Halloween means parties, lots of candy, and fun filled activities for the two legged, but for companion animals it is often a time of anxiety and fright. We encourage all caregivers to adhere to basic safety rules to keep the four-legged safe and stress free.
- We recommend never leaving dogs outdoors unattended for extended periods of time, but it is especially important at Halloween when they become easy prey for pranksters who may tease, injure, and even kill pets. We suggest that they be kept inside in a separate room during trick-or-treating visiting hours. Too many strangers dressed in weird outfits can be scary for pets, and it takes only seconds for a frightened animal to dart out. ( Be sure that he has proper identification so that if somehow, he escapes and becomes lost, your chances will be better of his being returned to you.)
- Halloween costumes for dogs are bigger business again this year, with all the pet catalogs and pet departments featuring a grand variety of dog outfits. I admit that many of them are really cute, but I remind you that this is a commercial venture targeted to humans, not for the enjoyment of the dogs. Most pets prefer their “birthday suits” instead of wearing a costume that can be stressful and potentially dangerous. My advice again is to forget the costume…dogs are dogs; they do not need to be dressed up, but I realize many caregivers are going to dress up their pets anyway, so PLEASE make sure the costume is safe, and not too uncomfortable!
- Keep Halloween candy and edible treats out of your dog’s reach. That bowlful of candy for the trick-or-treaters can be dangerous for animals. Chocolate is extremely toxic to animals, and the foil and cellophane candy wrappers can cause serious problems if ingested, and many sweet treats contain the sweetener xylitol, which can cause serious health problems. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are not necessarily toxic, but they can produce gastrointestinal upset if ingested.
- Carved pumpkins are super decorations for the season, but caution is needed if you choose to add a candle. Pets (or small children) can easily knock over a lighted pumpkin and get burned or cause a fire. Dogs seem to have a fascination for wires and cords, so extra caution is needed to keep any cords from electrical decorations out of reach.
Since it is a night for treats, your dog would certainly enjoy some special chews. All you need is a sweet potato and five minutes preparation time for these healthy, inexpensive Sweet Potato Chews:
Sweet Potato Chews:
– Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
– Scrub the sweet potato….don’t even need to peel it.
– Cut it into thin slices…the thinner the slice the crisper it will be…and place in a single layer on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
– Bake in the oven for about 3 hours or longer for crunchy treats…or if you have a dehydrator, you can pop them in that instead of the oven.
We encourage parents and teachers to talk to the children about the importance of always showing respect toward their animal friends, and to be especially alert to any friends annoying, harassing, or pulling pranks on them. Ask them to tell you if they see anyone trying to antagonize an animal. A child who is abusive to animals is not just “being a kid”; there is a definite connection between violence toward animals and violence toward fellow humans.
Remember your animals depend on you to keep them safe and sound on this ghost and goblin night, and by using a few common sense cautions, it will be a Happy Howl-o-ween for everyone!!
For most of us, Halloween is a festive time with spooky jack-o-lanterns, kids in costumes, and plenty of candy, and money conscious marketing experts are promoting the idea of putting the dogs in costume, and millions of Americans are following their suggestions. All the pet catalogs and pet departments are featuring a grand variety of costumes, and many of them are really cute…hard to resist, but the fact is that they are commercial ventures targeted to gullible humans, not for the enjoyment of the dogs. Do you really believe that your dog will enjoy wearing cheaply made, ill-fitting, sometimes dangerous clothing? If you are honest, you will probably admit that your dog would be more comfortable in her “birthday suit” than wearing a costume. Our dogs love us and have a deep desire to please…they will do almost anything to gain their humans’ approval, but who benefits from dressing them in costumes? Dogs are dogs, and most of them dislike the confinement of costumes, and dress up is usually a major mess-up for the animals. We encourage you to reconsider before you rush out and spend big bucks (or even little bucks) on that cute costume.
