Tips For July 4th

Reprinted via Valli Parthasarathy, PhD, DVM, ACVB Resident at Synergy Behavior Solutions

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The fourth of July can be a time of celebration for many people, but it can also be a time of great fear for our pets. Here are some tips to make this Fourth as stress-free as possible for your pets.

Tip #1: Know what your pet's fear looks like.  Fear of fireworks doesn't have to look dramatic. Many very fearful pets will quietly hide or shiver. Others will be more obvious, pacing, panting, vocalizing, or even becoming destructive or pottying in the house. The amount of obvious fear signs don't always correlate with actual fear. A hiding dog may be just as afraid as a panting and pacing dog. They just express that fear differently.

Tip #2: Create a Safe Space. Create a safe area for your pet to be during the fireworks. This can be wherever your pet is most comfortable. Two chairs with a blanket draped over them, a crate, a closet, the basement, or an interior room like a bathroom are some possibilities. Set up the area before fireworks start and do lots of positive things in the area. Feed your pet there, give interactive toys and just generally make it a nice place to be. Make sure that your pet has access to that safe area when the fireworks start.

Think about ways to decrease the sound level of fireworks within the home. Shutting all of the windows tight and running a white noise machine or loud fan can help muffle noises from outside. Mutt Muffs (www.safeandsoundpets.com) and Happy Hoodies (www.happyhoodie.com)  are some options that can help reduce that sound level that your pet hears.

Tip #3: Practice Proactive Safety. In the days leading up to July 4th people are often shooting off fireworks. To keep your pets safe, don't allow your dog off-leash, and make sure that their collar or harness is snug so that they can't slip out of it. Potty your dog on leash before it gets dark on these nights, and again if needed after the fireworks are over. Dogs have even escaped fenced yards in their fear. Don't take your dog out during the fireworks themselves. Keep your cat indoors as well. . In fact, the 5th of July is often one of the busiest days for animal shelters as so many dogs become scared and run away from home during the fireworks.

Consider alternate ways to enrich your pet's environment since they may not be spending as much time outdoors. Some options include food puzzle toys, reward-based trick training or dog daycare if your dog is suitable. Keep in mind that there will probably be occasional fireworks after July 4th, so be prepared for that as well.

Tip #4: Avoiding is OK! Many pet owners leave Portland altogether and spend the July 4th weekend in more remote locations around the state. Other tips that clients have shared with us include: staying at a well sound-insulated hotel (such as near the airport) spending the evening in an underground parking garage, or taking a drive to and from Eugene with their pet to avoid the sounds of the fireworks. Our Fourth of July Hideaway is an option as well!

Tip #5: Medications can bring relief. If your pet is very scared during fireworks, speak to your veterinarian (or for Dr. Valli's clients, speak to her!) now about whether situational anti-anxiety medications are an option to help ease this time for your pet.


Fourth of July Hideway
Are you and your dog staying in town for the July 4th holiday? If your dog does not like fireworks, consider Synergy Behavior Solutions' Fourth of July Hideaway. Bring your dog and hang out for the evening in our quiet space and watch movies to boot!The last two years were a great time and they look forward to it again.

 

Homeless Dogs + Incarcerated Youth = 25 years of success

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Life for an incarcerated teenager is the picture of uncertainty: will he get caught in a cycle of repeat incarcerations, or will he somehow gain the skills and emotional maturity to live successfully on the outside?

A shelter dog’s life is uncertain too, even with the high adoption rates in our region.

For a quarter-century, one local nonprofit has brought these two populations together with groundbreaking results for both. Oregon-grown and nationally-recognized Project POOCH is celebrating 25 years of rehabilitating incarcerated youth while transforming “unadoptable” dogs into desirable companions. 

“The human-animal bond is what we promote,” says Joan Dalton, founder of the Woodburn, OR-based nonprofit that matches youth at MacLaren Correctional Facility with dogs from local shelters. The facility houses and educates males under 25 who are convicted of crimes ranging from misdemeanors to the most serious felonies.

Dalton founded POOCH in 1993 while serving as vice-principal of Lord High School at MacLaren.  At the time, there was a handful of programs that used the human-animal bond to rehabilitate adult prisoners, but, Dalton says, “Nobody had tried it with juveniles.” She risked nearly everything to pursue her vision, including her home, which she sold to launch the program — starting with just one youth and one dog.

