Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gear Up for Adoption

Shelters and Rescue Groups have more opportunities than ever to get the word out about the dogs and cats available for adoption but with so many groups vying for attention it's only too easy for some of them to slip through the cracks, even with the advantages of social networking.

The issue becomes how to best take advantage of social networking and any other means of making people aware of all the wonderful pets just waiting for a new home and a new leash on life.  Here are just a few ideas That can help my local shelter, your local shelter, any local shelter or rescue group.

1. Don't underestimate the power of the written word.  Instead of writing a plain description of the cat or dog, let the pet write the description. How much more appealing it is to hear, "I promise to love you forever if you'll give me a forever home" along with a self-description. Open a Facebook page if you don't have one already and put the description there along with a photo of the pet and ask people to Share the picture and bios, then use Twitter to share the description and photo. And don't forget your good old fashioned newspaper. See if they'll give you a weekly adoption column. They may or may not have room for pictures but the descriptions can certainly run. You can do a column featuring two or three a week.

2. Pictures will help. There's nothing more appealing than the sweet face of the adoptee. But those pictures will be far more appealing if you have a volunteer who is a groomer who can make the pet look clean, neat and cute. Another improvement is taking pictures that don't look like police mug shots. Set up a cute photo using props in an area of the shelter. Now use that photo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as Google+.

Mary Slaney adopted Vinny more than a year ago.

3. Don't underestimate the power of clicker training. You can use a clicker to make life more interesting for shelter pets, teach them manners or a trick and then be sure to brag on all of your social networks how clever the pet is in his self-written bio. This will help your adoptees stand out among the crowd on social networks.

One more tip: don't ignore e-mail posts containing all of this information with a request to forward. Everyone knows people who know people who know people, and so on.  

With a little imagination and tapping into volunteers, utilizing their skills and talent, you can incrrease the number of pets who are adopted.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Does This Collar Make My Butt Look Big? by Dena Harris

Dena Harris has done it again.  Okay, I'll admit that I'm a fan. Few people can make me laugh as Dena can so when a review copy of her newest book arrived, I settled down for a good read.  I wasn't disappointed. 

In her newest book, Does This Collar Make My Butt Look Big? Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc., Dena Harris tackles the topic of cat diets the way she covers everything else - with a huge dollop of laughter. Subtitled, A Diet Book for Cats we already have a pretty big hint that this book is written with tongue firmly planted in the cat's cheek.

What's amazing is how well she sticks to the diet book formula but writes it from the cat's point of view more than from the owner's. At the very thought of putting their cat on a diet most owners will stock up on bandages in preparation for the cat's retribution.

From lists and tips to multiple choice questions to determine which type of kitty is reading the book the book is a total romp.  And, yes, there's a cat food pyramid. Be sure to read it carefully. You would want to miss a single quip.

Reprinted with permission from Does This Collar Make My Butt Look Big? by Dena Harris, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Ann Boyajian

Take this book for a spin and don't forget it when the holidays roll around and you're looking for a gift for the cat person in your life. It's 113 pages of fun peppered with adorable illustrations! 

Photo of Dena Harris by Blair Harris

To get your copy of Does This Collar Make My Butt Look Big?
point your browser to:

Note: No payment was received for this review. It is purely independent. The blogger received a review copy of the book.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Service Dog Month!

September is Service Dog Month.  It's time to think about those wonderful dogs who make life so much better for their owners. And what other dog gets to be with their owner 24/7? The bond between service dogs and their people is nothing less than heartwarming.  It irks me when animal rights people say that owning a dog is cruel and that no one should breed dogs. The sheer gall of those people, and their uninformed position is irritating.  Apparently, they have no conception of the human-animal bond, of the joy dogs and owners take in each other.  They change the language to cause all manner of problems. Dogs bred to be service dogs are among the finest companions and what they and their owners do for each other is nothing short of miraculous. Those who wash out of the program go on to become pets in loving homes.
Photo courtesy of Guide Dogs of The Desert
These pups will eventually enrich the lives of those  who have a medical
"disability" experience a life full of "abilities" in the future.

The dogs who graduate are paired up with owners who need an assist in any one of a number of ways. These dogs love being with their owners, helping them, which for the dog is like a game. And yet they also seem to understand how important they are.  One great bonus is that when people see a service dog they are much friendlier to the disabled person. 

"There are no current statistic on just how many service dogs are enriching the lives of those who live with disabilities on a daily basis," says Deborah Sands, DJS Consultant Services specializing in service animal public access/education training.  "These dogs are more than 'pets.' They perform 'tasks or work' to be the eyes that guide, the ability to notify a sound, an impending seizure, a diabetic emergency, a severe blood pressure drop or an oncoming anxiety attack. They are trained to open doors, stabilize balance, pick up objects and help someone confined to a wheelchair...and so much more!!! Just ask anyone, be it a civilian or a military veteran who has been gifted with these remarkable and loving canine partners. These specially trained dogs are everyday canine heroes who provide a lifeline to their handlers."

The dogs vary in size. Even the smallest dog can alert to an epileptic seizure, for example. The dogs are matched to the task. And not all are purebred. It depends, again, upon the task. Shelter rescues, for example, often become the "ears" for someone who cannot hear.

Photo by Debbie Sands, Courtesy of  Guide Dogs of America.
Service dogs..those 4 footed love machines...upon graduation with their handlers, will become a seamless "team" forged in a bond whose loyalty to each other will be stronger than steel.

It's easy to see the bond of love as service dog and handler work together. And when the vest comes off at home, the dog becomes a pet just like any other beloved 4-legged family member when off-duty, with plenty of time for play.

I'm glad we have a special month in which to honor these wonderful dogs and bring attention to them.  I hope you'll remember them all year long...