Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween Pros and Cons: The Dog Perspective

Ahhh, Halloween. The pumpkins. The pumpkin pie. The pumpkin shaped dog cookies. The pumpkin on Poseidon's head. 

It's the same shape as my enormous noggin!
For the hoomans there's a lot to love about Halloween. But for dogs it's a bit of a mixed bag. We sat down with a council of pooches to get to the bottom of these conflicting feelings about the spookiest of holidays.

Act I: The Candy.

I better get something for this. Baa. 
The Con: Obviously we have to start with the con because it's a big baddy. Most of the candy is at worst toxic to dogs and at best, bound to make them super sick. And they want it. Oh, will they want it. They will stare. They will beg. And some of them will resort to flat out thievery and destruction to try and get their little paws on it. But there are....

Excuse me - there's nothing in here for me. There must be a mistake...
The Pros: Guilt. Pure, simple, unadulterated guilt. Helped along by a cornocopia of Halloween themed dog treats in almost every single retail establishment. Many owners (particularly those who have stocked up on the hooman treats) will feel bad about not getting something for their little muffins. And look, those Pumpkin Spice flavored beef pizzle treats are so adorable.... Yes, pooches. You will get something. Particularly if you find yourself in a sitch with....

Act II: The Costumes. 
Am I supposed to be a Chippendale dancer? Rawwr.
Pro: The attention, the attention, the attention. Oooooh, aren't you adorable? Look at you! There will much fussing, much hugging, probably a good amount of cell phone shots. Friends and family will be summoned to coo over you. Aren't you just the cutest little tiger EVER? And with all the cooing and fussing, there is a very, very good chance that those Pumpkin Spice Flavored Beef Pizzle Treats might be coming into play. As well as whatever other people have to offer. Because the only thing cuter than your big brown eyes are your big brown eyes when you're a Pretty Pretty Little Princess.

I'm not a pretty pretty princess. I am THE pretty pretty princess.
Cons: The costumes. Legs must be smooshed through elastic bands. SOMETHING is going to wind up stuck to your head. 

Why? Just tell me why.
It might be itchy. It might be uncomfortable. You might wind up as a politician, a food product or even (the horror) 

a cat. No, it won't last very long. And yes, chances are you will be well compensated for your discomfort with treats but still. Dignity, people. Dignity.

Act III: The Night Itself

I should make time and a half tonight. This is insane. 
Cons: The doorbell! It will not stop going off! Chaos! Bedlam! Many dogs consider barking at the doorbell to be their sacred duty and tonight it's beyond a full time job. They're working overtime. If they had a union, it would demand time and a half for Halloween night. And then when it opens - WHAT is that? People don't look like people. They smell like people (and chocolate) but they're in weird shapes, moving strangely. Brain...might..explode...does...not...compute...
Wait - peanut butter? And Gilmore Girls? Let's talk...
Pros: This is a tough one. If you're lucky you'll get a big old peanut butter kong in  a quiet bedroom with an episode of Gilmore Girls. Maybe they'll even throw some of the Pumpkin Spice Flavored Beef Pizzle Sticks in there. If you're not, you might wind up dressed like a centipede barking yourself hoarse while all of the monsters showing up at the door lean over you, reeking of chocolate you can't have.

So in summary? It's a little mind boggling.
I am mind boggled.
But kind of a toss up. Those Pumpkin Spice Flavored what-have-yous are pretty good. And no one can argue with a good amount of fussing. The key take-away is that we have adorable dogs who are ANGELS about costumes and you should come adopt one.

Do I have to pick one costume? Or can I just eat them? 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Great Cat Bust-Out of 2016

For a guy who had just spent about two hours with his considerable bulk squeezed into a carrier, Felix was looking pretty chill. The first out of his box, he sprawled out calmly in a cage in our medical clinic surveying the scene and offering headbutts to anyone who poked a hand in.
I'm just big boned, I swear. 
If a cat is king of his domain, Felix has the gift of being fairly flexible about where his domain was. An hour up north, the transfer van, whatever. He would rule it benevolently.

Oddly enough the other twelve carriers on the floor were remarkably silent as well. As Dr. Shearer, Candice and Shawna set up a triage table and Candy matched paperwork to carrier there was no yowling, hissing or terrified panting coming from any of them. As they came out of the boxes for shots and a medical look over, these kitties were positively affable. Snicklefritz rubbed against the stethoscope. Poppy purred. Dream was, well, a dream. Even as they were put back in their carriers for yet another journey, the cats maintained their composure. 

I am a dream, darnit. Check me-owt.
Who WERE these mysterious kitties and how did we come to be blessed with so many of (as Adoptions Supervisor K.C. described them) the nicest cats in the universe?

What you mean these carriers? No biggie. I'm well travelled. 
There were some clues: they were all in good health but most were wearing a few extra pounds - a telltale sign of a relatively sedentary lifestyle. They were absurdly tolerant of change, invasive
handling and being in carriers and cages. New people didn't startle them. Their ages varied widely from seven months old to ten year old Felix. 

Well, dear friends, their story starts like all good stories. With a call for help and a description of terrible weather. 

I'm on the edge of my seat - tell!
An hour north of us, a small county shelter was inundated with cats. Lovely cats. Cats like Felix, who had been there since May. What they weren't getting inundated with was cat adopters. As kitten season peaked and ebbed, kittens came and went but the adult kitties just sat there with more arriving all the time. Some were strays, some belonged to people who had lost their housing or developed allergies. Cat upon cat upon cat. Low on space, the situation was becoming dire. Determined to save the patient cats that had been waiting for so very long, the staff from this county reached out to us. Help, they said. Help our cats. We're running out of room. 

