Tag: animal

Grrrrrrreat Reads – Not Just For 1st Time Adopters

 

It is exciting to find so many good books about pet adoption on the market. Those of us who live with adopted pets know how much they mean to a family.

 

If you have ever opened your heart to an older pet, here’s a book you’ll want to check out:

 According to William Hageman, Reporter for the Chicago Tribune,  “If you read My Old Dog: Rescued Pets With Remarkable Second Acts (New World Library) and don’t want to run out to a shelter and rescue a senior pet, you have a heart of flint.”  The book, written by Laura T. Coffey and photographed by Lori Fusaro, champions a sometimes-forgotten segment of the animal shelter population.  It contains some truly beautiful photographs of senior dogs and a very nice resource section for folks who make older dogs a part of their life. http://www.myolddogbook.com/

 

 

Perhaps the writer of My Old Dog will follow up with an equally well-built version about senior cats? Let’s hope so. In the meantime, we have an excellent book available now, offering the latest information on Senior Cat Care. Written by Susan Easterly, Your Older Cat – A Complete Guide to Nutrition, Natural Remedies and Veterinary Care is a veritable Bible of good information for anyone whose cat is reaching its sunset years. With easy to follow tables, resource lists and helpful hints, this book will help any reader get a grip on old-cat topics like the aging process, preventive care, natural healing options, chronic diseases and senior cat nutrition. The suggested reading list is most helpful and the photos are just beautiful.

 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s an excellent book on how to raise a great puppy written by Dr. Sophia Yin. Dr. Yin died a few years back, but she left behind her a tremendous wealth of writings about positive methods in pet training based on the latest research. Being a veterinarian, Dr. Yin also tempers her writings with the physical drivers behind behavior. Illustrated profusely with photos and drawings that are easy to interpret, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days – How to Start Your Puppy Off Right not only can help someone raising a puppy to do it right. It also can help the owner of a young dog understand the reasons behind behaviors they may be seeing in their pet, and how they can best modify those behaviors without ruining the dog.

 

Since we like to be even handed in our reviews, we owe it to the felines and their families to mention an equally interesting and well-designed how-to book about cats by Pam Johnson-Bennett: Think Like A Cat – How To Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat – Not a Sour Puss  From how to choose a new cat or kitten to how to kitten-proof a home to how to help your vet diagnose your cat’s ailments, this book is the one cat owners will turn to again and again over the lifetime of their cat. There’s some exceptional material in here about how to not only train a cat, but how to modify and even eliminate undesirable behaviors your cat may have developed. Personally we might have liked to have seen a few more illustrations in this book to break up the text a bit and help the more visual learners in our midst to get the message; but with so much valuable information in this book, we can forgive the lack of images and appreciate the treasure between its covers.


Legislative Corner – What is Animal Cruelty?

TASP gets our share of calls from folks concerned about this or that animal’s welfare in their neighborhood. Whether it’s a neighbor’s dog tied out in weather extremes, or dairy heifers with hip bones protruding in springtime, it’s commendable that people care enough about animals to seek help on their behalf. Sometimes what they’re seeing is actually not cruelty, according to NY State law, and sometimes it is. In the previous TASP newsletter, we talked about how to make change happen at the federal level. I thought it might be a good idea to take it back a notch and talk about state level matters, especially concerning animal cruelty.

When the topic of animal cruelty comes up, sometimes I lose a friend when I explain what TASP can and can’t do, legally. After all, TASP is not the official Animal Control officer for any jurisdiction. We’re educated in Animal Law so we can recognize it when we see it and share information on the topic with concerned members of the public. We’re glad to communicate what we’ve learned to enlighten others, but we don’t have the authority to remove animals from premises without the permission of the animal’s owner or of law enforcement officials responsible for the location where the suspected cruelty is taking place. We also don’t have the legal authority to demand that law enforcement remove an animal from its owner, even when cruelty is suspected. And we can’t legally represent you to law enforcement and make a formal complaint on your behalf about something you’ve witnessed and we haven’t.  All we can do is what YOU can do if you suspect animal cruelty:

Look carefully at the big and small picture and compare what you see to Article 26 of the NY State Agriculture and Markets Law. Remember, not everything that looks like cruelty is legally cruel under our existing laws. In this state, animals are still considered the property of their owners, just like a car or a ladder. Companion animals have a bit more protection under Article 26, but even at that, the protections are in some cases vaguely worded and up to the interpretation of officers, attorneys and judges.

Not all cruelty or neglect is intentional and not all cases of neglect are considered by law enforcement to be prudent to prosecute, from a resource-availability perspective. An elderly pet owner who isn’t able to trim their pet’s nails or whose dog/cat’s fur is matted isn’t necessarily intending to hurt their pet. On the contrary, they may be distressed, embarrassed and/or ashamed that they aren’t able financially or physically to keep up with the animal’s care. It may be their only companion and so they may be reluctant to let it go. There may be no relatives or neighbors nearby who can/will help them with the tasks, or they may not understand the physical discomfort that long nails or matted fur can cause an animal.  The owner’s arthritis, poor eyesight, lack of resources or the onset of their or their loved one’s illness may also be legitimate reasons for a lapse in a pet’s care. Swooping in to judge/accuse/publicly shame the owner in such cases without knowing the backstory adds to the tragedy instead of helping overcome the issue for the long term. Those are the cases where TASP might be able to help by paying for grooming or vetting for that pet. Or, if the situation is a sinking ship, TASP may even offer to help the owner place the pet in a more secure home so the owner can move on to assisted living. But before you set us on that pet owner, why not drop by with a cup of coffee, a little tray of cookies or some animal-related trinket that shows you care, so you can get acquainted and learn more about why your neighbor’s animal looks the way it does and how we outsiders might be trusted as worthy to help?