Now for another fact: I realize that many pet parents are going to ignore my suggestion, (some have already purchased the outfit), and so here are a few tips:
- Think safety, not cuteness…the costume should not restrict the animal’s movement, vision, or his hearing, and should not impede his ability to breathe or bark. I browsed through some really cute costumes in several pet departments, and almost all of them had small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces that the dog could choke on. Buttons, tassels, and ribbons can cause serious intestinal blockage, and poorly fitted outfits can get twisted or caught on external objects.
- Does your dog have sensitive skin? The synthetic materials found in most of the costumes, besides being uncomfortable, can generate allergic reactions, which will result in an evening of uncomfortable scratching and skin irritations, even with non-allergic dogs.
- Don’t wait until the BIG NIGHT to try on all costumes…you need to have several dress rehearsals, and if your pet seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, pay attention. If he starts to lick or chew at himself or the costume, it is likely that he is stressed. Sure he looks cute, but forcing him to do something that he does not want to do can result in bad behaviors and future conflicts. Is the “cuteness” worth the price? Wouldn’t he honestly be happier going “au natural”? And if you can’t resist parading her in a costume, never leave her alone. Ridiculously cute can quickly become downright dangerous.
It really is fun browsing through the catalogs and pet departments to see all the unique costumes, but ask yourself what your real motivation is…will your dog be happier with or without a costume? My advice is FORGET THE COSTUME! Your dog will appreciate a decision to settle for a festive collar or a cute bandanna.
Your dog has one aim in life—to bestow his heart… and he asks for little in return.
He may well be the most memorable friend in life,
one who loves you even when you aren’t very lovable.
Without a choice, without a voice,
your dog depends on his humans to make the best decisions for him.
Many people consider Fall their favorite season of the year…. brisk Autumn temperatures, the aromas of drying crops, and the variety of colors as the trees begin to lose their leaves, but although the seasonal changes have great appeal for people, they also present many potential health hazards for our dogs.
The pleasure of watching the colors of fall sometimes disappears because of the tedious job of cleaning up the seemingly endless supply of leaves. The noises created by leaf blowers may spook your dog, causing him to hide or even run away. Additionally, gas powered devices can leak oil or fuel, and create a source of toxicity if your pet licks a substance from the ground or on his paw and ingests it.
Piles of leaves remaining on your lawn quickly accumulate moisture, which promotes mold and bacterial growth which could cause digestive tract upset if swallowed, and burning dried leaves definitely can be become a fire hazard to both humans and pets.
Antifreeze works wonders in your car as cold weather comes, but it is a very dangerous toxin for dogs. Thousands of dogs are poisoned each year by ingesting antifreeze that drips onto garage floors and driveways, or is left in easy-to-open containers. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that makes it attractive to pets, and a dose of less than half a teaspoon per pound of body weight is a lethal dose. Most antifreeze products are almost all ethylene glycol, a potent alcohol that is readily absorbed once it is ingested. Some newer antifreeze products use 50 percent or more propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol, making them safer than older products, but they can still cause alcohol poisoning, so it is important to exercise caution with these products, and minimize exposure your dog may have to them by carefully cleaning up any spills, and keeping your eyes open for any suspicious looking puddles when taking a walk.
If you move your plants indoor during the winter, be aware that many plants are poisonous to pets. Just a few include amaryllis, aloe, lilies, carnations, chrysanthemums, daffodils, daisies, philodendron, some palms and grasses, poinsettias, holly and common herbs. For a complete list, go to www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control
Seasonal allergies can kick in for dogs in the fall, and although these are usually evidenced by skin allergies, they can also be allergic rhinitis, evidence by sneezing, loud snorting or snoring, and discharge from the nose. If your dog shows evidence of allergies, a vet visit is advised.
Ah, October…the month when the little mice start moving in from the fields. If you use poisons or traps to keep unwanted critters from taking residence in your home, be aware that any poisons that kill these little nuisances will also sicken or kill your dog, and accessible traps can injure a curious pet by snapping shut on an inquisitive paw or nose. There are no safe rodenticides, and whether out of hunger, boredom, or curiosity, your dog may consume these products, so it is important to keep any poisons in places that are inaccessible to pets and children.
