Random Musings on Dogs, Photography, and the Vagaries of Life

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Celebrate...and Save a Life

Spring. A time of birds, bees...and kittens galore! More kittens are born during the spring than at any other time of year. Unfortunately, many of these felines end up in shelters--with or without their mothers--potential victims of cat owners' failure to spay and neuter their pets.

No wonder June has been designated Adopt a Shelter Cat Month!

Faced with an influx of felines, some of the shelters in my area are celebrating in creative ways designed to help them care for and place as many cats and kittens as possible. For example, the:

  • Washington Animal Rescue League is holding a "Kitten Shower" on June 12 to collect food and supplies for kittens and to recruit kitten foster homes, and is waiving adoption fees throughout the month on cats 6 months and older;

  • Washington Humane Society is hosting a series of Meow Mixers to give prospective adopters a chance to meet and greet kitties looking for homes while enjoying refreshments; and

  • Prince George's Animal Management Group is offering a two-for-one adoption fee throughout the month.

  • Other organizations around the country are likely offering similar specials or holding similar events, so if you're looking to add a furry friend to your family, don't wait. It's time to celebrate cats!

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    The Tale of a Tiny, Timid Tank

    Tank can come across like a real tough guy (a sort of canine Jimmy Cagney)…especially when you first meet him. But in reality he’s anything but. The truth is, Tank is a timid, insecure guy who, believing that the best defense is an offense, takes refuge in a tough guy fa├žade.

    When I met this tiny Chihuahua/Chinese hairless crested for the first time yesterday, he charged at the storm door, barking furiously. I’m sure he was hoping I would just go away. When that didn’t happen and his foster mom let me in, he kept his distance, still barking at me periodically.

    Fortunately, like most males, Tank loves food, so I spent some time just sitting on the floor, tossing treats to him until he gathered up the courage to take them directly from my hand. It helped that the resident Chihuahua, Hector, is a gregarious boy who interacted happily with me.

    Once Tank had relaxed and was comfortable around me, we moved outside so I could take some pictures of him. The goal: to help him find a furever home of his own.

    Tank is happy in his foster home, enjoys the company of his foster mom’s two small dogs, and obviously adores her, wagging his tail furiously when she talks to him. And she loves him! But her role is to rescue multiple dogs in need, and that means helping Tank achieve his own, personal “happily ever after.”

    We don’t know anything about Tank’s background. He was picked up as a stray by Animal Control when he was about 2 years old and then spent some time at the Prince George’s County Animal Shelter before being taken in by the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County (PGSPCA). But his reactions to the world around him suggest that life hasn’t been easy. He ducks his head when someone reaches out to pet him, and sudden movements and sounds cause him to flinch and occasionally even snap. Just as Kermit the Frog sang that “it isn’t easy being green,” you get the sense that it isn’t easy being Tank.

    And there’s just something about this unique little guy—including his infectious “smile”—that makes you want to provide him with a safe haven where he can feel protected and loved and come to believe that life can be good.

    According to his foster mom, Tank’s ideal home would be a quiet one with a gentle, kind, dog-savvy individual who has experience with small breeds and the patience to work with him to build his self-confidence. Because of his reactivity to sudden movements and sounds, he can’t go to a home with young children, but he’d love the company of another small dog that he could bond with and learn from.

    If you’re interested in learning more about Tank…go to http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/17010671, email info@pgspca.org, or call 301-262-5625 and leave a message.