Think Ahead to Care for your Pets

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When I spoke to Carren Bowden, Executive Director of the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center (CTSAC) a few days ago, she told me they had just taken in 17 cats. Their owner had died and none of her family or friends were willing and able to take them in and care for them. Granted, 17 cats is a whole lot of cats, but the shelter sees this same situation regularly. In fact, one of my own cats came to be with me because her owner was a dedicated CTSAC volunteer, and after her death no one in her circle of family and friends wanted her pet cat. So, Missy Cat came to live at my house.
It’s definitely something to think about, and plan ahead for. You may think you have lots of time left and your pets will pass before you do, but unexpected things can happen. As responsible pet owners, we make sure our pets have food, water, veterinary care, shelter, and lots of love, but we also need to think ahead so that those well-cared-for pets will continue to be well-cared-for if they outlive us.
It’s important to make sure people know that you have pets in your home, so that in the case of an accident or sudden illness like a heart attack someone knows to check on your pets and make sure they are being cared for while you can’t. That’s easy…choose a couple of family members, close friends, or neighbors. Ask them to agree to be temporary caregivers in case this type of situation arises.
Particularly if you live alone, it’s a good idea to carry a card in your wallet with details on your pets and phone numbers for the people who have agreed to be temporary caregivers.
Ensuring long-term or permanent care for your pets if you become seriously ill or die is much more complicated. Verbally discussing this with your loved ones is important, but it isn’t necessarily enough. You might discuss this, but years later who knows whether the person your pet is counting on would even remember.
Ideally, when you write your will this is something that should be covered. You might consider a special trust for the person who has agreed to care for or find appropriate new families for your pets after you are gone.
Our shelter is often brought animals that had obviously been someone’s well-loved pets. Either no provisions were made for them, or sometimes the person who had agreed to care for the pets had a change of heart.
In case your beloved pets end up in an animal shelter, you want to be sure to have all the information you have about your pets available to go with them. Have a special (obvious) place to keep veterinary records, behavior notes, notes on special likes and dislikes, and anything else that might help someone want to adopt your now-homeless pets. You might keep these in a visible file on a desk or possibly filed with your will.
Most of the pets of recently deceased owners come to the shelter with absolutely no information. It would be good to know that the dog has been “fixed” and that they will probably stay healthy in the shelter because they have a vaccination history. It would be helpful to know that the dog is housetrained, loves to walk on a leash, and likes (or hates) baths. It is often hard to tell whether a cat is feral (wild) or whether his world was turned upside down and he is just terrified. The more information that comes with a pet to CTSAC or any shelter will mean a better chance of them finding a new home.
Corinne T. Smith Animal Center is open for adoptions and lost pet searches Monday through Thursday from 1pm to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm, and open for animal intake Monday through Thursday from 1pm to 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 3pm. For more information, call us at 325-646-0617.

We LOVE Volunteers

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As with most non-profit organizations, volunteers make the world go round at the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center (CTSAC). That was proven most recently at our Canines, Cats, and Cabernet fundraising event on March 18. It was a big event with many facets.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge job for any one person. Margaret Clayton contacted sponsors. Ann Willard organized volunteers. Carolyn Smith, with the help of others, made wonderful gift baskets for sponsors and food contributors. Sherry Bailey planned and organized silent and live auctions. Dave Olhausen was the Ticket Seller Extraordinaire. Stacy Odom solicited contributors of all the delicious food. Penny Riggs created the wonderful table decorations.
The food was made and served by the restaurants at no charge. The good folks from Steves’ Market, The Sticks, Brownwood Country Club, Prima Pasta, The Hideout, Chili’s, Mi Familia, Doc’s, Sweet Life Treats, and even the guys from Hi-Way Auto, contributed their time, talent, and groceries.
This event is put on almost exclusively by volunteers. Some, like Gail Matott and Jane Holmes, volunteer regularly at CTSAC. Others, like Dean Keisling and Carol Taylor, volunteer for special events. Every member of our wonderful board of directors, not only volunteered at the event, but worked diligently for weeks before getting ready.
Many of the incredible auction items were created by volunteers. Mitchell Wilkerson built a fire pit, Pauline McBride contributed a beautiful patriotic quilt, and Cindy Hadley made some adorable cat and dog themed quilts and pillows.
The volunteers I have mentioned are only a tiny part of the group of volunteers that made this event possible. We give a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you.
My favorite quote is from Margaret Mead. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Animal overpopulation is a huge problem in our area. Almost 3,500 dogs and cats are cared for at CTSAC each year. Some find new homes, and some don’t. It’s not a problem that can be solved by shelter staff alone. Pet overpopulation is a problem that we created as a community, and the only way it can be solved is with a community effort.
CTSAC has wonderful volunteers that work for our shelter and our animals in so many different ways. Some work regularly at the shelter; some rarely come to the shelter. They do their work on Facebook or volunteer for special events. They foster animals while they are waiting for transport to a rescue organization. Some come to the shelter, but don’t work specifically with the dogs or cats. They take pictures to post on Facebook or on our website. They work at the front counter helping visitors. Leslie Courington makes all of the beautiful wall decorations you see as you come in the front door.
We would love to have you join our “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” while we work to make our community a better place for the animals that live here and the people who love them. If you would like to volunteer at the shelter, volunteer orientation is every Thursday at 2pm. If you can’t come to the shelter but want to volunteer to help in other ways, call Carren at 325-646-0617, and tell her what you have in mind. New volunteers are always welcome.

