Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Much to celebrate at the Yavapai Humane Society

See Randy's Story Below
The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. I launched the year with a column explaining how wonderful it would be if YHS could celebrate this milestone year with a new X-ray machine.

Thanks to the generosity of several individuals and a significant gift from a foundation wishing to remain anonymous, YHS was able to purchase this life-saving equipment. I want to publicly thank all those who made this miracle a reality!

An X-ray machine significantly enhances YHS's ability to diagnose and treat critical-needs animals more efficiently and humanely - resulting in more lives saved. The X-ray machine helps ensure every critically injured or severely ill animal YHS rescues has a fighting chance at a quality life.

Now that YHS has this wonderful tool, I am making a special plea for donations to our Special Treatment and Recovery (STAR) fund. Donations to the STAR program provide funds to care for the medical needs of animals that might be euthanized otherwise. The STAR fund is where we go when we need special medicines, X-rays, medical tests and reconstructive surgeries that our budget just can't support.

Through the STAR program the entire community can participate in making sure injured and sick animals receive the care they need. Please consider making a contribution to this special program. You can read about some of our wonderful STAR animals by visiting

Speaking of our 40th anniversary celebration, be sure to save the date for this year's Reigning Cats & Dogs Dinner and Auction Gala on Saturday evening, Sept. 8, at the Prescott Resort.

A special feature this year is the 40th anniversary essay contest called "40 Years of Saving Lives, 40 Years of Memories."

You are invited to share your personal heart-warming animal story in the form of an essay (500 words or less), poem, song, video or photograph. Humorous or heart-tugging entries with a direct association with YHS are welcomed. Entries are limited to three. Entries will be submitted to the judges anonymously, making the contest open to all, including volunteers and former and current employees. There are no age limitations.

The contest judges are Connie Martin, YHS Volunteer; Becky Garvin, Special Event Manager, Prescott Tourism Office; Steve Sischka, Olsen's Grain and YHS Advisor; Sandy Griffis, Yavapai Country Contractors Association; Steve Bracety, Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce President and Prescott Resort GM; Gloria Hershman, President of YHS; and yours truly.

The grand prize is two tickets to the Reigning Cats & Dogs Gala where the winning entry will be recognized ($200 value).

The first runner-up will win a certificate for a free spay or neuter surgery for a family pet or a friend's pet at the YHS Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic (up to $100 value). The second runner-up will win a $25 gift certificate to the YHS Thrift Shop. All winners and honorable mentions will be featured on the YHS website.

If you want to participate in the 40th anniversary essay contest, email your entry to or mail your entry to Yavapai Humane Society, 40 Years of Memories Essay Contest, 1625 Sundog Ranch Road, Prescott, AZ 86301.

Entry deadline is Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012; winner notification is Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number and email address. By submitting your entry, you permit YHS to reproduce it on the YHS website and other media. For more information on the Essay Contest, visit

If you would like to donate an item to the Gala Silent Auction, or be a Personal or Corporate Sponsor, contact YHS at 445-2666 ext.12 for more information.

The cat in the picture above is Randy, a 6 year old gray tabby recovering from a crushed pelvis that occured when he was hit by a car.  Randy is alive today thanks to the YHS X-ray machine and the Special Treatment And Recovery (STAR) fund.  Please help YHS help animals like Randy by sending a donation to the YHS STAR Program.

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Protect your pets from harmful 4th of July noises

See Shaggy Shane's story below
It's that time of year again - the 4th of July is right around the corner. The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 fireworks displays light up U.S. skies each 4th of July. The APA also reports that fireworks are more popular than ever, and backyard fireworks more than doubled between 2000 (102 million pounds sold) and 2007 (238 million pounds).

It's also the time of year when we are treated to the wonderful sounds of many talented musicians entertaining in the courthouse plaza. These nightly serenades epitomize our sense of community. Families, couples and neighbors gather together at the end of a long hot summer day to relax and enjoy each other's company.

It may seem intuitive to bring the family dog to these fun events. However, the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) wants you to know that some events can be harmful to the family dog. Loud noises easily tolerated by humans can be extremely painful to dogs.

