PETS ARE FOR LIFE, NOT FOR CHRISTMAS!

Bella, one of our ARO office cats!

Bella, one of our ARO office cats!

It’s the season of giving, and while we all want to give gifts that are special and meaningful to our loved ones, especially children, a pet is not a gift. Although pets are cute and offer unconditional love, they also require a lifetime commitment from you, the owner!

Many animals are handed in to shelters after the Christmas season is over. Many of these animals were given as gifts.  Do not dump unwanted pets.  Make a plan to reach a welfare shelter and sign the unwanted pet over correctly.

Having discussed the realities of giving an animal as a gift, there are many other ways to assist our four legged friends. The Animal Rescue Organisation encourages the public to donate money to our organisation in lieu of a Christmas gift or alternatively visit our online shop www.animalrescue.org.za and purchase your Christmas presents with us, that way you will be supporting the animals in our care.

For those who have researched and understand the commitments of caring for an animal, and still feel you would like to add a four legged companion to the Christmas celebrations, please visit a reputable welfare organisation and adopt one of the many animals in need of a good home.

If you are already a pet owner, myself and the Animal Rescue Organisation are appealing to owners to be vigilant and responsible during the celebrations.

Christmas trees and decorations add a touch of festivity and get everyone in the Christmas spirit, but for inquisitive pets its can be hazardous. Ensure the tree is secure and won’t topple over, put any electrical cables and lights out of reach.

Discard of any wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and carrier bags as your pets could easily get entangled and injure themselves.

Refrain from letting off firecrackers and be mindful when pulling Christmas crackers and popping champagne corks and balloons.

Provide a safe quiet environment for your pet to go to should the celebrations or rowdy visitors become too much.

Before sitting back and relaxing after a meal, ensure any leftovers are put away and are out of reach from your pet, turkey and chicken bones can splinter and become lodged in your pets throat or damage their intestine. Keep alcohol out of reach. Don’t be tempted to change your pets regular feeding habits, overfeeding or diet changes can cause digestive upsets.

Should you wish to spoil your pet, rather choose to purchase a toy or treats, that are provide by a reputable vet shop.

In the event, that your pet gets out of the property, ensure your pets has a means of identification.

Last but not least, when on your travels, NEVER leave your pets in the car, especially not during the hot summer months.

In closing, I wish all my fellow bloggers and followers a happy, healthy and safe festive season. May 2014 be a year of kindness and compassion to all animals.

Until next time,

Jess

Guy Fawkes – Animals Worst Nightmare

Dear Friends

It is that time of year again, when fireworks and celebrations mark the start of the ‘silly season’.

The Animal Rescue Organisation (ARO) is appealing to all Capetonians getting ready to celebrate Guy Fawkes, not to purchase or encourage the releasing of fireworks which can be harmful to animals and people, especially those that let off a bang.

The Animal Rescue Organisation is against the use of any fireworks which give off a loud noise due to the fear and trauma that they cause to animals.  An animal’s hearing is far more acute than that of ours enabling them to hear a wider range of sounds. With every firework let off an animal hears it at least seven times louder than that of humans. Their immediate reaction is to escape the noise often resulting in the animals causing severe injuries to themselves.

Harming an animal is illegal and will result in prosecution. Should you suspect an animal is in danger, members of the public are urged to contact the Metro Police 24 hour call centre to lodge complaints regarding illegal firework activities on 021 596 1999 or the SPCA Inspectorate on 083 362 1604.

Designated areas have been assigned for the release of fireworks, outlined below:

  • Bishop Lavis sports field, Lavis Drive, Bishop Lavis
  • Wesfleur sports field, Reygersdal Drive, Atlantis
  • Macassar Beach parking area, Macassar Road, Macassar
  • Swartklip Sports Complex, corner of Spine and Swartklip Roads, Mitchells Plain
  • Maidens Cove parking area, Victoria Road, Camps Bay
  • Athlone Stadium parking area (Eastern side), Klipfontein Road, Athlone
  • Strandfontein Pavilion, Strandfontein
  • Beachfront opposite Tourism Centre, Table View

Residents living in areas where fireworks will be let off are to please ensure they follow the below guidelines to ensure the safety of their animals:

