Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to be a good neighbor

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!

Good fences make good neighbors

Keeping your dog in your yard

Photo courtesy of Our Pack - “Peace at the Fence
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. 

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. 

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)

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 at 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 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, PBAD is October 26th.

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!

Poster courtesy of Change of Heart Pit Bull Rescue

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:
As seen in the picture at left, though the background isn't bad, the bandana helps to jazz up the photo with a not-so-neutral background. Not only that, but it covers the leash, 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!)

In this particular case, the bandana brings out the dogs gorgeous eyes. 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)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Giving a lift to shelter dogs

One of the best things you can do for shelter dogs, is make them comfortable. If a dog in a kennel doesn't have a nice, comfortable place for them to retreat to in the midst of the crazy kennel environment, a dog will become anxious, and unhappy.

Pups from Haven Humane Society
Kuranda beds are perfect for shelter dogs. It gets them up off the concrete floor, to get off the cold ground and away from drafts, and makes it easier for the larger, or older dogs to get up and down.

Kuranda offers discounts for shelters and rescues for their beds to be donated directly to a facility. Salinas Animal Services sent out a request via Facebook, and boom! To date, 44 out of 90 needed have been donated! (6 out of 10 kitty beds have been donated, too!) So far, these beds have been durable. Easy to wash, and sturdy. If you'd like to donate a bed to Salinas Animal Services, please go to the Kuranda website!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Shelter Animal Marketing

Nowadays,  super-marketing is more important than ever in the animal shelter industry. Getting the word out about adoptable animals means saving lives. There are some shelters that people don't know exist, but find adoptable animals from social media. Many animals wouldn't make it out if it weren't for social media, and networking. 

At left, a sample flier for an adoptable dog at Salinas Animal Services. This is an easily shared/networked web version of a flier. I also make them with tear-offs that are printable, so you can post them around town; At stores, coffee shops, community boards, etc. 

I use bright colors, and fun, eye-catching fonts. The goal is to make the animal the main focus of the ad. Clear, bright pictures of the animals make the best impressions. Head shots are great, but people actually want to get an idea of the size of the dog. I try to take "body shots" of the dogs, to sort of get an idea of their size, like their height for example. Sometimes, a head shot of a Chihuahua can be deceiving; dogs that are labeled Chihuahua's are often much larger than the true standard Chi. An accurate photo helps when one is looking for the right dog who might not be local, and aren't able to show up at any shelter. Photos of dogs in training are also extremely helpful, as you see in Murphy's flier! This shows the dog has a head-start on their obedience training, and is a huge bonus when looking for a dog to adopt. 

Just sharing and networking animals saves lives! Tweeting, sharing on Facebook, Pinning, all make a huge difference. On Pet Harbor, and, you have many 'share' options which include three of the most popular and widely used social networking sites: Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. 

Great photography is super important! More and more, professional photographers are donating their time and services to shelter animals in need. Great photos increase adoptions. Just ask Lori Fusaro:

This is a flier I made for a former Salinas Animal Services dog. He is still adoptable through Animal Friends Rescue Project in Pacific Grove, CA. This was made right around New Year’s, hence the stars and confetti! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Treat Dispensing Toys: Kennel Enrichment Part II

Over the weekend, I asked my dad to help me make some treat dispensing toys out of PVC pipe. I got the idea from the Animal Farm Foundation's Kennel Enrichment program. I'm a big believer in shelter enrichment, and part of that, as I've discussed in previous posts, is treat dispensing toys. Below is a video of a shelter dog, adopted from Salinas Animal Services using the PVC toys I made. I'd say it was a success!

I got a KONG drive started by posting online, and having a donation bin at my local pet store! I started on Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist by posting an ad requesting donations. My local feed store, Aptos Feed and Pet Supply, generously agreed to let me have a donation bin set up at the store. I already had a cute bucket, made a flier, and put it up! It's easy to get a KONG drive started for your local shelter!

You can also sign up for "KONG Seconds" which is a program where you can sign up a shelter to receive KONG toys at a discounted price. The catch is, there is a $50 minimum order. Unfortunately, I don't know of a shelter with the funds for that.

This whole thing started based on the Kennel Enrichment program Animal Farm Foundation has posted on their website! AFF is a HUGE inspiration, and are as dedicated to providing kennel enrichment for shelter dogs as I am!