Archive for the ‘rescue’ Category

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04 Apr 11

by Pamela Fitzpatrick, of YourDogWalkers,

Huge turnout, Shelter Link Benefit

On Saturday, April 2, Shelter Link held their ‘Goodbye to Winter’ fundraiser at the Nutty Irishman in Bay Shore, NY. It was a great time, with lots of food, fun and raffles and a huge turnout from the community. Town of Islip Councilman Steve Flotteron and Shelter Supervisor Joanne Daly and other animal shelter staff members were there also.  The monies raised will help the Shelter Link a non-profit liaison to the Islip Animal shelter continue their work with the animals there, help with their rescue effort, and provide free spay and neuter program to pit bulls to qualifying residents of Islip township.  There was an awesome, emotionally moving video showcasing the dogs and cats at the shelter along with the hard working volunteers. There was barely a dry eye in the place! The Shelter Link team worked tirelessly to create a wonderful event; there were over one hundred beautifully wrapped gift baskets and lots of happy winners.  Best of all, funds raised will help Shelter Link continue its mission of saving animals.

Shelter Link also has a volunteer who is a dog trainer certified in evaluating dogs for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and have already passed a bunch of dogs at the shelter.  What’s better than that? You will be saving a life by adopting a wonderful dog from the shelter and can now brag your dog already has a CGC Diploma to boot.  Adopt, don’t shop!

Shelter link is a recognized, 501(C) 3 all-volunteer organization based in Islip.  They provide volunteers for the Islip Animal Shelter, and offer a feral cat spay and neuter program and a free pit bull spay neuter program to qualifying residents of Islip Township.  They also have a Foster Care Program and are seeking foster homes for rescued animals.  For more info, visit

Lovely Volunteers of Shelter Link

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17 Mar 11

Paws for Japan ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Paws for Japan

This St. Patrick’s Day, my favorite green holiday, instead of talking about “kissing the blarney stone” or drinking so much green beer you forgot you kissed the blarney stone -  I would ask anyone reading this to turn their attention to the disaster in Japan.  We have seen the most horrendous and unimaginable footage on CNN, GMA and other new sources and of course we think of how this has affected all the people of Japan.  But what about the pets and animals?  As many people are displaced and missing so are many beloved pets.  Pets that are injured, lost and in desperate need of medical attention, shelter, food and water – just like their human counterparts.

So this St. Patrick’s Day the pet blog community is uniting to bring attention to the wonderful organization of WorldVets who is currently organizing groups to deploy to Japan to help all the animals.  As of March 16th their first deployment is enroute to meet up with Animal Friends Niigata. They will be headed toward the disaster area for an overnight trip to help any animals they find.

Thank dog for this organization, and if you don’t want to spend your green on green beer or bagels why not chip in a few bucks towards WorldVets so they can help as many animals as possible.   You can also donate veterinary supplies and/or medicines that are being requested from are the following: De-worming medicines, vaccinations, fluid replacements, wound treatments, and cages. Donations of these items can be shipped to: World Vets headquarters, 802 1st Ave N, Fargo ND  58102.

Maybe you can play the “unicorn song” while your are making a contribution, spread the word and help the pets of Japan.  

Paws for Japan

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02 Mar 11

Found a lost dog… ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Found a lost dog…Now what?

If you see a loose dog, for most pet lovers our first instinct is to stop and see if we can help get the dog back to its owner and back home.  Does the dog have a collar with ID tags and a number to call to reunite the pet with its family?  Many times a dog gets loose with no visible ID, and no way to immediately get it back home.

Very recently a there was a sad story about a lost dog on Fox Five found in Nassau County. When a good samaritan saw the dog loose in the road, he wanted to help the dog out of harms way and get the dog back to its owners.   So the man stopped and coaxed the dog to him and brought him home.  He and his fiancé decided to post the dog in the Pets section of, and with in a few hours the “owner” contacted them claiming it was her dog.  They met the next day in a shopping center nearby so she could pick up ‘her’ dog.  A couple hours after the dog was reunited with the supposed owner, the real owner contacted them about the dog.  It turns out the real owner only lived five houses away from where the dog was picked up.  So unfortunately the dog was given to someone who is not the real owner.

