As I look back over 2011, I think about and thank all of those people – some of whom I know and most of whom I don’t – who have been a part of ICHS this past year. So much has been accomplished since moving into the new ICHS facility. Despite the sluggish economy, so many people have donated time, supplies, materials and money to turn this former factory/warehouse into a ‘temporary’ home for the homeless animals of Iowa County. A few of you reading this have been a part of ICHS since the very beginning. ICHS’s story goes back to 1998 – back to when there was no ICHS. Back then the ‘lost’ animals were kept at the local vet clinics. If not claimed, the clinics tried to find homes for the animals. Sadly the animals could only be kept at the clinics for a short time; many of the animals had to be euthanized. A small group of people shared a dream - starting a humane society. The obstacles they faced must have been enormous, but they persevered. They realized their dream, the ICHS was formed… And as you read this letter, it is important to remember that I am a volunteer and these are MY thoughts.
I always feel that the start of a new year is a special time – a time to start anew. Thankfully, at ICHS, we don’t have to start over. We simply have to continue on with the founding members’ goals and their dream – and yes, there is still a lot to accomplish. The goals of that small group which first met back in 1998 were probably similar to our current goals. We need (1) a facility to house homeless animals, (2) a source of funding to operate on a daily basis, (3) to educate the public of the existence, the mission and the needs of ICHS and (4) to provide the best possible care for the animals while they are in our care. So, what kind of progress has been made over the course of the past year? Well…
We moved into our current facility a year ago. There were two planned renovation phases. The first phase has basically been completed and allowed us to move to our current location a year ago. The second phase will include additional room for animals, staff areas and community rooms. The second phase is in ICHS’s future. In the meantime, purchasing this property is another of our goals.
Everyone can probably relate to the monthly expenses of maintaining a facility such as ICHS – it is very similar to a household budget. Monthly obligations include: rent, electricity, heating and air conditioning, telephone/Internet, office supplies, daily groceries for 100+ cats and 35+ dogs, medical expenses, kitty litter, cleaning supplies, pest control, trash removal, insurance, wages for the ICHS staff and other things which I don’t have a clue about. Keep in mind, almost all of this is paid for by our fundraising efforts and your donations!
Reaching out to the citizens of Iowa County (and beyond) is probably easier today than it was in 1998. Technology gives ICHS opportunities now which weren’t available back then. Access to the Internet and Facebook allows people from near and far to view our animals and to be kept abreast of upcoming events. The monthly outreach and education committee meetings are another means by which ICHS is helping animals by reaching out to the community.
And, then, there are the animals (which is what ICHS is all about)! The animals at the shelter are lucky! Some people are saddened when they see cats in cages and dogs in kennels. But they are indeed fortunate – they have food and water, shelter, medical attention and they are SAFE! And hopefully, they will soon have their ‘forever’ family. Most of the cats are doing well. The number of people volunteering and spending time with the cats is AWESOME! When I think back to my first summer of volunteering in 2002, there were only 3 people who came on a regular basis to spend time with the cats. So it is absolutely wonderful to see so many people – of all ages – giving their time to play with and pet the kitties. The dogs are doing OK, but they do not get the attention and the socialization which they need. There are not enough volunteers to work with the dogs.
I have used this ‘editorial’ space before to encourage people to help with the dogs – but two years later, nothing has come of it. Maybe 2012 will be the year that this will happen! I can dream! Here goes! There are at least a dozen large, energetic dogs that are looking for volunteers to help them acquire the skills they need to be adopted. Time, patience, knowledge, willingness to make a commitment and twelve people (or so) is all that it would take to give these dogs a better chance of finding a home. It would be a matter of matching a dog with a volunteer. You would come one or two times each week to work with ‘your’ dog. You wouldn’t have to feel guilty about not working with the other dogs, because they would each have their ‘own’ person. This is so ‘doable’! Let’s not just dream about it, let’s ‘get er’ done’ in 2012! You can e-mail me or contact the shelter if you are interested in this venture.
And while I am dreaming, maybe 2012 will also be the year that more people will spay and neuter their pets. To reduce the population of unwanted cats and dogs, we need to spay and neuter our pets!If you have any suggestions or ideas about the content of ICHS PAW PRINTS, please contact me, Terri Davis at email@example.com
A small, but enthusiastic group of volunteers meet monthly to plan the ICHS fundraisers. We meet the 3 rd Tuesday of the month at 7 o’clock at the shelter (call Cheri for verification). Our meetings include the discussion of ideas for possible events as well as the planning of future events. The fundraising meeting follows the 6 o’clock outreach and education committee meeting (for information regarding this committee, see the November 2011 Newsletter or call Cheri for details). Please join us if you would like to be a part of either of these two committees. And if you can’t make it to the meetings, please e-mail Cheri at ICHS and share your ideas with her.
Live Art Auction The 12 th Annual “Artists to the Rescue” live Art Auction is looming – tentatively scheduled for Saturday, March 24 th. Watch for more information about the Art Auction as it becomes available.
