Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Looking for a new furry family member? How to be prepared. Pt 1 - Making the decision

The Holidays are a time for the celebration of personal culture via the practice of giving gifts.  Each year many homes hope to make their households brighter with the addition of a furry friend.  Whether the new family member is for a child or an adult; a surprise gift or a planned addition, it is important that potential new pet parents consider some questions before they start their search for the perfect furry friend.

The first question you must ask yourself is whether everyone in the household is on board for the new pet.
Giving pets as gifts is so fulfilling.  There's nothing like getting that surprise pet you've always wanted.  But it is also important that everyone in the household from Mom to Dad to the oldest and youngest sibling agrees that the new pet is a good idea.  Sadly, rescues take in gift pets on a regular basis because one or half of the household wanted that precious furry friend, but the others in the home weren't happy with the idea.  Soon resentment can set in and the pet is being sent away for one of a plethora of excuses.  Our rescues are already too full.  Please make sure everyone wants and will love that pet so you aren't the one sending your gift to live in a rescue.

The second question is whether you are going to purchase or adopt your new pet.
As a fervent rescue supporter, I have to say that I hope you choose to adopt.  I'll delve further into why below.  But as an American who is very proud of my right to choose, I do realize that not everyone wants to adopt.  Some people prefer purchasing a puppy or kitten from a breeder.  And because of that, I will also discuss the items to consider when a family wants to purchase a puppy or kitten.  I find it even more important that people who purchase their pets are informed of the pitfalls and expenses of buying without doing some research.

Adoption vs. Purchase
What is the difference between adopting and purchasing from a breeder?  There are vast differences.  When you adopt, you can always have the piece of mind that you have saved a life.  Even when you adopt from a no-kill shelter or rescue, you are assuring that some animal somewhere wasn't euthanized for crowd control in a city shelter.  How is that possible?  Well, when you adopt direct from a "kill" facility, you are tackling the problem directly by making room for one more soul.  But did you know that many rescues receive their adoptable animals from city shelters ready to euthanize?  Yes.  There are groups of people out there who walk city shelters to choose animals to save on a regular basis. There are also city shelters who post their scheduled euthanasia lists for rescues to come to their facility and take however many they have room for.  Sometimes, when transportation is available, animals from city shelters are even sent across the US to safety.  So you see, even when you are adopting from a no-kill rescue, you are still making room in a city shelter somewhere for another pet to live and find a forever home.  In part two of this series, I will offer some tips on where to look and what questions to ask a rescue when looking for an adoptive family member.

When you purchase from a pet store, you are more often than not paying for a manufactured pet.  There are always exceptions, but most of the stores who offer puppies for sale receive their stock from distributers.  Distributers purchase their stock from Puppy Mills.  These Puppy Mill breeders may very well be USDA approved, but they are not regulated very well and they are filthy operations.  It has been proven that Puppy Mill dogs are less healthy due to the breeding and raising conditions.  Recent claims have come to light that certain chain pet stores have knowingly sold sick puppies to the public.  And claims have been made that the AKC registration papers that come with those puppies are fraudulent.  Several states are beginning to enact legislation against Puppy Mill breeders due to the horrific scenes so familiar with raids on these kinds of operations.

The Today Show ran a brief informative story about why Puppy Mills are so disliked.  Some of these images are very sad, but you should see them if you plan to purchase a puppy.

For a more frank video on the conditions of Puppy Mills, please watch the HSUS's video Puppy Mill Rescue in Tennessee.  The animals in this video were bred and produced puppies to sell through the newspaper or over the internet.  It is very possible you will be purchasing a pet bred in these conditions when you answer that Craigslist ad for either kittens or puppies.

And lastly, the most recognized pet store to have known Puppy Mill associations is Petland.  There are many other pet stores who sell in this same manner, but Petland is the largest chain known to purchase puppy mill animals at this time.  One of Petland's former employees discusses his issues with their practices in this interview.  Earlier this year Animal Planet produced an investigative report on Petland.  Below is a video precluding that broadcast.

