Saturday, July 16, 2011

Statesman editorial board recognizes city shelter's no-kill efforts


We welcome the update on the city's planned new $12 million animal shelter, which Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez says is on budget and, at this point, on time. It is scheduled to open in November. We also applaud the Town Lake Animal Center's efforts in keeping with Austin's no-kill policy during one of the busiest times for the shelter.

In June, the center surpassed no-kill goals, achieving a live outcome of 91 percent, meaning at least 9 of 10 animals that came in to the center left through adoptions, foster care or other placements that kept them alive. So about 1 in 10 died or was put down. And June is not a fluke; the animal center has achieved a live outcome of 90 percent for the past six months, and that is no small achievement considering that the center provides shelter for about 23,000 animals, mostly dogs and cats, each year. In the past, it relied heavily on putting stray animals down to manage Austin's stray pet population.

This weekend would be a great time for the public to support the center and Austin's no-kill goal. On Friday, the center ran out of space for cats and set up temporary cat cages in administrative offices. To make more space, officials are calling for owners who have lost a cat to come to the shelter to look for it this weekend and to wait a week before dropping off any other pets.

"Being a no-kill city takes the support of the entire community," said Abigail Smith, the city's chief animal services officer.

Through Sunday, the Town Lake Animal Center is running a $20 adoption special on all ready-to-go pets.

The no-kill goal recognizes that some animals must be euthanized because they have a serious illness, are too aggressive or are dangerous. But we're still hearing tragic stories from some volunteers there who say the center continues to put down dogs with behavioral issues brought on from being caged in dismal surroundings for too long. Those dogs would be adoptable if they got better attention sooner. And when the center reaches capacity, as it has now, dogs and cats are at risk of being euthanized.

The next big decision regarding the animal center will be made by City Manager Marc Ott, who will select a nonprofit to run the Town Lake animal shelter after the city's new animal center in East Austin opens. The old shelter will become a pet adoption center for at least six months to give the public a chance to adjust to the new site. After that, just one building at the Town Lake center, the Davenport Building, will continue as an adoption facility.

Austin has a strong and vocal animal welfare community that makes itself heard at City Hall. This month, the council passed a resolution directing Ott to choose a nonprofit to run the Town Lake shelter that would focus on animals that are the hardest to place. That decision is pending.

Austin's experiment with no-kill policies is still evolving, and it seems logical that the city will need expanded adoption programs to be successful. We support no-kill policies as the humane way to handle stray animals or abandoned pets. But that effort takes more than adoption centers. It takes educating owners about properly caring for their pets to prevent them from getting lost, providing affordable ways to spay and neuter pets, ensuring pets have identification tags or chip implants to help find owners when pets get lost and working with apartment managers to create more friendly pet policies and affordable fees so that people are not put in the position of abandoning animals when they rent apartments.

And it also takes partners, such as Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society, which rescued 350 dogs and cats and 90 animals, respectively, from the Town Lake Animal Center in June.

Let's give them all a hand. Even better, let's help Austin maintain its no-kill goal. Pets have improved the quality of life for so many. We can do the same for them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Austin, No Longer Just the Live Music Capitol of the World:Pet-Friendly Rep Spreads

from www.lifewithdogs:.

Ty and Buster, Life with Dogs’ travel correspondents, give you a look at the very dog friendly city of Austin, Texas.

Ty: We’re heading up the West Coast this summer, but we’re still reminiscing about the time we spent in Austin back in April.

Buster: That’s right. We’ve traveled more than 25,000 miles so far, and Austin is the most dog friendly city we’ve seen.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Adoptions Doubled Last Weekend at Humane Society

from Saturday's "Prrrice is Right" kitten and cat adoption event doubles the usual number of adoptions for the Austin Humane Society. Lisa Starr, spokesperson for the Austin Humane Society, said that it was a steady stream of adoption throughout the day. The event lasted seven hours on Saturday.

Why Some People Have More Than One Pet


Most pets are home to stay. Rarely do you hear of pets being replaced. Rather, once a person has a dog, cat or bird that they love, they tend to get another… and another. Why?

