We often get requests to make smaller donation that can contribute to the fix of an animal on GetYourFix. FiXiT has dabbled in crowdfunding, most recently with a successful campaign for a Super Spay/Neuter Event. When a few of us come together, we can accomplish so much! Microfunding is a type of crowdfunding, but makes the project goal smaller in scale with a more focused impact. By using this strategy, we can get more spay and neuter surgeries funded for animals in need profiled on GetYourFix.org.
This week we are launching “Fix of the Week,” a new microfunding option that will pool donations together to help fund an additional 52 animals profiled on GetYourFix per year.
A new Getyourfix profile will be featured every Monday with donations gathered through the next Sunday in order to pay for the cost of the featured animal’s spay or neuter surgery. Instead of each donor sponsoring one fix in its entirety, multiple donors can pool money together – as little as $10 – to sponsor a spay or neuter. We will feature the profiles on FiXiT-Foundation.org, GetYourFix, and social media.
For the Fix of the Week, we are using youcaring.com to gathering donations. This is a FREE online fundraising platform – no precious dollars lost that could help animals. Your donations go straight to FiXiT’s PayPal account, so that we can pay the clinic directly for the surgery at a nearest low cost spay/neuter clinic of the featured animal.
To launch FiX of the Week, we have chosen a special pit bull terrier, Stitch. He is a pit bull mix who lost his first mom to cancer. His second mom, Mary, agreed to take Stitch in so he could still be close to his family during the hard times, but shortly after she lost her job. The financial strain has been very hard and plans to get him up to date on his shots and neutered have not happened. He has a loving family that takes him everywhere, but he needs to keep his hormones in check around females.
You can make a donation and read more about Stitch’s story by clicking on his picture.
There are a lot of things out there that can be dangerous or destructive to all kinds of animals from lions to mice. And while human beings are far and away the greatest danger to virtually every animal in the world, the most immediate risk humans pose to animals is to household pets.
Dogs, cats, and even small rodents or amphibians can be victims of abuse and/or neglect at the hands of their owners. Moreover, because these animals are domesticated and used to having their needs met by people, they are often unable to find sufficient shelter, food, or other basic needs when their owners fail them. Likewise, most of these animals, even while being abused or neglected, are restricted to a specific area, eliminating the possibility for them to provide for themselves even if they could potentially do so.
Chances are that at some point, you have seen an animal you suspected might be being abused or neglected. It can but disheartening or even horrible to see but what is worse is feeling as though there’s nothing you can do about the situation. Thankfully, you do have options and as a human with the ability to effectively communicate and advocate for the animals you see, you have a moral obligation to do so.
Handling strangers or unknown situations may be intimidating but if you pay attention, you may be surprised how frequently you can see it happening. Say you’re driving down a country road and you get lost. You pull over, waiting for your GPS to work or making a phone call for directions, when you see a dog tied to a stake in someone’s yard. You can see his ribs from where you are and he’s behaving aggressively – both are signs of a very hungry animal who is not being properly cared for. Now, you don’t know who lives in this house but this is clearly not the result of someone who forgot to put food out that day; this scenario describes ongoing neglect and possibly abuse (somewhat depending upon the type of breed). You do not want to knock on the door and confront the owner; as much as you may want to take the dog with you, it’s best not to approach the dog as you do not know how the dog may respond as well as how an owner who may be inside and see you taking the dog may respond. In this scenario, you would be putting yourself and the dog at risk.
So what do you do? Call animal control, your local Humane Society or SPCA, or local police. These kinds of entities typically work together so that when you make a report to one, they will reroute your information as necessary to the appropriate agency depending upon your area. Provide as much information as possible including a physical address if you can get one, a description of the home, a description of the dog, and whether or not you happened to observe any potential risks such as weapons. If you happen to know that their children living at the address, inform police of that as well as the animal abuse and child abuse frequently go together. Be sure to let the agency know precisely what concerned you about the situation so that they can prioritize effectively.
When you suspect abuse or neglect of an animal, it is always right to make a report. And as hard as it may be to walk away, your safety is important as well. Communicate with those responding to your report as to the severity of the situation and know that they can handle these situations appropriately without undue risk to yourself or the pet in question.
photo credit: Terry Bain via photopin cc
Assuming that you have made your best decision as to what you plan to do with your pet during this holiday season, it is now time to ensure if that the environment if your animal will be in (whether traveling, at home, or boarding) will be safe, healthy, and as stress free as possible for your pet.