We all know that all animals are ‘special’ but the animals featured in this section are indeed special. These are ‘special needs’ animals. The special person/family who adopts one of these animals knows that this may/may not be the long-term relationship which we hope for when we open our hearts and homes to a new family member. These animals ‘forever homes’ with us may be just for a short time before they move on…But, nevertheless, these animals need a home and a loving family just as we all do. Are you possibly the family that could provide a home for one of these animals? If not, do you know of a family who could provide a loving home for these animals? If so, please come out to ICHS and find out more about these animals from the ICHS staff.
Jax is a handsome, long-haired, grey kitty who tested positive for feline leukemia. He is probably 3-4 years old. He reminds me of a BIG Teddy Bear – especially when staff and volunteers carry him around. He puts his front ‘arms’ around his person’s neck and lovingly holds on. He loves attention and is very playful. Mary (who fell in love with Callie and has since adopted her) gives Jax the credit for helping Callie to overcome her fears of leaving her cage. Callie was always frightened when having to leave her cage which in turn led to some ‘undesirable behaviors’. However, after she and Jax were moved to the ‘Catnip Lounge’, she would see Jax play, play and play some more which led her to want to get in on the action. So after Jax was put back in his cage, Callie started to willingly venture out. Jax, you are a ‘good guy’- you helped Callie get a home! And, on a side note, I believe that Jax is the cat who helps out when staff are doing temperament testing with the dogs. Jax does not get along with other cats so he probably needs to be an ‘only’ cat, and he must be kept indoors. I can’t go into the specifics of Jax’s condition, but it can’t be ignored that he will probably have a shorter lifespan than most cats. He is in wonderful shape right now – lots of energy and has a let’s play, play, play attitude! So…Jax needs a home.
Dominic, Sarah, Noreen, Duchess and Walter
These 5 kitties are special needs cats – they have been diagnosed with FIV. With so many cats available for adoption, it is understandable why FIV cats get overlooked. These five cats are normal and happy cats and deserve a chance to live in a home setting. One misconception of FIV cats is that these cats can’t live in the same house with non-FIV cats. But FIV is transmitted primarily through bite wounds and isn’t spread easily. As long as you introduce an FIV cat to your other cat(s) slowly and properly (just as you would with any new cat) there is little risk of infecting others. Obviously, adopting (or fostering) an FIV cat (or any animal) is something that needs to be thought about carefully. So do the homework. There’s lots of information on the Internet, talk to your veterinarian and/or the staff here at ICHS and just maybe you will be taking one or more of these kitties home with you. So…Dominic, Sarah, Noreen, Duchess and Walter need homes.
Lindy is a brown Lab mix who came to ICHS in August. She is probably an older lady, but I don’t know her exact age. Lindy is a special dog who just happens to be blind. She does have one eye but it is ‘sightless’ (perhaps you can see how it bulges outward) and it needs to be removed. Lindy’s ‘bulging’ eye will hopefully be removed by the time she is adopted (a project that is being worked on). She will make a wonderful dog for the right family. She walks beautifully on a leash – granted you have to be her seeing-eye person, but that is your responsibility when walking any dog! My blind cat, Raymond (see the July 2010 Newsletter), fits in so well in our household. When I brought him home in 2004, my concern was ‘How doesa blind cat differ from other cats’? Other than not being able to see, there is little difference. My guess is you will find the same with Lindy. Well, there are little differences that may come up from time to time…Ho Hum! I am referring to the first time that I gave Lindy some hot dog pieces. Not thinking, my fingers ended up ‘between her teeth’ since she had no idea of how big the hot dog bits were! Its little things like that which you will have to get used to. In comparing Lindy to Raymond, one advantage of a blind dog (over a blind cat) is that you can exercise a dog by going on daily walks - I haven’t figured out how to get Raymond to exercise! Lindy would be better off in a quiet household. I don’t know if she would necessarily have to be an only animal – I guess it would depend on the other pets in your household. If perhaps you could be Lindy’s new family, come in, and get to know her – just remember - if you offer her a treat - you have to watch your fingers! So…Lindy needs a home.
ICHS has had a few resident rabbits over the years. Peter Cottontail has been with us for a couple of months and seems to be doing just fine, but it would be nice for him to have a permanent home. I don’t know anything about Peter – other than he is a cutie! Actually I don’t know anything about rabbits so I went to the Internet to find out more about living with a rabbit. Here are some facts about rabbits and their care:
Lifespan: 7 to 10+ years
Good with kids?: Rabbits are physically delicate so they are not appropriate for families with young children.
Food: The most important part of a rabbit’s diet is grass hay, such as timothy, which keeps the intestinal tract healthy. Unlimited hay should always be available. You may also wish to supplement with good-quality rabbit pellets (18% fiber). Feed your pet fresh, leafy greens daily, such as dark lettuce, collard and turnip greens and carrot tops. Clean, fresh water should be available 24/7.
