Loose Leash Walking

By Laurel H.

Define it

I think we all have a different idea of what loose leash walking is. Some of us think of it as a “heel,” where the dog stays by your side throughout the walk. Some of us think of it as a more casual thing – mostly just the dog not dragging you down the street. For the purposes of this article, I am going to use the second definition, though the teaching is fairly similar.

Get Ready

We teach the shelter dogs with a clicker. If you don’t want to take a clicker with you on a walk, pick a marker word (a word to tell the dog they did well and a treat is coming) to use. I like “good,” because I think it sounds nice and consistent. Other people use “yes” or odd things like “yip.” When I say click from here on out, that word can act in the same way as the clicker.

Here’s how I set myself up for a walk. This might actually be the hardest part, because it can feel awkward at first. Don’t give up. It gets easier, I promise.

  • Treats on the same side as I want the dog to walk, in a pocket or a treat bag, easy to get to
  • Leash in the hand opposite to the dog
  • Clicker, if I’m using one, in the same hand as the leash
  • Dog wearing a harness and leash(es) – the leash crosses my body in front so I can hold it opposite of the dog.


The first thing you actually need to work on has nothing to do with walking… it’s just getting the dog’s attention on you. I think a lot of the shelter dogs that have no leash manners may actually not know that there is a person on the other end of the leash; there’s just a dead weight back there keeping them from going where they want to go. So, you have to get their attention.

Stand facing the dog. Have yummy treats. Click and treat a few times for nothing at all. When they are giving you attention, start clicking when they look at you, then treat to the ground. When they look back up at you, click again. Do this as fast as you can with the dog to get them really excited about working with you and keep their attention on you.

You have to be more interesting that the environment (smells, traffic, other dogs, etc). Otherwise, the dog has no reason to pay attention to that dead weight at the end of the leash, because SQUIRREL!

First Steps

We share some videos with our volunteers on how to get started with loose leash walking. Here are the links:

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Even if you don’t teach it with as many steps and precision as those videos, here are some basic concepts:

  • Once you have attention, click and treat every step to start. You are trying to click and treat before the dog dives out in front of you.
  • As you increase the number of steps between each click/treat, make sure you are being unpredictable. If you always click after 3 steps, the dog is no dummy. He’s going to wait 3 steps, look for the treat, and if you don’t deliver it’s time to start dragging you down the street! So, don’t make it the same every time. Just keep the average going up over time, from walk to walk.

Add a Cue

After you’ve got about 3 or 4 steps between click/treats, add a cue. Say “with me” before you start walking. After you’ve gone a ways, say “okay” or “go sniff,” then let the dog take a break and sniff around. Use “with me” when you are ready to start practicing again.

Watch for Triggers

If you’re walking a dog that you know reacts to something (dogs, cars, skateboards, bikes, cats, clowns, etc) and you see that kind of trigger headed your way, make as much as space as you can. If getting away from the trigger means going back the way you came (and you can do so), do it. Click/treat rapidly until the trigger is safely away from you.

Let the Dog Sniff

Dogs need opportunities to sniff and just be dogs. Sniffing helps them relieve stress and take in information about the world. Dogs experience the world through their noses kind of like we do visually. Imagine if you were so excited to go for a walk at sunset along the beach, but you had to keep a blindfold on so you couldn’t actually enjoy it the way you imagined. BORING. Walks are a chance to enrich the dogs’ lives, not just march them down the street. Be sure to give them time to enjoy it!

Why We Foster with Greenhill

By Christie P.

Growing up, my family had two dogs and two cats. Having pets as part of the family felt like a necessity and created so many memories that it assumed my children would have the same privilege.

By the time my children were born, I had a darling pair of cats, named Duke and Dutchess. I loved them dearly, but my youngest was allergic as an infant and started breaking out in hives constantly.  We knew we had to give our beloved kittens away, but it was one of the hardest things we had ever done.

