2222
2222

2222
2222
2222
2222
2222
2222
2222

2222

2222
2222
2222
2222
2222
2222
The Pets Section
Animal Health and Welfare - Tips for your Pet from the Good Vet!
2
Our resident Vet Dr. John Zavaro gives excellent advice in this video care column called "Pet Tips". Take good care of your pets ... they look to you for help and affection. (Contact Dr. Zavaro HERE)
2
2
Kyle Dickerson - Nashville Newzine Staff Writer
2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man’s Best Friend

Though Charlie was not his name, that is what we’ll call him. And it has been some time since I last saw him. Every month or so, he would stop by the place where I worked. He was never alone when he came by, and the kids I worked with were always glad to see him and his companion pull into the parking lot. He had the type of easy calm that drew people toward him. A sense of peace seemed to follow with him. The kids loved him, and he loved them back. Some days he would sit with them and listen as they read books. Other days he would quietly watch their faces as they spoke of home and the families they missed. Then there were the days when Charlie and one of the kids would sit side by side, looking out into the afternoon sky in silence. He never tired of his work, and the lives he touched were richer for having known him.

When I walked away from that job, Charlie was hard at work. And as I understand, still today he is touching the hearts of those around him and changing the lives of many. Charlie is a therapy dog, trained and certified to work specifically with children and adults with special needs. His is a job that only few can do, and even fewer do so well.

Throughout history we have seen man take up friendship with the animals around him. From elephants to monkeys, raccoons to tigers, the human race has found companionship in most every creature that walks this earth. And though connections have been made and many great bonds formed, still the most common of these companions is the canine.

Statistics say that dog owners are 25% happier, live an average of 3 years longer, are 15% less likely to become ill, are typically more socially involved, and are 60% less likely to face a serious bout of depression than those who are not owners. Are those cut and dried? Statistics never are. They’re more of a guideline. But the fact still remains that the longing for companionship lingers within us all. We satisfy that longing in many ways. We have our spouses and friends, colleagues and coworkers. There are workout buddies and the people with whom we attend school or church. And still there is something special about the connection between a person and their dog.

These wonderful animals have been known to spend days in the wilderness, unwilling to leave the side of an injured owner. They have assisted in the recovery of lost children. They have brought meaning back into the lives of the elderly, and established order and structure in the chaotic existence of some of our nation’s most violent criminals. Are there other pets? Sure. There are people who would rather own a cat or horse or rabbit or snake, as opposed to a dog. And many people find that same love and companionship in those animals. Still there is no denying the awesome power one’s dog can have their life.

If you think you may want to become a dog owner, but are unsure what it will take and how to get started, visit your local vet, animal shelter, or canine rescue. They will be glad to talk with you, provide literature, and some even offer a “furry furlough” service so you can spend time in your own home with your possible new family addition. Wherever you choose to go in life, we always hope that joy and peace finds you. You never know...that may come in the form of a furry friend.

Walden's Puddle - Tennessee Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center.
(Click on the Photo Above for a Video Tour of this Wonderful Facility.)
To Contact Walden's Puddle - CONTACT .

Finding Joy in Feeding Native Tennessee Wild Birds - READ ARTICLE.
2
Debby Leddy
Assistant Shelter Director/Education
Williamson County Animal Control
138 Claude Yates Drive
Franklin, TN 37064 615-790-5590
debbyl@williamson-tn.org

How To Choose An Adult Shelter Dog
By Debby Leddy

Many articles have been written about choosing the right pet for you or your family. I read articles and compile materials for educational presentations, which are helpful, but I keep returning to my many years working at the shelter and all the experiences I’ve had over the past 16 years. It is very important to me that the families coming to the shelter to adopt a dog KNOW what they are getting and base their decision on their life style and understand the commitment they are undertaking. Don’t choose a pet that “looks so pitiful” and shy. Do not adopt because you feel sorry for the dog. To grow and function as a healthy balanced pet you need to devote time to giving the dog confidence, basic training and set limits. Dogs do not really benefit from being spoiled and babied! It is a big responsibility for a dog to feel he is in charge of his family. He may act as if he likes it, but it is stressful for him. Feeling sorry for the dog and his past situation only feeds your need for being the “only one who rescued him”. The happiest dogs are those who are taught basic commands, have limits set, are exercised properly and loved unconditionally.