With the shortened daylight hours, it is likely that you will sometimes be walking your dog during daybreak or twilight, and the best ways to keep you and your pet safe are reflective gear, flashlights or light up collars and leashes….all products that are available at pet stores or on line. Sometimes weather conditions make it difficult to walk outdoors, but regular exercise is important. You can exercise your dog indoors on a treadmill or set up an indoor “agility” course using household objects, such as clothes baskets, broom handles and furniture.
Dogs with short coats or no fluffy undercoat may need a doggie coat or sweater for their walks, but many dog coats are either worthless, difficult to put on the dog, or are obviously uncomfortable for him. Choose for practicality, not “cuteness.”
The fall season is a great time of year to enjoy the sights and smells of the season with your pet, and with just a few precautions, you can keep your pet safe, healthy, and happy during these crisp, cool autumn months!
October is a busy month, filled with fall activities, and it is also recognized as National Pet Wellness Month, when caregivers are encouraged to re-evaluate your pet’s health and there are many tips to help keep them safe and healthy all year round.
- Pet proofing your home is important whether you have a new pet or have had pets for years. There are many every day products, including medicines, pesticides and some household plants that can prove poisonous to our animal friends. It is a good time to go through your home and make sure that all potentially harmful objects are out of your pet’s reach.
- Did your dog have a complete wellness check this year? If not, schedule one soon rather than later. It is important that dogs visit the vet more than just when they are sick or injured. A physical can ward off diseases by getting routine vaccinations, and allows your vet to look for any signs of potential health problems which may be effectively treated if caught in the early stages. If you have a senior pet, remember that pets age faster than we do, and therefore need check-ups more often.
- If your dog isn’t already spayed or neutered, you are missing out on major health benefits. According to the ASPCA, female dogs that are not spayed have a much higher chance of getting uterine infections and breast cancer, and intact males have a higher incidence of testicular cancer.
- Dental hygiene is an often overlooked area, and dental problems often lead to other health issues, such as heart, kidney, and joint problems. These are serious problems, and it’s worth taking the time to promote oral health. According to veterinarian Brook Niemiec, “The only time that dogs get bad breath is when they have serious periodontal disease, and by the time a problem manifests itself, disease is probably in an advanced state. With some breeds, as many as 90 percent will have some level of early gum disease by the time they are one year old. Taking care of your dog’s teeth is like changing the oil in the car. If you don’t do it regularly, you will have bigger and more expensive problems later on.” It is estimated that about 80 percent of all dogs over three years of age have oral disease, so it is important to perform routine home dental care and schedule regular oral exams by your veterinarian.
- Most of us really aren’t prepared for emergencies, but it is important to put together a plan to keep your dog safe in case of a health crisis, or a natural disaster. Include a safe pet-friendly place to go, a list of any items you need for yourself, and also for your dog, with medications and contact numbers like your veterinarian or pet hospital.
- Take a closer look at what you are feeding your dog. Not all pet foods are created equal, and you may need to rethink your pet’s food. Many foods contain cheap fillers that don’t provide your pet any nutrition, and wellness starts by what you give your pet for food. Deciphering a pet food label may be confusing, so www.dogfoodadvisor.com, an independent site ranks all of the major dog foods. Click on BRAND and they will rate any specific food, or you may also review all brands A to Z. You may be surprised to learn that many popular foods are not healthy foods. It is also important what treats you are giving your dog. Most commercial treats are not healthy and some are downright toxic. We recommend NO commercial treats, and especially not those that are imported from China.
Here is a very simple, easy to make, healthy treat:
½ cup water
2 ½ cups flour (preferably whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup non-fat dry milk powder
6 tablespoons of margarine.
Mix ingredients and knead until the dough forms a ball.