I actually had a very nice lady call me once with great concern about abused dairy cattle on a farm near where she lived. It was spring and she said she was seeing the female cattle standing outside with hip bones protruding. She said they looked starved and were all muddy and she was sure they were being horribly neglected. She didn’t stop in to talk with the farmer and she didn’t research on the internet to learn more about how to judge a cow’s body condition score. She just drove past the farm day after day on her way to and from work and with each pass, she got herself more and more worried about these poor cows. When she called me to talk about it, I assured her I would take a look, but that these cows were probably fine, given it was calving season. I gave her a brief rundown in what makes cows look the way they do so she could understand why what she was seeing might be expected at this time of year. And when I drove over to take a peek, my hunch was confirmed; there was no shortage of food available to those cows and they were happily chewing cud when I got there. This lady was a very well meaning person unfamiliar with dairy farming. She was judging the appearance of these cattle against the condition of her pet dog and saw a disturbing contrast. But those familiar with dairy farming will tell you the cow’s physical structure is far different from any dog’s (let’s start with just the number of stomachs for an example) and a heifer’s body condition fluctuates with the time of year and her calving/lactating cycle. As it turns out, these cows were in fine condition; they had just been calving and that takes alot out of the system so the Moms all naturally looked a little droopy around the hip bones at that time.  There was no law broken here.

So here’s a test for you…. a couple of photos of a suffering dog. Is it a case of animal cruelty/criminal neglect?

 

 

 

 

Answer: Not. This dog had a loving owner who spent thousands of dollars in her attempt to overcome her dog’s allergies. She trusted her veterinarian to diagnose and treat this dog, but unfortunately, this particular vet was having difficulty getting a grip on the case. The stack of invoices and reports in this little guy’s vet history attested to a year’s worth of repeated trips to the vet, each time with a new proposed treatment that was supposed to stop the tormenting itch. By this time, the dog had ulcers from too many steroids, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection from too may antibiotics and he was half his normal weight. At the recommendation of her vet, his owner was about to euthanize the 2 year old West Highland Terrier when she reached out to her coworker who reached out to TASP.  We had the dog properly diagnosed and treated by another vet with more experience in helping animals with severe allergies. The dog’s Mom gratefully surrendered him to TASP because she didn’t feel equipped to deal with the care he would need going forward. He’ll always need allergy shots and carefully controlled diet and environment, but here’s a recent photo of Spencer …..he actually needs regular haircuts now!

If we pass judgement just by what we see without digging deeper to obtain more context, we can deceive  ourselves. But let’s say you did your homework. You’ve made unsuccessful attempts to clarify/rectify the situation. Perhaps, in spite of your asking your neighbor to clean up their yard, the smell of feces and/or garbage coming from the person’s back yard where their dog is tied is enough to gag a maggot; so you know Article 26 Section 353b.3.b has been violated. Or worse yet, you’ve witnessed the animal being beaten or otherwise abused (Article 26 Section 353 and/or 353a). In other words, you are convinced that you have a case of unjustifiable cruelty. Here’s what you need to do next:

First, do NOT change the condition of any of the animals on that property. Don’t groom the matted one, don’t trim the nails or make any improvements to the suffering animals. Sound cruel? Wellllll, if you change the condition of any of the suffering animals before they can be witnessed and professionally documented by a vet/officer, you’ve changed the evidence of the crime. Instead, start documenting the cruelty you suspect. In a perfect world, this would entail taking photos or video of the situation. But the important thing you need to know is, you aren’t legally allowed to step onto the property of others of whom you suspect cruelty without their inviting you to do so. This reality may be the factor that determines you aren’t able to gather images of the animal you think is suffering. If that’s the case, write down the dates and times when you witness cruelty occurring and write detailed descriptions of the incident: what kind and how many animals and how are they being abused? What evidence are you seeing? Be specific. Try to match up what you’re seeing with the actual section and subsection of Article 26 that applies. List any other witnesses present and try to be objective in your description. These notes may be reviewed by law enforcement and may eventually be considered evidence in a trial if the case gets that far.

With your evidence in hand, call 911 or visit the local police department and report the suspected cruelty. You need to file an official complaint with the local police, and you may need to insist that they take your complaint, depending on how animal-friendly the officer on duty is. After that, the case will be reviewed and an officer may visit the suspect’s home, or they may send the dog control officer (if it’s a dog that you are concerned about) to see if they see any evidence of a cruelty issue.

