More Than a Cone
Blog_Header.jpg

Blog

Found a Litter of Kittens? Here's How You Can Help!

You hear rustling in the bushes, and silent meows from a distance. You peer over and you find a litter of kittens. Is their mother coming back for them? Are they abandoned? What do you do and how can you help? It’s that time again. It’s kitten season!  

The idea of kitten season might sound exciting with so many newborn kitties, but the idea of having shelters flooded with new kittens and not enough homes does not. Kitten season occurs twice a year, once in the spring, and early fall. Cats are seasonally polyestrous, which means that they typically give birth only at certain times in the year. Their gestation period is around 60 days, which means that the kittens will be born in early spring. Each litter has an average of 4 to 6 kittens, but it is not unusual if there are more or less.

Unwanted pregnancies can cause more unwanted future pregnancies in the long run. The best way to prevent this is by altering the cat. Because cats are able to give birth as early as 5 months of age, the best time to neuter them is before they get their first heat cycle at 5 months. When they reach 2 months of age and is over 2 pounds, they are able to be spayed and neutered.

One way to control the cat population in the community is through a program called TNR (Trap Neuter Release). The TNR program collects feral cats, brings them to a veterinarian to get him/her fixed, and then gets released back into their original homes. The cats are then ear tipped to identify which cats have already been fixed. This practice alone can help solve the issues of the overpopulation of cats by preventing female feral cats from being impregnated. This creates a balance for outdoor cats in the community.

There are a countless of kittens born each spring, so what happens when you find a litter of kittens in your backyard?

First, determine whether the mother is around or not before disturbing them. Monitor the litter of kittens for a few hours to see if the mother returns.

  • If you notice that the mother has returned, you can place a bowl of fresh water and food for her nearby. The kittens will survive better with the care of their mothers.
  • If you notice that the kittens have been abandoned, you can rescue them by placing them in a safer, warm place. The kittens can be placed together in a box and provide clean, soft towels for them to nest in. They will need to be bottle fed with kitten formula every 2-3 hours, depending on how old they are. The kitten formula will act as a milk replacer for the kittens; please do not feed them other types of milk. There are several ways you can determine how old the kittens are. By the end of the third week, they can start transitioning to moistened dry food or wet food. A litter box can be provided as well, and they should be ready to urinate and defecate on their own.

It is determined whether they become feral or domesticated cats during their time of nesting. If they are socialized well enough, they can be adopted into families. If you would rather keep them outdoors, they will become feral cats. Either way, when the kittens are 8-10 weeks of age, they should be spayed or neutered before they get released. This is an important step because you can help prevent the cycle of having unwanted litters of kittens in the future.

Once they are ready to be on their own, put them up for adoption! Take them to your local shelter and advertise them through social media and help them find their new homes. These kittens will thank you for saving their lives.

Here are some related links that you may find useful:

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/facts/kitten_season.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

http://www.asapcats.org/volunteer/fostering.html

Winnie GohComment
Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

Before we get to the pros of spaying and neutering, we have to say how incredibly important we feel this issue is. In fact, at its very core, MTAC has always seen education as a crucial component of its mission. Frankly, if we all spayed and neutered our companion animals, we probably wouldn’t have much to do here at MTAC HQ, and that seems like an alright proposition.

Now, you know from previous posts that there are literally millions of dogs and cats that need homes all across the United States, and spaying/ neutering is a great way to stop the growth of the population of homeless pets. However, we have a few more benefits for you to consider as well:

  • Prevent future pregnancies. Did you miss that earlier? We said there are millions (7.6 MILLION, to be exact) of unwanted kittens and puppies in shelters, and a large percentage of them will be euthanized if they don’t find homes. With so many animals that don’t have homes, why contribute to the population?
  • Prevent escapes. Your dog or cat will less likely try to escape and try to mate with others. This lowers their chance of roaming around on the streets to find other partners, especially when females are in heat. After being spayed or neutered, your pet’s desire of mating will decrease.  
  • Decrease mating behaviors. It is natural for unaltered dogs to display sexual behaviors such as mounting and thrusting. Although spaying/ neutering an animal does not guarantee these behaviors will disappear,  they will more than likely decrease.
  • Longer life. It is reported that spaying and neutering can extend a dog’s life by 1-3 years, and a cat’s life by 3-5 years. Why wouldn’t you want your dog to spend extra years with you?
  • Take them to public places with no worries. You don’t need to worry about who your dog is sniffing when you take them to public dog parks. You will feel more comfortable with who your dog is socializing with.
  • Protect them against diseases. They have a lower chance of getting mammary tumors, uterine infections, heartworm, Lyme Disease, and certain types of cancers. Although spaying and neutering can reduce the risks, it does not mean they are completely risk free of developing these diseases or cancer.
  • Decrease aggressive behaviors. Once your dog reaches maturity, he may start showing aggressive behaviors towards other male dogs, such as growling to show dominance towards other dogs.
  • Discounts and perks. There are certain discounts given to those pets who are altered, such as applying for a dog license or pet insurance.