Pinch off small bits and drop on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees…
Note: if you want to make fancy looking cookies, roll to ½ inch thick and cut into dog bones… the dogs don’t care about their appearance, but if they are for gifts, they will be more impressive looking.)
Dogs give their human companions unconditional love and are always there with an encouraging wag of the tail!
They are indeed very special animals.
We need to realize that they depend on us to provide for their well-being.
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Many people today consider their dogs’ part of the family, and every September, animal welfare groups shine a spotlight on the commitment it takes to have a canine companion, reminding caregivers that having a dog is not like having a car. When your dog misbehaves, you can’t just trade him in. If she gets sick, it is your responsibility to help her recover, and if your lifestyle changes, you must make every effort to accommodate your dog’s needs.
Dogs are awesome in their devotion, loyalty and friendship to humankind. Anyone who has ever been owned by a dog can attest to this fact. The wagging tail at the sound of the leash being taken down, the excitement your dog shows when you come home, even if you have only been gone for five minutes, and the head snuggled in your lap…just a few of the rewards of sharing home and life with a dog.
However, having a dog is not just a privilege; it is a responsibility. Dogs depend on humans for health, happiness, and well-being, not just for food and shelter. They were meant to share our homes with us and be our companions, and that is the right reason for having a dog. People who get dogs for the wrong reason, usually end up regretting their decision, and the dog often becomes relegated to the backyard, tied to a doghouse, surrendered to the dog pound, or simply dumped on a country road to “get rid of the burden.” Caring for a dog should not be a “burden;” it should be a joy. Caregivers need to accept responsibility for the animal you promised to love his whole life long. What is he thinking when you drag him off to the pound and drive away without him? MILLIONS of healthy, young dogs each year die every year because of thoughtless humans!
Responsible caregivers NEVER overlook responsibility for this living being and recognize that the dog’s welfare is totally dependent on people.
HERE IN THIS HOUSE
Here in this house…I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of other dogs “out there.” I will sleep soundly, knowing that when I wake, my world will be safe. I will never know hunger, or the fear of not having enough to eat. I will never shiver in the cold or grow weary from the heat. My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted, because I have a responsible caregiver..
Here in this house…I will be talked to, and even if I don’t understand, I can enjoy the warmth of the words. I will have my own name so that I may know who I am among many. My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it.
Here in this house…I will never be a substitute for anything I am not. I will not be used to improve people’s image of themselves. I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone’s idea of who I should be. I will never suffer for someone’s anger, impatience, or ignorance. I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all, and I will learn my lessons well.
Here in this house…I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch…knowing that everything they do will be for my well-being. If I am sick, I will be doctored; if scared, I will be calmed; if sad, I will be cheered. No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and of great value. I will get to experience many fun activities that keep my brain and my body active, so that I will not be bored. I will get to go with my human on many trips, and will get the daily exercise that I need. I will never be cast out because I am too, old, too ill, too unruly, or not cute enough. My life is a responsibility, not an afterthought. I am learning that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as dogs…
Here in this house…I am happy, healthy, and loved…because I have a responsible caregiver.
Don’t miss our Annual Woofs and Wags Day, Saturday 9:00 am to 3:00pm
at Century 21 in Storm Lake (813 Flindt Drive, Storm Lake – across from the Dairy Queen.)
Every year in the United States 3.4 million orphan pets lose their lives without finding a home. Yet only 30% of pets in U.S. households come from rescue facilities. The TLC Canine Center is one of 219 organizations and rescue groups registered to raise awareness for homeless dogs this September. We will be lighting a candle to honor the millions of pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home and shine a light on the millions of healthy pets who are still awaiting adoption. This awareness campaign encourages individuals to light a candle in memory of these precious animals.