Don’t be surprised if the officer/DCO points out to the suspect that they are in violation of one or more sections of Article 26, and offers the suspect an opportunity to correct the situation. This is akin to an officer offering you a warning instead of a citation for speeding in your car…..and based on what the officer learns when visiting the suspect, he or she may feel it makes good sense to give the suspect a chance to get things back under control over a given period of time instead of immediately drawing them into the criminal justice system. Now, some people may say, “How can you equate suspected animal cruelty with my innocent speeding violation?” The answer is, your vehicle weighs ALOT, and when it’s going faster than recommended, the chance of your imposing cruelty on an innocent animal/human who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time is actually quite high. That’s one reason why we have speeding laws. But if an officer looks you in the eye, communicates with you, looks around your vehicle, checks your past record and feels you would change your behavior after a warning, then they’re entitled to make that judgement and give you the opportunity to self-correct. This saves valuable police and court resources for the really heinous cases that absolutely require immediate prosecution: the person who lights the stray cat on fire, the person who beats a pet to death with a shovel, the person who slashes their neighbor’s pet horse in its stall, or the person who blatantly refuses or is unable to heed the warning of an officer who has already given them official warning of their violation.

The New York State Humane Association wrote the  book on investigating animal cruelty. Literally. CLICK HERE to read their indepth procedural layout for animal cruelty investigators. This is the book by which many police departments learn how to investigate Animal Cruelty, so in becoming familiar with this manual, you can help your officers do the best job of bringing an animal abuser to justice with a case that isn’t likely to be thrown out of court.

We’re a nation of laws. They’re certainly not all perfect but they’re part of a system that attempts to provide at least a bare minimum of protection for the vulnerable. The tricky part of all this from the perspective of law enforcement is protecting the rights of animals without violating the rights of humans. As animal lovers, it’s easy for us to confuse our own standards of care for our pets with what is legally required. This is one of the root causes of misunderstandings and polarization among the community. By becoming more educated ourselves about the legal side of animal welfare, we can help law enforcement do a better job and we can also offer our law makers concrete suggestions for new bills that can update and improve laws. And that’s how we can make our community a better place for all species.

 


Keepin’ It Together – Teaming Up To Save Harley

Each time the TASP hotline rings, and each time another email arrives at our inbox, there’s a new challenge to our creativity waiting to be met, to keep one or more animals out of trouble. Case in point: Harley, a sweet 5 year old Pit Bull and her loving family.

A man left a message in my voicemail that his dog had been vomiting, refusing to eat, and suffering with diarrhea since Wednesday. Now all of us who are blessed with good health, a vehicle that runs, and enough money to budget for vet bills would have had the tools needed to solve this dilemma in less than three days. But Harley’s challenge was a perfect storm of unfortunate coincidences. Her Dad was suffering from cancer that had put him on disability. To make matters worse, Dad’s truck had broken down and because he now had limited income, he hadn’t had enough money to get it repaired yet. Dad’s fiancé would have helped, but two weeks earlier she had broken her ankle and was still hobbling, still out of work.

In the midst of all this, the family had run out of dog food and was feeding Harley whatever they could muster from the freezer and the table: chicken and rice, beef ribs, whatever they could gather that would satisfy Harley until they could get back on their feet, get the truck back on the road and get some grocery shopping done. And then Harley’s vomiting and diarrhea began. After the first 36 hours of her illness, Harley’s family grew more concerned for her wellbeing. They knew that she would become dehydrated if she didn’t get some fluids into her system, but each time she drank some water, she’d just throw it back up.

The mountain lake where Harley and her family live is absolute heaven from June till Labor Day, inhabited by vacationers looking for a retreat from the hubbub of life; but from Labor Day till Memorial Day it’s remote and virtually uninhabited except for Harley’s family, a seventy-five year old neighbor with a car less reliable than Harley’s Dad’s truck, and an assortment of bears, squirrels, Canada geese, and other wildlife.

Harley hadn’t seen a vet in awhile, since Dad came down with his illness. Co-pays and gas to get to and from doctors appointments, CT scans, treatments and blood tests ate up what little Dad’s disability check could provide. But it wasn’t like Harley wasn’t loved or that she didn’t love her family. She lived a relatively idyllic life on the lake with them and her presence in the little house brought joy to their otherwise stressful world of medical uncertainly. She was the bright spot in their lives and they adored her.

When I found Dad’s call in my voicemail during my Friday lunch break, I called back right away. Learning the litany of misfortunes that had hit this little family over such a short period of time was kind of like listening to an old Hank Williams song. Yet Dad didn’t make excuses or demands. He only politely asked if there was anything we could do to help him get his dog looked at by a vet who would accept payments over time. He’d already called every vet he could think of, tried applying for Care Credit and other veterinary credit companies and been rejected by all. He told me how he and his fiancé had been feeding ice cubes to Harley in an effort to keep her hydrated and I could hear the worry in his voice as he described her present demeanor. Lethargic. Didn’t want to go out or do anything. No appetite. Wouldn’t even lift her head….certainly not the bubbly, bouncy Pit Bull he’d adopted from the shelter back before cancer changed this family’s world forever. In my head I was considering the possible veterinary conditions we might be dealing with: pancreatitis…….punctured or blocked GI tract………kidney failure…….or euthanasia?

You know, at the time we were on that first phone call, I didn’t have much hope. An hour’s drive west of Albany, this dog was nearly an hour and a half west of where I work.  I was still at my job and couldn’t just pick up and leave. By the time I got out of work, every vet’s office short of the Emergency Hospital would be closed…..and the cost to walk into that facility is currently $130 before work on the animal even begins. I started going down the list of TASP volunteers and where they were located at that point in time. Nobody available on such short notice on a Friday afternoon.  I had already committed to helping three homes in Troy after work on that Friday, each with its own sad, time-sensitive animal situation that needed tending. The following day I was scheduled to haul home-deserving foster dogs to Bark & Brew in Grafton. I found myself calculating in my head how much TASP might be able to spend on Harley at the Emergency Hospital on Saturday night, that is, IF she would survive that long.

