Shelter Support Program Success

The numbers are in! UHA is proud to present the numbers that back up the hard work our volunteers have been doing at the shelter for Glamour Shoot Day, and in networking the dogs and other pets that need homes.

The Glamour Shoot Days at both the Baldwin Park Shelter and the Downey Shelter have produced adoption rates in excess of 96% for the animals we photographed. We have also trained volunteers with the Carson and North Central Shelters in the Los Angeles County Shelter system to do their own Glamour Shoot Days to help with adoption.

Baldwin Park Shelter

Pets Networked: 1,810
Pets Adopted/Rescued: 1,744
Pets Euthanized: 66
Adoption Rate: 96.3%

Shelter Support Program Video

To learn more about our Shelter Support Program, you can watch this video that was recently made about us through one of our dedicated volunteers, Marissa de la Torre. Thanks, Marissa!

Why Spay/Neuter your pet?

Unbelievably, just one unaltered female dog, her mate, and their litters can produce over 67,000 puppies in a scant six years!  While in the U.S., more than four million unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized annually, taxpayers rest assured that, in spite of this grim statistic, most of these animals die humanely and without undue suffering in the pounds and shelters across the country.

Last year, over 15 million cats and dogs were killed in animal shelters and pounds in the United States, and this figure does not include the many pets who were thrown out of cars, left by the side of the road, or dropped in woods and fields. Yet we can’t kill the myths that are perpetuating their destruction.

Then why don’t more people spay or neuter their pets? There are a number of myths that people believe which hinder their decisionmaking.

Which of these myths do you still believe?

MYTH: It’s better to allow your female to have one litter before she is spayed.
FACT: Not true! There is no information to substantiate this claim. In fact, the best time to spay your female dog or cat is before her first heat.

Here are the details:

  • Spaying your female at a young age prevents uterine infections, such as pyometra, which can be fatal. Infections of the uterus are a major cause of illness in unspayed pets.
  • Spaying reduces the incidence of mammary (breast) cancer. This is a very common cancer in unspayed females, and the most common cancer to spread to the lungs.
  • Spaying can be done while your pet is pregnant. While this means aborting the offspring, it is more humane than taking them to the pound later. Also, for every litter you bring into the world, a litter at the pound dies.
  • Spaying eliminates unwanted males from harassing your pet.
MYTH: Preventing pets form having litters is unnatural.
FACT: We have already interfered with nature by domesticating dogs and cats. We domesticated the dog 15,000 years ago and the cat 8,000 years ago.

In doing so, we helped create this problem. Now it’s our responsibility to solve it. It’s also unnatural to be killing so many of them in our pounds and shelters each year.

MYTH: I want my children to see the miracle of birth.
FACT: Frequently animals go off by themselves to give birth, usually in the middle of the night.

Teach your children instead about humaneness and kindness to all living creatures by educating them about the importance of spaying and neutering.

MYTH: I’ll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.
FACT: You may find homes for all of your pet’s litter. But each home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters who need good homes.

Also, in less than one year’s time, each of your pet’s offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.

MYTH: Pets become fat and lazy after being spayed or neutered.
FACT: Fat animals are usually over fed and under exercised.

It’s true there can be a tendency for a pet to put on some weight after the operation. But what is not true is that the operation causes the condition. If your pet shows signs of putting on a little weight, reduce the calories and increase the walks or play sessions. That will keep the waistline trim.

MYTH: A pet’s behavior changes dramatically after surgery.
FACT: The only changes in behavior you’ll see are positive ones! Here are the facts:
  • Male cats tend to reduce their territorial spraying depending upon the age at which they are neutered. If neutered young enough, before they develop the habit of spraying, they may never develop the behavior.
  • Neutered male cats and dogs fight less resulting in fewer battle scars, contagious diseases, and abscesses. They also wander less since they aren’t interested in pursuing the female in heat. Therefore, their chances of being hit by a car or getting lost are greatly reduced.
  • In fact, spayed and neutered animals live longer, happier, healthier lives.
MYTH: We don’t need to neuter males, because they aren’t the ones having the litters.
FACT: This is most prevalent myth yet the most ridiculous. Immaculate conception doesn’t explain canine and feline pregnancies.

It takes two to tango. Help to become a part of the solution to bring an end to the pet over population problem spay/neuter your pets.

MYTH: Neutering male cats causes urethral obstructions.
FACT: Exhaustive studies have indicated that obstructions are not affected by whether or not a cat is neutered.

In fact, neutering diminishes the likelihood of prostate and testicular cancers and perineal hernias later in life. To prevent urethral obstructions, make sure your pet is eating the best diet possible.

