At the Shelter

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday stress and your pet

Did you put up your holiday decorations yet? Some folks have their tree and outdoor lights up before the Thanksgiving turkey comes out of the oven; others prefer to wait until later in the season.

With all the holiday preparations you're making, shopping, wrapping presents, planning holiday meals, getting the house ready for guests or perhaps packing and preparing to leave for a holiday trip, you may be a little more than stressed.

Did you know your dog can pick up on that and be stressed out himself?

Any change in your dog's routine can cause stress. And when your dog is stressed, he may misbehave, including destroying things around the house or chewing up shoes or furniture. He could hurt himself, such as biting or scratching excessively. He might bark a lot or make "messes" while you are gone or act frantically when you return home.

This is your dog's way of telling you he's not getting enough social interaction with you and he's under a lot of stress. Preparing your dog for the holidays can greatly reduce his stress at this time of year.

Here are some simple yet highly effective ways to help your dog chill out during the holidays:

* First, keep your dog's feeding and exercise routine the same throughout the holidays. If you are going away or can't take care of your dog at the usual times, designate a family member or neighbor or hire a pet sitter to provide meals or walks at the usual times.

* When your family is busy with preparations or you're throwing a party, put your dog in a quiet room with plenty of water, a soft, comfy bed and a favorite toy or treat.

* If you're having guests over, work on your dog's greeting manners to save the stress of being constantly corrected. Have a friend or family member knock on the door while you practice sitting and staying with your dog. Give your pet plenty of attention and extra activity before your guests arrive. Be sure to remind your guests not to give your dog any treats or table scraps.

* If you're going away for a holiday vacation, it's important to teach your dog that your departure is not a sign of bad things. Get your dog used to the idea of your being gone. The more that they witness you leaving and coming back, the less shocking the departure will be. Pretend that you're going to leave, but then come right back. Repeat this several times, rewarding your dog when he remains quiet and calm.

* Doing this will help your dog learn to stay relaxed when he sees that you're leaving ... since he never knows when you're actually leaving! After a while, this relaxed way of dealing with your leaving will become the norm for your dog. When you do leave, be sure to remain calm yourself. Try giving him a special toy that will occupy his mind. Casually tell your dog goodbye and leave without a lot of fuss. If you don't treat leaving like a big deal, neither will your dog. (Source: Pet Place)

This and that at the shelter: Thank you for participating in Santa Paws (photos with Santa) held at The Pet Stop this past Saturday. We met a lot of pet parents, everyone had a good time and we raised much-needed funds for the shelter. There were approximately 100 dogs, 10 cats, two hamsters, numerous children and some adults who had their pictures taken with Santa. Some families had as many as three dogs. Dogs ranged from 2 pounds to over 100 pounds in size. One gentleman told me he thought "pet people" were the best people in the world and I certainly agree with him. I've never met a "pet parent" I didn't like! We heard many heartwarming stories about how people acquired their pets. Some adopted from our shelter and some took in strays. All said they were a blessing. We met so many kind people, some we knew from Bark in the Park (held every May) and others from visits to the shelter. We even had a television personality ("Full Throttle Saloon" star, Angie Ballard) and her dog attend our function. She adopted the dog from our shelter and he can be seen in their TV series.

Our adoptions have risen lately, which is great news. Through no fault of their own, these pets arrive at the shelter because they were unwanted for some reason. We average taking in over 20 pets a day, every day of the week (except Sunday) only because we are closed to the public. Have you ever wondered what would happen to these pets if there wasn't an animal shelter? Have you ever been to a community that didn't have an animal shelter? There are starving packs of dogs running loose and being shot by citizens and law enforcement. Also, there are huge colonies of cats and kittens, growing daily. It is heartbreaking. Thankfully, because of your donations, Dyersburg has an animal shelter/humane society. We do our best to find each and every one of our shelter pets a home. Sadly, we have many more pets than people to adopt them. Please spay or neuter the pets you now own. Some people are dead-set against spay or neuter. Let me remind you that one cat and its offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years; one dog and its offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in six years! (Source: ASPCA) Do you think every one of these pets in these statistics wind up in loving homes? Sadly, no. Many wind up dead, either on the streets or from not being adopted if they are in a "high kill" shelter. Take them to a "no kill" you say? They are extremely picky about what they take. It must be an attractive pet that is highly adoptable. That is because they will have the pet forever if it is not adopted. When they are full, they are full and will take no more. These are tough questions and something to consider when you put off spaying or neutering your pet.


