Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mice and Rats

Most people lump mice and rats together. It even sounds right together - miceandrats. Ratsandmice. They're both rodents. They look similar. Tons of people can't tell them apart. When I was a kid I was told the difference was in the tail - mice had furry tails and rats had scaly ones.

by Suprise Truck
But mice and rats do NOT go together.  No, rats prey on mice.  Here, let me share a different story before I get to the good stuff I just found out.

I answer questions on AllExperts under the mouse category, and the majority of the questions I get are really, painfully silly.  I'm very near to just sitting down and making a website with all of the repetitive answers:
  • My mouse is sneezing/coughing/chirping!  What do I do?
  • Why is my mouse itchy and scabby?
  • What's this bump on my mouse?
  • I "rescued" an orphan mouse, what do I do now?
  • My mouse died!!  Omgwtfbbq?
  • Why doesn't my male mouse get along with my other male mouse?
  • I in one way or another completely fucked up trying to breed the mice I just brought home today from the pet store and now they are dead/dying/sick/aborting/etc.  Fix it!
Now, don't get me wrong, asking questions is GOOD.  I answer them all politely.  If you need to ask me, DO.  I would much rather be mildly annoyed for five minutes because you didn't read the very last question I answered than have your mice suffer because you're worried I'll scoff.  I just wish people would use their noggins about mice, that's all, and consider using a vet or reading over past questions.

But about 20% of the questions I get are really, really good.  I LOVE these questions, even though it doesn't always turn out well for the mice.  It keeps me sharp, makes me learn more, and fine tunes the diagnostic part of my brain.  I love puzzles, and good questions.

One such question was just asked.

I didn't take it seriously at first because it sounded stupid.  It was something along the lines of how their brand new mice had been dying, behaving oddly, etc.  I wasn't getting a very good vibe from the questioner.  Their main inquiry, though, was why mice tend to eat the head/brain of mice that have passed, because one of his was missing half it's skull when he found it.

Initially I had a few, generic, answer-form thoughts.  Hunger.  Don't feed your mice once a day for Christ's sake, they aren't dogs.  They need food available 24-7.  Fighting.  I frequently see mice go for the head when fighting over territory, resources, pecking order, etc.

Wait.  That's bigger than that.  WHY do they go for the head?  Because it's quickest?  Then why would they eat the brain afterwards?

Shit guys, I have no idea.  WHY do mice eat the head?  Is this a war tribe kind of thing?  Are brains delicious?  Is it ensuring they're really dead?  WHY do rodents, not even just mice, start from the head and move down?

So I googled, and I found this:

"Rat odor is stressful to mice and has an effect on their behavior and reproduction. In fact, rat odor is sometimes used as a predator odor to study anxiety and antipredator behavior in mice.

Specifically, domestic and wild-stock mice who are exposed to a conscious or anesthetized rat tend to flee, and if prevented from fleeing, they show defensive or attack behavior (Griebel et al. 1995, Blanchard et al. 1998).

Mice housed in the same room as rats tend to be more stressed than mice housed without rats (Calvo-Torrent et al. 1999). Mice who can smell rat urine take ten times longer to start eating a treat than mice who cannot (Merali et al 2003). Mice who were exposed to rat urine for just a few minutes startle more afterwards, even up to two days after the rat urine exposure (Hebb et al. 2003). Pregnant mice exposed to rat urine produce fewer litters than mice who were not exposed (de Catanzaro 1988)."

Okay, so I totally knew that rats ate mice, and that if you attempted to house them together you'd have one less mouse.  I never thought about the effect of their smell, before.  Up to two days of stress after smelling rat urine?  I used to keep my ratties in the same room as my mice.  I've even placed cages on top of the rat condo while changing them out.  I feel pretty bad for what I was putting the little guys through.  It's useful information for breeding, too!

I feel this is pretty relevant to this, as well.

I don't have an answer for him yet, but I'll figure it out.  It's really bugging me now, though.  Why eat the head?  It appears to be a strong instinct for rats, and from what I've seen of cannibalism in mice, it doesn't look a whole lot different.

In the meantime, I don't think I'm going to be able to eat for hours.  Not a whole lot makes me nauseous, but you should check out the inside of a mouse some time, or watch a momma go batshit and eat her bebbehs.  *shudder*  They DON'T start at the head.  Moms just go for it.



P.S. - Same Pet of the Day.  This girl needs a home by Monday, 11 AM.  I pulled some serious strings to keep her alive that long, she was supposed to be put down today.  I can't help it.  I like tripawds.  If anyone can help out, email me at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cat Teeth!

You know, there are all kinds of products targeted toward cleaning dog teeth.  To my knowledge, none of them work.  It does, on the other hand show that the general public is quite aware that dogs do experience problems with their chompers.  Most people have heard of gingivitis in dogs, letting the vet do a little dentistry/teeth cleaning, and even brushing your dog's teeth.

You don't hear much about cat teeth, though.

Cats absolutely get problems with plaque, their gums, and their teeth.  Infections from too much built up plaque and a swollen/irritated gumline can become extreme, cause tooth loss, and even spread via bloodstream to other areas of the body.

So what do you do?  Have your cat put under anesthesia every few months for a good cleaning? could do that, or you could brush your cat's teeth.

If you own a cat, you're probably putting on heavy duty gloves right now.  I adore kitties, but if there's one thing they don't like by default, it's having your fingers in their mouths!  Never fear, though, for I have found this nifty video that has a slight resemblance to the one I actually wanted to show you, but couldn't, because my class uploaded it directly.


Cat teeth.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Whatsa-Poo? Huh?

I think Basset Hounds are the goofiest looking dogs ever.  I mean...just look at them.

That's the picture I think of every time someone mentions them, even though I know I've seen plenty of less floppy, less mid-motion-jowly-wobbly basset hounds.  ...Like this one:

Okay but really...they ARE goofy-lookin' dogs, and that's okay.  They were bred to look the way they do.  A friend of mine has a tricolor female bitch who happened to go into her very first heat at two years old, and guess who the daddy was?

A border collie labrador mix.


Can you picture the puppies she might have?  (Might because she hasn't taken her to a vet to confirm pregnancy yet)

Bordersset Colloundor.  Bassador Collie.  Just...gah.  I'm sure they'd be adorable, but I'm also positive they're going to need to be fixed ASAP.  I warned her to have a vet on call in case of a C-section.  Yipers!

You know the frustrating part, though?  The hound has no vetting whatsoever.  She doesn't have tags, is outdoor-indoor in the country, no rabies, no distemper/parvo, no heartworm.  I fear for the puppies, but really, I fear for the whole situation.  If someone can't afford to get their dog spayed or basic vetting, how is someone going to afford healthcare for a whole litter of puppies?

