Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Yavapai Humane Society year in review

YHS ended the practice
of killing animals to control
pet overpopulation in 2012
In 2012 the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) accomplished what many consider impossible, ending the practice of euthanasia (or killing as someprefer to call it) as a method for controlling pet overpopulation.  This achievement places us among the nation’s most humane communities.  Many ask, “How in the world did you do this?”  It was the result of strong community support and involvement. 

Here is a list of YHS’ Top Ten Accomplishments that directly led to this amazing feat: 

1.    Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic: The YHS Clinic was certified by the esteemed Humane Alliance in North Carolina, a nationally recognized organization that focuses on high-volume, high-quality, low-cost companion animal sterilization.  This prestigious certification resulted in a sizeable Petsmart grant for staff training and medical equipment. 

2.    Walk for the Animals:  The first annual YHS Walk for the Animals was a huge success with nearly 400 participants and their dogs.  Mark your calendar for the second annual Walk for the Animals on Saturday, April 12, 2013.

3.    YHS Thrift Shop developed the reputation as the “Neiman Marcus” of local thrift stores because of its exclusive merchandise at affordable prices.  If you haven’t already, make the YHS Thrift Shop a weekly destination.  It is located at 1046 Willow Creek Road in the Safeway/Cal-Ranch shopping center.

4.    Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala:  The 2012 Gala celebrated YHS’ 40th Anniversary raising over $117,000 to help fund life-saving programs.  

5.    Hospital Facility:  YHS received funding from Yavapai County, the City of Prescott, the Town of Prescott Valley and several private supporters to build much needed medical isolation, observation and holding wards for animals in need of special care.  The facility will also provide a room for staff and volunteer training and warehouse space.  Opening Day is expected in March or April.

6.    Digital X-Ray Machine: Thanks to the support of many YHS acquired a digital x-ray machine that enables our compassionate medical team to effectively diagnose and treat rescued sick and injured animals.

7.    Enrichment Program: Jim Holt and Marcia Gatti (owners of Hassayampa Canine Resort & Spa) helped YHS develop an Enrichment Program designed to help enhance the shelter experience of our animals so they are better prepared for adoption.  Thanks to the support of many YHS now has an enrichment dog training park and facility; soothing music piped throughout the shelters; beds in every kennel; a robust dog walking/training program; and guidance from expert dog behaviorists.

8.    Big Fix:  Several grants allowed YHS to provide hundreds of low cost spay/neuter surgeries free of charge or with small co-pays to pit bull owners, military veterans and low-income pet owners.  If your pet still needs to be altered don’t wait another moment; call 928-771-0547 today for an appointment.

9.    Second Annual Car Raffle:  Pat and Nancy O’Brien (Hooligan’s Pub proprietors) donated a fully restored 1971Jeep CJ5.  Raffle tickets ($10 each/6 for $50) are still available at all YHS outlets, Olsen’s Grain in Prescott, Dewey and Chino Valley, Whisker’s Barkery and Timberwoof Pet Boutique.  The winner will be randomly drawn at Whisker’s Barkery this Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.

10. Ninety-five percent Live Release Rate:  Thanks to the support of our community we transformed our community into one of the safest for pets in the nation. 

All of these accomplishments are the result of the support of many.  There is still time to be part of this remarkable success by making a tax deductable end of the year donation to help YHS fund its many life saving programs in 2013.  Please send your donation today to 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott AZ 86301 or make your donation on-line at www.yavapaihumane.org. 

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society.  He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Compassion is not a finite commodity

See Jamie's story
In many communities, decisions regarding animal welfare are complicated by a host of competing priorities. When evaluating competing priorities it's easy to look to the bottom line. When that happens, the questions of conscience concerning animal welfare can be overlooked.

There will always be enough injustice and human suffering in the world to make animal welfare seem less important. But compassion is not a finite commodity. We demonstrated the power of compassion in 2012 by ending euthanasia as our community's method for controlling pet overpopulation. That is no small achievement; indeed, it places us among the nation's most humane communities.

Still it's not difficult to understand how decision makers can feel strongly that human need and wants are more important than animal needs and wants. When this happens, animal welfare can be reduced to a simple equation of what's affordable, profitable or expedient. We can almost fool ourselves into thinking we're dealing with widgets rather than lives. It's at this point that our moral fiber emerges.

German philosopher Immanuel Kant opined that "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." Indian Prime Minister Mahatma Gandhi expanded on this truism stating the moral progress of an entire community "can be judged by the way its animals are treated." No less than Abraham Lincoln said he considered animal welfare as important as human welfare for "that is the way of a whole human being."

Matthew Scully, senior speech writer for President George W. Bush and author of the book Dominion, put it this way: "We are called upon to treat animals with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but because they don't; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us. Animals are easily overlooked, their interests easily brushed aside."

The danger now is that we return to thinking there is only enough compassion in our community for our elderly but not for our children; or just enough love for our children but not for our mentally ill; or just enough kindness for our human populations but not for our animals. St. Francis of Assisi taught that to regard the lives of animals as worthless is one small step away from regarding some human lives as worthless.

We compound community wrongs when wrongs done to animals are excused by saying there are more important wrongs done to humans and we must concentrate on those alone. A wrong is a wrong, and when we shrug off these little wrongs we do grave harm to ourselves and others.

"When we wince at the suffering of animals, that feeling speaks well of us... and those who dismiss love for our fellow creatures as mere sentimentality overlook a good and important part of our humanity." (Scully: Dominion)

As 2012 comes to a close, I want to thank the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, the Prescott City Council and the Prescott Valley Town Council for their support in 2012 and ask them to kindly remember animal welfare as they begin to build their 2013/14 budgets.

If you live in one of these communities and your circle of compassion includes animals, let your elected officials know how important their support of YHS' no-kill ethic is to you. You can also help this humane initiative directly by making a yearend donation to YHS; including YHS in your will; joining our volunteer program; or adopting a pet from YHS. Together we transformed our community into a showcase for "that good and important part of our humanity." This can continue into 2013 and beyond - but only with your help, involvement and support.

The dog pictured above is Jamie, a 2-year-old female Brussels Griffon whose right front leg was amputated due to a severe break that became infected. This loss has not affected Jamie’s disposition at all: She is a sweet loving lap dog looking for a home for the holidays. If you are interested in adopting this little baby, please let YHS know at 445-2666.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hypothyroidism is no reason not to adopt a dog; Roseanne's story

Roseanne has hypothyroidism
and is available for adoption to
an understanding family.
The Auburn University School of Pharmacy estimates 3 to 8 percent of the American human population have hypothyroidism, and the incidence increases with age. I was surprised by this number because when I conduct a poll among friends and acquaintances the percentage seems much higher. Everybody I asked seems to be on thyroid medication. So I'm hoping Roseanne's story finds an empathetic audience.

