Happy Tails: Bruce

Bruce is very happy in his new home with his new family. He has settled right in and is enjoying all of the toys that his family has given him to play with. He’s even got a brand new cat tree to climb, and he’s exploring every perch. This handsome boy looks so happy, and we are thrilled that he has found his new forever home.

Help Cure Fido’s Back-to-School Blues

The summer months often mean family members spend more time at home, and our pets get to enjoy more of the day socializing with the humans they love. Once the school year starts up again, calendars fill up with after school activities, PTA meetings, and the like, and the house that was once filled with human companions can now become quite empty. Your beloved pup can become depressed, suffering from his own version of the Back-to-School Blues.

According to veterinarians, dogs can get depressed, just like us. Watch for symptoms such as lack of energy, loss of appetite, and not wanting to play. Dogs suffering from depression may not get up from bed when their family members come home.

Other dogs suffer from separation anxiety. This manifests in erratic behavior that can include excessive barking or whining, frantic clawing at doors, windows, or fences, chewing, and going to the bathroom in the house. Dogs with separation anxiety will be ecstatic when family members get home.

Many pet parents notice a spike in separation anxiety in their pets when the kids go back to school. It’s not just an anecdote. Studies have proven dogs miss us when we’re caught up in everyday life and can’t give them the attention they desire. A survey of Petplan’s policy holders showed that 26% of pet parents with school-aged kids saw signs of separation anxiety as the school year set in. Only 10% of those without kids surveyed saw these signs, so it is reasonable to correlate this sudden increase in separation anxiety to the increased alone time pets face when kids go back to school.

You can help your dog work through his back-to-school-blues by creating a routine and considering a few activities that will allow for quality time with Fido.

Exercise: Ensuring your dog gets exercise in the morning and evening will go a long way to helping relieve his depression and anxiety. Get up a little earlier in the morning to ensure your dog has time to go out and play in the yard or go for a walk. Even 15 minutes of quality exercise will help your dog expend extra energy while letting him know you care. In the evening, you might be tired and ready to relax on the couch, but your dog has been waiting for you all day. He likely has unspent energy that he needs to burn  off. Make sure to take him out for some exercise and play time after dinner. Create a morning and evening exercise schedule that gets everyone in the family involved. That way your dog gets attention from all of his human companions.

Morning departure: When it’s time to leave in the morning, don’t make a big deal of it. Give your dog a nice pet without getting emotional. If you’re upset, he’s more likely to get upset, too. Try distracting Fido with a new toy or a treat-stuffed toy to keep him occupied as you scoot out the door. For dogs that are a bit more anxious, consider leaving a radio or TV on to keep him company throughout the day.

Afternoon walks: If someone in the family can come home midday to take Fido out for a short walk or some play time in the yard, consider that. It helps break up the amount of time he’s home alone, but it also relieves some energy in the middle of the day. If no one in the family can make it home, ask a neighbor or consider hiring a dog walker to provide that midday break. Doggie day-camps are also great options to consider. Your dogs will be able to spend time in the company of other doggie friends and will be less likely to be lonely throughout the day

Coming home: Don’t make a big deal of it when you come home from work or the kids come home from school. If you act like you’ve been gone for a long time, especially if your dog will think so, too. Calmly greet your dog and take him out for a potty break or go on a walk to spend some quality time with him.

When the family is home, ensure that Fido feels like he’s part of the family and getting enough attention. Kids who are learning to read can spend some time reading out loud to him. This is a great way to give your kids the opportunity to practice their reading skills in a safe and non-judgmental environment, while giving  your dog the opportunity to bond with his little friends. When it’s time to relax after a long day, get the family together on the couch for some quality snuggle time. This simple act is a great way to bond and ensure that everyone in the family settles into the new school year routine.



Pet Spotlight: Socks and Precious

Socks and Precious are a wonderful duo who are looking for a new family. They’d like to stay together, if possible, as they’ve been together all of their lives. These 10 year-old tabbies were brought to DAWS when their owner could no longer care for them. They are both very sweet, affectionate, and loving and are getting used to their new surroundings. Their true personalities are starting to shine through, and we know that they will settle in nicely with a new family. Socks and Precious are ready to cuddle up and get comfy in a new home of their own. Will you give them a chance to live out their golden years in yours?


Happy Tails: Lizzie

Lizzie is finally enjoying the life she deserves in her new home. Her new family met her while she was out on a walk with one of our dedicated volunteers. They thought she was the most beautiful dog they’d ever seen, and wanted to make her a part of their family. She went home under a foster-to-adopt arrangement, and Lizzie hasn’t looked back since leaving DAWS.

