, a 1-year-old grey Tabby with beautiful markings, has been at the shelter since Aug. 17 when his owner turned him in. Buddy is one of my favorite types of cats. He has a nice strong personality - a real hunter cat. I had him out to take his photo (which he still eludes) and was trying to play string with him. He kept grabbing the string and carrying it off. Buddy is not for those who want just a soft and cuddly kitty. He can be soft and cuddly. He doesn’t mind being held and he gives you kisses, but he also likes to play rough. He is a very loyal cat and once he loves you, he will defend you against anything that he perceives to be harmful. He’s a fearless, sweetheart of a guy who will make a grand companion. Buddy is good with kids and gets along with other cats but he likes to be in charge. ID No. 534655.  

Oscar, a 1-year-old, gorgeous silver Tabby, came to the shelter on Aug. 27. He, too, was turned in by his owner. Oscar is a curious boy with a gentle nature and sensitive disposition. He enjoys giving and receiving affection but isn’t demanding or expecting of it. Oscar gets along well with other cats. He stayed in the room while I photographed several of them. He just minded his own business and came to greet the ones who were interested in meeting a fellow friend. Oscar is a perfect cat for an apartment or small living area; no matter where he’s at, if he feels that he belongs, he will be a happy guy. Easily blending in with family members, Oscar will quickly become a valuable addition to any home. ID No. 535094.

Whoever met a Chalupa they didn’t like? What a super guy this one is! The question is, is he as cute underneath all that fur as he is with it? The answer is yes, and even more so. Chalupa came into the shelter as a stray on Oct. 21. He has a microchip but his owners didn’t respond when contacted so he is looking for a new family. Chalupa is a bearded collie and rather small in size – 29 pounds. He seems to be a senior dog but acts like a middle-ager. Chalupa knows his basic commands such as sit and stay; and he is also housetrained. With the weather is cooling down, this furry Chalupa will be great to snuggle with and will make an adorable couch cushion. One Chalupa to go, please. ID No. 537146.    

If you would like to help make these animals stay a bit more comfy, you can order a kitty bed for a donation of $15. These beds are made locally and with much love for the animals.

For a dog bed, donate a Kuranda bed. They can be purchased and donated to the shelter by ordering online. The beds will be sent directly to the shelter www.cherokeeanimals.petfinder.com.

To see more available animals at the shelter, see here.

My blog: A cat in a dog’s world

Friends of Shelter Cats - FB page

Vet Tip of the Week

When the doorbell rings does your dog bark excitedly and rush to the door? Try this training exercise to help retrain your dog to be calm when the doorbell rings. Here is one method:

Note: Before your dog is re-trained, or if you have a dog that is aggressive, you should always have him put away in another room behind a closed door or in a crate before answering the door.

Supplies needed:

  1. A hungry dog
  2. Many tiny pieces of a treat your dog loves
  3. A helper

Step 1: When there are no visitors expected, practice getting your dog to focus on you. Say his name, and then immediately move away a short distance. When you dog follows you, praise verbally first. Then within a few seconds, give him a small bite of his favorite treat. Do not show him the treat first! Practice this exercise repeatedly in the absence of any distractions. 

Step 2: Gradually add in distractions. This should start with the lowest level that first arouses your dog’s attention, but not to the point that he is barking incessantly at the door. So, having someone come up and ring the doorbell should not be the first stage. It will be much easier to regain your dog’s attention by having someone stand in front of the house on the street or edge of the front yard. Once you have your dog’s complete attention at this level of distraction, have your helper slowly move closer to the house. 

Step 3: As your helper slowly moves closer to the door, keep rewarding your dog for focusing on you. Have him sit too. Treats should be flowing freely every few seconds that your dog is calm, sitting and looking at you. Eventually, your helper should be able to ring the doorbell, while your dog remains focused on only you.  This will only work if you are able to maintain your dog’s complete attention on you at all times during the exercise, and you do not rush the process. Each training session should only last about 15 minutes total.

Dr. Lori Germon is a veterinarian at Chastain Animal Clinic in Smyrna. You can find information on pet introduction and other pet topics at their website. You can also find them on Facebook.

Rob Maynard November 07, 2011 at 11:44 AM
We have one animal shelter pet. It can be a heartbreaking place to visit, unless you are planning to adopt ten to twelve animals and bring them home. Please consider a shelter pet before purchasing a boutique breed. We have too many unwanted dogs and cats.
Violettenoire November 07, 2011 at 03:18 PM
PLEASE HELP US! HEALTHY DOGS AND CATS ARE BEING KILLED EVERYDAY! ADOPTERS / FOSTERS DESPERATELY NEEDED!!! BE PART OF THE SOLUTION! Cats on Death Row: http://www.facebook.com/PetsOnDeathRow Urgent Death Row Dogs: www.urgentdeathrowdogs.org Urgent PART2 on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Urgentdeathrowdogs Email us at admin(AT)urgentdeathrowdogs.org
Vicki Hammond November 07, 2011 at 06:16 PM
If anyone would like to adopt a cat from Cobb Animal Control shelter, but find it too difficult to go there to look, you can email me your "kitty wish list" and I will see if I can find a cat that matches your purrfect future feline friend. I'll send you a photo and tell you about his/her personality. Email me at vhwillow@gmail.com and put Shelter Cat Broker in the subject line or just click the link above 'email the author.' ~Vicki
Janie Gryder November 08, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Great job, Vicki! Keep up the good work!
jan rhodes November 08, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Shelter dogs and cats are the best!
Vicki Hammond November 16, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Young Buddy was adopted! Chalupa was rescued! Oscar is waiting for his new home...do you have room for Oscar?

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