Spaying and neutering your pet is highly recommended. There are way too many homeless dogs and cats, let’s stop overpopulation!


Winnie GohComment
Say Cheese: Keep Those Canines Clean!

Does your dog reek of bad breath? Dogs don’t brush their teeth when they wake up or before they go to bed like we do. If we didn’t, we would develop dental disease just as easily! One of the most overlooked health issues concerning pets is their oral hygiene. Periodontal disease is found in most dogs and cats over the age of 3 and can quickly infect other areas of the gums if not treated. If left untreated, the disease will continue to spread and may damage internal organs. Those who are affected are in greater risk of having heart disease, so let’s try to practice preventative care before it’s too late!

There are several stages of periodontal disease, starting from gingivitis to periodontitis. When bacteria or food particles are present on the surface of a dog’s teeth, it can lead to the growth of plaque. When the plaque hardens, it will cause the formation of dental calculus (tartar) to deposit onto the surface of the tooth and affect the gum line. Over time, the bacteria on the oral cavities will spread, and will lead to gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums. The gum lines will be affected and begin to appear to be red and sore, making it uncomfortable for your pet to chew. Periodontitis is a bacterial infection in the mouth that destroys the bone and tissues that surrounds the teeth. This can cause teeth to loosen or lead to loss of teeth.

Oral hygiene should be taken seriously in pets. Check their teeth regularly by lifting their lip to see if there is any plaque build up or tartar found on their teeth. If they have smelly breath or has yellow or brown teeth, there is a high chance that your dog has dental disease. Try to brush your dog’s teeth regularly to get them in the habit of allowing you to do so. This may take several attempts for them to get used to the routine. Use toothpaste that is specifically formulated for dogs, such as the Advanced Oral Care Natural Dog Toothpaste by Nylabone, or Advanced Pet Care Tartar Control Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste by Arm and Hammer. These products will help maintain healthy gums and breaks down tartar buildup if used correctly. They are safe for your dog to consume and will help keep their breath fresh!

Teeth cleaning and dental procedures can be very costly. The more time and money that is spent preventing them will save pet owners a lot of money! Don’t forget to take your pet to the veterinarian to get regular checkups and oral examinations, just like how you would make regular visits to the dentist.


Here are some related links that you may find useful about your pet’s dental hygiene:
https://www.avdc.org/periodontaldisease.html

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/features/perlis-gum-disease-dogs

 

Winnie Goh
Soak Up the Sun: Pup Edition!

It’s time to soak up the sun with your pup!

Have a free day? Here are 8 fun-filled activities you can do in the summer with your dog.

  • Go on a hike! Regardless of their shape and size, your four-legged friend can make the best companion to go hiking with. It is recommended that your dog understands basic obedience rules such as sit, stay, down, and come if you’re planning on letting your pup off the leash. This creates a safer environment for you and other surrounding hikers. Remember to bring a portable water bowl to keep them hydrated.
  • Attend dog meet-ups. Did you know there are events specifically made for different breeds of dogs, such as pug meet ups, corgi-cons, or doxie round ups? Check for ones near you and meet with other dog owners. Your pup can meet their other furry friends too!
  • Go on a picnic. While you are preparing sandwiches, crackers and cheese, don’t forget a meal for your pup too. Find a pet-friendly park for a picnic, and bring your dog along with you. This can be a pur-fect date, but let’s keep his nose out of the basket of foods.
  • Take a trip to a dog-friendly beach. A trip to the beach can help them cool off! Always watch what they are eating and drinking, and provide fresh water to keep them hydrated. Keep an eye out for them, you wouldn’t want them to go too far! Remember to wash them off after swimming in the water.
  • Dog park. You can’t go wrong with going making a trip to the dog park. This is a great way for your dog to socialize with other dogs and make friends. Take your dog in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat. If it’s too sunny, try to keep cool in the shaded areas of the park.
  • Go for a swim! Have a pool in your backyard? Your dog will enjoy splashing in the pool as much as you do. This would be a great way for them to cool off in the heat.

 

If you’re thinking of going on a longer trip, consider these two options:

  • Camping. This would be a great chance for you to bond with your pup while you explore the outdoors. Always check if the campsite is pet-friendly before you go. Dogs have essentials to pack too! Don’t forget their food, water bowls, leash, poop bags, bedding, and some toys. A flashing LED light for their collar is highly recommended to easily locate your dog during the night time. Again, it would be best if your dog is obedient and listens to basic commands, like “sit” and “come here”.
  • Go on a road trip. Going on a road trip means taking your dog everywhere you go during your getaway, that means you should always check for dog-friendly hotels, restaurants and rest stops before heading out! While the car is moving, keep them safely restrained in the vehicle. But before you do, go on several test drives to see how your dog handles a moving car. Some pets do not do so well during long drives and may experience motion sickness. Remember, your pet’s safety and health should be your top priority.

