SIMBA our little Tripawd King who has a BIG personality. He loves to talk to his neighboring canine fellas. And his sweet barks and playfulness grabs the attention of all volunteers. His eyes are absolutely mesmerizing.
This is what his foster had to say....
“Despite his rough start to life Simba has the heart of a lion. He’s happy, determined, sweet, funny, playful, independent, fearless, vibrant, adorable puppy who needs someone to help him continue to grow steady and strong. He listens, connects and wants to please. He has great determination and moves well but when he stumbles, he lands like a champ. He needs protection from obstacles but very little guidance. He loves spending time outdoors discovering new smells and sounds. Easy to train, doing well in the early stages of obedience and potty training. Sleeps all night in his crate. Simba is a wonder ! A special beautiful boy that will bring a lot of joy”.
Imagine if your whole family moved away and left you behind…alone. That’s exactly what happened to Gigi. She suddenly found herself all alone and outside, which is exactly where a girl like Gigi should not be: Gigi has tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). While cats with FIV can live long, healthy lives, the disease can compromise the immune system and can make routine illnesses (like respiratory infections) harder on the body. It is not transmissible to humans and is only known to be transmitted to other cats by means of deep bite wounds.
Gigi is exceptionally affectionate and was obviously very loved at some point. She is spayed, vaccinated and microchipped. This 2-3 year young lady will be a wonderful companion to someone lucky enough to see her beauty and potential.
Feel free to contact ORHS for more information about Gigi. Ask for Kari.
LADY GAGA .... That's me. I was born with the cutest feet. The outward feet never stops me from running with my playmates in the yard at ORHS. I get along with all dogs and I am fine with cats as well. I am in great shape but believe it or not I am food driven. I am smart and easily trainable, if you have a few kibbles in your hand. I walk great on leash with other dogs ... I always hear my volunteers calling me the "model child". Yup, come take me home, ... you won't be disappointed. And did I tell you ? ... I am very pretty. TAKE ME HOME !!
by Dr. Lonnie King
We all look forward to the holiday season which abounds with family visits, celebrations, parties, wonderful food and good cheer. However, the holiday season can also carry some serious hazards for our pets. Nothing can spoil holiday cheer like an emergency with a beloved family pet. Here are a few tips to keep your pet safe and healthy this holiday.
Food: (Don’t) Let Them Eat Cake!
Keep people food away from pets. If you want to share holiday treats with your pet, make or buy treats formulated just for them. There are a few foods that are especially hazardous for pets, and include: chocolate, grapes/raisins, alcohol, poultry bones, onions, garlic, raw bread or yeast dough and candy or sweets containing artificial sweeteners. Xylitol is an especially dangerous and toxic sweetener that may be found in some types of gum, candy and baked goods. Turkey meat and turkey skin are off limits because they may cause pancreatitis. This is also true for table scraps including gravy, meat fat, stuffing or pork products. All of these should be kept away from your pet.
There are a few plants that are toxic for pets and may make an appearance during the holidays in our homes. Poinsettias, lilies, amaryllis and mistletoe can be dangerous to cats and dogs. In addition, potpouri mixes, cedar, holly and balsam may also be hazardous for pets. If you plan to use any of these decorative plants or products, be sure that they are kept out of the reach of your pet.
Avoid Choking Hazards
Be certain that your pet does not have access to choking hazards, such as candy wrappers, turkey bones, ribbons, wrapping paper, ornaments, toothpicks, very small toys and tinsel. You should consider not using tinsel to decorate a tree if you have a cat. Turkey carcasses or anything used to wrap or tie the meat such as strings, bags or packaging material present special dangers and they must also be kept away from pets. Not only can these items become choking hazards, but if swallowed, they can lodge in the stomach or intestine and require emergency surgery. Always put the trash away and store it where pets do not have access to it.
Be Cautious of Electrical Cords
Many holiday decorations are a fun way to get into the holiday spirit and many use electricity. If chewed, live electrical cords can cause burns around a pet’s mouth and can result in breathing difficulties and even seizures. To avoid this hazard, unplug lights and decorations when not in use and secure them out of the reach of pets.
Christmas trees can tip over if pets climb on them or try to play with lights or ornaments. If possible, try to secure your tree to a door frame or ceiling. For live trees that require water, additives to the water can offer additional hazards. Thus, do not add sugar, aspirin or other preservatives to the water since pets can be attracted to this water source and ingesting these products may present an additional hazard.
House Parties and Visitors: Reducing Stress and Anxiety
We look forward to holiday guests and hosting parties; however, for some pets, the noise and excitement can be upsetting. They can become nervous and anxious at these gatherings. All pets should have access to a comfortable and quiet place inside if they should want to retreat and get away from the commotion and disruption of their routine. A crate with a favorite toy in a separate room might be a good option and be available as a pet getaway. If you know that your pet is likely to get upset by parties or houseguests, talk with your veterinarian about other preemptive options for this common problem. Guests mean that more people will be coming into and going out of your home, and open doors can be a tempting invitation for a pet to escape and become lost. Therefore, you need to take care during these times to make sure your visitors are aware of your pet and make sure that your pet has proper and current identification information. Of course, microchipping your pet is a good idea regardless of the season.
Other Potential Hazards
Special holiday displays or candles are attractive to pets as well as people. Never leave a pet alone in a room or area with a lit candle. Pinecones, needles and other similar decorations may cause gastrointestinal problems when pets chew on them or swallow them and thus should not be available to your pet. It is a good idea to clear food from your table, counters and serving areas when you are done using them. Again, make certain that your trash is in a place where a pet cannot reach it.