  • Identification – ensure your pet has an identity disk with your contact details and if possible have your pets micro-chipped;
  • If possible stay at home with them;
  • If you are unable to stay at home, leave your pets inside, in a room that is safe and secure and draw the curtains – to prevent them from being frightened by pyrotechnics and to prevent them from jumping through the window
  • Drawing the curtains and playing calming music at a reasonable volume can drown the sound of the fireworks;
  • Place familiar and comforting objects around them, such as bedding, toys and blankets;
  • Give them something to keep them occupied – a chewy bone or catnip toys for cats;
  • Small animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, should be brought into a quiet room, garage or garden shed. Provide extra bedding so they have something to burrow into;
  • Cover aviaries, hutches and cages with blankets to block out the sights and sounds of fireworks, but make sure that you leave gaps for ventilation;
  • Livestock and horse owners must check that paddocks are well fenced and secure before the fireworks begin. Frightened farm animals that get out of their paddocks can harm themselves;
  • If you suspect or know your pet reacts badly towards fireworks, seek professional advice and help from your veterinarian who may prescribe a sedative to help ease the symptoms.  There are also a number of effective homeopathic remedies available at health shops and certain vet shops.

The potential injuries which pets and people can sustain from fireworks are horrendous and just not worth the cheap thrill that a small minority enjoy at the expense of the majority. Although we are hopeful of an incident free Guy Fawkes, we are prepared for the worst. Fireworks are potentially dangerous, a waste of money and ought to be banned.

Feel free to post your comments, I would love to hear your opinions and views.

Until next time,

Jess

Guy Fawkes 2013

PETS IN CAGES

A friend of mine recently received a hamster from her boyfriend, accompanied by a huge bouquet of red roses. “how adorable, it is the cutest gift ever!” However, over the years at ARO, we have come to see that this elated and warm fuzzy feeling is very much a temporary one and the novelty of owning this pet very quickly wears off.

2 – 3 months later, when the reality of cleaning, feeding and providing the hamster (or any other caged animal) with love and attention sets in, the pet very quickly becomes a nuisance and an escape route or alternate home is looked for.

All one needs to do is browse the likes of Gumtree, OLX, or other online classifieds and see the endless amount of ‘unwanted’ ‘free to a good home’ advertisements.

ARO encourages responsible pet care and prefers those who purchase caged pets to “see it through”, but we also realise that once the novelty has worn off, it is sometimes best to get the animal “out of there”…..

Many small caged pets have come to ARO like this.

Please educate both parents and friends about the responsibility of owning ANY pet before making the commitment.

Until next time,

Jess

ARO rescued rabbits - rabbits need space, do not place them in cages

ARO rescued rabbits – rabbits need space, do not place them in cages

The Ins and Outs of Pet Ownership

Although pets are cute and offer unconditional love, they require a lifetime of commitment from you, their owner!

Having recently acquired a new member to my ‘ani-family’ I am able to experience first-hand not only the responsibilities of owning a pet but the costs involved too.

While they say you can’t put a price on love, it is wise to know just how much love you can afford and whether your lifestyle is suited to owning a pet.

Before making the decision, consider the following:

  • Pets require attention and your time, if you live alone and work long hours, then perhaps pet ownership is not an ideal choice at this time. However, if like me, you work for an animal organisation, you can always enquire as to whether your furry companion can accompany you to work.
  •  Any pet you get should be suitable to your lifestyle and living arrangements. If you live in a flat, then a large or energetic breed is not a good choice. You don’t want your pet to become bored, as this can result in destructive behavior problems.
  • Puppies and kittens require the most amount of work when it comes to house training. If you don’t have the time or finances to properly train your pets or don’t want your expensive shoes chewed or lounge suite damaged; then consider adopting an already house trained, adult pet. There are literally thousands of adult shelter dogs and cats looking for a place to call home. Give them a second chance.
  • Owning a pet is a joy, but, as with everything else, there is quite a hefty price tag involved. Before adopting your pet, ask yourself, can I afford to keep a pet, as it is a long term commitment. Once you have considered the above, below are a few essential expenses you will need to budget for:
  • A suitable dog bed or basket, blanket, collar, identity tag, lead, food and water bowls
  • Pet food, treats, and tick and flea treatment (monthly expense)
  • Routine Veterinary checks and annual vaccinations
  • Sterilisation (usually done at 6 months)
  • Microchip
  • Socialisation training (optional)

If you adopt a breed of dog that is susceptible to medical conditions (hip dysplasia, spinal conditions, respiratory issues etc.) consider taking out a Pet Health Insurance – your veterinarian will be able to advise as to the various options available.

