Bark Slope Articles Newsletter
October 2005
web: http://www.barkslope.com

in this issue
-- Save a life during "National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month"
-- Hurricane Katrina: A Lesson in Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Dog

Save a life during "National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month"

Did you know that there are over 10 million adoptable animals entering our nation’s shelters each year just waiting for a family to call their own? According to the ASPCA approximately 5-9 million of these animals are euthanized in our shelters every year due to overcrowding. Help save a life this October during "National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month"!

Welcoming a new dog into your home and your heart can bring years of happiness for all involved. Before you adopt, please make sure that you can give a lifelong commitment to a new dog by considering the following:

• Research different breeds and temperaments. Do you have small children, live in an apartment, like to be active? While individual dogs have unique personalities, learning a little about the breed may help narrow down your choices, even in the case of mixed breeds.

• How much time will you have to spend with your dog? Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time can be destructive and develop separation anxiety. If you are away a lot this may not be the best time to bring a new dog into your home.

• Manners please! Some shelter dogs come with their own set of baggage and behavioral problems. Even if they don’t, it is important to enroll your new dog in a basic obedience class to ensure you can enjoy your dog’s company no matter where you take him.

• A healthy dog is a happy dog. Regular visits to the veterinarian are necessary for the health of your dog. Unexpected visits are also par for the course when you own a dog, so make sure you are ready for the financial commitment as much as the emotional commitment of having a dog.

• Bringing home your new family member. Make your dog feel welcome in his new home by stocking up on some basic supplies before bringing him home. A new collar and leash, food, dog bowl, crate or dog bed and some fun toys are a good start.

What can you do to help if you are not in the position to adopt a dog at this time? Help a dog find a loving home by contributing your time or money to your local shelter. Part of the reason that shelters are overcrowded is the fact that they don’t have enough volunteers to help with administrative tasks and adoption events. Another option that is often overlooked is fostering a dog while it is awaiting adoption. Thousands of dogs were stranded during Hurricane Katrina and foster homes are still needed. This can free up more space in the shelter and also provides a comforting atmosphere for a dog. Even the best shelter can be a stressful place for a scared dog, so why not offer your home as a temporary reprieve?

While October is dedicated as National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, help is needed all year for the millions of dogs that remain in our shelters. To learn more about this cause you can visit the ASPCA, Petfinder or your local shelter. Lives are depending on us!

About the author: Kimberly Zlatin is a freelance copywriter and entrepreneur. She owns and runs www.barkslope.com, an online dog boutique offering dog clothes, dog carriers, dog beds, and more. Kimberly can be contacted at kimberly@barkslope.com or 773-572-8222.


Hurricane Katrina: A Lesson in Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Dog

Heart wrenching images of Hurricane Katrina’s four- legged victims are too much for most of us to bear. Fortunately the majority of people around the country have their loving companions next to them while they are watching the devastating news of dogs left to fend for themselves and people making the choice of their pet or their own rescue. A disaster such as Hurricane Katrina is not a common occurrence, but it does bring up important questions about what you would do with your dog if an emergency did arise in your household and you were unable to return to your home. Some important facts to keep in mind:

• Is your dog microchipped? The majority of shelters have a scanning device that can read the microchip that is placed under your dog’s skin. The microchip carries important identifying information for your dog and can be provided at many shelters and vet’s offices for a nominal fee in a matter of seconds.

• Make sure your dog has a collar with updated identification tags. This is a simple way for people to contact you if your dog has been found.

• Find out where lost dogs are taken in your neighborhood. Some cities have a central location where dogs are placed for the first 24-48 hours before being relocated to area shelters. Save yourself time by doing a little research now!

• Have a sign in your window so emergency personnel know that there is a pet inside your home that needs to be rescued.

• Have a designated person(s) to check in on your pet in case of an emergency. Give them a list of reputable boarding facilities just in case they are not able to take your dog into their own home.

• Where are your local emergency vet clinics? You do not want to be scrambling for this information when your dog needs immediate care.

• Is your dog up to date on vaccinations? If your dog is placed in a shelter, boarding facility, or lost on the street you want to make sure that he is protected against diseases that he would not otherwise be exposed to in your home.

• Where can you go with your dog if you must leave your home unexpectedly? Keep a list of dog-friendly hotels so you know where you can go if you are unable to stay in your home.

• Bring familiar objects for your dog. If possible, grab a favorite toy or dog bed with familiar scents that can reduce anxiety in a stressful situation.

• Never underestimate the power of the internet! Email yourself or a friend a picture of your dog so you have a picture available to post in case of separation. You can send the picture to local shelters and websites such as Craigslist.com or Petfinder.com.

A little advanced planning on your part could be the difference between a happy reunion or heartache for you and your dog. While we all pray that we will never need to use this information, having it on hand as a quick reference can bring some peace of mind in an emergency situation.

Kimberly Zlatin is a freelance copywriter and entrepreneur. She owns and runs www.barkslope.com, an online dog boutique selling dog clothes, dog carriers, dog beds and more. Kimberly can be contacted at 773-572-8222.

Contact Information

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email: info@barkslope.com

phone: 773-572-8222

web: http://www.barkslope.com

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