Is this about pets or people? Is there an emotional reason that an individual or a couple starts with one pet and ends up with many more?

When I have raised these questions with pet owners and pet professionals, the reasons given are as complex as the people and pets involved. Overall, however, they reflect the reciprocal mix of needs, emotions and love inherent in the unique exchange that people and pets share.

ASPCA Art of the Catnap Winners

Across a laptop, in a salad bowl, and over the back of a chair—these are just a few of the crazy places our members photographed their cats snoozing. All the photos were adorable, but five entries stood out. Check out the winners and runners up! Read more...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Austin Joggers Help Shelter Dogs

Austin Joggers Help Shelter Dogs:

Monthly News Report from Austin Dog Alliance

Letter from the Executive Director

Debi & therapy dog LeviHappy Dog Days of Summer:

Well, things continue to evolve here at Austin Dog Alliance. In the last few months, we have transitioned board members Dr. Allen Codding, Dave Manzer and Carolyn Honish to the advisory board and welcomed new board members Vickie Menchhofer and Heather Allard. We are in the process of setting up steering committees for all our program areas and welcoming a wide variety of new volunteers.

In response to our K9 Campers who want to stay involved with ADA during the school year, we are launching a K9 Council. These enthusiastic pre-teens and teens will fund raise, promote ADA, learn more about advocacy and volunteering and participate in community outreach activities. Our first outreach activity is helping the Humane Society of Williamson County with their No-Fee Mega Adoption Event on August 6 from noon - 4. The K9 Council will be student led, with an emphasis on developing leadership skills. I've wanted to implement a program like this for many years and am super excited that we are finally getting big enough to support it. To learn more about volunteering as an adult leader, being a corporate sponsor or getting your child involved, please contact Susan Windham at or Susan Culp

Fundraising activities continue for our innovative K9 Club - Autism after school program which will start new sessions in September for kids in grades 4 - 9.

In other fundraising news, our board is in the process of evaluating if we are ready to move to a larger location when our lease expires in February. Our goal is to have a location near Lakeline Mall that can support a small kennel and a fenced-in agility field in addition to an indoor training space. Having a fenced-in outdoor space will provide us with a substantial increase in program options. If anyone has ideas on how to make this happen, please contact me.

So, as we all enjoy the slower pace of the dog days of summer, we are also thinking about and planning our exciting Fall season. We are going to offer some new classes, including Rally on Wednesday evenings and we have added more schedule options for our core classes such as Dog Manners, Puppy Manners and Pet Therapy. Our pet therapy steering committee is planning a free Bow Wow Reading Dog seminar on August 20 to teach therapy teams how to help children learn to read.

If you would like to get more involved with an organization that is innovative, evolving, growing and making a difference in our community, plan to join us at our volunteer open house on August 27th or send me an e-mail today. We have an immediate need for foster homes. If interested, please contact Judy McCarthy.

My pack and I are off to the park for a game of fetch. Enjoy your summer day!

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Debi Krakar, CPDT

Executive Director, Austin Dog Alliance

Note: Hey Facebook Fans - please visit our Facebook page , add us as a favorite and promote us to your friends. Also, FYI, most of our staff and volunteers are on vacation this week. We will return your call and or e-mail as quickly as possible.

Kudos to HEB employee who rescued kittens in trash

by shoreyr

A8 Litter in the Nursery - Albus, Amigo, Aria, Aberforth & Alexander

This litter has an incredible story, one that’s almost made for the movies.

A man working at an HEB Grocery store in Austin was putting trash in the store dumpster when he heard something suspicious. Upon closer insepction, he saw a litter of day-old kittens nursing on their momma. Just as he made this discovery, the trash company pulled up to empty the dumpter’s contents. The man insisted that he needed to rescue the kittens and mom from the dumpster before the trash was emptied. As he was carefully removing the kittens, it was then that he discovered the mom cat was dead from unknown causes. Still, he took the kittens home to try and save them.

