Alone and Suffering – RHS Animal Protection Officers Respond to a Heartbreaking Scene

Found abandoned in a cardboard box in a back alley, wee Oscar arrived at the Regina Humane Society (RHS) earlier this month in pretty rough shape. He was in agony suffering from a severe case of sarcoptic mange and a bacterial skin infection which caused him to howl in pain as he tried to scratch his itchy and ravaged skin. He was rushed to Shelter veterinarians who provided relief for their young patient. Fortunately, Oscar responded well to treatment and was able to spend his journey to recovery with a loving foster family.

Your support makes it possible for the RHS to be there for all of the Oscars who have nowhere else to turn. You came through for this pint-sized fellow – through words of encouragement, sharing his story and with donations to help cover the cost of his treatment and care.

And, here is what it is all about…healed and happy, Oscar has been adopted and is now getting to know his new family.

Thank you for caring and being a champion for little souls like Oscar, when they need you most. If you’d like to help support other animals who will find themselves in desperate need of care, please click here.

RHS Animal Protection Officers Seize Dozens of Cats and Kittens from Regina Residence

Seventy-nine cats and kittens were taken into the care of the Regina Humane Society earlier this month after being seized from a Regina residence by the Society’s Animal Protection Officers. Officers discovered the felines after responding to concerns of a possible animal hoarding situation. All animals were subsequently voluntarily surrendered by their owner. The pets were found living without proper access to food and water and among garbage, feces and urine.

After emergent care, including the provision of food and water and the treatment of any animals in immediate distress, a general health assessment of each animal was made. It is typical in similar situations for Officers to discover extremely ill, distressed or even deceased animals on site. Despite the deplorable living conditions, most of the animals had not yet deteriorated to the point of needing intensive care and gradually some were made available for adoption as soon as a week later. However, the sudden and massive intake of animals – in addition to the animals already in care – put significant stress on shelter financial and other resources to the point of exceeding capacity. With so many felines together, maintaining the health of each animal also became concern. Through extensive promotion, media support and a reduced adoption fee offer to help expedite adoptions, with the exception of a few still in recovery, the vast majority of cats and kittens have already found new loving homes, leaving their awful past behind them.

While the RHS provides enforcement of the provincial Animal Protection Act for companion animals in Regina, the Society receives no funding from the Province to provide these critical services to animals in need. The organization relies solely on donations from the public in order to maintain this service which comes with significant costs for officers, training, vehicles and equipment as well as housing and care of animals seized as a result of investigations.

Anyone wishing to help ensure the RHS is able to continue to provide this service in the future, is encouraged to make a donation online at www.reginahumanesociety.ca/donate, by calling 306-543-6363, visiting the at the Shelter on Armour Road or by mail at PO Box 3143, Regina, SK S4P 3G7.

Don’t Fall for the Fake Mews! Busting Myths about Fostering Kittens

With summer, you may hear a lot of buzz about “kitten season”, along with the importance of, and the critical need for, kitten fosters. Kitten fosters provide love and care for kittens who are too young to thrive in a shelter. This kitten season, we are encouraging everyone to consider fostering—it’s easier than you think!

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what it means to be a foster caregiver for itty bitty kitties. We are here to break down those myths and let you know just how easy and rewarding it is to foster our most vulnerable furry friends.

Myth: My home is too small to foster kittens. I don’t have enough space!

Fact: Fostering kittens actually doesn’t require much space. (Have you seen the size of a kitten?!) All you need is a small room, such as a bathroom or spare bedroom, to house the kittens while you’re caring for them. If you don’t have a spare small room for them, you can use an enclosed playpen to house the kitten(s).

Myth: I can’t foster because I have other pets.

Fact: Because foster kittens are kept separate in a small room like a bathroom, your pets will be away from your foster feline(s) for the most part. We recommend you keep any resident pets away from your foster kitten(s) for at least two weeks before you consider a meet-and-greet. That way your foster(s) will have time to grow, and your pets will have time to adjust to having them in the house.

Myth: I won’t be able to let my foster animal go. I’m worried that I’ll get too attached!

Fact: It’s very easy to become attached to your foster animal. After fostering your first animal, you’ll feel empowered when sending your kitten(s) off to a new home! Knowing you’ve provided your foster kittens with the chance to live a long, happy and healthy life is extremely rewarding!