No matter what activity it is, your dog will love you for spending time with him. So what are you waiting for? Get on out there and enjoy your summer! Just don’t forget to clean up after him if he ever leaves you with a surprise.

 

Winnie GohComment
Understanding Kitty Language: Check Meow-t!

Your cat is purring, meowing, hissing, and calling for your attention but you still don’t know what she wants. Or she has her tail up and high, glaring at you with her glowing eyes. Then she takes off! Cats make a great addition to your family, but they are mysterious creatures; you never know what lies behind the cute face of theirs. Understanding feline language may take a while to learn but here are a couple behaviors that will help you read their body language them better.

  • Vocalizations - Whether they are purring, or hissing, each sound they make has a different meaning. If you listen carefully, you might understand what they are trying to tell you!
    ·         Meow - The classic “meow” has multiple meanings. She might just be trying to casually greet you, telling you to stay away, or just being curious.
    ·         Purr - Purring is the sound of contentment. It means they are welcoming your company and is happy to be around you. Cats also purr when they are being fed because they are hungry.
    ·         Hiss - If a cat is hissing, she is indicating aggression. She is unhappy and may attack. Your best bet is to stay away from this cat until they cool down.
    ·         Yowl - The cat needs help! Either they are being attacked or hurt, they will yowl. If you hear a really loud “meow”, attend to them immediately.
  • The Tail - You can most likely determine a cat’s mood just by observing their tail. The movement or stature of their tail can have various meanings. Unlike dogs, a wagging tail does not mean they are happy or excited, in fact, it just might mean the opposite!
    ·         Up high - She is happy and excited. She is interested in you.
    ·         Upright & tip curved - She’s feeling friendly. She wants to get to know you!
    ·         Up with fur standing straight - Frightened, anxious. She could run away any second now.
    ·         Curled and by its side - Calm, content. She’s relaxed.
    ·         Curved down - She’s worried.
    ·         Shifting from left to right - She is irritated or angry. (You don’t want to mess with this cat.)
    Check out this image made by Lili Chin for a visual image of kitty body language. 
  • Rubbing
    When cats rub their body against you or use their head to butt you, they are marking you as a person they want to affiliate themselves with. It signals affection and is a positive sign that indicates trust. They also do this to household items such as tables, chairs, couches to mark their territory. So if they’re rubbing their body against you, they’re marking you as a friend.
     
  • Kneading
    When your cat pushes her paws in and out on a surface alternatively, that means they are really happy. At times, they will push their claws out too, so it might be painful if they are doing it against you, but at least it means they love you right?

Now you’re a cat professional who understands the feline language fluently!
·         If you want to learn more about the feline language, here is a related article that you might find helpful:
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/cat_communication.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Winnie GohComment
Strut Your Mutt!

Tired from a long day of work and don’t have time to take your dog out to the park? Then strut your mutt! If you want to keep your dog healthy and happy, be sure to give them the exercise they need. The simplest way to keep them in shape is to take them on daily walks. A simple 20-30 minute walk around the neighborhood can enhance both their physical and mental health. Not only it is beneficial to your dog, it is beneficial to you also. According to Steve Jobs, you can improve your focus and productivity, while exercising your creative mind just by going on a brisk walk. Easily get your mind off of negative thoughts by enjoying the nature around you. This is a great way to manage your stress levels. Walking will improve your overall health, and your dog’s too!

Think of them as children, they need attention and constantly want to play. The best times to walk your dog is in the early morning before you head off to class or work, or after you come home to catch the last hours of the sunlight. If you have a puppy who has not yet been leash trained, click here for some tips on how to teach your pup to walk on a leash. It might take some time for your puppy to get used to wearing a collar and a leash, but if you follow these simple directions, your dog will be ready to take walks in no time!

Exercise is essential to good health. If your dog is lacking the proper exercise that they need, it may lead to serious problems such as biting, digging, scratching or any other means of rough play. This also gives you quality time to spend with your dog, especially if you’re busy during the day. If you have a restless dog who’s full of energy, a walk will be perfect to calm them down and keep them relaxed when they are home. Or, if you have an overweight dog, walks can help him control their weight and keep him in shape. No matter what the circumstance is, your dog will love and appreciate you.

And remember, too much exercise can be harmful for your dog too. 20-30 minutes a day is recommended - as long as you strut your mutt and give them a bit of fresh air everyday, they’ll be happy. This creates a healthy lifestyle for both you and your pet. Make this a routine and they’ll get their tail wagging once you grab the leash. So what are you waiting for? Put the harness on and get going!

* If you do not have a dog, but would like to volunteer as a dog walker, check out your local rescue or animal shelter for any upcoming opportunities. One of our partners, Priceless Pets Rescue, has weekly Sunday Hikes if you’re interested in walking dogs that are currently up for adoption. Check it out!