Cage: The best place for your rabbit’s cage is INDOORS! Rabbits are highly social and do best when they have plenty of interaction with family members. The minimum recommended cage length is 3 to 4 feet. A solid-bottom large dog crate or puppy exercise pen works well. Wire-bottom cages can ulcerate a rabbit’s feet.
Litter Training: Rabbits are clean by nature, but they can be messy. Clean your pet’s cage once or twice weekly. Rabbits will usually choose one corner of the cage as a bathroom. As soon as your rabbit’s choice is clear, put a newspaper-lined litter box in that corner; cover the bottom with hay or pelleted litter. Don’t use clay cat litter, pine or cedar shavings.
Exercise: Your rabbit needs exercise out of his cage in a safe area – indoors or outdoors – for several hours EVERY day. Rabbits are designed for running and jumping! Rabbits love to chew so rabbit-proof an indoor area by covering all electrical wires and cables – and anything else that your rabbit may nibble at. If you have an outdoor play area, never leave your pet unsupervised – even for a few minutes - as they can quickly dig under fences. Commercial chew sticks are available, but safe chew items could also include cardboard boxes or an old telephone directory. Your bunny would love a digging box, such as a cardboard box filled halfway with soil or shredded paper.
Having a rabbit isn’t quite the same as having a cat or a dog, but depending on your situation, Peter might just be the perfect pet for you! So…Peter needs a home.
I need your help if I am to continue to feature the success stories which begin the moment your adopted companion chooses you. It is not difficult for me to write a paragraph that showcases your pet. The problem that I have is finding YOU and your pet. I don’t know who you are or how to contact you. If you would be interested in sharing your pet’s story in the newsletter, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org . A picture and a brief write-up about your pet(s) is all that I need. If I don’t have enough info, I will get back to you. It would be helpful to know your pet’s shelter name (if you renamed your pet), when you adopted, pet’s favorite activities, other pets that you may have and whatever else you would like to include. If you are not able to send a picture, that’s OK. Many of you send periodic updates regarding your adopted pet to the shelter. I can use those write-ups if you would please indicate (in your letter to ICHS) that you are giving me permission to include your pet’s story in the newsletter. I hope to hear from you!
By Jennifer Leeser, Dodgeville, WI
Elmer is a four-year-old gray-and-white male cat who was adopted by our family in November of 2011. He had spent the better part of two years at ICHS, and was apparently quite a favorite among the staff due to his affectionate nature. Elmer is a large cat with enormous feet. Upon his arrival home, my husband Dave Vandewater suggested that his name might be ‘Roundy’ or ‘Bigfoot’. Since his arrival in his new home, Elmer has been called all three names, and he seems oblivious to all of them!
Elmer had to adjust to living in a big house, and consequently, his first few weeks were spent exploring all of his new hiding places; underneath beds, inside closets, and atop kitchen cabinets. He also had to adjust to ‘Chunky’, a 10-year-old black-and-white female cat who was less than enthusiastic about Elmer’s arrival. Elmer has displayed natural curiosity about his new friend, and has attempted a nose-rub or two, but he still has had to withstand a few hissing episodes. Chunky was not happy about suddenly sharing her exclusive turf or attention. Things now seem to be reaching equilibrium, as Elmer continues his friendly advances, and Chunky has mellowed her response, almost to indifference. Also, Elmer has yet to figure out whose face that is in the bathroom mirror!
One rather humorous aspect of Elmer’s adjustment has been his aversion to strong male voices. Both Dave and my son Dylan have rather deep voices. Elmer’s initial reaction was to scurry to a safe place when he heard a deep, male voice. I surmised that Elmer had been exposed to predominately female voices at ICHS. Again, this seems to be diminishing as he gets more accustomed to the sound.
Elmer has a very strong, affectionate personality. He will routinely jump up on the bed, and flip himself over onto his back, inviting anyone present to give him a tummy rub. If he senses that you’re done, he will swat your arm with his enormous paw, letting you know that he’s not ready to be done! Elmer will also arch his neck backward to force his face up into the palm of your hand when you’re petting him, thus getting a face rub, which he seems to really enjoy.
He faithfully follows me all over the house, even into the bathroom. And he loves to snuggle up against me while I sleep, sometimes spending the entire night. He wants affection and attention pretty much continuously, and he is quite assertive in getting what he wants. My family and I have decided that some of Elmer’s characteristics are more like those of a dog, and much less independent than one would expect a cat to be.
Elmer has discovered a love of tuna. He eats about a half a can of tuna every day, in addition to his usual Special Kitty crunchy mix. We also bought him a scratching post which he has learned to use, and his favorite toy is the ‘feather on a stick’ on which he will pounce and chase until he’s tired. For Christmas, he received a battery operate mouse toy, which is still a curiosity to him.
Elmer has been a delightful addition to our family, and Dave has remarked that Elmer has pretty much taken over the management of our house. We are very grateful to the Iowa County Humane Society for bringing Elmer into our home, and we truly hope that he remains a part of our home for many years.
305 Co. Rd. YZ
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