Dogs hear a wider range of frequencies than humans. The low end of the range is similar, but dogs hear noises up to 45 kHz, while humans can only hear sounds up to about 23 kHz. This means your dog is hearing and responding to sounds that you can't hear at all.

Dogs are known to be sensitive to loud sounds. Although there is no scientific data determining exactly which audio frequencies cause pain in canines, veterinarians and dog behaviorists agree that high frequencies can be painful to dogs.

Dogs actually perceive sound by feeling as well as hearing. The frequencies dogs perceive and hear are almost twice as many as humans and they can pick up and distinguish sounds at roughly four times the range of humans. For example, a sound you hear at 20 meters your dog can detect, pinpoint and interpret at 80 meters.

That is because your dog has specially designed inner ears that operate almost like radar. Your dog has eighteen or more muscles that can tilt, rotate, raise or lower each of his ears. With these specially designed ears your dog not only hears sounds, he can also perceive the height and depth of the sounds he hears. Because dogs have the ability to hear ultra-high frequencies that you can't, they will react to the vibrations of airplanes, sirens and even earthquakes long before you are aware of them.

A dog's hearing is so sensitive that continued sharp or percussive noises can cause real suffering. Many people attribute a dog's pathological fear of thunderstorms, explosives and loud music to a bad experience as a puppy, when the real reason for his cringing could be physical pain.

Very loud sounds can hurt your dog's ears and if a sound seems too loud to you, it is more than doubly so to your dog. So, be kind, refrain from bringing your best friend to painful events.

If you know your pet is distressed by loud noises, consult your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to alleviate his anxiety during the fireworks and upcoming thunderstorm season. Never leave pets outside unattended during these times. In their fear, pets who wouldn't normally leave the yard may escape risking injury or death. According to national statistics, lost pet calls increased 69 percent during 4th of July festivities in 2011.

Make sure pets are microchipped so YHS can quickly return them to you. You can microchip your pet for $20 at YHS, 1605 Sundog Ranch Road, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or at the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic, 2989 Centerpointe East, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on any Friday.

The Dog is the picture above is Shaggy Shane.  When rescued by YHS he was one big knotted mat. The groomers gave Shaggy an A++ for being so well-mannered and enjoyable to work with. Shaggy Shane, a 3-year-old Dandie Dinmont terrier mix, loves people, walks great on the leash and meets other dogs with considerate interest. He responds to silly childlike antics, engaging with his handler before happily sitting down and offering his paw for a shake. He should be a great pet for younger children. Shaggy will be available for adoption by auction on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at YHS 1625 Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Yavapai Humane Society cares for the neediest animals

YHS volunteer Ruth Steffes
provided hospice care during
the final weeks of Hershey’s life.
The Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) subscribes to the ethic that all life is sacred; and homeless pets ought not to be killed simply because of a lack of space, resources or out of convenience. This ethic leads to taking responsibility for the animals in our care, rather than excusing problems and hiding consequences.

The most difficult animals for any shelter to care for are those suffering from a disease, injury or congenital or hereditary condition likely to adversely affect the animal's health in the future. Animal shelters across the United States almost universally support euthanasia for these animals. It is for these animals that YHS launched an innovative hospice program.

Providing hospice care for animals like Hershey is the right thing to do. Hershey was a 10-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever found lost and alone by a Good Samaritan at Lynx Lake. How he came to be lost is pure speculation. Perhaps out-of-towners lost him during a day hike and were unable to find him, so left him behind - not knowing his fate, fearing the worst.

When YHS rescued Hershey, he had no identification or name. If he had a microchip, YHS could have found his owner and Hershey could have spent his last days at home. That is, if his owner even wanted him anymore. A less appealing speculation is that the owner knew Hershey's medical conditions were serious and felt the only way to deal with it was to abandon him in the woods, to let nature take its course.

Whatever the reason for him being lost, on Thursday, March 15 he was found. YHS named him Hershey because of his color and disposition (everybody loves chocolate). There was never a time Hershey's tail wasn't wagging.

At first we thought we were simply dealing with a lost dog with a pesky skin condition. Ruth Steffes, a longtime YHS partner who specializes in rescuing and re-homing Golden Retrievers was smitten by Hershey and volunteered to foster him.

