Just the facts, the unbelievably sad, and hopeful, facts.

It’s the beginning of the year, so it’s time to have a heart to heart about the reality of cats and dogs in the US and I’m doing this so you understand your responsibility. I know if you’re reading Tail Talk you have the love so there’s a better than not chance your animals are spayed and neutered, but I know you know people that have pets that are not, so here is the ammunition you need to educate them. It ain’t pretty but it is the reality of life, and while we’re making headway with dogs the truth about cats is still sad, sad, sad. This information is taken from the ASPCA.com website, where it has been gathered from sources in the know. Here it is, read it and rejoice in the good news and be the one to make the difference where the news is less than stellar.

Facts about U.S. Animal Shelters:

  • There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters. The terms “humane society” and “SPCA” are generic; shelters using those names are not part of the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States. Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. These are national estimates; the figures may vary from state to state.
  • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).
  • Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats).
  • About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.
  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.
  • Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.
  • About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.

Facts about Pet Ownership in the U.S.:

  • It’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. (Source: APPA)
  • According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth.
  • The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
  • More than 35% of cats are acquired as strays. (Source: APPA)
  • According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each). The most common reasons for cats are that they were not allowed in the residence (21%) and allergies (11%).

Facts about Pet Overpopulation in the U.S.:

  • It is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  • The average number of litters a fertile cat produces is one to two a year; the average number of kittens is four to six per litter.
  • The average number of litters a fertile dog produces is one a year; the average number of puppies is four to six.
  • Owned cats and dogs generally live longer, healthier lives than strays.
  • Many strays are lost pets who were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  • Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered, while 83% of pet dogs and 91% of pet cats are spayed or neutered.
  • The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year.

I believe that last line is the most significant of all. The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for one year. So do it. There’s too much killing of innocents in this world, and they’re four-legged and furry, could be the love of your life and the saving grace that makes a difference between a life well lived for someone in your household today. And never forget, it is only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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It’s about the love.

Once again I am proud to present a true story that is not my own, but so special I had to share it. I don’t know the particulars of it because that wasn’t shared with the story, only the story. But it’s about animals, and the love. When it was sent to me it was shared because it “had my name all over it.” I guess that is because I say all the time you can’t have too much love in your life. This is a shining example of just what I’m talking about. Enjoy.

Because of Love!! “this is a true story”
A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre- Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up and it had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farmhouse. Through the years the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, and called them away to a different life.
The old folks no longer showed the horses, for the years had taken their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day’s end.
Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks “Why do you not at least dispose of The Old One.” She is no longer of use to you. It’s been years since you’ve had foals from her. You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves. How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and work? Why do you keep her anyway?”
The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed at the barn floor and replied, ” Yes, I could use a pair of new boots.”
His arm slid defensively about the Old One’s neck as he drew her near. With gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied quietly, “We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love.”
Baffled and impatient, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley.
The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks. How is it that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that filled their hearts?
So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed the smell of the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the “Old One”.
In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire’s fury. His wife back from calling for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at their loss.
By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief, huddled together in front of the barn. They were speechless and stunned as they rose from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulder as his shaking old hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, “We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.
And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old, withered hand.
The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they paused to rest, looking up to the top of the hill, the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.
Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top- most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.
Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward. There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows glistening in the night light.
Bedded down around the “Old One” close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.
At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the “Old One” as she moved calmly up the hill to safety beneath the pine. And now she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife.
Those she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years, tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift —LOVE. Because of love. Only Because of love.
Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy… And again the peace of love filled their hearts.
This is a true story.
Willy Eagle.

Never forget, it is only through you the Randolph County Humane Society continues to save lives, one by one.

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A New Year’s Eve Rescue: a true, must-read story if you’re an animal lover.

