Can You Help Coco Find a Home…

I posted this on February 23rd and I’m happy to say that the next day Coco found herself in a forever home!! Good Luck Coco!

This is Coco and she is in desperate need of a home.  She is a victim of separating households.  She is about 2 1/2,  housebroken, and
is good with cats & kids.  She has been raised with a 4 and a 9 year old and according to her owner she is a very loving dog.

It’s Not Rocket Science. Positive Works.

To say I don’t watch television would be a lie, but to say I don’t religiously follow any particular program would not be far from the truth.  When I do turn on the tube I’m a terrible driver of the remote and usually turn it over out of self-frustration.  However, I have found when nobody else is around and I have to make a decision, I’m a sucker for a good crime investigation or some fascinating love story, but to truly keep my attention, comedy is my weakness.  I love to laugh so I usually gravitate to reruns of older sitcoms that have long been off the air and have syndicated to some high number channel.  Due to the fact that I don’t spend much time in the lower channels, other than a select few, I’m pretty oblivious to the newer shows.  This is because new, especially in recent television, usually means more reality so I stick to the “good” shows and never planned on straying, until recently.  I stumbled upon a newer comedy that I can’t stop watching.

 It’s called the Big Bang Theory and even though it is pretty funny, the marathons they’ve been running of this show have somewhat influenced my viewing choice.  I talk today about it because not many times has a comedy series related to my life, which is the exact reason I watch them.  Too many of the dramas hit too close to home, and it frightens me just a little 😉  However, just the other day I was watching Big Bang and could not stop laughing at the likeness of the story to what I’m learning and attempting to teach.

 In this episode there are three characters involved, Sheldon (the uptight and controlling scientist), Leonard (Sheldon’s roommate and laid back scientist) and Penny (the blonde free spirit, also Leonard’s girlfriend).  Being uptight and anal, Sheldon dislikes Penny and her free-spirited behavior but was asked by Leonard to be nice.  The specific scene I related to was the three of them sitting and watching T.V.  Although irritated with most of her antics, every time Penny would exhibit behavior that Sheldon approved of he would offer her a piece of chocolate.  Knowing how Sheldon felt about Penny Leonard was at first confused but didn’t question it until he realized that Sheldon was using positive reinforcement to modify Penny’s behavior to his liking.

 I laughed probably harder than it really called for, but it was a real shake-my-head kind of moment, because if you truly think about it the concept has been around for centuries.  Positive reinforcement is not foreign by any means, it is something that has been used in lab rats, on employees (meet a goal, get a raise), on our children (finish your homework, get candy) why is there even an argument about using it on our dogs?  Considering the impressive and positive outcomes we have seen when it comes to people, the use of positive reinforcement in dog training just makes sense and it’s simple, just like in the television series.  Every time Penny did something Sheldon liked, she got chocolate.  She had no understanding that this was a reward of any kind just that when she didn’t talk during the show or when she lowered the tone of her laugh she received a piece of chocolate and subconsciously she started to make the connection. AWESOME!!  Simple. 

 Although it is a scientific theory, Positive Reinforcement is one of the easier one’s to understand and can be used in your everyday life.  Put it to the test.  Next time your dog is lying down without you asking or not barking at the neighbor, give them a treat.  Continue to reward him for things he’s doing right and he will want to do the right thing.  Soon you will notice the bad behavior less and less.  Dogs are self-rewarding (like children), they use their behavior to get what they want whether it’s attention, food or a toy.  If they are not rewarded for behavior you consider to be bad, they will eventually make the connection that they don’t get what they want by acting bad, and will begin to behave in a way that will get them rewards – Good.

Why?

Why — It’s a question I have asked myself thousands of times in my years.  For example:  Why would anyone drink decaffeinated coffee (seems silly), Why does the ice cream truck miss our street EVERY time, Why do my kids have to grow up so fast, Why can’t they move out now ;), and Why would anyone want to hurt another innocent life?  Why?  

Sometimes the answers are simple, like the coffee one.  Apparently people actually drink it for the taste–really?  However mystifying that may be, it’s still simple.  Unfortunately, when tragedy, sadness or loss strikes, and we ask ourselves that one word question, the thought process is so complex that even the people who experience this heart ache on a daily basis don’t have the answers.  Which leads me to yet another WHY?   Why do they do it? 

Most people I know can’t stand to see the reality of our world so much so that they have to turn the channel when a 60 second commercial showing starved children or beaten and battered dogs interrupts their other “reality” tv.   Then after the channel is muted or turned, you can hear the whining…Why do they show these depressing commercials?  Uuumm, what’s depressing is that you think the Kardashians are “real life” and if you watch their every move, one day you can be just like them…sorry, anyway. 

