Love is Blind – Misty’s Story

 

A petite and immensely friendly cat, Misty is about as playful as they come.  She loves to explore her world and bat a ball around a room like any other six-month-old kitten.  However, she is not like any other cat.  Misty came to the RHS almost totally blind.

Despite her young age, Misty had developed a severe form of cataracts – a condition she was born with. As a result, her right eye was blind, and her left eye close to it.  To avoid life-long complications from the condition, RHS veterinarians performed a bilateral enucleation – the surgical removal of both eyes.  Since Misty had not been able to see with her deteriorating eyes, not having them would change her day-to-day life very little, if at all.

The RHS Veterinary team tended to their small patient with the best of care and once the operation was complete, she was off to a foster home for several weeks of rest and recovery.

When Misty was ready to find a new home, she took up residence in Society’s large open cat communal room where she became right at home in her new surroundings.   RHS staff were thrilled that her playful antics and affectionate spirit remained as she pawed for cuddles at every opportunity and entertained everyone as she played with toys – always seeming to know exactly where they were.

Even though Misty is a true sweetheart, her special needs made her more difficult to adopt as many saw her blindness as a burden. Of course, that could not be farther from the truth.  When she was featured  on social media, RHS followers shared her story so it would reach far and wide, and, hopefully, the person who would become her special someone.  Then, one bright spring day, it happened –  her new family found her.  It was love at first purr and there was no looking back from that moment on.  Today, Misty has settled into her new home and is curiously exploring every nook and cranny under the watchful eye of her loving family.

Post-Surgery

Adoption day!

Exploring her new home

How to Play With Your Puppy – Perfectly!

 

Playing with your puppy is an important part of building a positive relationship and developing good communication between the two of you.  Starting when your pup is young will get things off on the right “paw” towards a lifetime of fun and learning.

Here are some pointers for happy and proper puppy play:

You are not the toy

Don’t let your pup grab your hand, or mouth at other parts of your body. Even if it was not intentional, stop play immediately when your pup makes inappropriate contact with you – regardless of the intensity of the contact.  This will teach your dog to avoid using their teeth as play always will stop when they do.  When they do forget, be sure to redirect them to a favourite toy.  If they persist in biting you or mouthing too hard, end the play session by walking away.

Offer rewards

Positive reinforcement rewards good behaviour as opposed to punishing poor behaviour.  Your dog will learn to associate an action with a positive outcome such as getting a toy to play with or a yummy treat.  It also helps build a strong relationship between the two of you by reinforcing appropriate behaviours such as coming when called, sitting or laying down, not jumping up on people or walking on a leash politely and without pulling.

You determine when it’s playtime

Your dog may love to play, and they may love it more when you are involved.  But, when they start jumping on you or barking as they demand playtime, it can become a problematic habit that can be tough to break once established.  Pick different times of day when you play as well so they don’t associate things like supper or your arrival home from work as the trigger for playtime.  Additionally, make sure your puppy understands that if you end playtime, playtime is over.  If they don’t get the message, remove yourself or their toy from the situation.

Be inventive

Part of keeping your pet engaged is to change up the game a little – no one wants to play the same game all the time!  There are hundreds of games and toys available in pet stores or you can create your own games with items you have around the house.  For example, place some treats in half of the holes of a muffin tray, then cover all the holes with a tennis ball or even balled socks. Then place the tray on the floor.  Your pup will get some awesome mental stimulation as they try to figure where the treats are and how to remove the obstacle that’s in the way!  Another variation is to hide a treat under one of three or more plastic cups and see if your pup can find the one hiding the treasure.

You can get a few more ideas on homemade enrichment fun on our website here.

Keep games fun, but short

The longer you play with your pup, the more excited they will get. The more excited they get, the less control they may have.  Take some breaks for a calming-down period before continuing with play.  This way, you’ll have fewer behaviour ‘accidents’ and more fun and relationship building too!

Want to learn more?