Roseanne is a 7-year-old female Labrador Retriever mix surrendered to YHS by her owner because of Roseanne's medical condition. This happened on Saturday, June 17. From day one, Roseanne captured the heart of employees and volunteers alike. To say Roseanne has personality is an understatement. In fact, she is borderline mischievous - with a heart of gold.

Roseanne is the most popular dog at YHS. Everybody who meets her wants to adopt her on the spot. That is, until they learn she has hypothyroidism.

The YHS medical team diagnosed Roseanne's hypothyroidism after noticing a slight head tilt that gradually became worse. Hypothyroidism is a common disease in dogs and occurs when the thyroid gland produces insufficient hormones to regulate the metabolism. This causes a variety of symptoms including weight gain or obesity, hair loss and skin problems. Most hypothyroid dogs respond readily to treatment.

Roseanne has been on treatment (a pill in his food morning and night) for several weeks and her desire to play and be more active is palpable; and her coat has improved too. Many dogs suffer from a low thyroid hormone level for years without treatment. If your dog has recurrent skin problems, or unexplained weight gain, she may be suffering from hypothyroidism and you should talk with your veterinarian.

Although the onset of clinical signs is variable, hypothyroidism most commonly develops in middle-aged dogs between the ages of 4-to-10 years. The disorder usually affects mid- to large-size breeds, and is rare in toy and miniature breeds. Breeds that appear predisposed to the condition include the Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Dachshund, Cocker Spaniel and Airedale Terrier. German Shepherds and mixed breeds appear to be at a reduced risk for contracting the disease.

Hypothyroidism in dogs is easy to treat. Treatment consists of placing the dog on a daily dose of a synthetic thyroid hormone called thyroxine (levothyroxine). The dose and frequency of administration of this drug varies depending on the severity of the disease and the individual response of the dog to the drug. A dog is usually placed on a standard dose for her weight and blood samples are drawn periodically to check her response and then the dose is adjusted accordingly. Once therapy is started, the dog will need to be on treatment for the rest of her life. Usually after the treatment is started, the majority of the symptoms resolve.

Roseanne's improvement is obvious; she lost 17 pounds, weighing in now at a svelte 79 pounds. Her head tilt has also vanished. She is ready to be adopted into an understanding home. If you are interested in adopting Roseanne, come by YHS at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott, off the Prescott Parkway for a get acquainted meeting. Roseanne is a senior dog so adoption fees are waived for citizens 59 years of age; $40 for all others.

If you would like to make sure dogs like Roseanne get the medical care and treatment they need, please make a donation to the Yavapai Humane Society Special Treatment And Recovery (STAR) program. You can send your donation on-line at www.yavapaihumane.org/star or by mail to 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott, AZ 86301.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

YHS offers rewards for information in two cruelty investigations

Everly was too weak to stand
when rescued by YHS.
Summum bonum is a Latin expression meaning "the highest good." It is the mission of the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) to strive for the highest good for our community's most helpless animals. This lofty goal is often challenged by budget constraints. This means YHS has to rely on kindred souls in our community for help.

While this may be the season for "Peace on earth and good will towards men," YHS is witnessing a disturbing increase in animal cruelty. Let me give you three examples from just the past week.

Last Wednesday, a county magistrate ordered 11 dogs to be confiscated by the Sheriff's Office and impounded by YHS. Sadly, the magistrate did not require the irresponsible dog owner to be answerable for the costs associated with impounding, caring for and rehabilitating these un-socialized animals, making YHS responsible. We are now working hard to find a safe place for these unfortunate animals.

On Thursday, a sweet golden retriever was brought to YHS by a Good Samaritan. Everly was found collapsed on her rescuer's front lawn, a victim of extreme neglect. When she arrived at YHS she was so emaciated and dehydrated she couldn't walk or even lift her head. She also had an open infected wound on her right rear leg that may still result in her losing that leg - if she is lucky enough to survive. Everly is a loving girl and her prognosis is fair, unlike Monty, my third example.

YHS Medical Team poured out
their heart to save Monty.
On Friday, Monty was brought to YHS after being shot. He was rescued and rushed to YHS by the Sheriff's Office. The YHS medical team sprang into action. X-rays revealed a bullet had passed through Monty, but not cleanly. It seems Monty was fond of eating rocks and the rocks altered the bullet's trajectory before it exited his body. The bullet fragmented leaving some small pieces of shrapnel. However, the bulk of the bullet passed completely through Monty. 

Monty survived two hours in surgery only to succumb to the loss of blood he had sustained before he got to YHS. Following the gallant effort to save his life, Monty was in too weak a condition to recover and he expired peacefully surrounded by YHS' compassionate staff.

A cruelty investigation is underway in Everly and Monty's cases. Animal cruelty is a class 6 felony in Arizona. YHS is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the conviction of the person responsible for Everly's neglect and a separate $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who gut shot Monty and left him to bleed out and die. Please contact the Sheriff's Office at 771-3595 with your information (refer to DR#12-039906 for Everly and DR#12-039571 for Monty).

YHS created the Special Treatment and Recovery (STAR) program for needy animals like these. STAR enables YHS to provide "summun bonum" care to these desperate animals. STAR is completely funded by donations. Your donation to STAR is directly responsible for the survival of animals like Everly and the emergency care provided Monty and the confiscated animals. These three cases put a substantial strain on STAR. If you feel the call to help replenish this life saving fund please send your tax deductible donation to the YHS STAR Fund.

YHS is fortunate to have such a dedicated team of employees, volunteers, partners and supporters. This compassionate team stands ever ready to help animals who have no one else to turn to. If you want to be part of this team, consider volunteering with YHS and/or send YHS a life-saving donation. On behalf of the YHS team, have a merry Christmas and happy Hanukah.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to keep your pets safe this Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving behind us, millions of homes are now preparing for the bedecking of a Christmas tree, not realizing that these sparkling towers of beauty can pose a threat to their pets.

Before putting up your tree, consider these safety precautions.

• Pick an area where the tree can be enjoyed without becoming a "climbing toy" for your pet. The tree should be secured to the wall or ceiling, away from furniture that can be used as a springboard by your pet. Many a tree has been sent swaying by a happy kitten. Cats can be injured if the tree or ornaments fall and break. Dogs can knock over a tree by playing under it. You can place the tree in a corner and secure it from two sides to small hooks in the walls. Another trick is to place a small hook in the ceiling above the tree and use clear fishing line from the top of the tree to the hook; apply gentle tension and tie.