How It Works

Individual youth are paired with a rescued dog and a professional dog trainer and behaviorist. For the youth, Dalton explains, one-on-one work with the dog often addresses the animal’s possible background of neglect, resulting in a strong therapeutic bond that, to date, has changed the lives of hundreds of dogs and young men. Dalton proudly points to the program’s zero recidivism rate. Impressive all by itself, the numbers are even more astounding considering that the national average is 25 to 40 percent.

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To be eligible, youth offenders must meet rigorous requirements, including an interview, an exemplary institutional history, and no record of animal abuse. The program’s comprehensive syllabus teaches patience, compassion, and commitment, along with bookkeeping, computer skills, grooming and boarding operations. The project’s fundraising ventures raise money to support POOCH and other corrections programs serving dogs and at-risk youth, while also helping youth pay restitution and child support.

Along with learning the hard skills of running a business, POOCH participants experience social and emotional growth. “In the past, I used to not be concerned with much besides my own needs,” writes one anonymous youth. “But I realize this wasn’t very healthy for me. By working and being with these dogs, I find myself caring more and more about how they are and how they’re progressing in their training. I also think about how they’re doing every day that I’m away from them.”

As the program gained recognition, researchers took note of its success. In survey results, MacLaren staff reported improved respect for authority, social interaction, and leadership skills among POOCH participants. According to Sandra Merriam, PhD, of Pepperdine University, “Program youth interviewed reported that they felt they had changed and improved in the areas of honesty, empathy, nurturing, social growth, understanding, self-confidence and pride of accomplishment.”

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The project yields equally important outcomes for the dogs. Upon completing their part in the program, the once “unadoptable” dogs graduate as desirable companions. “We do home visits,” Dalton says, to make sure it’s a good match, and then, “we do a trial overnight.”

Sometimes adoptive families send photos and updates on their dogs. “This is amazing,” Dalton says, and the youth love hearing how well their dogs have been trained. “This is a dog that would’ve been put down,” Dalton points out. “We really did make a difference.”

POOCH will celebrate its silver anniversary with a “Year of the Dog” fundraiser and benefit July 14 at Montgomery Park in Portland. Dalton says the festivities will include an appearance by the first young man to graduate from the now legendary program. Like the peers who would follow him, he has remained a free and productive member of society.


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William Kennedy is a freelance writer who lives with his wife and daughter in downtown Eugene, Oregon. He's had many furry friends in his lifetime. Currently, he's tolerated by a black cat named Midnight.

Spotlight on...Goldendoodle

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

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Size:  Various

Grooming needs:  Moderate

Exercise:  Medium

Environment:  Indoor with Outdoor Access

Temperament:  Intelligent, Friendly, Active

Life Expectancy:  15 years

Interesting Facts:  The Goldendoodle — or Groodle — is referred to as a “designer dog” or breed hybrid. Developed in the mid-1990s, they are among various “doodle” creations, the first of such mixes being the Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel/Poodle.)  While there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best traits or two breeds, breeders hoped to get the intelligence of the Poodle and the loving nature of the Golden Retriever.

While they are not actually hypoallergenic, many adopters seek them out for their reputation as a good dog for families with allergies. Goldendoodles will shed less and have less skin dander than many other breeds, but this doesn’t eliminate the actual cause of allergies in humans, which is a particular protein shed from the dog’s skin.

Appearance:  Goldendoodles can vary greatly, even within the same litter. While generally medium-sized with males weighing 50-80 pounds, you’ll see them characterized as standard, medium, miniature and toy, with miniatures weighing 20-45 lbs. Coats vary too, ranging from flat to wavy to tightly curled. Color ranges from cream to red, gold, chocolate, or combined into a merle, phantom, or brindle. Their coats can grow to a bushy eight inches long left unclipped, so they typically need regular brushing and a grooming every 6-8 weeks.

Personality:  These pups are generally intelligent and friendly. Pet parents describe Groodles as social, gentle, and compatible with children and other pets. They’re typically activity-loving dogs that do best with plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

Common Health Problems:  There are some cases of hip dysplasia in this breed. As with any potential new family member, talk to your veterinarian and the rescue or adoption agency about any concerns. 

Best Match:  Goldendoodles are social, active dogs who thrive when their families spend a good deal of time with them and provide a minimum of 20-30 minutes of daily exercise. Doodles have done well as guide dogs, in service or therapy, and sniffer dogs.

Goldendoodles are considered friendly and trainable matches for first-time dog parents.  

Featured Adoptables

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Rowena

Few Goldendoodles come up for adoption and, when they do, are quickly homed. At press time, we found Rowena available at Multnomah County Animal Services. She’s 7 years old and 71 pounds. Look for her at MultCoPets.org.