MYTH: I can find “good” homes for all the puppies or kittens that female birth to.
FACT: Finding truly good, lasting homes for kittens and puppies is very difficult.

Many pets are taken to the pound or otherwise discarded once they start to grow. And, who is to ensure that your pet’s offspring won’t mature, breed, and contribute to the existing problem?

There is no way you can guarantee these animals will be spayed or neutered. Also, for every animal you bring into the world, one at the pound will die. Do yourself a favor and avoid the agonizing job of trying to find homes for your pet’s litter. If you know of some good homes, send your friends to the pound. There are many animals waiting there. And their time is running out.

MYTH: My dog won’t be a good watchdog if I neuter him.
FACT: If he was a good watchdog before the surgery, he will be a good watchdog after the surgery.
MYTH: The operation costs too much money.
FACT: There is A LOT of financial help available. Call us (909-801-0012) or your local humane agency about the cost- effective ways you can get your pets spayed and neutered. You’ll be surprised how inexpensive it can be!

If your pet isn’t spayed or neutered, make an appointment today for surgery. The more altered animals there are, the fewer homeless ones there will be.

If you would like to find low-cost spay/neuter services, we hope you will find the following information helpful.

  • SPAY/USA, a program of The Pet Savers Foundation, is a nationwide network and referral service for affordable spay/neuter services.Call 1-800-248-SPAY (7729) or go to www.spayusa.org for more information. Hours are Monday-Friday from 9 am- 4:30 pm (Eastern time).
  • For families in the Los Angeles area with income of under $40,000/yr, the San Simeon Foundation offers FREE spay/neuter services for free out of their mobile van. For more information, please call (888) 364-7729 or visit the San Simeon Foundation website.
  • Actors and Others for Animals provides FREE spay/neuter for pit bulls and pitbull mixes, as well as Rottweiler and Rottweiler mixes. Participants must meet certain qualifications. For more information, please call (818) 755-6045 or (818) 755-6323.
  • The L.A. Spaymobile state-of-the-art mobile clinic provides free spay and neuter surgery for dogs and cats living with income-qualified families in the City of Los Angeles. If you receive a Department of Water and Power bill, then you live within the city limits. For information on qualifications, as well as a schedule of clinic locations, visit L.A. Animal Services website at www.laanimalservices.com or call (800) 772-9452 to make an appointment.
  • Try a zipcode search on the ASPCA website to find providers in your area.

Daisy’s Dream Comes True

Working in animal rescue can be extremely difficult. Hearing about beautiful creatures being euthanized at shelters, day in, day out, frequently gets overwhelming. Sometimes, the animal’s health is fading fast and it seems like the only humane solution, but far more often than not it’s a pet with many more years left in it, just the victim of overcrowding and overpopulation.

So when we’re able to intervene to save even one life, it helps ease the pain. Take the story of Daisy, for instance.

One day, Menna, one of our volunteers, was at Southern California Animal Hospital and noticed a strange energy in the office surrounding a woman and her Jack Russell Terrier, Daisy. It turned out that the woman’s husband was ill and they were remodeling their yard and, because she felt she could not longer take care of the dog, she’d taken her in to be euthanized. Apparently, she just wasn’t aware that there were other options for Daisy.

Not surprisingly, the staff didn’t want to put down a perfectly healthy, seemingly well-socialized pet, but they needed an alternative. Menna was able to intervene and boarded the dog for a few days while UHA looked for a foster or adopter for Daisy.

Around this time, one of our beloved rescue dogs, Lancelot, passed away and another of our volunteers, Amanda, decided to foster Daisy in his memory. Although she hadn’t felt quite ready, when she saw Menna’s plea along with the photo of Daisy, she knew she couldn’t resist.

Daisy-fenceAmanda explains, “Thankfully, I was able to step in straight away so that Daisy wouldn’t have to enter into the shelter system and be exposed to cold, stress and communicable diseases. I took photos of her at once and within two weeks we had two interested adopters.

The man who adopted her, Tom, fell madly in love with her. Even though initially his home situation wasn’t ideal (Daisy was a “bolter” and he didn’t have a front yard), he was willing to do whatever modifications were needed to make his home suitable for Daisy.

He ended up getting two doggie gates so that Daisy wouldn’t be able to shoot out the door into the street when they opened the door.

Daisy is Tom’s princess. He takes her everywhere he goes, and I think she’s probably got a rhinestone collar and matching leash!”

Indeed, it has been a fairy-tale ending for Daisy. As Tom puts it, “Daisy is a wonderful member of our family. We can we can hardly recall a time when she wasn’t a part of our daily lives. She goes everywhere with us. Whether it is uptown to get doggie snacks, off to have lunch or even a cross-country drive to visit friends and family, she is joyfully always there with her little tail wagging.