It is true that you will likely adopt a puppy mill animal from a rescue anyway, but you can be assured that the rescue will be up front with you about the origins of the animal, and it will have received proper medical care before being put up for adoption.

Purchasing from a Breeder isn't a guarrantee that you'll be sold a healthy pet either.  There are responsible breeders out there who will never sell you a sick pet, but more often than not, the breeders you will have easy access to are not those responsible breeders.  I will discuss how to go about purchasing from a responsible breeder in Part 3 of this series.

Adoption vs. Free
You've seen advertisements for free puppies or kittens on Craigslist or you've seen someone giving them away out of the back of a truck in a parking lot.  But is free really free?  Not so fast.  In Part 4 of this series, I'll break down some of the costs of veterinary care and do a side by side cost comparison between Free and Adoption.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Characters of the Nov 21st Adopt a Pet

Adopt a Pet events are often filled with interesting characters whether they be animal or human.  Some of us fall in love, some of us meet our matches, and there's almost always at least one character who gives us a reason for a good laugh.

Meet Lynx and Lorax.  These two boys are around 4 months old and they are just about the sweetest boys ever.  They've always been together and their foster hopes they can be adopted together.  Every once in a while we have some great kittens who defy logic as to why they are passed over each week for adoption.  Efah was one of those.  These two are our current head scratchers.  We're working on ideas to get them better PR so they can find a home soon.

This funny little face belongs to Nibbles.  Nibbles is quite an interesting story.  First we thought she was a He.  Oops.  Sorry Nibbles.  Then she just decided to stop growing.  She came down with the basic sniffles and worried the bajeezus out of us as she stayed under 2 lbs for quite a long time.  Then all of a sudden she decided she wanted to fight to live after all!  She began fighting the crud.  And she started growing.  She still has sneezy remnants here and there, but otherwise she's bright and happy.  She's also rather inquisitive.  She's quite literally one of our miracle kitties.  When Nibbles gets a home, I think we're going to celebrate.

This is MK, short for Mama Kitty.  She's trouble.  Why is she trouble?  MK is trouble because I adore Torties.  I have two.  If I could possibly have more cats, I'd have another tortie.  Frankly, I'd probably steal MK!  This tortie has a personality to die for.  She is super sweet and calm.  And let's not forget she's beautiful!  She's also a Manx, which means she doesn't have a tail.  She just has a little stub.  MK was very popular at this adopt a pet event.  She charmed three different people to take her home, but none of them were quite ready for a cat.  I hope somebody takes her home very soon because she is far too sweet and dignified to stay in the foster system for long.

Meet Trouble #2.  This is Hurricane.  And from what I'm told, his name fits.  His foster reports that whenever you hear a crash or bang, you can bet Hurricane is standing right next to the problem.  His sister, Cyclone doesn't play with him much, in fact, she often looks on at his hijinx in horror.  But that's not all Hurricane is about.  He is also a purring machine!  And he loves to cuddle.  He needs a family who will play with him a lot and who doesn't mind cleaning up after the storm in between cuddles.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I've been away from this blog for far too long.  To tell the truth I've been cheating on this blog with Facebook.  I used to be one of those people who could write essays upon essays at any given time.  But Twitter and Facebook lured me in with their short bursts of updates on real life.  I could even post pictures there!  At least on Facebook.

But I miss my blog.  I miss the real substance it allows in my postings.  So I'm making a concerted effort to revive this blog.

For a while, this blog will be mostly about the foster cats.  I'm going to continue to try not to bog this area down with politics or news.  I'll save that for my Facebook statuses.  But eventually I'd like to get back to gardening and I'd like to get back to blogging about food.  I really need to start documenting my costuming again as well.  Since my focus in life is the cats, though, the focus on the blog should be on the cats.  I'll also likely document my struggles in keeping my ailing dog healthy in her last days on Earth because that is another thing my life revolves around right now.

If you've stuck with me through the dry spell, thanks!  If you are new to the blog, welcome!  And if you are stopping by just to peek, I hope I can keep your interest.  For now, the only thing left to say is, look out blogosphere!  I'm back!  Prepare for kitties!!!