Lost & Found Pets: Prevention

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Written by Honey Souza, Humane Education Coordinator

PART ONE: Prevention
A three-part series of what to about missing pets.

One in three pets go missing in their lifetime and it’s not necessarily the result of bad pet owners. Countless factors could contribute to pets being separated from even the most exemplary pet parents. Your four-year-old niece leaves the door open, a tree falls on that fence you painstakingly built, you got in an accident and your pet ran off in fear.

It can happen to anybody, to any pet, but follow these steps to reduce the possibility of that happening:

  1. Secure your borders. You were responsible and went for the house with the six foot fence around the entire proper perimeter. Great! Now inspect your fence regularly as natural elements may weaken or damage it over time; including moles and even your own dig-prone pet.
  2. Microchip*. Anyone who has anything to do with animal welfare as a profession will tell you to microchip your pet. Be sure your vet checks for it at your animal’s annual check-up, just to make sure it’s still working and your info is up-to-date.
  3. Identification Tags*. This is obvious, but so many pets are found without them. Make sure your information is current and includes your cell phone number. Whether you put your pet’s name on the tag is up to you, but if you’re concerned about somebody stealing your pet, you don’t want to make it easy for them to call your pet’s name.
  4. Recall. Train your pet to come when called. It’s easier said than done, especially once your terrier spies that squirrel and you cease to exist. It takes time, patience, and repetition. Hire a trainer if you must. It will be worth it when that squirrel is on the other side of a busy street.
  5. Reduce Boredom. Pets love adventures! Give your pet enough mental and physical stimulation while you’re home so that it doesn’t try to find its own entertainment while you’re gone.
  6. Spay & Neuter. This should be a no brainer, yet it is the cause of so many lost pets, both male and female. Male dogs have been known to jump over (or even through) six-foot fences with ease to get to a female in heat. They will find a way, which is why, unfortunately, shelters exist. Remember, fences mean nothing to cats.
  7. Car Seat Belts. Accidents happen and they’re even scarier for pets than for humans, which is why they more often than not run off after an accident occurs. Get a pet seat belt and make sure it’s fastened to the back of a harness… not the collar. Can you imagine what would happen in a collision when a dog is restrained by the neck? This goes for dogs in truck beds too. California law states that any animal in the back of a truck must be encaged or tethered.

*Low-cost microchips and identification tags are available at Butte Humane Society.

Volunteer Spotlight: Tena C.

Many volunteers ease their way into volunteering. Not Tena! In the short amount of time that she’s been volunteering, she’s already racked up 40 hours and shows no sign of slowing down.

She adopted Jack, a former BHS resident, in September of 2015 and is head over heels for him. She keeps us updated on him as well as all the current guest dogs of BHS. Her consummate updates on the dogs she works with keeps all the other volunteers informed which helps with consistency when training, which in turn fosters a situation that helps our dogs be more prepared for their forever home.

BHS staff always appreciate a volunteer who understands the animals and their needs like Tena does. “Tena has an incredible dedication to the dogs and she always thinks about the staff too. She is willing to take on some of our more challenging level 1’s and I am excited to see what she will do as a level 2 volunteer. She has been a tremendous help since becoming a volunteer,” says BHS behaviorist, Brittany D.

She has already achieved Mentor status, which means that she qualifies to train new volunteers. This usually takes months. Tena is quickly climbing up the volunteer ladder and will be running this place in no time. BHS needs more volunteers like her.

Thank you, Tena, for your time, your effort, and your compassion!

How to Build an A-Frame Agility Ramp

a-frame-dog-agilityAgility courses can be a great training and exercise tool for you and your pup! They can include a variety of equipment that increases your dog’s athletic ability and stamina, while strengthening the team communication between handler and canine. Basic equipment that you can find on agility courses are jumps, tunnels, a-frames, teeters, weave poles, and dog walks.

We use A-Frames in our play yard to work with the dogs that are in our care, so we’re going to dive into how to DIY this type of agility equipment for your own backyard!