Winnie GohComment
10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer

Summer is here and so are high temperatures. With daily highs nearing 100 degrees outside we should remember that these extremes can affect a dog’s overall wellness. If we don’t pay close attention to our dogs, overheating can lead to heatstroke or hyperthermia (hyperthermia is the opposite of what we more commonly use when temperatures drop, hypothermia)

Depending on what breed they are, if they are obese, how long or thick their coats are, dogs tolerate heat differently. Flat-faced dogs with shorter muzzles, such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Pekingese breeds, have a more challenging time panting, while dogs with longer snouts have a better advantage. Coat color is another factor; darker colored coats will absorb more heat than lighter colored coats.

Every dog has different heat tolerance levels, so be sure to understand your dog’s needs! Since dogs do not sweat like humans do (only their paws have sweat glands), panting is one way to help circulate the air coming in and out of their bodies to regulate their body temperatures.

Regardless of what kind of dog you have, we have some tips on how to keep your dog cool for the summer!

  1. Walk them in the early morning or late evening. It is suggested that you take your dog on walks before the sunrises and after the sunsets, depending on the temperatures. The pavement will be the hottest during the afternoon, so avoid walking them at that time. The pavement will be much cooler in the early morning or late evening.
  2. Always provide water. This is an obvious one, but don’t forget to constantly refill their water bowls! You can also add ice in their bowls before heading out of the house to keep their bowls chilly throughout the day. Bring plenty of water with you on walks as well.
  3. Keep your dogs off hot asphalt. Lucky for us, we have shoes to wear and we never have to walk on burning pavement with our bare feet! Dogs however, can burn their paws on the sizzling sidewalks. Try walking on grass or dirt as an alternative. Another option is to purchase dog booties for them to wear. There could be painful consequences if you do not protect your dog’s paws.
  4. Take them out to the pool. If you have access to a pool, and a water loving dog, take them out on a swim! Some dogs do not like the water, so do not try to force it upon them, but even those who feel somewhat uncomfortable can benefit from a quick dip or a soaking with the hose. For smaller dogs, purchase a small children’s plastic pool for your backyard. With proper supervision, this can be a great bonding experience for you and your dog as they cool off!
  5. Make dog pup-sicles. If you enjoy having popsicles on a hot summer day, wouldn’t your dog like one too? Try making peanut butter pup-sicles! Your dog will love you for this! Here’s a link for more recipes for pawesome frozen treats.
  6. Ice pack or cool towel. Providing an ice pack beside their bed for them to rest their head on is a wonderful way for keeping them cool. A cool towel that has been chilled or dampened will do just fine!
  7. Look for shade. If you take your dog to dog park, try to stay in the shaded areas. Remember, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them too!
  8. Or just stay indoors. This is the best way to avoid the heat. An air-conditioned room might just be the way to go!
  9. Lower exercise intensity. As much as we want our dogs to play outdoors, we need to remind ourselves that the heat can exhaust them. Limit their outdoor playtime and shorten their walks. Their bodies will thank you for this!
  10. Do not leave your dog in your car! Your car will overheat under the sun and this can be very dangerous for your pet.  If you see a dog in an unattended car, please call for help.

Let’s try to avoid heatstroke and hyperthermia this summer! Remember, depending on your dog’s breed and size, some dogs can tolerate the heat better than others. If you see any signs of dehydration or overheating, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Enjoy your summer holidays and stay cool!

Will SchwingComment
Tips for July 4th: Keep your pets safe!

Fourth of July is right around the corner, and that means fireworks, barbecues, family gatherings, and lots and lots of… terrified cats and dogs!

July 5th is reported to be the busiest day for animal shelters. Cats and dogs will try to flee from home to find safety, but they’re often found in places where they don’t belong. A dog’s and cat’s sense of hearing is significantly more sensitive than of ours, which means that they are extremely sensitive to the explosions of firecrackers.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep your pet comfortable while you celebrate the holiday:

  1. Keep them indoors. Try not to bring them outdoors to firework displays. It is best if you keep them at home or at a place you know they will feel secure. Make sure they are in a confined area where they can’t escape. They will most likely try to hide, so don’t be surprised if you find them in your closet or underneath your bed.
  2. Make sure they are wearing their collars! Just in case they become lost, they have a higher chance of being found and returned to you if they are wearing a tagged collar with their name, and your phone number.
  3. Microchip. If your pet does get lost and found on the streets, the shelter or vet can retrieve your information and contact you about your missing pet. Be sure to have your contact details up to date. You can most likely get microchipping done at your local animal shelter or veterinarian for under $50!
  4. Tell them it’s okay! Cats and dogs can be soothed by the sound of our voices. If you talk to them in a calmly manner, they will feel more at ease. Calm them down by singing a song, or pet them.
  5. Keep the cats in a quiet room. As for cats, your best bet is to keep them in an enclosed room. As long as you provide food, water, litter box, and a bed, they’ll be fine. Try keeping their bed in a closet, or under the bed, where they will feel safe.
  6. Play music. If played loud enough, different sounds or music can distract them from the noise of the firecrackers. If available, turning on the television or radio can be just as effective.
  7. Close the windows and blinds. They may attempt to jump out if there is an opportunity to escape. Make sure every window is secure and tightly closed. This not only prevents them from running away, but it also blocks the light flashes that may come from the fireworks.
  8. Watch what they are eating! If you’re throwing a party or gathering at your place, be sure to keep trash and foods out of their reach. Chicken wings are delicious, chicken bones however are difficult for dogs to digest and are harmful for their digestive tract. Barbequed foods are too greasy for a cat’s metabolism. Be sure to clean up after yourselves and keep their noses out of the trashcan!
  9. Take them to a boarding kennel. Leaving town for the weekend, and left with no other choice? Your best bet is to take them to a local boarding kennel where you know they will be left in good hands.
  10.  Do not leave them unattended. This is an obvious one, but they will run away if you don’t pay attention. Don’t leave them alone and try to keep an eye on them. Your pet will feel safer with your presence and knowing that you are nearby. If you have a relative or friend who is pet-sitting them for the weekend, be sure they understand your pet’s needs.