I'm knocking on wood that she isn't prego after all, but I'm knocking hard enough to bloody my knuckles that she doesn't wind up taking them in a box to the hardware store and giving them away like she told me was her initial plan.  Not fixed, not dewormed, just pulling them once they stopped nursing and taking them to the parking lot.

But would it be that much of a gamble though?  I mean, look at the alternative.  I know we all fall on hard times, especially lately, and getting your pet vetted the second their vaccination expires isn't always possible.  Sometimes, myself included, you gotta wait a couple of paychecks.  That's hard, but that's life.  But to NEVER take your dog in to the vet, her whole life?  To leave her outside unprotected?  I don't get it.  Your kiddos may always come first, but doggies are commitments.  :(  I'm not blaming her - she has her plate full, it's just hard to see, is all.

If she has puppies, I promise to post photos of the adorable little ugly-butts.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Got BYB?

You don't have to have 150 animals to be a backyard breeder.  You don't have to be a puppy mill to be one, either.  You could have a breeder's license from your county, only breed dogs with "papers," and only have two litters a year and still be a BYB.

So what makes a backyard breeder a backyard breeder, and why is it bad?  I everyone who breeds dogs in their backyard a bad breeder?

A backyard breeder is a person who breeds as a hobby or as a business, but can not or does not do so responsibly.  You (or your neighbor) might be a BYB if:
  • You do not have a vet
  • Your animals do not have county licenses
  • Your animals do not have current vaccinations (including rabies, which MUST be administered by a licensed, practicing vet)
  • Your animals are not on other advisable medications like flea preventative if relevant to your area or heartworm tests/medications (which once again are only available from a vet!)
  • You can not afford to feed all of the animals you have or cannot afford said medical care
  • You do not get your animals examined before breeding them for genetic problems, physical problems, or general health
  • You do not have a vet to call if an emergency C-section is needed
  • You do not have space to appropriately quarantine new animals, moms, puppies, or in general to prevent communicable diseases
  • You do not have the time to keep your living spaces for the animals clean and sanitary
  • You do not have the appropriate breeding license if required by your area (in most cases this requires annual and surprise inspections to remain valid)
  • You do not have a goal in breeding the animals - showing perhaps, but most importantly improving the breed
  • You think having "papers" means a dog is automatically breedable
  • You do not take into account the community's policies or where the animals wind up when you sell them
  • You sell animals that are not fixed or vetted

Plenty of respectable breeders do so on their own property.  That's not the issue here.  A person who breeds animals responsibly rarely, in fact, I'd venture to say never, makes a profit.  This goes for every animal I have ever seen bred, from mice to dogs and cats, to horses.

It's not a matter of honor, it's not like they are refusing a profit because it's the right thing to do, it's because breeding is EXPENSIVE.

There are vet bills.  Exams.  Checkups.  Vaccinations and health care.  There is food and space, housing considerations, grooming if necessary.  You need to take care of every animal you have as though it's your own pet.  Yeah...that costs A LOT OF MONEY.

When people ask $600 for a dog it's because they spent $700 on it and its mum.  A responsible breeder doesn't breed an animal unless there is a reason to.  It's not to sell as pets, it's to improve the breed, the temperament, the conformation, the health, every quality that makes a dog, cat, or horse excellent.  A responsible breeder is up at 3:30 AM to help a momma horse give birth, a responsible breeder sleeps with a damned baby monitor by their bed in case the kittens start crying.

A responsible breeder is not at Tractor Supply, asking a girl with an adopted pit bull who just had leg surgery from a gunshot wound if he can breed her dog and if she has papers.  He isn't saying he doesn't have a vet because they're too expensive, that he just breeds them to sell them as pets, that he has no idea the local shelter puts all pit bulls down.

I guess I was wondering why there were so many blue pit bulls showing up lately.  Asshole.

In other news I got a call last night from my mother, who informed me the rabbit I'd had for the last ten years (and left in my hometown when I had to move for college a few years ago) was dying.  He had been laying on his side, refusing food and only drinking water out of a spoon for the past three days.  My mother had him put to sleep this morning.

He was ten years and two months old - the oldest rabbit the veterinary clinic had seen.  He was a Californian we had adopted from a man whose children didn't want their Easter present anymore (an all-too-common tale) and was going to drop it off on the side of the road.

He was old and we all saw it coming.  The vet said he hadn't been using his back legs because he had likely had a stroke.  That's particularly interesting to me because I get several questions about mice who don't have spinal injuries but drag their back legs - it means there was nothing they could do for him, though.  He'd lost two pounds in the previous months, and with his refusal of food, it was clear he was saying it was time.

Unfortunately when I got the call I was at work, and I had to take a couple of hours off to pull myself together.  Knowing it's coming doesn't make it any easier to deal with, at least not for me.  I'd lost my rat that morning, too, and I just couldn't handle it very well.  I still cry when I think about it.  Bunny was a family member.  Our cat sat by his cage with him day in and day out until my mom took him to the vet.

He will be so missed.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Radiation Therapy for Hypothyroidism

Gah, that last post was so catty (punny...) that I couldn't just leave it at that.  Yeah, it bugged me, but I'd rather post something a little more interesting to balance it out.  For the record, I feel it's incredibly important to hear all sides of an argument, especially if they tick you off, because people who disagree with you still have says.  It's most important when you feel strongly about something, because you may be less inclined to notice when they actually have points.

It just sucks and makes your blood boil a little bit.


The cat I posted for today's Texan Shelter Pet-of-the-Day has hyperthyroidism.  Until today, I didn't even know what that was.  I mean, I knew about the thyroid gland, but had no idea what hyperthyroidism in cats meant.  It sounds scary, like having a diabetic cat, where you have to give them two shots a day at very specific times.  Only in the case of hyperthyroidism, unless you can afford surgery, it's giving them multiple pills a day.

Have you ever given a cat a pill?  Goes something like this:

From Married to the Sea

That sounds horrible to me.  I mean sure, you could probably hide them in food, but some cats (ahem...mine) will just eat around the pill and leave it for you, untouched or perhaps licked clean of food, sitting right in the middle of the food bowl.  It's like they just know.

Well, someone linked to an extremely interesting site in the comments on that cat.  It explains what hyperthyroidism is and pitches a radiation therapy treatment they claim completely cures the problem 98-99% of the time - no blood tests, no pills, just a single treatment.

They don't say anywhere on the site what that treatment costs, but if it's that amazing I am sure it'll catch on, leading to competition and better prices.  I imagine it would be difficult to save up for a more expensive procedure while also buying your cat multiple pills per day.  I also imagine they are exaggerating the hassle of handling a cat with the condition in order to sell their treatment, of course, and one person mentioned they have a cat affected by hyperthyroidism and don't find it to be terribly inconvenient.