We want our pets to enjoy the holidays with us, and taking these precautions can help ensure this season is fun and joyous. However, planning ahead, just in case, is a good idea. It is helpful to know in advance how to reach a 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic. Talk with your local veterinarian ahead of time and have phone numbers posted and available. There is also an ASPCA Poison Control Hotline that you can access at 1-888-426-4435 should you need immediate consultation about a potential emergency (there may be a fee for this service). Any emergency is stressful and knowing exactly what to do in such instances is extremely helpful.
These tips are offered not to take away the joy from a wonderful time of the year, but, rather, they are reminders about how to keep our pets happy and healthy this holiday season. After all, they are family members, too, and need our care and supervision.
We were right about Bradley Cooper secretly writing a letter to Santa. Well, it maybe the longest letter to Santa, but then again we all know how verbose and expressive Bradley Cooper is. Please do take the time to read his letter and share. We would like to make his wish come true.
“Hello, is it me you’re searching for?” Lionel is our pocket-size pit-bull mix. Standing at a solid 45 lbs. He is the perfect mix of beauty, brains, and size.
He is a loving boy who is good with puppies, female dogs, and most neutered males. He loves playing in the yard with most of our dogs and pups here. We are working on his obedience, but he is very quick to learn. Lionel loves kids and is very sweet and gentle with them. We are hoping Lionel finds the perfect match…is it you?
This shy, but sweet, little lady is an absolute joy and wants nothing more than a family to call her own. Trixie loves to be petted and will reciprocate with head butts all day long. But since she is shy, Trixie will need a quiet home without small children. We think she would be overjoyed to spend the bulk of her day sitting next to her special person on the couch, binge watching chick flix or talk shows. If you need a buddy to share your popcorn with (that won't fight you for the remote), this just might be the girl for you!
By Dr. Lonnie King – Oconee Regional Humane Society
Our pets bring great enjoyment to our lives and, to many, they have reached a new status as a special family member. We all want our pets to live long, healthy and active lives. However, each day pets suffer health issues that could have been prevented with a little foresight and planning. To remind us that we are responsible for our pet’s health, October has been designated as “National Pet Wellness Month”. In observance of this occasion, here are ten tips to promote pet wellness and proper care.
1. Vaccinations. Dogs and cats are at risk for serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases. Fortunately, many of these diseases can be prevented through the administration of vaccines. It is especially important to begin vaccinations with young puppies and kittens and keep them up to date for their entire lifetime. There are core vaccinations needed yearly and non-core vaccinations that may also be needed based on veterinary recommendations or special circumstances. Remember that a rabies vaccination is legally required by the state of Georgia.
2. Proper Nutrition. Pets need a diet with wholesome ingredients and balanced nutrition for optimal growth and development that is tailored to their age group. It is estimated that more than half of our dogs and cats in America are classified as either over-weight or obese, which can lead to serious health conditions such as diabetes, liver problems and joint disease. Proper nutrition and weight control are like a daily dose of preventive medicine. It is essential to be knowledgeable about your pet’s nutritional needs. There are many high-quality commercial pet foods that meet approved standards and have been formulated based on strong research and development data. While our pets may be family members, they are not people when it comes to food and their special needs. Be cautious of fad and internet diets that promise good health but have no scientific basis or rationale to base their claims.
3. Preventing Ticks, Fleas, Heartworms and Internal Parasites (Worms). Internal and external parasites can pose serious health risks to pets. These pests such as fleas and ticks and internal worms can readily be prevented by the many options available that are easy to use, safe and effective. Some products will work to prevent all these parasites at the same time. However, having numerous options can be complicated for pet owners trying to make the right decisions. Some products are oral, some are topical (putting the product on their coat), others are injectable, and some contain chemicals embedded into collars. The products vary in the length of time that they work or are protective, and their uses may be different depending if they will be given to a cat or dog. For example, heartworms occur in both dogs and cats but differ in prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Preventing internal and external parasites can also help prevent the spread of some serious diseases to owners and family members as well as to pets. Because we live in the south, ticks, fleas, heartworms and internal parasites are year-round threats so preventive treatments must also be used year- round and continued for a pet’s lifetime.
4. Spaying and Neutering. Having your pet spayed or neutered is key to curbing pet over-population and reduces the number of unwanted animals in our communities. Abandoned animals and strays are a common problem across Georgia. These animals, unfortunately, often live shortened, difficult and abused lives. Spaying and neutering can also reduce or prevent certain infections and cancers found in intact cats and dogs.
5. Grooming. Proper grooming keeps pets comfortable and clean. Regular brushing removes dead hair and helps distribute natural oils resulting in healthier coats and reduces mats from forming. Nail trimming helps to avoid injuries and discomfort when nails are over-grown, break or split. Routinely brushing your pet every few days, is part of wellness and gives you an opportunity to detect or notice any growths or abnormalities in their skin or musculature that need early attention.
6. Exercise. Just as in people, a regular exercise routine is essential to a pet’s good health. Exercise can help a pet maintain a healthy weight, and keep their muscles, tendons and bones strong. It may also help to reduce tendencies toward behavior problems. Walking, playing and enjoying the outdoors benefit health by burning calories and increasing an animal’s metabolic rate. Exercising your pet has an added benefit, it promotes better health in the owners as well.