We hope that everyone enjoys their holiday and let's try to keep all our pets from wandering on the streets and out of the shelters this year! Happy Fourth of July! 

Winnie Goh
Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Let us paint you a picture: It’s been a long day at work, you’re exhausted and ready to be home. You walk in the door, greeted by your favorite furry friend and that is when it hits you. Your living room has been turned upside down, the house has few new funky smells, and the fluff of your newly purchased couch had all been torn out. It’s a disaster! You’re ready to lose it, but how can you get mad at their cute puppy eyes when all they ever wanted was someone to play with?

This scenario happens every day, all over the world, but why?

When you leave the house, it is common that your dog will show signs of distress due to separation anxiety. Dogs are social, loyal creatures, many of whom constantly need attention and want to play. This is especially true when they are at a young age. Many dogs in the shelter have once been abandoned or surrendered, which often leads to a higher chance of them experiencing separation anxiety. They are afraid of being left alone again. But don’t worry, there are several ways to decrease their anxiety by making them feel more comfortable when you’re unavailable. We’re not saying these problems can be solved overnight, but rather over time and consistent effort, you can change these behaviors.  

Signs of Separation Anxiety

·         Escaping: Came home to scratched doors, broken fences, or chewed up windows? Dogs will try to escape when they’re bored or in need of attention. When they’re in a confined area and have a limited space to play, they’ll have the urge to escape. Puppies, especially have the most energy and want to play, they’ll do anything to leave! Try to secure the area, because escaping can result in terrible consequences, such as having a loose dog, or if an aggressive dog attacks the neighbors.

·         Destructive chewing: Damaged furniture? Still can’t find the left pair of your favorite shoes? Dogs love to chew, and one way for them to cope is to bite on household items. Excessive chewing can cause ruptured teeth, and it isn’t good for your dog’s jaw! You might want to provide them with some toys or rawhides before heading out of the house.

·         Urinating and defecating: If your dog is potty trained, but is still leaving his droppings around the house, he is showing signs of distress due to separation anxiety. To prevent accidents from spoiling the house, purchase dog potty pads and place them in spacious areas.

·         Increased Vocalizations: Your dog will howl, bark or whine after you leave their presence. They will be more agitated and sensitive to sounds.

Now that we have the symptoms identified, let’s look at ways to prevent the causes of separation anxiety:

·         Morning walk/ jog: Take them on a walk before leaving the house. This will not only be great exercise for you, but for your dog too! Spend about 20-30 minutes in the morning and take a stroll around the neighborhood. This allows you to spend some time with your dog, and burn some excess energy.

·         Toys! Interactive dog toys can keep your dog, especially intelligent working breeds, distracted for hours. It gives them a unique challenge that can stimulate them mentally, and can help lower their energy build up. Puzzle toys such as a Kong are durable and very satisfying for them to chew. Simply stuff treats inside the toy, give it to your dog right before you leave the house, and you’re good to go!

·         Rawhide: Enough with the shoes, and pillow stuffings all over the living room! Well, one of a dog’s natural instincts is to chew. Rawhides are one of the most popular dog chews, which are made from the hide of cows or horses. Dogs can spend hours chewing on them, which will keep them busy while you’re out. This can also prevent dental diseases; the repetitive chewing can scrape off the buildup of plaque on the surface of their teeth. These treats will not only freshen your dog’s breath, but keep your couch in one piece as well!

·         Consistency, consistency, consistency: You have routines, they should have routines. If possible, try to feed and exercise your dog the same time every day. Create a schedule of when you’ll be giving them extra attention. It will let your dog know that even if you’re busy sometimes, you’ll always spare some time just for him when you can.

·         Adopt another dog: It may sound crazy, but getting your dog a companion at home may ease the separation anxiety. They’ll keep each other company while you’re out.

