Fostering Love at Butte Humane Society

If you’ve been looking for a relatively simple way to help animals in need, have a little time on your hands and want to care for a dog or cat on a temporary basis, becoming a foster parent for your local shelter may be the perfect opportunity for you.

There are many situations in which shelter animals can greatly benefit from living with a foster family while waiting to be adopted, said Sheila Henson, Foster Coordinator at Butte Humane Society in Chico.

“We care for animals that are sick, have behavioral issues that need extra attention, or are too young to care for themselves,” she said. “If these animals do not have a foster home to go to their issues can worsen, which decreases their adoptability at a shelter. Foster parents save the lives of animals that need that little extra help.”

Some examples of animals in need of fostering are: puppies or kittens who are not old enough to be adopted, orphaned babies that require round-the-clock care, or babies and adults who are recovering from illness or surgery.

While most shelters try to make animals comfortable during their stay, shelter life can be stressful at times.

“With animals in such close quarters, illnesses can be spread quickly,” Henson said. “It is much easier for an animal to recover from illness or work out their behavior issues when they are in a home and getting lots of attention and love.”

Requirements to become a foster parent vary from shelter to shelter, but in most cases you will need to be able to provide transportation to and from the shelter, have a flexible schedule with the ability to separate foster pets from current pets in the household. If you rent your apartment or home, you will likely need written approval from your landlord.

So if you have a little extra time on your hands and some extra love in your heart, consider volunteering as a foster parent to an animal at your local shelter.

-Jen Burke, Butte Humane Society volunteer

Three of the 1500+ kittens received by BHS this summer

Don’t Shop – Adopt!

If you’re in the market for a new dog, you’ve probably done research on the breed you want to bring home. From size and weight to personality traits, there are many things to consider when searching for the perfect dog for you and your family. But there is another piece of dog-buying research that is crucial in choosing your new best friend – where he was bred. Before you bring home your new pooch you should be familiar with the term “puppy mill” and understand the consequences of supporting this type of breeding.

Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is given higher priority than the wellbeing of the animal, according to the ASPCA. Rather than being treated as living creatures, dogs in puppy mills are treated as machines that exist only to produce puppies for profit. Typically, the precious pups you see in the window at pet stores are a product of puppy mills.

Unlike responsible breeders, puppy mills are not concerned with producing the healthiest puppies possible – their main priority is to create as many puppies as they can, without consideration of genetic quality. By doing this, puppy mills produce generations of dogs with hereditary defects such as epilepsy, kidney disease, heart disease, deafness, eye problems and respiratory disorders.

The dogs in puppy mills are typically housed in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization, according to the ASPCA. Female dogs are often used to breed until they are physically depleted, then killed.

The best way to avoid supporting puppy mills is to not buy puppies from pet stores. Instead, consider adopting a puppy or adult dog from your local shelter. You’ll not only pay much less than you would a breeder or pet store, but you’ll be supporting your community and helping a dog in need. Visit your local shelter today to meet some of the sweet dogs available for adoption.

– Jen Burke,  Butte Humane Society volunteer

 

The Bark ‘n’ Meow: Furry Friends for Students

 Grumpy, black and white cat

Oh tail-tugs! The university students have returned, which means the shelter is going to get busy with young adults looking for new companions.

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small poodleI think that’s great, personally. The students are far from home, away from family and their childhood pets. They’re going to be feeling homesick, and what better way to be comforted than with a soft, loyal friend?

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Grumpy, black and white catYea, but are these kids ready for the responsibility of owning a new pet? Dogs and cats not only require shelter and food, but they need regular exercise and can end up costing more than they expect.

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Valerie, grey catWell, the staff at Butte Humane don’t have soft whiskers when it comes to who they adopt animals to. They love these animals enough to make sure they are going to safe homes and responsible pet owners.

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dog mascotWhat’s more, they send these pets out into the world with a clean bill of health and the inability to breed. I’d say it’s a top-dog decision to commit to a shelter animal rather than find a free kitten or puppy willy-nillly.

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Grumpy, black and white catWell, I suppose you’re right. Those students do keep my job active and they give my friends a better chance at tail-wagging and affection. You know what I think would be great? It would be nice to find sponsors who could pair up with student adopters as mentors to the responsibilities of pet ownership.

…..Well, it was just a thought.

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small poodle

I’d like to know what our audience thinks? Do YOU have any advice for students looking for a pet companion?

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.By Sarah Brown

8 Ways to Score a Pet-Friendly Rental in Chico

Renting with pets is not always easy. Pet owners who need a place to live have many extra considerations to take into account when searching for a rental. Besides the amount of space needed to comfortably house your pets, rental policies vary widely in the type, size and number of pets allowed, if at all.

Unfortunately, previous bad experiences with pet owners have led many landlords to not accept renters with pets. Recognize that it may be futile to try to sell yourself and your pet to a large rental community with a clear no-pets policy. You’re more likely to be successful if you focus on places that allow most pets, allow certain pets (for example, cats or dogs weighing less than 20 pounds), or that don’t say, “Sorry, no pets.” Individual home owners may be easiest to persuade. Ideally, look for a community with appropriate pet-keeping guidelines that specify resident obligations. That’s the kind of place that’s ideal for pet owners because you’ll know that other pet caregivers there also are committed to being responsible residents.

Not sure where to start? Here’s 8 methods that can help you find and secure a pet-friendly rental. Information provided by The Humane Society of The United States.

