When Legend Needed Help, You Were There

 

When he arrived on the first day of September, Legend was a sad-looking soul. His head and face were covered in scars and his nose was full of porcupine quills. He was missing part of one ear and had a painful abscessed tooth that had caused an open sore on the top of his snout. We were told that he had spent most of his seven years tied to a chain. His eyes showed the toll each day of those years had taken on him.

He was taken into the care of the RHS Veterinary team who removed the quills, tended to his wounds and extracted the tooth that was causing so much pain. He then moved to one of our foster homes to rest and to heal.

As the days passed, Legend began to reveal his true self – a happy-go-lucky pup who, in spite of what he had lived through, loved nothing more than a scratch on the chin and to be near people.

After over two months in our care, Legend was finally well enough to start looking for a new family.  He was a little older, could still see some complications from his wounds and it seemed that it was too much for some adopters.  Legend waited and waited for his hero to come to the Shelter.  Two weeks passed and he was still waiting.  The RHS featured him on all of its social media channels and local media visits, with one post being shared over 1,500 times and reaching over 97,000 people.  Our supporters and followers were called upon to share his story far and wide until it reached that one person or family who would look beyond his past and see Legend for who he truly was – a sweet soul who loved to be with people. Then, on what would have been Grey Cup Sunday, it finally happened.  That person came through our door alone and left with his new life-long pal.

We cannot thank you enough.  You came together and rallied behind this pup so he could realize a happy life that he so much deserves.

We never gave up on this boy and neither did you.  Thank you.

Legend on September 1, 2020

Legend after treatment and recovery

Legend on his way home, November 22, 2020

Abandoned in a Box – Billy, Bobby and Bandy

 

Sadly, it is a scenario that the Society sees all too often. . . cats abandoned in vacated homes, in crates in back alleys, or as in the case of Billy, Bobby and Bandy, left taped in a cardboard box with no food or water.

That is exactly how RHS staff found the three 7-week old kittens earlier this month on a frigid Saturday morning – in fact, it was the first day of snow in our city this year.  The three were dumped by the Shelter door, without their mother, just feet from warmth and safety.  Luckily, they were found after a relatively short period of time. Because of your support, the RHS is always there to help abandoned animals, just like this tiny trio, 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

Now, just two weeks later, their story has changed from abandoned to adopted!  Billy, Bobby and Bandy will now experience winter from the great indoors, cuddled and loved in the arms of their new families.

Thank you for being there when they needed you most.

Finding the three abandoned kittens

Bobby as found in the box

 

 

 

 

RHS Animal Protection Officer with Bandy

 

 

RHS Animal Protection Officers with Billy and Bandy

How the Love for One Pet, Helped Change the Lives of Others

 

When newlyweds Jack and Joanne Aldcorn visited the Regina Humane Society back in the 1980s, they not only changed the life of a 9-month old spaniel named Sparky, the visit ignited a passionate desire to help as many other animals as they could.

Jack and Joanne Aldcorn have been proud PAW Plan (pre-authorized withdrawal) monthly donors of the Regina Humane Society for nearly 20 years.

It was their mutual love of animals that first brought Jack and Joanne to the Regina Humane Society in the 1980s. The newlyweds had both grown up with dogs and decided their new home would benefit from having a pet. Upon their visit to the Shelter, they came across nine-month-old Sparky, a terrier/spaniel mix, who quickly became a very important member of their family. He was with the couple for 16 years and grew up alongside their three children.

Sparky was not the only take-away for Jack and Joanne after visiting the Shelter that day. After seeing how many animals were awaiting adoption, they had a strong desire to do what they could to help.

“We were so impressed with the quality of care and level of effort – with very limited resources – that was provided by the RHS that we decided to both volunteer and donate to the ongoing care of the animals,” says Jack.

Over the years, Jack and Joanne have continued to support the RHS and eventually became PAW Plan monthly donors, providing a donation on a monthly basis. They have also committed to leaving a bequest to the Regina Humane Society in their Wills.

“Giving monthly is a great donation method that is feasible for just about anyone. Every little bit adds up to make a big difference in the lives of the animals,”

We want to thank the Aldcorns on behalf of the thousands of animals whose lives they have saved through their kindness and generosity.

Join Jack and Joanne in donating to RHS on a monthly basis by signing up to be a PAW Plan donor, HERE.