Moved by the staggering statistics of homeless pets who lose their lives each year, Helen Woodward Animal Center President Mike Arms put out a call to rescue organizations in an attempt to create an awareness campaign, explaining why he created this Remembrance Event, “My heart breaks for all those beautiful homeless animals and also for the people working in animal welfare who are forced to take the lives of pets they love. I believe that this is a way for people to let the world know the sad lives of many, many dogs, and raising awareness can help to increase adoptions, and decease euthanasia.” Grass roots programs and events have sprung up around the world, and last year thousands of candles were lit at ceremonies honoring orphan pets around the globe, bringing to light the plight of so many innocent pets.
It’s time to make a change…it starts with one person. Will it be you?
Who will light up your life? It will be me!
Who will be your best friend? It will be me!
Together we can make a difference; together we can save lives.
Join the movement to remember the pets who didn’t get a second chance
And to shine a light on the orphan pets who are still waiting.
Who will always be there for you? It will be me!
Who will love you unconditionally? It will be me!
–Emmy and Tony Award Winning Celebrity, Kristin Chenoweth
We will have a Remembrance Display at our Annual Woofs and Wags Event on Saturday, September 27, and would like to include your special dog in this display, so if you bring along a favorite photo, we will attach it to a special card for you to take home as a continual reminder to do your part to raise awareness of the plight of homeless pets. We do hope that you will join us for this special day. The Walmart crew, under the direction of Lisa Billings, has been working hard to make the day a great one for both two-legs and four-legs. There will be a rummage sale, bake sale, and food booth, with all proceeds given to the local TLC. Come meet and greet some of the TLC dogs! The Puppy Walk is scheduled for 2:00 and we know that your awesome dog deserves to strut his stuff (and certainly deserves a sample of the home made dog biscuits which will also be available….along with the TLC Canine Cookbook which contains healthy, yummy treats.) And the event will close with our candlelight remembrance ceremony immediately following the dog walk awards presentation.
If you are not in our area or are unable to attend our Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony, we encourage you to create your own event!!!
Feel free to use any of the cards below or use our predefined template ( Light a candle in memory template ):
In Loving Honor of:
In Loving Memory of:
Light a Candle Poem
Exciting things are happening at the TLC Canine Center… no, the Center is not closing, and no, it is not expanding… It is enlarging the vision to help more needy dogs not just in our local area, but throughout the state!
Locally we are in the midst of our spay and neuter campaign to help families afford to get their dogs altered, so that there won’t be an “oops, we have a litter of puppies… can you help us?” Iowa already has a definite overpopulation of dogs… there are simply not enough forever homes for all the dogs that need care, and this is your opportunity to be part of the solution to the problem. Vouchers are available to help with the cost of having this procedure done. Please contact your veterinarian or the TLC Canine Center for details.
Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 27 and join us for our annual Woofs and Wags” event in Storm Lake. The Walmart crew, under the direction of Lisa Billings, has a day planned for both four-legs and two-legs. There will be a bake sale and rummage sale with all proceeds going to the local TLC, and there will be TLC dogs there to meet and greet you. Details will be published next week, but be sure to reserve the day for the dogs!
Iowa needs a village of animal lovers… actually more than one village… to advance the humane and responsible treatment of companion animals, which will be accomplished through education and grassroots advocacy. The TLC is excited to have an associate who is committed to opening a TLC facility in another area of the state that recently received national attention because of a puppy mill facility that was ranked as 2nd worst in the entire country…. Because of the efforts of Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, with the support of various animal welfare groups throughout the state, this mill has been forced to close. We now have the opportunity (and responsibility) to restore the image of how companion animals are treated in our state. We are excited and hope you are too.
It takes a Village by Ellen Hartstack
What craziness is this? Something pretty exciting must be happening?!?! You’re right: it is! I am so excited to come back to my beloved Iowa.
We dream big! And to allow you to dream with us, we have opened an online fundraising campaign to help us establish a TLC facility in central Iowa which will include a no-kill canine shelter, and also a training facility where needy, abandoned dogs of the Midwest can be rehabilitated and live until they find their forever homes. With two TLC shelters serving northwest and central Iowa, we will be able to save even more of these wonderful dogs.