Needless to say, this is extremely interesting to me and I'll almost certainly be doing a lot more reading on it over the next few days!  In between studying for my week 8 exams, socializing the kittens, and training/fostering Lanie, of course.

Oh my goodness, that dog pulls like none other.  That is NOT a puppy that can go in an apartment, she needs a yard.

She has also taken to ONLY using the restroom in our bath tub, rather than behaving like the house-trained little girl I was told she was.  Oh well, better than the carpet!!


I Fed the Troll

Normally I'm smarter than that, but tonight, I guess I just felt like feeding a troll.

It all started with Facebook (doesn't it always?).  My profile is private to everyone except friends, but I do have one photo album open to the public full of animals.  Some are mine, but most are ones I've fostered or am looking for a home for.  It's public so anyone can view them and spread their stories around, so we can move animals as efficiently as possible.

See, I am a member (or follower?  fan?  friend?) of Pawsitively TX, both the site and facebook page, whose friends regularly post urgent dogs, cats, and shelters on the wall for networking.  It's easier to find a home for a dog if you have hundreds of caring people helping spread the word in the same area, than if you tried to do it all by yourself.

So what actually happened?  Well, a friend of mine who I met when I bred mice put up on her status that she was outraged at how little time pets got in shelters before being euthanized.  Specifically, she compared it with how much time prisoners on death row get, saying it was unfair.

The immediate consensus was that people must not think animals are as important as people.  Then a church jumped in on the conversation.  Then a religious chick who hated animals got in on it.  Several comments later I found the conversation and wrote that I felt it was a result of insufficient resources, and that we could fix it by spaying/neutering and contributing to the local animal community.  I never really understood people who can't empathize with animals, who consider them objects or slaves, so I just sidestepped the whole "animals/people are better" argument and left my comment at that.

Then religious chick "liked" my comment.

After all she said (and I'll include the comments at the end of this, if you would like to read the whole talk - very informative if you would like to know how both sides of the public view the issue), I wasn't really thrilled that she agreed with me and I pointed out that I was in no way backing her up, just answering the OP.

I fed.  The troll.

Then the troll proceeded to verbally chew me out, THEN went to my profile, stalked it, and sent me TWO crazy messages in a row picking on stuff at random.

I responded politely and sarcastically.  I did not resort to "nuh UHHHH"s or "well you suck too!"s or "your momma"s or anything that would be equally unwise.  I did, however, use the full power of snark.

Because that's a little unreasonable, and however polite and un-sticky I was trying to be by commenting, I DO feel very strongly about the issues at hand.  I'm sorry.  I hope you don't think less of me.  In any case, to keep a bad situation brief, I blocked and reported her for harassment.  That's what that is - checking out a person's profile and sending them messages insulting them?

In any case, I'm adding all correspondence to the END of this post.  Feel totally 100% free to skip over it - it's pretty infuriating and the spelling is horrible.  Besides, most of it is religious rambling and not animal-related.

And you know what?  I just have to share it with someone.


The Most Amazing Discussion
(with commentary)

Why do guilty prisoners get to spend years on death row and innocent animals in shelters only have 3-5 days to find a new home before they are killed?

Chick #1: 
Apparently a human life, even that of a guilty prisoner, is worth more than a poor, defenceless animal that wants a loving home. :(

Chick #2:
Because sadly most people don't feel that an animal is = to us. They seem to forget that humans are animals too.


Humans are not animals...we are created in the image of God...animals are not...owever it is sad so many animals are put to death. I cringe every time I hjear of someone paying BIG $ for a dog/cat when so many very loving animals are available forthe asking.
(Humans...aren't animals?  We talking biologically here?)

Chick #1:
God supposedly made ALL that is on this earth. Animals and humans alike. As far as i'm concerned animals and humans are equal.


Its just not what the Bible says....
(A brilliant and well-explained argument)


What does the Bible say about animals?


Animals are NOT equal to humans!! God gave men dominion over animals. Animals were not created in his image. Read the first 3 chapters of Genesis.
(And having dominion over something entails no responsibility whatsoever, of course)


God created animals and said they were good after He created them. So God loves and cares about animals. And it the OT He mandates punishments for anyone who abuses a work animal like a donkey or an ox.
(Despite making a little fun of them, I actually really like this response and applaud them for keeping their cool)

Chick #1:

God should have nothing to do with how animals are or are not treated in this day and age. The Old Testament is long gone... and well out dated. I don't want to enter an arguement about how much more important humans are than animals... because quite frankly that's dumb. I just think that animals should have a lot more chance to find a home than is allowed... and people should be PUNISHED for treating them cruel and breeding them carelessly.




I beleive that animals are equal to us and should be treated better then what they are. I am a huge animal lover

Chick #1:

If God told you to jump off a bridge and kill yourself because the world is a bad place... would you do it? Not likely... so why would you believe what God says about animals not being equal to us... especially if you love them?
(Probably not the best argument to make)

I do care about animals, but there are starving people in the world. starving children; and bottam line people are more important to me. and honestly, I really cant stand it when people treat there dogs and cats like they are their kids. I think its kinda rediculous. And I do believe what God says, so if he told me to jump off a bridge, Id do it. You should be willing to do anything he asks yoo to do. God told Abraham to kill his son Issac to test his faith, and he was going to do it, as would I. @(Chick #1), you got life messed up!
(It's kinda rediculous)


Animals were made to survive on their own. They can care for themselves. Just sayin...
(In many cases of pets and domesticated animals, fundamentally untrue)


I would rather help an animal then a person. Yes I know that sounds mean, but all well. People can help themselves, animals cant. My pets are are equal to people to me.
God doesnt want people to use drugs, etc and people do. Very FEW people... actually fully follow Gods word


Animals cant protect them selves from people and when they do, they get labeled at bad,etc


Well it is kinda terrible when u see on the news that certain breeds of dogs maul their owners. Or them killing innocent little children. And unless you guys are vegetarians, you eat animals everyday to survive. What makes a dog, cat, or a bird ,etc better than a cow, pig, or chicken, etc??
(Pit bulls and meat-eating have everything to do with euthanizing shelter pets)

Chick #1:

@ (Troll). I beg to differ. People cause the worlds problems. Animals don't.


Most of the time they dogs arent even the breed(s) they say they are. And yes it sad when animals attack, but its rarely without a reason. All animals are equal, a cat isnt more importent then a pig, etc. I have 3 pet hens that I treat as good as my dogs & cat.
(I love this lady)

Chick #1:

People cause animal problems. Not the other way round.


