Kids & Pets
July 18, 2019
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Sonoma County Vegfest – learn about a plant-based diet Long distance adoptions Odd couples and unusual friends Cautions for your pet on the 4th of July Summer hazards for pets Belated Happy Mother’s Day RP Animal Shelter has a rodent nursery All the pieces in place Bark After Dark benefit a great success Richard Crane- Cougar Cub Character Assembly for May 20 Hahn Elementary-Life skill recipients for May Black is beautiful! Spring is turtle season? Thomas Page Academy awards for May Monte Vista Elementary Student Builders-2018 Why nice animals sit We appreciate our volunteers John Reed Elementary-Positive behavior winners for April 30 You love pets? Quality vs. quantity Bark after Dark is coming Nov. 3 John Reed Elementary Positive Office Referral recipients Fires, floods, mudslides oh my! Monte Vista-Student builders for April 2 Monte Vista Elementary received recognition of being safe Monte Vista-Award winners for May 7 Monte Vista School Student Builders for October 2 Rancho Cotate High School Recognition of Curiosity for the month of October Monte Vista Elementary-Student builders for March 5 Richard Crane-Cougar Cub Character Assembly for April 1 Penngrove Elementary-Life skills for April 10 Inside or out – the debate continues Hahn Elementary School Monte Vista Walk-a-thon The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly students November 5 Planning for our pets Penngrove Elementary- Life skills for Feb. 27 RCHS seniors sign commitment University Elementary-Life Skill Award for Perseverance for the month of April Summer fun for animal lovers Hahn Elementary-Lifeskill recipients for the month of April John Reed Elementary School A beloved dog, a stolen car and...a happy ending Broken legs in cats very costly Furry fire victims John Reed Elementary- Honor roll 2018-pets in review Finding strays out of Sonoma County A visit to Thomas Page Academy Leoni wins speaker contest Bunny fur ban bill The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly April 29 Penngrove Elementary School A lifetime commitment Hahn Elementary Life skills awards - October, 2018 Are you ready for Thanksgiving? John Reed Elementary- Positive behavior for Dec. 12 Monte Vista School-second grade celebrates the holidays The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly- Jan. 14 Hahn Elementary-Life skills for November Dictionary mania It’s spring and kittens are popping The truth about no-kill, does not mean zero deaths Thomas Page STEAM Club Young kittens are lots of work RCHS awards for Kindness the month of October Penngrove Elementary Life skills awards- Oct. 24 Helping out in Paradise “Mary did you know?” Monte Vista Elementary- Student builders for Dec. 18 Your help is needed when we offer generous programs John Reed Elementary-Positive Behavior winners for January Tale of Cooper Penngrove Elementary - Life skill awards for Feb. 20 Want something cuddly, attend the Bunfest 2019 John Reed-Positive behavior winners for March 26 Disaster preparedness for our pets CPI offers support University Elementary School Rohnert Park tree lighting ceremony Long-term residents need a home University Elementary School -Life skill award for responsibility The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly- Dec. 10 Penngrove Elementary School-Life skills A Happy reunion Monte Vista-Student builders for Feb. 19 Obese pets are not cute Monte Vista Elementary-Being responsible Hahn Elementary-Lifeskills for the month of March Monte Vista School Sept. 18 Free-roaming cats – is it safe Living with multiple pets Monte Vista School Student Builders for Dec. 4 Holiday happiness and mishaps Penngrove Elementary-Life skills for Dec. 12 Monte Vista Elementary- Student Builders for Jan. 8 Monte Vista Elementary School - Student builders for Jan. 22 Penngrove Elementary-Life skills for Feb. 6 Penngrove Elementary-Life skills for Feb. 13 John Reed Elementary-Positive behavior winners for Feb. 26 Rancho Cotate High School-Students of the month for Feb. and March Richard Crane School for Sept. 17 Penngrove School - For the life skills of gratefulness Thomas Page Middle School - Principal honor roll Penngrove Elementary TSA selecting more floppy-eared dogs University Elementary - Creativity Life skill awards for Jan Silver Paws times two University Elementary-Feb. Life skill awards for Creativity Hahn Elementary Life skills for the month of Feb.  2019 World’s ugliest dog® contest University Elementary for September Rancho Cotate High School Students for the month of Nov. Thomas Page Elementary School - Lifeskill awards Prepare pets for better grooming visits Rohnert Park municipal code update Rancho Cotate High School Achievement award for January Richard Crane Elementary Cougar Cub Character Expectation award winners for the week of Feb. 25 Penngrove Elementary for Sept. 12 Hahn Elementary School - Life skills for Nov. 2018 Girls, it is time to make changes and be empowered Monte Vista Elementary-Student builders for Feb. Visiting Cape Town SPCA John Reed School Positive behavior winners for Nov. 27 Thomas Page Academy Respect, Integrity, Service and Endurance awards Step up your kids’ STEM skills Taking work on vacation John Reed Elementary- Positive behavior winners for Jan. 22. Monte Vista Elementary-Student Builders for Sept 4 Penngrove School Lifeskill award for Sept. 5 Penngrove Elementary - Lifeskill Award for Aug. 31 Teacher Amy Miller is wrapped up Some assembly required: Putting together the pieces of your rescue pet University Elementary School life skill awards for the month of August Penngrove Elementary Lifeskill winners for the week of Aug. 22 John Reed positive behavior winners for Aug. 28 Happy Birthday Small dog syndrome: When predators are also prey Richard Crane School walk-a-thon Hope unleashed for pets with cancer Penngrove School Aug. 8 Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly students for Aug. 20 Penngrove School for Aug. 15 Penngrove Elementary Lifeskill award winners for Aug. 1 Rescuing Pitbulls: When myths affect reality Try attending Sonoma County VegFest Aug. 18 “Stuff the truck” Time to get immunized before school starts 5 tips for bringing your pet to work this summer School bus safety 101 Living with a 3-legged dog is not easy Can we can clear the shelter?