“Saving one dog will not change the world,
but surely, for that one dog,
the world will change. Forever.
You know the phrase, “It takes a village”. It was originally a part of an old African proverb which I think perfectly captures the day to day efforts of running the TLC. No single person can do everything the TLC needs to in order to function. It has taken hundreds of individuals to turn the TLC into the canine sanctuary that it has become. With diverse talents, abilities, and resources, working together, the NW Iowa TLC Canine Center has operated for 15 years. It has not always been easy; we have faced many challenges, but together we have seen hundreds of dogs have better lives. I have no doubt, that together we will do it again. Our dream will become reality!
I can do things you cannot.
You can do things I cannot.
Together. We can do great things.
- Mother Teresa
We need $25,000 by October 17 to help fund this new venture. Impossible? As Shel Siverstein asserts, “Nothing is impossible. Anything can be!!!” One of Silverstein’s poems refers to “all the Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda’s talkin’ about the things they woulda-coulda-shoulda done.” Would you join us in our journey as we become doers, not woulda-coulda-shouda’s. It is going to be a scary, exciting trip as we raise funding for the down payment on an acreage in Story county, near Ames, Iowa and the Iowa State University, to provide a sanctuary in that area to rehabilitate more dogs, and keep them safe until they find their forever home, and if there is no suitable home, there will be no time limit for a dog’s stay at the center. Healing often takes time, and whether for a few weeks or a few months, or years, we will provide them with TLC! (The NW Iowa TLC Center has had dogs as permanent residents for as long as 8 years. They chose the TLC for their forever home.)
Some believe it is only GREAT POWER that can hold evil in check.
But that is not what I have found.
I have found that it is the small, everyday deeds of ordinary folks
that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.
- Gandalf, Lord of the Rings
Visit our brand new online campaign at igg.me/at/tlccaninecenter to learn all about this new facility fundraising effort. We have numerous great prizes for those who are able to donate and we appreciate everyone who is able to chip in. If you can’t donate at this time, you can still help the TLC out! “Like” us on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/TlcCanineCenter and share our campaign post with your family and friends using the buttons below.
Remember, it takes a village… or two… or four… or maybe more… but NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. – Aesop
“Well, I knew summer vacation was over this morning when I heard the alarm.
I fell out of bed, hitting the floor with my arm
and I knew one thing for sure…
I have the back to school blues.
I have my brand new back pack loaded up,
and brand new threads to head off to school.
My cell phone will be banned, so I will have to text from the can…
I definitely have the back to school blues.”
With all the confusion surrounding the kids heading back to school, many animal caregivers may not think about what it means for the dog. You may notice behavioral changes such as a sad dog who mopes around or sleeps most of the time…or she may start chewing on things she shouldn’t, but you may not even connect the unacceptable behavior with back-to-school time. Dogs need routine to make them feel secure. They like knowing that certain things happen at about the same time every day, and if the kids have been around all summer, playing with them, and suddenly they’re gone all day, it’s upsetting. Some pets just feel confused and sad, but others feel real separation anxiety and may need special attention to keep them occupied and stimulated during the long hours when parents are at work and the children are at school. It is important to curb unwanted behavior before it escalates into destructive habits.
- EXERCISE…EXERCISE…EXERCISE! A dog who has had a good walk in the morning is less likely to get into trouble during the day! A tired dog is a good dog! After the EVERY morning exercise session, give him something to do while you are gone.
- Maintain a regular schedule as much as possible, and keep comings and goings low key. No huggy/kissy “I’ll miss you” scenes that will only fuel anxiety in your dog. Have the kids ignore the dog for a few minutes before they leave, and after they return, to lower his excitement level and reduce any tension he may feel.