If you’re planning on doing some traveling this holiday season, make sure you plan ahead of time what you intend to do with your pets. If you are traveling by plane, research the airline and airport guidelines well in advance to prevent any last minute surprises. Make sure you have shot records, an appropriate kennel or carrier, sufficient food and drink, and if possible, some type of toy or chew that can help keep them entertained.
If you’ll be traveling by car, make sure that you take appropriate safety precautions to ensure your pet has a smooth ride. Whenever possible, use a hard case or carrier for your pet to provide extra safety in case of an accident. If a hard kennel is impractical for your pet, consider purchasing a travel harness instead; whatever you decide, do not allow your pet to have free rein in the car. Be sure to take frequent stops so they can go to the restroom and plan on taking them for at least one or two walks at a rest stop, depending on the length of your drive.
At your destination
Once you have arrived at your destination be sure to give your pet some time to get acclimated before you leave them alone; also make sure that they have an opportunity to go to the restroom appropriately and that they have food and water -and even if you had these items available during your travel, your pet may not have eaten or use the restroom due to anxiety.
Regardless of where your pet will be and who will be providing for their care, there are a few things you’ll want to make certain if you consider and prepare for. First, be sure that your pet is current on all shots and vaccinations and that you have their record of vaccinations with you, including a copy for anyone who might have any time with your pet away from you (a pet sitter, boarding facility, airline, and so on). Secondly, if your pet takes any medication be sure that you have a sufficient amount for the holidays and that you provide it to anyone who may need to administer it to your pet, along with full written instructions on how to do so. If your pet has any allergies or requires a specialized diet, make sure that information is given to your pet care provider as well. If you intend to keep your pet at home but will be having friends or family over during the holiday season, go ahead and get your dog a special treat (or at least make sure he has access to a favorite toy or other comforting object) that will help your pet to handle the invasion of their home.
The holidays are truly stressful but the payoff can be great – special time with friends and family who are near and dear to our hearts. It is nevertheless crucial to remember that your beloved pet is feeling the stress too and usually doesn’t even get a payoff for it. Do your part and be the responsible, loving pet parent that you are. A few simple actions on your part can save your pet a lot of grief and keep the holidays safe and happy for everyone.
Many of us are battling or getting ready to battle an early winter storm this week. While this can be a welcome opportunity to enjoy the upcoming holiday season and all of the winter weather fun, we can’t forget that the cold we enjoy may not be so much fun for our animals.
Inside pets are automatically safer when it comes to cold weather simply by not being constantly exposed to the cold outdoors. But it’s imperative that you remember to provide your inside pets with sufficient heating even when you are not around. If you and your loved ones snuggle up with extra blankets at night, make sure your pets have extra blankets as well. Of course, inviting them into your bed as your own personal heater is my choice!
Almost all dogs need a little outdoor time to do their business. Keep their coats a little longer than during the summer time and breeds with short coats or small bodies (dobermans, greyhounds, whippets, and toy dogs) could benefit from a nice sweater or jacket. Keep the hair in between their toes trim to prevent snow bunnies. And beware of “salt” products that melt ice and clear snow, they can be quite toxic. Use booties to protect their footsies or clean their paws after every outdoor outing.
We don’t leave our animals in the hot car during the summer. Same goes for the winter time. Make sure to avoid taking trips to the shops when you have your animals in tow.
Try to bring all animals inside or out of the elements during the winter, if possible, but when it is not make sure that they have sufficient shelter and warmth. For dogs, invest in a sturdy doghouse or similar shelter with heavy flaps or other features to protect your pet from wind, snow, and ice. For feral cats, a container that is 2′ x 3′ is optimal, but at least 18 inches clearance is necessary, according to animal charity Alley Cat Allies. Bigger is not necessarily better, because it is harder to regulate the temperature in a big open space – think high ceiling homes. Provide insulation that is water repellent, such as straw (leftover stalks from harvested crops) – not blankets or even hay (the dried edible grass) that absorb moisture.
No Popsicles, please
Make sure that your pet has access to food and water that is not frozen; cats and dogs in particular must have plenty of safe drinking water for optimal health. Some tips to keep the water from freezing, as quickly: serve it up warm, add a pinch of sugar, use dark colored bowls and keep them in a sunny spot, or place it in a small Styrofoam container. Remember: do not put the water in their housing, as getting your animal wet presents a serious risk of hypothermia!
With a little forethought, winter can be a super fun and safe time for the whole family!
