Coping With the Loss of a Pet

By Megan Worthylake

When a person you love dies, it is considered socially acceptable to feel intense sorrow, express grief to your loved ones who will provide their support. Unfortunately the same doesn’t always hold true if the life you lost was the death of your companion animal. Many consider grieving unsuitable and abnormal for someone who has lost “just a pet.” When others devalue the loss of your pet, it can make the grieving process more difficult because it is stigmatized that pet loss is not important, and not appreciated by everyone.

Like most people, pet owners are often ill-prepared to face the loss of a life. Grief is like a swamp – without any guidelines you may be at the mercy of painful emotions. It’s easy to feel very lost and sometimes the more you fight through the mess, the deeper you sink. It’s important to find your way back to solid ground again.

Here are some tips on how to cope with your heartache:

Part of the recovery process is to understand your feelings of pain, anger, grief, depression and guilt. Exhibiting these emotions doesn’t mean you are weak, so you should not feel ashamed. Understanding the value of your pet in your life is an important part of understanding why its loss is so upsetting. Research has shown that a good relationship with a pet can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, help heart disease patients recover more quickly, give the elderly new purpose in life, aid the mentally handicapped relate more fully to the world around them, and much more. Companionship, confidence, sympathy, warmth — these benefits of pet ownership are invaluable. The relationship you had with your pet can be as precious and meaningful as a relationship with a person.

Try not to bottle up your emotions. When you try to ignore your pain to keep it from surfacing, it will only make it worse in the long run. The continued absence of your pet serves as a constant reminder of your loss, consequently reinforcing those emotions and making them more difficult to handle.

So find some positive outlets to release these feelings like writing your thoughts down or talking with others about it. Perhaps reach out to others who have also lost pets. Check out online message boards, pet loss support groups and hot lines (yes they’re out there!).

Create a legacy either by preparing a memorial or planting a tree in memory of your pet. When a pet dies, you know that ending has been made, and your grieving process can begin at that ending. When the grieving process is constantly put on hold, it can go on longer and be much more difficult to resolve. Perhaps during a burial, you can share or write stories about the pet. This will add closure to your companion that gave nothing but devotion and love.

And lastly, look out for yourself. The stress of losing a pet can deplete your energy – try and eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly to release endorphins that’ll boost your mood. Replace any negative imagery; when you think about the good times you shared with your pet – the walks, the romps, the quiet evenings of shared affection. It is helpful to look back on these memories, and think about the good you did for your pet during its lifetime. Did you adopt your pet from an animal shelter? Reflect on the happy years of life you gave an animal that might otherwise have become another “unwanted pet” statistic. Maintaining a positive attitude about yourself and the role in your pet’s life is one the healthiest things you can do. Continue to live with those fond memories knowing you made a positive impact on an animal’s life.

Consider if it’s the right time to once again open your heart and share your life with another companion animal. There are thousands of animals looking for a caring, compatible owner.

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PRESS RELEASE: Land Donation Announced at 103rd Anniversary Gala

LAND DONATION ANNOUNCED AT BUTTE HUMANE SOCIETY’S 103RD ANNIVERSARY GALA
Future Home, New Executive Director, 2013 Milestones Celebrated By Community

(Chico, CA) – Exciting new developments for Butte Humane Society (BHS) were announced at their 103rd Anniversary Gala, held on Saturday, March 22 at the Big Room at Sierra Nevada Brewery. In her welcome address, BHS Board President Katie Gonser informed the audience of 300+ local business leaders and animal advocates of the donation of land that will serve as the site of Butte Humane Society’s future home; the hiring of BHS Executive Director Chuck Tourtillott; and significant milestones achieved in the past year.

In keeping with the Gala’s theme of “There’s No Place Like Home,” the announcement of a future permanent location for Butte Humane Society was met with much celebration, relief and gratitude. Longtime BHS supporter Ginger Drake has donated 7 acres of land in northern Chico, located on Thorntree Drive near the Chico Municipal Airport. BHS is currently putting together a task force to work on the planning process for facility development, with a capital campaign kick-off slated in the next year. Eventually this location will house all of the many programs and services of Butte Humane Society, which is currently spread out across three different facilities as well as shared use of the City of Chico dog kennel building.

New BHS Executive Director Chuck Tourtillott relocated to Chico in order to bring his extensive animal shelter leadership and capital campaign experience to the organization during this crucial time. Previously, in Vancouver, Washington, Mr. Tourtillott led the campaign to build a 31,000-square-foot, $7 million animal shelter.