Most often rescues and shelters will have fabulous Poodle mixes with many of the desirable traits of their Doodle counterparts. Here’s one:

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Lilly

Lilly is a four-year-old Toy Poodle. Weighing about 9 pounds, she’s a loyal pint-sized companion who looks forward to long walks and quiet cuddle time with her new family. Since she’s a bit fearful around young kids, she will do best with adults only or children 12 and older. Meet the lovely Lilly at the Humane Society for SW Washington in Vancouver. Southwesthumane.org.


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Megan Mahan lives in New York City with her fiance Jacob, Frenchie Bulldog Nono, and the occasional foster dog or litter of foster kittens! She works for a major animal welfare organization and loves her former home in the Pacific Northwest.

Hot New Lifesaving Law

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Oregon’s “Good Samaritan Law” — which allows bystanders to free children or pets from overheated parked cars — is one year old. It’s always advisable to call authorities and wait for help, but the law now protects you if you break a window or pry open a door because it’s too dangerous to wait, and:

You have a reasonable belief that a pet or child is in immediate danger

You call police before or immediately after entering the car

You use minimum force needed to get into the car

You stay with the child or pet until police or rescue crews arrive

Even on a mild 75-degree day, the inside of a parked car can reach a miserable 104 degrees in 20 minutes, and a deadly 118 degrees in an hour. 

CAT Celebrates 20 Years, 44,000 Adoptions

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It was May 1, 1998, when a few hearty souls opened Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, OR. The fledgling nonprofit had 35 adoptable cats and a vision to save lives.

The vision became reality: this summer, on its 20th anniversary, CAT celebrates 44,000 cats’ lives saved, and a community far different from the one that existed in 1998.

For years, Portland-area communities were overburdened with lost, stray, and feral cats. Shelter euthanasia rates were high.

Today, Portland is a beacon for the nation, with high adoption and sterilization rates, thanks in large part to the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland. Since CAT and other member organizations formed ASAP in 2006, the community’s shelter euthanasia rates have dropped 90%.

In its 21st year, CAT plans to home another 3,300 cats, with an emphasis on helping elderly or under-socialized cats find forever homes. The shelter highlights its first two decades in a photo album at catadoptionteam.org/20years, and executive director Karen Green says, “We can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring!”

Sighting in on Puppy Mills

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Coming soon to a City Hall near you: advocates in Portland and the Willamette Valley hope to pass local ordinances barring pet stores from selling pets from so-called puppy mills. Stores would offer adoptable dogs and cats from shelters and rescues rather than sell animals bred in facilities known for unhealthy and inhumane conditions.

At an April meeting in Portland, organizers from Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of the United States shared experiences gleaned from passing 270+ similar bills now on the books across the US. “Some lawmakers worry that people won’t be able to buy purebreds if the bill passes,” said one organizer, “but this doesn’t ban breeding, and reputable breeders don’t sell their puppies in pet stores.”

Advocates are gathering support to introduce a bill in the next legislative session. Learn more at PuppiesArentProducts.org.

Ready, Set, Go!

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Pet season has begun! 

No matter the weather, it’s time to get out and about with your furry friends and support the animals in the community. 

Several great organizations helping animals have their biggest fundraisers in the months ahead.

Check out this roster of paw-some walk/run events to get started:

Walk/Run for the Animals

Sat., May 5, 7:30am-11:30am at Esther Short Park in Vancouver, WA * Party in the park with over 2,000 people and more than 1,000 dogs (and other pets) to support the Humane Society for SW Washington. Choose a timed 5K run or 3-mile walk along the beautiful Columbia River. Dozens of pet-friendly vendors, dog agility demos, awards and fun for you and your dog.  Details/register SouthwestHumane.org.

Doggie Dash 2018

Sat., May 12, 7:30am-1pm at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, OR * Portland’s biggest party for pets and their peeps celebrates you, the animals you love and everything that makes Puptown a haven for pet lovers. Two fun run/walk courses to choose from – the Doggie Dash Classic 1.5 miles or the Bridge to Bridge 2.5 miles. Vendors, contests, live music and more round out this incredible morning of fun. Details/register OregonHumane.org.

Bark in the Park

Sun., May 21, 7am-Noon at Alton Baker Park in Eugene, OR * On your marks, get set, GO!  Leash up for a 10 or 5K run or a 2K walk at the 25th annual event for the animals at Greenhill Humane Society. Enter as an individual or a team and get a sweet doggie bandana and special anniversary t-shirt with registration. The line-up of fun also includes canine activities, contests, vendor booths, demos and more. Details/register Green-Hill.org.