With Thanksgiving fast approaching and Christmas just around the corner, it’s easy to see how time seems to be getting away from us in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Between traveling, hosting, gift giving, spending time with the family, and so on, it becomes very easy for family pets to be overlooked. But while you are lost in your own stress, you may be surprised how stressed your pet can get and how easy it can be to alleviate that stress with just a little bit of effort.
When making your holiday plans, there are several things you’ll want to consider in order to make the best decision for you and your pet. If you plan to host an event or allow others to stay with you during the holiday, you’ll need to make appropriate and decisions regarding not only your own pet but also whether or not your guests may want to bring a pet as well. Consider how well socialized your pet is, how well socialized you think of their pet may be, and whether or not you think it is feasible for the pets to be safe together. Consider the comfort of your guests as well when it comes to fears, allergies, and other legitimate considerations. If you a suspect that there is likely to be a problem between one of your guests and your pet, decide whether or not an you are willing to board your pet and then speak to your guest about the issue, being honest with them about what you are or are not willing to do to accommodate.
If you intend for your pet to travel with you for the holiday, you obviously need to communicate your intention with whomever you may be staying with and be respectful of their boundaries or decisions. If your pet will have to spend the entire trip away from you, locked in a laundry room or similar, you may decide that it’s a better choice for everyone for you to consider boarding your pet.
Whether you host others or travel with your pet, remember that it is likely to be a stressful experience for your animal, even if they stay in the comfort of their own home. Having other people in their area may feel threatening for your pet; having your attention diverted is unlikely to help as well. Whatever you decide, make sure that you take the time to give your pet some attention, reassurance, and protection if necessary (if there’s a toddler around, for example, your pet may very much need you to help them navigate this home invasion.
So whether you will be home for the holidays or not, you may find that boarding your pet the is likely to be the least stressful choice for both of you. If you don’t have a location you’ve used before, you can ask for a recommendation or referral from your veterinarian, check with Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau, or ask for a recommendation from a friend. If you will be traveling, you can also consider a home sitter who will come to your house and provide care for your pet while they’re staying in the comfort of their own home. During the holidays, it’s particularly important to use a provider you trust so that they will perform their duty even amidst their own holiday celebration. If you board your pet a or leave them up with a home sitter, be sure to contact your veterinarian and let them know that you authorize any treatment they deem necessary in the event that the person providing care for your pet feels it necessary to take them to your vet.
Marvel’s blockbuster movie, “Thor: The Dark World,” will be released this Friday. I am a big fan of the action-packed Avenger-series of Marvel movies, including the first “Thor.” I must not be the only one, because I have noticed that many pet owners registered on GetYourFix have named their dogs and cats after the movies’ Norse-mythology inspired characters: Thor and his nemesis, Loki.
Are any of the following animals, currently profiled on GetYourFix, worthy of their god’s namesakes? Their caregivers have opened their hearts and homes to these animals, but all need your support to get their little gods fixed. Read their stories and judge for yourself.
You can make a SUPER impact by sponsoring a neuter!
Click on their pictures to go to these profiles – then click the Sponsor My Fix button to get started today. You will be given two easy option to sponsor: 1) contacting their owners directly through GetYourFix and offering your help or 2) making a flat $100 donation so that FiXiT will handle all of the arrangements with the owner and clinic.
With your support, we can put an end to companion animal overpopulation!
It’s National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week here in the United States, and we want to celebrate the good that animal shelters across the country are doing for our communities. Animal shelters play a critical role in the health and safety of not only the animals they take in but also of the individuals in that community.
First, animal shelters help control the pet population. Obviously, we here at the FiXiT want to minimize the number of cats, dogs, and other household pets that are homeless and at risk. Unfortunately, there simply are not enough loving homes who are in a situation where they can take in as many animals as there are out there. When animals are not spayed and neutered, overpopulation occurs at alarming rates. Animal shelters ensure that the cats and dogs that come through their facility are properly fixed in order to prevent overpopulation.
Second, animal shelters match pets with loving families. While some keep all feel strongly about a purebred animal purchased through a licensed breeder, many potential pet owners simply want a chance to experience the love and joy a pet can give. Some of these families may not have the money to purchase a purebred puppy but may be able to provide financially for a dog’s needs otherwise. Animal shelters are overflowing with cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies, who want a family to love and care for. Animal shelters are able to help these pets find homes that will be healthy and safe.
But don’t overlook the impact adoption has on the humans involved. Because of the work that animal shelters do, many families and individuals are able to participate in the act of caring for an loving and other living creature. Research has shown that individuals who are elderly or disabled can experience emotional and physical improvement of their condition after adopting a pet. Many families would not feel complete without a cat or dog. From young children to teens to adults to seniors, having and loving a pet can literally be a life changing experience.