At her request and expense, Ruth took Hershey to Dr. Hufford at Thumb Butte Animal Hospital where the good doctor discovered additional complications - including a large tumor attached to Hershey's spleen. Due to Hershey's age and condition, he was not a candidate for surgery. Dr. Hufford worked with Ruth to stabilize Hershey's condition through his final weeks, making sure he was pain free and able to enjoy life.

And Hershey did enjoy his last weeks of life with Ruth (an angel disguised as a human). However, on Memorial Day, the swelling in Hershey's abdomen increased. He lost control of his bladder and could not lie down comfortably. Two days later, the decision was made to end Hershey's suffering.

The YHS Hospice program extended Hershey's quality of life over two months. While two months may not seem worth the effort, remember we're talking dog months. A dog can pack a lot of life and love into two months, and Hershey did just that, touching many of us.

Hershey was lovingly helped to the Rainbow Bridge by Ruth and her good friend, Robin Fox. The two ladies held him close to their hearts as he peacefully slipped away, a far cry from dying alone in the woods.

If you would like more information on providing short-term hospice care or other types of foster care please consider enrolling in one of our life-affirming programs. YHS routinely provides all the medical care the animal will need, including euthanasia when the time comes. All you need to provide is food (which we can help with), water, shelter and love. If interested, call 445-2666, ext. 18.

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

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Summer Tips to keep your pet safe

Memorial Day signaled the unofficial start of summer and the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) wants to remind everyone to think carefully about how the warm weather may impact their pets. Meteorologists are predicting a warmer than average summer so it's important to take extra precautions this year, whether taking a walk, going for a drive or just enjoying the backyard with your pet.

Be safe outdoors: While Fido may leap at the opportunity for a joy ride, leaving a pet alone in a parked car during warm weather can be deadly. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day the temperature inside a car, even with the windows cracked open, can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes, and after 30 minutes the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Even when the temperature outside is a balmy 72 degrees, the temperature inside your car can rocket to a fatal 116 degrees in less than an hour.

Keep in mind that exercising in the summer heat is just as uncomfortable for your dog as it is for you. Take your walks in the early mornings or late evening, not in the heat of midday, and remember that the hot pavement can seriously burn your dog's paws.

Keep your dog secure safely inside moving cars whenever you travel. Letting your dog travel with his head outside an open window is dangerous-flying particles and debris can cause eye damage, and some pets have actually fallen out of moving vehicles. Dogs should never ride unsecured in the back of pickup trucks, regardless of how fast you are moving.

Beware loud noises: Summer is a time of thunder, fireworks and loud music in the courthouse plaza. Loud noises tolerated by humans are painful to dogs. The frequencies dogs hear are twice as many as humans, and they can hear and distinguish sounds at four times the range of humans. For example, a sound you hear at 20 meters your dog can detect, pinpoint and interpret at 80 meters.

A dog's hearing is so sensitive that continued sharp or percussive noises can cause real suffering. Many people attribute a dog's pathological fear of thunderstorms or explosives to a bad experience as a puppy, when the real reason for his cringing is physical pain.

The days after a fireworks display or thunderstorm are the busiest at YHS because so many dogs escape from home and yards in reaction to these loud noises. Keep your pets indoors during these times and make sure they are microchipped so we can find you should they escape and find us.

Environmental hazards: Heartworms, ticks and fleas are more of a problem in warmer months and can cause serious health problems. Contact the YHS Wellness Clinic (771-0547) about products to help keep your pet healthy and parasite free.

Keep your feline friends safe and content indoors by providing them with cat grass, window perches, and other tools that bring the great outdoors inside. Or consider screening in a porch or outdoor patio where you can allow your kitty some safe outdoor time. Also, many cats can be easily trained to walk on a harness (never just use a collar and leash), allowing you both to enjoy leisure time in the yard.

Avoid using cocoa mulch, pesticides, fertilizers and other gardening products that pose hazards to pets, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Summertime is fire season. Remember, in an evacuation never leave your pets behind - if conditions aren't safe for you, they're not safe for your pets. Visit for tips on disaster preparedness.

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