Then I think an angel reached down and tapped me on the head because it suddenly occurred to me to contact Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. I personally knew how much they care about all needy animals and I knew they had a good number of volunteers in Albany County. We had nothing to lose by asking if MHHS might have a volunteer available who could drive this failing dog and her owner to a local vet to try and save her. TASP would pay the vet bill. We just needed a transporter, and soon.

I texted. I got a text back in short time. It was KC at Mohawk Humane. The text said, “Hi, Melinda, it’s KC – will try 2 find a volunteer 2 transport the dog for Mr. ……..” And this was where the music should turn from Wagner’s Requiem to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, if you know what I mean. That little text message gave me HOPE! KC found a wonderful man named, “Todd,” who volunteered to transport Harley and her Dad to The Village Animal Clinic in Voohreesville. Danielle at the Clinic said Dr. Cheever agreed to see Harley Saturday morning in spite of their normal policy of only accepting established clients on Saturdays. Todd left for the lake Saturday morning not knowing if Harley could be saved, but he was eager to do what he could to give her and her family a chance.

Flash forward to Saturday morning. Harley and her Dad are helped into The Village Animal Clinic for the eval. The Doc’s examination indicates a case of severe gastroenteritis (possibly from the diverse collection of things Harley had been eating when her dog food ran out?). Harley is treated and sent home same day.  TASP pays the bill over the phone and Todd transports Harley and her VERY relieved and grateful Dad back to the lake. TASP then orders a couple of large bags of dog food to be delivered to Harley’s house by Chewey.com, to keep her eating a dog’s menu instead of a human’s. The update call from Dad the following day was very encouraging. Meds appeared to be working, vomiting had stopped, diarrhea clearing and Harley was starting to become more interested in life again. The joy in Dad’s voice would make anyone think this guy’s on top of the world. Some things in his life may be absolutely awful right now, but he’s not alone in this struggle. He has friends he didn’t even know a few days ago and they helped him save his dog. Life is beautiful!

I spoke with Dad this week and he’s scheduled for surgery in January. Meantime, Harley is healthy and keeping him smiling again. She’ll be receiving a TASP care package in the mail this week with some donated treats and flea preventives to help take that burden off the family’s wallet, and we’re also contributing to the repair of Dad’s truck so he and Harley have reliable transportation during this challenging winter. We’re sending our prayers for a successful surgery for Harley’s Dad and hope you all will as well. After all, he may need his dog, but she needs him, too.

 

 

A few things worth noting about this project:

  • The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is more than just a shelter now. If you haven’t visited there lately, you should; just so you can see what a state of the art Humane Center looks like. Sheltering is only a part of what MHHS does for their community, as witnessed in this true story. They have a healthier building, better kennels, and first class veterinary equipment. But even more noteworthy, they have programs that help the community do a better job of owning pets. Educational programs for kids. Low cost spay-neuter services. A Pet Food Pantry. Training classes for pet owners and their animals……so many resources offered to help animals and people live in harmony! And speaking of people, I have to say that the people at MHHS are inspirational. With just one text message, TASP found the caring partners we needed to bring a much-loved pet out of a crisis that would have devastated her owners. We could not have brought this happy ending to this family without the help of Mohawk Hudson Humane Society’s people.
  • We got lucky when we chose The Village Animal Clinic for Harley’s emergency visit. Dr. Cheever graciously set her clinic’s policy aside to accept Harley on a Saturday; she didn’t have to do that. My recommendation to all is to find a veterinarian you can trust and afford, and then make it your mission to bring your animal(s) to that vet once each year. Having an established relationship with a veterinary clinic or hospital can get you an appointment ahead of others who do not have a relationship with that vet. It’s just like going to a doctor, eh? If you’re already a patient, you get seen this week. If not, you get an appointment in 3 months. Visiting a vet even when your pet is well isn’t a waste of money. It gets your pet a chance to be checked by a professional for signs of illnesses that could be caught early enough to fix for far less than if left alone to fester. Checking eyes, ears, oral, anal, and general palpation of skeleton and body gives you a good picture of where your pet stands health-wise and it also gives you an opportunity to learn by asking questions of professionals who have a lot of education and experience about animals. Harley’s case was an exception, and we understand there are other folks who also find it impossible to make an annual vet visit due to their own or a family member’s needs taking priority. But while you’re in good health, if you can budget even a tiny bit each month to be set aside for your pet’s preventive care, you might just save its life.
  • Dogs may be omnivores, and they may enjoy table-food as it’s going down the gullet. But the havoc it can render on a dog’s digestive system can be life-threatening and costly. Harley and her family were lucky that the cooked rib bones offered to her hadn’t broken off irregularly and blocked or perforated her intestines. To be sure, this family’s financial situation had caused them to try some creative solutions to feeding Harley that they probably wouldn’t normally have approached. At the same time, the genius they exhibited in offering ice cubes to Harley to get fluids into her dehydrated body was probably the key action that kept her alive. Dehydration is an extremely dangerous condition that can cause organ failure and even death if allowed to go on for too long. An animal can live without food for days but not without water. It’s something to bear in mind anytime your pet has an extended bout of vomiting and/or diarrhea, or any time you pass your pet’s empty water bowl.
  • If you have a decent job, and you know someone in your neighborhood who is struggling financially…..with a health situation or some other challenge that could endanger their pets, why not drop by and ask if they need anything now and then? Just say you’re paying it forward for the good things that have happened in your own life when you really needed help. It takes so little to reach out and offer a hand to those who truly need it and the reward of knowing you changed lives is something you just can’t buy anywhere. TASP does our best to help whenever and wherever we can, but we can’t be everywhere and we’re always operating on a shoestring, financially. You don’t have to work in animal welfare to offer welfare to an animal and its owner.