Third, animal shelters rehabilitate and care for animals that have been abused. We’ve all seen pictures of dogs who have been used for fighting, horses that have been neglected and left to starve, cats that have been badly injured but do not receive help, and more. For pet lovers, we all want to be able to rescue every animal out there who is not being properly cared for. But the reality of family life is that we all have other obligations. Parents of young children can’t bring a dog who was just rescued from a dog fight into their home, pet owners have to protect their existing pets from potential disease, and most of us have to go to work and can’t provide the round-the-clock care some of these animals need.
But animal shelters can. At a shelter, staff and volunteers are able to rehabilitate, nurse, and socialize animals that have been discarded or abused. They have the policies and equipment – not to mention the love and patience – it takes in order to do these things that most of us as individuals cannot do.
If you haven’t given it any thought, now’s the time to appreciate your local animal shelter(s) as well as larger scale organizations that support them. Even if you don’t have pets, you are safer and your community is healthier when animal shelters are able to do their job.
While your thoughts of appreciation are wonderful, don’t forgets that the best way to appreciate your local animal shelter is to support it. Whether through a donation, volunteer hours, or helping raise awareness, if you truly appreciate the work that these organizations are doing, help them keep doing it.
Over the past week, I have had another eye-opening experience on St. Croix – nothing strange there. I learned that one resident of the island, just two blocks from the local animal shelter, was caring for as many as 40 dogs at his home. This came to light when a member of the shelter staff and a volunteer, the director of the humane education program, came across his home and starting a dialogue with the man while promoting FiXiT’s free spay/neuter program in the neighborhood.
Next thing I know, I am making almost daily visits to this home, a converted grocery store, picking up the dogs he is willing to relinquish to the shelter and those that he is willing to get fixed. Today I returned four of his adult dogs (pictured below), all of which are of the “Cruzan mutt” variety. Fit with matching red collars, they now are spayed and neutered through FiXiT’s Final Fix program. Several organizations have pooled resources to help 15 of these dogs so far, several needing additional medical attention. We are scheduled to spay/neuter another batch next week, but there are so many more that need support to solve the problem.
It is easy to call this man a hoarder. He is a repeat offender of this kind of dog accumulating activity and he obviously doesn’t give many of his puppy’s puppies away, but the situation has made me consider how we can help people that find themselves in a similar predicament. He probably started with a small number of adult animals that then quickly created many (MANY) more – a slippery slope.
In fact, we know this is a common problem contributing to the overpopulation problem. Nearly half of all GetYourFix registered users asking for help have “households with more than one animal that needs to be fixed”. It is also a problem on St. Croix. Of the people that call us to get free spay and neuter support, one quarter of them have more than one animal that they are getting altered at that time. As many people are reluctant to fix the ones they think are cute, want to breed, are male, are too young (etc.), this is a conservative estimate of those that have a multiple unaltered animals in the household.
The problem is that as the number of animals increases, so does the financial investment to resolve it. Even at a low cost spay/neuter clinic, the cost can be overwhelming for people of any socioeconomic status.
SUPER SPAY/NEUTER EVENT!
We want to add some traction to this slippery slope to prevent the kind-hearted people from getting into an unmanageable situation in which animals suffer. Our solution is to provide free spay and neuter to everyone that would otherwise not be able to get their animals fixed. On St. Croix, this includes hosting a SUPER spay/neuter event.
Our campaign on LoveAnimals.org has only 23 days to go. We need $661 to reach our goal and provide help to 60 animals on the island. Please give your support to help us reach our goal and continue our journey of ending overpopulation in this community.
There are plenty of reasons for us to encourage you to consider adopting a senior pet. What may not be as obvious is how adopting a senior dog might be the best choice for you and your family; you may be surprised at the numerous reasons why you should consider choosing a senior dog.
Senior dogs require less time, attention, and physical effort. Whether you have a busy schedule or simply like some downtime, a puppy can be very time intensive. Between training, exercise, and simple demands for attention, puppies can take up an awful lot of time and effort. With a senior dog, while attention and exercise are still necessary, they are typically less time intensive, leaving you with a lot more freedom. Senior dogs are also often a great choice for people with disabilities or limited mobility since they don’t require as much vigorous exercise.