• Place the tree near an outlet so you don't have to run electrical cords long distances. Electrical cords are a grave danger to pets - especially puppies and kittens who chew on anything. Cords can cause electrocution, serious injury, or even death. Secure the cords by positioning them higher than the pet can reach or hiding them with special covers.

• Sweep up any pine needles that fall. Ingestion of needles can cause vomiting and gastric irritation. Lay down plastic sheeting or a "tree bag." This is an extra-large trash bag used for live trees. Center the tree on the bag. When the season is over and you have removed the tree ornaments, pull the bag over the tree. This will catch the pine needles and prevent them from being chewed or swallowed by your pet.

• Check your ornaments and replace hooks with a loop of string tied in a knot. Ornaments often fall from the tree and pets may catch their mouths on or swallow the hooks.

• There is no completely pet-safe bulb. Pet "safer" bulbs are plastic or wood. Glass bulbs on the lower limbs are especially dangerous. If broken, pets can step on them and cut their feet or play with the bulbs and chew on them causing them to break, resulting in mouth or throat trauma or an intestinal obstruction. Many pet owners have learned the hard way not to place ornaments on the lower limbs. Ornaments made of food are especially attractive to pets.

• Big red velvet ribbons are lovely and may replace tinsel and garlands that could be eaten by pets and caught in their intestine. Cats are especially attracted to the bright shiny tinsel. Ingestion of this material can cause intestinal obstruction that may require surgery.

• Dogs and cats love to investigate and most don't understand that presents are not meant to be opened before Christmas Day. Decorative ribbons and string can be ingested and gifts can be destroyed by a playful pet. Consider storing presents in a safe area until right before the holiday or make sure your pet is always supervised while searching for his special gift.

• Keep the tree watered and only turn the lights on when you are at home. Fire is always a risk with a live tree. Do not allow your pet to drink from the tree well.

The safest thing to do is to allow your pet access to the tree only when supervised. Pets who continue to bother the tree should be encouraged with positive reinforcement to leave it alone. Bitter apple can be sprayed on low branches for persistent chewers.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

YHS is thankful to our pet loving community (check out all the holiday specials between now and the end of the year!)

Jake is available for adoption.
Read his story below.
It's that time of year when we consider our blessings and express our gratitude. I'm thankful to be part of an organization governed by a compassionate board, staffed by committed employees, served by dedicated volunteers, and supported by a kind and caring community.

We are grateful for an astounding 87 percent decrease in pet euthanasia and an amazing live release rate of 95 percent since embracing our "no-kill" ethic in July of 2010. The Yavapai Humane Society could never have accomplished this without the support of each and every one of you!

Your support helps the Yavapai Humane Society fulfill its mission to promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of thousands of lost, homeless, sick, injured, abused and neglected animals every year. Our shared commitment to this mission has made western and central Yavapai County the third safest region for pets in the United States! Thanks to you, we are transforming our community into a model humane society.

Special YHS Holiday Reminders:

The YHS Thrift Shop is having a 50 percent off everything Black Friday and Small Business Saturday Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The YHS Thrift Shop is located at 1046 Willow Creek Road in the Safe-way Shopping Center. This is a great opportunity to get all your Christmas shopping done.

The YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic recently received a $10,000 gift specifically designated to provide free spay/neuters to the pets of active and retired military members. For more information or to schedule an appointment for your pet, call 771-0547 or visit www.yavapaihumane.org/clinic.

Home for the Holidays: As tempting as it might seem to give a pet as a gift, YHS is reminding you that this seldom works out well. Instead, put a YHS Pet Adoption Gift Certificate under the tree. This will give everyone involved the chance to make a well informed pet adoption selection. Gift Certificates come with a cute stuffed dog or cat toy and include a collar and leash for dogs and a Kitten Kaboodle starter kit for cats. YHS will be open Dec. 26 for Gift Certificate redemptions!

Jeep Raffle: You can win a fully restored 1971 Jeep CJ5 that was generously donated by animal lovers Pat and Nancy O'Brien, the proprietors of Hooligan's Pub on Whiskey Row in Prescott. Raffle tickets are 1 for $10 or 6 for $50. Only 4,000 tickets will be sold, and over 2,000 have been sold already - so don't wait another moment to get yours. The drawing will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28 during Yappy Hour at Whisker's Barkery located at 225 West Gurley Street in Prescott.

2013 YHS Calendar is now available and features the dogs and cats of local animal lovers. This beautiful full-sized wall calendar is only $10.

All proceeds from the raffle and calendar benefit YHS homeless pets. Visit www.yavapaihumane.org to buy on-line or call 445-2666 for more information and to find local sales locations.

How you can help: As the end of 2012 approaches your help is still needed. Please remember the Yavapai Humane Society with a tax deductible gift so you can help us continue to make a difference in 2013. Consider too making the Yavapai Humane Society a beneficiary in your planned giving and make your love of animals a part of your lasting legacy.

On behalf of the Yavapai Humane Society, have a very happy Thanksgiving, a blessed Holiday Season and a very prosperous New Year!

The dog in the photo is Jake, a 3-year-old male Chinese Shar-Pei/Labrador retriever mix.  Jake has a distinctively handsome look and has a charming character to match! This very friendly guy would love to expand his skill and obedience set. Other pets could be nice buddies for Jake after suitable introductions. He loves to be petted and demonstrates his adoration with a wagging tail and easy-going manner.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Hope for pets

YHS partners with Pilots N Paws
to airlift pets to other communities.
This Thanksgiving the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) is thankful to all our volunteers, supporters and partners. Every one of you plays a crucial role in solving our community's pet overpopulation problems.

With a live release rate of 95 percent some might be fooled into thinking these problems are already solved. But they are not; and that is why I am also grateful to our New Hope partners.

The New Hope program is how YHS cooperates with and supports the efforts of partner animal rescue organizations in our shared vision to find homes for our community's homeless pets.

YHS rescues around 3,500 homeless animals each year. When YHS is unable to find a loving home for one of our animals we call upon our New Hope partners for an assist. YHS partners with 58 New Hope organizations throughout the southwest in our effort to find every animal a loving home.

In the past twelve months ending in October, our New Hope partners saved the lives of 237 animals; that's 6 percent of all the animals rescued by YHS. The top five New Hope organizations assisting YHS in its life-saving mission are Miss Kitty's Cat House in Prescott (20), Second Chance Center in Flagstaff (17), Dewey Dog Rescue (16), Arizona Chihuahua Rescue in Phoenix (15), and Ark Cat Sanctuary in Flagstaff (14). YHS appreciates all our partners who help to place our local homeless animals into loving homes.