Her curiosity is unquenchable as is her lack of fear. She is so eager to see new things and meet as many dogs as she can. We have a wonderful vet whom she adores visiting! It’s so cute to watch her get excited about going into the office there when we go in there.

You can often find us at the Sierra Madre dog park in the mornings or venturing out and about through our neighborhood. She loves going for truck rides, so we’ll often take a little trip to new places for her to explore.

She is so happy.

Thank you again to you and your folks at United Hope for Animals for having the compassion and care to save her from destruction and bringing such joy and happiness to our lives.”

Amanda sums up, “Dog rescue is often heartbreaking when you see what some of these kind, innocent souls have been through, being neglected and mistreated, but when you are able to save a life, and give a dog that has plenty of years left a new happy home, it makes it all worthwhile. It really is a matter of just getting their sweet little faces out there in front of the public, and finding people who are willing to spend some of their free time helping these dogs get photographed and listed online to make a difference. Sometimes all you need to do is get a great photo and tell people a little about its personality and the before you know it the perfect person will come along.”

Check out these photos of Daisy in her new home – we think you’ll agree she’s content!

Daisy-grass

How to find your pet a new home

UHA receives many inquiries from anxious dog owners who have realized they won’t be able to take care of their pet for much longer but who don’t know how to go about finding a new home for it.

The number of calls and emails hits a peak in summer, when shelters are already rammed. Terrified dogs escape from their yards during the Fourth of July fireworks, people drop off their dogs when they go on vacation – either not knowing or not caring that their safety isn’t guaranteed – others move and make no provisions for their animals… the list is endless.

If you find yourself in the difficult position of having to look for a new home for your dog, the important thing is to be proactive. We’ve put together a plan of action you can follow.

I am attentive!

1. Above all, be aware that leaving your dog at a shelter should be a last resort, not a first port of call. Not everyone knows this, partly because the word ‘shelter’ implies a refuge, a place of safety, where an animal will be secure for as long as necessary, until a new owner comes forward.

Some people even think shelters can house a limitless number of animals and that they actually make money from taking them in and adopting them out. This couldn’t be further from the truth: most shelters are severely underfunded, adoption rates vary wildly from shelter to shelter and even most of the so-called no-kill shelters are full and have to turn away animals.

2. Start early. You can give your dog a much better chance if you begin looking for a new home as soon as possible. You might not want to give up your pet, but allowing yourself enough time to take the necessary action can make a huge difference in keeping your dog out of the shelter.

I love cuddles!

3. Ask a rescue group for a “courtesy listing” on their website and/or Facebook page. Even if a rescue is full and can’t take your dog it may well agree do this, by posting an ad on Petfinder or Adopt-A-Pet that includes a description and photos and/or video, as well as your contact details. In return, consider making a donation to the rescue group as a thank you.

4. Make some good-quality marketing materials. Do not underestimate the importance of this. Whether you’re creating a flier, soliciting the help of a rescue group, or posting an ad on Craigslist, the quality of the description – and, in particular, the photos – makes a huge difference. Videos, which can be taken with most mobile phones, are also really helpful and can be published for free on YouTube, Facebook and the like. 

For the description, people will want to know:

•    Profile: what’s the dog’s breed, sex, age, weight, general personality and temperament?
•    Is it good/not good with: dogs, cats, kids?
•    Is it housetrained? Leash trained?
•    Medical information: Does it have any health issues? Is it up-to-date on vaccinations? Altered? Microchipped?

Include information on the dog’s personality – does the dog have any endearing habits? What kind of home would he/she do well in? You know your dog best, so the more intimate the description, the better. While people will want to know why you are rehoming your pet, the majority of the description should focus on the dog. Keep it positive.

In addition, when compiling a description, it helps to visualize the perfect adopter for your pet, and to write the description to appeal to that person.

For photos, people will want to see:

•    Multiple images – a good face shot and shots that show the body/size of the dog.
•    A happy, relaxed expression and body language.
•    An outside setting, with natural light, preferably on green grass.
•    For small dogs – show them in someone’s arms to help give an idea of their size.
•    Photos that show all of the elements the dog works well with – especially children and other dogs.
•    Avoid: dark photos, the dog tied up (get someone to hold the leash – it looks friendlier anyway), the dog looking down (it distorts its face/expression).

For videos, people will want to see:

•    How the dog interacts with people, other dogs, etc.
•    How the dog walks on a leash.

Take as many of these steps as you can and your dog will stand a much better chance of finding a great new home.

I am great with kids!