On the road to their teenage years, the boys had asked many times to adopt animals but my job kept me so busy with travel that I didn’t see how we could be responsible pet owners. That’s when we decided to start helping out at Greenhill.

Originally, we were going to volunteer, but we were all busy during the days Monday through Friday and our weekends were unpredictable at best. We did, however, learn that Greenhill had a foster program. It turns out, the foster program was a win/win situation for us.  Not only would we get a constant stream of kittens that were recommended to stay in a small portion of the house, but we would be helping to nurse and socialize young animals who would be unable to survive without caring attention.

Giving back our first set of kittens was terribly difficult. I cried for hours after giving them up, and missed them horribly each time I walked past the space where they had been.  Fortunately, I realized very shortly after that my ability to host and return kittens was what was allowing other people to adopt them.  Because of the work my family was doing, a young girl would meet her best friend, a recent empty-nester would find a perfect companion, and a bachelor can find a companion to greet him when he gets home from work.

That said, I have to admit that we have now officially become “foster failures.”  We ended up falling in love with a singlet that we were caring for and, now that my job duties allow me to be home more, we decided to add MacDougal to our household. Even so, we still intend to continue fostering into the future.  We truly enjoy taking care of these little bundles of joy, and they have brought so much love into our house. The whole family agrees that deciding to foster is one of the most gratifying risks we’ve ever taken.

Exciting Times Ahead

If you thought that 2018 was an exciting time for Greenhill, just wait to see what 2019 has in store!  Of course you already know because you’ve been helping along the way.  You’ve helped us reunite over 800 pets with their families and find new loving families for over 2,200 pets.  You’ve helped us provide care for these adorable creatures while Greenhill has been in the midst of a major transformation. The physical work on the Greenhill campus started in May of this past year, and the progress hasn’t slowed.  Each week, there have been changes.  Buildings are literally rising out of the ground, walls are coming down, and new walls are being built.  It’s been very exciting and a little stressful as we have had to move animal spaces around and change our routines. Thank you for your support during this time.  It has been an incredible feat to ensure that we were here for the needs of the animals in our community while at the same time making this major transformation.  Your help has made this successful.

Our two new dog housing buildings are just a few months away from completion; the changes to the cat housing have begun; and the building that will house small animals, central services, and our future veterinary medical clinic is in the early stages of construction. We anticipate being able to fully occupy all but the veterinary clinic by July 1st of this year!

These new spaces will greatly improve the level of care we can provide to the animals that come to us in need. We will also be expanding our capacity to care for more animals.  There will be new opportunities and ways that volunteers can help.  By the end of this year, we anticipate helping a record number of animals, and we are looking forward to doing so with your continued help!

As we enter into 2019, please feel free to ask questions to learn more about the project and the time-line. You can learn more on our website here.  And if you are able, we still need donations to complete the project.

Thank you again, for all your help this past year and in this new year ahead.


Cary Lieberman, Executive Director

How to Develop Small Animal Handling Skills

Small animals are fascinating, and with their fluffy fur and adorable faces, it’s only natural to want to pick them up and cuddle. But that’s not always as easy as it looks. Here are some facts to keep in mind that will help you to develop good small animal handling skills. Give yourself some time and practice, and before you know it, you’ll be picking up bunnies like a pro!

Small animals don’t like to be picked up, and many don’t like to be held. Just because they’re cute as teddy bears doesn’t mean they’re as cooperative. When picking up a small animal, keep in mind that they don’t like it, so make the process as quick and comfortable as you can. Guinea pigs generally enjoy being held and will settle down for lap time after you pick them up, but most rabbits will only tolerate short cuddle sessions. Rather than force them to snuggle, try sitting next to them and letting them hop on and off your lap as they please.

Small animals are prey animals. Their instincts tell them that everything is a potential source of danger, and is probably out to eat them. Before trying to pick up a small animal, try petting them for a minute or talking softly to them. Wait until they’re calm and used to your presence before you pick them up.