This Good Samaritan spent the next couple of days trying to feed the kittens on his own… all 8 of them. A difficult task for even trained APA! Nursery volunteers, he quickly realized he needed help and surrendered the kittens to the shelter. It was then that we took the kittens into the APA! Nursery to help them survive.

Aria begins to see her world

As of now, only three kittens remain, and our volunteers are continuing to work hard to care for them and get them as healthy and stable as possible. This litter represents the eighth time we’ve started naming kittens according to the alphabet… this is a procedure we started in the Nursery in 2010 to keep track of names and the number of kittens we’ve rescued.

We cannot do this type of rescue work without formula and medical supplies. We are accepting donations on behalf of these beautiful babies, whose eyes are just now starting to open.

TLAC says six months of 90% no-kill

Wednesday officials from the Town Lake Animal Center released statistics which said it has surpassed the no-kill benchmark of 90 percent for six months, staying on track toward earning its no-kill status. The live outcome rate was achieved during one of the busiest times for animals to be dropped off at the shelter and makes TLAC the largest municipal animal shelter in the country earning a no-kill status. “This is truly an accomplishment and it shows that the hard work of the staff, partners and volunteers is paying off,” said Abigail Smith, chief animal services officer. “Despite the busy season and an influx of kittens and cats, we were able to overcome some serious challenges and continue to lead the nation’s largest cities in live outcomes. It’s a testament to Austin’s commitment to the no-kill goal, and an example of what success looks like when the whole community comes together. We are very grateful that Austin cares about its animals. This is no-kill in action.” The Animal Center continues to work on the Austin City Council-approved 34-point No-Kill Implementation Plan, which focuses on programs, services and partnerships to reduce animal intake and increase live animal outcomes. TLAC's rescue partners are a significant contributing factor in reaching the no-kill status, according to Smith. Austin Pets Alive! and the Austin Humane Society, the top two rescue partners, save hundreds of animals from the shelter each month. In June, APA! saved 350 pets and the humane society rescued 90. Since the beginning of the year, staff has worked on adoption promotions and special events at TLAC to increase the number of adoptions at the shelter. For the first time, the shelter remained opened on a holiday and offered $4 adoption fees for the Fourth of July. The response was significant with 49 pets leaving the shelter alive.

Benefit at Fonda San Miguel Sunday For Animal Trustees of Austin

Click here for tickets!

Remember: Your Dog Can't Take Off His Coat In This Heat

By Colin Moss

Summertime has hit Central Texas hard, and my dog Oskar and I are trying to cope with the scorching heat.

We’ve modified our running routine so neither of us passes out from heat exhaustion. We’ve trimmed our distances and focused on having fun instead of going fast.

Oskar is a 2-year-old Australian cattle dog mix I got from the Town Lake Animal Shelter about a year and a half ago. Lucky for me, he loves to run, swim, surf and catch Frisbees.

Here are a few things I’ve learned that may help you get through another Texas summer with your dog:

  • Make sure your dog can go the distance. When I got Oskar he was ready to run and full of energy, but I started him out with an easy mile jog and slowly ramped up his distance. Even a mile may be too long for a dog that’s not in shape. You don’t want to overdue it.
  • Can he handle the leash? Oskar still likes to pull on the leash from time to time, but otherwise he’s pretty dependable and comfortable with it. Still, if he eyes a squirrel, all bets are off. Try a basic obedience class or learn on your own (use a lot of treats).
  • Breed of dog. Oskar is a short-haired cattle dog and was bred to work. If he doesn’t get enough playtime, he gets cranky. Some dogs don’t make good running companions. Make sure your dog can handle it. Bulldogs, for example, have a hard time breathing and some colder climate dogs aren’t built for the heat.
  • Water water everywhere. Here in Austin we are lucky to have Lady Bird Lake in the heart of downtown. Unless the water is flowing along the Barton Creek Greenbelt, I take Oskar downtown. He swims in the cold water coming off the Barton Springs spillway before we even start. I also let him jump in and cool off multiple times during our run. Plan your outing to include some swim time. You may be feeling the heat as you run, but your dog is doing it while wearing a fur coat.
  • Drink up. Make sure your dog has plenty to drink before, during and after the run. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, your dog may need water.
  • Go easy. Other than keeping your dog cool and wet, the pace you set is probably the most important part. Just as you have to slow down in the heat, so does your dog. Pay attention to his body language. If he his lagging behind and you have to pull him along, he may have had enough. Watch out for excessive panting and vomiting — they are indications that your dog is in trouble. Save the speed drills for when you are running sans the pooch.
  • Have fun. It may sound cliche, but if you aren’t having fun, then why do it at all? If you do it right, your dog can be your best running partner. If you find, mid-run, that you just aren’t enjoying yourself, call it a day and try again another time.