- “Find it” is a game he can play by himself. Hide a favorite toy or few healthy treats (baby raw carrots are good!) for him to discover. Don’t place them in spots where there are shoes or other items that you do not want him to chew….dogs don’t discriminate acceptable chew items from forbidden shoes or two-legs toys! Make sure the toys are safe…dogs love squeaky toys, but if your dog is a tenacious chewer, he could remove the squeaker and swallow it….NEVER leave a dog alone with any raw hide chew… I actually recommend NEVER giving rawhides to any dog at any time…they are not healthy treats, and if chewed and swallowed can cause serious blockages that often require surgery.
- All dogs should have at least a couple Kongs, uniquely shaped toys of durable rubber with hollow centers which can be filled with “good stuff.” Unstuffing Kongs can keep dogs contentedly busy for hours while they dig for the nuggets stuffed inside. A simple stuffing is just a little peanut butter rubbed inside the Kong, with a little kibble and a few doggie treats and maybe a couple small hunks of cheese added. If your dog has never had a stuffed Kong, make it easy to remove the stuffing at first, so that she will succeed at her removal activity. As she becomes more experienced, you may want to make the task more challenging by packing the stuffing tighter, or wedging biscuits (preferably healthy, homemade ones) inside the cavity using the inside rim of the opening to secure them. For creative ways to stuff your Kong, go to www.kongcompany.com.
Never punish your dog for anxiety or inappropriate behavior. If a dog misbehaves, it is because he is frightened or upset; he does NOT behave badly out of spite or to “get even”. No matter what he does during your absence, punishment will only intensify the problem. Good caregivers know that positive reinforcement, persistence, and patience can correct just about any difficult
Sometimes it takes the innocence of a child to remind us of the brevity of life. Last week a seven- year-old boy brought his mother to the TLC to see the dogs. While playing fetch with Hairy, and snuggling with Mandy, he casually mentioned that his dad knew me. “You know, my dad is old, and he said that he had you as his teacher a long time ago. So I guess you must be really old.” Then a few minutes later, he asked, “Are you older than dirt?”
Good question. I don’t think I am quite as old as dirt, but after the two left, and I started chores, I realized that life passes too quickly, and sometimes we are faced with serious challenges. Because of my badly botched open heart bypass surgery, the past year and a half have been somewhat of a struggle, and I am deeply indebted to many, many TLC volunteers who help keep the center running smoothly. Most of them already have full time jobs but show devoted commitment to making sure that the dogs are kept safe, healthy and happy. How blessed we are to have these dedicated helpers.
Although we do have definite arrangements with another shelter to provide future care for the TLC dogs if absolutely necessary, the TLC is NOT closing, but we recognize the fact that we need more dedicated YOUNGER people involved, and have exciting news to share. Ellen Hartstack has been a committed volunteer at the TLC since her college days at BVU. She has remained a part of the TLC family, has been responsible for many of our behind-the- scenes projects, and has maintained our great website for several years. (If you aren’t familiar with her creative expertise, check out www.tlccaninecenter.org) She is now working in Washington D.C., but her heart remains in Iowa, and she acknowledges that her beloved home state is still the second worst in the entire country for puppy mills where the animals lack health care, proper nutrition, and socialization. It has always been her dream become more involved in animal rescue out here on the Iowa prairie. Ellen is dreaming big dreams,, and we are dreaming with her. Yahoo!!!! She is coming home! We are excited and know you will be too as you hear more of her plans to train and rehabilitate needy Iowa dogs.
Day after day, each one the same…another year older, a little more lame
Left out in the weather with little protection, my body is sore and full of infection
In the freezing cold and the searing the searing heat, with weary bones, and swollen feet.
My food bowl is empty, my water dish dry. What did I do? Please tell me, why?
No one to love me; no one to care; no one to bathe my filthy, matted hair.
My teeth are rotting; my eyes are encrusted. Where are the humans to whom I’m entrusted?
I cry every night, but it’s all in vain. Does no one care or even know of our horrendous pain?
