Saturday, August 23, 2014

Senior Care

Photo courtesy of Paws & Purrs Pets
Caring for your senior dog can get complicated and overwhelming. You might feel like you need to feed a food targeting towards "seniors."

What's important is a healthy food, and the proper supplements and age appropriate exercise. You might need to make special accommodations for a senior that might have trouble walking, seeing, or hearing.

Bone & Joint health:

Starting joint supplements early in your pups life can reduce future joint problems. A supplement with glucosamine and chondroiton is the best. Omega's are also excellent for bone/joint health. (Not to mention skin and coat) Recommended supplements: Pet KelpMissing Link, Cosequin. If you notice your pup having troubles getting around, it's time to call your vet. Things like stiffness, trouble getting up, limping or lameness are things you need to look out for and definitely call for a visit to the vet.

Keeping your dog fit, and keeping the weight off will also reduce joint related issues.

Skin & Coat Health:

Omega's are excellent for the health of your dogs skin and coat. Supplements such as coconut oil, salmon oil and other fish oils are excellent. These can help a dog with dry skin or allergies.

Healthy food:

A healthy diet is the best thing you can give to your dog. You want to choose a food with more meat than fillers or grains. Grain-free food is best. (Especially for dogs with allergies) Raw diets are excellent if you can stomach it! But there are freeze-dried raw foods that are easy to feed, and dogs love them. With a healthy diet free of grains, your dog will poop less. Isn't that what we all want?!


Having a bed to sleep on that is firm for your senior dog greatly helps to relieve pressure on aging joints. There are orthopedic beds, and beds that are elevated off the floor—Helping them to get up and down easier. (Rather than struggling to get off the floor which can be hard on dogs with arthritis or hip problems.)

Kuranda Beds are excellent for older dogs. (And great for shelter dogs!)

Can you believe this beauty 9 1/2 years old?! A Healthy diet, exercise and an indoor lifestyle are the key!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Goals for SCBB

I wanted to share with you my goals for SCBB in the near future.

SCBB was sprouted from a love for Bully breeds, and a need for local outreach.

My main goal for SCBB is to be able to provide free services to local dog owners, such as: Spay and Neuter, vaccinations, microchipping, food and general supplies.

To do this, a fund and/or Amazon Wishlist needs to be created, and supported by public donations. Because it is difficult (and very costly!) to become a Nonprofit Organization, we are still working on that. I'm hoping to find someone who can help me through this process, as that hasn't been too easy either. But maybe it's not supposed to be easy! With hard work comes great results.

From what I understand, we can currently accept donations and donors can save their receipts for when we officially receive our Nonprofit status, and their donations will be tax deductible. All donations go towards the Outreach Fund. My very first, and most important goal is to make Spay and Neuter FREE specifically to bully breed owners. Once we're more established and have the funds for it, I'd like to offer it for ALL dogs.

To accomplish these goals, we need your help! Volunteers, donors, or anyone who has some advice! Please shoot me an email if you can help. (Or need help!)

Friday, August 8, 2014

When "low cost" isn't enough

"Low cost" is great, but "free" is better. Especially when it comes to animal care. Many people love their pets, have good intentions, but can't always afford the necessities.

Lack of affordability can lead to more animals in shelters; Either because the owner couldn't afford proper identification, spay/neuter, or vaccinations for example. We want to keep these pets in their home, while making sure they get what they need. 

As of August 8, 2014, the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter has received at least 10 Pit Bull mix puppies.

Santa Cruz County has a mandatory Spay/Neuter ordinance. To encourage people to alter their pets, the Planned Pethood program offers $50 spay and neuter to Pit Bulls & mixes, and Chihuahua's and mixes. It's $100 for any other breed of dog. Is that really "low cost?" How many folks have an extra $50-$100 laying around? Not to mention additional required services such as a Rabies vaccination, License for an altered dog, and microchip that adds up to $54 in addition to the $50-$100  Spay/Neuter fee! (Microchips are $10 at the mobile clinics)

If you're going to require a procedure some would consider "unnecessary," doesn't it make sense to make it free? The resources are there, yet it still isn't free. If spay and neuter is free, there's no reason NOT to do it! Your pet benefits, animals in shelters benefit, and it will save your wallet in the long run! 

The same goes for vaccinations and microchipping. Rabies vaccinations are required (cheaper to get done at the shelter, than the mobile clinics), but do come at a cost. Other vaccinations, for Parvovirus for example, are so important for the health of your dog or puppy. Parvo is deadly, and expensive to treat. Prevention is the best medicine!