Myth: I have no idea how to teach kittens to use the litter box. It sounds too hard!

Fact: Kittens may be little, but they’re smart! Learning how to use the litter box is an important part of early feline development, but “training” is a bit of a misnomer! Kittens naturally understand the litter box and will be drawn to use it as long as you provide them the proper encouragement. Placing them in their litter box a few times and ensuring they have easy access will make their tidy feline instincts kick in.

Myth: I have a 9-5 job and just don’t have time to foster kittens.

Fact: Fostering doesn’t always have to be a full-time job – there are many types of foster animals that are able to be left alone during the day such as moms with kittens or kittens over the age of four-weeks-old that are eating on their own. At the Regina Humane Society (RHS) we’re very transparent about the needs of each foster animal when we’re requesting a foster family for them, so you’ll know what’s needed before you even offer to take a foster animal on!

Fostering kittens ages four-to-eight weeks old requires a surprisingly little amount time out of your busy schedule! As long as your kittens are healthy and eating on their own, you can feed the kittens three or four times a day, give them socialization (and snuggles) and monitor their health both before you leave and when you get home from work and you’re good to go!

Myth: I can’t take on the financial responsibility. I just don’t have the money to care for foster kittens.

Fact: The RHS provides any supplies you may need during the foster process! The RHS also covers all costs related to the veterinary care of the animal (including vaccination and deworming treatments). Throughout the foster process if you’re in need of additional supplies, all you need to do is contact the Life-Saving Coordinator at the RHS and they can be set aside for you to pick-up!

Myth: I have children, so I can’t foster.

Fact: You can certainly foster kittens if you have children. We actually encourage it! With supervision, children have the opportunity to learn how to care for kittens, play with and socialize them. They’re learning at a young age to love and care for animals responsibly—and we’re all for that! Just be sure that your children wash their hands before and after handling the kittens.

Myth: I like to travel so fostering wouldn’t work for me.

Fact: Fostering may be the perfect set up for you! You can still enjoy the companionship of an animal when you’re available to foster while maintaining the freedom to travel as you’d like! When you take a foster animal from the RHS, you always have an idea as to how long the animal will be with you, so you can easily plan fostering around your travel schedule! It’s truly the best of both worlds!

With content from the ASPCA.

How Climate Change Impacts Pets

The effects of climate change are being felt around the world, including in Saskatchewan. Prairie provinces are experiencing more years with mild winters. Though cold can sometimes seem unbearable, the reality is it serves an important purpose. The freeze is crucial to killing off unwanted pests, and without it, the life cycle of insects like flea and ticks become unpredictable.

Once seasonal, fleas are now starting to live year-round in some locations and ticks are becoming a nuisance earlier in the spring than before. Additionally, heartworm, a serious parasite spread by mosquitoes, is showing up in more regions of the globe.

To keep your animal happy and healthy, make sure you consult with your veterinarian on possible solutions to keep your pet protected.

Warm temperatures can also have an impact on heat cycles for cats, allowing for longer mating seasons. While kittens are cute, sadly Regina and surrounding areas are already overpopulated with felines. With overpopulation comes a rise in the number of feral and homeless cats, and unnecessary suffering. The Regina Humane Society is committed to end animal overpopulation, and as part of that initiative, spay and neuter surgeries are always included with feline and canine adoptions and through our Subsidized Spay Neuter Program in conjunction with the City of Regina.

With content from the Toronto Humane Society.

Hercules: A Strong and Mighty Cat

You have often heard that thanks to your support of the RHS, we can be there when an animal is in desperate need of help. This was certainly the case for Hercules.

When he arrived at the Shelter, battered, bruised and with fur missing from parts of his body, Hercules was immediately placed in the care of RHS veterinarians where his injuries, which were most serious around his face and front leg, were tended to. So severe was his leg wound, that the team feared amputation may be needed to save their small patient. Still, despite being in considerable pain, Hercules was affectionate and kind during his examination and as his wounds were cleaned and bandaged.  Afterwards, he was able to rest while shelter staff kept a close eye on his recovery.

What happened next was miraculous to say the least. Not only had Hercules simply survived, but his healing power and determination was remarkable! His battered leg improved dramatically with each passing day, and with that, the fear of amputation soon diminished as well. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, Hercules no longer needed frequent vet care and was ready to carry out his recovery in the peace of a loving foster home. 

