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!
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.
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.
“Hi, I’m Mia, and I almost wasn’t here today to tell my story. I’m barely a year old, a 20 pound schnauzer mix and I found myself on the street in a bad way – I was very pregnant. When Animal Control showed up I was sure it was all over. I was in no shape to run from them and if I got caught, well …
Luckily ORHS took me in the next day and since I looked like I was about to explode, they thought I would deliver my pups any minute. They gave me a warm place, a soft bed and good food. I felt better but nothing was happening with my puppies, except they were growing, lots. I couldn’t even walk across the parking lot to the grass to potty.
Eleven days later I went into labor in the middle of the night while I was alone. I had 5 puppies by myself but even though I was trying to push hard, no more puppies. Someone came in to check on me Saturday morning at 5AM. She realized that I was exhausted and as hard as I tried, I wasn’t able to deliver the next pup. Dr. Ladue from Park Place Animal Hospital was ready for the news and came in right away. They had even set up for a C-Section just in case. When she wasn’t able to turn the puppy that was sideways, we all knew surgery was a must.
We barely made it in time. Even though there were six people ready to take my puppies, to stimulate them to breathe – to do what I would have done if I could, we were afraid we would lose at least a few. The first puppy was large and had blocked the birth canal. She was slow to take a breath but they didn’t give up. Then it was a few minutes before another pup was handed over. It turned out that the last 5 puppies were twisted together in a knot. I never would have been able to deliver them. They would have died, I would have died, and the puppies I had delivered would have died.
My story had a happy ending because everybody lived, and now I will never have to have puppies again. I know I am so lucky to be at ORHS where everybody loves me, and they try to help with my puppies too. But I’m skin and bones, I can’t eat enough, and my puppies are taking all I have to give and more. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have help. I’m so grateful. Soon they promise me that I’ll get to have my own home with my own family to love and to love me back. I hope so. I’m just so very tired.”
Mia’s story could have been tragic. She was lucky but so many are not. We are a small rescue group is dedicated to save and find forever homes for all the animals we take in. There are times when the cost of caring for our animals is much greater than anticipated. This was the case with our sweet Mia. We have been very fortunate in the past to have received great support from the community for the care of our animals. We are again looking for genuine and caring individuals to help us with these unexpected expenses in saving the life of our Mia and her 11 puppies.
Please donate today. Your generosity is oh so greatly appreciated.
Did you know October is adopt a shelter dog month? In recognition of this, ORHS will be running a special the entire month. Our adoption fee for all our puppies will be lowered to $175. This fee includes spay or neuter of the pup, microchipping, age appropriate vaccines and deworming. We will also offer an additional $25 rebate once any of our canine adopters submit proof of completion of a training/obedience course with a professional trainer. Course must be completed within 6 months of the date of adoption to qualify for the rebate.
By Maggie Moran
As summer is winding down, I look back on the last eight months and wonder, as we all do, where did the time go. We have been very busy at The Oconee Regional Humane Society Center. We have had many litters of puppies and kittens as well as older dogs and cats. It’s always great to get a healthy dog or cat but sometimes their condition, when we rescue them, would break your heart. And some will look into your eyes and almost say “thank you”. Most of the time we were at max capacity with one recent litter born in the bathroom. But we have also had wonderful families that show the love and care these helpless animals need. As we say goodbye to our furry friends, as they go to their forever homes, we know that the work we do at ORHS is more than rewarding.
ORHS is dedicated to improving the lives of animals in our community. We rescue animals from animal control facilities and from other homeless situations. We provide a safe haven with foster families or at our Adoption Center, until the animals are adopted into loving homes. We work to end animal over population and disease through an aggressive spay/neuter program. We do our best to socialize them before they go off to their forever homes.
Since March 1st, we have been collecting donations for our Treasure/ Yard Sale on September 22nd and 23rd. This is our big fundraiser of the year and I can tell you our many volunteers have shown up and worked until the job was done. Pricing, packing up boxes, moving and rearranging storage units and meeting customers for pre-sales. Our community has been very generous with their donations.
With fall approaching, we will be advertising for board members. You might ask, what does an ORHS Board member do? Each member serves a three-year term and is expected to attend a monthly meeting, and actively participate in at least one committee. All members serve on a voluntary basis. But the real reward is knowing that you played a major role, in saving a desperate animal and helped in finding them a forever home. If you are interested, please stop by for a board application or call us at 706-454-1508.
