Kids & Pets
September 17, 2019
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How many is too many felines? To spend or not to spend on pets? Dog Days of August Fostering is fun Dog fights – often more bark than bite Summer hazards for pets Odd couples and unusual friends Sonoma County Vegfest – learn about a plant-based diet The Richard Crane School- Cougar Cub Character Assembly Belated Happy Mother’s Day RP Animal Shelter has a rodent nursery All the pieces in place Cautions for your pet on the 4th of July Long distance adoptions Richard Crane’s walk-a-thon Bark After Dark benefit a great success Richard Crane- Cougar Cub Character Assembly for May 20 Hahn Elementary-Life skill recipients for May To be a senior cat during the summer is the pits Mark your calendars-Support Bark After Dark Black is beautiful! Spring is turtle season? 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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. 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Some assembly required: Putting together the pieces of your rescue pet

By: Brooke Wrisley
September 7, 2018

By Brooke Wrisley

While Mickey is on vacation, Shelter Assistant Brooke Wrisley is filling in.

By now we all know (I hope!) the benefits of adopting over breeder buys. We know that we’re providing a home to a pet that already exists and is in need, and many of us know enough about the world to assume that whatever the circumstances were to put that pet in a shelter, they were likely not kind ones – either by intention or ignorance. While we’d love to know the story behind any potential new family member, most of the time we have very little information – if any – about their life before being rescued. Whether we like it or not, the fact remains that when we adopt a pet from a shelter or any other rescue situation we’re also adopting a mystery.

Often times at the shelter we have potential adopters walk through and ask very relevant (if not entirely unanswerable) questions, such as: “Are they housebroken?” “Are they good with kids/dogs/cats?”, etc. The reality is that in most cases shelter staff can only give information based on what we’ve witnessed since the animal has been with us. A dog that seems to hold it overnight at the shelter may not know how to ask to go out to potty once you bring it home. A cat that seems fine in a room with our cats may respond differently to the cat you already own once outside the shelter. A dog that gets along with one or two other shelter dogs may have a particular trigger in dogs of a certain size, or in humans of a certain size for that matter. I’ve seen rescue dogs triggered by bags and brooms, dogs that didn’t know how to use stairs or walk on asphalt, cats that never learned how to groom themselves properly – or at all!

We choose to adopt for many reasons, not the least of which being that we are compassionate for creatures with an uncertain future, but with that compassion must also come empathy for an unknown past and a willingness to accept the mystery of our rescue pet. In some cases, the best we can do to put together the history of our adopted pet is to take examples of their behavior and reactions as hints or puzzle pieces to try and put together even if the majority of the picture stays blank. In all cases, we must lower expectations for a while and accept the likelihood that this pet will surprise us – sometimes with a fun surprise, sometimes (usually!) with a somewhat stressful surprise that may require reorientation of our lifestyle temporarily or permanently. Somehow, at the same time as being open to surprises from adopted animals, we must also do our absolute best to take it all in stride and accommodate them as we would any family member with a traumatic past who just didn’t speak the same language as us in order to warn us first! This is the challenge of adopting, and it has boundless rewards.

Adoption has undeniable merits and joys over buying from a breeder, but with those merits come unique challenges. Next time you or someone you know is talking about adopting a pet, remind them of this simple fact: an adopted animal is more than their ‘rescue’ identity – they are a complete creature, a whole consciousness made of instincts and a collection of past experiences coming together to put them in a position of need. You never truly know what you’re getting, but it’ll always come with love!

 

Mickey Zeldes’ column will return shortly

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.