You don’t have to be their forever to make a difference right now.

Kala and Kiera

Kala and Kiera

For those of you that watch social media you may have seen this story, but for the rest of you I thought I was worth repeating. This week a call came out from a high kill shelter along with a photo of two dogs that were within hours of their appointed time with certain euthanasia. The photo shows the two dogs, Kala and Kiera, in their cage with their paws wrapped around each other as if they’re holding onto each other for dear life. They know and understand their very lives depend on the kindness of strangers to save them from certain death. Fortunately this photo was posted on the website of Angels Among Us, an Atlanta, Georgia rescue. They have a huge amount of support and the photo was quickly shared, catching the eye of a veterinarian that agreed to foster them until a permanent home could be found that will take them both, together. It’s obvious from the photo these animals love each other and need to be adopted as a pair, so it’s a blessing they’re being fostered together. And that’s the point of this post. You don’t have to be their forever, you only need to be their right now to make a difference. There are so many animals out there that need a foster home for a short while until a forever family can be found. There are times when a right now home turns into a forever love story, but it’s whatever fits your needs. If you think you have the time, the energy and the space to love an animal or two until their forever family can be found, call your local shelter and offer your services. You’re desperately needed. You’ll save animals just like these that were within hours of losing their lives until a kind soul stepped up and made a difference. You can be that person. Do it today.

And never forget, it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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When you need a friend, your dog has your back. Even science says it’s so.

Just when you thought there couldn’t be another reason to love your animals more than you already do, I have another reason to add to the list. A study done at the Kyoto University in Japan found that our beloveds will dislike people that are unkind to us. So when you need a friend, it just proves that it doesn’t get any better than your four-legged beloved. Here for your reading pleasure is the story as told by Japantimes.com:

Dogs don’t like people who are mean to their owners, researchers said Friday, and will refuse food offered by people who have snubbed their master.
The findings reveal that canines have the capacity to cooperate socially — a characteristic found in a relatively small number of species, including humans and some other primates.
Researchers led by Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University, tested three groups of 18 dogs using role plays in which their owners needed to open a box.
In all three groups, the owner was accompanied by two people whom the dog did not know.
In the first group, the owner sought assistance from one of the other people, who actively refused to help.
In the second group, the owner asked for, and received, help from one person. In both groups, the third person was neutral and not involved in either helping or refusing to help.
Neither person interacted with the dog’s owner in the control group.
After watching the box-opening scene, the dog was offered food by the two unfamiliar people in the room.
Dogs that saw their owner being rebuffed were far more likely to choose food from the neutral observer, and to ignore the offer from the person who had refused to help, Fujita said.
Dogs whose owners were helped and dogs whose owners did not interact with either person showed no marked preference for accepting snacks from the strangers.
“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” Fujita said.
If the dogs were acting solely out of self-interest, there would be no differences among the groups, and a roughly equal number of animals would have accepted food from each person.
“This ability is one of key factors in building a highly collaborative society, and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans,” he said.
The trait is present in children from the age of about 3, the research papers said.
Interestingly, noted Fujita, not all primates demonstrate this behavior.
“There is a similar study that showed tufted capuchins (a monkey native to South America) have this ability, but there is no evidence that chimpanzees demonstrate a preference unless there is a direct benefit to them,” he said.
The study will appear in the science journal Animal Behavior to be published later this month by Amsterdam-based Elsevier, he said.

As a long time observer of doggy behavior, this is one I’ve known but it’s good to have science prove my thoughts for all the nay-sayers that continue to think it’s only a dog. So when you really need a friend and you feel like you’re all alone, you can find one that one true being that will feed your soul at your local shelter. And never forget it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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There’s no easy way to say goodbye.