New Animal Intake Policies

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Critter Talk Column
by Freda Day, Corinne T. Smith Animal Center
It’s spring, and canine and feline love is in the air. At Corinne T. Smith Animal Center (CTSAC) we have already started getting litter after litter of kittens and puppies brought to us. Quite often, they are brought in way too early to be placed up for adoption. CTSAC, or any shelter, is not a good place for babies, particularly ones without a mama to care for them.
Good Samaritans commonly pick up litters of kittens, and bring them to us, but it’s the worst possible thing for these babies. The vast majority of times, that litter of kittens you find alone have not been deserted by their mother. It takes a lot of energy to feed yourself and a litter of kittens, so mom is out hunting. She will return to her babies, and if they are gone, she will be left confused and full of milk.
Unless you see mama cat dead in the street, please leave her babies alone. If they must be moved from where she left them, move them to a safe spot close by. The kittens’ best chance is waiting for their mom. Bringing them to the shelter is not the answer.
On a different note, CTSAC is changing our animal intake policies a little bit. We are asking people to call us and make an appointment to bring animals to us. We will be able to fill out paperwork over the phone, and make sure information is complete and legible. It will also be easier for all of us when you get to the shelter. We will be prepared to receive your pets, and you won’t have to wait so long.
I realize that this will be inconvenient for some, but it will also enable us to provide much better care for our dogs and cats. When you decide you need to release a pet to us, you would call us. At that point we would talk to you about possible alternatives to releasing him to us. Sometimes we can help find a way for you to keep your pet. If you still want to bring him to us, we would do the paperwork by phone. We would set up an appointment for you to bring the dog or cat to us. When you come in, all you will need to do is sign the paperwork and hand the pet over to us. Since we knew you were coming, we would be ready to accept the pet, and would be able to start our intake (vaccinations, heartworm test, etc) right then.
Since we won’t have fifteen animals coming in within fifteen minutes, our intake staff will be able to give each animal more time. That’s important, because every animal is afraid when they are brought to us, and if our staff is rushed there is always the possibility of bites, and that’s not good for anyone.
Of course, there are no appointments for adoptions. Come on out anytime we are open and have a look. As always, we are full of sweet dogs and cats available for adoption.
We are open Monday through Thursday from 1pm to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm. For more information, call 325-646-0617.

Dogs Unchained

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It breaks my heart to see chained dogs. I don’t really understand why people have dogs just to keep them chained in a yard. Out of sight, out of mind, and what’s the fun in that? I want my dogs to meet me at the door with their wagging tails when I come home from work. I need TV watching companions. My dogs are perfect, because it just so happens that they like the same shows I do. They guard my keyboard when I am working at the computer, and keep the misbehaving cats away.

I can’t imagine knowing that her life was being chained in the yard. In essence, it’s a sentence of solitary confinement for life. It also creates lots of issues with temperament and behavior. According to animal behavior specialist Shelby Marlo, “dogs who are forced to live their lives at the end of a chain suffer from severe psychological, emotional, and behavioral effects.”

A chained dog is usually a lonely dog. He is without much human interaction. Chained dogs often practice the same aggressive behaviors over and over. They bark, and lunge, and pull unendingly at their chains. Chaining dogs tends to make them more territorial and food aggressive. When people approach a chained dog, they are usually greeted with overexcitement and pent-up energy. When you add this to the social deprivation and practiced aggressive behaviors (while chained), chained dogs have a higher potential for being dangerous.

Chained dogs are totally at the mercy of their owners. We, at the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center, have gotten in a number of dogs in my six years, who have been left on a chain without care. While they are slowly dying of starvation and dehydration, they have no way to escape. They are at the mercy of other animals. Dogs are instinctively “fight or flight” beings. They can’t flea, so they are forced to fight.