'Sophie' is a beautiful tabby girly who had a cute calico kitten. The kitten was adopted, leaving Sophie, who hopes someone will adopt her. She is a settled, very sweet cat who would make an excellent companion with her quiet, gentle ways. We have many more cats, such as a bobtail family, a large white cat with one green eye and one blue eye (which means he isn't deaf), a longhaired calico and many more. Visit The Pet Stop and meet a selection of shelter cats and kittens offered for adoption any day of the week. 'Cookie' is a perfect child's pet. She is a shepherd/lab mix who is 3 months old and such a sweetheart. 'Toto' looks like he is from the "Wizard of Oz". He is a small black-and-white Australian terrier and enjoys attention. 'Pogo' is a heartworm-negative Boston/pug mix who is a year old. He is a perfect little companion dog and has a beautiful, sleek, no-shed coat. We have Boxer-mix pups, terrier-mix pups, a wonderful selection of Chihuahua, feist and small house dogs, plus medium and larger-size dogs. All are equally deserving. Check us out on or and type 38024 zip to see our shelter.


You can make a difference in a homeless shelter pet's life. Join our team of volunteers and be part of the solution. It's easy and fun to volunteer on your own schedule during shelter hours open to the public. Foster for a two-week period or more; 501(3)(c) nonprofit rescues require a two-week quarantine period before accepting a pet. Sometimes we have babies whose mothers have died and need bottle feeding to survive. I adopted such a pet when she was 8 days old. It was a joy to see her thrive and grow into an adorable puppy and I admit I couldn't give her up. She was like my baby. We've had Molly for five years now and she has been such a blessing to our family. Every day she wakes up in a good mood, is so full of joy and happiness and brings sunshine into our lives. When I return from retrieving the paper or mail, you would think I'd been gone for a week.

If you can't volunteer or foster, please donate. We depend on your donations to keep our doors open and things running smoothly. We need dog blankets, bath towels, no-tears pet shampoo, sweaters for our small dogs and puppies, good-quality dog and puppy food, cat and kitten food, plus formula for both and pet bottles. The pets appreciate treats and toys, also. Please, no small toys because the dogs will choke. Also no bead eyes/noses, scarves, beanie babies, etc. Medium- and large-size stuffed animals/toys are needed. The babies love to cuddle with a soft, stuffed animal. We are completely out! Since we had a mild winter, fleas are very bad this year and we need Adams' Flea Mist for dogs/puppies and cats/kittens. We also need paper towels, office supplies, hand sanitizer, etc. We ask visitors use hand sanitizer before and after they touch pets. We make every effort to keep our pets disease free. As soon as pets arrive at the shelter, they are given their first round of shots if they are old enough.

Your monetary donations are critically important to us. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Your tax-deductible donation to our shelter will only help Dyersburg/Dyer County homeless animals. Our shelter doesn't receive any help from national organizations such as ASPCA, PETA, or HSUS. We have been helping homeless pets for over 30 years. Specify who your donation is to with complete address where notification or acknowledgment should be sent and your complete address. We will do the rest. Categories are: The Beagley Fund (heartworm treatment for shelter pets only), General Fund, Champ Lewis Fund (monetary pet adoption assistance), Save a Life Makeover (professionally clip and groom to make a pet more adoptable), Honorariums and Memorials. Please mail your tax-deductible check to the Dyersburg/Dyer County Humane Society, P.O. Box 223, Dyersburg, TN 38025-0223. Thank you for helping the animals.

Shelter hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday. The shelter is closed to the public on Sunday. We are located at 1120 E. Court St. and phone number is 285-4889.