When visiting the shelter look at each individual dog and see what appeals to you. Don’t be “put off” if the dog is barking. Some dogs only bark in their kennels and when people visit they get overly excited. If a dog seems shy, note if he is shaking and will not come to the front of the kennel or just seems afraid. Often the animal may have just been moved into the adoption kennel and is making an adjustment to new sights and sounds. Shelter animals are stressed while here, but should not appear “terrified.” It is important that you get each dog out, that is similar to what you want, (size and age) and interact with him away from the other animals. Dogs are very different when taken from the kennel to a quiet place. His true personality will become clearer away from the other dogs. I always hope that people are looking at “inside beauty”, rather than “outside beauty”! Some dogs do not show well in a kennel environment. German Shepherds (you know I love the breed) are almost always the worst! See how the dog interacts with each member of your family. When taken out to the play yard, does he come to you? Or is he more interested in sniffing the whole play yard? Will he respond to toys? Does he jump a lot? Does he calm down quickly? PLEASE….don’t let the kids choose which one THEY want!! This is a big decision for a family and of course your child should not be afraid of the dog and be pleased with the family choice, but kids look for “cute” and that doesn’t last. Do not expect a child, especially under age twelve, to take full responsibility for a new pet. Certainly give the child duties concerning the pets, but I have witnessed a mom who brought a puppy back to our shelter after adopting a week earlier, accompanied by her 7 year old child, stating “We are bringing back little Mikie’s dog, because HE won't take care of Fluffy.” The child was devastated and crying and Mom was clearly expecting too much from Mikie! Ouch! Children learning responsibility is great, but you cannot expect even a 17 year old to always take total care of a pet. Making Mikie bring back his dog was not the lesson he needed at age seven! Give children expectations they can handle and realize YOU are mainly the responsible one! Look to the shelter for help and suggestions! We want to be there for you, your pet and family!

When you do decide which dog to adopt, the first thing you do before the dog enters your home; take him on a long walk. This first walk begins the lifelong bond that you will share and experience great memories for years to come. Be realistic with your expectations when you adopt an adult pet. Just because the dog’s kennel card states he is housebroken doesn’t mean he won’t have an accident. Work very hard the first few weeks making the dog familiar with the new environment and house rules. Don’t bring him back on day two, saying he chewed one of your shoes and you can’t keep him! When you are truly ready for a pet, know that good comes with bad. Pets are not disposable and given away because of inconvenience! Know what to expect and stick with it! Nothing is more rewarding than having a family pet who is well behaved, properly exercised and loved.

Cherish your faithful friend and he will return love and loyalty many times over. When the sad moment arrives, when he is very old, tired and doesn’t seem to enjoy life as it was, be kind….think of the dignity he had as a young dog. Respect him and his pain and discomfort. Look into his eyes and you will know. He will tell you. I would only tell you this from my experience. My heart has broken when the time has come for one of my buddies. The hardest decision to make was torn by the fact I couldn’t seem to come to terms with; am I thinking more of myself or my friend who always thought of me first? It’s tough. It is the very worst part of loving and owning a dog until his golden years and a tragic illness or accident occurs. Many times I have sat at the shelter crying very large tears with someone who has just lost their buddy. The memories stay in my heart and always surface when someone else is hurting as I have before. The memories remain forever tucked in your pocket, ready to bring out without a moments notice.

Molly B. and Brownie  (A True Story)
By Debby Leddy
Assistant Shelter Director/Education
Williamson County Animal Control

There are many memories from my early days at the shelter. Some memories are sad, unusual, and happy, or borderline on the bizarre. Nothing seems to touch me more than the human-animal bond. It breaks my heart to see, 17 years later; people are still becoming homeless and having to surrender their pets to animal shelters. The following story about Mollie B. and Brownie will forever remind me of that unique human-animal bond.