·         Enter/ leave the house calmly. Giving your dog extra attention when you leave can trigger some emotions. Try to leave discreetly without notice. When you come home, greet them lightly and wait until they have calmed down. Your dog is keenly aware of your emotions, so if you are sad, or nervous, or excited they will be too. So, if you’re dog is highly reactive, make sure you monitor your emotional responses as well.

Here are some related articles that you may find helpful:

Five Ways to Help Your Dog Cope With Time Away from You”, akc.org

Separation Anxiety in Dogs”, pets.webmd.com

Winnie Goh
Two is Better Than One

Are you considering getting another pet for your home? Here are a couple reasons why you should consider adopting a new family member to your household!

  • Loneliness and Separation Anxiety - Not only are they a new companion to you, but they make a great friend to your pet too! While you are out of the house, your current pet will be less lonely at home. That companionship and playfulness helps alleviate boredom, anxiety, loneliness, and separation anxiety. They could be spending time with one another and playing in the yard. How else can they get in a good game of tug-o-war? Since they have each other, the dogs will need less attention from you and they won’t be as needy. You won’t have to feel guilty leaving them alone when you’re off to work.
  • Physical Health - This can enhance their physical health and keep them in shape. A partner gives them more of a reason to exercise as they encourage play and interaction in both parties. This health benefit also extends itself to longevity, helping both animals live a longer and healthier life.   
  • Dogs are Naturally Social Creatures - If they don’t have a human companion with them, your next best bet is to have another pet. They’ll have a life-long companion to grow old with. If one of them is distinctly older than the other, they will be able to teach the youngster how to practice normal behaviors, while a younger dog encourages youthful vigor.

But before you bring a new friend home, here are some things to consider:

  1. Do you have a senior dog? If yes, certain younger pets may be too playful and energetic for older dogs, so it’s best to take some time to introduce the two in a neutral setting.
  2. Does your dog or cat get along with other pets? Know if your pet is social and willing to welcome in an unfamiliar dog or cat to your house.
  3. Is your pet spayed/ or neutered? If you’re considering getting a pet of different genders, be sure your dog or cat is already spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Your best bet is to have both of them spayed/ neutered before bringing a new pet home.
  4. Are you ready? Only consider adopting another pet if you’re ready to give attention to another animal at home. Having one dog or cat is already a lot of work! A second companion is not a substitute for your own affection and attention, so be ready to expand the love you’re capable of sharing.

Here are some related links that you may find helpful if you’re considering having another pet at home:

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Five-Reasons-Why-Two-Dogs-Are-Better-Than-One

https://www.petcentric.com/07-13-2014/3-reasons-why-two-dogs-or-cats-are-better-than-one/

Winnie Goh
Why Cats Make the Perfect Companion

Did you know that there are more cats owned in households in the United States than dogs? According to the American Pet Products Association (2015-2016), there is an estimate of 85.8 million cats owned, while there are 78 million dogs owned. Although we think of cats as mysterious creatures, they can have big huge, playful personalities, and they make the best companions. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider adopting a cat in your home:

  • Low maintenance - Cats are independent and easy to have around the house. They aren’t like dogs who need your constant attention. They know how to keep themselves busy during the day, so if you’re always on the go, having a cat will be perfect for you! No need to take them on walks either.
  • They’re clean - Cats naturally groom themselves. It is not necessary to bathe them on a regular basis. They know how to keep themselves clean.
  • Quiet - With the exception of the occasion meowing and purring, cats are typically quiet animals. They aren’t as noisy as having dogs (and they won’t bark at the mailmen).
  • Helps with loneliness - You’ll never feel alone when you have a cat around. They make the perfect cuddle buddies too, so if you ever feel like lounging around on a Sunday afternoon, they’ll keep you company.
  • Can be litter trained - Cats are very easily to litter train. They almost naturally know how to use the litter box, so you don’t have to worry about them having accidents around the house. Just provide them a litter box, and you’re good to go! There’s no need for frequent trips to the backyard.
  • They are entertaining - Cats are naturally curious creatures, they love exploring their surroundings. With so much personality, they’ll entertain you as they entertain themselves in their own mischievous ways.
  • Reduces stress - Having a pet to care about distracts you from other worries and frustrations. Cats will help alleviate the stress from other situations, and rather gives you a reason to be happy.
  • Good with kids - Depending on the breed, cats are typically good with children. They’ll mind their own business. Your kids will create an emotional bond with them too.
  • Compatible with other cats - Cats normally get along with other cats, so if you’re thinking of having more than one, it’s possible. If they grow up together, you won’t have to worry about cat fights.
  • You are saving a life - With approximately 3.2 million cats that enter the shelter each year, you will help save a life by providing them a loving home.
William Schwing
10 Perks of Fostering

Are you considering a new pet for your home, but aren’t sure what breed, size, or age is fit for your home? Or maybe you know what you’re looking for, and you want to adopt, but you have other considerations that give you a pause. Try fostering! Either fostering a new litter or a dog/ cat who needs special attention can help a shelter tremendously.

