Staff and volunteers of the Elmbrook Humane Society will be blogging about what's going on at the society, as well as other observations about life in Wisconsin.
The mission of the Elmbrook Humane Society is to promote the human-animal bond through adoption and education, to provide shelter to homeless animals, and to prevent animal cruelty and neglect. EBHS services the city of Brookfield, the villages of Butler, Chenequa, Elm Grove and Nashotah, and the towns of Brookfield and Delafield. EBHS shelters unwanted pets and strays, and rescues injured domestic animals and wildlife, provides resources for individuals with companion animals and provides Humane Education to schools and civic groups.
Visit our web site at www.EBHS.org.
What attracts us to certain types of animals? I suppose psychologists could write long papers on the whys and wherefores. I see that one of the other volunteers really likes bulldogs and similar variations. I'm very ordinary, I guess, because I'm crazy about labs. My family never owned one. We had cocker spaniels, a fox terrier, a vizsla, and two mutts. Later my mom had a yorkie and an English bulldog. My sister loves Airedales and works with their rescue group. My brother thinks boxers are great dogs. So, there is nothing that is bred in me toward wanting a certain type of dog. But I like the way they look (even though the two I have are built and act quite differently). I like their personalities. I like their energy. That doesn't mean I don't like other dogs or I could never own another. In fact I think pit bulls are quite intelligent and I love interacting with them at the shelter. I like Dobermans and shepherds and collies. But with me and labs it is love at first sight. In my world, there are people for each and every dog and just your type might be just down the road. So what are you waiting for?
In my opinion, all dogs should be fed on a schedule (i.e., no open feeding) and if you crate, their meal should be in a crate. Feeding in a crate allows you to monitor their food, makes the crate a GREAT place to them, and prevents dogfights. I have fostered many dogs and I can't believe how many times I have been told that a dog who comes in for fostering is a picky eater…NOT AT MY HOUSE. We have no picky eaters. I also have had dogs leave my house that later "become picky eaters," usually because I find out they free-feed.
Now for those that say, "I only have one or two dogs and I want them to be able to have food whenever they want," I say WHY?? First of all, feeding on a schedule is a very easy way to have well-behaved dogs. The reason? In packs, the pack leader controls the feedings. When you free-feed you lose that easy alpha move. Next is the possibility of an overweight dog. Some say dogs know when to stop…I say they don't. I have seen many overweight free-fed dogs, and how many people do you know who at times overeat? Probably many...if we as people don't always have the sense to "stop," why should our dogs? Next, free-feeding IMO creates picky eaters...they’re thinking, “why should I eat THIS…I will wait to see what else comes along at the end of the day.” Last but not least, you are setting your pack up for a competitive environment where often one dog will eat or guard the bowl while the more submissive dogs are afraid or cautious about eating.
I love working at the humane society and I'm happy to make the 40-minute drive to work each day. Today, however, as I was listening to the radio, an ad came on for a well-known puppy store in the area. The announcer excitedly exclaimed that they were having a puppy sale - $200 off all puppies for the rest of the month! They followed by dropping names of breeds…they have boxers, terriers, pugs, and so many more!
I wanted to share Dr. Emily Weiss's blog from a couple of weeks ago. She talks about how she wouldn't have met the shelter's criteria for adoption when she was younger.
Hello my name is Bryan and I volunteer with EBHS (Elmbrook Humane Society) as a Cat Socializer at the PetSmart in Greenfield. I am one of a few EBHS volunteers who will be providing blogs on various topics related to EBHS, volunteering in general, and working with the different types of animals. I have been a volunteer at the Greenfield PetSmart for over 3 years and love working with the staff and EBHS volunteers.
EBHS likes to provide a volunteer for each night of the week between 5 and 9 pm to clean the cages and let the cats out for some much-needed play time. My night for volunteering is Monday, although I often stop by just to check on the cats or to fill in for a volunteer who cannot work their shift.