After a few weeks healing and regaining his strength, yet another surprise awaited him. When Hercules returned to the Shelter ready for adoption, he learned his adoption fee had been fully sponsored! The kind person who had rescued him had stayed in close contact with the RHS throughout his journey and wanted to help him find his permanent home as quickly as possible. The strength of kindness prevailed, and Hercules won his battle!

Thank You, Careport Animal Hospital!

The Regina Humane Society (RHS) depends on many individuals and organizations to be able to deliver the programs and services that it does each and every day. The Society is very proud of the partnership that has been built over many years with Regina’s veterinary community. A shining example is Careport Animal Hospital (formerly Airport Animal Hospital).

Since 2012, Careport Animal Hospital (CAH) has donated monthly spay and neuter surgeries for pets that have been adopted from the RHS. In that time, over 600 surgeries have been performed on shelter animals by CAH!

CAH owner Dr. Melissa Hunchak sees her hospital’s relationship with the RHS as a way to make a difference for the animals in our community and to be a respectable and caring corporate citizen. The hospital rebranded earlier this year and one of the main reasons to change the name from Airport to Careport was to showcase how much caring is a part of what they do. Helping the RHS exemplifies their hospital vision “We care for you like family” and has been a wonderful way to showcase how much they care for the animals in our community. By donating surgeries to the RHS they are able to relieve some of the pressure on the RHS and their resources as well as allowing their team to be a bigger part of the pet overpopulation problem. “Our team really likes to help out as well”, Dr. Hunchak says. “They recognize that they are helping beyond just our regular scope of practice”. As her front-line team deal directly with the public each day, they often receive the thanks from adopters – providing a sense of satisfaction and pride for her entire team.

The RHS extends its deepest and heartfelt thanks to Dr. Hunchak and the Careport Animal Hospital team for their dedication to improving the lives of animals and people in our community.

Fostering Trust

When Raven (previously known as Berg) was finally found and brought to the Regina Humane Society (RHS), it was immediately clear that she had spent considerable time on her own. Dehydrated and displaying a veracious appetite, she had also become timid and unsure of herself around strangers. Now entering a shelter, while safe and warm, it meant new smells, people and other animals that our shy girl would need to deal with.

Often, unsocialized or timid animals need a quieter and more relaxed environment in order to build their confidence and trust.  The RHS Foster Program can the perfect solution for a dog such as Raven. Not all foster situations are due to age or a pet that is recovering from illness or physical injury. Sometimes, they just need the time to relax, experience new things and realize that everything will be ok.

Raven spent several weeks with a RHS foster family to do just that. A gentle hand. A calming voice.  Care and attention. In time, Raven began to understand that her life had changed – for the better.  Eventually, our young pup became more self-assured and less fearful, reaching a point where she could be introduced to potential adopters. To ensure she was at her best, Raven stayed with her foster family while available for adoption, and they would bring her to the shelter whenever someone wanted to meet her. Because of her foster’s dedication, it wasn’t long before it happened – eyes met, a connection was made, and everyone knew that Raven would never be alone again, when “the one” came through our doors and fell in love with her. After a send-off seen through ‘happy-tears” of our staff, Raven is now in her new home. Her journey will continue surrounded by love, patience and the encouragement she needs to continue grow and flourish into the happy pup she was meant to be.

Without your support of the RHS and our Foster Program, as well as the time and caring of our foster families, the road to recovery for many pets could be very long and difficult. Raven is a shining example of how when a community comes together that meets the needs of the pet, wonderful things happen, lives are saved and families are made.

