Archive | May, 2014

What it Means to be an “Open-Admission” Animal Shelter

14 May

For those who are hard of hearing, or just prefer reading, the text version is below:

Hey everyone, so this is my first video blog…hopefully in a long series of video blogs.

And I’m bringing this to you, because as some of you may know I work at an animal shelter. If you didn’t already know that, you do now! Before I go any further, I am just going to mention that I am not going to say the name of the shelter I work at, but just in case any of you deduce it or already know it, I am not a representative of my animal shelter.

I work for an Open Admission shelter, so that’s actually what I’m going to be talking about today. What is an open admission shelter?

An Open Admission shelter is similar to the equal opportunity act. An employer won’t discriminate based on age, sex, creed, religion, or any of those things, and an open admission shelter functions in much the same way. We won’t discriminate what animals we bring in. We will take in a 1 day old puppy, or a 17 year old dog. We’ll take in aggressive and dangerous dogs, and then of course we will take in the normal dog.

Even if we don’t have space in the shelter, we will still accept animals…we will make space.

The opposite of an Open Admission Shelter is a Limited Admission Shelter. A limited Admission shelter is what you would usually call a rescue. The great thing about limited admission shelter is that they get to choose which animals they take in – they are often breed-based, so they may only take in specific breeds, like yorkies or large breeds. Open admission shelters often utilize these rescues when we don’t have the resources to work with an animal to give them a home.

The estimated number of owned animals in the United States in 2012 is 179 million cats and dogs.

The number of stray animals estimated in 2012 is 70 million.

70 million. That’s a lot!

The unfortunate reality of this numbers, is that we can’t place all of these animals. We have a variety of resources we may utilize – we can try transferring to limited admission shelters than I mentioned earlier. They often have more resources per animal because they have fewer animals. We might also try fostering an animal if it has an issue we can work with, but isn’t quite ready for adoption.

Being a nonprofit organization, means we have limited resources, and unfortunately those run out.

Even though we can take in all animals, we don’t always have the resources to safely or effectively adopt those animals out. And it is for this reason, that Open Admission shelters perform euthanasia.

Would you want a dog that escaped its yard and killed another animal, or mauled a child, to live next to Grandma? Or you? Or maybe you have kids…do you want this dog as your own pet?

Or what about a cat that is so aggressive, you can’t touch it? Or a cat that is so terrified, it can’t function?

Would you be willing to pay even $100 for a dog that may pass away within the next 6 months?

These are all issues we face when we are trying to decide if an animal is an adoptable animal.

I don’t speak for all shelters when I say this, but our adoptable animals don’t have a shelf life. Once they pass behavioral evaluations and medical assessments and are made available, they remain on the adoption floor until they are adopted.

If an animal is on the adoption floor for an extended period of time (1 or 2 months) we may transfer that animal to another facility in hopes that it may find its forever home in that community. Just because we aren’t reaching the right adopters, doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.

The goal is to reduce the number of animals without a home, and do reduce the number of animals subjected to cruelty each year.

If you have any questions, please get them to me. I want this to be an open discussion, so share this, and give me your questions. Maybe I’ll even answer them in a follow-up video blog! I want to answer them and dispel any myths or rumors you may have heard about open-admission shelters!

 

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DIY Nautical Net-Covered Bottle

11 May

When I moved to this new house, I decided I wanted something different for my bathroom than how I’d decorated it previously. When I took my colors course, I made this little mood-board, and liked it so much that I decided to take it to the next level.

Deep Sea Abyss Bathroom

 

I like it because it’s masculine, but also because it is less “sea-side” nautical, and more deep sea, old-world nautical.

But, because it’s a little less ordinary than your normal sea-themed bathroom, I’ve had difficulty finding good accessories that are affordable. I made decorated my own shower hooks (tutorial to come, soon), my own shower curtain, and I’ve had to gather odds and ends. Most recently, I came across a bottle similar to the one pictured at the beginning of the post, and I loved it. I already had a use for a glass bottle, but to dress it up like that would be great!

As I do frequently, I set about the interwebs to find a tutorial on how to do it. I found an okay one, but the knotting was less-than-desirable. So, here we go.

First, you’ll need some sort of rope – I used jute. Tie it around the neck of your bottle and knot however you feel most comfortable. It needs to be a little loose, so that you can tie other pieces of rope to it. (Sorry for the poor quality pictures – my camera was dead, so I had to use my broken cellular device.)

Next, cut several pieces of rope, 3-4 times longer than your bottle or jar. I used 5, but you could also go as high as 8-10 depending on how big your jar is. I also went 4 times longer – I tried 3 times longer the first time, and had to start over. Too long of rope is much better than too short of rope, so do what feels most comfortable.

Fold each piece of rope in half, and slip it under the rope tied around the next of the bottle, evenly spacing them.

Then, bring the loose ends up through the loop, and tighten (I’m sure there is a name for this knot, but I don’t know what it is). Do this to all of your strands.

Next, take two strands that are adjacent strands from different knots and twist them once. Then, tape the twisted part down or it won’t stay.

The tape is very necessary. And this part of the process is where the other tutorials I found failed. They had a different way to knot, and with the size of my rope, it did not look good at all. If you want to try it, this is what that knot looks like:

So continue the twisting and taping around your jar, until one row is done. Then, do the next row, and then the next. Make sure you tape, or this can be frustrating.

Once you get to the bottom, make another circle out of the jute rope. You can make it small so that it is smaller than the base of your jar, or you can make it the same size. I did mine at roughly the same size, and I don’t have any strong feelings one way or another.

Then, you are going to knot the loose ends onto the circle. I don’t have a great way to show this process, but find a knot you like, and stick with it. I looped the loose ends from the outside and under the circle. Then, I put the ends through the loop made by the opposite end when you go under the circle. Then, I simple just did a single knot and pulled. I went around the circle on opposite sides so that the pull was constant (like when you change a tire).

And voila! Now, you just have to find something fun and pretty to put in your jar.

I filled mine with shower bombs.

What do you think of the finished product? Do you know if there is a better day to do this, or a knot that would make things so much easier? 

Blaming the Victim

2 May

The line that defines a victim from an instigator can be very hard to recognize, but figuring out if that line even matters might even be a harder task.

In the news not terribly long ago was a story about a boy who was getting bullied at school because of his My Little Pony backpack. When this child tried to get help and stop his bullies, he was instead reprimanded for contributing to bullying by choosing to wear said backpack.

In other words, he was asking for it.

Let’s say that this little boy just really, really liked his backpack and didn’t understand why he was being picked on. It’s absolutely horrible that school officials would punish him, and not the children bullying him.

But lets switch things up a bit. Let’s say this little boy doesn’t have any attachment to his My Little Pony backpack, and simply wore it because he knew these other kids would pick on him for it; he wanted to get them in trouble. Instead of being “the victim” in this case, he might more readily be considered an instigator.

To me, the most likely scenario falls in between: he liked his backpack, and when the other children picked on him, he didn’t want to give into peer pressure, and continued to wear it.

While these three scenarios are only slightly different, the view of this little boy with a backpack changes how we think he should be treated. Should it? I’m not convinced either way, but I do know that he shouldn’t have been punished. He has no control over how other children treat him – only they have control over their own actions. Even if he had no attachment to his backpack, these kids should still know better than to pick on another child.

If we think of this child as an “instigator”, should he have been reprimanded for contributing to bullying or should the other children have been disciplined? Does someone being a “victim” and an “instigator” at the same time change how we should handle the situation? Have you ever been picked on my kids for something silly like this – what was it? Have you ever purposely done something just because others thought it was weird?