I never met Molly B in person, but spent three weeks seeing Brownie every day. Brownie was a brown dog with 1 white spot on her nose, about 50 pounds, attentive eyes with a never ending “tail wag”. Brownie came to us via a kind couple who lived in Williamson County and had discovered a homeless woman and her dog while in Nashville one afternoon. Molly B. was thin, tired and very weak. She was followed by a healthy looking, nondescript brown dog with a white spot on her nose. It was apparent that Molly B. fed Brownie even if she didn’t eat. The kind couple wanted to help Molly B. They asked her to stay for a couple of weeks in a health facility run by one of their friends. Molly B. was firm…. NOT if Brownie couldn’t go with her. She had lived on the streets for many years and had found Brownie as a puppy in a situation as her own. They had been together five years and nothing would separate them, even for a couple of weeks...

Then in steps Animal Control to “baby-sit” Brownie until Molly B. was stronger. It was not our custom to “board” animals in a small shelter full of animals, but the story tugged at our hearts and we promised to keep Brownie if Molly B. would go to the health facility.

Molly B. called every day to check on Brownie. Just as a mother checking on her child. She was given the report …. “She’s doing great, but misses you and soon you will be together”. “Don’t get mushy with me”, Molly would reply. But you could almost “see” her tears over the phone. Molly B. was getting stronger and the kind couple was making plans for Molly to leave the facility. She had spoken of a couple of family members in Florida, but “she hadn’t seen them in 20 years and wasn’t interested in going there”. After six years in Nashville, Mollie B. wanted Brownie to see Texas. Her “guardian angels” were skeptical, but Molly B. was stubborn. A bus ticket was bought for Molly B and plans were put in place to fly Brownie to Texas in time to reunite with Molly B. Brownie received a good bath, vaccinations, rabies shot, and health certificate and seemed to know she was on her way to Molly B. With her new collar and rabies tag jingling, her tail wouldn’t stop wagging.

Fast forward 6 months. We hadn’t heard from Molly B. but often thought of her and Brownie. Phones at the shelter were ringing as usual when I answered a call from the Los Angles police department asking if I could trace a TN rabies tag. While looking through the records, out jumped Molly B and Brownie’s name. Thinking Brownie had been separated from Molly B scared me! Being my usual “questioner”, I asked if Molly B and Brownie were OK, where are they? Can you find Molly B. so she can get her dog back?

The officer wasn’t quick to answer. “There was a woman and her dog crossing a long railroad trestle, and… the only ID found was the TN. rabies tag. Could you tell us if she had family members?” All I could say was “maybe in Florida.” My heart knew that Molly B. died with the only family member she had.

 

Dolphins ... A Whole "Herd" of Them!!
His Leg is Trying to Steal His Bone!
Baby Moose Playing in the Sprinkler.

Top Ten Descriptions of Lost Dog Reports (All True)

By Debby Leddy Williamson County Animal Shelter

Many people call the shelter to report a dog missing. We keep a record of these calls with the pet’s description to check all the strays coming into the shelter. It is always best to tell the caller to come in and see all the strays, since the descriptions aren’t always easy to interrupt.

(1) Question: “What color is your dog”? “Solid Black”. “Are there any other traits or descriptions”? Answer: “Yes, he has white feet, a blaze of white on his chest and a big white spot on his head”.
(Solid Black? It is so funny how many times this description of a “solid” color comes with other color descriptions.)

(2) Question: “How long has he been missing”? Answer: “Since I couldn’t find him”.

(3) Question: “How big is your dog”? Answer: “He comes up to the waist of my niece, Sarah”.

(4) Question: “Is your dog wearing a collar”? Answer: “No, just a rabies tag and name tag around his neck.”

(5) Question: “Is your dog friendly?” Answer: Yes, very! He just doesn’t like men, children or strangers”.

