If you are thinking of adding a new dog to your family, now is the time to do it. October is national “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month” and the American Humane Association and area animal shelters all across the nation are uniting to promote rescuing a homeless dog during the month of October.
“Right now there are millions of loving dogs in every size and shape imaginable waiting anxiously in local shelters for a home of their own. By choosing to adopt a dog during Adopt a Dog Month, pet lovers are working to decrease the number of animals left homeless each year—a mission American Humane strives for each day,” says Marie Belew Wheatley, the president and CEO of American Humane Association.
With our economy in crisis and unemployment rates higher than ever, you might be asking yourself if this is really a good time to adopt a dog. If you are having trouble making ends meet, by all means pass on adopting. However, if you are financially secure, a dog makes a wonderful stress reliever in times like these. Dogs also encourage people to exercise, they enhance family and social relationships, and they provide free entertainment. Plus, a dog doesn’t care if you live in a small or large house. They don’t mind that you haven’t updated your family room furnishings since the 1980s. They won’t criticize you for staying in and watching a movie on a Saturday night. And best of all, they won’t judge you for eating an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s Americone Dream even though you’re, ahem, lactose intolerant.
If you’ve decided that you and your family are ready for a dog, there are some things to consider before you adopt:
• Make sure you are willing to make a 10-15 year commitment to the dog. This means if you change jobs, add to your family, move out of state, etc., your dog goes with you.
• If you have youngsters in the house under 5 years of age, you may want to consider a larger, mellow dog.
• If there are elderly or physically challenged individuals in the house, you will want to avoid extremely active, adolescent dogs.
• Decide who will be the primary caretaker of the dog. Even though all the family members should share in doggie duties, there should always be one adult who is ultimately responsible for the dog.
• Make sure all the family members are present when a dog is selected. This experience should be shared with the whole family and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
• Make sure you are able to provide the essentials for your dog. For tips on getting what your dog needs, read a previous Pet Chat column: http://independent.com/news/2008/dec/25/doggie-must-haves/
Close to 10 million animals enter shelters each year in the United States alone. Adopt a Shelter Dog Month helps focus attention on the pet population problem we face in this country. Help make a dent in this problem and adopt a dog today! Don’t forget, if you don’t see what you’re looking for at your local animal shelter, you can still rescue an animal by going through petfinder.com.
If you already have a dog, enter your pet in the ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Photo Contest. For details, visit aspca.org/adoption/adopt-a-shelter-dog-month.
You can also receive free dog food from Pedigree when you choose adoption! pedigree.com.
Here are some specials that area rescue groups are offering for the month of October:
Santa Barbara Humane Society
There are many dogs eagerly awaiting adoption at the Santa Barbara Humane Society. Among the available adoption dogs are purebreds, mixed breeds, young, old, big, small, and everything in between. The Humane Society maintains detailed health and temperament profiles on each adoption animal, and will help prospective families make a good match when choosing their new canine companion. Their reduced adoption fee during October is $49, and includes an initial health examination, vaccines, spay/neuter surgery, temperament evaluation, microchip with registration, and a starter pack of food. For more information, visit the Santa Barbara Humane Society, 5399 Overpass Rd., call 964-4777, or go to sbhumanesociety.org. Shelter hours are Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
offers free spay/neuter to pit bulls and mixes
Year-round, DAWG provides free spay/neuter, free vaccinations, and free Home Again microchips to pit bulls and pit bull mixes. DAWG (Dog Adoption and Welfare Group) is a no-kill nonprofit dog rescue/adoption organization located at 5480 Overpass Rd., Goleta. The public is invited to stop by and look around every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. DAWG relies on volunteers to take care of all the dogs, so if you love dogs, think about volunteering. Students are able to fulfill their volunteer community service requirement by volunteering. Volunteer orientations are generally held every other Saturday at 10 a.m. Contact DAWG for the next meeting. For more information, call 681-0561; view adoptable dogs at sbdawg.com.
• Senate approves H.R.5566, banning the sale of Crush Videos. Tuesday night, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation (H.R. 5566, as amended) to ban the sale of cruel animal “crush” videos. These sick films feature women in high-heeled shoes impaling, crushing, stomping, or smothering small animals for the titillation of viewers. The legislation now goes back to the House, which approved it overwhelmingly in July by a vote of 416-3, to act on the Senate-passed version.
Please make a brief, polite call to Representative Lois Capps (202) 225-3601. You can say: “Please vote YES on H.R. 5566 to end cruel crush videos, and do all you can to get this bill enacted quickly.”
For more information on Crush Videos, here’s a previous Pet Chat column: http://independent.com/news/2010/jul/30/crush-videos/
• Santa Barbara spay/neuter ordinance. Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council Ordinance Committee approved a spay/neuter ordinance very similar to the ordinance passed by the County a year ago. We desperately need this law for Santa Barbara—44 percent of the dogs and cats that come to the Goleta shelter are from Santa Barbara.
The last step comes next Tuesday, October 5, at 2 p.m. at City Hall—that’s when the full City Council will decide whether to pass this law.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Attend the meeting next Tuesday, 2 p.m., 2nd floor City Hall, Council Meeting Room. Bodies in the room speak louder than words—let your presence persuade the Council that there is strong public support for this law!
2. Write to the Council and ask them to vote in support of the proposed spay/neuter ordinance. Click on the links below to open new email windows to email each of the council members. Then tell them to please vote in support of the proposed ordinance.
Some reasons you can give:
• The required veterinary certificate is tied to existing state law requiring that dog owners get rabies vaccinations and licenses for dogs, so it doesn’t impose an additional burden on dog owners, since they have to go to a vet to get the rabies shot anyway. The city’s ordinance is tied to the rabies vaccination schedule, so owners of unaltered pets would only have to get the certificate every three years if they buy a three year license.
• No pet owner is required to spay or neuter, only to consult with a veterinarian and make an informed choice.
• Only unaltered cats are required to have a vet certificate and license, so responsible owners of altered cats won’t be affected.
• The city needs to do its part to reduce pet overpopulation, since nearly half the animals at the Goleta shelter come from the city.
• Low cost and free spay/neuter services are available, so no pet owner will be financially burdened if they choose to spay/neuter rather than deal with the vet certificate.
• The county has already developed extensive materials and resources for its ordinance, so the city will not need to do so.
• This ordinance will give us an important tool in educating and motivating pet owners to do the right thing.
Who to email:
• Mayor Helene Schneider, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Councilmember Das Williams, email@example.com
• Councilmember Grant House, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Councilmember Harwood “Bendy” White, email@example.com
• Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Councilmember Michael Self, email@example.com
• Councilmember Dale Francisco, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adoptable Pets of the Week
Harriet and Finnegan are a pair of lovely lops that are truly devoted to each other. Harriet is brown and white and Finnigan, the male, is gray and white. These two were turned into the shelter when their owners had to move out of state.
Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (B.U.N.S.) is a volunteer organization that cares for abandoned rabbits. B.U.N.S is located at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd., B.U.N.S. works to find bunnies permanent homes, and educates the public on caring for a companion rabbit. You can call the County Shelter at 681-5285 or call BUNS at 683-0521 and leave a message and someone will call you back. For more information, visit bunssb.org