There are so many of us out here with lives as sad as mine. We have no voice, no choice,
We dream of the day when there will be no puppy mills and none of us needing rescue,
None left cold and hungry, none left to suffer. Will you dream with us?
(written by animal lover Peggy Wilson)
We invite you to dream along with us as we raise awareness to the plight of Iowa animals, and strive to make life better for these suffering animals.
As old as dirt? It doesn’t matter. As John Barrymore said, “A person is not old until regrets take the place of dreams” Let’s keep dreaming…. together we have within us the strength, the patience, the dedication, and the passion to make a difference.
A few weeks ago, an editorial in one of the newspapers that share our Paw Prints really caught my eye….Paul Struck wrote, “If you want to feel good, volunteer. “ Roger Caras once stated, “Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. In return we give them the love we can spare, the time we can spare. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.” Animal lovers agree with that statement, but often are uncertain as to how they can improve the plight of underprivileged animals: “I feel so sorry for all the neglected, needy animals, but what could I possibly do?” One of the best ways is to volunteer!
By becoming a volunteer at a local shelter or rescue group is a great way to help our needy dogs. Shelters rarely have enough volunteers! In addition to walking, socializing, and providing basic training, volunteer opportunities may include adoption counseling and administrative support. Maybe you don’t have enough discretionary income in this tough economy to contribute money, and your life is too busy to visit the shelter on a regular basis. Keep in mind that there are many ways to help that may be better suited to your skills, interests, or time constraints. Age isn’t a limitation either. Caela Kruger, an eleven year old girl from Aurelia, involved herself in a project which netted the TLC dogs a huge box of “good things.” Residents of the Good Samaritan Center and Otsego Place regularly bake dog biscuits…..anything that you do for a shelter or rescue group that they don’t have to pay someone else to do, results better care for the animals.
- Writers, graphic artists, and photographers can help make fliers, information packets, or newsletters. Groomers can offer free or discounted services. Trainers are always needed to help with evaluating dogs or dealing with particular behavior problems.
- Familiarize yourself with local and state ordinances and legislation relating to dog welfare, including vehicle safety, breed bans, and animal cruelty. Take the time and effort to write letters and e-mails to your local and state representatives expressing your views. Dog lovers in Iowa should check out Iowa Voters for Companion Animals at www.wp.iowavca.org. This group is an organization concerned about the welfare of companion animals, and advocate for better laws to protect them, and better enforcement of current laws. Their purpose is to “advance the humane and responsible treatment of companion animals through education and grassroots advocacy.” They lobby for changes to Iowa law to provide for greater protection of the thousands of dogs in commercial breeding facilities, or puppy mills, and they always have up-to-date information on legislation being considered at the state level. If you live outside of Iowa, do some research to find similar advocacy groups.
- Have a party…..if you have a special occasion, you probably don’t really need gifts. How about asking everyone to bring a donation for your local shelter. Leashes, bowls, toys, and monetary gifts are always welcomed. If you want to involve your guests, make homemade treats.
- Take every opportunity to let others know about the benefits and fulfillment of helping dogs in need.
Here’s a very easy, fun recipe for Peanut Butter Cheerio Balls. (Be sure to have enough of all the ingredients!)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- ½ cup peanut butter,
- 4 cups Cheerios,
- 2 cups flour (can be either wheat or white),
- 1 cup vegetable oil,
- 4 eggs
Combine ingredients together. Mix thoroughly.
Form rounded teaspoons of the dough into balls, squeezing each ball in your hand to press it together to reduce crumbling during baking (and if it crumbles, that’s okay…the dogs will enjoy the crumbles too!) Bake on greased cookie sheets for 8 to 10 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.
When cool, put in plastic baggies for delivery (these need to be refrigerated.) The main problem with this fun activity is that the humans may decide to eat a few themselves. This may be the most memorable party you can ever have!
Remember: if you want to feel good, volunteer! As Struck emphasized, “Volunteering will add far more to your spirit than it takes away from your calendar.”