Desert Paws Offers a Regional Program as a Model for Nation-Wide Spay & Neuter Initiatives

What a fantastic article about the organization that rescued me! The people at Desert Paws NM work really hard and it’s nice to see them recognized for all that they do to help animals.

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Pueblo_deCochiti Desert Landscape of Pueblo de Cochiti

A colleague in the animal advocacy community once declared, “We can’t rescue ourselves out of this mess,” when discussing the seemingly never-ending problem of pet overpopulation. For many, Spay and Neuter initiatives are regarded as the most humane form of rescue and advocacy. If we can stem the tide of unwanted pets, we can offer better care for those animals that will inevitably find themselves unhomed despite our best efforts.

At the BlogPaws conference in Phoenix Arizona in June, this topic seemed to “find” me as I became aware of how groups in different parts of the nation addressed these issue. BlogPaws represents the largest community of pet-professionals, advocates and writers in the world, with the common goal to improve the lives of companion animals. We sometimes, forget, however, that different regions of the nation face unique challenges when advocating for our companion animals.

At BlogPaws…

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Let’s Talk Training

CookieBear is back! Sebastian really enjoyed getting to speak his mind last week and he appreciated the comments and likes.  He will return soon for a new segment we are working on together: Movie Reviews!

This week I want to talk about training.  This will be an ongoing topic as I believe it is really important to your pet’s well-being and safety.  It also improves your relationship with your pet.  Training isn’t something that happens overnight and, this may surprise some people, but dogs don’t usually come to you already trained.  We’re just like human babies: you have to show us where to go to the bathroom, what to eat, how to behave, etc.  Mom thinks if more time was devoted to training pets there would be a lot fewer homeless animals and shelters would not be full of dogs that someone gave up on.  I have to say I agree with her.  I’m pretty sure someone had me as their “pet” before Desert Paws found me, but they gave up on me for some reason (I was only a baby so I can’t remember).  That’s OK because I found the right forever home but not all dogs are so lucky.  Soooo . . . . for anyone deciding to get a pet please look into how you’re going to train them.  For anyone thinking about surrendering a pet because of “behavioral” issues please consider training first.  You’d be surprised at how easily and quickly those behavioral issues can go away with the right training done consistently.

There are a lot of different ways to train dogs and I don’t think any one technique is the right way.  The key is to find out what your dog responds to and then stick with it.  Consistency is the most important factor in training your dog.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time.  Once you learn the skills incorporate them into your daily life with your pet.  Here are some things that worked for me & Mom:

Mom is naturally curious and likes to read up on things.  The first thing she found helpful after she adopted me was this book:

This book helped Mom a lot because it didn’t just talk about how to train a dog.  It went into detail about how our minds work and what motivates us based on our instincts.  Cool, huh? It talks about how there are 3 main drives behind dog behavior: Prey, Pack, and Defensive.  There’s even a quiz to help you figure out your dog’s main drive.  Mom found out that my main drive is Pack.  I love to be with my Pack.  That’s good news for Mom because it means I want to be with her (Dad too) and that I have good listening skills.  My secondary drive turns out to be Prey, which means I need games and playtime that will satisfy that need (like fetch or searching out treats in the house) so I will be less likely to chase Sebastian or any animals I see outside.  I appreciate the fact that Mom took the time to learn how my brain works and how to speak my language.  If you’re working on training a dog and you don’t feel like you’re making progress ask yourself if you understand them before you ask if they understand you.

The book used very approachable language so Mom could read through it quickly and get back to paying attention to me, which is of course more important than sticking her head in a book!

Mom also was very fortunate because the organization that rescued me, Desert Paws NM, set her up with training classes in Albuquerque at Acoma Training Center.  That’s where Mom got a lot of hands-on experience and really learned everything she needed for my own safety as well as basic obedience.  I also learned a lot and became a much more self-assured confident doggie!  Now I don’t get so nervous every time I meet a new dog at the park (except for the really big dogs sometimes because I’m just a little shorty).  Mom likes the class so much she’s helping some of the Desert Paws NM rescue dogs do training there so they will already have a lot of skills by the time they are adopted.