The New Hope program recently expanded exponentially thanks to a new partnership with Pilots N Paws.  Local commercial pilots generously volunteer to airlift YHS animals to out of state partner shelters and sanctuaries.

Pet overpopulation is an expensive societal problem requiring a coordinated community response; and our local response is a tribute to our community.

Another solution to pet overpopulation is adoption. When you adopt from YHS you directly save the life of a local homeless pet who is altered and will never contribute to this problem. Sadly, some local rescues prefer to import and adopt animals from other communities. YHS feels strongly that we owe it to our community's homeless pets to fix the problem here before compounding it by bringing animals in from outside communities.

Of course, the easiest and most cost efficient fix is for every pet owner to have their pet(s) spayed or neutered. When pet owners demonstrate this level of responsibility we'll be able to solve the pet overpopulation problem within two to three years. That's why I will ask the City of Prescott, Prescott Valley and Yavapai County to allocate funds to the YHS Big Fix program next year. Big Fix provides spay/neuter to pets belonging to our community's indigent population for just a $25 co-pay. Studies have found that for every tax dollar invested in spay/neuter programs $20 is saved in animal control costs over ten years.

Low-cost spay/neuter is especially important for our community (feral) cats. This year YHS rescued kittens every month instead of just in the typical spring "kitten season." This suggests our community is experiencing a serious cat population explosion.

To make sure affordable spay/neuter services are available to every pet in our community, YHS operates the low cost Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at 2989 Centerpointe in Prescott. You can schedule an appointment for your pet by calling 771-0547. Do it today and help end the killing of unwanted pets.

In closing, a special thank you to every pet owner who spayed or neutered their pet(s); every person and family who adopted a pet from YHS; and every New Hope partner who re-homed a YHS pet. Each of you is directly helping transform our community into a truly humane society.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

How you can help sustain "no-kill" in your community

Dora is a remarkable success story!
In animal welfare there is a term sweeping the country called "No-Kill." No-kill is defined as ending the killing of pets as a means to control pet overpopulation. Many are shocked to learn that killing healthy, adoptable pets is the primary method some communities use to control pet overpopulation. That is not the case at the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) and we update our statistics on our website each month because we believe all members of our community have the right to know what is happening in their local animal shelter.

Last week I opined that if achieving no-kill is likened to an Olympic moment then sustaining no-kill is akin to a marathon.

I'm happy to report that 2012 is our community's Olympic moment. YHS has maintained a 95 percent live-release rate and the third lowest pet euthanasia rate in the nation for over a year - an Olympic "no-kill" moment by anybody's standards. But there has been no time to rest on our laurels as we quickly transitioned into marathon mode to sustain this success over the long haul.

Many ask me, "What can I do to help ensure our community never resorts to killing pets again?" There are two important ways you can help our community eradicate the killing once and for all.

One way is to join our volunteer foster care program. Under the direction of our veterinary team, foster caregivers take sick, injured or behaviorally challenged animals into their homes to care for them until they recover or are rehabilitated and can be adopted into loving homes. We also have a hospice foster care program for animals with some quality of life left despite a life threatening condition. By volunteering as a foster caregiver you help YHS not only by caring for an animal in need, but you open a kennel for a different needy animal.

Another way you can help sustain "no-kill" is by making a life-saving donation to the YHS STAR (Special Treatment and Recovery) program. Your gift helps ensure every sick and injured animal rescued by YHS receives the medical care they need to recover. Through STAR you play a significant role in supporting no-kill because the animals you help are the very ones that would have been euthanized without your help.

Let me give you an example of how these two programs benefit at-risk animals. Dora is a playful 2-year-old Australian heeler rescued by YHS on July 5. The YHS medical team noticed an abnormal gait and ordered X-rays. The X-rays revealed improperly healed fractures on her pelvis and femur.

This old injury required a femoral head ostectomy - which corrected this crippling condition. This procedure was possible only because of generous donations to the YHS STAR program. Dora was then placed into a foster care home for rehabilitation where she improved significantly. Sadly, just as she was nearing full recovery, she came down with valley fever, which required her foster care to be extended. Without these life-saving programs, Dora would likely only be a sad statistic today.

Instead, she is available for a medical release adoption - thanks to our foster care and STAR program supporters. "It takes a village."

If you want to help YHS complete a second year of no-kill, please volunteer or make a life-saving donation. If you want to make sure our community continues its no-kill ethic in perpetuity, consider making YHS a beneficiary in your planned giving. By including YHS in your planned giving, you can help make sure no-kill is a permanent solution to our community's pet overpopulation woes.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pet friendly landlords key to attaining and sustaining "no-kill" status

Chico loves everybody and is
available for adoption at the
Yavapai Humane Society
If achieving no-kill is likened to an Olympic moment then sustaining no-kill is a marathon. Ending killing as a method to control pet overpopulation requires the involvement of an entire community. We are all responsible for its use, and we can all play a role in its abolition.

For instance, landlords can play an important role in attaining and sustaining a no-kill status. According to a report issued by The Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare, 50 percent of all rentals nationally prohibit pets.

Pet-forbidding landlords should consider these findings: 35 percent of tenants without pets would own a pet if their landlord permitted; tenants in pet-friendly housing stay an average of 46 months compared to 18 months for tenants in rentals prohibiting pets; the vacancy rate for pet-friendly housing is lower (10 percent) than "no pets allowed" rentals (14 percent); and 25 percent of applicants inquiring about rentals in non-pet-friendly housing are seeking pet-friendly rentals.

According to economic theory, in perfectly functioning markets (where people make rational, profit-maximizing decisions, with full information and no significant transaction costs), pet-friendly housing should be available to renters willing to pay a premium to cover any extra costs to landlords. So, why do so many landlords overlook opportunities to increase profits by providing pet-friendly housing?

With nearly half of American households having companion animals and more than half of renters who do not have pets reporting they would have pets if allowed, why are there so few pet-friendly rental units available?

Well, among landlords who do not allow pets, damage was the greatest concern (64.7 percent), followed by noise (52.9 percent), complaints/tenant conflicts (41.2 percent) and insurance issues (41.2 percent). Concerns about people leaving their pet or not cleaning common areas were rarely cited (5.9 percent).