In Their Words……More Testimonials From Our Consumers and Friends

I just wanted to thank you so much for all you did to help us save Rocky from NYCACC and help him recover from kennel cough without infecting our other dogs. He is a dream and we would not have been able to do it without your knowledge and help! You are an amazing resource for our community! – Lisa

 

Thank you for a wonderful time and your special treatment of our little old man – Barbara

 

You guys are the BEST! Thank You. – Johanna

 

Jack Passed away on July 31st very unexpectedly…….I cannot begin to tell you how precious all of the photos we have had taken are to me now. – Sarah

 

Thank you so much I just called them she has an appointment for tomorrow at 3:15. – Amie

 

I just want to say thank you so much God bless you for helping baby and I just wanted to update you with her how she’s doing and she is now walking again thank God…….I wasn’t able to have children do to my disease and they are my children…….and they are my world I mean that – Chrissy

 

….sometimes he regresses but I’m practicing and practicing and he’s getting better and better thank you again! – Ada

 

After paying rent and utilities I struggle with the other monthly expenses. Thank you so much! – Kathleen

 


Full Speed Ahead for Pet Retention Assistance

Well, here we are releasing the 5th edition of our “Out of the Box” e-newsletter and I still haven’t run out of things to tell all of you! In fact, each day brings more voicemails, emails and text messages presenting TASP with more requests for help of every sort. I have to admit, 2018 has been one heck of a challenging year for our little organization, with the loss of Mitch and the exponential growth in the number of requests we’re receiving. But we’re a sturdy, stubborn bunch and we keep our noses pointed into the  wind, moving one foot ahead of the other, one project after another.

These days at the Plasse ranch, when I’m not working at my paying job or tending to TASP matters, I’m caring for a number of my own and TASP’s hospice dogs and cats. Dear old Otis, our 24-year-old hospice cat, finally passed over to the other side less than a month ago. Meantime, Guidry, the Catahoula puppy I brought home from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina is now pushing fourteen and losing control of his back end. I thank God every morning that he’s able to get up with assistance and walk just a bit on the farm he so conscientiously patrolled all these years. And I thank God I have a job that allows me the privilege of being able to care for his needs at this stage of his life, and a husband who is kind enough to hand-feed Guidry when I’m not home and to help me rearrange our home’s entire basement level to accommodate this beloved old dog’s condition. I know there are people who love their animals as much as we do, but who aren’t as fortunate as we are. My heart goes out to these people because I know what it feels like when an animal leans its head up against me asking for help. How would I feel if I couldn’t afford to respond?

Believe it or not, I still occasionally encounter people who give that “deer in the headlights” look when I tell them what TASP does. And I can understand why some folks might not readily relate to the concept of helping animals and their owners through tough times. If you were fortunate enough to be born into a secure home and have not experienced the loss of your security up till now, it might be hard for you to wrap your head around all the changes a person is subjected to when their life is interrupted by a health issue, a divorce, the death of a spouse or loss of a job.  Those changes can be more readily comprehended and rationalized by a human, but what about their pet? A conversation I had recently with a nice lady on the phone illustrates this perfectly, I think. The tearful call came one night while I was working through the day’s voicemails and emails while simultaneously choking down a bowl of soup for my dinner.

This woman from a county about an hour and a half from my house was sobbing that she’d been sent to us by her local shelter.  She had contacted them looking for help for “Hennessey,” a female pit bull she’d rescued from a neglectful home two years ago. The dog was very weak, not eating for the past couple of days. When she originally took the dog in, she had her spayed and vaccinated by a local vet hospital and Hennessey had been healthy right up until this problem occurred. But between then and now, this lady had endured four surgeries; and what had been a financially secure home turned into a place where there was barely enough to go around even when things were all running smoothly. With Hennessey suddenly becoming ill, there was no emergency fund left to treat her at a vet. I listened as Hennessey’s Mom told me her story, and then my heart sank when she said, “And then the guy at the shelter told me, ‘People who can’t afford to care for an animal shouldn’t have one.’ You know, when I rescued Hennessey, I COULD afford a dog! I never planned on getting hurt and I never dreamed I’d be begging for someone to help me get her vetted now!”

These are the situations that deserve “out of the box” consideration. It’s an adult pit bull that is loved and that has an owner who wants to keep her. Should we send that dog into the shelter system and hope she finds another home where her owner won’t someday get sick and have trouble paying a vet bill? Or should we just help this pet owner through the current crisis and let the family resume life together, not overburdening the shelter with another pit bull? After all, Hennessey’s Mom was able to afford the day to day care of this dog and would probably even be able to afford vetting if this need hadn’t just occurred at the same time she was healing from her last surgery.

