In this issue:
The rest of Alfred's story...
We recently told you Alfred's story, a dog that came to us after a concerned gentleman dropped off a box at our St. Paul facility simply saying, "You need to take care of this." Inside the box was a tiny mastiff/bulldog puppy with an almost completely severed front paw.
Animal Humane Society Veterinarian Dr. James Meiners cleaned the wound and was able to clear the infection. Sadly, little Alfred lost two of his toes, but with lots of TLC in a foster home, he recovered and is now an adventurous 45 lb. member of the Robb family.
Daniel Robb adopted Alfred after learning about him from his close friend Courtney Allensworth. She knew he was looking for a bulldog and watched the Animal Humane Society website closely every day until Alfred was posted.
"I went right over from work and absolutely fell in love with him," Daniel said. He had been considering getting a dog this summer, but needed to take time and consider that Alfred was a special needs puppy. "I went back the next day and have been in love ever since."
With just one pad and no toes on the injured paw, Alfred is still growing into his paw and learning how to walk on it. He wears a dog bootie when they go for a walk and on their weekly trips to the dog park-excursions they don't go on alone.
Daniel already had a four-year-old French bulldog named Tank. As part of a new duo, he thought Alfred needed a new name and renamed him Diesel. When Tank and Diesel aren't sleeping together they play a game of tug of war. Considerably greater in size than when he arrived, Diesel is now the mammoth of the pair, but that hasn't changed the game. He's still as gentle as he was when he was the smaller dog and the game is still never-ending fun for the dogs.
Another thing that is never-ending at Daniel's place is Diesel's affection. "He loves to cuddle, kiss, and get love from every person he meets. When you sit down on the couch, he plops himself down too, just to give you kisses," Daniel said.
As an open admission facility, Animal Humane Society receives animals of all shapes and sizes-many completely healthy, while others like Diesel need extra special care. We know you care for animals like Diesel. Please help show them your love by making a tax deductible donation today.
Animal Ambassadors: Pets making a difference
Golden retriever Gracie had a hard time finding a loving home. Now, her visits with kids around the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area as an Animal Humane Society Animal Ambassador are putting a smile on everyone's face. Read about her work with owner Cory Houseman.
To see Gracie now, it's hard to imagine that this golden retriever had a tough time finding a home. She was adopted and returned three times before she was nine months old. But this friendly dog has not only found her forever family, but also her calling as an Animal Ambassador. Gracie completed training as a therapy animal at the Animal Humane Society and now regularly visits young people at the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center as well as the Harriet Tubman Center in Minneapolis. The kids eagerly anticipate her visits. "Some of the kids will tell me ‘I love Gracie' or ‘I'm glad Gracie comes to visit'," says Gracie's owner Cory Houseman. "They like to see what kind of tricks she can do. It's good to see what the kids get out of her. They might stop thinking about where they are for the time we are there. It breaks up their day and she brings a smile to their faces." In addition to playing with the children, Gracie's also the focus of art therapy projects at Harriet Tubman. The kids had a ball tracing around Gracie's body on a big piece of paper. They got a laugh out of the silly footprints she made after stepping on big ink pads. And the kids smiled from ear to ear as they had their pictures taken with Gracie. So she has left her mark on the group in many ways.
Gracie is just one of the many animals that visit hospitals, schools, nursing homes and other places through Animal Humane Society's Animal Ambassadors program. "We have a volunteer who works in a therapeutic preschool program with a really challenging population," says Animal Humane Society Education Manager Tammy Noack. "The children have really responded to the dog. Some were afraid at first, but now they lay on him and love him, so even casual interactions can make a big difference."
Once an animal and its owner complete the required training, the Animal Ambassadors program will work with the pair to tailor visits to their interests. The visits can make a difference in many measurable ways. Animals can help lower a person's heart rate and calm and relax them. The visits also provide social benefits especially when someone visits regularly. Seeing the animal can help spark happy memories for elderly patients. In some cases, the animals can be used as part of a specific treatment program. "There was a child who had a stroke and part of the body was paralyzed. The child would follow the dog through tunnels which helped motivate him to get those muscles moving again," Tammy says.
George loses half his weight and gains a new home
George was twice the dog when he arrived at Animal Humane Society. But a commitment from the Scheffler family took him from small steps down their driveway to running around the neighborhood meeting new friends. Read George's story and how you can help your pet stay in good health.
Twice a day, every single day, neighbors on a quiet block in a Minneapolis suburb marvel as George the beagle trots along. A dog on a routine walk might not seem like anything out of the ordinary but this is something remarkable to these folks. They've seen how much George has overcome. He was morbidly obese, weighing more than 52 pounds when he was surrendered to the Animal Humane Society. "We thought George had a good chance and if we could find a foster volunteer who would commit the time to his weight loss program, we knew he would be successful," says Animal Humane Society Foster Coordinator Kelly Anderson.
Kathleen and Gene Scheffler were mourning the loss of their beloved yellow Lab and weren't sure they were ready for another dog just yet. But fostering gave them the opportunity to have a dog in the house again. They brought George home and could see right away that he would need a strict routine with gradual increases in activity. "One of the first walks with him was just about half a block and that's all he could do because he was so overweight. So we did a lot of short walks initially," says Gene Scheffler. The couple installed a ramp out the back door because George couldn't maneuver the stairs. And they stuck to two walks a day, gradually increasing the distance as George's stamina increased. His food was carefully measured and he didn't get any table scraps or treats.
Being overweight puts a great deal of stress on a pet's body. They can suffer some of the same conditions that overweight people experience including diabetes, joint pain and heart problems. Anderson has these recommendations for all pet owners: pay close attention to the animal's diet, feed no more than the recommended amount on the pet food package, incorporate regular exercise and resist feeding the pet table scraps or keep it to a minimal amount.
After about seven months on his disciplined program, George lost about 25 pounds, nearly half his original weight. "When he runs with his ears flapping, he looks like the cartoon character Underdog. Yes, he can run now," Kathleen Burke-Scheffler says. And as he shed the pounds, his personality emerged. "It's been fun because all the neighbors on the block have watched this transformation. George actually runs around and can be very demanding," Gene says.
The Schefflers thought they would just be helping the little guy for a few months, but they have decided to adopt him. "You could see he had found a home and we didn't want him to have to adjust to a new home," Kathleen says. "It's good to have a dog back in the house," Gene says.
Learn more about how you can prevent your pet from becoming obese by watching this video segment featuring George (formerly Cutie) and Animal Humane Society's Paula Zukoff.
Show your Animal Humane Society pride
Animal Humane Society spent a great weekend at the Twin Cities Pride Festival. Many of you were there or saw staff and volunteers around town and asked about the T-shirts being sold at the event to benefit the animals in our care. If you weren’t able to get your T-shirt this weekend or would like to purchase more for friends and family, now is the time!
Click here to order your T-shirt(s) today. YOU HAD ME AT WOOF and PROUD TO BE CATTY still available in S–3X each for $15 + shipping. Quantities are limited. Order today!
Pet Dish Pet Tips with Paula Zukoff
How do I get my dog to stop barking in certain situations?
Don’t forget to send us your training questions
Is your pet itching to add a few tricks to his repertoire? Do you have questions about your pet’s behavior and what you can do to help her be a better family pet? Let us know your training question by sending us an email - or better yet sending a video showing us the problems you're having with your pup! Send vidoes and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.