Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A look inside our Shelter

There has been a lot in the local news about the Central Missouri Humane Society's situation. It has inspired a great outpouring of support from the community, from businesses, from individuals. Unfortunately, though, that won't be enough.

Conditions right now are rough. You can hear the annoying barking throughout the video. Seems like a crappy place for an interview, right? Consider those dogs can never get away from the racket. And because of the outdated layout, they're forced to be tantalizingly close to each other. For territory-geared animals that already feel abandoned or lost from their pack, it's a nightmare. And without funding, there's nothing the shelter can really do about it.

The part you really can't get is the smell. Because of the age of the building, the way it was built and all the cracked, porous concrete throughout, no amount of cleaning really ever gets rid of the grime. And they clean it religiously. They scrub morning and night. Add that they're nearly always at full capacity with animals. The smell never goes away. But it does turn off some otherwise good families or make it difficult to volunteer there.

Some people think that the Humane Society is tax-funded. This is a misconception. While the city does pay money to the shelter, that's only to share the building for Animal Control (who often turns the unclaimed animals to the shelter... not to mention other animal control units across the state and the Department of Agriculture). It does not share the cost of taking care of those animals afterwards, despite the obvious benefits to the health and safety of Columbia. Despite its vital role to the community, the Shelter isn't eligible for programs like United Way.

CMHS could probably be more active pursuing outside funding. For example, to my knowledge, they haven't hired a grant writer or anything like that to assist them (these writers are often only paid a percentage of money they bring in, so would cost the shelter nothing).

At the same time, the City of Columbia has been getting this service at basement bargain prices. Neither the city or the other animal assistance groups in Columbia can do what CMHS does. It's about time they paid something closer to retail. If they don't, the Shelter will truly collapse and the end cost will be gruelling... in dollars and lives (human and otherwise).

The Shelter is doing what they can with some really rough conditions and pretty much no budget. It's forced them to cut hours and it's made them consider diluting their values just to stay alive... just so they can continue cleaning the mess left by those unwilling to learn responsibility or treat animals with compassion...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Foster 11: Dora

Way behind... here's some catch up (ketchup? cat sup?).

Dora was one of three in a litter that we took in, as well as her mother. She was the spunkiest of the bunch. This was our first cat fostering adventure, and we kept them in a side room that is really a remodeled garage. It helped keep the dogs out of 3 of the 4 litter boxes.

Dora, meanwhile, was a huge fan of sneaking into the house, darting between legs and running as fast as possible to various hiding spaces in the bedroom and office.

She was going to be named Kung Pow after my Uncle Scott's cat (we originally had her whole litter named with this theme). But, given her wanderlust (and Amanda's distaste for naming cats after Chinese food), she earned a name following the popular Spanish-speaking explorer.

Dora looks exactly like her mother. She's the only one in the litter to look even slightly similar, but I suspect, when grown, you won't be able to tell the difference between them.

Dora is a happy story! She was adopted after a stay with us and a couple weeks at the shelter.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Foster 10: Mikey

Here's our tenth! Don't have time to type now, but here's what we suggested for his profile page:

Meet Mikey! He may be the most affectionate dog in the world! He wants nothing more than to snuggle and to be as close to you as possible.

Mikey is very smart and picks up commands quickly. In fact, he already knows “sit” and “down.” He is also crate trained and is almost fully housebroken.

At his foster home, Mikey plays very well with other dogs – even big ones! He’s very tolerant and gets along great with cats too!

Mikey can be easily frightened and worries if you move toward him too quickly or make loud noises. Because of this, he may do best in a home without small children. He is naturally very trusting but needs a loving hand to help him gain confidence and learn to feel safe.

All he really wants is someone who will love him just as much as he loves them.

Mikey weighs approximately 30 lbs. and is done growing. He has been neutered and is patiently waiting for his forever family.

(Edit: Mikey was adopted by a great family, including his new best friend - a young lady of about 14 years)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Foster 9: Honey

Our foster dog Honey, numero nueve, was adopted yesterday. She's a clumsy, loving and smart Great Dane mix. Also, one of our most beautiful fosters to date.

Her nicknames included Lug, Honey Bee, Honey Mustard, and Mustard Head.

At approximately the same length as our couch, she's small for a Great Dane but still too big for all of the crates we had. We borrowed the world's biggest dog crate from the CMHS - I thought the first one they offered was too small, but in retrospect, it probably wasn't. This one took up about 1/5 of the available floor space in our office. It could have held a baby elephant.

She has a goofy side.

And here she looks stoned.

She likes nothing more than to torment Buddy, grabbing his flappy skin and holding on tight. She's a bit of a klutz, but also liked to see where the action was. This sometimes made our daily ritual of playing WiiFit difficult.

She's an awesome dog. We're thrilled she was adopted!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Toby makes a discovery

Why, yes, I do fit through the cat door!

Foster 8: Toby (aka Snoop)

Our 8th foster's prison name is "Snoop" but he seems to be a Toby to us. Here's his writeup:

My name is Toby, and I am a one year old Vizsla/Beagle mix.

I get along great with the other dogs in my foster home. We run and play around the house for hours. Sometimes I even forget that they are three times my size—I only weigh about 20 pounds.

Something else I love to do is snuggle! Every night I climb on to my foster mom’s lap to sleep while she watches television. Sometimes she even picks me up and carries me around. I think this is great!

There is one other thing I love to do, but my foster parents don’t like it so much. I don’t know what the big deal is—that furry white hairball meows at me all the time. He is just begging for me to chase him around the house.

Okay, so there might be one other thing I do that my foster parents don’t love. I howl when I am lonely. I am part beagle though—what do they expect from me? In my humble opinion, I am the perfect dog and these minor “issues” just add to my overall charm.

Toby is neutered, housebroken and is ready for his forever home. He has been waiting patiently since March, 2008.