7. Dental Care. Regular dental care is essential to maintaining good pet health. Some pets will tolerate brushing their teeth, which can be quite helpful, but be sure to use toothpaste that has been cleared for dogs or cats. Some human toothpastes can be very toxic and harmful especially in cats. Watch for excessive tartar, abnormal gums (reddened or bloody) or loose teeth. Unchecked dental disease can lead to kidney problems, painful periodontal disease or nutritional problems if the pet cannot chew food properly. As in people, routine teeth cleaning can be a helpful and necessary adjunct to good health.
8. Quality Time. The time that you spend with your pet can be invaluable. Pets are very tuned into us and quite perceptive. Likewise, you can learn more about them – their mood, personality, preferences and, at times, how they are feeling. By knowing a pet’s normal behavior and physical condition, you will be able to detect changes to their health much earlier. Quality time helps to establish a strong human-animal bond and can improve good behavior and training. For most people, having quality time to interact with a pet is one of the most enjoyable and gratifying activities that we share with them.
9. Pet Identification and Record Keeping. We never know when an emergency may arise so preparing ahead of time makes good sense. An important part of preparing is having your pet permanently identified and saving documents that track its health and care. The use of microchips is the best method to identify a pet. Make sure that the identification number is readily available and listed on state and national registers. Keeping records of vaccinations and medical exams, copies of pet tags and adoption papers can serve as helpful reminders for future appointments and may be needed in case of an emergency. It may also be useful to keep an updated photograph of a pet to help identify them.
10. Veterinary Examinations. Pets age more quickly than we do, which means that changes in their health can occur and escalate quickly. Dogs and especially cats can conceal early symptoms of disease problems. Thus professional examinations are important to diagnose and treat health problems early before they become more serious and costly. Establishing a relationship with a veterinarian is a valuable and effective way to ensure your pet’s health and wellness over its lifetime. Establishing routine wellness visits and examinations for your pet solidifies this relationship, optimizes health and enables you to have a competent and experienced professional available to you if there is an emergency or need for special care or treatment.
As pet owners, we share a common goal of ensuring a long, happy and healthy life for our special pets. National Pet Wellness Month reminds us that Benjamin Franklin’s advice, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is just as applicable to our pet’s health as to our own health and well-being.
September 28, 2019 has been designated as World Rabies Day. Many countries including the United States are observing this day in order to raise awareness about this disease and to bring partners together worldwide to promote the prevention and control of rabies worldwide. The theme of this year’s World Rabies Day is “Vaccinate to Eliminate”. We can do our part by making certain that our dogs, cats and ferrets, are up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
Although rabies is a disease that is 100% preventable, more that 59,000 people die from this deadly disease around the world every year. Most of these cases occur in rural communities in the world’s poorest countries, especially in Asia and Africa, and children have the highest rate of infection and death. Unvaccinated dogs are responsible for transmitting almost 98% of these cases. In the U.S., there are, on average, 400 – 500 cases of rabies in our domestic pets each year but almost 5,000 cases in our wildlife. In April of this year, a rabies positive skunk was found in Greene County, Georgia; thus, it is imperative that you have your pets vaccinated as a Georgia resident.
What is Rabies?
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous systems. The virus is secreted through the saliva of infected animals and is usually transmitted to people and other animals through bites. Once an animal or person shows signs of rabies, it is almost always fatal. Rabies has been known to mankind for over 4,000 years. The name rabies is derived from the Latin term “rabies” which translated means “to rage”. The rabies virus will usually enter the brain and animals will exhibit changes in behavior including becoming extremely vicious or acting as “in rage” where the Latin term originated.
What Animals Get Rabies?
All mammals are susceptible to rabies. In the U.S., most cases of rabies occur in wildlife – mainly skunks, raccoons, foxes, and bats. Each of these animals serve as reservoirs for the disease and each of these wildlife groups has developed a special variation of the virus. In the U.S., we have been able to eliminate the canine variety of the rabies virus through a very successful vaccination campaign for our dogs. However, our dogs and cats are susceptible to the other strains of the virus and still need to be vaccinated to protect them from these other strains. Humans are also susceptible to all these strains of the rabies virus. Rabies occurs in horses, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats too, but less commonly than found in our pets. Cats that live outdoors, often are not vaccinated, and are especially apt to be exposed to wildlife and rabid animals.
What Are the Signs of Rabies?
Once rabies enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the brain. Animals with rabies may show a variety of signs, including fearfulness, aggression, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, staggering, and seizures, Aggressive behavior is common but rabid animals may also demonstrate uncharacteristic affection. Another form of rabies is call paralytic or dumb rabies where an animal is depressed, uncoordinated and becomes completely paralyzed prior to death. Animals manifesting either form of the disease will effectively transmit the disease. Rabid wild animals may lose their natural fear of humans and display unusual behavior such as nocturnal animals wondering and approaching people during the daytime. Rabies can only be confirmed after death, through the microscopic examination of the animal’s brain.
How Great of a Risk is Rabies to Humans?
Rabies remains a major concern worldwide because many countries do not have strong or effective vaccination programs for domestic and stray dogs. Rabies vaccinations, animal control programs and better treatments for humans after they have been bitten, have dramatically reduced the number of cases in the U.S. Today, more than half the human rabies exposures in our country have resulted from rabid bats. Thus, any contact with bats, even if a bite is not noticed, should be reported to your physician. Bats have very small teeth and their bites can be very tiny but still capable of transmitting the rabies virus. There have been just 40 human cases of rabies in the U.S. since 2003 and 12 of these cases were from exposures outside of the U.S. In the rest of the world, dogs are the most common carrier of rabies, particularly in Asia and Africa, so travelers need to be aware of this risk when they travel abroad.
How has the Threat of Rabies Changed in the U.S.?