Im still not really sure what God has to do with the way we treat aniimals though... People choose to abuse animals, not God


As far as people doing drugs... addiction is a disease, and God doesnt want us to do alot of things that we all do anyway. If you are refering to me, and I believe you are, when are you people going to find something else to throw in my fac...e?? Everyone has their own sin and struggles in their life. At least I will admit to mine. I beg to differ with you (Chick #1), I dont even know you and based on the way you speak, Im glad I dont. You dont sound very intelligent to me. (OP), you know I love you and Im not trying to start anything between us, I just stongly disagree with you on this one. It sickens me when animals are treated like people. Chris and I used to have to argue everyday over his damn dog and Brice. If your house was on fire and you only had time to get either Kate out or the Dog, who would you get? Kate!! Exactly, enough said, she is far more important!! And so is any human life!!!
(Who here sounds intelligent?)


I believe I just won my case!! : ) So how you like me now (Chick #1)??


No, I wasnt referring to you, I was just saying in general. Everyone has issues & problems, but drug use is always the first thing that pops into my mind.
We both agree to disagree then. I'll admit some people do go too far on the way they... treat animals, but not everyone is like that.
Of course I would get kate out first, she is my flesh & blood, but if I could, I would go back in for my pets, even if it ment risking myself. But if it was a stranger of my pets, I would get my pets, which yes I know, most people would view as wrong, but oh well.


Thats exactly why we are more important to God though too. Bc we are his children, created in his image!! : ) But yeah, we will just agree to disagree on this one. :~)



Chick #1:

It depends entirely on circumstances whether the animal is worth more than a human. Obviously you're going to pull out your child before your animal in a fire... unless you're seriously messed up. Blindly following faith and believing EVERYTHING God says is messed up as well. That's how terrorists are made. They believe in the stupid extremes of their religion. Not saying religion is bad.... just the extremes. To tell me, an agnostic athiest, that my opinions are messed up... is ridiculous and childish.


Youre sadly mistaken! And Im done arguing with you!!
(Wait for it...)

Chick #1:

If you say so... but fair enough.


thank you... but Id like to say one more thing, please... u said u are an atheist, correct?? Just wanted to let u know that I feel so sorry for. That really makes me sad. And also scared for you and I dont even know u. I wouldnt wanna be you when Jesus comes back!! Ill pray for you. : )
(Ooh, she couldn't really let it go!)

Chick #1:

Well, seeing as I don't believe in God/Jesus... it doesn't bother me. I'm not afraid of death. I know i'm just going 6ft under. Well... actually i'm hopefully going to be cremated... but thanks :)


And I am neither rediculous nor childish... Id like to consider myself to be outspoken and smart, and people like u obviously dont like that.
(Why do I hear arguments like that so often?)


Wow... you are serious? Can I ask you why you dont believe in God? Thats just insane to me. Not being mean, and trying not to be judgemental, but I just dont get that. Where do u think all of his creations came from?
(She's so intelligent, she IMMEDIATELY picks up on the concept that there are other explanations people use for the presence of life.)

Chick #1:

Nah. I think we just have different opinions. I choose not to believe in something I cannot see, nor feel. I choose not to make things like that a part of my life... and I choose not to allow something I cannot see/feel to make my decisions... for me. I have a mind of my own, and i'm not going to use God/Jesus as an excuse to get out of something. I think that's just a cop out. Just like the people who go into prison and suddenly become believers in God. They use God as a fad to get out of prison quicker. Not saying religion is a fad. I know it's not. Just saying that some people take it more serious than others.

Chick #1:

I said earlier that i'm agnostic athiest. I can neither confirm, nor deny that God did, does or does not exist. I simply do not know. I just choose, more than anything not to believe in God at all. I don't believe in God... and i'm doing I do not believe in the theory that God created the earth and everything on it. Dinosaurs alone have been proven to have existed over 65 million years ago. Christ has only existed 2000 years. So I mean... right there, that's one thing blown right out the window. I do however believe in Evolution. I believe that the animals and the plants and everything on it have evolved all by themselves.
(this reasoning gets completely dodged)

Chick #1:

Everything on earth has evolved by themselves* I mean.

Chick #1:

Actually, for the record. I believe God, Jesus and Mary 'n all them did exist at one stage. I do not however believe they were superhuman... and I do not believe that they single handedly populated the earth.


I certainly have alot of sin and struggles in my life, trust me! I am greatful to God... and I feel so blessed for the price he paid for me, and for you too. Im glad to know that I dont have to die for be a sinner. I mean, sure, my body wil...l die, but bc of Jesus, my soul will live forever. And I want to soend eternity in heaven with my God, my savior. The wages of sin is death... in hell. Are you terrified to go there? Id rather believe and fund out I was wrong, then not to believe, then find out when its too late. I know I still have many adjustments to make in my life, however, i have faith that I will get it right someday. The Lord has kept me alive... Ive wanted to give up on life so many times. What are you going to teach your children? You dont believe that she/he (them), were a gift from God? I thought I had it bad...whew... I really feel sorry for you. And i hope you change ur mind.


*dont have to die bc I am a sinner* I said that wrong, sorry. I hate when I misspell things, or when i use improper grammar. lol... Im kind of anal. Oh and I hate that word by the way, but I cant think of the other word to use in this instance. (OP), Please tell me that you are a believer!!
(She hates anal.)

Me (the "liked" status):

imho, it's because of resources. Not enough people spay/neuter, and not enough contribute to their local animal communities. Most shelters do their best, but only have so much $. It's better to help fewer animals adequately than to help all of them poorly (letting them get sick, crowded, underfed, etc.). It's not ideal, but it takes EVERYONE to fix it.
(Shoulda kept my mouth shut)

Me (feeding the troll):
Not exactly flattered at that "like." I'm not backing you up, hon. Just answering the original status.


I dont care that u arent backing me up. I liked what u had to say about it; thats why i clicked I like it....It was a good answer to the original question. I dont need anyone to back me up, thanks anyway... (smh)
(It starts out reasonable)


and Im not trying to flatter u or anyone else for that matter. I really dont know why u said that. It was ignorant and stupid. And Dont call me hon either. Im not ur hon. I cant stand rude ass people like you. would u like me to unlike it? damn...
(And then it goes downhill)

Me (I couldn't leave it alone, I just couldn't):

Woah! Kitty's got claws! Okay non-hon, I'm out. Chill pill.
(It took so much effort to not argue back.  Or mess with her.)