The New Year’s Eve Rescue, a true story.
This post is a true story, written by Becky Loyd, the Rescue Coordinator for Rainbow Farms, an amazing place for special needs furry “kids.” It is poignantly written and every Christmas season I share this story as these as a reminder of what your animal rescuers at RCHS and across the country do, but they can’t do it without your support. As you read of the New Year’s Eve Rescue, we pray you will find it in your heart to remember the Randolph County Humane Society this Christmas season, and help us continue our mission of saving lives, one by one.
New Year’s Eve Rescue
I went out last night, just after midnight, to make sure all the heat lamps were working in the goat, chicken and turkey houses. The temperature was supposed to go to zero or below. All the dogs had long gone to bed and the night was silent. Stepping on the porch I was greeted with the sight of a crystal clear sky and multitudes of stars.
Turning on the flashlight (we refuse to have one of those blasted dusk to dawn monstrosities that keep the stars from shining) I made my way to the barn. Earlier in the evening I had taken some straw to freshen the farm animal’s bedding, and had dropped a flake outside the gate that I failed to retrieve.
Walking down the drive, I saw a set of bloody paw prints pressed into the snow, that came out of the woods and ended at the pile of straw by the gate. Curled on the pile of straw was a dog. Medium sized. Could have been any kind of dog. It was hard to tell in the darkness. The only thing for sure was that it was a dark color.
I put my hand on the back and felt cold ribs. I took my gloves off and felt behind the front leg. A heart beat.Then I heard a faint thump. The end of the tail was going up and down making a slight impression in the snow, but the head didn’t move. I saw the deep brown eyes that seemed to say, “please don’t run me off. I can’t take another step.” The feet were cracked and bleeding.
I checked to make sure the heat lamps were working and gently scooped up the frozen dog. No resistance, just the thump of the tail. Not much weight for the size of the bundle. I made my way to the front door. Coming inside I laid the dog down inside the door. It never moved. Checking to make sure everyone was still asleep, I began the search for a blanket. I was pretty sure we had used the last dog blanket for our latest rescue. Nothing in the closet, nothing in the dryer, nothing on the couch. I went to the bedroom and gently retrieved the one off the bed. Even it was old and beginning to fray around the edges, but it was the last one available.
I folded it and set it by the heat register closest to the furnace. Then I picked up the dog and laid it down on top.
After midnight, on New Year’s Eve, in a very rural area of Southwest Missouri? No way I could get a Vet to see this one tonight. We would have to try tomorrow. I went to the kitchen and took a container of chicken broth out of the fridge and popped in the microwave. I went back to the living room and set the bowl down next to the blanket, within easy reach of the cold nose. Another thump of the tail, was the only movement.
I reached down and put my hand under the chin, gently lifting the head. Now inside I could see that the dog was black, at least on the parts that had not turned grey. Almost the entire face showed the white signs of time past, and the pupils surrounded by those dark brown eyes were blue. The ears were that of a Lab and so was the tail which thumped every time I came near. The body was skin and bone. There were no front teeth. The canines were worn or broken down to nubs, and I was able to see three teeth in the back. I didn’t want to pry to see if the old dog was a male or female. It really didn’t matter anyway. I told the old dog I was going to go to bed and patted it’s head which was met by another thump of the tail.
On my way to the bedroom, I wondered how in the world the dog had gotten to our farm. It came through the woods which were large and uninhabited. I also wondered why here. The answer was simple. The hand of God had brought the old dog to the right place.
It’s morning now and I’ve been up for a few hours. The bowl of broth was empty and the blanket was much as I had left it. No bloody paw prints on the carpet, only on the old blanket. Sometime after I went to bed, the old dog lapped up the chicken broth and licked the bowl clean. The blanket had been fluffed a little and the old dog had curled into a tight ball with the nose tucked inside the tail.
When I bent down to say good morning, there was no thump of the tail. I knew then that the old dog had crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the night.
Kneeling there in front of the old dog, I thanked God for the one old blanket I had left and for the hand that gently guided the old dog to Rainbow Farms. It was then that I thought of the poem that Walt Zeintek had written for us: “Listen to the kindness, spoken softly, Often lost behind the tears. Place your hand upon my shoulder, Let it take away your fears.”
May the New Year bring you closer to the hand of God, and all the old blankets you may need.
Permission is given to repost anywhere – maybe it’ll catch a few who don’t appreciate the gift they have.
This is a powerful message for all of us that are safe and warm, with so much that we don’t know what to do with it all. There are still so many that have so little. Anything you do today will work miracles for the future. Maybe even some day we could wipe out the need for shelters to exist. It’s the Christmas season. I can dream, can’t I?

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Shelter animals can give parents the best present ever; well adjusted children.

The holidays aren’t happy for everyone. There are families that suffer due to a multitude of problems, but there is no greater problem for a family than when one is in crisis due to a troubled teenager. Traditionally a family with a troubled teen also has other issues going on at the same time, like work related stress because you can’t be all things to all people, so pretty soon you begin to feel like a failure in everything you do. When one area of your life begins to sink or feel less than whole, the rest of you life suffers also. I know because I’ve been there. I was a single mother that raised three boys. To say they were less than perfect would be an understatement. I remember the phone conversations I had with them, from my desk at work while they sat in the principal’s office at school, knowing full well my boss could overhear every word I tried to speak with parental authority while keeping my voice low enough to not be screaming across the tops of the cubicles. I remember the visits from the police, and the phone calls to come to the police station to pick up one of my wayward boys. We made it through those times, but to say I remember them with less than stellar thoughts would be putting it kindly. So when I heard there had been a study done and read the results of that study I wasn’t surprised, because I know first hand it was because of our beloved that we all walked through those fires and came out the other side in one piece of sound mind and sound body (especially them LOLOL). The breakthrough study in the field of Human Animal Interaction (HAI) has demonstrated these effects. The study was called K9 Connection. Researcher and clinical psychologist Jessica Thomas teamed up with K9 Connection to study the ways these intervention methods can improve the lives of at-risk youth. The study took place over one year (during the 2012-2013 school year) with all consenting youth at K9 Connection. The teens were observed before they began the program and again three weeks after completion. This study focused on the human-animal interaction and its outcome on the participant’s social, emotional, and empathic capacities. Juvenile offenders often lack the emotional tools necessary for healthy social functioning. Typically learned through healthy attachments in childhood, these skills can influence how children view themselves, perceive the world and relate to others. The study demonstrated that youth involved in the K9 Connection showed significantly more developed social and emotional abilities after completing the program, including:
1. Increased emotional intelligence — the ability to recognize and express emotions, understand and relate to others, and better cope with stress.
2. Decreased self-serving/anti-social behavior — such as blaming others, denying or minimizing one’s own responsibility in a situation, and always assuming the worst. For at-risk youth, these behaviors may have developed from poor attachment models (such as parents or caregivers).
3. Increased empathy — awareness, understanding, and an appreciation for the feelings of others.
Through the love of a shelter dog, these at-risk kids learn how to function in society. It’s a win-win. I can’t think of a better Christmas story than this. You can read all about the program at http://www.k9connection.org/. If anything is broken in your life this Christmas, think about bringing a shelter dog or cat into your life. You may find the miracle of love you need to transform from broken to healed.