The Regina Humane Society offers many dog training courses, including Puppy Play to Learn, to get you both off on the right paw.  For more information on classes and to register, visit our Dog Training Website, here.

 

 

Home-made Fun for Your Feline!

 

You’ve likely seen social media posts about the new “Assistants” we have all gained while working from home.  From furry bottoms occupying the keyboard to cat walks across our Zoom screen, we could all use some ideas about how to keep kitty busy during our workday!

Here are some quick and easy DIY toys from household objects you likely already have on hand:

Toilet paper rolls

Cut small holes in the body of the roll, put treats inside and scrunch up the ends for a quick and easy puzzle feeder.  You can even insert pipe cleaners for extra springy fun!

Shoelaces

These can be made into safe and simple toys. Just tie them onto the end of a broken wand toy, drawer handles, or door handles.  They can also be braided to make wonderfully nimble throw toys!

Cardboard boxes

If you’ve had anything delivered to your home, you know how much cats love cardboard boxes. Why not keep a few around and make them official kitty kastles?  You can leave them open or close the top and cut a doorway in one side to make purrfect hideaway.

Paper Bags

With many ditching plastic grocery bags in favour of paper, there is a new opportunity for feline fun!  Just like the cardboard boxes, a paper bag tossed on the floor makes a wonderful hiding place and vantage point to secretly keep an eye on the room.

Socks

Grab two socks you no longer use, put one sock inside the other (you could even add catnip!) and tie off the end of the outer sock like a tail. This creates a toy for your cat to grab onto, kick and bite. Kid’s socks are especially great as they’re smaller and easy to play with.  You can also scrunch a bit of newspaper into a ball and place it in the toe, giving it some extra fun sound!

Plastic Bottle Tops

You’ll need four or five plastic milk or juice bottle caps, a straw and some twine.  Punch holes, big enough to feed the twine through, in each of the caps and cut the straw into two or three-inch segments.  Take about a foot of the twine and tie a big knot at one end.  Then, string one of the plastic tops on the twine and move it to the knot.  Place a section of straw on the twine and move it to the plastic top.  String another top on the twine followed by another section of the straw.  Continue this pattern until all tops and straw segments are on the twine.  Hang the string from an easily accessible spot to your cat, such as a chair or cabinet knob, and watch the fun begin!

Get more ideas for home-made toys for cats and dogs on our website here.

 Safety first – never let your pet play with new toys unattended.  

The Joys of a Senior Pet

 

While many of those looking to add a new furry family member to their clan seek the adventure that is having a kitten or puppy, many are just as happy to adopt a senior pet – and why not?  Sure, they may have put on a pound or two by now (but who hasn’t?) or they may not run quite as fast as they once did, but there are so many great reasons to offer some of our older pets some love and happiness too:

More love, less work

No one can deny that a puppy has the ability to melt your heart with a single “puppy dog eyes” glance.  But along with all that cuteness of tiny paws and round tummies, comes poop on the carpet, some chewed slippers and the odd chew mark on the furniture.

Puppies (and kittens) require patience, time, supervision and consistent training to become adjusted to their new life. While many people are able and willing to put in the time and effort of raising a young pet, for others, a senior pet represents a calmer, more laid-back experience.  As most seniors have been living in homes for most of their lives, they usually have already learned the skills needed to be a welcome, well-adjusted and loving member of their new family.  Besides being well versed in the basics of being house-trained, they may even have picked up a few tricks along the way!

Children will be children!

It’s no secret that kids love other kids – especially if the other “kid” is a puppy or kitten!  But, the energetic and unpredictable nature of puppies and kittens can be a handful for young kids.  This is particularly true when a young dog gains a few dozen pounds but still acts like a tiny puppy!  Senior pets tend to be more mellow, calm and can make wonderful companions for your kids – or grand kids!

What you see is what you get

When you bring home a senior animal, you know exactly WHO you’re bringing home and should have very few surprises. You will know what their personality is right away, unlike with puppies and kittens, where their personalities will develop over time  –  and it may not be the one you counted on!