Before 1960, most human cases of rabies in this country came from infected dog bites. Since that time, successful rabies vaccination campaigns for our pets and expanded leash laws have greatly reduced dog rabies. The U.S. is now free of the canine strain of rabies that is found in much of the rest of the world and now our exposures are occurring from wildlife especially bats. In 2016, there were 4.910 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in the U.S. Of these cases, 33.5% came from bats, 28% from raccoons, 21% from skunks, 6.4% from foxes, 5.2% from cats and 1.2% from dogs. There are also regional differences in occurrences and in 2016, more than half of all animal rabies cases came from just 5 states – Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, New York and Maryland. The different strains of the rabies virus are maintained in their respective wildlife populations or niches; however, the viruses spill over into domestic pets and humans from exposures and pets and people can are still susceptible to and can acquire rabies from any of these species or viral strains.
What If I Get Bitten?
Rabies in humans can be prevented by eliminating exposures from rabid animals or by providing people exposed to rabies with prompt postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP consists of local treatments of bite wounds in combination with the administration of human rabies immunoglobulin followed by several vaccine injections. Today’s PEP is much superior to past treatments and there is seldom any reaction to the injections; it has also been proven extremely safe and effective. Thus, there is no excuse in delaying treatment if it is recommended. Last year in the U.S., approximately 55,000 PEP treatments were administered to people with possible exposures. If you believe that you might have been exposed, don’t panic but also don’t ignore the bite. If you are bitten, wash the wound rigorously and thoroughly with lots of soap and water and then treat it with a disinfectant like iodine. Then call your physician immediately, explain the circumstances of your possible exposure and follow the physician’s advice. Also try to identify the animal that bit you – is it a local pet, a stray dog/cat or what type of wildlife was involved? If the bite was from a dog or cat, call the local animal control officers to collect it if possible.
What If My Pet is Bitten?
If your pet is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately and report the bite to local animal control authorities. Even if your dog, cat or ferret has a current vaccination, he/she should be re-vaccinated immediately, kept under an owner’s control and observed for a period as specified by state law (usually 10 days). Pets that are bitten but have expired vaccinations, will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; you should work out the details with your local veterinarian. Pets that have never been vaccinated and are exposed to a rabid animal may need to be euthanized in accordance with regulations or placed in strict quarantine for several months. Remember that rabies vaccines will almost always prevent your pet from acquiring rabies when bitten by a rabid animal; therefore, it makes the most sense to keep them up to date on their rabies vaccinations. It is a good idea to keep your rabies vaccination certificate or proof of vaccination available to help you remember your pet’s vaccination history and as a source of information for veterinarians.
What If My Pet Bites Someone?
If your pet bites a person, urge the victim to see a physician immediately and to follow the physician’s recommendations. Then check with your veterinarian to make sure that your pet is up to date on its rabies vaccination. You should report the bite to the local health department and animal control authorities. Often your pet will need to be confined under your control to monitor for any signs of rabies. If your pet exhibits any unusual behavior, contact your veterinarian and the local health department. You must make certain that the pet is under control and able to be carefully observed. After the observation period, have your pet vaccinated for rabies if the pet’s vaccination is not current.
When Should a Pet Be Vaccinated and How Often?
Rabies vaccinations should only be administered by a licensed veterinarian and the dog, cat or ferret can usually receive its first vaccination at about 3 months of age. This initial vaccination should be followed up by another rabies vaccination a year later. After this sequence, your veterinarian will work with you and set up continual vaccinations at either 1-or 3-year intervals. There are different types of rabies vaccines that require different protocols to ensure full protection of your pet. Remember that all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated for rabies even if they spend most of their time indoors. Vaccinating your pet not only protects them from rabies but also reduces the risk for you and your family. Additionally, spaying or neutering pets will reduce the number of potential strays that would be susceptible and possibly exposed to rabies. Keeping your pet on a leash when outdoors also helps to prevent inadvertent exposure to rabies in wildlife.
Does the State of Georgia Have Laws Pertaining to Rabies?
Georgia has a legal requirement that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated for rabies and the vaccines can only be administered by a licensed veterinarian. The minimal age requirement is 3 months and pets must be continuously vaccinated over their entire lifetime. The primary responsibility for the control of rabies in Georgia rests with individual county Boards of Health. They also promulgate rules and regulations for the prevention and control of rabies including quarantine periods. County Boards of Health have websites that spell out the specifics of these programs for their respective counties.
What Can I Do to Help Control Rabies?
Remember that rabies is entirely preventable through vaccinations. You should make certain that your pet receives its rabies vaccination and remains up to date for its entire life. You can prevent possible exposure to rabies by not allowing you dog or cat to roam free and supervise them when they are outside. Spaying and neutering pets may decrease roaming tendencies and will prevent them from contributing to the birth of unwanted animals in our communities. It is helpful not to leave exposed garbage or pet food outside, as it may attract wild or stray animals. Try to observe wild animals only from a distance especially if their behavior is not normal. A rabid animal may appear tame, but you should not go near it. Children should be warned to NEVER handle unfamiliar animals even if they appear friendly. If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to local animal control authorities. If possible, work to bat-proof homes or other structures from nesting thus reducing their access to people or pets.
Are Dog and Cats at the Oconee Regional Humane Society (ORHS) Vaccinated?
All the dogs and cats under the care of the ORHS are vaccinated for rabies as well as for several other infections. They have been carefully examined, screened, spayed or neutered and thus are offered for adoption in good health and already vaccinated for rabies. This is another reason to consider adopting a pet from the ORHS.