The Why, as to why do they show these commercials is an easy answer, because if someone just simply asked for help, the not-for-profits would not exist.  They have to pull on your heartstrings and they have to do it quickly – they only have 60 seconds.   And a 60 second commercial is nothing compared to what our teachers, child services, humane societies and animal controls/rescues see  EVERY DAY.  They witness more evil in one hour than some see their whole lives and what I’ve learned is that it’s almost a necessity that WHY goes unanswered. Trying to figure it out can take your sanity to the brink, fade out your faith in humanity and allow darkness to consume you.  So instead, being in the business of giving a voice to the silent, you can’t ask why, you have to have the courage to ask how?  How can I help, and when you do, you surround yourselves with some of the strongest and courageous people you will ever meet.

I am fortunate enough to have wonderful friends and family that dedicate their lives every day asking How.  Having only a glimpse of what they see daily in volunteering at the shelter I can never express enough the appreciation I have for each of them.  Their’s is a job, a way of life, that only few have the heart, the courage and the stomach to do, so give them the props they deserve.  They’re the one’s that don’t change the channel, but who are changing the world day by day, story by story.  So next time you come face to face with an advocate for the innocent and they don’t come off as friendly or as sweet as you’d like them to, tell them THANK YOU, they are doing a job every day not many can do for 60 seconds. 

Then quit asking WHY and start asking HOW…

Oh and to answer the questions as to why they do it….for every 10 bad story endings it’s the 1 happy that makes it all worthwhile.  So to my crazy friends, my family and all who relentlessly give a voice to those without – THANK YOU (from ALL of us), and here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday and a fabulous New Year!!

P.S. Don’t forget to remember my furfriends this winter-LCAC has changed their hours for the season M-F open til 4:30 and Sat. til 4 ……

WRITE, CALL OR STOP ON BY!! Your new friends are waiting for you!! (Lake County Animal Shelter, 3011 W. 93rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN  46307; 219/769-7016; lakecountyanimalcontrol@hotmail.com or check out the adoptable pets here: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN218.html 

Home for the Holidays

As the holidays approach its difficult not to think of our families, either in anxious anticipation of chaos and crazy, or looking forward to the few-times-a-year fun and laughter that seems to fill every corner of the house.  Personally for me, the constant running and planning is dreadful, but the fun and the laughter always make up for it tenfold.  Holidays should be full of family and cheer, they should emit love and smiles and bring people closer together.  My hope for all my family and friends this year is exactly that, and I mean ALL of my friends and family, including the four-legged ones.

From the employees/volunteers who go in every single morning with little to no appreciation and give a voice to the innocent I wish you lots of happiness and, to the orphans, castouts, runaways and all in between I wish each and every one a family who understands you deserve to know what it means to be loved.  And to all who have room in their home and in their hearts with love to spare, what better way to celebrate the joy, the kindness and the meaning of the season than to bring one or even two or three of my sweet friends Home for the Holidays.

And may I suggest a few…

This is Taft one of my best friends up at LCAC.  Poor Taft was found standing in the middle of Indiana 55 (a/k/a Taft) with no tags, or clues as to where he came from.  Taft is a young, smart, sweet boy who is just waiting for you to visit so he can show you his winning smile.

Next meet Old Man Bear (“Bear Bear”).  Love this guy and his story just makes it hard not to admire his strength and courage.  Found roaming a subdivision in horrible condition, unfed, scared, confused and abandoned, Bear Bear has fought his way back from certain death to become a sweet, beautiful Shepard who can’t wait to find a family who truly loves him once again…and

Last but certainly not least this is Matlida.  Matilda was rescued from a hoarder and has made great leaps and bounds in recovering from her past surroundings.  Isn’t she beautiful?  Come visit and ask to see Matilda, you will not be disappointed.

Don’t be shy, come and visit, your new family member is waiting, and believe me when I tell you there is no better gift than the love of a child (this includes the furry kind)!!

Happy Holidays!!

WRITE, CALL OR STOP ON BY!! Your new friends are waiting for you!! (Lake County Animal Shelter, 3011 W. 93rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN  46307; 219/769-7016; lakecountyanimalcontrol@hotmail.com or check out the adoptable pets here: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN218.html 

October…ADOPT A SHELTER DOG MONTH!!!

Burning leaves, changing colors, Chicago marathon, long sleeve shirts, football, Halloween and breast cancer awareness are only a few of the reasons and causes that make October such a great month.  These along with my son’s birthday can make it easy to overlook yet another event very close to my heart…October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month!!

Although I believe cancer awareness and adopting from the shelter should be recognized EVERY month, and my son believes his birthday should be recognized every DAY, a designated month for our friends living in the shelter is a great way to give a voice to those without one. 