For those who have researched and understand the commitments of caring for an animal, and still feel you would like to add a four legged companion to your family, please visit a reputable welfare organisation and adopt one of the many animals in need of a good home. Alternatively, if you cannot adopt a pet at this current time, there are many ways to assist our needy four legged friends by supporting our online shop, fundraising events, via My School Card by making ARO a beneficiary, donating gifts in kind or cash – by doing any one of those things you will be supporting the many animals in or dependent on our care.

BUT, whatever you decide, have fun! Owning a pet is a privilege and will bring you endless years of joy!

Until next time

Jess and Jameson

IMG-20130629-01062 Cape Town-20130701-01071 Helping at work

Blanket Appeal

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Blankets given in goodie bags during our Sterilisation Campaign in Honour of Mandela Day 2012

spayathon 136

Blankets given in goodie bags during our Sterilisation Campaign in Honour of Mandela Day 2012

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Blankets are used extensively during our MASU sterilisation trips. They are needed to ensure the animals are kept warm when coming round from anesthetic.

Kennel Project 075

Each animal that receives treatment in our hospital is provided with a blanket in their kennel.

A chill in the air and rainy afternoons, winter is on its way. The ARO can house up to 65 animals per day. Each animal that comes into our care needs to be fed, have proper shelter, attention and love. With the winter months ahead of us we require additional food to ensure the animals keep warm, because their bodies are burning additional energy to keep warm; all animals require at least a half a cup of food extra per day.

Our need for cat and dog food remains a priority. To date we use about half a ton of pet food per month; this rate is continuously increasing. Therefore we rely greatly on the generosity of the public and the donations we receive.

With the recent spate of cold and wet weather; the need for blankets remains critical at the Animal Rescue Organisation (ARO). We are appealing to the public to please donate blankets to ARO. Preferably fleece blankets as they dry quickly in this weather.

We encourage the public as well as corporates to challenge thier staff and contribute toward this worthy dirve. Donations can be dropped at our Charity Shops – 51 Main Road, Bergvliet 021-7157525;  Belmont Rd, Kalk Bay 021-7881195 and 16 Voortrekker Rd, Bellville  021-9480773 or alternatively contact Julia Green at our offices on 021 396 5511 to arrange for a collection.

Please share this post with all your animal loving friends, and together we can make winter a little brighter!

Until next time,

Jess

Caring for your Pets in Winter

It’s that time of year again; a chill in the air and rainy afternoons, winter is on its way. The Winter weather affects us all, including our furry-four-legged-friends! Follow the Animal Rescue Organisations tips below and ensure that both you and your pet have a safe and warm winter.

  • Due to the wet and cold weather all pet owners must ensure that their animals have access to shelter and bedding, if possible allow them to sleep indoors.
  • Continue walking your animals; don’t stop because of the rain. Grab your wellies and rain coats and head out!
  • Don’t stop tick and flea control, although fleas are more present in summer they are still likely to be on your animal during the winter.
  • If your dog is kept outside during the winter, add an extra handful of food to their daily meals, because  of the cold they will be burning up more energy and extra food will help them with this.
  • If you have a puppy, do not put it outside in winter, because it is still young it has not built up resistance to the cold, keep it indoors in a heated environment.
  • Dogs with long coats can keep warm outdoors; however, if your dog has a short coat and is kept outside, put a sweater on your dog to keep it warm.
  • Don’t dip your dog in the cold, rather use an alternate product that does not involve the dog having to be drenched wet.
  • If you have a heater make sure that the wiring is safe and out of reach of your pet.
  • Make sure the kennel is waterproof, and move the kennel so that the entrance is not facing the weather, and ensure that the kennel is raised off the ground to prevent cold and damp conditions.