Jack and Joanne Aldcorn

Sparky

 

Got a New Kitten?

 

There’s no greater feeling than when you decide to bring a new furry family member into your home with dreams of cuddling on the couch, companionship and love that knows no end.  But, like any new relationship, there are bound to adjustments and even a few bumps along the way.  However, with a bit of patience and planning, you and your new kitten can start your new life together on the right paw…

Make Playtime Fun for Everyone! – Everyone knows that kittens LOVE to play and it can be one of the more cute and entertaining aspects of a kitten.  Yet, sometimes they can be a little too exuberant, especially if they don’t have another kitten to play with.  Often, you will become the focus of their playfulness, but that can be a problem as they get older, so it’s important to instill good play habits early:

  • Always use toys during play rather than your hands or feet. If your kitten tries to play with them, freeze and look away, then wait a few minutes before giving them any more attention.
  • Have a variety of toys available and rotate their use so your kitten doesn’t get bored and playtime is always interesting.
  • Always allow your kitten to “catch” a toy a few times during play…maybe even offer a treat as a reward.

Have a Few Places Where Scratching is Allowed – Cats love to scratch – and they will!   Scratching is a natural behaviour that allows your cat to spread its scent, stretch and remove old and frayed layers from its claws.  To preserve your furniture, you can pick up several scratching options for your cat at the local pet store, such as carpeted cat posts and trees, sisal ropes and corrugated cardboard or wood scratcher.  Place them strategically in areas that you kitten loves to scratch and provide desirable items in the vicinity of the new scratching post. By doing this, you create a positive association and make your cat feel that being near the scratching post has positive rewards. This can be achieved by playing interactively around the scratching post (i.e. with a feather wand, laser pointer, etc.), providing treats when the cat is around the scratching post, or by placing a small amount of catnip on the scratching post to encourage their use of the post. If you catch your cat in the act of scratching furniture or in an area where it’s not allowed, it’s important not to scold them or get angry or squirt water at them. Cats need to scratch. It comes naturally to them, so if you see them scratching, don’t tell them they’re naughty, but interrupt the behaviour by distracting them with another toy.  Once they’re distracted, you can offer them a treat as a reward for leaving the furniture alone.

You can also make the wrong place to scratch less desirable by placing double-sided tape on the area your cat used to scratch to effectively deter her from scratching there over time. Another option would be to place a hard plastic covering over the area the cat should not be scratching. This prevents the cat from scratching there, and as a result, they will be more likely to use the scratching post instead.

Trim Those Nails – Trimming your cat’s nails is easy and the sooner you get them used to it, the better!  Many kittens won’t mind at all, but if your kitten hesitates, start by touching one front paw, then offering a treat. Work up to extending the nail, always following any handling with a favourite treat to keep the experience pleasant. If the kitten tries to pull away, let her go, give her a break, and try again later.  Be sure to just clip the tip of the nail without getting too close to the nail’s quick.  You can learn more about nail care for your cat here.  https://reginahumanesociety.ca/programs-services/municipal-services/alternatives-to-admission/cat-behaviour-tips/nail-care-cats/

Make the Carrier a Happy Place – You may have heard that cats hate to travel in a car.  Well, some don’t, but getting your kitten used to being in and around their carrier will make trips to the vet and other travel much easier as she gets older.  Try setting the carrier in a spot that your kitten likes to be and keep it there as much as possible.  Keep the door open and be sure to have some comfortable blankets or a bed inside.  For extra measure, pop a treat in there once a day so that she associates the carrier with great things!

The key is to have patience and to keep working at your training even if some days it feels like you’re getting nowhere.  Remember – keep the experience positive for your kitten and she will respond!

 

Tips for Recalling Your Dog

 

It’s a scenario many dog-owners dread…your dog sneaks out of the house or the leash slips from your hand while on a walk.  Suddenly, you are competing for the attention of your dog with so many other distractions – a squirrel, other dogs, smells – you name it.  You may be fighting a losing battle if you don’t do a little pre-planning and practice recalling your dog.

Recall, a technique where your dog comes back to you when called, despite other distractions, is important for you and your pet’s safety, especially in public parks or places you and your pet are unfamiliar with.