WILL YOU HELP US MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
As it goes with many Lake Oconee residents, Chris and Darrell Kaniowski began as part-time members of our community in 2013. Chris was a stay-at-home mom to their daughter, Jennifer, and Darrell was the head of gas turbine manufacturing for Siemens in Charlotte, North Carolina. During Darrell’s 36-year tenure with Siemens, the Kaniowski’s moved many, many times…even living in Saudi Arabia twice! Chris became a permanent resident of Lake Oconee in 2016, with Darrell continuing full time employment until just several weeks ago. They look forward to traveling a lot over the next few years, even venturing to Australia in 2020!
ORHS is now, however, the lucky recipient of their volunteer time! Both Chris and Darrell want to give back to the community and feel that ORHS is the perfect place to start. When they came by to visit the shelter and volunteer, both said they didn’t care what they did…they just want to help where they were needed most! The Kaniowski’s now help primarily with our Cat Program but can be seen helping when the dogs need it too. Darrell enjoys helping those who can’t help themselves and has become a “regular” since his recent retirement. Chris, however, has been with of our Team for a while now and continues to be an integral part of enriching the lives of so many homeless animals.
A huge thank you, Chris and Darrell, for your willingness to help and determination to make a difference!
by Amy Manville, ORHS Dog Director
Penny Davis arrived in the Lake area a little over a year ago. She is a retired Nurse and Healthcare Executive from Chicago. Her passion for animals led her straight to ORHS, when a friend told her about the organization. She's been volunteering on the Puppy Care Team and helping with Adoption events for 9 months. She has two Rescue pups of her own, “Stella”, a 15-year-old Lab/terrier mix, and “Rizzo”, a 2 year old complete mix. She spends her days golfing, reading, playing Bunco, enjoying her grandbabies, and helping out at ORHS. We love her tenacity, Chicagoan accent, and true love for the rescue dogs and puppies.
Debbie Spann means so much to ORHS. She came into our world almost a decade ago and immediately made an impact. We got to see a side of Debbie that not everyone knew or could appreciate. She began volunteering at adoptions and soon became chairman. From there her soft heart and generosity seemed endless. She became our landlord in 2012, offering much needed space for our adoption center and allowed us to really make ourselves at home. We would see her most days when she would stop by volunteering for puppy duty or for her puppy and kitten fix. When she met a couple of special needs puppies, she knew they needed her so she adopted them. At last count she had adopted 3 dogs and 2 cats.
When we began to hold our Treasure Sale events, Debbie was there in a completely different role, first providing an amazing space for the sale and then with her pickup truck and trailer and some much needed helpers to do furniture pickups that helped us bring in extra dollars in sales. She would often find one of us to share her thoughts and ideas for the future, many of which we’ve implemented. Once she knew what we needed, she simply made it happen.
Recently Debbie moved to Savannah to be near some friends and we feel her absence every day. She promised to visit often and before she left she told us “I’m only three hours away. Just call and I’ll be there.” And we have no doubt she will always be there for us. That’s the Debbie we know and love. We miss you Debbie!
by Jackie Stolarski
It was about seven years ago that two very special people came into the ORHS world. Porge and JJ Casey had just moved to the lake and couldn’t wait to get involved. Porge had helped establish a rescue group in Baton Rouge and was a wealth of information and ideas, and JJ quickly stepped up to be our Treasurer. Their involvement only continued to grow, and in no time they were board members, running our community food program, creating our newsletter, helping with adoptions and volunteering for animal care. Any time we needed help they were there for us, and they have truly made an impact to our organization.
Porge and JJ are about to make a move to the Atlanta area and it will surely be impossible to replace them. Although we will miss seeing their smiling faces every week, they have promised not to be strangers. We will look forward to their visits and hope to see them often. We cannot thank them enough for their generosity and willingness to do whatever it takes for the animals. We wish them all the best!
LAKE OCONEE DENTISTRY PATIENTS CELEBRATE “MUTTS” AND HELP RAISE MONEY FOR ORHS
Lake Oconee Dentistry presented members of The Oconee Regional Humane Society with a donation to help them continue in their mission of improving the lives of animals in the community and finding loving and permanent homes for the cats and dogs in their care. Throughout the month of July, the dental practice offered free x-rays to anyone who scheduled an appointment and made a $10 or more donation to the ORHS. Lake Oconee Dentistry also matched every donation, dollar for dollar, up to the first $1,000 raised.
