What can I say? Michelle and David and I had just established a productive routine of regular visits when it was so tragically interrupted by David’s sudden and unexpected death in March. David was one of our most stalwart, generous, and kindest benefactors, who really saw into the hearts and minds of the dogs at the shelter and gave freely of his time and energy to walk and socialize with the dogs. His favorite boy FLASH misses him dearly, as do we all. I cannot imagine the grief that Michelle is dealing with, and am sure that you all join me and all the shelter staff in sending Michelle our love and support in this most difficult of times. I know that David would want us all to carry on with the work that he helped to start, so if any of you are able to give up a few hours a week to walk, wash, and just socialise with dogs then please get in touch. I am still going mainly on Tuesdays and Fridays 11 until 2, but since the busy summer period is coming up for most people and midday is not the best time to walk dogs I will probably change this. If anyone wants to suggest other times that would suit better, please let me know.
Well – we all missed the deadlines to organise a fund raising event at Easter, but we did manage to get a large donation to construct a new area for small dogs, and are committed to developing an ongoing plan for fundraising. Mary has volunteered to help with this aspect, and is going to work on a plan, looking at different things we can do to improve fundraising. If anyone else wants to help, please contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org. The most urgent needs at the moment are for food, fencing, and a new puppy quarantine area. I am looking for 20 PEOPLE TO VOLUNTEER TO FIND 20 PEOPLE, EACH TO DONATE 10 EUROS. I think it is called crowd-sourcing! It seems to me that it is entirely feasible that in this way we could get to our target of 4000 euros to finish more new fencing, to create a corridor though the shelter free of dogs, and maybe a small puppy quarantine area. If anyone is up to the challenge, please let me know asap.
The second gate has now been installed at the main entrance, which makes it much easier and safer for anyone going in and out of the compound, and also means the washing area for dogs is enclosed so you can wash a dog without needing a lead! We are currently working on new fences and a shelter to create a new separate area for puppies and smaller dogs within the main compound. Unfortunately Porto Montenegro Community Projects Team have had to make other priorities this year, but we are hoping to maintain contact so that they can support us next year. We urgently need some more reinforcement panels for further fencing so that we can make a corridor though the middle of the shelter. This will help the dogs, staff, volunteers and also prospective adopters as it will mean it is easier to see all the dogs without being jumped on! Please let me know if you have any panels or if you know of a welder who could help.
Why Spay or Neuter? Some Myths and Facts About Spaying and Neutering
Regardless of how much time you have to be involved directly in the shelter, we all have a role to play in prevention by:
Raising awareness of the need to sterilise cats and dogs
Sterilising our own and neighbourhood strays
Avoiding illegal breeders who may tempt you with the latest designer dog for an inflated fee, when there are lots of free dogs waiting for a home at the shelter. Highly bred dogs can also be more likely to have health and behaviour problems, especially if from unlicenced breeders.
There is an infamous office cat story doing the rounds at the moment – those in the know will have been approached already by people trying to find kitten homes. It is great to feed stay cats and dogs, but don’t forget that healthier animals are more likely to get pregnant and if you don’t neuter the animals in your neighbourhood they will multiply. We can all help to reduce the stray dog and cat population by taking stray animals in our areas to be neutered.
MYTH: My pet will get fat and lazy. FACT: The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don't give them enough exercise. Spayed or neutered pets require less calories. More exercise will benefit both of you.
MYTH: It's better to have one litter first. FACT: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier and happier and live longer.
MYTH: My children should experience the miracle of birth. FACT: But will they? Even if children are able to see a pet give birth — which is unlikely, since it usually occurs at night and in seclusion — the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults. Explain to children that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.
MYTH: But my pet is a purebred.
FACT: A large percentage of pets brought to animal shelters are purebreds. There are just too many dogs and cats — mixed breed and purebred.
MYTH: I want my dog to be protective.
FACT: Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog's natural tendency to "defend his own turf". Male dogs will also be less likely to wander once they are neutered.
MYTH: I don't want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male. FACT: Don’t confuse your emotional needs and relationships with your pet’s instinctive hormonal responses. Pets don't have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet's personality. He doesn't suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.
MYTH: But my dog (or cat) is so special, I want a puppy (or kitten) just like her.
FACT: A dog or cat may be a great pet, but that doesn't mean their offspring will be a carbon copy. Professional animal breeders who follow generations of bloodlines can't guarantee they will get just what they want out of a particular litter. A pet owner's chances are even slimmer. In fact, an entire litter of puppies or kittens might receive all of a pet's (and her mate's) worst characteristics.
MYTH: Only females need to be fixed. FACT: But how do those females get pregnant? A male pet can easily father 750 offspring in his lifetime. Just because you don’t have to deal with a pregnant dog or cat, it doesn’t mean your pet isn’t out there creating puppies or kittens!
MYTH: It's too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered. FACT: It is not very expensive in Montenegro, and it is cheaper in the long run than caring for the litters! The one-time cost of surgery is much cheaper than a lifetime of care for extra unwanted pets, or the cost of caring for a litter at the dog shelter.
MYTH: I'll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens. FACT: You wish! You may find homes for all of your pet's litter, but even then, each home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters who are already waiting for good homes. The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.