"FREE" Pet Food Bank

The Santa Cruz SPCA has a "free" pet food bank. What was once a "no questions asked" opportunity is now a "show proof" thing. They now require proof of Spay/Neuter of your pet(s). There are some cases where folks can't even afford to SN their pets, (see above) let alone feed them. So is it fair to punish the pets of folks who cannot afford to SN? Or be made to feel like they are committing a crime because of lack of affordability? Not to mention, how many people have proof of SN of all of their pets? Alienating pet owners does NOT keep them out of shelters, it fills them. If you're going to offer something for "free," make it free for EVERYONE. Another downside: food pickup is only available on Friday's from 4-6pm.

BAD RAP's "Keep 'Em Home" project
Santa Cruz Bullies & Buddies aims to do much of what BAD RAP has accomplished; Keeping pets in their homes by utilizing FREE services. Other amazing organizations have also jumped on the "free" bandwagon such as Downtown Dog Rescue, North Central Shelter Intervention Program, and Beyond Breed

We are working on 501c3 nonprofit status at of August 2014. We're getting our stuff together in order to receive donations to get the ball rolling. These donations will go straight towards a Spay/Neuter, vaccination, and microchip fund. In addition to free services, we also hope to provide food and supplies to those who need it. 

If you are interested in volunteering, or want to help us reach our goal, contact us! We'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to be a good neighbor

Edit: August 2014: Unfortunately, this particular dog has caused quite a disturbance in the neighborhood, resulting in many complaints to Animal Control. All they have received are notices thus far.

Recently, a new family moved in next door, dog in tow. They had an invisible fence installed, which tipped me off to the fact that they have a dog. The previous tenant had no animals, and was very quiet, and respectful.

What I have noticed about the new tenants is their fairly large dog, whom I encountered on my property just the other day. I had just pulled into my driveway, luckily I had not let my own dog out of the car yet. I got out, and noticed this dog in my driveway. I walked towards it, and it began to growl at me. Apparently, it had gotten out of that “invisible fence.” Today, I went out to check the mail, and the dog was outside with its family, barking at me as I walked down my driveway. I had heard it barking earlier in the day. Not a great way to welcome yourself to the neighborhood.

So that brings me to this weeks blog post! How to be a good, and respectful neighbor, and responsible dog owner!

Keeping your dog in your yard

In general, is it never a good idea to leave a dog outdoors unattended. Keeping your dog safely indoors and secured is not only good for your dog, but yourself, and your neighbors as well. Again, making sure your dog is occupied while home alone. If your dog needs further confinement, a crate, or a small room is a great idea. This keeps your dog safe from getting into something that could potentially harm him, and keeps your belongings safe, too. 

This is one of the most important things you can do for your dog, and your neighbors. Make sure your fence is escape proof if you must leave your dog outdoors. If you do leave your dog outdoors, make sure it has something to do, shelter, and water. Nobody wants to hear your dog barking all day long. Not only does that reflect poorly on you as an owner, but it’s also a nuisance. 

Here's an article written by Our Pack founder, Marthina McClay: "Dogs and Backyards"

If you have an escape artist, here’s a great idea for fence jumpers: 

How to do it:
  • Buy PVC pipe ( 1/2" and 3")
  • Wire cable
  • L-brackets
  • Eye bolts and nuts
Attach the L-brackets on either side of the fence. You may need to reinforce it at key areas along the fence line, depending on the size of the fence. Run the wire through the small 1/2" PVC pipe. Thread that 1/2" PVC pipe through the 3" PVC pipe. Attach the wire to the end of the fence with the eyebolts. {Credit}

Proper identification

If you dog does escape, make sure your dog has proper identification. Easy to read ID tags, and a microchip. There are collars now with permanent identification options: Embroidered text, and engraved tags attached to the collar. (As opposed to tags that can fall off) And here's a cheap idea from BAD RAP: Write your contact info on your dogs collar with permanent marker! 

Know where your dog is at all times

It’s 4pm, do you know where your dog is? Seriously, pay attention to where your dog is! 

It never ceases to amaze me how many people have no idea their dog has gotten out of the yard, or the house. Once again, I’m outside in my front yard playing ball with my dog, and my neighbors dog comes out of nowhere and beelines for her. My neighbor is no where to be found. I had to grab and remove her more than once. 

Earlier this week, I was driving through my neighborhood, and found a very large Lab wandering around in the street. I pulled over and he came right up to me, and had proper identification, so I was able to put a leash on him and walk him home. His owners were very appreciative, but again, had no idea how he got out. What I appreciated about this particular situation was that a) The dog was actually friendly (Unlike the dog at the beginning of this post) and b) The dog had proper, and legible, identification. Both are helpful in getting a dog home safe and sound. (He was also excellent on leash!)

The takeaway here is: Keep your dog secure! A dog at large is a danger to everybody, not to mention your dog could get hurt, hit by a car, stolen, or picked up by animal control. Keeping your dog under restraint is the law! 