More and more of these crises are being brought to our attention now because we’ve been making happy endings for at-risk pets for over ten years….and good news is contagious. We’ve done our best to offer whatever help we can remotely over the phone and internet to these distant counties. Proof of financial need can be texted to us; payment of a vet bill can be made over the phone in most cases. We’ve mailed pet store gift cards to people needing supplies where we can’t reach them and we’ve had supplies shipped directly to needy animals from places like chewy.com. We’ve shipped first aid supplies to the cat whose rearend was ripped up by the new family dog and we’ve helped explain in layman’s terms things like abcess care, second intention healing, tapeworm, flea prevention, kidney failure and amputation to worried pet owners facing big and small decisions. We’ll keep on fielding the requests from wherever animals are at risk in the Capital region and do our best to respond with enduring solutions. If we can’t be there personally, then we’ll work with those who are there……like the man in Amsterdam who requested help for an injured cat belonging to his neighbor who speaks Ukranian fluently but has trouble with English. I have strong faith that TASP will find ways to grow support in the areas farthest from our reach through partnering with other individuals and groups, so if you know someone who might want to team up with TASP in places like Fulton, Montgomery and western Schenectady counties, please have them contact TASP through our website, or call me at 518-727-8591. After all, TASP can’t be everywhere all the time, but with so many caring animal lovers in our region, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t work together to prevent an animal’s suffering when their owner hits on hard times.

Thanks from the heart from all of us at The Animal Support Project for caring enough to open and read our messages, and for supporting our mission. We wish all of you and your families: two-legged, four-legged, furry, hairless, scaled and feathered, warm-blooded, cold-blooded, old and young, a very beautiful holiday season and a new year that fills you with joy, prosperity and gratitude. Will be back in touch in the spring with more good news for y’all.


High Fives – Thanks to Our Growling List of Business Partners

High Fives…….

…..to the wonderful businesses in the Capital Region who prove they care by partnering with TASP:

Adirondack Veterinary Clinic

Animal House Dog Grooming

Animal Wellness Veterinary Services

Aquaduct Veterinary Hospital

Benson’s Pet Centers

Bloomingrove Veterinary Hospital

Borador Animal Hospital

Bought Veterinary Clinic

Brunswick Agway

Brunswick Animal Hospital

Campbell Supply

Cambridge Valley Vet

Canoe Associates Insurance Agency

Catskill Animal Hospital

Cobleskill Vet Hospital

Conceptual Images

Crawmer’s Animal Training

CourierTronics

Duncan & Cahill Contractors & Engineers, Inc.

Fane Construction

Fuzzybutts Grooming

General Electric

Hallam ICS

Healthy Pet Center

Higher Ground Farms

Honey Badger Farms

Hoof n’ Paw Vet Services

Hoosic Veterinary Hospital

Infinity Pet Services

In The Comfort of Home

Karen L. Marbot, Attorney at Law

Kat’s Bed n’ Biskit

LaFave, Wein and Frament, PLLC

Lifetree Pilates

Latham Animal Hospital

Lowes Home Improvement Center, Latham, NY

Lydall Corporation

Mud Hollow Farm

Oakwood Veterinary Clinic

Out of the Basement

Pet Supplies Plus

Quest Plumbing

Regeneron

Riverside Vet Hospital

Ross Valve

Schoharie Vet Hospital

Schopf Law

Shamrock Grooming and Dog Day Care

Stewarts

The Animal Hospital

The Village Animal Clinic

Tub 64 Pet Grooming

Union Street Veterinary Hospital

Upstate Veterinary Specialties

VCA Brown Animal Hospital

West Mountain Animal Hospital

Whalen Tent

Wiley Brothers Hardware & Building Supply

WLR Embroidery

Please consider giving them your business in return for their commitment to TASP’s mission.


We Make It Happen – Meet Kristina and Jason

You never know when or where TASP will pick up the next awesome volunteer. Case in point, a couple of years ago, our volunteers were presenting for adoption a small handful of dogs at the Times Union Center in Albany, at the annual Home Show. A young couple, Kristina and Jason, came along and struck up a conversation with us about the dogs, and this evolved into a conversation about their dogs, their involvement in animal welfare through Kristina’s Mom’s association with Bright Star German Shepherd Rescue, and then that evolved into a brazen effort on our part to recruit these smart, motivated, animal-loving people into the TASP family.

We get our share of empty offers at events, just like most rescues probably do. But in this case, Kristina and Jason actually followed through and sent us their TASP Volunteer and Foster applications. Not one, but TWO very capable young local folks who have worked through the joys and sacrifices of keeping their own dogs healthy and happy while working their full time jobs. And what’s more, BOTH of these volunteers are helping TASP achieve our goals in all four of the areas TASP organizes by: Finance, Logistics, Operations and Planning!

Kristina Spring, Project Coordinator for a corporate internet service provider by day, moonlights as a Customer Service Associate at one of our local big box home improvement centers by night. And by the way, in between, Kristina is taking courses at Hudson Valley Community College to achieve her dream of becoming a Physical Therapist! Amid all this, Kristina still has time to write grant proposals for TASP and has even joined our Board as Director of Development, so she can contribute to the decisions that keep TASP growing to meet the incredible demand for our services.