Here are a few tips to get you started…

  • Start your training in less distracting areas. It’s hard to compete against too many distractions early on. Instead, once you have mastered a quieter area, take your training somewhere a bit more difficult.
  • When training, reward your dog every time you call. Not most times, every time! It can be treats, a toy or whatever is of high value to your dog.  Your dog should always consider that going to you when called is AWESOME no matter what!  If you wish, you can use a sound or other trigger word as the sound your dog responds to, other than their name.
  • Call your pet once. Do not repeat the call or scold them if they don’t respond the first time.  Repeating your call and then rewarding them teaches that they can wait to hear your call several times before responding.  Getting mad at them with an angry voice is not something they will be drawn to.  Would you?
  • Do your training on leash so your pet cannot get away from you before the behaviour is learned.

Remember that consistency is key for your pet to learn the desired behaviour.  In a dog’s world, the stomach rules, so make sure great things happen each time they come running to you calling their name. Just like us, dogs love things that are rewarding!

The RHS has several reward-based dog training classes available, including Recall classes, to help you and your pet enjoy every moment together.  You can get more information here:  https://www.reginahumanesocietytraining.ca/

Cass – Found Zipped in a Backpack

 

Each animal that arrives at the RHS has its own story. When RHS Animal Protection Officers were alerted to a distressed cat in a back alley, the sad story of Cass began to unfold.  When they arrived, Officers did not find a cat but rather a backpack with desperate cries coming from inside.  As they unzipped the bag, two green eyes blinked back at them. The severely dehydrated and malnourished 6-month-old tabby began to purr as they gently lifted him from his tiny prison.  One of his hind legs had been broken and, without treatment, the tiny bones had fused leaving him with a twisted, stiff and useless limb.

Back at the Shelter, Cass devoured his first meal in a long time before moving into the care of the RHS Veterinary Team to begin his long recovery. Sadly, his leg could not be repaired and amputation was the only option to give young Cass the mobility he deserved. Once his surgery was completed, Cass moved to a quiet foster home to regain his strength, heal and look forward to the day he could find a home to call his own.

When he was ready, Cass was placed for adoption at PetSmart Quance, one of the Society’s 6 satellite adoption centres. Cass did not have to wait long to find his special someone and was adopted the same day he arrived.   As he cuddled close to his new dad that night, with a full tummy and a full heart, he had you to thank.  Because of your support of RHS lifesaving programs and services, together we are re-writing the sad stories of thousands of animals like Cass to end with happily-ever-after.

Cass arriving at the Shelter

During surgery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post recovery

Cass and his new Dad

Scoot – The Tiniest of Patients

 

The “trouble” that kittens can get themselves into is legendary.  Most often, their playful antics cause little more damage than a tipped over vase or water dish.  When Scoot arrived at the RHS in mid-June, it was obvious this little fellow had run into some real trouble.  In the course of his short 4 weeks of life, little Scoot had managed to suffer a badly broken hind leg.  While we don’t know what caused the trauma, the break was serious enough that RHS Veterinarians felt that amputation would be the safest and best option for Scoot to help him on the road to a good quality of life with as little discomfort as possible.  So, at just 5 weeks of age, he became the youngest amputation patient our clinic has ever had.  The RHS Veterinary Team took wonderful care of Scoot from start to finish, and within hours he was up and about like nothing had ever happened (see the video below!).  He spent several weeks with a wonderful foster family before beginning another journey – to find a new home.

Having become a bit of a social media star during his time with the Shelter, Scoot found his new mom in no time, and it was off to more, and hopefully safer, adventures.

It is only your support of the Society that makes happy stories like this possible.  On behalf of Scoot, all the other animals who are safe and loved because of your support, we thank you.

Getting Ready for Surgery

Post-Surgery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Hours After Surgery

Heading Back to School or Work? How to Avoid Pet Separation Anxiety.

 

With many of us spending the past several months working from home, our pets may have become used to having us around all day.  But, what happens when the time comes to return to the office or classroom?

Separation anxiety, especially with dogs, can be a problem!  It’s triggered when a pet is upset by being separated from their guardians and the people they are attached to.  It can bring about undesirable behaviours such as barking, inappropriate defecation or urination, chewing, digging or trying to escape.  While most behaviours are relatively mild, some can be more severe resulting in injury or household destruction, especially around exit points such as windows and doors.