In addition to all of the negative effects of chaining dogs, it is no longer legal to leave a dog on a 6′ chain 24 hours a day. People need to understand that chained dogs are dangerous dogs in the training.

If you love your dog, don’t make him live this lonely life. Unchain those dogs, and bring them inside. Let them feel the joy of sleeping by your bed and watching TV at your feet. They really do want to be your best friend.

Bring a Little Love

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It’s that time of the year. Valentine’s Day is here, and love is in the air. What better way to bring some love into your life than to adopt a shelter sweetheart?

The Corinne T. Smith Animal Center (CTSAC) is trying to help make that happen. For one week, from Sunday February 8, 2015 through February 15, 2015 most of our adoption fees will be dramatically cheaper. Any dog or cat that was already spayed or neutered when it was brought to us will have a $14 adoption fee. All adult (or nearly adult) dogs, at least six months old, will have the adoption fee cut in half. Therefore, dogs that would ordinarily be $150 will be only $75. All adult (or nearly adult) cats, six months and older, will be only $45 instead of $90.

As usual, for dogs that will include at least one five in one booster vaccination, a kennel cough vaccination, rabies vaccination, microchip, and spay or neuter. Each dog at least six month old will also have been heartworm tested. Cat adoptions will include the spay or neuter, four in one vaccination, rabies vaccination, and microchip.

If you have been considering getting a pet, this is the time. If you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, come on down to CTSAC and find a Valentine that will give you a lifetime of unconditional love. What better place to find the dog of your dreams, or maybe a hunka hunka purrin’ love?

CTSAC volunteers are deep in planning and preparation for our Canines, Cats, and Cabernet fundraising event, which will take place March 20, 2015 at the Depot Cultural Center. This is our ninth year to hold the event, and each year is better than the one before. This year will be no different.

This year, Canines, Cats, and Cabernet is going Vegas style. We will have all the fun of years past…great local food, lots of different wines and unusual beers, live and silent auctions, but we will have another bunch of fun thrown in. In addition to all that, we will have a casino party. There will be blackjack tables, craps tables, roulette table, poker tables, and authentic Vegas slot machines.

It should be a great night, full of fun. I hope everyone remembers that 100% of the proceeds from this event go to caring for the homeless animals at CTSAC. Tickets are on sale now for $60.
For more information, call 325-646-0617, or better yet, come on out to 3016 Milam Drive, and bring a little love into your life, and the life of a dog or cat needing a someone to love. CTSAC is open for adoptions and lost pet searches Monday through Thursday from 1pm to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm. We are open for animal intake Monday through Thursday from 1pm to 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 3pm.

Lost Pet’s Ticket Home

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Independence Day fireworks have been popping and banging away for the past couple of weeks. Every year at this time we are brought lots of lost pets and receive lots of Lost Pet reports from the community. This year we started three weeks before the holiday offering free pet I.D. tags engraved with the owner’s phone numbers. We have given away well over 300 of them, and yet it doesn’t seem to have made an impact of our lost dogs. The problem is that for the 300 plus tags we gave away to pet owners, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of pets in the Brown County area with no identification on their collars.

Here’s the fact…Our shelter almost never gets dogs or cats brought to us with current phone numbers on their collars. Anyone who care enough to pick up a lost pet and bring it to us would much prefer to just call the owner and get the little guys and girls back home. When pets with phone numbers on their collars are found, even by Animal Control, they are returned to their families. No need for the shelter to be involved at all.

It seems so simple. Tag your pets with a phone number. It is a very inexpensive way to keep your pet safe. No excuses. Don’t tell me that your dog doesn’t like collars. If your child didn’t like clothes, would you allow him to go naked? Of course not. Don’t tell me that the dog just loses the collar. They are less than $5, so buy another one. If you replace the collar and tag monthly, it won’t be more expensive than one shelter reclaim would be. Whatever excuse you’ve been using, stop it! Make it easy for the kindhearted person that finds your lost dog or cat to get him home to you.

There are even statistics to back me up on this: 98% of lost pets wearing ID tags are returned to their families, whereas 98% of lost pets wearing no ID are lost to their families forever.

Let’s Keep Moving

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Sometimes it seems that negativity rules the world. Particularly the world of social media. There are so many pages designed specifically to berate and criticize and belittle. Instead of speaking civilly to the person that could make the difference in the situation, people run right to Facebook and yell and scream, and cuss and often exaggerate, if not out and out lie.

The really astonishing part is that more often than not, the folks that read the misinformation believe it. It isn’t enough to rant about the present situation. Often the unhappy person adds every negative story he or she has ever heard to the diatribe.