You’re a senior too!

As we grow older as humans, we may not be looking for the 15 to 20 (or more) year commitment that a young pet requires.  Perhaps we see our lives as being more able to travel or spend time with the grandkids.  Making the golden few years of a senior pet happy and full of love and happiness, may be the best thing ever for the both of you!

Generally, pets are considered to be senior once they have reached seven years of age.  You can see all pets who are available at the RHS anytime on our website here.

Leo’s Lifesavers

 

We don’t know how Leo came to be stranded on a Regina street with a badly broken leg one early winter morning.  On the surface, it would seem that his luck had run out. But that changed when he met a kind stranger who was walking to work.

The young puppy melted into the arms of his rescuer, who delivered him to the care and safety of the Regina Humane Society.

When examined by Shelter Veterinarians, it was clear that young Leo had suffered a severe injury to one of his rear legs, most likely the result of being struck by a vehicle.  The break was so grave that removing the damaged leg would be necessary to get our little patient up running and playing again as a young pup should be.

Leo’s surgery went without a hitch in the skilled hands of the RHS Veterinary staff and was then off for some well-deserved rest and recovery in one of our foster homes.

Leo’s luck continued to soar as his foster family had recently adopted Winston from the Society.  Last year, after being shot, Winston also suffered the loss of one of his legs.  The two became fast friends as Winston showed his little buddy that three legs don’t slow you down one bit!

It didn’t take long for Leo’s fun-loving character and love to be revealed with his constant smile and non-stop tail wagging. Once recovered and back at the Shelter, it was no surprise that little Leo spent only a few short days waiting for his new family to find him and whisk him away to a lifetime of love, happiness and warm snoozes.

If Leo could talk, we know he would say “Thank you” to all who helped to save him – the kind stranger who rescued him from the cold, the Shelter Veterinary staff for their skill and expertise, his foster family, and his doggie pal Winston for keeping him company while he healed.  But, his biggest thanks would be to you.  Because of your support of the Regina Humane Society, Leo received the critical care he needed and is living his best life now.

On behalf of Leo, thank you for caring and helping to make sure good news stories like his can continue to be told.

Post-Surgery

Leo’s special bandage

Leo and Winston

 

 

 

 

 

Ready for adoption!

Finally home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveller’s Unwanted Car Ride

 

This time of year, we hear many stories about animals left outside to face winter’s wrath. Traveller came to the RHS after experiencing not one, but two of the season’s perils.

In mid-December, the Regina Humane Society (RHS) received a call to help a tiny kitten found alone beside the highway.  Suffering from cold trauma and obvious injuries, she was rushed into the care of the RHS Veterinary team where it was determined her chin had been degloved. This type of injury, where the skin is torn away from the body, is extremely painful and frequently seen in animals with road injuries.  Sadly, she was either tossed from a moving vehicle or, after taking refuge in a parked car engine for warmth, was dislodged onto the pavement as the vehicle sped along the highway.  Found sometime later by a passing motorist, she was suffering from frostbite in addition to her injuries. Sadly, the cold had taken its toll, and she would lose part of one ear and the end of her tail to frostbite. Dubbed Traveler by Shelter staff, the little survivor was warmed, fed, and prepared for surgery to repair her lip and damaged extremities. After surgery, she was off to a loving RHS foster family for several weeks of rest and recovery.

If not for you and your support of the Society’s lifesaving services, Traveler’s young life may have ended that cold December day. Now, many indoor adventures lie ahead for her as she begins a happy new journey with a family to call her own.

 

Traveller’s unique smile

Post-surgery

 

 

 

 

Introduce a New Cat to Your Old Cat Like a Pro!

 

Thinking of adopting a second cat?  The following tips can increase your chances of establishing a peaceful, multi-cat home.  Any pet requires weeks or months to adjust to changes in their environment and lifestyle.  For that reason, first impressions are extremely important when meeting other household pets.