Recently a big budget Hollywood film came out about a Military Working Dog but I read a story about an independent film animal lovers would be better served searching out. I found this article by Today.com writer Chris Serico on the film Denali, and you need to know about it. Watch it with your kids. Make it a family affair. It’s worth your time. It’s about the love, after all. From Today.com:
Knowing that his dog’s last days were upon him, Oregon photographer Ben Moon took his dog Denali to the beach to film a tribute to the canine companion that helped him rally to beat cancer.
Oregon photographer Ben Moon’s short film, “Denali,” is a tribute to the dog that helped him rally to beat cancer.
The resulting short film, “Denali,” won Best of Festival and People’s Choice awards at Colorado’s 5Point Film Festival in April, and took the Internet by storm this week. While Moon misses his friend, he’s happy with how the film, told from the dog’s perspective, captures the depth of that friendship.
“It could have gone cheesy or too sappy or too sad, so quickly,” Moon, a 40-year-old adventure photographer, told TODAY.com. “But [director Ben Knight] just nailed it.”
Ben Moon lives in Oregon and works as an adventure photographer.
Believed to be a mix of pit bull and husky, Denali was just 2 months old when the two met at an animal shelter in November 1999. “As soon as I passed him, he put his paw out, cocked his head and kind of looked at me,” Moon said. “He tore a lap around the room, and then laid on my feet, and rolled up on his back, and looked at me. It felt like he chose me.”
Ben Moon met Denali at an animal shelter in November 1999.
The two were inseparable for nearly 15 years. Their bond was strengthened in June 2004, when doctors diagnosed Moon with colorectal cancer. Despite physical weakness and toxins and emotional lows he endured in the year that followed, Moon was buoyed by Denali’s loyalty and affection, thanks to nurses that allowed the dog to be by his side during the recovery process.
“When he was in the hospital bed with me, he’d just sort of step up there so gently, it was kind of mind-blowing,” Moon said. “He made sure he wasn’t touching anything that was in pain and not invade my space.”
“I was always convinced you were more human than dog, and all of the countless lives you touched felt the same,” wrote photographer Ben Moon in a eulogy to his dog, Denali.
In April 2005, a week before Moon’s 30th birthday, Moon received his last treatment, and remains cancer-free. “It’s a process, and it changes you for good,” he said. “I don’t regret going through that, honestly. I feel like I see things different as a photographer and a person.”
Able-bodied once again, he celebrated by traveling with his four-legged friend. Many of those moments were captured on Moon’s Instagram account.
In more recent years, however, Denali would be the one struggling to stay healthy. After four cancerous lumps were removed from his back and leg, he suffered respiratory and kidney problems, Moon said.
Toward the end of Denali’s life, when Moon was approached to do a film, the photographer and his colleagues realized it should be a tribute to his loyal buddy. Moon said he asked Denali to stay healthy and happy for one more month to pull off the cinematic tribute. “That’s when I promised him, ‘Just let me know when it’s your time to go, man; I’m not going to let you suffer,'” Moon recalled. “It felt like this grand reciprocation, because he had been with me while I had gone through cancer.”
Exactly one month later, at midnight on Jan. 31, 2014, Denali developed a bad cough. While playing on the beach the next day, Moon said, he recognized “the look” in Denali’s eyes, and knew it was time to say goodbye to his friend.
A day after Denali passed away on Feb. 2, 2014, Moon posted a eulogy on Instagram.
“Thank you Denali for giving me the courage to hit the road with a camera, a van, and no plan back in 2001, for never taking your eye off me through a year of cancer treatments, surgeries and countless other challenges,” he wrote. “Thank you for your uncanny ability to walk into a frame at precisely the right moment to elevate an image, for teaching me patience and the joy in the simple quiet moments as I watched you grow older, and most of all, giving selflessly the unconditional love that only a true friend can give. It’s impossible to put into words all that you were and will always be to me—I was always convinced you were more human than dog, and all of the countless lives you touched felt the same.”
He concluded, “Thank you for your unwavering belief in me, happy trails my friend!”
While coping with the loss of his friend, Moon spent part of his time supervising the short film’s post-production, which chronicles everything from the moment the two met to the final hours of the dog’s life. Half of the funding for the film came from the clothing and outdoor-gear company Patagonia, while Moon’s other sponsors — First Descent, RuffWear, Clif Bar and Snow Peak — foot the rest of the bill.
Looking back, Moon says he’s thankful for the way Denali helped him through a brutal cancer battle, failed relationships, and the rigors of becoming a full-fledged adult.
“Thank you for your unwavering belief in me,” Moon wrote in his eulogy to his dog, Denali.
“He was athletic. He was so caring. He was hilarious. He wanted to be by your side, and also do his own thing,” Moon added. “I realized he was a reflection of myself.”