Although 85 percent of landlords permitting pets reported pet-related damage at some time, the worst damage averaged only $430. This is less than the typical rent or pet deposit. In these cases, landlords could subtract the damage from a pet deposit and experience no real loss. In fact, the report finds landlords experience no substantive loss with little difference in damage between tenants with and without pets.

Other pet-related issues (e.g., noise, tenant conflicts concerning animals or common area upkeep) required less than one hour per year of landlord time. This is less time than landlords spend for child-related problems and other issues. Whatever time landlords spend addressing pet-related problems is offset by spending less marketing time on pet-friendly units by a margin of eight hours per unit.

The study finds problems from allowing pets to be minimal, and benefits outweigh the problems. Landlords stand to profit from allowing pets because, on average, tenants with pets are willing and able to pay more for the ability to live with their pets.

Animal shelters across the United States are experiencing a huge increase in the number of pets surrendered because of the housing crisis. Imagine if all landlords permitted pets.  That would create a demand far greater than the number of pets dying in our shelters, allowing our communities to end pet euthanasia to control pet overpopulation altogether.

Landlords are hearing from their own colleagues and professional journals that permitting pets makes good business sense. Many landlords may be overlooking a significant, low-risk opportunity to increase revenue, tenant pools and market size just by allowing pets.

Certainly, the benefits to the homeless pets who are dying for the lack of a home each year cannot be overstated. Landlords can make a profitable, life-saving choice simply by permitting pets.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Animal atrocity in Arizona

See Zeppelin's story below
According to Arizona State law a person commits felony animal cruelty when he intentionally, knowingly or recklessly inflicts unnecessary physical injury to any animal; subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment; kills any animal belonging to another person without the owner’s consent; or subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment.

In a shocking case, Deputy Navajo County Attorney Michael Tunink decided not to charge a Flagstaff police officer who intentionally, knowingly, recklessly and gruesomely mistreated and killed an owned dog without owner consent – even though the owner was within close proximity to the killing.

"There is insufficient evidence of a culpable mental state for prosecution," Tunink wrote in a letter to Flagstaff police.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office a loose dog was hit by a patrol car around 2:30 a.m. on August 19th. The patrol officer called Corporal Tewes for help. The two decided the dog should be euthanized; but Tewes was unsure about using his gun.

Instead, he told prosecutors, that he tried repeatedly to bludgeon the dog to death, but it just wouldn’t die. So he jumped on the dog's head in an attempt to crush its skull, but that also failed to kill the animal. After nearly 30 horrific minutes of trying to kill the dog, Tewes used a metal cable to strangle the dog. He said it took several tries but the dog finally died.

Tewes told prosecutors he just “could not believe the dog wasn't dead yet." He also told investigators that he regularly clubs animals to death when he’s hunting and thought he could quickly kill the dog with his baton.

The dog's body was discarded behind the Flagstaff police station but later taken to the Flagstaff Humane Association. The owners didn't learn of their pet’s death until five days later. Flagstaff Police Chief Kevin Treadway said it wasn't clear when the dog owner was notified - even though a neighbor had pointed out the dog owner's home to Tewes while the dog was still alive.

Officials say departmental protocol requires officers to contact animal control or the Flagstaff Humane Association's 24-hour animal ambulance to care for injured animals. It is also departmental policy to only euthanize animals with a sidearm or shotgun. Officers are also required to immediately inform the animal owner when an animal is dispatched. The sheriff’s office investigation found all the other officers and supervisors involved in the case were aware of these policies.

Chief Treadway issued a public apology, stating, "I have personally apologized to the dog owner…, and I want the community to know that I understand their concerns regarding Corporal Tewes' actions in this case and have taken measures to make sure this never happens again”.

Although no criminal charges will be filed against the police officer, Chief Treadway informed me that Corporal Tewes, who had violated numerous department policies, had resigned from the Flagstaff Police Department.

I commend Chief Treadway for the serious manner in which he conducted the internal investigation despite the incomprehensible findings of the Navaho County Attorney’s Office. Within a week of the incident, the Chief had implemented a policy specifically addressing the treatment of injured domesticated animals, and every officer has been trained on the proper way to handle these situations.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and war correspondent, Christopher Hedges, has rightly observed, “Violence is a disease that corrupts all who use it regardless of the cause.” The Flagstaff community can rest a little easier knowing that this disease has been removed from their Police Department. The rest of us can only hope it never finds its way into our communities.

Zeppelin is a 1-year-old male Labrador retriever who was hit by a car, requiring the amputation of his left rear leg. Zeppelin is underweight and needs a loving home to fatten him up. Zeppelin qualifies for the YHS Back in Black Pick Your Price Adoptathon. Come on by to meet Zeppelin up close and personal. If you would like to make a donation to help animals like Zeppelin, send your donation to the Yavapai Humane Society.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Debunking the myths concerning black cats and Halloween

Each October I’m asked to debunk the myths and misinformation regarding black cats and Halloween.  Some suggest a moratorium on adopting black cats in October for fear they will be harmed – not understanding that in all the history of humane work no one has ever documented any connection between adopting black cats and those cats being harmed in any way.  

Why then all the panic?  It seems much of the distress arises from a misunderstanding regarding the relationship between “witches” and black cats used in ritualistic sacrifices.  Witches would never harm their “familiars” who are supposed to be their eyes and ears in the spirit world.  To harm a familiar is to blind and deafen oneself.

This misunderstanding took on a twisted life of its own during the 1998 Halloween season when suspected Satanists were sought in nine states for “mutilations” that drew sensational media coverage and rewards up to $10,000.  That incident etched its way into the national consciousness.  However, few people remember that the investigators ultimately learned that these “mutilations” were the natural product of wildlife predation.

Each summer since then one community or another has suffered an emotional panic coinciding with the appearance of young coyotes from their dens and the first hunt of newly fledged raptors.  These panics increased in intensity with the public’s preoccupation with witches, ghouls, and goblins, but abruptly ended after Halloween - unlike cases of human sadism.

Police and humane officers are trained to investigate human-inflicted cruelty but often have little experience in predator behavior.  This sometimes leads to forensic evidence being misread in ways that incite witch-hunts.

Unlike human sadists, animal predators are quick and efficient, avoiding waste.  Their teeth and claws cut more cleanly than a knife and they don't leave much blood behind.  When time permits, they consume the richest organs and leave the rest.

Coyotes typically attack small prey (such as cats) from behind and side, with a scissors-like jaw snap to the backbone that frequently cuts the victim in half.  When startled, they flee with the back half and whatever internal organs come along, leaving the head and forepaws. These are examples of cases most often misread by investigators as ritualistic crimes.