Milestones and achievements of the past year were also celebrated, including Butte Humane Society’s unprecedented 98.4% Live Release Rate for animals in their care in 2013, and the successful completion of more than 10,000 spay and neuter surgeries at the BHS Spay & Neuter Clinic since its opening in 2010.

The Anniversary Gala is Butte County’s largest single-day fundraiser for local animals in need, and this year’s event grossed more than $135,000 for Butte Humane Society. Keep in mind, this amount covers about a month’s worth of costs for BHS, so ongoing fundraising is still needed to keep vital programs and services running. For a full recap of the Gala and a link to the event photo album, visit buttehumane.org/gala. For more information on BHS fundraising, contact BHS Director of Development Katrina Woodcox at (530) 343-7917 ext. 135.

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April Business Buddies

Butte Humane Society’s Business Buddies program partners with local business to increase the exposure of adoptable animals to community members. Businesses participating in the program display two flyers, one featuring three cats and the other featuring three dogs, in their store or office. The animals on these flyers change each month in efforts to help the animals find loving homes quickly.

If your business would like help more animals find homes by displaying the Business Buddies flyers each month, please contact Kaitlin Tillett, Development Team Member, via email.  To view the complete list of the businesses who support us by displaying these flyers, please visit our website.

If you would like to inquire about one of the animals featured on this month’s Business Buddies, please contact adoptions at 530.343.7917 x203.

 
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Celebrating Success at our 103rd Anniversary Gala “There’s No Place Like Home”

BHS Executive Director Chuck Tourtillott and BHS Board President Katie Gonser

Butte Humane Society (BHS) is proud to report the smashing success of our 103rd Anniversary Gala on Saturday, March 22 at the Big Room at Sierra Nevada in Chico, CA. More than 300 of Chico’s finest philanthropists, business leaders and animal advocates attended the event to raise much-needed funds for BHS, celebrate significant milestones, and enjoy a fun-filled night for a great cause.

The night began with mingling on the Mezzanine, passed wine and appetizers, browsing and bidding on more than 100 fabulous silent auction items and Blind Wine, and taking a turn in the photo booth located on the catwalk above Sierra Nevada’s iconic copper brewing kettles. As the silent auction concluded, guests were ushered into the Big Room for an elegant dinner by Sierra Nevada as well as dinner music by Chico Jazz Collective.

In her welcome address, BHS Board President Katie Gonser noted the organization’s significant achievements in 2013, including our unprecedented 98.4% Live Release Rate and being named “Best Charitable Cause” and “Best Place to Volunteer” by the readers of Chico News & Review. She also announced two very exciting new developments for Butte County’s largest animal sheltering organization… the hiring of our new Executive Director, Chuck Tourtillott, who comes to Chico with extensive experience in humane society leadership and capital campaigns….. and the donation of 7 acres of land by longtime BHS supporter Ginger Drake, which will be developed into Butte Humane Society’s all-encompassing permanent home! More information on the land donation and the future of BHS will be announced in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

The night’s theme was “There’s No Place Like Home” and incorporated many features from the classic Wizard of Oz. By all accounts, our team of staff, board members and volunteers did an incredible job of transporting the Big Room to the Land of Oz… from costumed characters mingling with guests, to the elaborate progression beginning at the rainbow-arched entrance to the “Munchkin Land” Mezzanine to the grand culmination of the Emerald City and hot air balloon on the Big Room stage. Check out our Facebook photo album to see the evening’s highlights and happy attendees.

Tamara Damante, TV anchor at Action News Now, graciously served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. A recent addition to the Chico community, she won over the crowd with her friendly smile, warm personality, and obvious love for the animals. Action News Now was the Platinum Sponsor of our Gala event!

Another new face at our Gala was professional auctioneer Travis Petersen, who successfully led our Live Auction bidding and Fund a Need donation collection. The fifteen Live Auction items ranged from elegant jewelry (including a 13-diamond ring from Olde Gold Estate Jewelry) to unique art (including a Double Passion Moon Jellyfish by Satava Art Glass) to one-of-a-kind getaways and adventures (such as a Sierra Nevada “beer geek” package for four people which includes a private tour of Sierra Nevada Brewery and beer pairing lunch with founder Ken Grossman.)

In all, more than 125 local businesses supported the Gala through cash and in-kind donations. This annual event is the largest single-day fundraiser of the year for Butte Humane Society (BHS) and this year’s event raised more than $130,000!  Keep in mind, this amount will cover about one month of operating expenses for BHS, so ongoing fundraising is still needed to keep our vital programs and services running.

Thanks again to everyone who attended, volunteered, sponsored or donated to help make the 103rd Anniversary a roaring good time and a big success for our community’s homeless animals!  We hope to see you all at next year’s event!!