2018 WillaMutt Strut 5K and Fun Run/Walk

Sun., June 10, 8m-1pm at Riverfront Park in Salem, OR * Grab some friends and leash up the pups for the pets at Willamette Humane Society. Choose from the ambitious 5K (run or walk) or the more casual 1K strut. Afterwards, join other passionate pet people in the park for food, brews, music, games, demos and more fun. Family-friendly, group-friendly and of course, dog-friendly event!  Registration includes t-shirt and race swag! Details/register WHS4Pets.org.

Dog Gone Run

Sat., June 16, 7am-1pm at Friends of Sam Jackson Park in Redmond, OR * Dog-friendly 5K or 10K run/walk supports the Brightside Animal Center and encourages participants to get out with their buddies although it’s not a requirement. For something more casual, there is also a 1-mile fun walk for families and their pets. Awards given for fastest finishers overall in each age division.  Details/register BrightsideAnimals.org.

Lace up your walking shoes and let’s go!

Fetch all the pet-related fun by visiting the Good Neighbor Vet Furry FunPlanner and tune in to KPSU radio every Thursday at 6:05pm.

Cat Adoption Team celebrates 20 years of saving lives

May 1 marks 20th anniversary for local animal shelter

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[April 26, 2018 – Sherwood, Ore.] — This May, the Cat Adoption Team (CAT) will celebrate its 20th year of saving the lives of homeless cats and kittens.

With 35 cats for adoption and a dream to save more lives, CAT opened its doors in Sherwood, Ore., on May 1, 1998. Today, CAT is the largest feline-only nonprofit animal shelter in the Pacific Northwest and has found homes for more than 44,000 cats and kittens.

When CAT first came on the scene in the late 1990s, Portland and its surrounding communities were overrun with lost, stray, and abandoned cats. Euthanasia rates were high. Adoption numbers were low. Homeless cats had limited options.

Working collaboratively with other animal shelters, rescue groups, and veterinarians—and with the support the local community—CAT has helped transform the Portland metro area into one of the safest communities in the nation for homeless cats.

By the end of its first year, CAT had found homes for 219 cats. The adoption numbers and shelter population more than doubled in 1999. In 2002, CAT became the first animal shelter in the Pacific Northwest to open an onsite veterinary hospital. And the organization has continued to advance each year.

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Though the shelter location hasn’t changed, the facility has undergone countless improvements. CAT upgraded from particle board and Plexiglas to stainless steel cat kennels in the mid-2000s. Later, in 2014, additional housing improvement gave twice as much space to each cat. The organization continues to make changes in response to advances in veterinary medicine and animal sheltering.

Over the past 20 years, cats’ lives have been saved and human lives have been enriched by the 44,319 adoptions from CAT.

“All of this has been made possible by the generosity and caring of adopters, volunteers, donors, and other partners in our community,” says Karen Green, CAT’s executive director. “We can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring!”

Helping cats in need remains at the core of all that CAT does. This year, the organization plans to increase its support for senior cats, under-socialized kittens, and cats with other health or behavior concerns. What’s more, CAT hopes to help another 3,300 cats and kittens find loving new homes by the end of 2018.
CAT invites you to celebrate the memories by viewing our 20th Anniversary Photo Album online at catadoptionteam.org/20years.

A Brief History of CAT

1998 – CAT opens on May 1 with 35 cats for adoption

2000 – 1,000th cat is adopted

2002 – CAT opens onsite veterinary hospital, making it the first shelter in Oregon to open such a clinic

2004 – Organization receives official 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation

2005 – Kitten foster program is formalized with the hire of first foster coordinator

2006 – CAT and other local animal organizations form the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP)

2008 – ASAP’s Spay & Save low-cost public spay/neuter program become available at CAT

2009 – CAT reaches 20,000th adoption

2011 – Thrift Store Benefitting the Cat Adoption Team opens

2012 – A burst pipe floods the shelter and CAT undertakes an extensive remodel

2014 – CAT adds portals to its kennels, doubling—and in some cases tripling—each cat’s space

2016 – 40,000th adoption takes place

2017 – With grant funding, CAT purchases its first transport vehicle

2018 – CAT celebrates 20th anniversary

ABOUT CAT ADOPTION TEAM
The Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the Pacific Northwest’s largest nonprofit, feline-only shelter committed to finding a home for every cat it takes in. CAT’s mission is to save the lives of homeless cats and to work with our community to provide feline expertise and quality programs and services for people and cats. CAT has found homes for more than 44,000 cats and kittens since opening in May 1998. As a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity, CAT relies on the generous support of individuals and organizations. For more information, visit catadoptionteam.org.