Jason Young, Kristina’s fiance, works as a Controls Engineer for a local engineering company and also travels around the country to provide Field Technical Support to their customers. He keeps his company’s process control, HVAC and material handling systems operating smoothly and his experience & education, his infectious sense of humor and positive, can-do attitude are SO helpful to TASP when we’re planning and executing a project!

This power-couple owns a young Bull Mastiff named, “Tucker,” and a senior Boxer mix named, “Bentley.” It’s always a cause to laugh out loud, pulling up to their house in the driveway to be greeted at the picture window by the drooling faces of those big guys and whichever TASP foster dog happens to be living there at the time. Jason and Kristina open their home to the foster dogs TASP presents them with, whether it’s a dog owned by someone undergoing hospitalization, a dog just rescued from an abandoned home, or one with medical/emotional issues accepted into our Bright Futures program from another rescue. Their patience, vigilance, insight and just plain love of animals ensure us that each foster dog will receive all the medical/emotional/training attention it needs in order to leave their home in better shape than when it arrived.

Always cheerful, always ethical and professional, always communicating new ideas and ready to pitch in on any project that comes along, Kristina and Jason have quickly earned the love and respect of the rest of our group. Our little army of pet problem solvers continues to grow and with volunteers like this, we continue to become more effective, more efficient and more respected in our community. No wonder so many agencies, humane societies, pet stores and veterinarians all over the Capital Region are referring people needing help for their animals to TASP!


Tip o’ the Day – The Biggest Mistakes New Animal Owners Make

We’ve all seen the movies and read the books about animals and people living happily ever after. And animals really do enrich our lives, no matter what the species. But all living things have physical and emotional needs.  They’re not appliances we can turn on and off as we find necessary. They need the right food, the right medical care and the right enrichment to live an acceptable quality of life…..and most importantly, they need our time and attention. Once we bring a pet into our lives, we become their primary source of these things. They depend on us to know what they need because they can’t always tell us themselves. In this issue of our newsletter, we thought it might be helpful to use the internet to learn in advance what others have to tell us about the animals we want to make a part of our family.

The most common mistakes new animal owners make…….

Thinking of acquiring a cat? CLICK HERE to learn how to avoid the most common mistakes new cat owners make.

You say you’re smitten by the puppy you just met at the shelter? CLICK HERE to learn from the mistakes of others.

You always wanted an equine and now you’ve got the opportunity to achieve that dream. Before you do, CLICK HERE to prepare yourself in advance.

Ferrets, rats, snakes, lizards, turtles……are they all low maintenance pets? CLICK HERE to find out.

Exotic birds are entertaining, colorful, and some can even talk to us. But there’s more to owning a bird than just putting food and water in a cage. CLICK HERE to find out what you may not have considered about owning a bird, before you bring one home.

 

 


Vet Sci 101 – The Scoop on Poop

As pet owners, we sooner or later will be subjected to cleaning up a very stinky mess left behind by our canine or feline friend. It’s important to learn how to interpret the language of poop so we can be an advocate for our animals who can’t necessarily describe their situation to the vet.
Did you know that a fecal sample is the window to what’s going on inside your pet? Knowing what different kinds of BM mean can help you save your pet from suffering; and a little bit of time spent being a “scat detective” can even save a life.
The AKC wrote a terrific article about this very subject. And although it’s written from the perspective of a dog lover, the general information it offers about the features of feces can be generalized to other species like cats and horses.
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/doggie-diarrhea/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=yourakc-20161121


The Next Chapter – Update on Mitch’s Dogs

With 2018 nearly over, we realize what a challenging year this, our tenth year, has been. Losing Mitch Valerien in March was the worst thing that ever happened to our little group, and it was so totally unexpected, the cause still not fully understood, even the most optimistic of us probably felt like the floor was pulled out from under our feet. So it is easy to imagine how much worse that horrible event was for Mitch’s dogs. Without the ability to understand even what little we knew about Mitch’s death, these animals went through a life-altering change in 2018. Living alone, Mitch was everything to these dogs: mother, father, nurse, chef, janitor and UBER service….TASP owed it to Mitch to do our best to help her animals get to the next chapter in their lives as painlessly as possible. And thanks to the kindness of our community and the resilience of these dogs’ spirits, we have some very positive news to report to all of you.

Andy: “The Flower,” is now living a loved, safe and joyful life with Lea, a local veterinarian who has a soft spot for senior dogs. And BTW, she also has a very friendly, sweet black lab mix female for Andy to play and snooze next to. This gentle guy was very bonded to Midnight, Mitch’s little black lab mix female, so it was especially gratifying to have Andy find a home with another friendly female who resembles Midnight so much. Andy’s new Mom is a “foster failure,” just as Mitch was when she originally adopted Andy from Labs4Rescue so many years ago. The first time we contacted Lea to bring Andy to an adoption clinic, she asked to adopt him because he had grown so content in her home and she’d grown so fond of him. Lea writes in her latest update, “He’s doing great, a real sweetie and has adjusted to life with me very well. Everyone loves him. His sister is forever pestering him to play, sometimes he’s happy to and other times he just patiently ignores the biting at his head and feet (Hadley can be a pill!)” Andy’s new life is truly what Mitch would have asked for if she could.