Well? Did you help them? Oh...wait..I'm here. I know how this ends. 
The first time we took nine. Nine lovely felines who filed into our Sunshine Room in an orderly fashion and loved up everyone in sight. To help them find new people (hadn't they spent enough time in shelters?) we did a free adult cat promo and almost as if they had wings, every single one of the original nine flew out the door to a forever home. A happy ending, right?

It better have been a happy ending - just get on it with it already..
Well, yes. For those nine. But the situation was still pretty dire at the other shelter. More help, please. Which is where the bad weather and the thirteen calmest travelin' cats in the world come in. 

This is Candy. 
No I'm not. I'm not Candy. I do like cookies, though. 
Okay, it's not Candy. It's her fospice dog, Miss Emily. We didn't ask Candy for permission to use a photo of her so Miss Emily (and her snazzy bandana) is standing in for Candy. Miss Emily does not, however, cover the amount of mileage that Candy does. Candy is our Transfer Coordinator. She's the one who keeps in touch with other shelters to see what's going on. She's the person the shelter folk up north called about the inundation of amazing kitties needing help. She also is the person who drives our transfer van to go pick up animals from overwhelmed shelters. 

So when our buddy shelter up north needed more help with the kitties, Candy didn't hesitate. She got in the truck and went.

Miss Emily and Mattie May re-enact the exchange with Miss Emily playing Candy.
Despite the fact that it was raining, windy and the roads were scary and miserable. Because that's just how Candy is.

Actually nobody hesitated. Our intake and behavior staff set to reorganizing space to make room for the newcomers. Our Amazing Vet Tech Army said 'thirteen more cats needing triage when we're already slammed? Bring 'em! We'll figure it out!'.  The Neighborhood Adoption Centers staff spiffed up rooms and bunked up kittens together to make space for the newcomers from the North. 

I don't mind a roomie. Just bring those guys in. 
And this is where we get a little misty eyed. Because everyone was so dedicated to making sure these cats were okay, that they would be safe and get forever homes, that they pushed and pinched and hustled to make it work. From the crowded shelter up north who called out for help to Candy driving through the worst rainstorm of the year to bring them in, everybody went the extra mile for these thirteen most phenomenal kitties. 

Within a day of their arrival the thirteen had been dispersed. Eleven to the Neighborhood Adoption Centers and two staying at the Milpitas ACC. The indomitably furniture-like Felix, who needs a little dental work before he goes up for adoption, is currently holding court in our medical department. 

Mah toofers! So yellow!
Less than a week after they got here Erika, Elvira and Rascal have already gone to new homes. Raider, Snicklefritz, Poppy, Dream, Daisy, Arlene, Aaron, Fiona and Claude are still available for adoption. Felix will be shortly as well. 

Our $10.31 through some 10/31 promo starts tomorrow and includes some of these guys, including Claude. 
I'm trying to use Jedi Mind tricks to get you to come get me. 
With a little more breathing room and a lot less crowding, the future is way more secure for the other cats at the shelter up north. If it's gets crowded again they'll call us. And we'll be there. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

This Week In Odd Shelter Coincidences: A Triad of Tri-pawds.

So this happened this week.

What happened? Me being awesome? I AM awesome. 
No, seriously Benji. Turn around so they can see what we mean.

Oh, you mean this? No biggie. 
We got Benji. In case you didn't notice, he's missing a leg. You poor thing - it must be so horrible....

Stop. Just....stop. Right now. 
Benji was brought into another shelter with a bad injury that had damaged his leg and broken his pelvis. They were able to save his life and keep him from being in pain by removing the leg. The thing we need you all to know about this?

It's the absolute least interesting thing about him.

Why do people really think that's interesting? Hoomans are so strange.
We don't know why, Pepper. We know dogs don't care but sometimes people get weird about these things.

Anyhoo, we were talking about what happened this week. And we started with Benji. Which is no big deal but then Peggy Sue came in from another shelter as well..

Howdy. Behold my ear fluff. Amazing, isn't it? 
Seriously, Peggy Sue. We're getting to a point here about a trend, a convergence of sorts, that happened during our Regional Rescue trips this week. Can you stand up please?

I'm up! HA!
No, Peggy Sue. We know it's not what defines you. It's just an odd coincidence.  Turn around for a second.

You just want to look at my butt. 
Yup. Tri-pawed Number Two. Peggy Sue was found with her leg already missing - it had either been amputated a long time ago or she was only born with three legs.

But wait - there's more. Because the same day we got Peggy Sue, this little muffin was on the EXACT same transport.

She might have the ear fluff but I have the radar thing on lock. 
This is Tony. We wouldn't even bring him up as he flew out the door with a wonderful gentleman the moment he became available for adoption except for one thing...

Ayup. Another one.

What's weird about three legged dogs? Absolutely nothing. What is odd is the coincidence of getting three of them in a two day span. BUT it does gives an opportunity for a fantastic teaching moment. And we love teaching moments. 

Do you know what happens when dogs lose a limb or an eye? 

Not much. 

Other dogs don't treat them strangely. They don't wonder why they're different. They just figure out how to navigate the world on three legs and get on with it. Dogs are amazingly flexible and in the moment. 

So how should you treat a three legged (or one eyed) dog? 

Well, how would you treat a four legged dog? Sure, you might have to worry a little bit more about arthritis with the bigger pooches but for the most part, a three legged dog is pretty much identical to a four legged dog. There's just a little less of them. You shouldn't pity them, or feel bad for them, or pass them by because they're 'damaged'. If anything, they're role models for the rest of us about how to live in the bodies we're given - as fragile and adaptable as all bodies are. 

So what should you do now? 

Come in and meet dogs, silly. Both the four legged and the three. 

And scritch Benji's ears when you stop by. He likes that.