Kids & Pets
May 25, 2019
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Belated Happy Mother’s Day Richard Crane- Cougar Cub Character Assembly for May 20 Thomas Page Academy awards for May You love pets? Quality vs. quantity Spring is turtle season? Bark After Dark benefit a great success John Reed Elementary-Positive behavior winners for April 30 Black is beautiful! Monte Vista-Award winners for May 7 Monte Vista Elementary Student Builders-2018 Why nice animals sit We appreciate our volunteers Inside or out – the debate continues 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 Hahn Elementary-Lifeskill recipients for the month of April 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 The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly April 29 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 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 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 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?

Obese pets are not cute

By: Mickey Zeldes
March 1, 2019

What do Cooper, a male yellow lab and Muffin, a female Siamese cat have in common?  Their previous owners were killing them with kindness in the form of food.  They both came to the shelter morbidly obese.  Now some people see a chubby baby or rotund pet and think it’s cute and extra cuddly but what I see is a lifetime of struggle over weight, diminished physical ability, lots of vet bills and a shortened lifespan.  Not kind at all and certainly not a sign of love!

Americans are facing an obesity epidemic and it’s no surprise that it’s spilling over to our pets.  As we become more sedentary and into snacking, our dogs and cats are sitting right next to us on the sofa and enjoying extra treats too.  As my father (who was the worst for constantly slipping the dog something from his plate) said “who can resist those pleading eyes!”  Between our pets begging and the pet industry promoting a variety of treats and specialty foods, we are helping our pets overindulge to the detriment of their waistline.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, in 2014, 58 percent of cats and 53 percent of dogs were obese.  Obesity is defined as being 20 percent or more over the ideal weight for the size and breed of the animal.  And it’s only become worse since then.  Some of the health issues associated with obesity include arthritis and other skeletal disorders, diabetes (which has become rampant, especially in cats), respiratory and heart disorders, increased cancer risks and more with an overall reduced lifespan of over two years.  Poor Cooper had an obvious limp in his front legs and poor Muffin struggled to even get up on a chair or couch.

The amazing part of the study is that 95 percent of the pet owners were completely unaware that their pets were overweight!  So take a good look at your pet and don’t tell me he’s just fluffy!  Get your dog or cats wet and really look at their shape.  You should be able to feel the ribs without digging in and there should be an obvious waist indentation (as you look down on the pet).  Just google ‘pet body shape’ and look at the charts that show you the difference between healthy weights and unhealthy ones.  And then resolve to help your pet become the healthiest he or she can be.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (isn’t that sad – we need an organization to study this issue) “Obesity is the number one health threat pets face and the most important pet health decision owners make each day is what and how much they feed.”  We completely control our animals’ access to food so decreasing the amount should not be difficult.  Know that it is much riskier for cats to go completely without eating for more than a day but there are ways to help our pets lose weight safely.  As in humans the equation is simple: calories in – calories burned in activity = weight loss or gain.  

Here are a few tips to help you get started.  Instead of store bought treats, cut up carrots or apples to reward your pets.  Use a measuring cup to get an accurate idea of how much they are being fed and to slowly cut back on the amount you are feeding.  There are weight loss kibbles available that have added fiber so they are filling and your pet won’t always be hungry.  You can also split up their food into two or three meals so they don’t have an empty tummy.  Make them work for their food – there are a variety of slow feeder bowls available, or stuff a kong with their kibble, split up your kitty’s food into several small dishes and place them in various places around the house so they have to “hunt” for it.  Then slowly increase their activity – start with short walks for your dog and fishing pole playtimes with your cat.  Anything you can do to make them move more is a benefit.  

It will be such a joy for both of you when they are fit and trim and able to play and move the way they should.  Don’t take that away from them – even for the tastiest morsel!

Upcoming Events

“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 mzeldes@rpcity.org.