Small animals need to have their back legs supported. Rabbits in particular have very powerful back legs, and can injure their spine if their legs aren’t supported properly. And all small animals feel safer with four on the floor. When holding a small animal, be sure they’re supported on your chest, lap, or arm so they feel secure and are less likely to struggle.

Small animals like safe spaces. This includes their cage, and anywhere dark and cozy. If an animal seems nervous, try tucking their head under your arm. You may be surprised at how quickly they calm down! When returning a rabbit to the cage, try to keep their eyes covered or put them in butt-first so they don’t jump for that open cage door.

Small animals startle easily. Yes, they firmly believe everything is out to eat them. Take it slow with small animals, and respect that they see the world differently than you do…literally! Small animals have a blind spot directly in front of their faces, so approaching them from the side lets them know you’re coming. Small animals can also sleep with their eyes open. What!? That’s right. If an animal is looking ultra-relaxed when you approach, try making a little noise or moving some furniture around in their cage to wake them up before touching them.

Small animals can sense your comfort level. Whether you’re feeling calm or anxious, chances are that the rabbit you’re picking up knows it, and will respond in kind. Start with easy, cooperative animals to build your confidence. If you’re feeling nervous, give yourself time to relax before you try to handle an animal.

Small animals enjoy people time. They act shy, but most small animals come out of their shells with regular socialization and really enjoy human interaction. Guinea pigs love treats and petting, rabbits like gentle nose rubs, toys, and exploring, and rats enjoy using humans as jungle gyms! The more you learn about these fascinating critters, the better you’ll be able to communicate and interact with them.

Remember that with enough handling the two of you will become best friends—so take the time to practice those small animal handling skills. It’s totally worth it.

Why I Volunteer at Greenhill, Kim H

I have always been around various different types of animals. Growing up, many stray cats and a dog always seemed to find our home and never left until they crossed that “Rainbow Bridge”. When I moved to Oregon many years ago, we continued to take in stray cats and a Basset Hound who somehow found us! We have adopted several cats from GHS over many years. Every time I would go back, I always thought how much fun it would be to get to hang out and love on all those beautiful felines.

In 2017, my husband began working full time so I was finally able to reduce my work load to part time. During that time, we lost our beloved dog Sadie to cancer. We were a team earning agility titles and having so much fun. I discovered how much I missed having that relationship with a dog. I needed to have a purpose again to help me move forward from losing her. I signed up for the GHS orientation. From that moment, I began to have a purpose again. I knew I wanted to work in the cattery, check off my bucket list goal! I have always felt a connection with dogs/cats and they seemed to reciprocate with trusting me. You might say I am kind of an animal whisperer.

I began dog walking but soon found this to be physically a challenge due to knee issues. I began spending more time in kennels when Greenhill began the Dog Enrichment Program. I quickly realized what I knew most of my life, I love animals and they love me back! While I was “healing”the dogs, they were “healing me”. My grief turned to absolute joy. We now have a 7 month old Goldendoodle named Baylee who we love so much. The staff at GHS realized I had so much more potential. My volunteering now extends to being a Team Leader, Trainer for Level 1 Dog Enrichment Program, Adoption Counselor in the cattery, and all my many volunteering hours of just plain loving on the many wonderful dogs and cats we have to take care of.

The staff and fellow volunteers all share the same passion for animals. You can see that love on their faces as they talk about the many animals in our care. The cute names they assign them like Goliath- a “small” chihuahua or Pumpkin Muffin- a gorgeous fluffy orange tabby cat. When you volunteer regularly, you get the chance to meet other volunteers who share your passion. You share stories and experiences. You work with animals who come to our shelter scared, hurt, lacking trust and without a home. Through our commitment as volunteers, we have the pure joy of seeing how much the animals behavior changes over time. They begin to trust humans again. Then something magical happens, that special person comes to our shelter looking for a companion wanting to fill that void in their lives. I have shed many sad and happy tears with them as they share their animal stories with me. The pure excitement and love each adopter shows after they have “chosen” their new family member. Actually, I think the animal has really “chosen” them!