Be sure to visit our online shop http://www.animalrescue.org.za to purchase our great new winter merchandise, there is something for both you and your pet!

Until next time,

Jess

The Importance of Tick & Flea Treatment

It’s not unusual for neglected animals to arrive at either our Mobile Clinics or Veterinary Hospital infested with ticks and fleas and in urgent need of internal as well as external parasite control.  Treating animals for ticks and fleas is a vital part of responsible and caring pet ownership. Unfortunately, all too often pet owners are not properly educated about the correct products to use and procedures to follow.  This can have dire consequences.

‘Ballie’, a dog that was recently seen at our Manenberg Clinic is a perfect example. His owner had doused him with paraffin and then lathered oil all over his body. This resulted in the skin being burnt and badly inflamed. He was subsequently admitted to our hospital where he received treatment for his condition and had to be bathed several times to eliminate the paraffin and oil contamination.

Although this was not intentional cruelty, it caused ‘Ballie’ much avoidable pain and suffering.

His owner has since been taught how to safely and effectively control fleas and ticks on his dog. ‘Ballie’ is one of many sad cases that we see on a daily basis and his case serves to highlight the importance of educating pet owners on safe ways and means of taking proper care of their pets. It also highlights the vital role that Mobile Clinics perform within the communities.

TREATING AND PREVENTING TICKS AND FLEAS ON YOUR PETS

  • At the first sign of a flea, or before the first sign of a flea, apply a veterinary approved tick and/or flea treatment eg Capstar, Frontline, Revolution, Advantix, Advantage, Fiprotec and wait for the product to take effect. Most of the products last for about 4 to 6 weeks depending on the severity of the initial infestation.
  • Your pet is not the only source or host of ticks and fleas. Any eggs that were deposited in your carpets, bedding or around your garden, will hatch and become adults.  It is therefore important that you treat not only your pet but the bedding and sleeping area as well.
  • To ensure your pets and home are tick and flea free, it is vital that you repeat the above steps monthly. There is no “Silver Bullet” solution and a disciplined, holistic strategy is necessary.

Although ticks and fleas are more prevalent during summer, it is still necessary to provide tick and flea treatment during the winter months.

In conclusion, if you are struggling to curb the tick and flea infestation, please visit your veterinarian or nearest vet shop for professional advice and do not take matters into your own hands without professional guidance. Never use swimming pool chlorine (often called poor man’s Frontline), Jeyes Fluid, motor car oil or any other accelerant on your pet. It could have fatal consequences.

Until next time,

Jess

Taking ARO to Manenberg

Manenberg, one of the many areas where gangs and violence is rife.  Along with these social challenges, there are an ever increasing number of pets and animals in the area.  In order to address the health of these animals, the Animal Rescue Organisation has assigned one mobile clinic every second Tuesday of the month. Here our mobile clinics will provide basic primary veterinary services such as:

  • Dipping against Mange and other skin diseases
  • Deworming
  • Diagnosis of wounds and diseases requiring hospital treatments eg: Parvo Virus, Biliary (Tick Fever)
  • Nutritional Advice
  • Vaccination
  • The clinics also manage the bookings and collections of animals for sterilisation which is done at our hospital.

Yesterday, I was very fortunate to be a part of the opening for these clinics that will be taking place at the Manenberg People’s Centre. Joined by the Manenberg Pets Project, AWS Phillipi and CoGH SPCA the opening was a great success.

Over 60 dogs were treated, 13 brought in for sterilisation and 9 animals surrendered / unwanted. The support and participation of the community was fantastic, and very well received. Among the many pets treated, it was apparent that Pitbulls are the preferred breed within Manenberg.

Despite a couple of serious cases of neglect, the overall condition of the pets in the area was satisfactory. Education is key in ensuring the continued care for all animals in the area. The support of the Manenberg People’s Centre is greatly appreciated and will ensure that education is continued after our clinics have left.

Our mobile clinic will return to the Manenberg People’s Centre on Tuesday 14 May 2013 from 10 – 12, and we hope it is as well received as yesterdays clinic.

Keep reading our blog for the latest updates.

Until next time,

Jess

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