We all live in one world. We should all strive to work out our differences and move on together. Let’s all drop the negativity and work together to improve the world we live in and the lives of the people and animals around us. The next time life doesn’t go exactly your way, instead of heading directly to Facebook for a good rant, why not calm down, and then meet with the person you have an issue with and try to work it out. It’s a crazy idea, but it just might work.

Canines, Cats, and Cabernet

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The Corinne T. Smith Animal Center’s signature fundraiser, Canines, Cats, and Cabernet, is coming right up. In addition to raising much needed money to care for our homeless dogs and cats, it’s just a lot of fun. As always, there will be great food, wine and beers selected by Leona Cleveland, a raffle, a live auction, and even a new twist or two. Canines, Cats, and Cabernet will be
March 21, beginning at 6pm. The planning committee is working hard to make it a great success.

Generous people and businesses are lining up to help. Our first sponsor check came in the mail today…thank you Citizens National Bank. Steves’ Market and Deli and CRcatering by Casey Rowlett were, as always, the first to step up to furnish their delicious food at the event. James Cleveland will have his grill at the side door, sending all kinds of sumptuous smells wafting in the breeze. Brennan’s Vineyard will be pouring their own delicious wines. San Saba Olive Oil will have their wares available to sample and purchase.

I will have more information very soon. If anyone is interested in participating as a food vendor, or in donating an item for auction or raffle, give me a call at 325-642-1755. Even though those things are all done as donations to our shelter, we try to spread the joy, and give a little advertising for the businesses in the community that are so generous in helping.

So, mark your calendar…Canines, Cats, and Cabernet, at the Depot Cultural Center, 6pm on March 21. Don’t miss the fun.

Sadie’s Tale

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I want to tell you a story about a dog named Sadie.  Sadie was adopted from the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center about six months ago by a very nice family.  Sadie was rambunctious and playful, and so very happy to have a family.  Almost immediately, Sadie began coming to my house to visit.  When I first saw her, she looked familiar. When I looked at her tag, I knew it was Sadie.  I called her family, and a young girl came to get her.  Sadie continued to come visit.  Her family only lives a block from me, but I live a block from a major highway.  I often saw her trotting past my house heading for Highway 377 and Heartland Mall.

Twice, neighbors found Sadie and brought her to my house.  Twice, I sent them down the street to the owner’s home.  Sadie kept roaming to and across the highway.  After a couple of months, I found Sadie in the highway.  I was on my way to work, as were many others, and it was a miracle that the sweet girl wasn’t killed on the busy road.  I pulled over, picked her up, and took her to the shelter.  She no longer had a collar, but since Sadie has a microchip, we could still call her family.

A few days later, Sadie’s family came to get her.  We discussed ways to keep Sadie at home.  The problem is that Sadie is quite the jumper and climber.  Her family decided that she should be an inside dog, and Sadie liked that idea.  For a while Sadie stayed inside with her family, and went for walks on a leash.

Unfortunately, that didn’t last long.  I am not being critical of Sadie’s family.  They are obviously good people, but once again, Sadie was roaming at will back and forth across Highway 377.

Recently, while I was at the Mall, Sadie wandered up to the door.  At first I wasn’t sure it was her.  She no longer wore a collar.  She stayed with us until a teenage girl walked by and identified her as belonging to her sister.  I would happily have given the young lady back the dog, but when I told her that if Sadie continued to run loose, she would be run over, she said she didn’t care; she wanted to be rid of the dog.  So, I took Sadie to the shelter.

Later, the mom and children came to the Mall to find out about Sadie.  I told them that Sadie was at the shelter and could be reclaimed for a $50 fee.  My friend, Cary, was with me.  She talked to the teenage owner about the fact that they obviously loved Sadie, and Sadie is obviously a very good girl.  She told them that they would feel awful if Sadie was run over, and that it might be better if Sadie found a new home away from the busy road.

At that moment, they agreed, but the next day they came to the shelter and reclaimed Sadie.  Happily, two days later Sadie still hasn’t come to visit me.  They are obviously working hard to keep her off the streets, because she’s a wily little girl.  So, all’s well that ends well.  Sadie’s at home with her family, and she and highway travelers are all safe.

 

 

I’m Blogging

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I am a blogger. I am so excited.

The Corinne T. Smith Animal Center (CTSAC) is part of a larger community of animals and people. We are part of the community. The animal issues we deal with are community issues. Any successful solution for our local issues of dog and cat overpopulation, abuse, neglect, and the endless euthanasia will come from a partnership between CTSAC and our community.  I’m hoping that this blog helps draw people in the community into our world just a little more.  Welcome to our blog.