6.12.010 Dogs at large prohibited.

 The owner or caretaker of any dog found in violation as described above may be contacted by an animal control officer or peace officer and issued a citation for the violation. If the owner or caretaker is not present, and there is no reasonable way to secure the dog to the owner’s or caretaker’s property to prevent subsequent violations, it may be impounded. If a dog is impounded from the property where the owner or caretaker is not present, a notice of such impound will be left with information about the nature of the impound, the name and address of the impounding agency, and an indication of the ultimate disposition of the dog if it is not reclaimed within a specified period of time. [Ord. 4503 § 3, 1998].

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kennel Personality Cards

These cards are meant for the outside of kennels at animal shelters, to give visitors some insight as to the personality of the individual animal. So often animals at shelters don’t have a bio, or are judged purely on breed, or stereotypes, or first impressions. It’s helpful for visitors to know that a dog knows some basic commands, or likes to play or run, or is good with kids/other small animals, etc.

Also available in kitties! These cards will advertise kitties as independent, a lap kitty, a playful kitty, etc. They are about 3” x 4”, and will be laminated. Hole punch is optional. Lots of options will be available, stay tuned!

* I’m excited to announce that we’ve partnered with the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in New Jersey! They will be receiving kennel cards for their end-of-month adoption event!

Now available to order on our Kennel Card Program page!! Work at a shelter, and are interested in these cards? Email us!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pit Bull Awareness Month

This month marks not only Adopt a Shelter Dog month, but also Pit Bull Awareness Month. Pit Bull awareness started with just a day in October, and has now turned into the whole month. Pit Bulls need as much awareness and positive press as they can get! This year, Pit Bull Awareness Day is October 25th.

PBAD was started by Jodi Preis, who started Bless the Bullys, a nonprofit rescue and education effort directed specifically at the American Pit Bull Terrier. ("Pit Bull")

National Pit Bull Awareness Day is meant to show the "breed" in a positive light. To bring positive awareness, and to bond fellow Pit Bull owners and lovers. 

Ways to help

Share, Retweet, Pin, and cross-post: The best way to get the word out about Pit Bulls is through social media. Social media is a powerful tool that can reach people all over the world. It has been proven, that sharing even one dog has saved a life. This month, share an adoptable Pit Bull to help save a life! It's free, and takes little time, but makes a huge difference. To help get you started, here is a list of adoptable "Pit Bull" dogs around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Set a good example: If you own a Pit Bull or Bully breed, make an example out of them. Be a responsible owner; Train, socialize, exercise. Nothing breaks down breed stereotypes like a well-behaved Pit Bull! 

Keep your dogs on leash in public, don't allow your dog to roam. Spay and Neuter your dog, keep them up-to-date on vaccinations and microchip them. Keep them secured on your property, do not leave them outdoors unattended. 

Adopt or Foster: One of the best things you can do for this breed is save a life. Adopting a Pit Bull from a rescue or a shelter saves not only their life, but the life of the next who takes its place. 

Fostering is temporary, but makes a huge difference in the life of a Pit Bull. Many animals are euthanized for space at shelters; Fostering gets them out, and also teaches them how to act in a home environment, which greatly increases their chances of adoption. 

So what are you waiting for! Get out there and Save-a-Bull!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The importance of a good photo

Animals in shelters aren't seen if they don't have a photo. Animals aren't shown at their best with a crummy photo. Great photos get animals noticed. It gives potential adopters, and rescuers, an idea of what breed the dog may be, or its size. A friendly photo makes an animal look more adoptable, look happy, and healthy. A great photo makes a huge difference in the visual adoptability of an animal.

 Things to consider when photographing shelter animals: background, color, props, lighting.


Colors: White is great, or bright colors that don't distract from the animal. Avoid photographing dark animals on dark backgrounds. You want the animal to stand out. 

If doing photos outdoors, colorful plants, or neutral objects are best. Try avoiding kennels and fencing, cars, people, etc. Neutral backgrounds like walls can be helpful if you don't have other options. If you are limited outdoors, wearable props can be a huge help to jazz up a boring photo.

Animal Shelter photography is now a “thing,” something shelters all over the country are now participating in. Organizations like Shelter Art Foundation, and HeARTspeak, provide equipment, tutorials, how-to’s, and classes to animal shelters needing to improve their photography of their animals.

Before & Afters: (Taken by me at Salinas Animal Services)


Wearable props:
A prop like a bandana covers the leash on a dog, and a paper collar if the dog is wearing one. It can also show that the dog is calm, and tolerant, not trying to tear it off or being too wild to get one on. (Bonus!) Some photographers now use things like jewelry, and flower crowns, etc.

Boas also brighten up a photo, and glasses give a dog personality!

Background props can make or break a great photo. At left, you see wonderful bright colors used to cheer up this photo! It makes the dog pop, and gets your attention. It's modern, and can appeal to a wide audience. Too many cheap props can make a photo look tacky, and not as presentable. (Photo courtesy of I Love Your Furry Face Photography, by Paige Burris)

All photos here were taken by me, unless otherwise specified.