Tag Archives: animal

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!

 

That Time I Knocked on a Strangers Door

20 Mar

On my 40 minute drive home, exciting things rarely happen. That’s usually for the best.

Outside of driving off the side of the road, the most exciting thing to happen as of recent was an encounter with a llama. You can bet I was thrilled.

Okay…so it wasn’t really an encounter…more like…an escaped llama minding its own business on the side of a road. But hey, I work for an animal shelter, and escaped livestock can be a real bother. I also didn’t want him to get hit by a car. Llamas are the handsomest of livestock, after all.

There aren’t many things to do when you happen upon an escaped llama, but I decided to knock on its owners door to let them know. It was awkward, but when they didn’t come to either door, it actually felt more awkward. I don’t know why, but it did. Hopefully their chickens are “free-roaming”, too, because otherwise they have an escaped llama AND escaped chickens.

It also appeared that they farm fresh eggs they advertised on their fence were free and kept in a cooler by the door. I didn’t inspect them, but from the looks of their area, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Have you ever knocked on a strangers door for anything? Ever encountered roaming livestock – did you do anything about it?

The Many Blunders of a Chinchilla Owner

17 Jul

 

Chinchillas aren’t easy. To be even a semi-decent owner, you have to do a whole lot of research on them.

I have a story for you. It isn’t the first time something I’ve had to deal with an entirely new situation with my chinchillas. Last night as I was feeding my chinchillas, my lady, Pandora, decided to take a spin around my bedroom. My kitties weren’t in the vicinity, so I closed the door that leads to my combined bedroom/hallway-closet/bathroom to let her run around until she was ready to come back to her cage. This isn’t out of the ordinary, so I sat on my bed and tried to get my phone to work.

Then I heard a splash. It could only mean one thing: Pandora jumped in the toilet.

I bounded off the bed into the hallway to catch her and see the damage. It wasn’t as bad as I thought; chinchillas are such fast, ninja-creatures that the only thing that got wet was her tummy. My first thought flew straight to all of the chinchilla lore out there.

If chins get wet, they get moldy.

If chins get wet you have to shave them.

And so on. Then, my thoughts ended at a website that talked about blow-drying your chinchilla if it gets wet, and the only thing was to make sure they didn’t overheat or get a chill.

It was my best option, so I wrapper her up in a towel and tried to dry her as best I could (which isn’t an easy task if you take into account the fact that chinchillas let go of their fur when stressed). Then, I put it on low cool and held her up and aimed it at her tummy, then alternated to warm, and back until it was almost completely dry.

Much to my surprise, Pandora LOVED the blow-dryer.

I let her fur dry the rest of the way over night, and gave her a dust bath to top her off the next day. Good as new.

So for any of you out there who own chinchillas or might be interested in getting them, keep this in mind:

1) Their tails don’t fall off like lizards do.
2) They only need at MOST a few pellets – feed them most to all [timothy] hay.
3) Treats are really unnecessary and can be bad for them, so keep them to less than one a day (and by no means more than that). They naturally eat very bland diets.
4) Most of all, don’t be afraid to get creative. My vet made a cone for Pandora out of radiograph film, I use bird perches as chin perches, and I found out my lady loves the blow-dryer by an unfortunate mishap.

 

What kind of pets do you have? What kind of mishaps have you had? Any chinchilla advice to share?