When prey survives a first strike, coyotes and wild cats will inflict a skull-crunching bite to the head.  Several panics over alleged sadists drilling mysterious holes in the skulls of pets were resolved when investigators found the holes aligned with the incisors of wild predators.

Alleged “skinned alive” cases involving pets were actually coyotes and raptors mistaking pets for smaller prey. The predator holds on with teeth or claws while the victim runs causing a set of sharp, straight cuts investigators describe as "filets."

Raptors account for cases where entrails are draped over cars, porches, trees, signs, and mailboxes.  They take flight with their prey and parts fall out.  Crows account for cases where eyes, lips, anuses, and female genitals are removed from fallen livestock.

Some trace black cat adoption moratoriums to early 20th Century New York Giants manager John McGraw.  McGraw was notoriously superstitious, so fans (mostly gamblers) tossed black cats in front of the Giants' dugout to jinx him.  The American Baseball League quickly adopted a rule against continuing a game when an animal is on the field and many humane societies started prohibiting black cat adoptions during the World Series which often occurs around Halloween. 

This Halloween don’t be scared out of saving the life of a pet of any color!  October is YHS’ Back in Black Adopt-a-thon and all black animals are available for adoption at a price you pick!   

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Your tax dollars fund animal cruelty

See Drummer's story
With a $32 billion budget, the National Institute of Health (NIH) is the world's largest funder of biomedical research on animals. The NIH claims tax-funded animal experiments are about cures and vaccines, and comply with NIH's mission "to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability."

However, In Defense of Animals, an animal welfare organization whose mission is to end animal exploitation, cruelty and abuse recently reported on 2011's Top 10 Most Ridiculous Animal Research projects.

These are real experiments funded by NIH, approved by federally mandated oversight committees and published in peer-reviewed journals. These experiments show how tax dollars and animals' lives are frivolously wasted on research that contributes nothing to medical progress and tells us nothing we care to know - or didn't know already. One wonders what happens in the experiments that don't get published.

Top Ten Most Ridiculous Animal Research projects

10: A National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases grant to study what happens when you inject rats with a substance that causes arthritis. The rats got arthritis.

9. Two National Institute of Mental Health grants to study anxiety. Scientists put rats in an open space with nowhere to hide and then did things to traumatize them. The rats became more anxious.

8. Three grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to study family relationships in prairie voles. When you take the father away from the family, the offspring are less well cared for.

7. Three NIH grants to study the effect on the sex lives of hamsters when you put them on a diet. The hamsters were more interested in food than sex.

6. Two National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders grants to see what happens when you cut nerves that connect taste buds to the brain and leave the bitter-taste nerves intact. This involves slitting the throats of rats and puncturing their eardrums to reach the nerves. The rats learned to avoid bitter foods.

5. A K-12 career development grant to the Yerkes National Primate Research Center to see whether empathy makes chimpanzees more likely to catch a yawn from familiar chimpanzees than strangers. It does.

4. Two National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders grants to study alligator voices. The University of Utah implanted pressure sensors in the tracheas of young alligators and ran a cable through their throats, fixing it to their upper jaws with duct tape. They discovered alligators have two ways to change their voice frequency; whereas mammals have three.

3. Two National Institute of Mental Health grants to several laboratories to discover whether marmosets can be sexually aroused by a particular scent, e.g. lemons. They can.

2. Two National Institute on Drug Abuse grants to Albany Medical College to see how drug use affects musical preferences in rats. Rats who preferred Beethoven over Miles Davis were given cocaine with their less preferred music. The rats switched their preference to whichever music went with the cocaine.

1. Seven NIH grants to study stress on animals in vivisection laboratories. Researchers at Tulane National Primate Research Center found daily uncontrollable stress is inextricably part of an animal's life in a laboratory, regardless of the experiments performed on them.

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. Concerning such horrors, Dr. Charles Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic has said, "I abhor vivisection. It should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil." To which YHS can only say, "Amen."

The dog in the picture is Drummer who adores people and loves to be included in activities and excursions. He is highly receptive to obedience requests, calms easily and comes when called. He gets along well with other dogs and would be a faithful companion for an active family.  Contact YHS if you would like to adopt Drummer.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Your local animal shelter is a bellwether for your community; learn what that means for your pets

Dr. Redmon is ready to
protect your pets at the
YHS Wellness Clinic
The term "bellwether" comes from the Middle English bellewether. It refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram (a wether) leading a flock of sheep. The movements of the flock can then be predicted (or followed) by hearing the bell without actually seeing the flock.

The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) is a sort of bellwether when it comes to predicting or following pet disease trends in our community. Sadly, we are seeing an upswing in the number of cases of parvovirus in puppies and young dogs. Although the situation is contained at YHS, this is important information for all pet owners because this disease poses a life-threatening risk to your unprotected dogs, especially puppies.

The parvovirus is highly contagious and is transmitted through dog-to-dog contact, contaminated feces, environments and people.

Any surface a dog touches can harbor the virus, including his crate, food and water bowls, collar and leash, dog toys, etc. Other animals, people and even clothing can be contaminated.

Parvo is a resilient virus able to survive temperature and humidity extremes. A minute amount of contaminated feces can infect a large area, and consequently any dogs who pass through the area.

Canine parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract of infected dogs. In puppies and those still in utero, the virus is known to damage the heart muscle. Symptoms are similar in all dogs and include loss of appetite; vomiting and severe, often bloody diarrhea; fever; lethargy; weakness and dehydration.

Dehydration can come on rapidly due to the vomiting and diarrhea, and is especially dangerous in puppies.

Most deaths from parvovirus occur within 48 to 72 hours after symptoms first appear, so it is critical you take your dog to your veterinarian immediately if you suspect a Parvo infection. Diagnosis requires blood and fecal tests.

It is a good idea to hospitalize your dog until her condition has stabilized. Your dog's chances of survival are improved the sooner aggressive treatment begins - but do not expect your veterinarian to be able to predict an outcome immediately.

Unfortunately, treatment of Parvo can be expensive, with no guarantee your beloved pet will survive despite heroic efforts to save her. In some heartbreaking cases, pet owners simply cannot afford to even try to save their dogs, and euthanasia becomes the only option.

That is why an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Please make sure your puppy receives his core vaccines and your adult dog is current on all his vaccinations.

The vaccine protocol is to give one Parvo vaccine at around 9 weeks (but before 11 weeks), and a booster at around 14 weeks. For 14 days after your pup has received his second Parvo vaccine you should avoid allowing your dog any contact with unfamiliar dogs. Places you should exercise extreme caution include dog parks; doggie daycare or boarding kennels; and grooming shops.