Be careful out there this summer. We’re stuck with this high heat through September, so take it easy when you run. And if you see me and Oskar, don’t tell him where the squirrels are hiding.

Free Can of Cat Food Thanks to PETCO and Royal Canin

Royal Canin and PETCO are partnering to provide assistance to animal welfare partners through the "Get One, Give One" promotion. While supplies last during the weekend of July 8-10, 2011, PETCO will offer every customer a free can of Adult Instinctive or Ultra Light adult feline wet formula for their cats - no purchase necessary (limited to two cans per customer). For each can given away, Royal Canin will match it with a product donation to the PETCO Foundation.

Kudos to Chron Fashion Writer's Timeless Tale On The Best Kind of Style

from the
After a Fashion

A chicken, a dog, and a homecoming: Just another week in the life of Your Style Avatar


AN ACT OF DOG My 17-year-old niece Annie Moser was visiting from Seattle a few months ago when a man showed up at our door. Because my mom runs a neighborhood list on the Internet, the man had been directed to us by neighbors. While visiting from Houston, he had been involved in a car wreck near our exit on I-35. Voice breaking, he explained that he got out of his car after the accident to inspect the damage and his dog, Chloe, upset by the accident, escaped from the car, disappearing into the brush of the old Heep Ranch property. The man was devastated, and my mother immediately sent out an alert on our list and on nearby neighborhood lists as well. The man put up those sad "lost dog" fliers around the area, but being from Houston, he eventually had to return to his home and work. All of us knew the heartbreak of having a missing pet, so Annie (who wants to be a veterinary doctor) and my sister Margaret continued the search by adding more and larger signs and driving around for miles searching the fields for the dog. Every time they would see something white moving off in the distance, it turned out to be an errant grocery bag littering the landscape. Every time my mom and I would go to the grocery store, we scanned the fields looking for the dog ... or something, even if it was just buzzards circling. The signs my sister and Annie posted remained in place for months, a constant reminder of the missing dog, until my sister and I finally removed them two weeks ago. Just days later, a neighbor posted that she had found a small white dog and was taking care of it even though it was causing trouble with her cats. Margaret and I went to the neighbor's house to bring the dog to our house, where it could be with our dogs until we figured out what to do. Filthy, burr-matted, and slightly injured, the dog was given a bath and a trim. She settled down quickly, eating, drinking, and sleeping among our dogs. It did not take long before my mother, the St. Franc[e]s of Manchaca – who rescues baby birds, fawns, and opossums – began to wonder if by some stretch of the imagination this could be the same dog that had escaped from the car accident. Searching through her files, she found the contact info for the man from Houston and called him. We wouldn't know until the man could see the dog close-up. He arrived early the next morning from Houston. When my mom opened the door, the man saw the dog and screamed "Chloe!" and fell to his knees. The dog immediately responded by dashing toward the man, licking him, and scampering around. No one could quite believe this was happening. It was an emotional moment, knowing that the man had already grieved the loss of his dog for several months. We had no clue what had happened to the dog during that time, only that à la The Incredible Journey she had returned to the place she had last seen her owner. It had taken time, energy, and a handful of people to bring this episode to its happy conclusion. It's what we all pray would happen if it were our dog who was lost.