World Rabies Day has been designated to remind us that rabies is the deadliest disease in the world, but it is also completely preventable. As pet owners, we all have a crucial role to play in preventing this lethal disease. Please celebrate this special day by vaccinating your pet!
By Dr. Lonnie King
Several years ago, a skinny, beat up, socially neglected and badly injured beagle was found wondering along a Georgia highway. He was picked up and transported to a local humane society where he began to be properly cared for and start a long road to recovery. He was about 3 years old and was missing part of his tail and half of one of his ears. They named him Murray. It was likely that his injuries and appearance would prevent him from adoption. Murray was quite timid and afraid of almost everything but eager for love and attention. In addition to his care at the humane society, Murray was also fostered by some kind folks who thought that he needed a second chance. He was socialized and received veterinary care and the loving care of his foster parents. As Murray continued his recovery to health, people noticed that he was special; he had renewed energy, a great nose and was highly food motivated. With these qualities, he was a wonderful candidate to be considered for further training to take advantage of his remarkable traits and, hopefully, to introduce him into an environment in which he could flourish and lead a transformed and meaningful life.
Murray was a perfect candidate to become a detection dog. He was introduced into the National Detector Dog Training Center (NDDTC) located in Newnan, Georgia. This facility is operated by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The NDDTC provides highly specialized training for agricultural detector dog teams tasked with safeguarding American agriculture and natural resources from harmful pests and diseases that could enter this country from overseas. The training begins with 2 weeks of screening to evaluate the temperament, behavior, health and food drive of the dogs. Murray passed with flying colors and his life and future were about to drastically change for the better. After about 4 more months of special training, Murray became a member of the “Beagle Brigade”. Now with renewed spirit, energy and a special purpose, he is sniffing luggage and carry-on bags for illegal contraband associated with passengers as they arrived at our international airports from all over the world. The Beagle Brigade started in 1984 and use beagles and beagle-crosses to sniff out and identify fruits, vegetables, pests and animal products that could attack and destroy important agricultural crops, livestock, poultry and forests if allowed to enter our country.
Murray was assigned to Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport where he works today. These dogs are readily accepted by passengers because they are cute, small and not intimidating. You may have seen Murray or other members of the Beagle Brigade wearing their green jackets, tails wagging and with a sense of urgency, sniffing luggage and bags in hopes of finding illegal contraband and then receiving the praise and treats from their handlers that they seek as rewards. For Murray, it is a of game of hide and seek that he thrives on; however, for U.S agriculture, it is a serious and deadly game of protecting our agriculture and food supply.
The dogs work with trainers for 10-14 weeks and are also teamed with their permanent handlers as part of the next level of training. Additionally, the dogs are also evaluated to make certain that they can tolerate the noise and the busy and bustling environments of a large airport. If they pass the tests and rigors of training, they work with their handlers up to 8 hours a day with plenty of breaks and are given the best diet, health care and attention for the rest of their lives. Murray and his other Brigade members are especially suited for this life. Murray would not be a happy dog as a couch potato; his strong and inherent hunting instinct, food motivation, early development and desire to play and be rewarded make him a perfect match for this lifestyle.
We know that dogs have a remarkable sense of smell and members of the Beagle Brigade are specially trained to detect numerous agricultural products and pests. Initially, they are trained to detect apples, citrus, mangos, beef and pork. Over time, the dogs learn to detect more scents, and some can detect up to 50 different types of odors from various contraband. They are trained to differentiate the scents of illegal agricultural goods from hundreds of other normal and common scents. For example, they can detect an orange, beef or pork product and alert their handlers but not give alerts on candy that is orange-flavored, lotions or other safe items. The dogs have over a 90% accuracy rate as they diligently sniff thousands of bags daily found on carousels, carried by passengers or being held by authorities. Although the USDA is responsible for training, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operates and has authorization for the inspections at the airports. The CBP also trains larger dogs to do similar inspections of cargo, mail and baggage at land border crossings and seaports.
Today, it is estimated that U.S. agriculture and related businesses are worth over a trillion dollars to our economy but are constantly under attack from invasive species and dangerous pathogens originating from overseas that could be transported into this country causing millions of dollars of damages and losses. For example, fruit flies can attack our citrus trees and animal disease pathogens can infect and kill our livestock and poultry. Emerald Ash Borer is a pest that was illegally brought into the U.S. and has devastated millions of ash trees in 30 states. More recently, a pathogen and pest from Asia, called citrus greening disease, got into the U.S. and has attacked our citrus industries in Florida and California. Because of this disease, the orange production in Florida has been reduced by 75% with an estimated loss of $2 billion to that industry.
Murray and the other Brigade dogs are now part of 179 detection teams found at all U.S. international airports. In 2016 alone, these canine teams alerted their handlers to 1.77 million potentially illegal entries and helped screen luggage from 23 million passengers. Their work resulted in the interception, quarantine and destruction of over 75,000 illegal agricultural items that were, fortunately, kept out of our country thus protecting our highly valuable and vulnerable agricultural and food supply.
Murray and his friends will work until they are about 9 years old and are then adopted by loving families. It is not uncommon for their handlers to adopt them because they have developed a special bond and mutual love. All the dogs that are being retired or the dogs that fail their evaluation at the NDDTS in Newnan, Georgia, are guaranteed to be adopted. As a matter of fact, there is even a waiting list today to adopt these dogs. Murray’s story has been repeated hundreds of times. The Beagle Brigade is made up of beagles and beagle-crosses that mostly originate from animal shelters and rescue organizations. These are dogs given a second chance and subsequently live playful, energetic lives with a very noble purpose and receive praise, rewards and exceptional care in exchange for work that they love to do and are especially well adapted. The dogs of the Beagle Brigade have become the rock stars at our airports and even have their own trading cards and coloring books for kids. Murray’s brown eyes literally sparkle today as he looks forward to each new day and adventure. We are indebted to our shelters, humane societies and rescue groups that help give our canines a second chance and, who knows, when another neglected stray like Murray, will also become a national hero.