Why do I keep volunteering? Besides all the reasons stated previously, it is enriching each and every life of our animals in our care. Giving them hope of finding a furever family. Meeting all of the other crazy cat and dog people out there who share that same goal. I have been known to shed some tears after one of my favorite cats or dogs gets adopted. My volunteering warms my soul and relieves all the stresses of my day. Best therapy in town!!

Meow and Woof, 
Kim H

Greenhill’s Cat Programs Under One Roof: dog programs to follow next year!

Greenhill Humane Society and 1st Avenue Shelter have begun their official merge by combining all cat care programs to the Green Hill Road campus Monday, September 17.
As part of the first phase of Greenhill’s building renovations and campus growth, the lost and found cat care programs have transitioned from 1st Avenue Shelter and are now occurring at 88530 Green Hill Rd.  Owner surrendered cat appointments and all cat adoptions will continue to occur at Greenhill’s main location.

Temporarily, all adoptable dogs, stray dogs, and dogs in the Crisis Care program are being cared for at the 1
st Avenue Shelter while Greenhill’s two new dog housing facilities are built.  Plans are in place for the dogs to join the Greenhill campus by the spring of 2019.
The move to consolidate animal care and public programs comes after six years of animal, staff, foster and volunteer operations being separated by two locations.
Greenhill hopes that combining the shelter locations will improve community accessibility and provide improved, stress-free accommodations for the animals.  There are no plans to reduce staffing or volunteer opportunities by combining locations. 
“All of the current programs through 1st Avenue shelter will continue, and some even expanded, at the Greenhill campus,” says Cary Lieberman, Greenhill Executive Director.
These programs include working with local animal welfare agencies, caring for stray and homeless animals, and reuniting lost pets with their families.
Lieberman continues, “Once the new dog housing is completed and the dog programs return to Greenhill, it will be more efficient and less stress for all involved, especially the animals. Today, it begins with the cat programs.”

Currently over 180 kittens and cats are being cared for among the Greenhill campus and community-based foster homes.  This is an unusually high number of cats for this time of year and Greenhill is looking for community support.   Members of the community are encouraged to consider adopting a cat (or two), becoming a foster family, or donating. Learn more at www.green-hill.org


About GHS: About Greenhill Humane Society: Greenhill Humane Society has been caring for animals in Lane County since 1944.  It is a private, non-profit organization that relies on charitable donations.  Greenhill operates two shelters in Eugene, Oregon, 88530 Green Hill Road and 3970 West 1st Avenue.  We envision a community in which all companion animals have loving homes and are treated with compassion and respect.

Keep Your Animals Safe From Summer Heat!

Summer Temperatures are on the Rise; how to keep your furry family members safe

Summer temperatures have arrived and are on the rise. This means extra precautions for dogs and cats. Please, follow these tips and guidelines for the wellbeing of your furry family members:

  • Leave pets at home when running errands.
  • Remember that leaving your animal in a hot, parked car for just a few minutes can cause heat stroke, brain damage, or worse.
  • It’s not enough to just have your windows cracked open. On an 85 degree day, a car’s interior temperature can climb to 104 degrees in 10 minutes – even when the windows are slightly open.
  • Keep pets inside during the heat of the day. Do not leave them outside unattended.
  • If your dogs are alone indoors all day – keep your air conditioning on when it is hot outside. Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat stress because they do not sweat in the way that humans do. They release body heat by panting.
  • Make sure pets have access to water bowls full of cool, fresh water both indoors and outdoors.
  • When dogs are outside, be sure to provide shaded areas for them.
  • Help your pooch cool down. A sprinkler, misting hose or kiddie pool in a shaded area is a great way for dogs to cool off.
  • Always test the pavement or ground with your hand. If it is too hot for you to touch, it is too hot for your best friend. There are many brands of dog booties on the market, designed to protect your pup’s delicate paw pads from the harsh elements.
  • Don’t let your dog ride in an uncovered pickup truck bed. The hot metal can burn your pup’s paw pads.
  • Limit or skip outdoor exercise during the heat of the day. Walk early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.
  • Carry water and take frequent breaks in shady spots.