Another great training resource that’s FREE is YouTube.  There are lots of training channels, but Mom & I like Zak George’s Dog Training rEvolution best so far.  It’s approachable and easy to follow.  The videos are short and only cover one topic at a time.  They are great for a novice or anyone needing a refresher on training.

The last thing I want to say about training this week is that it’s more important than just making your dog sit and come to you when you want.  Training can save your pet’s life.  You can train your dog not to pick dangerous things like chocolate or aspirin up from the floor.  You can train your dog not to jump out of your car and into traffic.  You can train your dog not to jump on a child, or bark at someone and scare them.  It’s so important to get the foundations down as soon as possible and then continue training on a consistent basis.  I’ll go into more detail on specific training topics in the weeks to come.

Now let’s move on to this week’s adoption spotlight at Desert Paws NM!

This week I want to introduce you to a pair of really fantastic ladies: Hope and Lillie.  These two are bonded and Desert Paws wants to keep them together.  They went through the training course at Acoma Training Center and learned a lot of skills.  These ladies are also famous: a movie was even made about them.  Watch their story here:

hope and lillie

Learn about these fun-loving ladies at Desert Paws NM.

One more thing before I sign off.  Desert Paws NM is funded 100% by donations.  If you happen to shop on Amazon.com please click the Shop At Amazon link at the top of my homepage.  Every time you shop through this link a portion of your purchase will be donated to Desert Paws NM.  You can make regular purchases- there is no added cost to you.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to comment with a topic you would like to read about next time.

 

 

 

From the Desk of Sebastian

Yawn, stretch, meooowwwww.  I suppose I can take a moment out of my day of napping to contribute to CookieBear’s blog.  My name is Sebastian and I am a foster cat.  The wonderful people at Desert Paws NM have taken care of me for awhile.  They found me as a stray and have been taking care of me ever since by placing me in foster homes.  People are always asking them how they can help support Desert Paws’ mission.  The #1 thing you can do is open your home up to rescues and foster them until they find their forever homes.  If fosters didn’t take me in I would have to either continue being a stray cat, which is incredibly dangerous, or I would have to live in one of those crowded boxes at a shelter, which is incredibly stressful.  Instead, I get to live in a comfy house where I interact with humans, sleep in a warm bed, get delicious food and treats, and even occasionally play with the human’s crazy dog.  This leads me to the next commonly-asked question about helping rescues: shouldn’t the foster parents go ahead and adopt the animal if it’s comfortable in the house? Well, not necessarily.  First, if a foster parent adopts the foster animal that may mean they will no longer be able to foster other rescues.  Since foster families don’t grow on cat trees, we need as many foster homes available as possible.  Second, just because the animal is comfortable in the foster home, doesn’t mean it’s the puuuuuurrrrrrrrfect forever home.  Take me for example.  I am very comfortable in this temporary foster home.  I definitely have my needs taken care of and the foster family treats me as part of their family.  However, I know there’s a perfect forever family waiting for me somewhere.  Not that I don’t like my foster family, I just know there’s a family out there that will love me even more and I will love them in return.

Enough about that and more about me! I am about 4 years old, and well, I’m just simply gorgeous.  Did you check out my beautiful fur? And how about those eyes?

sebastian1 sebastian pretty

I’m super-sweet too! My favorite activity is cuddling in the warmest lap of the house.  And if you’re sick or hurt I will sit and purr with you until you feel better.  Did you know that cats can speed up recovery when your sick? Or that they can help people recover from sadness or depression?

I really like having conversations with my foster mom.  Just knowing she’s listening helps. I think she tries to understand my language, even when I’m hungry and overly-sassy.  I help her sing too (she has a terrible voice so I try to meow louder so she won’t feel bad about being off-key).  See what a great helper I am?