I have 4 favorite boys at the EBHS. They are always happy to see me. Sometimes they cry or have tantrums when I leave. I'm only with them each about 10 minutes of the day but they seem to think the world of me. Clem is the oldest. He is happy as can be, walking down the street. His manners are pretty good but work with him on a regular basis and it wouldn't take him long to understand what you want. Next is Sox. He is a puppy at heart, no manners, but he's so willing to learn. I'm trying to keep him from jumping up and I can tell he's really trying. He practically wiggles out of his skin. Waldo's right behind. He is speed personified (or doggified, I guess). When he gets loose in the large runs he races around like crazy. He also could use some work on his manners but wearing him out goes a long way towards better behavior on the end of the leash. His face and ears are so soft; I love to rub them. Last is Dexter. He behaves nicely when we go for our walk but I can tell he'd love to run and play instead. He is very gentle taking treats and thinks I'm not quick enough at giving them. I'm starting to get very attached to them which means they have been here longer than I would like (a few weeks). I'm sure there has to be someone out there who would love to give them a fresh start. Come and see.
It's National Bite Prevention Week.
I heard a sad story on the radio last week. Another child was bitten by a dog. That is sad for the child and his family, sad for the family of the dog, another black mark against the breed, and the dog paid the ultimate price. What is even worse is that education and training might have been able to prevent this. Parents should keep small children under control and teach all children to never approach a strange dog. If the dog is with the owner, ask first before approaching and touching someone's dog. Teach them how to touch a dog. Let the dog sniff their hand; don't pat it on top of the head. People with dogs should socialize them with other dogs, other people, new situations, from the time they are a few months old. Train them with obedience so that they bond with you and listen to your commands. If you get a dog from a breeder, make sure that the breeder is responsible and checks for health and temperament issues before breeding as well as after the puppies arrive. Dogs from shelters are temperament tested for adoptability. Find one that fits well with your family and situation. Always remember that these are dogs, not people, and don't think like we do. What may be considered non-threatening or unprovoked to us, may be looked at quite differently by a dog. Was the dog protecting the person on the end of the leash? Some dogs are quite protective of family and the breed was developed with that quality in mind. A toddler, while cute to us, may be some strange being to the dog who hasn't been around them and has one rushing up to it. One of my dogs is well-trained and goes to nursing homes, adult day care, and schools for obedience training demonstrations and visits. She has no trouble with the sights and sounds of these facilities. All sorts of people touch her all over her body. I have never seen her happier than in the middle of a group of elementary kids, having them shake her paw and giving kisses in return. But I have also seen her hackles rise and heard her growl when a group of 3 pre-school ages girls were running around, squealing and playing. That was something that she had never been exposed to but I was with her, she was on a leash, and we both learned something. I have been bitten by dogs and have the scars to prove it. Neither of the dogs that bit me were those breeds that come to mind which just confirms my own beliefs that breed specific restrictions are not fair to the breed or the owner. I have read that small breeds are more likely to bite, generally out of fear. The problem is that when big dogs bite, even if less often, they cause more damage. Try not to blame the dog or the breed but promote smart dog ownership and education. That would be best for all concerned.
I'm a dog-walker, one of the many volunteers at EBHS. I'll start by telling you why I enjoy volunteering here. The people are wonderful. The shelter is small enough that most of the employees remember your name. It is always easy to find someone to answer a question or help you out. Also, I love animals and I especially love dogs so this job is perfect for me. I get to interact with many different dogs; different breeds, different shapes and sizes, different personalities. One of my hobbies is dog-training so I get to try to use what I've learned to help the dogs as they wait to find a new home. It is always exciting to meet a new dog and try to figure out what it needs most. Some of them need to burn off some energy so there is always playing fetch in the outdoor runs. Some of them could use some manners training so they get walked and we practice sit and down. Others just need to be loved; a kind word and a tummy rub. The animals at EBHS are lucky but I think I'm the luckiest of all.