What you can do if you do find a loose dog with no ID:

  • If you find a dog in a neighborhood, first and foremost, knock on some doors, it could be the dog was only a house or so away. (Which was the case here, the dog was only 5 houses away). This also goes hand in hand in getting to know your neighbors, and their pets.
  • If the dog has no collar or tags, call or go to your local town animal shelter – the dog may be microchipped and most shelters have scanners to see if the dog has a chip and can help relocating the dog.  If you are leaving the dog at the shelter as a stray, town animal shelters by law have to hold for a period of time (usually seven days) before the dog can be placed for adoption.  This will also give the owner a chance to look to see if there dog is in the local town shelter.
  • If the animal shelter is closed, go to your nearest veterinarian office, many vet offices also have scanners.
  • If you do post the dog to a community pet section of a website like craigslist or if you post to Facebook – make sure the person claiming the dog is theirs has proof i.e. clear photo’s of the dog, medical records, can identify markings on the dog, maybe a scar from a past injury, if the dog is spayed or neutered or other information that the person can just tell from a picture. (I would ask these questions over the phone before reuniting).
  • Watch the dog’s body language during the reuniting – the dog on the video didn’t look overly excited to see its ‘owner’ it almost seemed like it didn’t really know her.  The majority of dogs are so happy, excited, and ecstatic to see their owners again, even after just 5 minutes apart – so watch for that.  Over excitement is not a tell “tail” sign that the dog is theirs, but could help the rescuers spotting a fraud if the dog is acting shy or scared of the person claiming it is their dog.
  • Does the dog respond to the name?  The horrible person in the video stealing the dog called the dog “baby” and anyone can call a dog baby.

To prevent the above from happening, dog owners can follow these tips:

  • Have a collar or harness with ID tags on your dog at all times, with updated contact information. (Do not use a training collar for this purpose – a flat buckle collar is best.)
  • Have your dog licensed with the state (dog licenses are required by state law and can be acquired at your local town clerk’s office), this is another form of ID and easy for town shelters to identify the dog and its owner.
  • Does your dog escape, climb over or under your fence?  Be sure you have a secure yard if you know your dog is an escape artist.  Always check to see if your gate is securely closed, and teach your kids this as well.
  • If your dog is an escape artist and known for getting out, be sure to get the dog microchipped.
  • Is your dog spayed or neutered?  Dogs that are not “fixed” tend to want to get out and mate – so another good reason for spaying and neutering your pets.
  • Does your dog know where he or she lives?  This may sound really silly, but if you never walk your dog, and it’s only a house dog or dog that only goes in your yard, the neighborhood could be a whole new big world for your dog to explore, easily get lost, not recognize anything and if you never walk your dog – how does your dog know which house is theirs?  (People who walk their dogs on a regular basis know that their dog could lead them right back home!)
  • Get to know your neighbors!  If you know your neighbor has a German Shepherd and you see a loose German Shepherd in your neighborhood, chances are it is their dog.

We are hoping that the woman in the video tape is found comes forward and the dog Lilly is reunited with its owner very soon.  If you know who the person who stole the dog is, call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.

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01 Feb 11

Feral Cat problem on LI ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Long Island happens to be home to thousands of feral cats – and this winter has been a tough one for many colonies across LI.  Many of these cats and kittens are cared daily for by devoted volunteers of rescue groups that try to help deter the problem by trapping them, spay and neutering them and re-releasing them back into the colony their were trapped at. This is also know as Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR.  There are exceptions that some younger cats or kittens that are not quite as feral and can be rehabilitated back into living in a home, are giving the chance to be put up for adoption.

Some may wonder where do all these cats come from?  Why do we have such a problem with feral cats across our Island?  Some contributing factors are people have the false information that cats can fend for themselves and dump cats they no longer want, or were not supposed to own if they were living in an apartment complex or college dormitory.  Domesticated cats do not do well when abandoned, and many die from getting diseases that they were not exposed to before, get hit by cars or attacked by other animals.  Other factors are people that have or live near a colony of feral cats and just feed them and never ask for help to have them spayed or neutered or know about rescue groups that offer low cost spay and neutering – and as nature would have it, kittens keep coming.  I personally remember one house in Lindenhurst while taking my niece and nephew trick or treating a few years ago, there had to be at least 50 cats and kittens living around this house.  The word was the owner of the house was feeding the cats continually but not doing anything about the overpopulation.  This was in a neighborhood of close quarters and those cats were all over the neighborhood.  It was quite sad as the cats were very feral.