Chick #1:

(Troll). I'm glad you've got your love and faith in God. For you, it's not a bad thing. For my Nana it wasn't either. Infact, it made her mentally stronger when she was facing her own death last year (she knew she was dying). I don't persona...lly believe in God, and I personally don't think that I need to have God in my life to be strong. I think it's more of a personality trait than anything else. I'm not terrified of dying, nor am I terrified that i'll go to hell. I don't believe in God. Therefore I don't believe in heaven or hell. I know that I will just rot in a grave... and that's the end of it. I do not believe I have a soul that lives on long after I die. I believe that death is THE END.

Troll didn't respond to that, because she immediately started stalking my page.  She saw my basic info, and the open animals photo album, and wrote me two back-to-back messages:
oh and by the way.... ur dog is NOT cute!! I cant stand pitbulls. they are just down right gross and ugly to me. and they turn on there owners. and hurt innocent children, etc. also, i was wondering where my cousin (OP) found friends like u, and I see that u are from texas, which im sure that means she dont really know u. figures. u just must be an aminal freak too. frickin weirdos if u ask me 
(The dog she's referring to is my Facebook avatar - a shot of my rescued APBT smiling and blinking up at the camera)

of corse, all pics of animals. i guess ur pets r ur children huh? pathetic. oh yeah, i tend to be rude to people who i find were rude to for no reason, in ur case, for sayin i liked whay u had to say. smh....
(Like I said - for networking, but why explain that to her?)

And because if you've read this far you probably want to know my responses:

Me (to the first message):

Good thing I didn't adopt her for you, or we might actually have a problem! She was found wandering around with a broken leg. I fixed it. Not really sure how that has any bearing on you, but to each their own!

Good thing I didn't become friends with Marybeth for you, either, or we might have TWO problems! If you felt like asking her, you'd find out we met through mice.

Facebook lets you block people who are harassing you, right? I'm gonna go check that out now.

Feel free to keep quiet if anything else about me bugs you! Have a great day! :) 

Me (to the second message):
What an assumption! I find you to be terribly brilliant, actually. If my pets were my children I'd probably have nothing left below the belt. Who'd want to birth that many kids! Yipers!

You're such a charming lass, you know that? 

Oh, I know.  Not my best moment.  Part of me wishes I'd just decided to mess with her instead of arguing.  You know, like copied everything she said until she got really, REALLY pissed off, then tell her I'm done having this discussion with her.  Say I can't talk this way to someone who keeps copying me, and I have no idea why she feels the juvenile need to say everything I say.  But I don't really want to be banned, heh.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Case of the Prego Squeakers

I finally have something vettish to talk about here, and of course, I didn't even learn it in my classes.  Ah well!

So I answer questions on about mice.  Why do I do this?  Because mice basically rawk.  Also, because I've spent the past couple of years absorbing every piece of information about them I could get my hands on, from breeding forums to books on genetics and showing, to papers, seminars, and texts from the Jackson Lab.  I worked with them in a lab, I studied colony management in my free time, I bred them in my office, and I still keep them as pets.  I even attempted to do my own research on a color gene before I realized how difficult that idea is without money or a lab.  I'm writing a book on them.

Maybe it started when I kept one or two at a time as pets in high school, or maybe it started before that when I'd play with the ones at the pet shop.  Or maybe it really started later than that, when I realized how poorly informed feeder breeders were and felt a desire to light and spread the wildfire of ethical mouse breeding for food.  Or maybe the real beginning was the first time I answered a mouse question on Yahoo! Answers and got a response telling me that I'd saved their mouse's life.  I think that moment was when I decided to be a vet tech, or even a vet someday, too.  That is a powerful feeling.

Whatever - whenever it started, I wound up here and now, still studying, and now helping other people online.

I get mostly idiotic questions.  A lot of people write in asking things they could easily have googled, or asking how to dig themselves out of a very messy hole they made by pairing mice before they had any idea why they were even doing it.  I answer every question the best that I can, because it doesn't matter to the mice how they got there, and the more information I can spread the more comfortable those people's mice will be.  I almost never get cool genetics questions, and most of the time if genetics are brought up it's something like:

"If I breed my white mouse with red eyes to a colored mouse what colors will the babies come out?  Because I did that.  So what color will the babies be?"

If you're brand new to mouse breeding that IS a hard question.  But all it takes is a little research to figure the answer out.  AND, why would you ask me that after you've already bred them?  Why would you breed them if you don't even have a goal?  It's even harder to answer, though, without going back to the beginnings of "what is a dominant gene?" and "what is albino?"  I can't just say the doe is c/c and her other loci will determine the color of the offspring.  It's times like this I just want to answer:


No, they won't all be black.  It just gets frustrating.

Anyways, today I got asked the COOLEST QUESTION OF ALL TIME.  And she had no idea she was asking it, either!

Okay, so she had written me awhile back wanting to know if it was safe to breed her.  We determined it would be, and went over all the possible things that could go wrong so she'd be prepared.  What she didn't tell me was actually what caused the problem, though.

This time when she wrote in she was worried because mum had bled about 17 days into pregnancy.  She "bled out," but hadn't been presenting a big prego belly or anything, and was now discharging a clear goo.  What I wished she'd told me before was that her mother and another mouse related to her had gone through the exact same thing, only to have a small litter a few days later.

It took me a few seconds to realize this, because at first I was thinking regular old complications, a different pain causing her not to groom up the discharge/blood or a premature birthing, or a non-pregnancy related issue.  But then it hit me - lethal genes.

Some genes in mice are lethal.  The mice will develop to a certain point, start to express the genes (if they received it from both parents), and then pass away.  Sometimes this happens shortly after they are born, but with many lethal genes, they die in the uterus.  If they die soon enough they can be reabsorbed, but if they die later into the term, they need to be expelled in order to protect the mom and the other pups from infection due to decomposing in the womb.

She was getting smaller litters with excessive bleeding and discharge a few days before birthing.  I'm about 99% positive her mice were having normal litters but losing several of them before they were born, making it LOOK like they were having one or two pups when really, those were the only pups who did not inherit the deadly genes or gene combo.

It's unfortunate, but it's better than finding out she couldn't pass the litter, or wasn't pregnant but had a terrible GI problem, especially when you consider the fact that none of her local vets take mice seriously and offer to put them down for her any time she comes to them with a question!

And if you ask me?  It's cool as hell.  I've NEVER run into lethal genes before, except the immunodeficiency problems associated with satin mice.  And even then, my only problem with them (thank goodness!) was one premature litter that all survived and thrived thanks to momma Emma (RIP) being basically amazing!  :)


Miss you, Emma girl.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bumper Sticka

It's here!

A little while back I made a bumper sticker using Zazzle.  I saw it in a store, and it was brilliant yellow with two "yuck" faces and said "Friends don't let friends fund H$U$."  Then I found the customize button.