Here are 10 perks of fostering a dog/ cat:

  1. Saving lives. Fostering for even a week, month, or half a year can help save the life of a cat or dog in various ways. Being a volunteer foster parent is truly a rewarding experience, especially when you watch them grow, become less anxious, and start becoming more social.

  2. Clears space. With so many abandoned dogs and cats entering animal shelters, there are less space there is for each animal. When you foster, it clears up a spot for another incoming pet.

  3. You’ll get to know them. Fostering is essential for the process of adoption. The animal will have the chance to experience what it is like inside a home. Foster parents can take note of some habits and specific needs that the animal have, which will be useful for future adopters to know about them - whether they are good with kids, are potty trained, or have separation anxiety. Most animals who have been fostered have a higher chance of being adopting!

  4. Afraid of long term commitment? If you are interested in having a furry friend in your home but you are still unsure if you can keep him, fostering is the answer! You can decide on how long you want to foster them, but it is preferred that you foster the animal until it has found a permanent home, so timing can vary depending on each situation.

  5. Temporary emotional support. Having a dog or cat can really help you through tough times. You can’t go wrong with a furry friend by your side to help you cope. Even if you aren’t ready to have a pet of your own, they will be there for you in the meantime.

  6. Want a pet but aren’t sure? If you’re interested in having a new dog or cat at home, but aren’t sure which is the most suitable for you, consider fostering. You get to know the dog or cat on a more personal level and you get to see if they are fit for you.

  7. They feel loved again. Many animals behave differently in a shelter than they do in other situations, which is totally understandable. Imagine being in a cage, in an unfamiliar place with other scared animals. When you foster, the dog or cat will have the chance to feel what it’s like to be loved and played with again. They get to experience free space and have human interaction. They’ll love and appreciate you by showering you with attention and kisses.

  8. Helps them socialize. An animal in a shelter will forget what it’s like to socialize with other animals and humans. They may be shy at first because they have been abandoned by their previous owner. This helps them become more social and experience what it is like outside of a caged environment.

  9. All you need is your time and love! No need to worry about veterinary bills - the shelter has you covered.

  10. Maybe you’ll fall in love too! Who knows, there might be a chance that you consider adopting the dog or cat that you fostered. You’ll get just as attached as they are to you. You’ll help them find their forever home.

Here are some related links that you might find useful:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/23/foster-shelter-pet_n_6720804.html

William Schwing
6 Reasons to Adopt

You know the story: A dog or cat is surrendered by their owners or worse, found without a collar, tag or microchip in the streets, and they end up in a nearby shelter waiting for someone to come claim them. As more and more animals pack swelling shelters, those who’ve gone without adoption are euthanized to make room for those who might have a better chance at adoption.

But here’s something you may not know: This same story plays out 7.6 million times each year. It’s true. If US shelters were a state, they would have the 13th highest population, more than the state of Washington, more than all of Arizona. In fact, if you added the populations of Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Washington D.C., Vermont and Wyoming they still would not add up to how many animals enter shelters each and every year.

So as you consider adding to your family, here are 6 reasons why the best place to find a new dog/cat is the shelter:

  1. You get to know the dog/cat first. Many shelters allow you to have some time alone with the dog or cat before you make your final decision. The playtime will give you some time to get to know them little better and see if they are suitable for you and your family members. Some of them have previously been placed in foster homes, and previous foster parents could let you know more about what they are like at home, their personalities, and specific quirks about the pet.
  2. Variety. Unsure of what breed, size, age, or personality you want in a dog/cat? There are so many different kinds of dogs or cats that are placed in shelters. Keep an open mind! Whether you are looking for a family dog, a running companion, or a best friend to binge Netflix shows with, the animal shelter is the perfect place to find diversity. You never know what kind of companion you might fall in love with.
  3. Many costs are covered. Most shelters and humane societies have already provided vaccines and have them neutered/ spayed before they are taken home. This will save you a couple hundred dollars from a visit to the vet clinic. When you buy a dog at a pet store, you are more likely going to pay vet fees on top of what you pay for the dog. 
  4. Save money overall! Also, adoption fees for dogs and cats are a lot cheaper than purchasing one from a pet store or breeder. Shelters want to find these animals a safe, loving home, so some fees are necessary, but they are usually within budget. 
  5. They will appreciate you. Being stuck in a cage, in an unfamiliar place, with other scared animals around you for so long is not so fun for any creature, including these animals. They’ll shower you with lots of hugs and kisses. You will feel the love they have for you, and you’ll feel great that knowing that you gave them a chance.
  6. What’s better than knowing that you’ve helped save a life? With so many available animals at the animal shelter who desperately need homes, you are helping them empty spaces for more incoming strays.

If you’re thinking about getting a new friend at home, make a trip to your local animal shelter! There’s no better place to find your perfect match.