 

Let them throw in their two scents!

 Like any other time you are training a pet, positive re-enforcement works best.  Your goal is to have your pets associate good things with the other feline.  The first time they meet, it should be through scent alone.

  • Keep you new cat in a separate room that has all the things she needs – food, water, her own litter box, somewhere to scratch, some toys and places to climb. This is her private, safe, feel-good space!
  • Feed your cats a few small meals a day, a few feet from either side of the door.
  • Each day before mealtime, rub a small towel around the cheeks and chin of each cat and place it near the feeding bowl of the other cat. They will pick up the scent of the other cat at a time that makes them happy – supper time!  Again, good things happen when the other cat is around!
  • If they seem ok with this set up, gradually decrease the distance between the bowls and the door.

 

Time to see eye to eye

Once your cats are eating beside each other on opposite sides of the door, its time to let them see each other.

  • Move the bowls back a few feet again and let them see, but not access each other. This can be done with a baby gate or some other barrier that is transparent, but that they cannot breach.
  • Continue with the “scented” towels.
  • Again, slowly decrease the distance between the bowls so long as both cats eat without much hesitation and neither shows signs of fear or aggression. If they do, offer a treat or give them a rub on the ear, reinforcing once again that good things happen when the other cat is around.

 

Try a supervised “Hello”

Once both cats are eating directly on either side of the door with visual contact, without showing signs of fear or aggression, you can try some short, supervised interactions.

  • Distract your resident cat with food, some play or petting in a relatively large room.
  • Allow your new cat to enter the room, but try to keep her occupied with food, play, or petting as well, but on the other side of the room.
  • If your cats interact in a relaxed or friendly manner, that’s ok. If you start to see indications of fear or aggression (this can include extended periods of staring at each other) try to distract them from each other and end the session
  • Gradually increase the length of the sessions each day so long as neither cat seems overly fearful or anxious.

 

Graduation!

As these sessions grow longer and if everyone seems comfortable, you can let your cats roam the home freely.  It’s a good idea to continue to monitor them for any signs of trouble, but, hopefully your patience and methodical approach to their introduction has paid off, and you can look forward to a lifetime of peace and quiet and with your two felines as the best of friends!

Kevin – Alone and Freezing in the Snow and Cold

 

A young kitten was found in late November by a grid road outside of Regina. He had been abandoned in a dog carrier with just some kibble randomly tossed in to survive on. Trapped in his plastic prison, he could not seek life-saving water or shelter. It appeared he had been there for at least a day, maybe more, huddled in a corner trying to stay warm as the snow accumulated around him. He was slowly freezing, and barely moving when he was found. He had just about given up.

When he arrived at the RHS, Shelter staff began the slow process of warming him and encouraging him to eat. His long fur was terribly matted causing agonizing tension on his skin and an emergency groom was given, relieving his discomfort. When the fur was shaved, several painful wounds were revealed – the result of the pulling of the mats on his tender skin.  If that wasn’t enough, his delicate ears and tails had suffered frostbite from the devastatingly harsh winter cold. Ultimately, he would lose most of his beautiful tail and parts of both ears. Shelter staff named Kevin after the Home Alone character who was also left on his own during the Holidays.

Within a couple of days, Kevin was showing good signs of improvement, and following the amputation of his tail and parts of his ears, he was placed in foster care to rest, heal and ensure his recovery continued.

Finally, after two weeks in foster care, Kevin was all healed and ready to take the next step in his journey – finding a new home.  As it turns out, that journey was very short!  Within an hour of going up for adoption, a week before Christmas, Kevin was heading home with his new Dad!

When found, it appeared a tragic end was in store for little Kevin.  Because of you, and your support of the RHS lifesaving services, Kevin has received the most precious gift of all this holiday season – a second chance to find love and happiness.

 

Shortly after arrival at the RHS

Following emergency grooming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After tail amputation

After surgery

Heading home