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

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Rescue dog got your back and no pain is insurmountable.

Last year I experienced my darkest hours of despair. During those hours when my life was turned upside down, and shaken in every direction it was possible to be moved, my beloved special needs dog Jack died in my arms during a seizure. He had cluster seizures, lasting as long as 6 hours straight, and I knew his heart had to be weakened from the extreme stress placed on his body, and every time he suffered I prayed, please God, let this time be the last time. Then on that day as I prayed my prayers were answered, just not as I had hoped. His loss made my despair so much more intense and I went to a site on facebook called the Rainbow Bridge and poured out my soul and I was befriended by a kind person that lives far across the country, and through that friendship I have been welcomed into a group of friends that have enveloped me in so much love that I give thanks every day and live in gratitude for the understanding that Jack had to leave at that precise moment to put me in that place to be found by my now very good friend and kindred cat person, Tabby. Through Tabby’s introduction I have met my twin brother of another mother, Jim (he is 7 years my junior so that was one LONG labor), and this story is about him. Growing up as an only child I have always imagined what kind of person would be my sibling and he hits the mark on all cylinders so it was no surprise but expected to hear he has a rescue dog in his household that we’ll refer to as brown dog. Jim owns his own business and brought himself to success through hard work, book smarts (though he denies that fact vehemently) and street smarts, a kind heart and the ability to laugh at the world around him while laughing at himself first and foremost. He’s been planning on leaving his successful enterprise to his children who have worked in the family business since they were old enough to be entrusted with doing the job in a manner befitting the eye to quality their dad expects his customers to receive, a gift of himself he gives to everyone he meets. His plans of passing the baton to his oldest son and perhaps taking a little more time for himself, a gift for all those years of hard work and his well earned reward, were put on hold when his oldest told him the hat his dad had been preparing for him to wear all these years was not the hat he saw himself wearing into his old age and he had found a new style of haberdashery to try, and so was leaving the warmth and comfort of the family business to see the world for himself and see what hats fit his head best and brought him the sense of comfort and warmth the family business couldn’t, leaving Jim dejected. All the best laid plans now had to be rethought, and the most immediate of those was his annual vacation to the mountains where he spends the holidays every year with his wife, recharging during the down time in his construction business, renewing his soul for the new year ahead so he can be his best self for everyone. During this upheaval his wife went ahead because reservations had been made, tickets paid, but he stayed behind to take care of business. His first day at home, alone, and he walks into the house and finds it empty. No brown dog anywhere. Whenever someone is missing from home she notices and mopes, won’t eat, just sleeps in one of her usual spots, a big cushion in the family room where the big TV resides, a cage with blankets in the laundry room where she goes when thunderstorms hit, a porch swing with cushions so she can survey all that happens around the neighborhood (mostly squirrels) and a couch she isn’t supposed to be on but she thinks she owns (and according to Jim, she does….lol). To say he was stressed is an understatement because she learned to open an unlocked door and he was imagining the worst as he went and surveyed the yard, and no sign of her anywhere. He has a downstairs office but in the 13 years she has been his beloved she has never once gone down those stairs, but no one has ever been able to figure out why it scares her so. Finally as a last resort but knowing she would not, could not be there, he went, and there he found her, curled up in his office chair, nervously wagging her tail with a grin. That night she slept in his bed, curled up against his back, again, not her normal place to be. Only a beloved dog could understand the heartbreak of thinking your life is in order only to find you’re back in the middle of chaos, and walk through the fire of their own fears and inadequacies to bring you the comfort and love you so desperately need during your troubles through the gentle touch of their warm and loving spirit. Brown dog is one of those beloveds, just as my Jack was. My brother of another mother and I are indeed lucky. I wouldn’t even have the comfort of sharing in this if my Jack hadn’t gone to spirit at the exact moment so I was in the exact place for our mutual friend Tabby to find me and bring me into this experience and incredible story of love, comfort and commitment that only a special Angel of God can bring to our lives. We truly are blessed when we are loved by a dog. There aren’t words that do justice to what they bring to our life just by being. You can have this too. Just rescue one today. You’ll never be the same again. Your life will be so much better there isn’t enough newsprint for me to tell you all the ways.

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

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