Also, reduce or eliminate your dog's exposure, no matter her age, to the feces of other dogs and all animals. Clean up your own pet's waste as well.

Keep your dog away from sick pets, and if it is your dog that is sick, do not let him expose others. If you come in contact with a sick dog, wash your hands and change clothes if necessary before you handle another dog.

Your dogs can be vaccinated against Parvo and other deadly diseases at the Yavapai Humane Society Wellness Clinic, 2989 Centerpointe East in Prescott on any Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary; walk-ins welcomed. Together we can protect all our community's pets.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coming to YHS: The Sound of Music

Read about Woogie below
The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) is in the midst of implementing another innovative program called "Enrichment." Enrichment describes activities, protocols and amenities introduced into a shelter environment that are designed to enrich the shelter experience of rescued animals. The typical shelter experience for most animals is a traumatic and fearful ordeal. YHS is committed to mitigating, if not eliminating, that distress.

One way to do that is to introduce the calming effects of music into our animal care centers. Sound is an important part of an animal's surroundings. Sadly, most animal shelters are not built with that understanding. Concrete and block walls and cement floors echo the harsh sounds of frantic dogs barking and whining begging for attention; while other dogs fearfully huddle in the corners of their unfamiliar kennels awaiting an uncertain future.

Clinical studies have documented that specific music vibrations, sounds and tempos create a calming effect on pets. Certain musical compositions also help pets cope with common phobias such as thunderstorms, loud noises and other stressors, creating a harmonious and enriching environment that improves their health and behavior. These studies have demonstrated that the introduction of calming music in a shelter visually reduces the three key measures of discomfort: restlessness, anxiety and respiration rates.

One study explored the influence of five types of auditory stimulation (human conversation, classical music, heavy metal music, pop music, and a control) on the behavior of 50 dogs housed in an animal shelter. The dogs were exposed to each type of auditory stimulation for four hours, with an intervening period of one day between conditions. The dogs' position in their kennels (front, back), their activity (moving, standing, sitting, resting, sleeping), and their vocalization (barking, quiet, other) were recorded over four hours at 10-minute intervals during each condition of auditory stimulation.

The study found the dogs' activity and vocalization were significantly related to auditory stimulation. Dogs spent more time quietly resting and less time standing when classical music was played compared to the other stimuli. Heavy metal music encouraged dogs to spend significantly more time barking in an agitated state than the other stimuli. These studies suggest that the welfare of sheltered dogs can be enhanced through exposure to appropriate forms of auditory stimulation. Classical music appears particularly beneficial, resulting in activities suggestive of relaxation and behaviors considered desirable by potential adopters. This form of music may also appeal to visitors, resulting in enhanced perceptions of the shelter and an increased desire to adopt a dog.

Based on this research, YHS wants to raise $2,500 to install a sound system in our two animal care centers. With these systems, YHS will be able to provide calming music designed to improve the quality of life for our rescued animals, both dogs and cats, during their stay with us. Promoting relaxation through music will help all our animals cope with their stress and will create a more inviting atmosphere for adopters.

If you would like to help YHS with this life-saving project, please consider a donation to assist with the purchase and installation of this equipment - just send your contribution with the designation "sound system." You can mail your donation to the Yavapai Humane Society at 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott AZ 86301, or on-line at www.yavapaihumane.org and click the "donate" button.

NOTE: Only 11 days left in our Monsoon Madness Adoptathon: All dogs and puppies are just $25 and all cats and kittens are "pick your price," All adoptions come with spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and a micro-chip; a value over $400. Now is the best time to adopt your new best friend at YHS.

The dog in the picture above is Woogie, a 2-year-old male pure-breed Labrador retriever who makes friends easily with polite dogs; he is gentle enough for children and would be a great family dog. Because there has been so much interest in Woogie, he will be available for adoption by silent auction at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at YHS.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yavapai Humane Society Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala the best ever

Don & Shirl Pence recieve
YHS Founder's Award
What a celebration! I am talking of course about the Yavapai Humane Society's annual Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala this past Saturday, which also served as the Society's 40th anniversary celebration.

More than 300 animal lovers came together to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the past 40 years and to help raise a record amount (to be announced) to help fund YHS' life saving programs.

The biggest message of the evening was how every donation YHS receives goes directly to saving lives. The response of those in attendance was wonderful. So much so, that I want to share the same powerful opportunity to help support YHS with all my readers.

Imagine for a moment if everyone reading this article donated $1 a day to YHS - what a difference that would make! With that kind of consistent support, YHS could reliably continue to save animals' lives, fight cruelty, and rescue homeless animals in need. In this economy, it is a challenge to find continuing sources of income that allows us to faithfully fulfill our mission to protect lost, homeless, sick, abused and neglected animals in our community.

However, through the YHS PAWS (Planned Automatic Withdrawal Service) program we can come together as a community to truly make a difference. You are invited to join the growing number of people who are making our community one of the safest in the nation for our pets. By joining PAWS, an automatic donation of your choice is safely sent to YHS each month. Donors can sign up using a Visa, MasterCard or Discover. You simply choose the amount that feels comfortable to you; and you can change or cancel your participation any time.

A monthly contribution of just $10 provides vaccinations to needy animals, which helps keep other animals in our community healthy; $19 feeds homeless animals for a month; $30 provides life-saving medications to ailing animals; $50 provides a spay/neuter surgery to help reduce pet overpopulation; or $100 ensures a litter of puppies or kittens is altered, vaccinated, de-wormed and microchipped.

Visit www.yavapaihumane.org/paws to sign up to be a dependable part of the pet solution in our community.

Teri Taylor, winner of the 40 Years of Saving Lives Essay Contest, led the festivities with a reading her winning entry, "The Yavapai Humane Society rescues a teen." There was nary a dry eye in the place.

YHS Board President Gloria Hershman then presented the first ever Yavapai Humane Society Founder's Awards to Lou Silverstein, Peggy Stidworthy, and Don and Shirl Pence.

Lou, president and general manager of KYCA, was instrumental in the founding of YHS and served as the first Board president. Lou established the daily YHS Pet Report, which is distinguished as the longest running radio show in Arizona.

Peggy Stidworthy was the major fundraiser during those early days. Her efforts included bake sales, raffles, donor drives, donation cans in all the businesses in town, and hundreds of solicitation letters.

More recently, Peggy was the major donor establishing the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic, which opened in 2009. She continues to contribute through the Yavapai Community Foundation and her family trust. Peggy is one of the first to join YHS' legacy circle.