I used a photo of a dog I transported from shelter-to-home a little bit ago, messed with it a bit, and voila:

 For those of you wondering, the Zazzle store is woofnwhinny (and it's not my store).

I'm desperately hoping it isn't interpreted that I hate dogs and people shouldn't pay for them, ha.  What I meant when I made it (and before I clicked the order button and realized it could be misinterpreted) is that people who want to help dogs shouldn't attempt to do so via funding the HSUS.

I've always found myself fighting the HSUS when they situate themselves against things like keeping pets, transporting big snakes, complaining about farming or science, or like the current battle, demanding that chickens not be in cages of any size despite the prevalence of disease in non-segregated birds.  I never see any science behind their arguments, and why should they give any?  They have always seemed an organization founded externally on blind passion and internally on dollar signs.

In any case, disagreeing on core methods of animal treatment and welfare is just the reason we disagree.  Why do I hate them, though?  I hate them because they make life more difficult for animals.  They start problems and don't finish them, leaving messes for unfunded and unaided shelters to clean up.  They take dollars away from needy rescuers by misrepresenting themselves.  It's that kind of playing dirty that has no place in the world of animal care.

That fact is widely unknown here.  I don't have anything to give (more than what I am now) to my local animal community, so I'm giving knowledge.  Here the majority of people still believe the commercials and ads - that if you give money to the HSUS they use it to give pets blankets and food.  In reality, they ramble on about what a great, reformed guy Vick is and lobby, lobby, lobby against pet and livestock ownership without ever having gotten dirty themselves.  Oh yes, I'm passionate.

You are 100% welcome to do your own research and make up your own mind on the HSUS.  I am NOT telling anybody what to believe, just ranting about my own thoughts.  If you didn't know anything about what they do before now, let my crazy ramblings get you googling a little about how they really spend your cash.  Just as HSUS's own website is its own end of the spectrum (biased source - pro-HSUS), is a website on my end of the spectrum (biased source - anti-HSUS).  Never, ever trust one source - go read everything you can!

Oh, side-note - did you know French bulldogs can't reproduce?  I didn't! Just learned that the other day.  All the puppies come from artificial insemination.  I just think that's really cool.

It makes me think about the topic of dog breeding.  The more I associate myself with people heavily involved in rescue*, the more I find myself standing alone in a crowd of people thoroughly AGAINST animal breeding.  That is not me, that is not my view.  I do understand that by looking simply at the numbers, one could believe that NO breeding should continue EVER because we clearly have enough.  This is like taking guns away from people with gun licenses - only the people who have them illegally will be left with them.  Do you want the illegal, under-the-radar, inhumane backyard breeders to be the only ones cranking out puppies?  Really?

There are absolutely responsible, ethical breeders of dogs and cats.  The dogs you see at huge dog shows with perfect conformations and health, those are from good breeders.  Their dogs wind up at shows, are only bred if they are the lowest risk with something great to ADD to the breed.  Good breeders only pair animals when they have a valuable way to improve the offspring.  If they were forced to stop, not only would a ton of people have their talents and callings taken away from them, dogs and cats would be taken away from all of us.  You'd either have the most rotten, deformed, unworthy, feral animals taking over the genetic pool, or you'd succeed in your mission and drive cats and dogs off the planet entirely.

I'm not anti-breeding.  I think what we've done with most dog and cat breeds is perfected animals for a purpose.  Working animals, companion animals, animals that coexist the best with the variety of human populations of which we consist.  Every time I see someone bash breeders as a whole and insist NO animal should be bred, I wince.  It's stupidity.  It isn't thinking for yourself - it's seeing too many needy animals put down and searching out a scapegoat.

Oh well.  I've never bought from a breeder, but that's because I'm pretty darned poor.  That, and what would I do with an impressively bred animal?  Nothing to better the breed, that's fo sho, which puts them on the SAME (not lower) level as shelter pets.  Just way more 'spensive.  And with a more clear health history.

Honestly, if I were to buy an animal from a breeder, it'd probably be a mouse.  Mice have their own problem though - everyone breeds mice with unknown histories willy nilly but the amazing, long-bred lines are kept strictly to themselves.  Breeders never sell those mice to the public - only to other breeders with whose practices they agree.  I get irked at that, too, but then I get questions from people who wonder why their mouse pups are all dying and if they should breed mom again and then I understand why.  *rolls eyes*

Okay, rant over!

*see: crazy people.  Don't get me wrong, I think people who rescue are caring, amazing people, but every single one I have ever met is a little bit crazy.  Or a lot crazy.  You see what humans are capable of doing to animals, and how some people view them, and you lose a little faith in them.  It just changes you.  I'm going to do my best to not go nutty, but when you work in animal rescue, you kind of start to think of them like your children.  And who wouldn't go a little crazy when somebody does the things to your children that people do to dogs and cats?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oh Nose.

I know I've complained about this already but...

If you are going to run a shelter you HAVE to properly quarantine and isolate your animals to keep them from getting sick!

It sucks, it's hard, I knooow.  Whoever told you rescue was easy was stupid or fucking with you.

I know this is probably one grumpy post too many, but this was an extremely difficult day.  I drove 8 hours this fine Sunday.  Four hours to McKinney, where I picked up Lanie (who does not appear to be full lab) and another dog on its way to Houston.  Then I drove four hours back.  No, actually, my fiance drove four hours back - I sat in the back of the car with two dogs.

But..that's fun, isn't it?  Not when one of those dogs is aiming sneezes at your face.  Lanie had a wicked sneeze.  It wasn't an occasional blast, either, but a frequent sniffle.  Her sneezes smelled like dog blood.  I couldn't nap because my hands and face reeked of blood.  The fluid was clear, but this makes me wonder if she has pneumonia.  Sure, she was vaccinated for bordatella (actually caused by one or more of about a zillion things) and her distemper/parvo combo, but those shots take a few weeks to protect a dog.  And the sneezing was horrible.  I'm wondering at this point if perhaps something in the car was irritating her.

An hour away from home it starts to get cold, now that the sun has gone down.  My fiance turns on the heater, only for the entire car to fill with the most sudden and pungent stink of death.  He quickly shuts it off, but we're gagging and wondering what the hell died in his car (it recently broke down and sat by the woods for a week - anything could have crawled up in there).  He rolls down the only functioning window and blasts the AC.  Eventually the stink fades (I feel for those poor dogs and their noses!), but we discover we can't roll the window back UP.  Now there is freezing cold air blowing in at 70 mph for the last 60 minutes of highway.  Just...ugh.  I'm not really in heaven.

We get home, hand off the other doggy to its new owner, and I get the genius idea to call the girl who picked her up from the shelter for me and ask her if she had been sneezing with her, too.