Here are some related links that you may find helpful:

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/adopt/tips/top_reasons_adopt.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/8-reasons-adopt-buy-dogs/

http://www.spca.com/?page_id=4882&lang=en

http://bestfriends.org/resources/reasons-adopt-pet

William Schwing
Branching Out: My Beloved Companion

More Than A Cone gives back to animals in many ways, but there are other animals in need that go under the radar because their owners happen to be experiencing homelessness. The pets of those less fortunate nevertheless deserve veterinary care and treatment, and we believe it’s our duty to find ways to reach them since their owners are mostly unaware of us.

25% of homeless people have pets. Why? For the same reasons we all have pets. Some may say that homeless people are undeserving of pets, but we’d argue that the homeless are some of the most devoted animal stewards in our society, and they are just as concerned about the well-being of their pets as anyone else. We’ve seen firsthand homeless people who’ve gone without for months in order to save for treatments for their pets.

So MTAC set out to try and figure out a way to create awareness and support for pets of those experiencing homelessness. First we looked for organizations that routinely provided outreach services so that we could study how their setups worked, and find out if our outreach program would be a good fit. We found LOTS (Life on The Streets) Ministry. They provide a free breakfast, and free mobile laundry and mobile showers every Saturday at The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa. Saturday’s regular services are commonly known as “Breakfast at The Crossing”.

The first thing we saw when visiting Breakfast at the Crossing were people with pets. Thomas had with him his pit bull named Honeybun, Steve was with his dog, Bosco, and Jim was carrying his teacup poodle, Fifi, inside of his hoodie. When we asked if they’d like veterinary services to come to Breakfast at The Crossing they unanimously said yes, and proceeded to tell me of their pets’ many veterinary needs.

We drove away convinced Breakfast at The Crossing was the perfect place for us to see if we could pull off a free veterinary services outreach program. But there was still the question of what to call it and who would help us. We came up with My Beloved Companion because that’s pretty much what pets are to people, and it’s a universally relatable sentiment.

When MTAC approached VCA about My Beloved Companion’s outreach program they wholeheartedly wanted to help. They immediately offered volunteer veterinarians and technicians to treat the animals. Then Henry Schein Animal Health joined, providing medical supplies. Soon we had KONG providing toys and leashes, and KVP providing e-collars. 

With our ducks in order, we still didn’t know how many animals we would need to provide services for. There’s an unknown component to doing outreach with the homeless. They’re typically not wired to online social networks, and, understandably, there’s a tremendous amount of skepticism among them. The most vulnerable in our society are always the easiest to exploit, and they’re well aware of that.

So how to build trust when we have little access? We kept in touch with Shawn Davidson who runs LOTS. MTAC designed a My Beloved Companion flyer announcing the upcoming outreach program. Shawn passed them out and spoke about our plans at Saturday services. His estimated we’d probably see 15-20 animals, but with advertising possibly 35+.

As we neared the program date Shawn informed us with the good news that he expected a good turnout. We prepared for 75 animals just in case.

On the day of the outreach program, while setting up bright and early, there was still a palpable sense of the unknown. Would anyone show up? But to our great surprise My Beloved Companion’s first community outreach program was a huge success. In the first hour we saw 20 animals, and by the end of the day 50 animals were cared for by the loving volunteer staff from VCA.

We all learned a lot. It becomes perfectly clear what’s missing when you’re in the thick of it. But the overall consensus was that we should improve the program. And later Shawn followed up with a report that everyone on his end was thrilled with the program, and he asked if we’d return.

Coda: For More Than A Cone, the “cone of shame” is a misnomer. The cone was designed to do good, but it somehow ended up with a bad rap because of how silly it makes animals look. By transforming the cone into artwork we aim to change attitudes about the cone, and in turn underscore how significant and valuable animals truly are.

My Beloved Companion is not only a community outreach program, it’s also an awareness campaign with the goal of changing attitudes about homeless people. Through the art of messaging we aim to find common ground with all animal lovers, and promote volunteerism. No one sets out to become homeless, and hopefully in our lifetime it will no longer be a societal issue. But it takes more than money to solve big issues, it takes the will of a people to right societal wrongs. And, historically, the will comes from understanding and relating to an issue. Engaging is the first step.

– Bill Rangel, Executive Director, More Than A Cone

William Schwing
"Spill" sculptures-there's a connection

I stumbled upon “Spill” sculptures by Subodh Gupta online and it reminded me of the giant pet cone created for MTAC’s 2015 Art Festival event.

Gupta creates new meaning from ready made objects with the objective of inciting dialog around social issues. His “Spill” sculptures are about the wasting of natural resources and the emptiness of consumerism. 

MTAC’s oversized pet cone was created to suggest the scale of the animal issues that we focus on, mainly pet adoption, which the cone has come to represent. And much like how Gupta uses everyday kitchen objects to speak of social ills, MTAC uses the humble pet cone to speak of the plight of animals. 

I was thrilled to find and learn about Gupta’s inspirational artwork. He too challenges viewers to think of our shared impact on the world by helping us see everyday objects in a completely new way. 

Check out more of Subodh Gupta's work here.

–Bill Rangel

William Schwing