Heatstroke symptoms can include: restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, and lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, vomiting, and lack of coordination.

To cool your pet down: offer water to drink, get in the shade, cool down the head, feet, chest, and underbelly, with cool (not ice cold) towels or wet your hands. If you have a fan – use that.

Signs of burned pads can include: blisters or redness, pads darker in color than usual, limping, licking or chewing on the feet.

If your animal is overcome by heat exhaustion, has burned paw pads, or is experiencing physical or behavioral distress, dskcontact your veterinarian or 24-hour animal hospital immediately.

If you notice an animal in distress or unresponsive in a parked car, first try and locate the pet’s owner and alert him or her to the animal’s condition.  If you cannot find the animal’s owner, contact Law enforcement – call 911.



Fireworks, the Fourth, and Fido!

Greenhill Humane Society offers advice on keeping pets safe during the 4th of July holiday

NOTE: Both of Greenhill Humane Society’s shelter locations (88530 Green Hill Road and 3970 W 1st Avenue) will be closed to the public on Wednesday, July 4th (staff and volunteers will be onsite to care for the animals and take in stray animals from animal control). 1st Avenue shelter will reopen to the public at 10:00am on Thursday, July 5th.  The shelter on Green Hill Road will reopen on Friday at 11:00am.

As fun as the 4th of July festivities can be for people, it can be equally as frightening for dogs and cats. Fireworks are already being heard in many neighborhoods and will likely become more persistent as we near the actual holiday.

Loud noises, especially over prolonged periods of time, can frighten and confuse animals. While some pets don’t seem to mind, others hide, tremble, or run away. When they are in that state of fear a screen door or fence might not stop a dog that is trying to get away. Unfortunately, every year at this time, too many dogs and their people get separated.

“We’ve seen dogs run as far as five miles trying to escape the fireworks,” says Greenhill Humane Society canine program manager, Katie Barnett. “The best advice we can offer is to keep your pets safely inside and keep current contact information on them – that will help us get them home to you faster.”

1st Avenue Shelter, run by Greenhill Humane Society, is the stray intake shelter for most of Lane County, and often the place stray pets are brought. If your pet is missing, please check the shelter’s website at http://green-hill.org/ or call 541-844-1777. The shelter’s website is updated daily with photos of animals brought to our facility, even on days that we are closed to the public.

In an effort to keep pets safe at home, Greenhill is offering these tips for pet owners:

  • Do not bring your pet to fireworks displays.
  • When fireworks are being used, keep pets indoors, including outdoor cats. Scared pets may dig under fences or break through gates when spooked by the sound of fireworks.
  • Keep your pet in a quiet room, play calming music, or background noise to help soothe them.
  • For pets that are extremely stressed by fireworks, make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss medications and other alternatives to help calm your pet.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing current and accurate identification, even if they are kept inside. A tag with a working phone number can get your pet home much faster. Be sure to microchip your pet as well, in case their collar comes off. If your pet is microchipped, ensure your information is up to date.
  • Find out where fireworks can NOT be used: State Parks, beaches, airport hotels, and consider taking your pups for a drive or a get-away to distance yourselves from the noise!

If you have lost or found a pet, immediately contact your local animal control office.
• Cottage Grove – Humane Society of Cottage Grove: 541.942.3130
• Eugene – Eugene Animal Services: 541.687.4060
• Unincorporated Lane County – Lane County Animal Services: 541.682.3645
• Springfield – Springfield Animal Control/Police Dept.: 344 A Street: 541.726.3634
• Veneta – Veneta Animal Control/City Hall: 88184 8th street: 541.935.2191

Learn more at http://green-hill.org/lost_and_found_reports/

Lost Pet Checklist

Be prepared before your pet goes missing. Even better – prevent it from happening!