Her new family dotes on her, providing her with lots of toys to play with, taking her for walks, and playing with her in the yard. She is so happy and content, and loves to snuggle with the family every chance she gets. Her new family sends us updates and videos all the time, letting us know just how happy they are to have her and just how well she is doing at home. After a long stay in the shelter, we are so happy Lizzie has found her forever home.

Signs of Boredom in Your Cat

You might think that with the 15 hours a day your cat spends napping that she may not have time to get bored. But unfortunately, cats can—and do— get bored. While Fluffy may not always let you know how bored she is, sometimes cats express their boredom in ways that are quite blunt and not always appreciated by their human companions. Before she starts scratching your furniture, climbing the drapes, or destroying every roll of toilet paper you put on the holder, look out for these signs of boredom, and make efforts to provide her with more mental and physical stimulation.

Over grooming or other repetitive behaviors – Cats who are suffering from boredom may repeatedly lick themselves, chew/bite at their skin, or pull out their fur. The irritation that results from this behavior can cause them to continue to over-groom, creating an ongoing loop of frustrating behavior.

Chasing or fighting with other animals – Bored cats will sometimes chase other pets as a means to release pent up energy. If your cat starts running after the other cats in the house or tries to corner the dog, this may be a sign that your cat needs other stimulation.

Lack of normal curiosity – Cats spend a large portion of their day sleeping, but they do have times of the day where they engage in activity and play. If you notice that your cat isn’t doing much else except napping and snacking at the food bowl, you could very well have a bored cat on your hands.

Moping around the house – If your cat seems down in the dumps and uninterested in most things that normally get her active, including food, it could be a sign that she isn’t getting enough mental stimulation. Be aware, however; if this behavior continues even after making positive changes in the environment, seek the advice of a veterinarian to rule out any health issues.

Over-eating – Bored cats are in synch with bored humans on this front. They’ll over-eat as an just because it is something to do. This can lead to obesity, which further depresses a cat.

While all these signs may be symptoms of boredom, they may be signs of medical or behavior problems, too. If you notice your cat doing any of these things, be sure to seek advice from your vet to rule out any health problems that could be driving your cat’s behavior.

Battling Boredom

Once you’ve confirmed that your cat has no health issues and boredom is the problem, work towards providing a more enriching environment for your cat. Providing a combination of interactive toys, plenty of high places to climb, scratching posts and horizontal scratchers, and perches in front of secure windows to let Fluffy view the outside world all can go a long way in helping to entertain your cat and keep her stimulated in the right way.

With boredom gone, your cat will thank you with energy, curiosity, and bright-eyed interest that says, “Thanks, mom. Let’s play!”

Mission Critical: Find Amos a Home

Last month we let you know that we were on a mission to find Amos a home…and we still are. Amos is a loyal and loving dog who has been with us for over two years now. He is incredibly smart and loves to learn. He continues to gain new skills during his training sessions with his favorite Dog Trainer, Julia Klaucke, and she has assembled a special team of staff and volunteers to help Amos keep up with his training when she’s not there. Amos thrives when he is “working” and is looking for a new family that is going to continue his training and keep him active. By the way…going for hikes in the park is just one of his favorite activities. Amos is full of love and affection and will be a fantastic companion for a new family.

If you are interested in adopting Amos, reach out to our Dog Program to schedule time to meet him. The full value of his adoption fees will go toward training sessions for you with Amos and Julia.

Pet Spotlight: Meet Tony

Tony has a perfect cat personality; he loves everything and everyone, humans and cats alike. This devilishly handsome boy, with silky black fur and piercing green eyes is just 6 1/2 years old, and he’s ready to make a new family very happy. He’s got a very sweet personality that matches his great smile, complete with his pearly white fangs that stick out whenever he gets a good nose rub.

Tony came to us with a large skin lesion on his side that spread over much of his skin. We tried various treatments and finally found a medication that cleared everything up and saved his life. He must continue with his treatment for 6 months, so we have entered him into our Angel Pet Program to ensure that potential adopters are able to manage the cost of care through his full recovery. Don’t let this deter you from opening your heart to Tony. We are certain that if you do, you will love him as much as we do.

Happy Tails: Banjo (Brody)

Banjo, now Brody, came to DAWS with his brother Hugo. He was a shy and timid dog who found some confidence playing with his doggie friends in the yard. His new family is totally in love with him, and he is settling in well at home. Here is an update on how Banjo is doing in his new home:

We changed Banjo’s name to Brody. He is doing great, and we absolutely love him! He is so smart and easy to train. He gets lots of exercise; including running or catching a ball in our yard or going for long walks.