Dog fights – often more bark than bite

By: Mickey Zeldes
June 7, 2019

You are walking your dog down the street and are suddenly charged at by a large off-leash dog.  While at a dog park two dogs suddenly start going at it.  Or your two dogs, who normally snuggle together, out of the blue, are fighting.  What do you do?  If you’ve ever witnessed a dog fight it sounds like both animals are being ripped apart and eaten – it is noisy and very frightening, especially if it’s your beloved pup in the middle of the fray.  Trying to break up a dog fight is the number one reason people are bit.  But, of course, you are not going to stand by and watch your beloved pet get injured, or worse.  Is there a safe way to intervene?

I love (not!) the websites that tell you the best way to handle a dog fight is to not let it start.  If we were all dog whisperers and great at reading dog body language that might be helpful advice but we aren’t (there’s lots of great videos and information about this on the web though, so I do encourage you to learn more).  It is also helpful if your dog is well socialized with dogs so they are not the ones snarling and lunging at every passing pup.  But that’s what needs to happen from the time they are puppies and not at all helpful in the heat of a battle!

Please know that human instinct is 100 percent wrong when it comes to this situation!  So you have to fight your natural inclinations to scream at the dogs and then reach for a collar to try and separate the two.  Most people become shriller when they scream and that can just excite the dogs more.  What your dog thinks is that you have just joined him (or her) in the fray and now his team has two!  You can try a loud deep shout to “knock it off” but unless it’s your two little Chihuahuas squaring off, it’s unlikely to halt an attack.  Reaching for a collar puts your hands right where the other dog’s mouth is going and thinking another dog is jumping him from behind, your dog might turn quickly and bite too.  Never a good idea!

According to the late Dr. Sophia Yin, a well-known animal behaviorist, most fights are amazingly noisy with fur, feet and heads flying but are more the “spit and drool” variety where both dogs come away unscathed.  At the most there might be a small puncture from a quick bite and release.  The dogs can shake it off and be fine together later.  But, of course, you are not about to risk that it’s something more severe!  So here are some tips to break up a fight safely.

Instead of reaching for the collar, grab the back legs (if you have another person you can each grab a dog this way and pull them apart) of the attacking dog and pull or swing him away.  Having the back legs suddenly picked up unbalances the dog and he can’t swing around to get you.  Alternatively it is suggested that you put a foot against the rib cage of the aggressor and push (not kick) him away.  This might give you enough time leash up both dogs and separate them.  Other suggestions include using a hose to spray the dogs; placing a board or whatever object you have handy between the dogs; tossing a blanket or towel over one or both of the dogs; or distracting the dogs by opening a door, ringing a doorbell or using an air horn. 

Of course, what will work will depend on the size of the dogs and the intention of the aggressor.  Being prepared with several options and knowing what not to do will help you make a safer decision and result in the best outcome.  This is not something we often have to practice so do some mental role playing so you can resist the urge to just reach in!  And hope you will never need these tips.  

Upcoming Events

Kidz ‘n Critters Summer Camp – registration is now open for our camp program. Four sessions for different age levels from 2nd grade to 7th grade.  Educational and interactive – perfect for all young animal lovers!  For details and registration forms go to or stop by 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; Thurs.-Fri.-Sat. 1-5:30; Sun. 1-4:30.

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