Interestingly many of our college campuses have a feral cat problem as well.  Stony Brook University actually has a program called SBU Cat Network in which faculty and students volunteer in to help the cats living on the University’s campus. In 2002, Associate Professor of Psychology, Dr. Nancy Franklin founded the program based on Stamford University’s model on how college campuses deal with feral cat colonies.  The SBU, is solely dedicated to helping the cats on their campus, and is not an animal shelter.  They do offer advice to people and other rescue groups about feral cats, but say that Stony Brook is not a dumping ground for cats, and they cannot take in unwanted cats.

Since the inception of SBU, they have rescued about 350 cats in which half were placed in homes and half were trapped, spay or neutered and released back to their colony.  The campus currently has about 30 colonies on the grounds and each colony has an insulated shelter the cats can go into for warmth and to get away from inclement weather.  The volunteer students and faculty feed the feral cats 365 days a year and also participate in fundraising for the group and TNR.  And as with many other rescue groups raising funds is a challenge in this economy and our currently running in the Shelter Challenge.

Many of the cats that end up as part of a feral colony on the campus are a direct result of some students keep them illegally in dorms and then letting them go when the year is over.  As part of the SBU Cat Project outreach, student volunteers do try to educate other students that dumping cats on campus is neither acceptable nor humane – and let them know they are not allowed to keep pets on campus.  There are about 25 very active student volunteers in the program, 10 faculty volunteers and many other volunteers throughout the campus. Franklin said, “The University has been very gracious to us while we have been running this program and our volunteer students and faculty members have been wonderful.”

Another organization which serves the towns of Riverhead and Southold is SAVES (Spay, Alter, Vaccinate, Every Stray) a 501 c 3 all volunteer non for profit organization.  Like SBU they have no shelter to house cats or kittens, but do have limited foster homes for feral cats that are suitable for homes (that become domesticated).  SAVES main focus is TNR, care for the feral cat colonies in both towns – in which there are approximately 40 colonies with a total of about 500 cats.  SAVES provides food, winterized shelters, medical attention (besides spaying and neutering) and have volunteers go to feed and check on the colonies daily.

The winterized shelters were originally provided by Shoreham Wading River High School, teacher Dave Driscoll, who and now is at Shoreham Wading River Middle School. Mr. Driscoll wants to work with SAVES to offer humane educational programs, and to help motivate the students to build new shelters.   The winterized colonies are now built by a family of SAVES volunteers, but could use additional help in the building process.  There are singular shelters and multiple cat shelters made with openings sized for cats to go in and out of, but not big enough for raccoons to get it, the shelters are also up off the ground to help protect the cats from bad weather.

SAVES President Al LaFrance said, “We get about 40 phone calls a week from people who need help with feral cats on their property or looking to re-home cats.  We help people living in our territory with TNR, but do not have the resources to help with re-homing.”

SAVES has been going to Kent Animal Shelter for low cost spay and neuter for a while and in 2010 had about 250 spayed and neutered there and had approximately 600 cats spayed and neutered for the entire year about 96 of which were done for free by Helping Paw (a mobile unit) that came to Riverhead to help them.  Others were spayed and neutered at the North Folk Animal Hospital and Mattituck Laurel Animal hospital – who they also go to for medical care for the cats.

Their main outlet for adoptions is at the Riverhead Petco in which they house cats and kittens available for adoption through SAVES.  Volunteers go Petco 7-days a week 2-times a day to care for them and this past year they have adopted 177 cats.  There is an application process that potential adopters must fill out and be approved, as SAVES is looking for permanent homes for their cats with proper care.  SAVES is opposed to de-clawing and adopts cats out that will live indoors only.

The focus for them for 2011 is to have more feral cats spayed and neutered by continuing with working with Kent Animal Shelter and their other veterinarian partners, and set up free clinics with Helping Paw. They also plan to offer more humane educations programs and presentations for schools, and boy and girl-scout groups.

So what can you do to help?  If you see a feral cat colony that no one is caring for, i.e. no shelter provided, no food or water provided and kittens continually being born, contact a local animal rescue group to let them know about it.  (See below for list).  If you have feral cats, and are just feeding them, you are very well adding to the problem – reach out to the public animal rescues for help with feral cats in your yard, facility or business.