For all of you that would like to view this remarkable piece of love, watch it here:

Denali – There’s no easy way to say goodbye

And never forget, you can find this love in your life too by visiting Randolph County Humane Society where it’s only through you they continue to save lives, one by one.

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That’s not stink, that’s love.

It’s that time of year when the garden is producing, even after all of the rain we’ve been experiencing, so canning is a big part of our summer activities. With all things our animals are an integral part of every activity. Part of canning is done inside on the stove, with the pressure canner, and part is done outside with hot water bath canner using the turkey fryer. But before we get to that point, the produce has to be gathered, cleaned and prepared. Long time readers will remember stories of my special needs dog, Jack. He was always with us, and loved to lay in the kitchen, right in the middle of where we needed to walk to get our tasks accomplished. Moose has taken over Jack’s spot. There is something about having a 100 lb white dog underfoot in the kitchen that is the norm in our house and we simply can’t function without it. That doesn’t make the job easy but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Moose has become the ultimate farm dog and goes with daddy to bring in the harvest, never straying far. The other bubs had to stay in the dogs yard because they liked to wander and couldn’t be trusted not to visit the neighbors when we weren’t paying attention but Moose is satisfied to be right here so he is allowed to just be. Sometimes that means when we aren’t looking his being is rolling in something dead and stinky that’s outside of our normal view (this is farm country, after all) and our first indication is when his bright white fur is streaked with an off color or an offending smell is noticed as he walks by. Yesterday it was a conversation we had as we sat on the deck, peeling beets, and I noticed Moose had yellow streaks running through the fur across his face and down his shoulders. Since he’d been helping daddy I thought perhaps daddy would have an idea what would be yellow that would stain his face like that, but no he didn’t have a clue. He had a suggestion for me, though. Lean over and take a sniff. Now just how stupid do you think I am? This ain’t my first rodeo and I’m well versed on stinks outside the catbox, and I’m not bending over to check out a stink just to ascertain what it may or may not be. He’ll just have to rub it off on the clean bedspread like the rest of the animals so we can enjoy it until I go “what the” and remember the day, wash the bedding, and remember it’s about the love, not the stink. If stinks bothered me there’s an entire side of life I’d miss out on, beginning with my children and being married, but that’s another post. Later in the day Moose brushed up against the cooled water bath canner that had soot on its side from using the turkey fryer flame outside, so he now has a black hip on his white fur which even with the most deliberate scrubbing refuses to come clean. I’ve noticed even without my attention the yellow that was so apparent on his head and shoulders yesterday is no where to be seen today so I understand it’s rubbed somewhere inside the house, maybe on the bedding, maybe on the sheets I use to cover the furniture, but who knows. When I smell it, maybe I’ll remember beet canning day, maybe not. The one thing I’ll know is it won’t matter because in our house, it’s about the love. It’s always about the love. We don’t have nice furniture or nice carpet because because we have 6 cats and 2 dogs that keep it real. And when they’re not doing their thing I look over and find my grandson is sitting on the couch in the same boots he just wore checking out the piggies in the pigpen, so it’s good I was trained in the art of joy in the moment by my beloved animals. Someone that cares about things like carpet and furniture would probably get upset, I just laughed. It’s just another day in paradise, and I’m grateful to be here, stink and all.