How to Prepare for Finding Your Pet  – Before They Go Missing!

By Mallorey Ross

The worst has happened.  You came home and your beloved pet was not there to greet you. You look all over the house in a panic and no sign of them!  What do you do?  What can possibly be done? They’re out there somewhere; alone, scared, at the mercy of vehicles and strangers and wild predators.

Do you know the best places to post missing ads and what information to include?  Can you describe your pet’s markings, breed and distinctive traits accurately?  Is your pet micro-chipped?  Spayed or neutered?  Are they licensed?  Are they wearing ID? Do you have clear pictures of your pet to show people?  Do you know where people might report pets they find?  Do you know the animal control agency for your jurisdiction?  Do you know the names of the animal shelters in your area where found pets or strays may be taken?  Do your pets have a history of wandering off in certain areas?  Did you recently move? Sometimes lost animals will return to the place they’ve lived before, in search of their owners.

These are questions you will want to answer quickly. In stressful situations, like worrying that your best friend is gone for good, it can be very difficult to recall this important information.   Everyone thinks it can’t happen to their pet.  They are responsible owners because they always keep a leash on their animal when going out.  They always close the doors and know that their pet loves them too much to wander off.  But then it happens.  One out of three pets will go missing in their lifetime.

As an animal shelter office employee, I take numerous lost pet reports in person and over the phone every day.  Sadly, owners who are prepared for finding a lost pet are the exception rather than the rule.  My coworkers and I have an arsenal of strategies we share to help owners recover their lost pets, but these strategies can actually be implemented before a pet even goes missing.  Just as you are advised to prepare and practice for potential natural disasters so you can get through in one piece, you can prepare for the disaster of losing a fur baby and increase their chances of getting safely home.  There is no need to wait until your pet is gone and you’re panicking.  Be prepared before it happens.

The advice compiled here is based on over a year of full time experience working with pet owners to help recover lost pets, and helping to reunite found pets with owners.  I want to share this to save you from the heartache and loss experienced by so many people and their pets.

Step 1: Get your pet micro-chipped, and keep the registration up to date!

What a microchip is:

  • A tiny chip encased in plastic, about the size of a grain of rice, with a unique code attached to it
  • A permanent and reliable form of ID for a pet, when registered and kept updated
  • Usually fairly inexpensive (average cost is $45)
  • Simple to implant – just like a vaccine
  • A way to increase your chances of getting your pet back if it goes missing
  • Heartily encouraged and endorsed by veterinarians and animal welfare experts

What a microchip is NOT:

  • A way to track your pet’s location
  • Very painful to implant (no more painful than a routine vaccination, and not painful at all if done during a spay or neuter surgery)
  • Risky for the animal’s health
  • A substitute for a dog license

How it works:

A veterinarian injects the microchip through a hollow needle, just under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades.  Implant facilities should either register the chip for you or provide instructions for registering the chip yourself.  When you register the chip, your contact information will be attached to the unique ID number in the database for the microchip company that manufactured the chip.  If your pet goes astray and someone takes it to a vet or shelter, staff will wave a universal microchip scanner over the shoulders and around the neck to find a chip.  If a chip is there, the unique ID number will show up on the scanner’s digital readout.  They can then type that number into a microchip database search online to determine the microchip company, call, and obtain whatever contact information is attached to the chip number.  If your information is up to date, the vet or shelter can contact you immediately and reunite you with your pet!

Though the fact of having a chip can be an identifying feature, it is still important to make sure you update the registration every time contact information changes.  We also strongly advise keeping a collar and tags with your contact information on your pet, but if you have a collar-eating or collar-hating pet, or the collar falls off or is removed, the microchip is there as back up.