Celebrated on July 31st, National Mutt Day was created in 2005 by animal welfare activist Colleen Paige, to help highlight the many mixed breed dogs in need of homes. According to national statistics, approximately 80% of all dogs in shelters are mixed breed. Mixed breed dogs end up in shelters more frequently, and they tend to wait longer in shelters before getting adopted due to the higher demand for pure breeds. Despite this, there are many advantages to owning a mixed breed dog, as they tend to be healthier, better behaved, and live longer than pure breeds.
"The Oconee Regional Humane Society provides a great service in our community but that also requires a lot of volunteer power and financial assistance,” says Dr. David Bradley. “We wanted to do something special for National Mutt Day that would help support their mission."
ORHS is most grateful to the Bradley’s and Lake Oconee Dentistry for initiating this special outreach fundraiser and for the support they share with the community.
This summer, Del Webb invited us to participate in their annual Open House. This event showcases community businesses and groups that residents new to the area might want to become involved in, but not know that they are available. The response to ORHS is always welcoming and supportive. We are able supply people with information on our many programs and offer a variety of volunteer opportunities to fit their schedules and interests. ORHS is thankful to Del Webb for allowing us to share our love of animals with them each year.
by Lynn Herbert
Who knew we could paint??
43 dog, cat, chicken and rooster lovers got together at The Iron Fork in Eatonton one night in August to do just that. Many thanks to Katie Bragg, owner of The Iron Fork, for opening up her restaurant to us for the evening. Thanks also to Kate Cook, owner of Artini’s Art Lounge in Athens, for spearheading the event. While guiding us on each portrait and lending a “small” amount of true artistic tweaking, we each went home with a picture of our fur baby! Some might hang over the fireplace, while others in the bathroom… but we all had a great time! Best of all, we raised money for ORHS! It was a sell-out, so look for it next year and book early!
Sue is a North Carolina transplant who has lived in GA since the early 70’s and in the lake area since 1988. She retired as a State Farm Agent in Conyers and happily gave up her long daily commute in exchange for volunteering, playing bridge and hand quilting.
In Sue’s own words, “It’s hard to describe why I have become so passionate about our mission at ORHS. I have been deeply committed to volunteerism throughout my working years, serving as Heart Assn President, Red Cross blood committee for metro Atlanta, and other organizations as well. I do know that I am enormously impressed by the depth of commitment these volunteers have, even those of us who can only stand in awe of some of them. I’m just humbled and honored to work with them. I have never participated in an organization that willingly gives its volunteers important work to do, as opposed to busy work and then only occasionally. Maybe that’s what fires this enthusiasm and passion. Each adoption gives me such a rush, and each sad story makes me want to take that little animal home …… as there are many of those at ORHS.”
My first real contact with the shelter was when I adopted a precious older cat at ORHS. It’s really hard not to take another one home every week! My cat owns me and seeing her emotional wounds heal reminds me daily that we do important, worthwhile work for these sweet and helpless little animals. Wish we could do more!
Thank you Sue for ALL that you do for to ORHS !
This past Memorial Day weekend 9-year-old Celia O’Shea and her 7-year-old brother, Harrison, held their fifth, yes, FIFTH “LEMONADE FOR PAWS”
event at Paper Soiree. And it was a smashing s u c c e s s and raised $1,111.00 for ORHS.
This year they were joined by friends, Emerson and Sidney Thurmond and Rylie Kirk. To date, they have raised close to $3,500.00. Bravo to all of you! ORHS is so thankful and proud of you for taking the time and using your talent to help our furry friends.
By Tracy Tvrdy
The 2018 Pet Food Drive was held Saturday, May 26th in the Publix shopping Center from 9 am until 2 pm. This year a bake sale was added as an extra feature which helped to raise funds to purchase food for the dogs and cats rescued in our ORHS program as well as for providing pet food at the Greene and Putnam Counties monthly Food Distributions.
This is always a fun event because you see the generosity and support of the lake community for ORHS and its mission of protecting and rescuing and spay/neutering animals. The great news is that at this year’s PET FOOD DRIVE we collected a record amount of monetary donations and many pounds of dog food. Please email Tracy Tvrdy chair of Food Distribution if you would like to volunteer at our next Pet Food Drive Ttvrdy@gmail.com.