Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why Fostering Is A Great Option

It's not easy being a shelter dog. You sit in a cage, watch strangers walk by and say "cute doggie". If you're lucky, they'll stop by and talk to you. Then, you know you've hit the jackpot when you are taken out of your cage to be with them. There's always a good chance you'll be adopted, but never any guarantees. Medium to large dogs are even harder to adopt because many people are intimidated by their size.

With all of the shelters becoming filled and more dogs waiting for homes, there's only so much space available for strays. One solution that helps with shelter overpopulation is fostering dogs in a home environment.

The Great Compromise

What makes fostering ideal is the fact that dogs are living in an environment that doesn't involve metal bars all of the time. They get the human affection that they don't get in a shelter. Shelter life isn't easy for a dog. It's ok for a temporary solution, but after a while, many dogs become overwhelmed and will start acting out as a result of being caged so long.

Foster families have the opportunity to have a dog in their house. There is no permanent commitment required. If the foster family is interested in having a dog long-term, this gives them the option of seeing how the foster adapts to their lifestyle.

Other benefits include:
  • Giving the foster pet a calmer environment. Animals don't have to worry about being around a bunch of dogs barking constantly but rather a select few, if any at all.
  • It teaches dog lovers about the differences in breeds. Every dog that enters a foster home, brings a different dynamic.
  • The rewards of volunteering without leaving your home. You make a difference in a dog's life even if it is just for a few weeks. A dog can become adoptable, and more socialized as a result of its time as a foster.
  • It's tax deductible. I first learned about this through my Twitter friend Nadine. Many times, people who work in animal rescue do so for the love of the animal. They really don't profit from it. Now, thanks to a landmark case, Van Dusen v. Commissioner, most fostering costs are tax deductible. However, if the costs over $250, one will need a letter from the 501c3 agency stating that the expenses have to be directly related and solely attributable to the rendition of services towards the benefits of the foster animal.

The Caveats

  1. It is very hard to remain detached from a foster animal. The bond between animal and human is very strong and it's hard for many to say goodbye when the time comes. Many fosters will wind up adopting one of the animals.
  2. Many cities and towns have a limit on how many animals a resident can have living in their home. One has to be careful to not exceed that limit.
  3. It takes a couple of weeks to truly understand the animals behavior. The first days are an adjustment phase and the days after will determine the true nature of the animal.

The Right Decision

While fostering a pet isn't the easiest job in the world, it is one of the most rewarding. It's not for everyone, but if you've been curious, it may be something to consider.

Let's Discuss!

How do you feel about fostering an animal?

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Monday, January 23, 2012

The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial Teaser - YouTube

Happy Monday Folks! With the Superbowl being less than a couple weeks away, one thing is certain. Clever ads are soon to follow. This video is by Volkswagen and they do a great job where the dogs bark to the Darth Vader Theme from Star Wars.

How popular is this video? It's been view over 7.2 million times. Enjoy and please share your thoughts below.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 Home 4 The Holidays Wrap-Up

The Iams Home 4 the Holidays adoption campaign was a smashing success. A total of 1,267,541 animals were adopted between Oct. 1 and Jan. 3 through more than 4,000 animal organizations from around the world (that's an average of 9 adoptions per minute!). Forever homes were found for:
  • 651,224 dogs
  • 595,000 cats
  • 21,317 other animals (including rabbits, reptiles, horses, birds and more);

On top of that, since the program began in 1999, more than 7 million families have experiences the joy of pet adoption through Iams Home 4 the Holidays! IAMS also met its goal to donate 5 million meals to pets in need through its annual Bags 4 Bowls program. This was all made possible through retail purchases and online engagement from all the animal lovers out there who participated.

If you would like to read more about this program, please visit their Facebook page.

Let's Discuss!

How did you participate in the Home 4 The Holidays program this year?

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why Dogs Love To Chase Moving Objects

An Unexpected Attack

Last week, a 62-year-old man was running along a beach. Out of nowhere, two pitbulls chased him and nearly mauled him to death. If a neighbor hadn't intervened, by hitting the dogs with a baseball bat, he would have died. He was admitted to the hospital in a coma.

Because they attacked a human, the dogs shot on site, and the owner was cited with failure to own a proper license as well as failure to restrain each dog. How did this happen? Someone had left the gate open in their backyard.

What makes this story especially tragic was the owner, Jimmy Johnson, was forthcoming when the story broke. He was hoping that these weren't his dogs but his worst nightmare came true.

What Drives Dogs To Chase Objects In Motion

This story is terrifying for all parties involved. It's a situation where all dog owners should be proactive. I couldn't help but wonder what drives them to chase people and other moving objects. All it takes is for a dog to chase a car and get hit. There isn't just one reason but many. Here are some.

They are protecting their territory.
Many dogs feel that their job is to keep watch over their home. A home with a fenced-in yard is practically a requirement for dog owners because it's easy for a dog to take off an running. They will stop at nothing to protect their territory and one of those ways is to chase intruders away.

They are intriguing.
Joggers and bicyclists are interesting to dogs. They are naturally curious and when they see a jogger running by they want to see what's happening.

They view it as prey.
Although dogs are domesticated, many have a natural prey drive. Whether it's a squirrel, rabbit or cat, many are inclined to want to chase them down. Seeing a person or fast moving object can easily trigger the prey drive, especially if the dog is a hunting breed. Dogs don't see this as work, but more as if it's sport.

Final Thoughts
Accidents happen. Not everything can be seen in black and white when it comes to dogs. Even though they are now domesticated, it's always important to remember that they will have a strong animal instinct that comes out from time to time. It's a reminder to owners that being a dog lover comes with an even stronger ability to anticipate these moments.

Let's Discuss!

What are some things that your dog loves to chase that you wish they wouldn't?

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I know it's been awhile since I've written a post. I'm in the middle of learning a new technology (Drupal). The process has taken more of my time than usual. Balancing it out with blogging has been quite a challenge but I just wanted to let you know that I will always be writing, just not as frequently. I appreciate your patience and if anyone has any comments or questions, leave them below.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Unusual Surprise On New Year's Eve

Yesterday in the early evening, I was taking the three dogs out for a long walk. They love the exercise and it's a great energy release for them. When I was just short of the halfway point, I heard a noise similar to a firecracker. It was this noise that stopped Homer in his tracks and made a beeline to come straight back home.

So we had walked quite a bit and were leisurely heading back. Within a block of my house, I heard a "Pop, pop, pop" sound that made Homer want to amp up the speed. One of the things I forget to do is not to coddle him. When you do that when a dog has a challenging situation, it actually reinforces the reactions as good instead of comforting him.

The Source Of The Noise

When I had explained the situation to my neighbor, he told me that the noises were gun shots. I was floored. I never really have liked guns. While they may be a necessary evil to keep things in the world running smoothly, they are not a necessity to live your everyday life.

While it's great that this country's constitution gives us the right to bear arms, I can never understand firing one's gun into the air just to do it. Too many times we hear about how a bullet ricochets and kills an innocent bystander. My neighbor also informed me that he found two bullets lodged in his roof. One he was able to remove and the other he wasn't.

I'm all for celebrating the new year to the fullest. But I think that many of use can go without the gunshots that follow. I know that Homer would agree with me.

Let's Discuss!

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever felt that people overdo it when it comes to guns?

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