Step 2:  KNOW your pet

This might seem like a no-brainer, but many people really don’t know how to describe their pet accurately.   We often get dogs and cats into the shelter that we cannot identify from the information on lost reports because the owner provided a less than accurate description.

Know the breed and coloring:  If your pet is a mutt or you’re not sure of the breed, consult a veterinarian, trainer, shelter/rescue employee, or other person who has extensive experience identifying animal breeds.  Even if you are pretty confident you know your pet’s breed or breeds, it doesn’t hurt to seek a second opinion!

Same goes for the coloring and markings.  It can help a lot to know how animal experts label specific patterns, and characteristic patterns for specific breeds.  For example, brindle and merle are both labels for similar mottled markings on dogs.  If you have a dog with Australian cattle dog or heeler ancestry, it would be called a merle.  If you have a mottled dog with mastiff or pit bull terrier ancestry, their pattern would be called a brindle.  Calico and tortoiseshell cats also confuse people, but there are specific differences.  Make sure you ask someone, or do a Google search to figure out how to accurately describe your pet!

Know your pet’s sex, and whether they’re fertile or fixed:  You should know if your pet is male or female, that’s an important identifying characteristic.  It’s not always obvious whether a female is spayed.  Some ways to tell if she is spayed can include a scar or tattoo on her lower belly.  If she is in heat, pregnant, or nursing, she is obviously not spayed.  Also, when free-roaming cats are altered and released, it’s a common practice to cut off the tip of one ear (while they’re still under anesthesia of course!) to make them easier to identify as altered.  For males, however, it is quite apparent if they’re not neutered, as intact testes are prominent on both dogs and cats.  If your pet won’t let you look or you don’t feel confident making that determination, take it to a veterinarian who can give you a definite answer.  If you have a calico or tortoiseshell cat, it’s safe to assume it’s a female.  Males of these color variations are extremely rare.  Bonus fact: Male cats and dogs have nipples too.

Know your pet’s past and present medical conditions and injuries, especially if they have any visible symptoms such as hair loss or shaved patches, tumors, missing teeth, limping, or scars.

Know your pet’s distinctive traits.  What is unusual about them and sets them apart from others?  Distinctive traits for cats can include a kinked or bob tail, polydactyly (more than five toes on the front paws or more than four toes on the back, or both!), declawed, etc.  Distinctive traits for dogs can include docked tails, cropped ears, intact dewclaws, different colored eyes, spots on their tongue, etc. Very distinct and unusual markings can help with identification as well.

Know your pet’s weight, or at least their average weight.  Small, medium, and large are subjective labels and each can cover a wide range of sizes, so knowing a reasonable weight estimate for your pet, especially if excessive fur makes a pet look larger than it is, can really help in identification.

Step 3: Take photos of your pet

Even the most detailed description can be challenging when attempting to identify an animal, without a current, clear photograph.  At the shelter we spend a lot of time perusing lost pet posts online, hoping to find the owners of pets currently in the shelter.  The most common mistakes we see are no photo at all, overly dark or unfocused photos, photos from just one angle or with only a small part of the pet showing, multiple pets where the missing pet is not specified, or photos of puppies and kittens when the missing pet is an adult.  If you’d rather not fill your phone with adorable photos of your pet from every possible angle (please know this blows our minds), at least take two or three photos of your pet every few years.  If the memory in your phone or camera is very limited, be sure to download these photos to a computer, upload to a website, or print the photos before you have to delete them.  Current technology provides a multitude of ways to make sure you always have good, current photos of your pet on hand. Always feel free to ask for assistance at many of the community resources if you are not sure how to do this. You phone carrier can even help you or direct you to a resource.

