Is the warm weather “bugging” you and your pets?

By Gail Schroder, DVM

I love warm, sunny, summer days. Guess who else does? Bugs! We live in harmony with so many flying, crawling, marching, and buzzing critters. If you’re not too grossed out by them, they can be appreciated as beautiful creatures that are essential for our ecosystem. That is, when they aren’t biting, stinging, or infesting you or your pets! So here’s what you need to know about how to keep everyone living in harmony together…

Did you know a flea can jump up to 100 times its own height? That’s equivalent to a human jumping 200 feet in the air! If you feel like your flea control just isn’t working as well as it used to, you’re not alone. There are concerns recently about fleas becoming resistant to some of the older flea control products. The good news is there are lots of newer products that work great. So ask your vet for something new if you’re not happy with your current product. My favorites are Bravecto or Comfortis, and Cheristin for cats with severe flea allergies who won’t eat a pill.

If you’re having problems with fleas, there’s a good chance you’ll run into the flea’s best friend, the tapeworm. Pets get tapeworms from grooming off their fleas, or from eating a mouse or other critter that carries fleas. If you see what looks like little rice grains or sesame seeds stuck to your pet’s bedding or fur near the anus, those are tapeworms. You can get a tapeworm dewormer from your vet or at most pet stores without a prescription.

Who’s the scariest parasite out there? Ticks of course! There are 20 different kinds of ticks found in Oregon, but only 4 of those will bite humans. Check out www.tickencounter.org for more info on ticks and a cool tick identification chart. (Or am I the only one who thinks that’s a fun thing to do…?) What’s the best way to remove a tick from you or your pet’s skin? One of my favorite gadgets is the Ticked Off tick remover, a $2.00 tool that painlessly removes the whole tick, and without having to touch the tick. Burning or using household tweezers is not recommended, as it could increase the chance of disease transmission to the host animal, and often leaves the head of the tick in the skin, which can cause skin irritation.

Even bees and wasps are an important part of our natural world. (Just don’t get in their way!) What do you do if your dog gets stung? I recommend giving your dog Benadryl to help prevent an allergic reaction. Give the size that is closest to your dog’s weight, rounding up to the nearest pill size. For example, a 50 lb dog needs 50mg of Benadryl. A 60 lb dog can get 75mg. Make sure to give plain Benadryl, not a multi-symptom cold medication. But if you notice any signs of a serious allergic reaction (such as swelling of the face, hives, coughing, or lethargy) take your pet to the vet immediately!

And don’t forget the Heartworm preventative for your dog! Heartworms are carried by mosquitos (in a tiny purse way too small to be seen with the naked eye.) Although rare in this area, the damage they can cause to the heart and lungs is completely preventable with that monthly pill.

And have a safe, itch-free, sting-free, bite-free, fun summer with your pets!

Why I Volunteer with Greenhill

By Judy A.

I have always believed the purpose of life is to be useful. After retirement I considered volunteering at the shelter many times. Somehow, in the end, I always decided it would be too sad and not a good fit for me. It was difficult to find something to commit to doing. I was resistant. In 2014 things changed when my husband and I lost our two 18-year-old tomcats just two months apart. I was devastated. I cried every day. Desperate to be around animals, I decided to give the shelter a go. I might like it. I might not, but at least I could spend time with animals and perhaps help them in some small way.

After going through orientation, I signed up for both cattery companion and dog walking training. Since I wanted to start right away, I began kennel cleaning immediately as it required no formal training. All I had to do was show up and they would show me what to do. On my very first day, I met another volunteer who ended up being my dog walking trainer and eventually my friend and partner in crime. Friendship was not the reason I came to volunteer at the shelter but it is one of the reasons I keep coming back week after week. I have made lifelong friends with likeminded individuals just doing what I love, being around animals. I belong to a group of walkers who get together once a month for dinner and a drink to celebrate the dogs who went to their forever homes. I always look forward to seeing them and talking about dogs.

I try to figure out what a dog wants to do. Some like the ball and I will throw it until my arm falls off. Some like to walk and I can walk for miles just for fun. Some like to sniff and I am very patient. Some like quiet snuggle time and that is where I really shine. I have a nubby blanket, toys, water and treats in the backseat of my car. I call it the Love Cabana. We hang out. We snuggle. We do the tummy tickle, the back scratch and sing silly rhyming songs with their name in it. This is my purpose in life, my second career and I call it, “Making the world a better place, one dog at a time.” I am paid in doggy smiles, snugs, soulful looks and kisses. When I get home from my shift my glasses are so slobbered up I can barely see.

I have performed a variety of jobs since coming to Greenhill. I have cleaned dog kennels, walked dogs, taken dogs to visit seniors in an assisted living facility, served as a kennel team leader, dog walking trainer, dog walking shadow shift trainer, dog handler for the video team, dog handler at special events and a cattery main floor cleaner. Whether I am picking up poop or all dressed up with a dog at An Evening for Animals, I am serving those who are temporarily in our care while finding their forever homes. I am thrilled when they get adopted.

As it turned out, the shelter isn’t a sad place after all. My husband and I found love again at First Avenue when we adopted a 10-year-old male orange tabby. He is typical for an orange tabby: friendly, curious and sweet as sugar. He fills our house with love and that is what makes it a home.

Exciting Changes Happening!

We are thrilled to announce that effective Monday, July 1, 2019, all animals, staff, volunteers and shelter operations of 1st Avenue Shelter will move to the Greenhill Humane Society location.  Very soon, we’ll all be together, fully operational at one location, sharing our new facility with the community!

On July 1, the Greenhill shelter will be open to the public 7 days a week, 11 am to 6 pm.  In addition, we will remain open on previously closed holidays such as the 4th of July and Labor Day.  Also beginning July 1, all stray animals found in Lane County should be brought to Greenhill and owners will be able to reclaim their lost pets with ease at the Greenhill location.  All animals available for adoption will be located at Greenhill as well.  

It is truly amazing how far we’ve come since this project first broke ground just one year ago. On behalf of all the animals that will one day be helped within these new walls, we can’t thank you enough. Together, we will be able to provide better care to more animals.  We will be able to help more people because of your support during this growth.  Lives will be changed, saved, and made better, all because of you and the support you provide to Greenhill.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. We are excited to be moving into our new spaces soon and equally excited about the next phase – a state-of-the-art veterinary medical clinic. This clinic will enable us to provide critical care to animals in need. It will enable us to care for more animals and address a wider range of medical issues. This is a vital component of the life-saving work that we do for the animals and for the community as a whole.

Please, invite everyone you know to visit Greenhill and encourage them to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime project.  As a volunteer, foster, donor, or adopter, everyone plays an integral part in helping us build a more humane community! 

On behalf of the animals, thank you!
Cary and Sasha

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.

Attention

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.

Sincerely,

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