An empty animal shelter – that would be a dream come true! And to have it empty in August, the height of kitten season, makes it that much more unbelievable. Now, I’m not saying that our shelter is empty – but that’s the goal of a nationwide adoption event sponsored by NBC and Telemundo stations, called “Clear the Shelter” scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18. This is the 4th annual event and has resulted in more than 150,000 pet adoptions so far!
To encourage adoptions, we will be lowering our adoption fees to just $25 for all adult dogs and cats and just $50 for kittens. This is quite a savings and we will honor this price all weekend – Saturday, Aug. 18 from 1-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 19 from 1-4:30 p.m., even though this special event is just being promoted for one day. We want to really give everyone a fair chance to take advantage of this adoption special. In spite of the reduced adoption fee, every animal that goes out our door has been vet checked, vaccinated, de-wormed, felv/FIV or heartworm tested, advantaged, microchipped and spayed or neutered. Each dog or cat goes home with a collar and ID tag, leash or cardboard carrier and a sample bag of food. And our adoption standards stay the same. We’re in the business of matchmaking – not creating hoarders!
Hopefully our dogs will be over their kennel cough in time for this adoption event. It would certainly be a shame if they missed out on this opportunity to find good homes. Sadly, kennel cough is very contagious and difficult to completely eradicate in a kennel setting. Like children in kindergarten, there is just a whole lot of germ sharing going on! And isolating the dogs and keeping them confined, while it might eliminate the virus quicker will certainly leave the dogs frustrated and cage stressed. So, we’re doing a lot of rotating dogs in the fields, bleaching, gowning up to clean, wearing gloves to prevent cross contamination and disinfecting doorknobs and light switches – things you don’t usually think about cleaning on a daily basis.
Kennel cough is usually just an annoyance – it’s rarely serious unless the dog is already immune compromised or in poor general health. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria and like the human flu, there are many different strains so it’s impossible to completely protect against even in a well vaccinated dog. Anyone who has had their pup go through this illness knows the sound of that deep gagging cough. I’ll never forget my first experience – our dog woke us up during the night with the worst retching, gagging sound ever. I was sure she was choking on something and kept putting my fingers down her throat hoping to remove the offending item (I’m sure that didn’t help the gag reflex!) As soon as our vet’s clinic opened I was there hoping for an open appointment, sure that she needed immediate surgery and was a little embarrassed when I found out it was just kennel cough!
If it’s in here, you know it’s out there! If you frequent dog parks or day care facilities it might be worth getting your dog a kennel cough booster. It’s not perfect protection but it’s the best available at the moment and may at least lessen the severity of the disease if your pet is exposed. We normally think of kennel cough as a dog disease but actually, cats can catch it too - so be aware since often they are more free roaming and exposed to more germs.
Hopefully the outbreak is over and we will be able to take advantage of this awesome weekend adoption event to find new homes for all our animals. Please help spread the word – our goal is to “Clear the Shelter!”
“Get Them Back Home” Campaign – Every lost pet should have a way to get back home. FREE pet ID tag and a back-up microchip are available to all residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. No appointment necessary, just come by the shelter during our regular open hours: Wed. 1-6:30 p.m.; Thur.-Fri.-Sat. 1-5:30 p.m.; Sun. 1-4:30 p.m.
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.