Your Support in Action – Little Bear

Little Bear recovering from surgery and fishing for treats at the office!

Little Bear, an 8 year old Pomeranian, came into the care of Butte Humane Society (BHS) after a community member found her and turned her into the City of Chico Animal Shelter as a stray. Our adoptions staff quickly realized that something was not right with Little Bear when the went to pick her up and noticed the massive lump protruding from her belly. It was clear that she was in pain and she carefully protected her belly when moving or being handled.

Thanks to the loyal support of our donors, we were able to rush Little Bear over to our clinic for our staff veterinarian to examine her. The diagnosis was clear, she had a large hernia through which her abdominal contents had passed.

We immediately placed her in foster care so she could be watched closely to prevent the hernia from worsening. We then worked hard to partner with a local veterinarian to repair the hernia. Once she was in surgery, the veterinarian realized she actually had two hernias, with the majority of her abdominal contents and uterus outside her

intestinal lining. They also removed six hard masses that potentially could have become cancerous over time and spayed her.  Little Bear placed back into her loving foster family to gently nurse her back to health. She recovered wonderfully and her spunky personality started to shine as she no longer was in pain.

We learned that she loves treats and will do silly tricks and dances to get them! Due to of the immense support we receive towards our Dorothy N. Johnson Second Chance Fund, we were able to supply Little Bear with the time, antibiotics, pain medications, and space to fully recover from her surgery.  We are very happy to report that Little Bear’s story has the perfect ending! Not to our surprise, Little Bear’s foster family couldn’t bear parting with her once she was healthy and ready to be adopted. Just last week they completed the paperwork to make her an official member of the family! She routinely visits staff to say “Hi” and is the happiest little senior doggy you might ever meet!

Little Bear’s dreams of having a loving home finally came true!

Little Bear and the rest of the BHS team thank you for making our life-changing work possible!

Actions you can take to help the animals, like Little Bear, at Butte Humane Society:

Adopt. Find out more about the adoption process and see the animals currently available for adoption at our adoption centers.
Volunteer. We are greatly in need of cleaning, socialization, and foster volunteers! Click here to get started.
Donate. Every little bit helps fund the care of our rescued animals. You may make a secure donation online, mail a check to our administrative office, or collect items on our wish list.

History of The Human-Cat Relationship

By Megan Worthylake

Although cats may not hold the title of “man’s best friend,” it is undeniable the amount of love cats share with their human guardians. So why is there a deep connection between cats and their people? How does it begin, and does it really exist? The answer is a resounding yes. There is a profound connection between felines and humans. Cats will jump on your lap, curl in a ball and purr, because they want your love. The strong bond between cats and their owners can best be explained through the historical findings we’ve traced in our past.

The domestication of the cat was established thousands of years ago. They are unique in the sense that they have been able to maintain their wild, ancestral characteristics even though they comfortably adapt to the households and conditions of our modern life. Supposedly this is because cats actually domesticated themselves over the span of history, slowly moving closer to humans in order to gain access to rodents in colonized areas. Therefore cats never needed to learn to follow human commands – they just went ahead and did everything themselves.

Their ancestry can be traced back to ancient Egypt and Cyprus. About 8,000 years ago the bones of cats, rodents, and humans were found buried together on the island of Cyprus. Our early ancestors brought both the cats and the mice to Cyprus with them – the cats on purpose, the rodents perhaps as stowaways.

Rodents became a problem for the nomads of Egypt who had evolved from a hunter-gatherer culture into an agricultural-based civilization. Egyptians established their farming communities and growing crops became a way of life for them. The crops could only be harvested a few times a year, and the life-giving grains were eaten by mice, rats and other vermin. Egyptians noticed that the local cat population ate the rodents that ate the grain, which to them was a very good thing.

Determined to rid the area of rodents, Egyptians welcomed cats into their communities with open arms, and even then cats were home dwellers. Cats quickly adapted to human ways for the promise of a free meal. Farmers were more than willing to leave edible scraps around to attract cats. Cats simply discovered a natural place for themselves, a steady source of food, and affection from their human company, which they returned.

Cats chose domestication; we did not choose domestication for them. The process and the gradual domestication of cats to pets is still happening today so the human-feline bond is becoming stronger. Naturally cautious and independent by nature, they are actually one species that have the least likelihood of being domesticated. Cats are individualistic animals, but one thing is clear: your cat wants to be around you, and is enjoying the affection you offer them. Love is a binding element between cats and humans from the ancient days when Egyptians considered cats as helpful, amazing creatures to the present when cats are our loving household companions.