Click on Andy’s portrait to watch a video of him and Hadley playing together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin: “The Forever Puppy,” was the first of Mitch’s dogs to be adopted, and the oldest! Thanks to Tracy, Mitch’s childhood friend in Rhode Island, Ben lounges on the carpet next to Tracy’s desk while she’s working from home, just as he did at Mitch’s house while she worked from home. Ben’s got a family who adores him and makes him a part of everything they do. And he has a little girlfriend to snuggle up and flirt with whenever he wants to. Tracy’s latest report: “Ben is doing great. He has been a great addition to our family. We love taking him for rides and he loves just being with us. We are truly lucky to have him.” Can you imagine how happy this would make Mitch?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billie: “Sweetheart,” Billie was the dog who seemed to suffer the most when Mitch passed away. For awhile, we couldn’t figure out why Billie was physically failing. But once she settled into Lynn’s home in farm country, just outside of Fort Edward, Billie’s condition began to turn around. We discovered Billie’s physical decline was just a symptom of her grieving! Lynn happened to be her Vet Tech at Borador Animal Hospital when Mitch was still alive. After Mitch’s death, Lynn’s heart went out to the old dog with the huge benign tumor on her back, who suffered so profoundly from the loss of Mitch. In a recent email, Lynn told us, “Everyone in my family just loves her. She fit in here like she had always lived here.
Although I am sorry that it was necessary to rehome her I am honored to have her as it is the only thing I could do for Mitch.” It’s clear Lynn adores Billie and Billie’s physical improvement since moving in with Lynn testifies to how happy she is there. Lynn even prepares home-cooked meals for this noble old dog! Now, Billie’s latest chapter is truly a happy tail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight: “The Little Sister,” also hit the lottery. She was adopted by Ally, who works at Upstate Veterinary Specialties. Midnight has a much smaller pack now: just her and a dog-friendly cat, so she gets loads of attention and love, and doesn’t have to share her Mom with a lot of other dogs. She even gets to go to work with Ally, who tells us, “Midnight is doing wonderfully. And feels like she has always been a part of my life. I love her already!….. I am so glad that I found her. It’s been such a positive experience and I am looking forward to giving her a perfect home after going through so much. Her story truly touched my heart.” Ally’s update really touched all of our hearts at TASP. Little Midnight is surely blossoming in this new life of hers.

Mallory: While the “Little Mama” is waiting for her own forever home, she’s fostering with the Plasse’s, sharing the front zone of the house with Hammond (Rich & Melinda’s senior Rottie mix) and Desi, the deaf senior Jack Russell Terrier from TASP’s hospice program. Mallory enjoys her role as the only chick in the crowd, and the male dogs seem very willing to have Mallory direct the day’s activities. Rich tells us, “Mallory’s showing us every day what a terrific gal she is by walking to and from the play yard without even being leashed. She barks when company comes and loves lounging on the self-heating dog bed Hammond loaned to her. She’s such a cheerful girl…. her tail wags so hard when she sees me, it sounds like she’s beating a drum. She’s a really good dog!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadie: “Cover Girl” is now officially a Canine Good Citizen thanks to her foster Mom, Lucinda. While she waits to be adopted to her forever home, Sadie shares the foster home with two cats and two male mini dachschund mixes. She enjoys the daily walks Lucinda takes her on in their quiet neighborhood and one of her favorite things to do is to snooze with her dog and cat friends on Lucinda’s big front window seat. With her good manners and her magnetic personality, it’s just a matter of time before Sadie finds her special person to adopt her; but in the meantime, she’s thinking foster life is mighty sweet at Lucinda’s. “Sweet Sadie is an eager-to-please girl. She relishes car rides and outdoor walks and hikes, but is also content to nose around the back yard or sit by the window to watch the world go by,” according to Lucinda. Sadie  certainly has matured and is nothing like the wild-child she was years ago when Mitch took her in. She’ll make someone a fantastic companion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zach: The dog we were most worried about being adopted was our “Wingman.” With his separation anxiety, Zach presented a big dilemma for anyone who worked outside the home. Fortunately for him, Bill came with his family to the Petapalooza adoption event at Curtis Lumber in Hoosick Falls earlier this year. Bill had just suffered the devastating loss of his wife. And being retired, he found himself with way too much alone time. Zach’s larger-than-life personality caught Bill’s eye from the get-go and before long they both knew they needed each other. The rest of the story is better than anything we could have written for Zach. Bill and Zach are a team now, doing everything together at home and on the road. Bill’s minivan is the perfect vehicle for these two bachelors to cruise to the park for a nice walk or to run errands in town. And Bill says Zach is like his shadow, always right behind him and ready to participate in any activity, especially climbing into bed at the end of the day. Bill says, “Sometimes he even beats me to bed and I have to ask him to move over so I can get in!” Bill’s daughter, Dawn adds, ” I would like to thank you for giving my Dad the opportunity to adopt Zack. I believe they are a perfect match! They are inseparable, great therapy for each other.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time only moves in one direction and no amount of money on earth can buy time back once it’s spent. The old adage says, “Change is good.” But some changes are so sudden and irreversible, they can upset even the most level-headed of us. All of us at TASP are glad that Mitch’s dogs are finding their own lives now. It wasn’t easy for them to adapt after all the years they shared with Mitch, but thanks to the commitment of Mitch’s circle of friends and the response from the community, all of her dogs are safe and loved. We hope to report on the final placements for Sadie and Mallory soon, and with that, we will all know Mitch can finally rest in peace knowing her “kids” are going to be alright.