We continue to celebrate National Dog Week ! Today is also “Remember me Thursday”
History of Remember Me Thursday
Remember Me Thursday is an international social media awareness day that brings attention to the millions of adoptable pets waiting in shelters and honors those who haven’t made it out.
How to Celebrate Remember Me Thursday
You can celebrate this holiday by using the hashtag #remembermethursday and share this post. We would like you to share stories of any animal you adopted and how they changed your life. If you’re considering having a new pet in your life, consider adoption and see how you can change an animal’s life today.
STORY OF JAFAR ! - ALREADY ADOPTED ️
We would like to shine some light on Jafar, affectionately known as “Jets”. He came to ORHS at six weeks old, the runt of the litter and at risk. With good food and lots of TLC from our volunteers, he quickly caught up with his litter mates. But when he was 9 weeks old he began to limp and over a weekend both of his back legs were paralyzed. After much testing we learned it was due to a Protozoa. He’s being treated with meds and physical therapy but at this point it’s doubtful he will regain use of his legs. It hasn’t slowed him down though (thus his nickname “Jets”). He plays all the time. He LOVES other dogs and he can’t give enough kisses. We have a wheelchair coming for him and he has already found a great forever home with lots of brothers and sisters to play with.
Jets will likely always be a special needs dog but NOTHING DAMPENS HIS SPIRITS OR SLOWS HIM DOWN. We LOVE our Jafar ! Thank You Park Place Animal Hospital for all you do !
It is Deaf Dog Awareness Week!
There are many benefits to owning a deaf dog. One of those is that loud noises aren’t a distraction to them! While deaf dogs can pick up on the vibrations, they simply don’t have the sound sensitivities that can cause extreme stress in hearing dogs.Viewed on 3milliondogs.com here are five facts about deaf dogs:
Here's a fun trick you can teach your cats. Great for entertaining friends and family!
The month of August has been designated as National Immunization Awareness Month for pets. This designation serves as a good reminder to make certain that your pet is up to date on vaccinations to help ensure the health of your pet, others’ pets and even yourself and your family.
Are the Terms Immunization and Vaccination the Same?
While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are not really the same. A vaccine is a product (often called an antigen) designed to trigger a protective or immune response in your pet and prepare its immune system to effectively fight future infections from disease-causing agents such as certain bacteria and viruses. Vaccination is the process of introducing the vaccine into a person’s or animal’s body. An inoculation is another term for giving or administrating a vaccine into the body and can be done by injection, oral administration or by using a spray into the nose. Immunization defines the body’s reaction or response to the antigen or vaccine found in its body and helps the pet to become immune or protected from a specific disease. The immunization process usually results in the formation of antibodies that have been stimulated by the vaccine and can then recognize and destroy disease-causing organisms that may enter the body. These antibodies will either lessen the severity of a diseases or even prevent the disease altogether thus improving and protecting your pet’s health and quality of life. The pet is protected or immune to the disease in the future if the antibody levels remain active and sufficient in number which may require revaccinations over a pet’s lifetime.
Why Should I Have My Pet Vaccinated?
There are 5 reasons why vaccinations should be administered to your pets.
Are Rabies Vaccinations Require by Law?
Vaccinations for rabies are required by law in the State of Georgia and most states in the U.S. This is true for both dogs and cats. Owners can be liable for not following this legal mandate. Rabies vaccinations are only considered legal in Georgia if they are administered by a licensed veterinarian. All dogs, cats and ferrets are required to have been vaccinated for rabies by 3 months of age and then revaccinated annually unless a 3 -year rabies vaccine is used after the first year. The first confirmed case of rabies in Greene County this year was found in April in a skunk on Highway 15 South near White Plains, Georgia.
Which Vaccines Should My Pet Receive?
You should work with your local veterinarian to devise a vaccination program that is best suited for your pet. Some pets are homebodies, some have more modest opportunities for exposure to infectious diseases and some might live riskier lives through frequent exposures to diseases from other pets and wildlife by virtue of their lifestyles and activities. How much a pet travels, is boarded, is groomed or lives in a high-risk region will also help to determine a proper vaccination program for your individual pet. These differences in lifestyle and risks illustrate that a customized vaccination program should be planned and implemented for your pet. Vaccinations are categorized as either core or non-core. Core vaccinations are recommended for almost all pets and often include rabies, distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis and canine hepatitis for dogs and feline panleukopenia, viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus are usually recommended for cats. Non-core vaccinations may be recommended by your veterinarian depending on potential risks, disease exposures and a pet’s lifestyle. For example, some non-core vaccinations might include feline leukemia or canine kennel cough (Bordetella) or others recommended by your veterinarian.
When and How Often Should My Pet Be Vaccinated?
Very young animals are highly susceptible to infectious diseases because their immune or protection systems are not fully mature or completely effective. Their mother’s milk contains antibodies that serve to protect them while very young, but this protection doesn’t last long. Therefore, vaccinations need to be started in a pet’s first few months of life, and often a series of vaccines are needed when they are puppies or kittens. After this initial series of vaccines have been administered, annual boosters or re-vaccinations are often recommended to maintain protection through a pet’s lifetime. There are some variations in these recommendations based on a pet’s age, health status and lifestyle and you should work with your local veterinarian to establish the best schedule that is customized for your pet.
