The Board of Directors would like to welcome new Board Member, Michelle Culbertson! We are looking forward to working with her. We would also like to thank everyone for participating in the recent election. It’s an important required component of running a successful non-profit.
One thing we learned during the nomination process is that there are many members out there who are unsure of exactly what the board members do on behalf of Ratbone. We’ve decided to take up a little space in The Barker each month to share, in detail, the “job” of each member as well as sharing their volunteer experience with Ratbone. I’ll start.
I’m Vickie Carmichael and I hold the position of Secretary of the Board. As secretary, my most notable function is the preparation of the monthly meeting agenda and taking of the minutes of the meetings; however, there are other responsibilities associated with the position. I also order and dispense Ratbone tags and microchips and keep a log book of each dog’s chip & tag numbers. This means I am the logical person to answer our 800 number because most folks are calling about a found dog and I have the log book to start the location process.
Additionally, the Secretary archives the Happy Tails reports, initiates the monthly conference calls & pays the 800# telephone bill. All board members as well as other volunteers, are involved with The Barker. I write 3 columns (Volunteer Spotlight, Eddie-torial, and Daisey’s Puttin on the Ritz). As a volunteer I do home visits, assist with transports, and foster. I also started and update the Ratbone blog. In the past I was the web site’s Guest Book monitor and Pet Publicist for our Petfinder venue. Last, but certainly not least, I’ve submitted handiwork to the quilt project for the last three years.
This month, Daisey joined forces with Eddie on a column she felt was more important than fashion. Yes, Daisey has a very practical side. They decided this article fit best in Eddie's column so be sure to read Eddie-Torial for Daisey's input for June. Daisey sends her best and will return to her own column next month.
A ride in the park!
So, it’s officially summer now and for many of us that means thunderstorms. Some dogs aren't bothered by the noise or flashes of lightning but other dogs are terrified. Whether your dog is thunderstorm phobic or not, you might want to keep this article. Some dogs are fine when they are youngsters, then all of a sudden they start being panicky during a thunderstorm. This time of year a number of dogs run away or become destructive in their panic reaction to a storm. Most can learn not to react but it takes time, patience and training. Here are some tips that might help your dog during thunderstorms:
It's important that your dog have a safe place to go to in the house. It might be a crate, a closet or a bathroom. Its best if the place is in the interior of the house and not on an exterior wall. The darker and quieter the safe place the better. Some dogs are sensitive to the static electricity in the air, these might do well with a rubber mat to lie on.
Desensitizing your dog to the sound of thunder should be started well before thunderstorm season arrives. I have personally and professionally used "Suburban Thunder" purchased from www.f7sound.com. The directions are on the website. This may also be available to download from Itunes. It was recorded in Tampa, the thunderstorm capital of the world and it is amazing how realistic it is.
Calming music also works well. Being a foster Mom for rescue dogs, I use calming music all the time, in the home when I’m gone, in the car, during thunderstorms. I personally use CDs from www.ThroughADogsEar.com. The directions are on their website and also comes with each CD. Your dog will need to be sensitized to this music, rather than desensitized as with the thunder recordings. Do NOT comfort your dog with a soothing tone of voice. This will only make your dog’s anxiety worse. If your dog must be near you, have him sit by your feet, so he’s touching your legs. Do not have him in your lap, this will also increase his anxiety.
There are natural remedies that work great for some dogs. Dr. Nicholas Dodman recommends Melatonin. This can be purchased in health food stores. Find a natural form without any additives. Talk with your dog’s veterinarian before starting melatonin and ask his suggestion for the correct dosage for your dog’s size. Another natural remedy that works for some dogs is Rescue Remedy, which is a flower essence and completely safe. This can also be purchased in health food stores. Rescue Remedy does have to be given a few times through a storm, which is not a good solution for when you are away from the home. Melatonin can be given in the morning before you leave for work. Another remedy which works well for some dogs is the Thunder Shirt, www.ThunderShirt.com. I have personally used the ThunderShirt on two of my dogs during thunder and lightening and they work as described.
The suggestions above can be applied by the dog owner by following the directions of each product. For really severe cases of thunderstorm phobia, behavior therapy may be needed along with some of the remedies above. I hope your dogs stay safe and calm this summer. See you next month.
Submitted by Terry Nickerson, Canine Behavior Therapist and owner of Bark Busters of Brevard. You can reach Terry at 1-977-500-BARK or visit her company’s website at www.Barkbusters.com.
Fire ants, a stinging, red ant, will inflict painful stings and can attack and kill small animals. If fire ants are native to your area don't leave food or other attractants in the yard and regularly check for colonies in areas where your pets or children play. If you find colonies, take steps to eliminate them or keep your pets and children away from them.