CookieBear and I didn’t always get along.  I didn’t really like dogs very much when I came to this house.  But CookieBear’s mom wanted to give it a try.  She had a lot of patience and slowly introduced us to each other.  For awhile I had an entire room all to myself, but once we were acquainted with each other I got free reign of the house.  CookieBear was a young pup when I first came to the house and she had a ton of puppy energy.  She wanted to play with me a lot more than I wanted to play.  Eventually she started to understand that and she leaves me alone when I’m not interested in playing.  But when I do want to play we have an awful lot of fun.  I chase her around the house- she loves it and sometimes she gets so excited she slides across the hardwood floors.  It makes my foster mom laugh a lot.  And now that I’ve been fostered with a dog in the house I can be adopted to a family with a dog.  Before being fostered in this house that wasn’t really an option.  See, there’s another great thing about fostering: it prepares us fosters for what happens next when we’re adopted!

Sometimes I overhear my foster mom talking about how people give up their pets because they “couldn’t” be trained.  I think that if a dog like CookieBear can be trained to respect a kitty cat like me, most pets can be trained.  It takes patience and perseverance.  Just remember that your pets don’t give up on you- please don’t give up on them! If you’re having a hard time training a pet on your own reach out for help.  There are lots of pet trainers that will work with you.  You can even find classes and tutorials online.  Please do the research before you consider dumping a pet.  CookieBear will have a lot more to say about this next week.

This week’s Desert Paws NM adoptable highlight: 3 Cats Bhindi, Ozzy and Olly.  Bhindi is a beautiful surrogate mamma cat to the young brothers Ozzy and Olly.  To adopt or foster visit DesertPawsNM (you can also see more about me there!)

Thanks for reading! Please share with your friends so we can spread the word about the importance of fostering rescue animals.

Sebastian signing off.  Next week CookieBear will be back to discuss the importance of training.

Summer Fun and Staying Fit

Mom knows exercise is really important.  It keeps me from getting bored or destructive.  It keeps me healthy and at the right weight.  It helps keep my joints strong and healthy.  My vet says I’ll probably have arthritis later in life and the best way to prevent it from getting really bad is to stay in really good shape now while I’m a young pupper.  The best part is, exercising is so fun.  I sure love to run on my little legs.  I love it when I feel the air lift up my ears- it makes me feel like I’m flying! I really love helping my Mom stay in shape too!

cookiebar running

In New Mexico it’s sooooooooo hot in the summertime.  It gets up to 90 degrees by 10 am! Can you believe that? So Mom is awesome about making sure I get to exercise outside really early in the morning.  I’m great about waking her up by 5 am so we can go on a run before her work day starts.  She doesn’t even set an alarm anymore.  Sometimes she’s a little cranky about getting up so early but I just give her kisses and that big beautiful smile of mine; then she realizes it’s totally worth it to get up so early to spend quality time with me.  It starts us both off on the right foot (or paw) for the day.

Aside from getting up early to exercise before it’s too hot outside Mom knows that hydration is really important.  She always brings a big bottle of cold water and this really cool collapsible bowl for me to drink out if.  It even clips right on to her backpack so it’s always ready to go.

So I can stay nice and cool and hydrated, and then I can run and play more.  Don’t I look happy?

Last week I mentioned my Foster Brother, Sebastian the Cat.  Check him out. Isn’t he a pretty boy? I love his fur and his little black nose.  We have fun running through the house together chasing tennis balls.  Someday he will be adopted and I will miss him but I will be so happy for him to find his special forever home.  When that day comes I hope another awesome cat will come live with us until they get adopted too.  That’s what fostering is all about!sebastian 4

Sebastian is a little cranky today because Mom ran out of his favorite treats and won’t make it to the store until tomorrow to get more.  So he’s pouting right now and isn’t in the  mood to contribute to today’s blog.  He will chime in next week to discuss his favorite topic: snuggling.

This week’s Desert Paws adoptable highlight is a young boy named Cooper.  He is a 10 month old Australian Kelpie and he has a lot of energy.  Kelpies like to have things to do.  He can play for hours.  He even goes swimming!  Mom is working with him at the same doggie school I attended: Acoma Training Center.  They did such a good job with me so I know Cooper is going to learn some amazing skills.  You can learn more about Cooper here: Desert Paws NM

That’s all for this week.  Feel free to write a comment and let me know if there’s anything you would like to hear about!

 

Who is CookieBear?

Hello world! CookieBear here! I was found a few years ago, wandering the streets in New Mexico.  I was just a little girl then and I was pretty lonely and scared.  I was REALLY hungry and pretty nervous, but I was still a very happy girl.  Why was I happy? Because the nicest people in the world found me and took care of me until they found a forever mom for me!

