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.

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.

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.