Another way you can help is by making a monetary donation or donate much needed cat food to help the cats make it through the winter.  If you are a cat lover, think about fostering a kitten or two to help them find new homes.  Feral cats can very well become the best cat you may ever have had-they don’t all stay in the feral state into which they were born into.  I speak from personal experience, taking in a feral kitten from the age of 3-months, who lived a very spoiled 16-years and was a very sweet, smart, funny and dog adoring cat.  And yes, her name was “Kitty!”

All About Spay and Neuter – A full service TNR 501 c 3 non-profit all volunteer organization that does 100% TNR servicing Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk.  They are not a shelter but can be called for help if you have a feral cat problem in your area.  They do about 90 TNR’s a month and since their inception in 2004 have helped just over 5,100 feral cats of which about 850 have been adopted into loving homes.

Kent Animal Shelter – Has low cost spay and neuter.

SAVES Inc. – See above.


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14 Dec 10

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Dog training for Winter safety

Here on Long Island we are so lucky to be surrounded by water, have many lakes, ponds streams and natural areas to enjoy with our pets. Recently after reading a story in Newsday about a Shirley man who’s 2 off leash Husky’s ran after some geese over the thin ice of a pond and fell through. In an effort to save his dogs the owner also fell through into the cold water. The owner admitted it wasn’t too smart, not thinking the ice was too thin or the cold water too deep and found himself in, well, deep water. Thankfully this story has a happy ending where a neighbor happened to hear the man yelling for help and the man and his dogs were all rescued and are all okay. But it made me think, how many people teach their dogs not to go on the ice? It’s not something you think about every day, especially if you get adopt a puppy or dog in the spring, summer or fall. It made me think back to how I taught my first dog, and dog I currently own to be safe near ice.

When I got my first dog as an adult, a young female puppy Doberman in the late summer of 1995, I did a lot of training with her in many different places. One place more than others, happened to be a park with wooded trails, streams and a lake. That first winter, the then 8-month old puppy was very curious about the strange frozen occurrence that the lake had become. While wanting to show her the ice, I also didn’t want her to think it was safe to walk out onto. So without taking a dog training course on winter safety and going on my instincts, I let her sniff the ice, put a front paw or two on it, but never ever let her walk out onto the ice. Using various commands, “off” if she ventured more than one paw onto the ice, or “stay” to keep her by me, or using “eh ah” if she tried to step on it. Of course this was all done while she was on a leash and giving her verbal praise as a reward. I also let her step on a frozen part right near the edge that I knew would break apart, you know those couple inches of water at the edge that freeze but can still be cracked pretty easily – showing her that it would break. Doing this repeatedly throughout the winter months, trained her not to ever step out onto the ice. Each winter after that I would do a refresher near the first frozen body of water we came upon. I was lucky to have one ridiculously smart dog, who learned quickly and seemed to understand the danger. She was also trained to heel, so when in the presence of ducks, geese or any other wildlife she would not chase an animal. Of course a dog being a dog, she still had instincts to want to chase but having her trained on a verbal recall, helped in having to worry if she did get off leash near ice. I did all these same winter training rituals with my current dog, and he too learned quickly, and it didn’t hurt that he was scared of the ice to begin with. (He also learned by watching her not go on the ice.)

You also have to keep in mind what breed of dog you have too. If your dog was specifically bred for hunting, chasing out birds or is a water dog, you still want to teach your dog winter safety training. Just because your have a Chesapeake Bay Retriever doesn’t mean it can get out of a dangerous situation like falling through ice in a middle of a lake.

Winter can be a lot of fun for us and our dogs, but teaching a dog to stay, come on command and never letting your dog off leash near thin or thick ice, are vital to keeping our dogs safe – and ourselves for that matter. Now that the weather is getting cold enough for ice to begin to form across many of our lakes, ponds, and bays – think about training your dog with winter safety in mind. If you are not sure how to do this properly, consult a dog trainer and ask them for a winter safety training session or two.

Another thing a pet owner should know, whether your pet is a dog or a cat is pet first aid and CPR – especially if your pet falls through ice. We are fortunate to have a local certified Pet Tech, Robyn Elman that teaches a class in pet first aid and CPR, including what to do if your pet gets frostbite and hypothermia. The vital information taught in the class has already saved the lives of a few pets of past class participants. These pet owners who knew what to do in an emergency situation, all thanks to the information they learned in Robyn’s class. To find out more information on the upcoming January 22, 2011 class click here.  Interested parties should sign up soon, as this course fills up fast and is offered about every six weeks.

This dog should be leashed!