There are some steps you can take ahead of returning to work or school to help avoid or reduce anxiety in your pet when they are alone:

Don’t be too quick to eliminate old habits.  If your dog had been used to you being away for a certain period before, try to ensure that at least a few times per week you are away from them for a similar time.  This can be done by placing your pet in his or her kennel or another separate space or room where they cannot see or hear you.

Implement an “ignore policy” for at least two hours each day.  Even if you are stuck at home, there will be a time when your pet does not have access to you physically or verbally – just like when you are away.

Spend some time physically out of the house.  Whether it’s gardening, cutting the grass, taking a long walk, shopping or attending to some errands, exit the house for a while.  When you leave, say goodbye to your pet just as you would when you depart for the day.  This will help your pet get used to you being away and that you will be back.  A tasty treat or chew will also make your pet realize that good things can happen too when you leave!

If you haven’t crate-trained your dog, now is a GREAT time! Even dogs who are fantastic loose in the house can benefit!  There may come a day when your dog needs to be kept at the vet, boarded at a facility or transported by plane and they will need to be comfortable in a crate! If you’re home now, you can break the training into little pieces.

If your pet does get a little upset when alone, don’t worry.  Many dogs will give up barking or crying after a few minutes.  If they persist or escalate, you may need to knock on the door to distract them and say “Quiet”.  After a few minutes of being calm, you can let them out or give them a treat to reward their good behaviour.  Work on gradually extending that quiet time until it becomes natural and normal.

If your pet does take a step backward here or there, it is important not to punish or scold them as this may only serve to increase their anxiety.   The behaviour is not a result of poor training or spite, but rather a result of them trying to cope with a great deal of stress.  If the problem persists, consult with your family veterinarian about other possible solutions.

The important goal is that your pet routinely spends time away from the family while you are working from home and that your dog is not distressed during those periods of alone time.  With a little time, patience and focus, you and your dog can continue to be happy and content when you are back to your regular life and routine!

Graham – A Special Pet for a Special Family

 

Shortly after being brought to the Shelter by RHS Animal Protection Officers in late June, Graham, a two-year-old tabby, began showing signs that something was not quite right.  He seemed to stare into space and “feel his way around” more than simply watching where he was going.  While he got around fine and played with toys like any other young cat, it appeared our fine feline friend was blind.

RHS Animal Care staff alerted the Shelter’s Veterinary Team and further investigation was done.  Graham was blind, likely due to retina detachment and glaucoma, which would cause quite a bit of discomfort for this cuddly boy.  Ultimately, bilateral eye enucleation, the surgical removal of both eyes, would relieve his pain and offer the best possible quality of life for their furry patient.

Graham’s surgery went extremely well and shortly afterward he was off to foster care to heal and prepare for the possibility of a new home.  We see many animals come through the shelter and their resilience is awe-inspiring.  The loss of eyes, a limb or tail usually slows them down little, and they continue to romp and play as if nothing had changed.  Graham was no exception.  His foster family reported that he loved to play and somehow always knew where the toy was.  He truly was a joy to watch and be with.

In time, Graham healed and it was his turn to find his forever home.  It was one of the Society’s social media posts about Graham that caught the attention of a very special family.  As it turns out, one of the children in the family, Deacan, is visually impaired.  When he heard Graham’s story, he knew this cat was the pet for him – his kindred spirit.  Within no time the two new buddies were on their way home, ready to take on the world of adventures that they will share – guiding each other every step of the way.

Before Surgery

Post-Surgery

With Deacan

 

How to Make Your Home Feline Friendly

 

For those who have a dog, the talk is all about morning walks, playing fetch, learning tricks and other ways to make the home environment fun, exciting and filled with all that a dog loves.

But, how can you do the same for your cat?

You can help ensure that your feline is feeling fine all day long by providing a few amenities that will help them exercise, play and engage in some of their natural behaviours to keep them healthy and happy.

Hide and Seek

We’ve all talked about how a cat will take any opportunity to jump into a box.  There is a good reason for this.  Cats love to hide – on a chair under the table, cat trees, cat pods or the box the microwave came in.  providing some spaces as cozy hideaways will always be appreciated by your cat.  But, try not to let them be completely isolated, especially if your cat is a little shy as this may not help them gain confidence easily.

Toys

Play provides cats with the mental and physical exercise they need. It can also build confidence in a fearful cat, and strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Cat toys can be purchased or home-made from items such as pipe cleaners, plastic bottle caps or balled-up socks with a pinch of catnip to make it more interesting.  You learn how to make cat toys on our website here.