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In Memory of Phyllis Johanson

"The brilliant person is the person who does brilliant things and tells no one." ~ author unknown

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Portland lost a real jewel of the animal community recently, when Phyllis Johanson passed away peacefully at her home, high in the West Hills, her husband of 62 years, George, at her side and her beloved cat Buster sleeping on her feet.

Born in 1925 in Sutton, Canada, Phyllis met her future husband George in 1955 in Ixmiquilpan, Hildalgo, Mexico, where they were both missionaries working to improve the conditions of the local people.

One day, George and Phyllis bonded over a kitten. Someone had tarred the poor kitten, and the two worked for days to save him.

George jokes about what occurred two weeks later. "I asked her to marry me. She said, ‘Do you like cats?’ I said yes, of course." Two weeks later they got hitched and soon established their home in Portland.

George says he saw a harbinger of his wife's soon to be vocation when a friend brought over two homeless kittens for Phyllis to choose from. Phyllis took both, and created clever hammocks out of a wooden clothes rack. Soon the Johansons had 10 cats, most found by their young son, Aaron.

Phyllis began a long and successful series of campaigns feeding feral cats around Portland. One location: the bushes in the parking lot of the City Club. For a year and a half, George drove Phyllis (who didn't drive) there every night around midnight. An accomplished artist, George says they supported each other throughout their 62 years together; Phyllis attended all his openings and inspired much of his work.

Phyllis found a new colony of needy cats at PGE Ballpark. She managed to arrange for the spay, neuter, and feeding of dozens of them. Working with the park managers, Phyllis convinced them the cats were a great asset, keeping the rodent population down. Once, she even went on the field to feed a cat during a game!

Phyllis then took her own game to a whole new level, joining forces with local vet, Dr. Ralph Plomondon, who was as passionate about pet overpopulation as she was. They worked together to change the status quo, the massive euthanasia numbers at local shelters at the time. They founded The Responsible Pet Ownership Council and did groundbreaking work, including printing and distributing low-cost spay and neuter coupons.

For about 10 years George says Phyllis gave her phone number to anyone who had pet problems. She spent hundreds of hours on the phone, day and night, counseling folks. She always said, "It is a people problem not a pet problem." George remembers one piece of advice Phyllis gave a person troubled by a barking dog next door. "Bake some cookies," she said, “and go over and talk to your neighbor and tell them their dog is lovely, but barks a bit." George still has dozens of notebooks filled with notes about Phyllis’s many cases.

Long before computers, Phyllis would spend hours on the phone, newspaper in front of her, matching lost and found pets and reuniting many pets and their people.

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Her helping heart and hands went beyond animals. Residing near the Vista Bridge (once known as Suicide Bridge), she would see folks ready to jump, and fly down the block to speak with them. She gave some a bit of cash, telling them to go get cleaned up. They always did.

Lisa Brown Sandmire, a volunteer with FRiends of Shelter Animals, another of Phyllis's projects, says, "The first time I met Phyllis at her home was so eye-opening for me. It was heartening to know there were people like that in the world. She was so plugged into the agencies and really knew how to get things done for animals."

Vida Lohnes, good friend and animal advocate, had a similar take. "In the ‘90s and beyond, I could always turn to Phyllis, look up to her, and consult with her. She had so many great ideas and was constantly testifying at agencies and hearings. One thing she always told me was to help animals, go local. She was practical, no nonsense. She was such a force.”

The list of Phyllis's accomplishments is huge, and we will never truly know all the amazing things she did, for people and animals. Very tight lipped, Phyllis never touted her accomplishments. But those lucky enough to know her knew, and so did she.


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Born in Washington, Connie Theil loves greyhounds, donkeys, cats, parrots, dogs, and crows. Now retired, Connie studies the Weimar Republic, gardens, refurnishes old furniture, rescues cats and dogs, and visits her son in Boston.

Pongo Fund rolls out mobile vet hospital

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The Pongo Fund, Oregon and SW Washington’s emergency pet food bank, introduced Pongo One in December, a state-of-the-art mobile veterinary hospital bringing critical veterinary care and other services to underserved and underprivileged families and pets throughout Oregon and SW Washington.

The 23-foot mobile hospital, featuring two surgical suites, a laboratory, x-ray, pharmacy and more will provide advanced veterinary services at no cost to qualified pet owners in need, including the homeless, seniors, veterans, victims of domestic violence, residents of low income housing and more. The Pongo Fund is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit. Learn more at thepongofund.org.