 

10 Must-Know Tips for a Great Summer of Travel With Your Pet

Summer holidays are right around the corner. If you plan on taking your pets on that cross-country road trip, or even just to visit some friends at the lake – the RHS encourages you to plan ahead. Sometimes, leaving your pet with a friend or family member or a local kennel is the best option. But, if you are heading out with your pet in tow, consider the following tips to ensure a happy and safe vacation for everyone:

  1. Visit the vet.
    Consider scheduling a visit to the vet before you leave on holidays to ensure your pet is healthy and able to make the trip. It is also a great time to pick-up any medications that may be required for an extended time away from home. Also, make a list of vets in the area that you will be vacationing in, just in case.
  2. Plan your stay ahead of time.
    If you plan to stay in a hotel or resort, check to ensure that the resort allows for your type of pet. Some accommodations may say they’re pet friendly but have restrictions on the size of animal and require your pet to be crated if left alone.
  3. Pack well.
    Pack all of your pet supplies including leash and harness, food and water from home (and a bowl for use while traveling), required medications, vaccination and ownership papers, first aid kit and a couple of favourite toys for comfort.
  4. Buckle up.
    Pets should always be secured while travelling by car with a properly fitting car harness or in an appropriately sized carrier or kennel.  Unsecured pets could be severely injured or injure others in case of an accident.
  5. Watch the windows.
    Avoid letting your pet stick their head out the window while you drive. Although they may love having the wind blow their fur, they are subject to injury from insects or highway debris.
  6. Take a break.
    Make the journey comfortable for your pet by planning plenty of rest stops so your pet can stretch their legs and visit the nearest tree if needed.
  7. Never leave your pet alone in a hot car, even for a few minutes.
    Temperatures can rise very quickly to levels that can result in severe injury to your pet or even death. Rolling down the windows or leaving the air conditioning running are not suitable solutions.
  8. Know the rules.
    Make sure you know local laws at your destination; some may ban or restrict certain types of animals or specific breeds. Also, be sure to know the rules with respect to where you can and cannot walk with your pet such as parks and beach areas.
  9. Watch out.
    Although your pet may do very well-off leash at home, it’s not always the same case in a new area where sounds, smells, traffic and other animals (including wildlife) may differ. Avoid any wandering and keep a close eye on your pet.
  10. Ensure identification is clear and accurate.
    Should your pet become separated from you, clear and accurate identification is critical in finding your pet. Be sure your pet is properly identified with collar tags and microchip and that all of your contact information with your vet and the microchip company are up to date. Whenever possible include a collar tag with your contact information when away from home, such as a cellphone number, so you can easily be reached on the road.

The Comfort of Love

Lynne arrived at the Regina Humane Society (RHS) as a stray in early May. She was ravenous and in need of medical care to treat a terrible case of ear mites. It was obvious she was both exhausted and relieved, falling into a deep slumber knowing she was finally safe. With some extra attention and a little time in shelter care, she improved quickly, and was soon ready to search for a forever home. Due to her sweet personality and willingness to love, the dream of finding a caring family came true in no time.

The RHS is able to provide medical care for animals just like Lynne because of your continued generosity. Thanks to you, Lynne now looks forward to a lifetime of cat naps, knowing she’s protected and loved.

April is Canine Fitness Month!

Be it walks, runs or even a little swimming when the water warms, keeping your dog mentally and physically active will help burn off access energy and avoid boredom – and the associated issues that can result such as chewing on your favourite shoes! Getting into a regular routine of exercise and play will do wonders for your dog – and you too!

Here are some great tips to help keep your pooch happy and active!

  1. Go for a discovery walk – It’s not always how far you walk, but what you DO on that walk. Dogs love to explore, sniffing around almost anything to see who’s been there and to take in all the smells of their surroundings. Why not go for a 40 minute walk and let your dog spend as much time as she wants sniffing around a tree or whatever she wants – and let her choose where the walk goes! You may only get a block or two, but your dog will love it and be ready for a snooze when you get home. All that nose-work will be tiring!
  2. Break out the toys – Dogs love to play. Playing provides not only physical exercise, but it can also exercise their mind.  You can use a toy to reward a good “sit” or simply toss it across the yard and have him bring it back. Hiding treats under one of 3 or 4 upside-down buckets will get his detective skills going as he tries to figure out which bucket contains the treasure. Keep an assortment of toys and games on hand to keep things interesting!
  3. Take a training class – The RHS offers a variety of classes that are all based around play and reward. From the basics in our Foundation 101 class and Leash Reactivity, to Agility and Nosework, learning new skills not only provides excellent exercise and stimulation, it develops overall good behaviour and habits. You can check out all the classes on our dog training website.
  4. Play scent games – Hide some treats in a few boxes or containers around the room and encourage your dog to sniff them out. Make it easy at first by only loosely covering the treats so she learns the game. Gradually make it a little more challenging by changing the hiding places and more tightly closing the container to keep the game fun.
  5. Go for a run – Winters usually mean a lot of time spent on the couch while the snow and wind blow outside. Time to get outside! Going for a gentle run or jog will help both you and your pet shake off the winter blues. Start easy at first and gradually build up speed and distance at a pace you are both comfortable with. Be sure to have a solid harness and a leash no more than six feet long to keep everyone close and safe. Having some water for both of you is a good idea too. If running at night, be seen with clothing with reflective striping. Or,  why not attach a small light to your dogs collar for extra visibility? These are inexpensive and can purchased at most pet stores.
  6. Practice some old tricks – Has it been a while since you put in a good session of “sit”, “down” or “roll over”? Grab a few treats and review some old tricks and maybe even add a few new ones. There’s plenty of inspiration to be found with reward-based online videos or training classes.
  7. Challenge him with a puzzle toy – Instead of feeding your pet in her bowl, put her kibble in a puzzle toy. These games can be home-made or purchased, and usually allow you to hide kibble or treats under removable covers or sliding drawers. Others require your dog roll or manipulate the toy to release kibble.  Pets may not understand the game at first so be prepared to show them how it works so they don’t get frustrated.