Desert Paws NM Animal Rescue may have rescued me but they also rescued my forever mom.  She was so bored with life before I came along.  She kept to herself and didn’t really care about much.  She just went to work, day in and day out like a robot.  When she had a bad day she came home, turned on TV, tuned out, and ate junk food.  She didn’t care about taking care of herself.  Then I danced into her world and everything changed.  She started to care about things outside of herself and she even started taking better care of herself.  When she has a bad day now it doesn’t last long because she gets to come home and play with me! I’m making her stronger- inside and out everyday! The best part is, she wants to help my doggie and kitty friends at Desert Paws NM that haven’t found their forever homes yet.

My life as a rescued dog has been pretty darn amazing.  It was a little rough at first.  I was a ball of nerves and I wasn’t sure if I would end up being alone again.  The first night my new mom brought me home I was so tired from the car ride that I fell asleep in my mom’s arms.  But I woke up a lot because I wanted to make sure she was still there.  I had a hard time over the next few weeks but my mom read a lot of books and watched a lot of videos to find out about separation anxiety and how to alleviate it.  She found out about this awesome stuff called Rescue Remedy for Pets that helped calm me down.  Plus it tastes soooooooo yummy! I didn’t even know it was medicine.  I just knew that I loved how it tasted and how I felt after I took it.  Then my mom found out that she could help me get over my separation anxiety by setting up my crate with nice comfy blankets that smelled like her.  (I’m a big girl now and I don’t need my crate so much anymore but sometimes I still need it when there are thunderstorms).  It’s my safe place.  After setting up my comfy crate mom found out that if she left me alone for 15 minutes one day, then 30 minutes the next day, then an hour, and eventually a few more hours it was a lot easier on me.  Now I can stay alone while she goes to work and I know she will always come home for me.  No more stress for me! I still do a happy dance when she comes home.  I think it might be the best part of her day.  Sometimes I greet her with a nice soulful song too! “Barooooooo roo roo!”

I’m a very happy girl, as you can see from my pretty picture.  I’m super goofy and make my mom laugh a lot.  And people love me when I’m out on the town strutting my stuff.  Nobody can resist my gentle kisses! For awhile I thought my name was “Awwwwww” because that’s all I heard when mom would take me on walks.

I’m a dog that believes in paying it forward.  I was so lucky to be rescued and to be placed in the right home so now I want to help other dogs and cats that were just like me! Some dogs and cats have been very badly hurt and neglected and sometimes that makes it hard for them to get adopted.  Some of them are really scared or they are even more shy than I was.  Desert Paws NM does so much to help them overcome their challenges and they become the best pets! Rescued dogs and cats will love their rescuer forever and they will be grateful and happy.  You will see it in their eyes every time they look at you: “THANK YOU!” Rescue pets will teach you about resiliency.  We never give up so neither should you! We never stop loving and neither should you! If we can overcome the terrible ordeals some bad people have put us through you can get through just about anything in life. Have faith in us and we will have faith in you.

There are a lot of great dogs up for adoption through Desert Paws but the first dog that I want to help find a home is a sweet beautiful girl named Clementine.  She’s a Pitbull that was sadly used for breeding.  I don’t know how many puppies she had but it was probably a lot before Desert Paws rescued her.  She’s a beauty and she is soooooo nice and gentle.  Did you know that Pitbulls were originally considered Nanny Dogs? It’s no surprise to me- Clementine has wonderful motherly instincts and is great with all sorts of children (including puppies, kittens, and humans)! Just like me, she loves belly rubs! And did I mention what a pretty girl she is? I mean, just look at her.  Despite being treated so badly early in life she is very happy and trusting.  She is super-fun and loving.  She’s a kisser and a cuddler.  To learn more about Clementine visit DesertPawsNM.

That’s all for now.  Check back next week to hear more about the exciting tails of CookieBear and to learn about more of my adoptable friends!

P.S. Next week you’ll meet my foster brother, a cat named Sebastian.  He has a lot to say so I’m going to let him chime in on the next blog.