It turns out she had been.  It turns out, MOST of the dogs at the shelter are sick.  I don't understand how a shelter could adopt out an unhealthy animal.  Now MY dog is at risk, my dog who just had surgery 3 weeks ago and just now finished her antibiotics.  You HAVE to tell people that stuff ahead of time, and if they're on meds, SAY so and INCLUDE it!  Don't just ship it home with someone without a word of warning!  Few things could be LESS safe or responsible than handing off dogs without mentioning they are sick with an unknown sneeze that smells like blood.

She says she had put her on doxycycline for "2-3 days," and that most of the dogs put on antibiotics (doxy "or you can put her on any other general antibiotic") cleared up after a few days.  You know how when you go to the doctor with the sniffles, and they hand you antibiotics and warn you not to stop the antibiotics before you've taken them all, even if you feel better?  It's not different for dogs.  Dogs and all animals on antibiotics need to finish a full cycle of antibiotics once they've started.  Was I given antibiotics?  No, but I'll be at the vet tomorrow, spending surprise money on an office call and antibiotics, won't I!  And in the meantime, I have to sterilize every single thing that comes into contact with her every single time it comes into contact.  I don't even know what food she was on, so she's probably going to have the runs on top of it.  Yay...a dehydrated sick dog.

The good news?  She's damned adorable, and very friendly, and obedient.  I can't look for a home for her until she's no longer sick, and I can't get her spayed/vaccinated until that point, either.  She doesn't look to me like she's completely lab, but you can definitely see it in her.  Maybe it's just that she's young?  Here, have photos!

It's the narrow nose and the backwards ears that confuse me.  She certainly seems to have lab in her, but could she be a mix?
The color's awful in this, but see what I mean?  That doesn't look like a lab type conformation to me.
The Houston-bound doggy
That's what strikes me as a lab-face, but I'm no expert!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Woah, Austin!

Just read that Austin reported a 92% save rate.  The cynic in me immediately wonders if numbers were fudged, or if that only pertains to certain shelters, or how that works, but the optimist in me wants to be pretty gosh-darned impressed.  I've always been amazed that Corsicana can hold their animals for 60 days each (ours has a much less glorious reputation, just not gonna go there), but I guess now I need to start paying more attention to Austin!

Does the live animal rate include transfers, maybe?  Is it just the Austin Animal Center?  Or are they just awesome?  Let me know if you know!

I've been heading up there every couple of weeks for my dog's surgery followups (she had her leg repaired at the Animal Trustees).  While no low-cost clinic attractive option, the one thing I do absolutely approve of is the proactive take against dog fighting.  They make reporting simple, easy, and anonymous, and there's even incentive.  While I worry this might encourage persecution of certain breeds, I'm glad to see more than what our town does - put ever pittie that comes into the humane shelter down because they don't want the liability of adopting to potential fighters.

It seems like a lot of the people there seem to care about the animals, but I live in a college town, too, and one of the lesser known side effects is a seasonal dumping of pets students can't take home.  So I just wonder, is all.  If you live in Austin or know anything about it's rescue network, feel free to leave me a comment and share!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Okay, so you know that little voice in the back of your head that says "NO!  You have enough animals, you can't take care of another one, not even for a little while.  You are maxed out.  *slaps hand* STOP IT."

Then you know how there's a little voice just in front of that one that waves its arms around and screams how for two or three weeks out of your life you could keep at least one dog from being put down?

You know that dog I posted this morning, the 7 month old female lab?

She's coming home with me Sunday, if all goes well.  No, not permanently, but just until we can find her a good home.  What can I say?  The adoption is free, and she was scheduled to be euthanized yesterday. She still needs a home if anyone is interested - I'll put up more pics when we have her home safely.

It's a really, really dumb idea.  The only reason it's even feasible is that we already have a baby gate up to keep our cat (who has rhino) breathing+ distance away from the quarantined fostered momma cat and her three kittens - one of whom had severe pneumonia for the first few weeks of his life.  (Yes, we have many more precautions in place - rhino can kill kittens!  But if you must know, the hoarding situation they came from was infested with it, so no high hopes on keeping them disease-free here)

The baby gate also serves to keep our pibble out of our bedroom, because she just had leg surgery to fix an old gunshot wound.  Very expensive surgery that we could only afford because our local shelter helped us out tremendously.  After months of saving.  She's crate confined for now anyways so she can heal up, so there won't be any surprise doggy interactions to worry about at least.  Seriously, though, our apartment is carefully segmented and we're pretty much maxed out.  To be fair, before the foster kitten got so sick, everything was organized beautifully and the critters really fit.  But the kitten DID get sick.  And now things don't fit just right, and we have our hands full.  I didn't expect to have to give the entire mouse room to the kitties.  It was a surprise.

But Lanie is 7 months old AND a popular breed, and there is no reason to put down puppies or young, healthy, adoptable dogs.  If technically we *can,* it's beyond my ability to step back and say "go ahead, kill her."  I'm a sucker like that.  Really, you can blame my fiance, who told me to first.  I just ran with it.  All I can say is, we'll be in trouble if we don't find her a home in the next few weeks.  I'm not exactly whatcha'd call "rich."  :)

Ah well, it may be the first time we've done this with a shelter, but it's certainly not the first time we've helped out a dog this way.  I'll keep ya updated!


Update:  Yeah...I'm glad I took her, honestly.  You know what the adoption form was?

Phone Number:
Driver's License #:
(photo of DL)

That was it.  Yipes!  They got no clue where these doggies are going.  At least we'll have her Sunday, and will be able to follow up with her rabies vaccination, HW test/meds, and a spay.  Then we get to pick the home she goes to, and you can bet we'll be asking for a little more info than what they asked for!  There will be no out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-the-fire crap for Lanie, oh no.  We've had a tragedy like that before and I will never, ever, EVER do it again.  Story for another time.

Oh wow.  I just adopted another dog.  I need a beer.

...Time to dog-proof the master bedroom.

Shelter Folks - Pt. 2!

Oh yes, they came back.

Well, at least this conversation was ever so slightly more civil.  The first several minutes of it was with a different fellow, and that did the trick.  He was much less intoxicated and much more reasonable, right up until his friend the "animal shelter overlord overseer" butted in.

Today we learned that their shelter has the aid of two fewer animal control officers than mentioned five minutes past, and that they do zero vaccinations or vetting.  This, after telling me they spare no expense and take each animal case-by-case, with zero budget worries.  I asked him what they do for quarantine.  He said nothing.

"His" shelter as he tells it keeps the dogs (dogs only?) in pens with state-required solid metal flooring and sidewalls.  He believes this is enough to prevent dog-to-dog infections.  I quickly pointed out that was NOT the case, and asked if they ever followed up to note just how many of their dogs get sick post-adoption.  Okay, I didn't say that.  I wanted to, though.