What About Vaccinations for Pets Living Indoors?
Many infectious diseases are spread or are acquired through aerosolization transmission (through breathing the air) and don’t require direct contact with another animal to be exposed to the disease agent. In addition, indoor pets can and do get outdoors on occasion and could be exposed to diseases more directly. It is therefore recommended by experts and professionals that all pets receive core vaccinations plus some non-core vaccination if indicated by your personal veterinarian.
Are There Risks Associated with Vaccinations?
While very uncommon, all medical procedures including vaccinations carry some risk. However, other than possibly experiencing some discomfort or local swelling at the site of the vaccine, which is short-lived, more serious complications are quite infrequent. If you see that you pet is experiencing such an event, you should return them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The benefits of vaccinations greatly outweigh the impacts of acquiring one of these infectious diseases that could include serious and expensive illnesses and even death.
Are the Oconee Regional Human Society (ORHS) Dogs and Cats Vaccinated?
The ORHS takes great pride in only offering pets for adoption that are healthy, spayed or neutered and are also up to date on their vaccinations. This commitment will help assure that you start off on the right foot when adopting one of our pets.
While we have made great strides in reducing and preventing infectious diseases in our pets, dangerous disease-causing pathogens continue to be present and can put our pets at significant risk to infections. Yet, most of the most common, serious and life-threatening infectious diseases of pets are preventable through the proper and timely administration of vaccines. Because this is the National Immunization Awareness Month, please take the important steps to keep your pet updated on their vaccinations. This will give you both peace of mind and help your beloved pet and you to lead safer and healthier lives.
Dr. Lonnie King – Board member of the ORHS
With our summer temperatures rising above 90 degrees and high humidity, summertime livin’ isn’t always easy. This is especially true when it comes to protecting our pets from the dangers of hot weather. Just remember when it is too hot for us, it is too hot for our pets as well.
Obviously, our dogs and cats have very different physiology than people. First, pets have fur and their coats, in some cases, add an extra burden when they are attempting to cool down. Both dogs and cats sweat through their paws but cannot sweat from their skin like we do, and this sweating is only marginally helpful to them for cooling down. Pets primarily cool down by panting. This allows their saliva to be exposed to the air and to evaporate from their tongues and mouth which helps cool them down. Dog’s blood vessels can dilatate around their head and face which allows more blood to flow from their internal organs closer to the external environment around the face which helps to reduce their temperature. Panting also facilitates the air to circulate through a pet’s body and thus further help reduce its temperature. Cats will commonly lick their coats and groom themselves more in the summer to add saliva to their fur which promotes more evaporation and cooling.
When dogs and cats get overheated and cannot cool down effectively, they may suffer a heat stroke or hyperthermia which can be a serious and life-threatening condition. Certain breeds of dogs and cats that have flat faces like bulldogs, pugs, boxers, shih tzus and Persian cats are especially susceptible to overheating and potential heat strokes because they have restricted and short airways. Pets that are older, obese or have existing heart or respiratory conditions are also at higher risk for these medical conditions in extreme heat.
How Can You Help?
Here are 8 tips for you to follow during our hot summer weather.
What Are the Signs of Heat Stroke and What Should You Do?
Heat stroke or hyperthermia occurs when the body temperature rises significantly above normal levels. A normal dog temperature range is from 100.5 – 102.5 and a normal cat temperature range is from 99.5 – 102.5. It is a myth that one can tell the health or temperature of a pet by checking its nose; the only way to accurately determine a pet’s temperature is by using a thermometer. Taking the pet’s rectal temperature using a human digital thermometer works well. Pets exhibiting signs of heat stroke will have a body temperature of 104 degrees or even much higher. If suffering from a heat stroke a dog or cat will pant heavily and excessively (remember some panting is normal). They may experience increased heart and respiratory rates, drool and salivate profusely, experience weakness or be non-responsive, they may vomit, collapse or have a seizure.
If you believe that your pet is having a heat stroke, get the pet into an air-conditioned home, run cool water (Not Cold!) over the pet especially over its head, neck and chest and then wrap it in a cool, water-soaked towel and then take the pet directly to the veterinarian as this can be a life-threatening condition that will require emergency and expert care. It is helpful to call ahead and let the veterinarian know that you are coming with an emergency so that the veterinary clinic be well prepared when you arrive.
It’s summer in lake country which means it’s the perfect time of the year for family visits, boating, and rounds of golf. Of course, the summer holiday of July 4th is right around the corner, and with that will come the fireworks displays. Even though these celebrations are loved by humans, they can be distressing for our four-legged friends. The flashes of light, loud noises, and smells of fireworks can be incredibly stressful for many dogs. Below are some tips to keep your furry family members safe this Fourth of July!
We hope that these pointers will ensure that every member of your family has a safe and happy holiday. Happy Fourth of July from everyone here at Oconee Regional Humane Society!
Hi, I'm Sally! I am a super sweet yellow lab/hound mix who came to ORHS to find my forever home. I have adjusted well to being at ORHS, but I would really like to be in a home with a family to call my own. I have made friends with several of the other dogs at the center and love to play with them in our fenced yard. I am house trained and know some basic commands. Please consider adding me to your family.