With senior dogs, you know what you’re getting. Most of the time, when you adopt a senior dog you can be privy to its entire history, including any health problems it may have as well as behavioral patterns. Alternatively, when you adopt a young puppy, you may find six months in that your dog suffers from serious health problems or is aggressive or otherwise problematic. With older dogs comes a lot of knowledge that can help you choose the right dog for you and your family without such a big risk.
You can teach an older dog new tricks. Contrary to myth, older dogs can oftentimes pick up on training faster than puppies due to their calm nature. Older dogs are also more likely to already be housebroken.
Senior dogs tend to adjust more easily. Because older dogs tend to be more calm, they are often more relaxed about changes in their environment or situation. As a result, not only are you more likely to have an easy transition when adopting the dog, you can also be reassured that senior dogs are less likely to feel overwhelmed or threatened by children and thus may be safer for your child to be around.
Senior dogs don’t require as many years of commitment as younger dogs. Although adopting a senior dog is just as much of a commitment as adopting a younger dog, the reality is that a younger dog is far more likely to live a longer life. For those people who are concerned about perhaps not wanting or being able to commit to 15-20 years, an older dog may be the perfect solution. In fact, senior dogs are often recommended for individuals that are older and may not be able to make a long-term commitment.
There are plenty of reasons that adopting a senior dog may be the right choice for you and your family. Of course, it’s also important to remember that when you adopt a senior dog, you’re likely saving a life. Older dogs are surrendered to animal shelters all the time by families who want a puppy instead of keeping an animal who has been loyal to them for years. And because most families want to adopt puppies, older dogs are often overlooked and are typically among the first pets to be euthanized when the shelter can’t find a new owner. Thus, adopting a senior dog is genuinely not only a life-changing event it can be a lifesaving one as well.
October 26 is National Pit Bull Awareness Day. Few animal controversies elicit as much attention and emotion as the perceived danger of pit bulls, even making its way into law books. As a result, more and more pit bulls are being abandoned, euthanized, accused of cruelty and aggression, and more. Complicating the issue is that many of the myths surrounding pit bulls have some basis in reality, making it harder to dispute claims that pit bulls are a danger to society.
Are pit bulls more aggressive?
Yes and no. Because pit bulls pack a lot of power into a relatively small package, they have been used for dog fights for a tremendously long time. Owners who wanted to win these fights purposely bred their pets to increase their overall aggression, producing offspring that is stronger and more aggressive with every litter. It has been suggested that pit bulls as a group tend to be more aggressive than many other breeds; they are also very quick, small (which allows them to more easily dart in and out of dangerous situations), and so on.
Of course, it’s important to remember that pit bulls are by no means the only breed that has a reputation for of a higher level of aggression. Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, and other guard dogs tended to be very aggressive and territorial. These breeds of tend to be more expensive and thus are less common pets within the general population, so their dangerous nature is often overlooked, especially compared to that of pit bulls which are very common. Moreover, owners of pit bulls may not always have as much financial resources as owners of other powerful and potentially dangerous breeds; thus, more pit bulls are abandoned or surrendered, contributing to the common fear of loose and wandering pit bulls.
One thing that is really important to understand about dog breeds is that the characteristics of each breed is outside of the animal’s control. In short, they were born that way. Nevertheless, not every member of a breed is going to fit all of the common characteristics of the breed.
So if that’s all about the breed; what about the individual dog(s)?
Any given child born to into a family may need or may not share the same characteristics of their parents or their siblings; dogs are much the same. Each individual dog will have a different disposition based on their own natural personality and characteristics that may be influenced by their breed but may not fit precisely into typical breed behavior. Moreover, the individual experiences of each dog will play a tremendous role in determining their characteristics as well. Obviously, an animal who has been trained to be aggressive towards people or other animals is going to demonstrate different characteristics than a sibling who grew up in a loving home that never pursued dog fighting or other violent activities. Ultimately, the owners of a dog can play a bigger role in a dog’s characteristics than it’s breed plays.
Then if a pit bull has been raised to be aggressive, aren’t they inherently dangerous?
No, not with proper care, supervision, and discipline after they have been rescued from the situation. A pit bull who has just been removed from a home where it has been bred and trained to be aggressive is likely to pose an immediate threat but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Many animal rescue groups, trainers, veterinarians, and other animal enthusiasts are able to help retrain a pit bull so that they are not a danger. In fact, many pit bulls who have previously been fighters are able to be completely rehabilitated and make phenomenal family pets.
So what’s the bottom line?
You should treat any strange dog carefully whether they are a pit bull or chihuahua. Any dog can be a threat if they have not been treated well. But past that, pit bulls can be just as safe and loving as any other breed of dog.