I did, however, point out that some infections are spread via aerosol and all they needed was for one dog to sneeze or cough.  In rebuttal, he explained that his shelter controlled infections by spraying down kennels with hot water every day.

Ooooh good, we can merge ALL contaminants in warm water in puddles of commonly walked areas!  Excellent way to control infections between your zillion dogs.

Look, washing things is perfect and exactly what you should do, but it does NOT take the place of quarantine or vetting.  Dogs can come in looking fine and then show symptoms of rabies, distemper, parvo, kennel cough.  Congratulations, you're adopting out dogs that may die and/or infect other dogs.  Some diseases ARE killed by heat, but some need something stronger like bleach, UV sterilization, etc.  There are plenty of excellent cleaning solutions available and almost all are concentrated, making it not that terribly expensive to invest in.  How about spraying the kennels down with roccal or nolvasan?

To pretend that standards of hygiene, cross-contamination prevention, and disinfection are impractical is to admit that you have bitten off more than you can chew.  Of course there will be odd and unpleasant surprises, but I said it last time - the capacity of animals you can handle is the exact number of creatures you can correctly, humanely, efficiently, and completely care for.  You should absolutely be doing your part to control communicable diseases and to make sure all adoptable animals are in good health.  Heck, many places here ONLY adopt out animals they've vaccinated and fixed.  I don't care what your limiting factor is  - staff, finances, or time.  What you can handle is what you can handle, and telling me you don't do anything but the minimum state-mandated housing requirements to control the health of your animals does not impress or school me.

Hey guys?  Now is a good time to point this out.  I am a beginner.  I've been working in and with animal shelters since I started high school, but I am still new to this.  I've never run a shelter, and I'm still in my first year of vet tech classes - still a n00b.  Sometimes I get really passionate about things and spout off like I know it all, but you are ABSOLUTELY allowed and encouraged to correct me at ANY point in time should I say something just totally and completely wrong, or even if you have something to add.  I'm at a point in my life where I'm soaking up knowledge like a sponge and every source is welcome!  Please do correct me.

I'm sure I'm going to re-read these in three or four years and shake my head at what a silly, loud-mouthed girl I was, but in the meantime, to speak and to be corrected is to learn.  That, and you know, the zillion other ways I'm learning right now!

On the upside to the whole conversation with those fellas, I did get to point them toward a really great record software for shelters.  I use it to keep track of my own fosters as well as enter in lost-and-found animals from Craigslist.  It's free and if you'd like to check it out you can find it here.  It has a million smoothly-integrated features, including crossreferencing lost, found, and in-house animals, maintaining vet records, donations, expenses, vaccinations, fosters, contacts, basically everything.  I'm really glad they're looking into it, especially since I'm trying to pitch it to our local shelter soon.  Our humane society recently changed management, but before, lost and found records weren't cross-referenced to anything.  They were thrown in a binder with zero organization and were only pulled out if someone came in and wanted to look through them manually.  The software, on the other hand, is free and took me about five minutes to learn how to use.  It's a great thing!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I'm sorry to do this, but my first content post is gonna be a grumpy one.  Sometimes this happens.  It's good to bitch about the things that are wrong with animal care, or just vent about what upsets you about it, otherwise you warp into one of those people who have seen too much and are convinced animals should rule people.  I'll tag it as "grumpy" so you can avoid my griping posts if you so desire.  :p

It's a widely known fact that shelters cost money.  LOTS of money.  Even with in house or discounted vetting, shelters are darned expensive.  Everyone knows this because most shelters work their booties off advertising the fact and asking for help.  Depending on where the shelter is located it may or may not receive aid from it's city/county/state, but regardless, it still costs tons of money to run a shelter responsibly.

Oh, there are TONS of ways to cut expenses, namely running the shelter IRresponsibly, but not one person I've ever met is in animal rescue for the paycheck.  Not one person I didn't want to euthanize personally, that is.

Running a shelter is about balance.  There is an equilibrium to be sought between the administrative, the financial, the practical, and the dream.  Shelters exist to save lives and ease suffering; they should not exist solely to control the population.  EVERY shelter has its capacity, a magical number calculated from space, supplies, time, finances, aid, and manpower.  A capacity is not a hindrance to an ideal, it's a necessary number.  A capacity keeps the animals who achieved a place in the shelter the BEST possible care.  If you take in 50 animals a week and by Friday they all have meals in their tummies, blankets and litterboxes, and are protected against communicable diseases, you've done infinitely better than if you took in 100 animals and all of them starved to death or died of blah virus.  Capacities reign in the idea and make the physical shelter possible.

So when some asshat from Connecticut tells me at my hotel job that he "oversees" a city shelter in his hometown, and they don't HAVE volunteers, and their employees are paid VERY well, and they don't HAVE caps, and they don't NEED a budget, I can't help but get a little frustrated.  What are you, some future-of-animal-rescue guru?  You know what that kind of shit tells me?

It tells me your shelter...
  • Is a high-kill joint, and/or
  • Doesn't provide adequately for in-house animals, and/or
  • Turns down more animals than you say, and/or
  • Is understaffed thanks to the glorious pay the admins/vets receive (since you mentioned you are all paid well and that vets make FAR more pay), and/or
  • Cuts corners on humane care, vetting, quarantining, or any of those other pesky practices that take time AND money, and/or
  • Kills/removes/vanishes healthy, young, or adoptable animals to keep up with atypical arrivals from animal control

Or maybe your shelter just keeps the lights and heater on with magic and unicorns.  Makes you wonder if that guy really "oversees" the shelter and if the people who work there are sick of him not pitching in yet.

Ooh, and you know what else?  He has the balls to tell me that Peta said shelters in the South are less likely to take in cats and dogs than them...and then I cut him off.  Because at my job or not, no one is going to talk Peta to me.  Peta and the HSUS create more problems for animal shelters, and work more toward the destruction of pet ownership and animal life/care than any other two related organizations I know.  If he ACTUALLY involved himself in the workings of "his" city shelter, he'd know how badly organizations like that screw rescues on a regular basis.  Oh I was very polite about cutting him off, but this is a no-Peta zone.  About a 10 foot radius around me.  Peta kids bounce off it like a force-field.

This is my hotel job.  When I come here, I come prepared to handle drunks, room keys that don't work, and comically Murphy's-Law-esque breakdowns of technology.  Bringing up Peta, when I'm barely keeping my cool in the candy-coated discussion already, is enough to really knock me off balance.  Let's just get back to you going away and sleeping off your drinks, yeah?

*grumble bitch*