Hello, my name is Lola. I am a 2-year-old Lab/Terrier mix that loves to be with people. I love being outside and going for walks on a leash. I am very affectionate, and love everybody I meet. I especially love children and their affection they give to me. When I meet you, don’t be surprised if I roll over and show you my belly and look for tickles. I also love to play with my toys. Flipping the up in the air and just having fun seeing if they will squeak.
I am 100% housebroken! I have never had any accidents at my foster home. I look forward to my walks where I take care of my business. As much as I love my walks, I would love it even more if I had a fenced in yard to run and play in. I would also like to have a brother or sister that I can play with, but if not, then I can entertain myself with my toys until my family can spend time playing with me.
I have just completed treatment for heartworms. It was a very long process, and I am so happy the people at ORHS loved me enough to send me to a wonderful place to get the treatment I needed. My vet tells me that I will be just fine and will live a long and happy life. All I ask is that whoever adopts me, please make sure I get my monthly preventative, so I do not have to go through this again.
I want to thank ORHS for believing in me and getting me the treatment, I needed. I also want to especially thank my foster family for loving me and showing me what it’s like to be a part of a family.
I am sweet, and very loving, and just want the chance to complete your family. Please bring me home.
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff. If you work well with others and need an executive to head up your staff, the month of June is the perfect time to find the perfect cat! June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month and at Oconee Regional Humane Society (ORHS), we’re pretty sure we may have just the cat for the job!
Adopt a Shelter Cat Month was established by the ASPCA to promote the adoption of cats from local shelters. It’s estimated that 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters every year and many of them never find a home. If you’ve been thinking about adding a kitty to your family, June is a great time because ORHS offers a reduced adoption fee of $25 for all cats over one year old—this fee includes a test for Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS, spay or neuter surgery, age appropriate vaccinations, deworming, flea control and a microchip.
Here are some reasons you may need a feline executive to head up your staff:
Article from the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
When we decide to have a pet we take on a complex responsibility and covenant to protect and be there for it — in every way. The time may come when he or she grows sick or infirm, and it is our unavoidable duty to do what is best for the pet, despite the heartbreak that may bring to us, personally. In doing that, euthanasia is our last and most profound act of love and stewardship. In making that terrible moral decision we must step beyond our own feelings, and do what is best for the pet. And it now all comes down to quality of life.
The death of a beloved pet can be so tragic for us. That is such a hard concept. But if they outlived us who would care for and love them when they die? Maybe somehow, this is the best way.
Nobody wants to live forever. And when we can also somehow put that into perspective for our dear animal companions, it makes a lot of new sense. They have their own strong sense of dignity, too. Unfortunately, that is too often overlooked.
One of the most common complaints we hear is that people fear they may have waited too long — or not long enough — before having their beloved companion animals euthanized. If it is feasible, we suggest filling this scale out three times, on three successive days, to get a more accurate appraisal.
We can be too emotionally involved and subjective to easily make a clear decision. The following Quality of Life Assessment System is a means designed to help you make a more objective evaluation.
It is strongly suggested that you confer with your veterinarian, in deciding on that last accommodation.
Meet Reecey! Reecey is a beautiful 4-year-old tortoiseshell cat who was adopted and returned to ORHS twice, due to illnesses of her adopters both times. Her sister was just adopted again leaving Reecey alone to find her forever family. She is very sweet and will run to greet you when you enter the room. Reecey is very interested in what is going on around her and would like nothing more than to participate in family life. Please consider adding Reecey to your family.
Meet Elsa, a beautiful Boxer mix puppy who was rescued by a local animal control. Elsa LOVES getting attention from the volunteers and visitors at ORHS. She loves chewing on her toys and chasing tennis balls. She was a stray, so she needs to learn a few basic commands. Do not worry though, she is very smart and will learn in no time. Please consider Elsa as the newest member of your family.
When Huck’s foster parents asked him what qualities he’s looking for in his forever parents, Huck said they should be loving, devoted, active, smart, patient … and a tad stubborn. They said, “Wow Huck—that’s just like you!” At 47 pounds and a mix of a couple of breeds of hound, Huck knows what he wants for his forever family.
Huck came to stay with this foster mom and dad about two months ago, after being turned back in to ORHS by his original adopters. Specific details aren’t known but he came to ORHS very fearful, mostly of men but also with small children. He was friendlier with women but sometimes would spook if they approached him too quickly. It seems Huck may have been abused by a male in his former home, and perhaps tormented by small children. He sometimes would cower in fear of getting hit.
Huck bonded very quickly with his foster parents, never showing any aggression. They took him to Rockin’ Rescue Obedience which seemed to do him a world of good. When he first began training classes, Huck was fearful of all the people and curious of the other dogs. By the time he finished the classes he allowed other adults to walk him and ran and played with all the other eight or nine dogs. He even whined when they pulled into the parking lot because he was so happy to be going to class! The trainer suggested Huck would be great at agility training—his intelligence, speed and natural athleticism would make him a great candidate and would give him confidence.
Huck is now doing so much better with new people—if strangers allow Huck to approach them instead of them approaching him first, he is less fearful. Aside from the fear issues, which are subsiding rapidly, his foster parents say he is the most loving dog they have ever “owned” in their 50 years of marriage. They say he is very smart, figures things out quickly and loves to play chase. When he wants to play, he will get his favorite toy and drop it at their feet. He is extremely fast and loves to run. He is completely house broken and lets you know when he needs something.
The ideal home for Huck would be with folks who have a lot of love and patience, are active outdoors, and have a large fenced or very remote area. Huck would love to spend his 2nd birthday in August with his new family. Just look at that face—he’s waiting for you. Contact ORHS to give Huck the family he deserves.