Here is an update on Bill. They did his orthepedic Surgery in Jacksonville Florida on May 24th. He had 2 pins put in his right rear leg and his pelvis was fractured in several different places. We found out Bill was still a baby at only 8 months of age. He has been on a month of strict cage rest and has another month to go. He has always been the sweetest boy. Even before his surgery when he was in great pain, not once did he complain or try to bite. Since his surgery he has been a little trooper. He has always been very good confined in his small playpen.
I think he somehow understands its for his best interest. He is now feeling a lot better and is wanting to play and you can see it in his eyes when the other dogs are playing he wants to join in on the fun. It truly is heartbreaking for myself to see the excitement in his eyes when the other dogs come to visit him and he wants to get out and romp around with them. He does get regular visits from one of my cats though. He seems to enjoy the company. It breaks my heart to know that such a sweet baby was put in the shelter by an uncaring owner that did not want to pay his vet bill. But in a way Bill is very lucky. He will now have a life he deserves and Ratbone will find a home for him that will love him forever and treat him special. Bill deserves this and so much more. Bill will always be a dog that will be special in my heart. Dogs like Bill are the reason i rescue, what better joy is there knowing you made such a difference in a young dogs life that didnt have a chance before.
To read more about Bill, click here.
Daisey wants to remind everyone that there are many things to do before an emergency. These include being sure everyone is current on their vaccinations as well as having proof of the vaccines at hand. Some shelters will not let pets in without this information. Be sure that everyone is wearing a collar/harness and the collar contains ID including a phone number. Don’t forget your pet’s medication if needed. It’s important to have a leash to control scared pets and photos to identify lost pets.
Make plans now for where you will go in the event of a disaster. Not all shelters allow pets so you will need to identify those that do. Also, have a pet carrier available that is big enough so your pet can stand, sit, and walk around as they may have to live in it for awhile.
Eddie says to be sure that you have adequate stores of pet food and water. Shelters may provide food for humans but it’s not likely they will have kibble. When you realize that you will need a shelter, get there quickly. They can only take so many people and pets and you don’t want to be left out in the storm. Which brings up another point, do not leave pets outside during a storm. Keep them near you and do whatever you normally do to calm your pet. A calm pet is more likely to follow instructions and not run in fear.
After a disaster the world may seem like a scary place for pets. Your own house may not seem familiar due to damage or you may be in temporary housing. Watch for a change in temperament because your pet could act out in fear or confusion and become aggressive or feel he has to defend himself. You might want to include a muzzle in your emergency kit just in case.
When you make your preparedness or evacuation plans, be sure to include plans specific to your pets so that all family members have the best chance of survival.
Til next time, Eddie
Little 8 pound Howie (Howlie Ratdell) was a pampered little guy who found himself in a central Kansas shelter when his family had to move and couldn't take him. What his family didn't know or didn't consider was that being a surrender, Howie had very little time, there is no mandatory hold on surrendered dogs. So, on a cold Monday morning in November, Howie was on the list to be euthanized. Thankfully, a shelter rescue coordinator pleaded for and was granted 2 days to see if she could find rescue for Howie. She contacted the Ratbone coordinator and sent pictures of a scared little dog who had no idea what happened to his happy home. There was no resisting that little face and his foster mom will always be thankful that she decided to squeeze that one little dog in.
Howie turned out to be a awesome, loving dog. His goal in life was to be carried around, snuggled under a shirt or in a blanket. He loved sleeping in bed, snuggled under the covers although he didn't get to do that often in the foster home. He knew all about being a well behaved dog, he used the dog door almost immediately and even though he really liked the human bed, he slept quietly in his crate. It did not take long for someone to be interested in Howie. In March, Howie was approved for adoption to Erin in Wichita, Kansas. His foster mom was very sad to see him go but knew he would be happy as someone's "best dog". His new mom drove all the way to his foster home to pick him up, she was so excited about getting him.
After a few weeks, this is what Erin had to say about Howie:
Some of Howie's favorite foods; I just give him little tastes to see what he likes: Ice Cream, hot dogs, cheez-its, fried chicken (gives him gas), white cc cookies, radishes (I think he likes the crunchiness), peanut butter, braunschweiger, and ruffles chips. He doesn't like fresh blueberries though. I found one under a chair.
He makes me laugh all the time and I cannot imagine life without him. He is such a sweetheart!!! I am so happy we found each other. God, my Mom, my Grandma, and GusPuppy sent Howie from above.
Howie's is another truly Happy Tail.
Ratbone Rescues is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775
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