Let’s start with WHY you should consider building an A-Frame ramp…

  1. Agility is good exercise for you and your dog.
  2. Agility helps strengthen the bond between you and your dog because he must trust in you.
  3. Agility your dog fulfill it’s natural instincts (ie. climb, run fast, squeeze through narrow spaces, etc).
  4. Agility is good mental stimulation for your dog (following commands and navigating equipment) and you (calling out and signaling commands for your dog at a fast pace).
  5. Agility helps establish better communication between you and your dog.

A few things you should consider when you begin working with your dog on the A-Frame…

  • HEIGHT: Training should start with the A-Frame in a low position. It can be raised as dog becomes more comfortable, but your dog can seriously injure itself if it jumps off the peak of a high frame because it isn’t quite comfortable with the apparatus yet.
  • COMMAND: Pick a word to signal the dog to seek out and climb the A-Frame (e.g. “Climb”, “Climb it”, “Up”, “Frame”).
  • CONTROL: Handler should have good control of the dog on a short lead until dog knows how to climb and exit safely. Again, we don’t want Fido getting hurt, so make sure you are providing a strong sense of control in the situation – this will help you perceive when your dog is comfortable and will give your dog a sense of security.
  • TREAT TRAINING: Use treats to lure / reward the dog for climbing up and down the A-Frame. It’s common to stop the dog at the very top of the frame and treat, then at the bottom contact.
  • SUPERVISION: Dogs should NEVER be left to climb equipment unsupervised. Again, we don’t want any injuries to occur!

 

Now let’s turn to the DIY Network for a step-by-step guide on how to build your own dog an agility ramp:

Tools & Materials Needed:

  • 4×8′ sheets of plywood
  • table saw or circular saw
  • 2x4s
  • nail gun
  • wooden rungs
  • galvanized nails
  • house paint
  • sand
  • eye rings
  • chain

Instruction Steps:

  1. Build the A-frame climbing wall. Use a table saw or circular saw to cut two 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood down to 3′ x 8′. To make the plywood pieces rigid, attach 2x4s around the perimeter and one lengthwise down the middle of each piece. Attach the 2x4s with a pneumatic nail gun through the face of the plywood.
  2. Add wooden rungs to the wall. Wooden rungs will aid your dog’s traction as he climbs the A-frame. Starting from the bottom, mark lines every 12 inches across the width of the plywood. Cut 1×4 lumber 35 inches long for each rung. Center each rung horizontally along your lines; you should have a 1/2″ reveal on each side of the rung. Attach the rungs with wood glue and 1-1/2″ galvanized nails.
  3. Paint the A-frame wall. Apply two coats of standard, exterior house paint. Mix the paint with sand to add traction to the walls. Having two different colors on each side of the A- frame is recommended so your dog can get a clear picture of the obstacle.
  4. Finish the A-frame wall. Use 3-inch hinges at the top and to attach the two sides of the A-frame. Attach eye-rings about midway down on each side of the wall (on the 2×4). Attach a chain through the eye-rings so you can adjust the height of the wall.

Sweet Success: Mr. Puff!

 

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Written by Shelby W, loving adopter

“I actually started working with BHS in August. I wasn’t really looking for another kitty but it is hard not to fall in love with some of them! Not too long after I started, Mr. Puff showed up with a litter of kitties. He was shy and scared of the new environment. I loved seeing him and watching him grow. He was there so much longer than I expected him to be! But obviously he was meant to join my family. He went to free roam and we instantly bonded. I knew it was time for me to take him home! Thank you BHS!”

We are so glad that Mr. Puff has found a happy home!

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Anderson

sue-and-kittenwolverinedog-wash-dayEvery person and every animal loves Sue! Whether they have met her or not, Sue has influenced their lives in some way. Congratulations on seven years and 2,000 lifetime volunteer hours!! You’re absolutely amazing!

“She is always so happy and caring for all the cats. She stays in tune with who is who and their stories. When I worked in cat adoptions, she would always ask how specific cats were doing and see if they finally found a home. She can make even the most timid cats look adorable and happy in their photos! She goes above and beyond to buy seasonal props too which are always adorable!” – Taylor Foster (She said it, but we all thought it!)