1. Search early, search often. Because of the extra difficulty in finding pet-friendly rentals, give yourself plenty of time for your search – at least six weeks. Craiglist offers the option of searching for rental listings that indicate whether cats or dogs are accepted. To see a list of pet-friendly housing options in Chico, visit the Resources section of Butte Humane Society’s website at http://www.buttehumane.org.

2. If a rental’s pet policy is not specified, it never hurts to ask. Make your request to the individual or group who ultimately has the authority to grant it. Usually this will be the owner of the house or apartment, but they may delegate the decision to a landlord or resident manager. If you encounter a no-pets policy, ask if it is the result of a negative experience with a previous resident. Since the policy is not likely to change, finding out about their prior experience may show you how to present your own request most effectively to another potential landlord.

3. Gather proof that you’re responsible. The more documentation you can provide to prove  your conscientiousness as a pet owner, the more convincing your appeal will be to your future landlord. This should include:

  • A letter of reference from your current landlord verifying that you are a responsible pet owner.
  • Written proof that your adult dog has completed a training class, or that your puppy is enrolled in one.
  • A letter from your veterinarian stating that you have been diligent in your pet’s medical care. Supply documentation that your pet has been spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies. (Sterilized pets are healthier, calmer, and far less likely to be a nuisance to neighbors.) Most veterinarians routinely fulfill such requests for their clients.

4. Promote yourself. Responsible pet owners make excellent residents – because they must search harder for a place to live, they are more cautious about damages and more likely to stay put. Lower vacancy rates mean lower costs and fewer headaches for landlords and real estate agents. Let prospective landlords know that you understand that living with a pet is a privilege, not a right. Let them know that you share any concerns about cleanliness. Point out that your pet is housetrained or litter-box trained. Emphasize that you always clean up after your dog outdoors and that you always properly dispose of your pet’s waste.

5. Promote your pet. Offer to bring your pet to meet the owner or landlord, or invite them to visit you and your pet in your current home. A clean, well-behaved pet will speak volumes – emphasize that the same pride you take in caring for your pet extends to taking care of your home. Many landlords are concerned about fleas, so be sure to let them know that you maintain an active flea-control program for your pet and home. Make it clear to the landlord or manager that you keep your pets inside and under control at all times and will walk your dog on leash in designated areas only, and that you understand the health and safety benefits of doing so. If you can’t arrange for a meeting, consider making a small scrapbook with photos of your pet sitting nicely in your current home, and/or draw up a résumé for your pet. These unique ideas are guaranteed to make a strong, yet positive, impression.

6. Be willing to pay a little extra. Tell your prospective landlord that you are willing to pay an extra security deposit to cover any property damages your pet might make.

7. Get it all in writing. Once you have been given permission by a landlord to have a pet, be sure to get it in writing by signing a pet addendum to your rental agreement. Comprehensive agreements protect people, property, and the pets themselves. If your lease has a no-pets clause, verbal approval won’t be enough. The no-pets clause should be removed from the lease (or crossed out and initialed) before you sign it. Be sure it has been removed from or crossed out on your landlord’s copy, too. You may be required to pay a pet deposit, some or all of which may be nonrefundable. Be sure to discuss deposits and any monthly pet-related fees in advance, and have these fees put into writing. Request a copy of any house rules pertaining to pets. Let the landlord know that you will follow the rules set for the entire community and respect the concerns of residents who do not own pets.

8. Above all, be honest and follow the rules. Don’t try to sneak your pet in – no matter how sneaky you may be, your landlord WILL find out! And that isn’t good for anyone involved. Even landlords who accept pets may have size, breed or species restrictions, as well as a cap on the number of total pets allowed. Keeping an animal in violation of a community’s rules contributes to the general inclination of landlords not to allow pets. You also may be subject to possible eviction or other legal action, or be forced to give up your pet in order to keep your home.

Do you live in a pet-friendly rental in Chico? Tell us about it in the comments!

– Heather Schoeppach

The Bark ‘n’ Meow: Introducing our hosts

dog mascot

My name is Trooper, the newest member to the Butte Humane Society family. I’ll be representing as the shelter’s mascot. I’m a super-trooper fan of spay & neuter services, so keep your whiskers on high alert for any pets that don’t want to parent a litter of lickers to feed!

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Grumpy, black and white cat

Hey there. I’m Grumpy. I’m about 45 years old, but humans like to keep me young by saying I’m 7 years old, according to their math. I came to the shelter as a stray, but frankly, I didn’t care to go home with any adopters because they kept putting their hands all over me like some sort of pet. So the staff here at the shelter decided to hire me to keep an eye on the place and to test new dogs. I don’t take any bark from dogs and I’m not afraid to give them a little whop in the jaw if they try to scare me.  The staff says this way they can see how well a new dog can handle being in a family that has cats. Whatever.

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Valerie, grey cat

Hiya. My name is Valerie. My story is similar to Grumpy’s. I’m 45 by my calculations, and wasn’t so happy being around other people and cats all the time, so the staff gave me a home in the warehouse. I’m a good mouser and generally like to be alone, but I have a purrfect appreciation for the occasional visit. If you sit with me and rub my ears, I’ll cuddle into your neck and make biscuits on your shoulder. I have a good life.

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small poodle

Awoofa. I’m Boomer. I came to the shelter as a stray back in the mid-1980s, but found a really great family to adopt me. One night, I helped my new family in an emergency and I received a national “Canine Hero of the Year” award for that. I believe my sole purpose in life was to save this loving family because a month after I got the award, I passed on. Now the shelter keeps my memory alive and I’m here to keep saving lives by encouraging adoptions.

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by Sarah Brown