We are still working on helping him with his timid nature and fear of certain noises. If we open a bag, he will flinch, but we are working through that. He is so sweet and full of love and has fit right into the family. He just loves our girls. We are so thankful to have him as part of our family.

Double Digit Adoptions During our Free the Shelters Event

DAWS was selected to participate in a “Free the Shelters” no adoption fee event in July.  The event was sponsored by Cathy Kangas, the Founder and CEO of PRAI Beauty and Board Member of the Humane Society of the US. For three days, July 14th-16thPRAI beauty paid all adoption fees so that loving families could adopt pets at no cost.

PRAI for PAWS launched this campaign in May and saw results that exceeded their expectations!  Since the launch, PRAI Beauty sponsored adoption fees at more shelters and found homes for a total to nearly 600 animals adopted in just over 1 month!

The concept for this event grew out of the many studies that show that removing adoption fees increases the number and speed of pet adoptions (and reduces the rate of euthanasia), along with the knowledge that there are no significant differences in outcome between pets adopted with or without a fee.

It was all hands on deck at DAWS over the three-day event. Dog and cat adoption counselors, dog handlers, and other volunteers and staff were on hand to match people with pets, introduce dogs to families, and help assist in the processing of applications and release animals.  Everyone worked so hard to make sure that DAWS was successful in placing healthy cats and dogs into loving homes, even though the event was organized and executed in a very short period of time.

Anyone who attended (or drove by the shelter) knew how very busy we were for all three days, from opening until closing.  The outcome was fantastic; we were able to send 19 cats and 15 dogs home with loving families! The adoptions freed up space in our cattery and in our kennels, allowing us to bring in more homeless cats and dogs that need our help to find their forever homes.

A heartfelt thanks goes out to PRAI Beauty and everyone who participated in this wonderful event!

Tips for Selecting a Groomer

Summer is in full swing, and all of the outdoor activities may have left your pooch looking a little worse for wear. It might be time to think about bringing him to the groomers to ditch the dirt and grime and pick up a new ‘do. Before you pick up the phone and make an appointment, be sure to do your research and shop around. After all, if you pick the wrong groomer it might lead to something more serious than just a bad haircut; your pet could get sick, traumatized, injured or worse.

A good starting point to finding the right groomer is word of mouth, ask every pet owner you know if they would recommend their groomer. Scour the internet for reviews and remember to be wary of groomers with a high rating but very few votes, they could be trying to pull a fast one by writing a few bogus reviews. You might also want to check out the Better Business Bureau to find an accredited groomer in your area.

Try to find a certified dog groomer. New York does not require groomers to be licensed while Connecticut does. In order for an establishment to be eligible for the certification in Connecticut they must have adequate room, well maintained grooming equipment, drying cages, sanitary practices and an exercise area. Of course this doesn’t mean you should avoid groomers in New York or automatically trust a Connecticut groomer. Due diligence in your research is always a must.

Inquire about the services they provide and whether or not the pricing is all-inclusive or a la carte. Along with the obvious services such as bathing and clipping, groomers can also offer nail trimming, teeth brushing, ear cleaning and paw pad cleaning. It may be wise to ask if there are extra charges for severely matted fur or aggressive behavior. Remember to factor in tipping, 15 to 20 percent is customary.

Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. It is perfectly acceptable to ask about how much experience they have and whether or not they know first aid for pets. You can ask them about grooming in general, for tips about shedding or how often a dog should be bathed to try to suss out how knowledgeable they are.

You may want to ask to tour the salon. It’s a good idea to scope it out and get a feel for the place. It is also a good opportunity to observe the groomer’s personality. Are they friendly and calm or abrupt and impatient? Basically, trust your gut, if you don’t feel comfortable there your pet won’t either. Is it well run and organized or is it messy and chaotic? If it’s messy they may be more likely to be lax in sanitary practices which could lead to skin infections or catching a contagious illness.

Speaking of illnesses, there are some pre-existing medical conditions that can factor into the grooming process. A good groomer will ask you about them but feel free to bring them up first. Conditions that can affect the grooming session include hip dysplasia, disc disease, seizures, skin problems, allergies, asthma or anxiety.

If you do have an anxiety prone dog you may want to look for a groomer that offers a one on one experience. Some groomers employ different people at different stations which might add to an already stressful situation. Another option is a mobile groomer so he doesn’t have to leave the comfort of his own turf.

Once you choose a groomer be sure to observe your pooch closely after his appointment. If he seems extra lethargic or nervous and has diarrhea for a few days it means that he got overly stressed out. Follow up with the groomer to see if she can come up with a strategy to make it less stressful the next time. If she can’t or is unwilling to, it might be time to start the search over again.

Written by Elizabeth Boluch