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 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 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 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 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 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

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