Don and Shirl Pence also received a Founder's Award in appreciation of their substantial support of YHS for nearly a decade. When it comes to the YHS Gala, the Pences are the Founder's of the Feast, and have underwritten the Gala for years. Without their generous support, YHS would not have achieved the level of success that we have.

The vision, leadership and generosity of our founders laid the foundation for YHS and we are profoundly grateful to them. Please consider joining them through the YHS PAWS program. Together we can continue to make our community the safest in Arizona for pets.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A Story of Hope

Anthony and Hope
found each other at YHS
The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) motto is "We create happiness by bringing pets and people together."  It seems we  create our share of hope too.

In May 2012, YHS rescued a hopeless 11-month old pit bull from Los Angeles. The dog was found injured at a mega-adoption event. Although more than 200 "rescue" organizations were present, none could help and she was taken to one of the largest kill shelters in California. Upset by this, several individuals coordinated her rescue and transport to YHS. With her loving disposition, we were convinced she would be adopted quickly. However, she was with us over three months - hoping against hope she would be adopted by someone special. Her name is Hope.

Enter Anthony. In July 2011, Anthony drove up from Phoenix to visit family and attend the Prescott Rodeo. While at the rodeo, a fight broke out and although an innocent bystander, Anthony was seriously injured. He was rushed to the Yavapai Community Hospital where he was diagnosed with a subdermal hematoma resulting from a blow to the head, which required emergency brain surgery.

The incident changed Anthony's life forever. His plans to return to work and finish his college degree were stalled; crowds caused panic attacks; and migraines became commonplace. Anthony continues to undergo rehabilitation. Initially outraged by the unprovoked assault that derailed his life, Anthony has since forgiven his attacker.

Adding to Anthony's anguish, his 9-year old pit bull, Rocky, died three months after the attack. This was almost too much to bear. The family started visiting YHS regularly to find a new companion for Anthony - but each visit ended in tears. Rocky was irreplaceable; the best dog ever!

Still, Anthony persisted and he came to YHS again. This time he walked past Hope's kennel. He stopped to look at her and she wagged her tail and sat perfectly still. He hesitated; then, conflicted by his feelings, left. However, something told him to go back, which he did, wrestling with his feelings for Rocky the entire time.

Then he thought about her name. "Hope." It was hope that was getting him through his ordeal. And like him, Hope was recovering from an injury. Anthony stood frozen in time, pondering, when a lizard suddenly ran by and Hope ran playfully after it; just as Rocky would do. Anthony immediately texted his family that he was bringing Hope home, stating "She's perfect; we can go on long walks and rehabilitate together."

Today, Hope is crazy about Anthony. When he comes into the room, she runs to his side in adoring submission.

Anthony's story would have gone unknown except for a "chance" meeting between Anthony's parents and YHS volunteers at an adoption event in Phoenix. A beautiful YHS puppy named Nala brought the parties together and gave Anthony's parents time to share their son's story of Hope.

As they talked, they played with Nala. In the time it took to tell the story, they had fallen in love and adopted her. Anthony's younger brother, Derek, suggested a more appropriate name; they chose Faith. They brought Faith home and the two dogs immediately loved each other. Anthony's parents recently contacted YHS to tell us their home is again filled with joy and laughter; not to mention Faith, Hope and love!

If you are looking for that missing ingredient in your home, consider a pet from YHS. Through the end of September, all dogs and puppies are $25 and you can pick your price for any cat or kitten. Every adoption includes a spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and a microchip - a value over $400.

Note: Tickets for the Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala this Saturday can still be purchased by calling YHS or on-line at www.yavapaihumane.org.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dichotomy: Raining cats and dogs AND Reigning Cats & Dogs

See Berry's story below.
To get a message across, the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) often uses a play on words - a clever or witty use of language. For instance, on Saturday, Sept. 8, YHS is celebrating its 40th anniversary at the Prescott Resort and the event is called Reigning Cats & Dogs.

The name Reigning Cats & Dogs is an attempt to humorously convey the role our pets play in our lives. In many ways, and for many of us, our pets take on a central, or if you will, a "reigning" role in our lives. It is in this fun spirit that we are inviting animal lovers to a royal celebration of the relationship we share with our pets.

The phrase "Reigning Cats & Dogs" is a homophone of the term "raining cats and dogs."

It is ironic, even tragic, that in a community that celebrates Reigning Cats & Dogs we can at the same time experience a raining cats and dogs resulting in an overflow of lost and homeless pets at YHS.

So dire is the current situation that YHS is announcing a state of emergency. The crisis was caused by the recent monsoon. Dogs frightened by thunder are escaping from their homes in record numbers - and most are found without a dog license, identification tag or microchip. Worse, pet owners are not coming to YHS to identify their lost pet in a timely manner. This is costly to both YHS and the frantic pet owner. Our concern is pet owners may not know YHS is the central location where all lost pets are taken by local animal control and Good Samaritans who rescue lost pets off the street.

When you lose your pet, please visit the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center at 1605 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott every three days at least - and more often when possible. If your pet does not have a microchip, you can purchase one at the YHS Wellness Clinic, 2989 Centerpointe East, Prescott, on any Friday or at the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center Monday through Friday. In the effort to reunite more lost pets with their owners, YHS is offering microchips for just $20. A microchip will help reunite you with your lost pet in the shortest amount of time.

YHS is also launching a month long Raining Cats & Dogs Adoptathon. From today through the end of September all dogs and puppies are just $25 and all cats and kittens are "pick your price." Every adoption includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and a microchip. This is over a $400 value per adoption. If you are considering adding a pet to your family, now is the time. YHS has the largest selection of quality pets available for adoption at the most affordable prices. When you adopt a pet from YHS you are saving two lives; the one you adopt and the one your adoption makes room for.

Another way you can help YHS is by participating in the Reigning Cats & Dogs Auction which is open online until Thursday, Sept. 6. Auction items range from exotic vacation getaways to having your pet featured in the inaugural 2013 Yava-Paw Calendar. So, tell your friends, family, community and let the bidding begin! Just go to the YHS website (www.yavapaihumane.org) and click on the Auction banner on the front page. You can also purchase your tickets to the Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Prescott Resort. All proceeds go to help fund YHS' many life saving programs. I hope to see you there!

Berry is a 10-week-old female Labrador and a fine example of the passel of puppies available for adoption at YHS. All dogs and puppies are just $25 and the fee includes spay/neuter, vaccinations and microchip. YHS has the largest selection of wonderful pets waiting for just the right home – yours!

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.