And never forget, it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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Save Your Pets from Peril on the 4th of July

The 4th of July will soon be upon us, a day anyone with anxiety-driven dogs looks upon with dread. I was pleased to find this timely article on Pedigree.com that speaks to how to deal with our overwrought beloveds. This day can be a travesty waiting to happen, but with proper planning and work you can get through it unscathed. But be aware, this is the one day of the year when more pets go missing than any other day simply because the noise is so distressing so take nothing for granted. Be aware, and be safe. From Pedigree.com:

Ahh, the good old 4th of July—backyard barbeques, family time, and an excuse for a day outdoors with the dog you love. But when darkness sets in, and neighbors start launching their star-spangled display of lights around the block, your dog will likely want to run for the hills! Much like thunderstorms, the loud, vibrating noise of fireworks is both unfamiliar and frightening to our dogs. But look on the bright side—there are ways you can help keep their fears at bay.

The key is to gradually get your dog accustomed to the sound he associates with a negative experience. The easiest way to introduce him to the idea is to play videos of fireworks—with good sound quality—on repeat until he slowly begins to welcome the experience. Simply go on YouTube and do a video search for fireworks. Start off using a lower volume, and give him a treat, so he can begin associating fireworks with positivity. If he starts to panic at any point, turn the volume down and take a break. Depending on his comfort level, turn the volume up when needed.

Something else to remember is dogs smell fear. Make sure you react positively to any fireworks display when in your dog’s presence. Act as if you would any other day and try not to baby him because this may actually reinforce his fear. Instead, try drowning out the noise with a loud fan, background music, or your favorite T.V. show.

You may also want to consider the latest anti-anxiety inventions—the Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap. Both products use pressure to “hug” your dog and calm him, reducing anxiety from loud noises, separation, travel, crate training, hyperactivity, and more.

Some of your dogs may react more seriously to a fireworks display than others. If your dog suffers from a serious phobia of fireworks, your vet will be the best source for guidance and answers. He or she may want to prescribe your dog medication or suggest sessions with a trainer or behaviorist.

Your dog may never fully welcome the sound of fireworks, but the good news is there is such a thing as making progress. With a little patience, anything is possible!

To make your own body wrap, follow these instructions from Ehow.com:
Place the middle of an elastic bandage (wide for larger dogs, narrow for small dogs, medium-wide for mid-sized dogs) across the dog’s chest. Bring both ends up and cross them over the shoulders. The wrap will touch and connect the front, back, right, left, top, and bottom parts of the dog’s body. Cross the bandage over the top of the shoulder blades. Cross the loose ends of the bandage under the abdomen. Tie the loose ends over the top of the lower back. Or wrap the middle of the bandage around the front of the chest. Then cross over the back and then under the belly and back up around the chest and secure. As the wrap presses down on the dog’s fur, re-tie the wrap to make sure it fits snugly. The wrap should remain snug, but not tight, so check it periodically to be sure it doesn’t obstruct movement or circulation. When finished, the figure-8 wrap will surround the dog with uniform calming pressure. The wrap may only be needed for a short time or it can be left on as long as necessary to relieve fear, tension, or anxiety.

Using a Shirt as an Anxiety Wrap
Alternatively, a very snug shirt or a spandex tank top will work well as a pressure wrap. Put the t-shirt or tank top backwards on the dog, with the tail poking through the neck opening. Snugly tie the ‘shirt tails’ across the dog’s chest. Some people sew parts of ace bandages onto the shirt so that the bandages can be wrapped around appropriate parts of the dog. This will allow you to focus pressure at points that seem most soothing for a particular dog.

Special Instructions:
Start by putting the wrap on your dog when she is in a relaxed state, so your dog associates the wrap with relaxation. Eventually, or in some cases immediately, the physical sensation of wearing the wrap will provide the dog with a feeling of safety and comfort and will distract the dog from focusing on her fears. A pressure wrap often successfully calms a dog the first time you use it, however some animals require more experiences wearing the wrap before symptoms are reduced or eliminated.

NEVER leave a dog unsupervised while it is wearing clothing in which it may become entangled.

And never forget, it’s only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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