Whatever activities you choose, be sure that they are ones both you and your pet enjoy. Remember, the goal is exercise and mental stimulation, but you want it to be fun too!

 

The Tale of Her Tail

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It was just a few days after New Year’s Day when Extravaganza arrived at the Regina Humane Society (RHS) from an area in northeast Regina. While this two-year-old Husky cross looked a little thin and ragged, Shelter staff members were more concerned with her tail, which had suffered a severe injury. After examination by RHS veterinarians, the decision was made that about half of her tail would need to be amputated to ensure her long-term health.

Following her successful surgery, Extravaganza spent some time with one of our dedicated foster families while she healed and got accustomed to life without all of her once beautiful tail. But as she recovered, she realized that life would go on, and she was just as gorgeous as she ever was. Her cheery personality and good nature helped her over-come her, shall we say, “short-comings”.

Once healed, Extravaganza traveled back to the Shelter and quickly became a staff favourite as she waited to find her new family. As the days passed, staff and volunteers ensured that she didn’t miss her walks and time in the play yard, as well as ample chin rubs and encouragement that she would go home soon.

Happily that day arrived in late February, when that one special someone walked through the door in search of a life-long friend. That friend turned out to be Extravaganza.

When the time came to leave, this special pup couldn’t leave without stopping to say “thanks” to some of our staff who had gathered to see her off.

We will never know what happened to Extravaganza before she arrived at the RHS and what lead to her injury, but we are grateful for your support so that the Society could be there when she needed it. Now, with ear to ear smiles, she is off with her new dad in search of new adventures and journeys in the sunshine.

Don’t Be a Kidnapper!

Each spring, the Regina Humane Society receives many calls about “orphaned” wildlife or birds. While all have good intentions, disturbing the animals would likely do more harm than good.

Little Duck

If you encounter baby wildlife, please keep the following in mind:

  • If a young bird has fallen out of the nest, you may return it to the nest if it is immediate danger, but it is best to leave it alone. The mother will not reject the baby because you have touched it and babies usually fall out of the nest as a natural part of learning to fly;
  • If you find a young hare with no obvious injuries, leave it alone or put it back where it was found because the mother is likely nearby and will return once you leave. She will not reject it because you touched it;
  • Most young wild animals do very poorly in captivity. The best chance for their survival is to be reunited with their mother;
  • It is especially important to avoid contact with young raccoons and skunks because they can be carriers of rabies and parasites;
  • It is against the law to keep a wild animal.

We also receive calls regarding geese and other birds nesting in unusual places such as parking lots, fields or alleys. Unless the bird is injured, it is best to leave it be. While the location of the nest may seem unusual to us, they have chosen it based on their natural instincts and will very likely be just fine if left alone. If you are concerned about a young wild animal and an adult animal has not been seen for several days or the animal is injured, contact your local conservation officer, Salthaven West, or the Wascana Centre Authority if within the park, for assistance (please note that the RHS is not equipped to handle wildlife).

There is almost never a good reason to remove a young wild animal from its natural environment.