A Place to Rest

Just like people, cats should have a comfortable place to rest and just hang out.  These can include a cat bed, platform on a cat tree or even a safe shelf somewhere in the home.  Be sure not to clean it very often as a cat will be comforted by its own scent – making the resting spot even that much more special!

Vertical space

Cats are built to climb and perch! Be it the top of the cat tree or perhaps on top of your kitchen cabinets, cats love to survey their world from above.   They may also seek higher ground when they encounter a new person, object or situation as it can allow them to feel more safe and secure as they watch their surroundings to “see what happens” or for perceived threats.  Be sure to have a few spots where they are allowed to climb unhindered and as much as they like.

Scratching posts

Cats scratch for many reasons and it’s a natural and ‘hard-wired’ behaviour.  Scratching helps to spread pheromones, remove old claw material and even communicate!  They will scratch so it’s crucial to provide a place where they can easily do their scratching, which will also help avoid them doing so on the new couch! It’s best to provide multiple scratching places such as cat posts and trees and scratch pads.  Offer both vertical and horizontal options for your cat and with different materials (carpet, cardboard, etc.) and make the places you want them to scratch as alluring as possible by rubbing it with a little catnip for extra appeal!

Puzzle feeders

If you’ve ever watched Animal Planet, you may have noticed that in the wild, felines spend most of their waking hours hunting and eating.  Our domestic cats are usually fed a couple of times a day from a bowl – pretty easy-peasy!  Not having to hunt can also leave a large part of their day free to get into trouble.  Puzzle feeders make it a challenge to get at a piece of food.  Whether rolling a ball so a kibble falls out of a hole or uncovering hidden nuggets of food in a tray, puzzle feeders help cats exercise both physically and mentally – and can provide some wonderful entertainment for you.  Dozens of styles of puzzle feeders are available commercially or you can make your own with items you already have such as ice cube trays, egg cartons or toilet paper rolls.

TIP: A quick online search will give you plenty of ideas on how to make your puzzles!

 

Warm Weather Fun!

 

As we move into the busy summer months, and restrictions begin to ease on gatherings, we may finally be able to get out into the sunshine more to enjoy all that the season has to offer.  Much of this might also include our pets.  Here are a few things to keep in mind while you enjoy your summer fun!

Have fun at a safe distance  

Be sure to continue to follow provincial public health guidelines and practice physical distancing. Avoid large group walks, wash your hands before and after you venture out and keep your animal from interacting with others if possible.

Ticks the Season!

While early spring is peak tick time, those little bugs can be active all summer.  If you walk your dog through brush or tall grasses, give him a quick once-over to ensure he didn’t pick up any unwanted hitchhikers along the way.  You may even want to consult your veterinarian on ways to avoid tick exposure and any tick-related diseases.

Who doesn’t love the park!

If you plan on bringing your pooch along to picnics, snacks in the yard or while you BBQ, make sure to watch your food and be sure to keep them away from chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions and the sweetener Xylitol. Xylitol can be found in sugar-free candy, sugar-free baked goods, and sugar-free gum. Dogs ingesting Xylitol can suffer a drop in blood sugar that can be fatal in some cases.

Keep alcoholic beverages out of your pets’ reach. Alcohol effects animals far more than it does humans. When consumed in large amounts, it can cause a drop in blood sugar and blood temperature. This can lead to seizures and respiratory failure.

Make sure your pets are a safe distance away from your grill.  Hot coals and ashes could cause serious burns. Always be sure the barbeque is cooled down once you’ve finished cooking and never leave pets on their own around it while it’s still hot. You should also keep your pets away from matches or lighter fluid.

Always be aware of your dog’s condition.  Running and playing outside on hot days may cause your pooch to overheat, which can be dangerous.

Signs that a pet could be in trouble from heat exposure include exaggerated panting, salivation, lack of co-ordination, convulsions vomiting, and collapse.

If your pet shows signs of heat stroke, take the following actions:

  • Gently move the animal to a cool, shady place
  • Wet your pet with cool water (not cold)
  • Fan vigorously to help cool
  • Do not apply ice which can inhibit blood flow and cooling
  • Allow your pet to drink luke-warm water
  • Take your pet to a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible

Let’s all have a safe and happy summer!