(6) Question: “Does your dog have long or short hair”? Answer: “Long hair, but very short in the places he scratches.”

(7) Question: “How much does your dog weigh?” Answer: “About as much as my son, Billy”.

(8) Question: “What breed is your dog?” Answer: “Well, he doesn’t breed anymore since we had him neutered”

(9) Question: “Is your dog a male or female?” Answer: “It’s a girl, but she still has her testicles”.

(10) Question: “What area do you live in?” Answer: “In Tennessee”.

“HOW CAN YOU TOLERATE WORKING THERE??”
Debby Leddy
Assistant Shelter Director/Education
Williamson County Animal Control

Seventeen years ago I started working at a small government run animal shelter (beside the local sewer department) in Williamson County, Franklin Tn. Boy was I in for the ride of my life! The euthanasia numbers were horrific. Many times I wanted to give up and remove my mind and body from the sadness inside those walls. I would have waves of positive energy believing if I worked very hard I would be able to adopt out all the animals putting to end to the need for euthanasia. A very naive way of thinking! As the numbers grew each day my heart dropped. Realizing, every animal that came to us was impossible to place in a home. Sometimes my tears were coming from anger about the people bringing in these animals and other days because I felt so helpless in trying to make things better.

The usual “burn out” for shelter workers is five years. I wanted to make a difference and I knew five years would not be long enough! The hardest part has been the public seemly blaming our shelter (and many more across the nation) for euthanasia. When asked where I worked, it was always the same; “Oh that’s the place they kill animals, isn’t it” or “I don’t’ see how anyone could work there!” Feeling the burden of having to put animals to sleep, lack of enough homes for all the pets, aggressive behavior and space issues hurt my soul to the core. The words “Dog Pound” tore at my heart as I worked very hard every day to do all that was humanly possible to save the animals. Our shelter must accept all animals that are brought to us regardless of behavior, available space or physical condition of the animal. While those are hard terms to operate under, what would happen to that animal if we turned him away?

Fortunately over the past years our shelter was rebuilt inside a beautiful park and the positive changes I have seen keeps me going. Our euthanasia numbers are lower, adoptions higher….but we still have many animals come to us each day. It will always be an on going climb but we’ll still be here climbing that mountain every day!

Why Adopt A Shelter Animal?
By Debby Leddy

Often people are skeptical about adopting from a shelter. They believe the animal is a reject or damaged goods with problems the previous owner was unable to control. Unfortunately many people still believe a pet is “disposable” and bring them to a shelter after normal behavior (chewing, housebreaking ect.) becomes a problem. My mission is to educate potential owners about dog behavior and training and to enable them to be a part of their pet’s progress so the dog will stay with them for life!

The best part of working at our shelter is seeing the many dogs, cats, rabbits, and hamsters going to loving homes! It’s very difficult to see people returning a puppy after two days claiming they cannot house break them or “they chewed my husband’s shoes!” Many people are not prepared for the responsibility of owning a pet, no matter WHERE they are adopted from! Shelter dogs are under a lot of stress just being housed in a kennel environment. The noise, being confined and general shelter activity makes it very difficult for a cat or dog to make an adjustment to this type of environment. Many people “feel sorry” for their adopted animal. Although this is a kind thought, the dog will not recover from insecurities and will becomes the “pack leader” of his new home. Shelter dogs and cats have an incredible gift of “truly knowing” the adopter took him from a place that was not a home and they bond very closely with their new owners!
My favorite words coming from former adopters’ of shelter animals are “I adopted a dog from you five years ago and he is the BEST dog I’ve ever had!”

As much as I always hope for the adoptions of our animals, I do not want people to adopt due to; “how sad this dog looks” or from the fear if they don’t adopt a certain animal that he will be “put down.” Be sure you and your family have the time needed for a pet and the pet is the right choice for your family. Don’t adopt a particular dog because you had that breed of dog as a child! Is this dog right for you NOW? Open your heart, give a needy dog or cat a second chance, just make sure you realize that this “second chance” is a life time commitment! They are counting on you!