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Business Buddies

Butte Humane Society’s Business Buddies program partners with local business to increase the exposure of adoptable animals to community members. Businesses participating in the program display two flyers, one featuring three cats and the other featuring three dogs, in their store or office. The animals on these flyers change each month in efforts to help the animals find loving homes quickly.

If your business would like help more animals find homes by displaying the Business Buddies flyers each month, please contact Kaitlin Tillett, Development Team Member, via email.  To view the complete list of the businesses who support us by displaying these flyers, please visit our website.

If you would like to inquire about one of the animals featured on this month’s Business Buddies, please contact adoptions at 530.343.7917 x203.

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Your Support in Action – Anastasia

Thanks to your support, Anastasia is now ready to find a loving home!  Ana was found injured (possibly hit by a car) and had a fractured back leg. Through generous donations made to our Dorothy N. Johnson Second Chance Fund, we were able to get her X-rays done, which revealed the broken leg would need to be amputated. Our staff veterinarian, Dr. Caspary, surgically removed her leg to put Anastasia on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

She is now feeling much better and Dr. Caspary reports that she is adjusting very well to life on three legs! She is such a sweet kitten who likes to rub all over everything and has a purr that can be heard from across the room.  Anastasia was spayed yesterday and will be ready for adoption next week. Believe us when we say, she is roaring to go to find her new family!

Thank you for supporting our work to help us to give second chances to animals like Anastasia!

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History of the Human-Dog Relationship

By Megan Worthylake

Have you ever wondered why your dog loves you unconditionally? A growing body of research shows that we didn’t initially become our dog’s companion, they became our companion. In all of nature, very few relationships have been more dynamic and personal than the bond between humans and canines. But does our emotional connection with dogs make sense?

There is a universal fable that the first friendly dog emerged on a human settlement thousands of years ago. At dusk after a long, weary day of farming, a group of people gathered around a campfire. They’re relaxing with the food they’ve harvested and suddenly they hear rustling coming from the shadows. They turn around and see the shining eyes of a wolf. The people are shocked, but not scared. For many years the people have seen wolves prowling around, scavenging for whatever food they could find. Except this is the first time a wolf has dared to come this close to humans. The wolf slowly approaches the fire, sits down, and raises its head. Someone tosses it a bit of bread.

This is generally how the story ends, which could be very true. Perhaps wolves appreciated the edible scraps early humans started feeding these animals. Humans probably couldn’t get rid of them, and (quite understandably) grew to like them. They might have realized that wolves, with their keen senses of smell and hearing, could locate the next potential meal more effectively than they could. Wolves also could detect potential threats such as bigger more ferocious predators. It is unclear when wolves and “dogs” branched off, and separated into individual species. The domestication of wolves was a gradual process that spanned thousands of years when, presumably, the lives of humans and wolves became intertwined. Together humans and tame wolves became hunting partners and thus their companionship strengthened.  The descendants of tame wolves became dogs, and they formed strong emotional attachments to their owners similar in the way human babies are to their mothers.

Wolves varied in size, color, coat, and other physical & behavioral characteristics so it laid the diverse foundation for their descendants, and that’s why they’re so many different breeds of dogs we see today. Much has changed for the dog since the past hundred years, except one thing remains a constant – a dog’s unparalleled loyalty to its owner.

 

Press Release: Butte Humane Society Invites Community Members to Supper Club

Wine Time Supports Animals by Hosting Supper Club on March 5th

(CHICO, CA) – Butte Humane Society (BHS) invites you to join them at Supper Club!  Supper Club will be held on March 5th at Wine Time, located at 26 Lost Dutchman Dr. during the hours of 3:00 PM – 11 PM.  Wine Time will donate 15% of all purchases made that night to Butte Humane Society. Please visit www.winetimechico.com to view their complete menu. Reservations are recommended for this event, please call (530)899-9250 to make one.

The Butte Humane Society Supper Club is held every month at local restaurants.  Each restaurant has generously pledged to donate a percentage of dinner sales made during Supper Club to Butte Humane Society.  Attend Supper Club each month and enjoy a delicious dinner with likeminded individuals, all while supporting local businesses and the homeless animals in the community.  Simply dine during the Supper Club hours to show your support for the animals!

To see the full Supper Club calendar and view participating restaurants, please visit buttehumane.org/supperclub.   Also, to stay in the know about all Butte Humane Society happenings, please like them on Facebook at facebook.com/buttehumanesociety.

If you are a local restaurant that would like to be involved in the BHS Supper Club in 2014, please contact Kaitlin Tillett at 530.343.7917 x134 for more information.

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