Archive for March, 2012

Facebook is my Friend

Most likely, you found your way to this blog because of Facebook. No doubt Facebook has changed your life and has had major impact on how we connect around the world … from playing a part in the overthrowing of a government in Egypt to helping Grandma keep up with all the latest developments of her grandkids in other states. But have you considered the impact it has had on the lives of dogs?

Consider the amount of time it takes to get a dog adopted these days with the help of Facebook. One of the first things I do when I come into contact with a dog that needs a home is to pull out my phone and snap a picture … the cuter the better because my Facebook fans are suckers for a photogenic pooch! It only takes seconds to upload the picture and *bam* a dog who (sometimes desperately) needs a home has suddenly bounded onto the screens of more than a thousand people. Then, with a simple click, some of those thousands will share the pooch’s pic with more and before you know it, that pup has found his people.

I can’t speak to life pre-Facebook. My rescue isn’t that old. About the time I started up MWAR, Facebook was taking off, so I’ve been able to grow the rescue as Facebook has grown. But I’ve seen its power first hand. Take Lana, for example. I documented this Lhasa’s pregnancy on FB and within a week I had 26 applications from people hoping to adopt. All four of Lana’s puppies had found homes BEFORE they were even born.

The stories are countless: the 4 lab puppies from the KC pound that were scheduled to be put down … adopted within a week thanks to FB; the 4 standard poodles who all found homes within a few hours because of FB; the dozens of dogs who I don’t even have time to get to the vet before someone in FB land has seen them and put in an adoption application.

And it’s not just the dogs … it’s the very lifeblood of this rescue that depends on FB. Hit with a $1200 tax bill that I wasn’t expecting, I turned to Facebook to vent. I didn’t even ask for donations, but within 12 hours, people like you had donated over $1200 to keep the rescue running.

Calling Facebook a phenomenon in animal adoption is an understatement. FB is the most important tool to getting dogs adopted. MWAR’s online community influences every part of the rescue. More than 90% of our funding comes from what I would call our FB friends and more than 50% of our dogs are adopted to someone within our Facebook family. So, if there is one thing you can do to help more pets in need find the perfect fit … its to get back on Facebook and spread the word.

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  • Rate Your Dog’s Diet

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    Whether or not you’re a Whole Foods junkie or a religious reader of labels, you probably think about what kind of food you’re feeding yourself. You may pick organic over other offerings. You probably know that whole grain is better than super processed. But are you using this knowledge to it’s fullest potential? Do you apply what you know about nutrition to your furry friends’ diet?

    A vet once told me that feeding your dog any of the popular, inexpensive brands of dog food off the shelf of the grocery store was the same as feeding your dog McDonald’s every day. Now most of us wouldn’t try to survive on McDonald’s because we know that it’s just not that healthy … even when you don’t supersize. So are you feeding the equivalent of McDonald’s to your dog?

    To find out more, you can rate your dog food. Here’s a link to a handy chart that gives a grade (just like in school) to your dog food. Warning: you’re going to need to have the bag handy because you have to go through the ingredients. You’ll also find a list of popular brands and their grades, so if you’re inspired to make a switch from “fast food” to “whole food” you can find some options that make the grade.

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  • Preventing a Piper

    ImageMany of you have been following the story of survival with Piper playing the lead. She’s the 8-month-old Catahoula Leopard dog named after the type of private plane that flew her to the safety of Midwest Animal ResQ. But Piper didn’t always lead a charmed life. She was found stabbed and near death in a ditch in rural Illinois. Her exterior wounds have been patched up, but an equally deadly disease was lurking inside Piper too … heartworms. 

    Sadly, many dogs go without the basic safe guard of heartworm prevention and run the risk of getting sick just like Piper. The treatment is painful, expensive and lasts a month. The cost of prevention is $10.

    Mosquitos spread these small thread-like worms, and when they attack a dog’s system, they can go virtually undetected without a test by a veterinarian. Some dogs show now outward symptoms, but early signs include a cough, especially when they are exercising because heartworms actually attack the arteries of the lungs and damage the vessels and tissues there. The most advance cases can cause a dog to have severe weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood and finally congestive heart failure.

    Once a dog tests positive for heartworm, treatment costs hundreds of dollars. The dog must undergo two weeks of antibiotics, painful injections into their spine,  then more drugs and weeks of enforced rest. In this recovery period, if a HW positive dog gets too excited, the dead worms may break loose and travel to the lungs where they could cause respiratory failure. Imagine trying to keep an energetic puppy like Piper from getting excited for a month. It’s like another kind of abuse.

    A simple pill from your vet can protect your pooch. There are even organizations that will help low-income owners get heartworm prevention pills at a discount (contact the Heartland SPCA or Spay and Neuter KC for more info). But all too often, these warnings are ignored. I’ve had 5 dogs so far this year test positive for heartworm. Don’t let your furry friend fall prey to this very preventable disease.

    By the way … we’re still raising funds to pay for Piper’s treatment. Click here to help.

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