Step 4: Create a pet emergency kit, and get any potential pet sitters and helpers on the same page

Do you anticipate any events or vacations where a relative, significant other, pet sitter, or boarding facility would care for your pet?   A pet can get away from even the most trustworthy and responsible pet sitter.  In fact, because your pet may not be as bonded with your pet-sitter as they are with you, and because your pet sitter is not as familiar with your pets shenanigans as you are, a pet is more likely to go missing while being watched by someone else.  I’d estimate at least an eighth of lost reports we receive are from pet-sitters, and they often don’t know important details such as whether the pet is micro-chipped, altered, their age, or their weight.  You can set your pet sitter up for success in finding your pet by writing down all the important descriptors from Step 1, and providing the list before you leave.  Write it out by hand or better yet, type it up and print copies to keep near your phone and give out to pet sitters and potential helpers.  Include emergency contact numbers for your main vet and an alternate vet in case of a medical emergency, local animal control and stray shelter numbers in case they go missing, phone numbers of friends and relatives who can help with the search, websites and local businesses where lost reports can be posted, and so on.  Also provide copies of the list to anyone who may be recruited (or volunteer) to help search for a missing pet.  Including multiple copies of photos or a flash drive containing photos of your pet can also be a great help.

Step 5: Educate yourself on the services available for stray animals in your area

Find out what police department or animal control agency might pick up your pet and where stray pets from your area are housed.  Save all contact information, and hours, on your phone or on paper so you can access it quickly.  Also find out what requirements, fees, and procedures these facilities have for reclaiming pets.  Municipal and county shelters are required to verify any dogs leaving the shelter have current rabies vaccinations and licenses for their jurisdiction.  If the vaccine and license are expired or can’t be verified, you will have to pay to get them updated before you can take your pet home.  Shelters may have their own fees too.  Making sure to keep your dog’s license and vaccines up to date can make it easier and cheaper to reclaim your pet if they are taken in to a shelter.  If it’s your pet’s first time in the shelter and they’re wearing a current license tag and their rabies vaccine is also current, you may even get your pet back for free!  Additionally, keeping ID on your pet such as tags or a microchip can extend the stray hold period, the period which a shelter has to wait before making the pet available for adoption, giving you a longer time to find your pet!

Step 6:  Educate yourself on other resources available for finding a lost pet

Local print or copy shops may have special offers for creating lost pet fliers to hang up around your neighborhood.  Make the most of fliers by including all of the information from Step 2 and use clear, accurate photographs!  The Internet is also a great resource for expanding your posts’ reach to potential finders.  There are Craigslist sites for most cities, and both the Lost and Found section and the Pets section are utilized for lost and found pets.  Facebook users often create groups and pages for people in specific areas to share about missing or found pets.  A similarly useful resource is Nextdoor.com, and a simple Google search can bring up numerous other online communities designed to reunite people and pets.



Bottle Baby Kitten Class – FREE

June 3rd and June 24th @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Greenhill Humane Society, 88530 Green Hill Road
Eugene, OR 97402 United States 
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Spring is here and that means kitten season! This FREE class will teach you how to properly care for and feed bottle baby kittens.

Space is limited so register early by emailing foster@green-hill.org or calling 541.689.1503 x 114. Please be sure to include your email and phone number when contacting us to register!

NOW is the purr-fect time of year to spay and neuter free-roaming and feral cats!
Female cats will begin to go into heat again as the days get longer, and “kitten season” can arrive as early as March!

By getting cats spayed/neutered during their “dormant” season, we can avoid the hormone spikes that come with mating season. This decreases roaming (which increases the risk of injury, being hit by a car, etc), fighting, breeding, and the spread of disease. It also helps control population growth by spaying female cats before they are pregnant or have already given birth. It can also be easier to trap cats this time of year as they focus on finding warm places and food during the colder months.

The waiting time for getting feral and free-roaming cats in for FREE spay and neuter is also shorter this time of year. In the peak of kitten season, the demand for our services is even higher, and we fill up quickly! Please call 541.689.1503 x123 for more information before trapping cats.