Every cause needs that voice and I’ve been lucky enough to be introduced to some of the loudest,  speaking on behalf of our furry friends.  The least I can do is cheer them on with a few reasons to celebrate and give back to the forgotten, the lost and the lonely this October (and hopefully all year round): 

Why you should adopt (or give back to) a shelter dog?

#1 Opening up your heart for one who has never known love will brighten your soul, lift your spirits and possibly change your life;

#2 Shelter dogs are the best dogs;

#3 Little things to you are BIG things to them, i.e. donating old towels, blankets, toys, litter, food, TIME;

#4 Shelter dogs are the best dogs;

#5 What better way to enjoy the abnormally warm, sunny weather than to take a new family member for a walk on the new bike trail that has been completed all over Lake County;

#6 Walking into a shelter where the lost are found, the starved are fed, the neglected are cared for and the unwanted are loved like never before, will stay with you always, and you WILL want to help;

#7 A gentle hand, study roof, bowl of food and a tennis ball will bring you a treasure of love, loyalty and companionship immeasurable on paper;

#8 Who can resist doggie hugs and kisses?

#9 Evelyn, Gustav, Daddy, Bernard, Murphy, Max, Bonnie, Hattie, Speedy, Stella, Teddy Blue, Taft, Nigel, Luke, Mek, Flower…only to name a few; and

#10 Again, I’m not lying, shelter dogs are the best dogs 🙂

In closing, let’s celebrate our furfriends this month and every month, ADOPT A SHELTER DOG…or reach out and give back, they are the innocent, give them a voice and they will give you eternal love.

“Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.”- Dalai Lama

Related articles

LAKE COUNTY ANIMAL ADOPTION & CONTROL AT CAPACITY!

 As many know, Lake County Animal Adoption and Control Center is special to me for many reasons.  The obvious, of course, is the new family members that share my fridge, my couch, my home, and my heart.  Without Lake County I wouldn’t have these special boys in my life.  To be honest, until their story was in the paper I was unaware Lake County was a shelter where adoption was an option.  I was ignorant to the fact that not only did they house precious furry friends, but they are also a no-kill shelter that provides vetting.  The employees and volunteers at Lake County do all they can to give love, food and hope for the abandoned, neglected and hopeless and they do so until the ones they save find their forever home. 

Unfortunately, although their hearts are golden and passion is true, they only have so much room.  The only way to help more of the innocent in need is to find homes for the ones who are rehabilitated enough to join a family. 

Please help get the word out, because as of right now, Lake County is at its capacity, again.  You can check out their adoptable pets at http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN218.html, or explore this website, there are some sweethearts a few pages back and on this post.  If you, a friend or family member see someone you can’t stop thinking about contact Victoria at lakecountyanimalcontrol@hotmail.com.

If adoption is not something you are able to do, tell a friend, send an email or consider fostering.  Fostering can free up the space, let Lake County continue to do what they do best and still allow the possibility for forever adoption.  A small step can change a life–it may even be yours.

Beautiful, Sweet and Holds No Grudge…

I have seen, walked and played with very sweet dogs while at the shelter, but this girl takes the cake.  Meet Speedy, my dog of the week!!  What a doll, and as loving and gentle as she is, you would never know her family abandoned her.  Actually, her family split up, and out of several pets, she paid the price and was left behind.  After meeting her I just keep asking myself the same question….how do you choose?

As difficult as it is for me to understand the thought process, what is even more baffling, yet heartwarming, is that Speedy could hold a grudge, but she doesn’t.  She isn’t angry, she gives endless kisses, she isn’t stubborn, she sits so pretty and looks at you with the softest eyes.  In addition to her kind spirit, she doesn’t feel sorry for herself, she is happy to play, to walk and to be loved by anyone and everyone.  She doesn’t ask for anything special, just a little time.

Speedy is an example of the qualities I wish more people had…loving, sweet, gentle, forgiving and not a martyr.  Pretty amazingly, on top of everything else, Speedy portrays all of these things and more on 3 legs.  After getting hit by a car at a very young age (she is about 3 now), she has not only learned to adjust, but has mastered it.  Slowing down is not an option with the greyhound mentality and along the way she has kept such a beautiful attitude. 

Come see Speedy, she will melt your heart and warm your soul.  Not only will she make a fantastic family member, but a great friend who even in the darkest moments can bring sunshine with a big kiss to the chin!

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to check out, Speedy and our furry crew, stop on by Lake County Animal Shelter, 3011 W. 93rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN  46307; 219/769-7016; lakecountyanimalcontrol@hotmail.com or check out the adoptable pets here: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN218.htm

We Are On a Roll…Let’s Celebrate with a Fest!!

What a great weekend!  The weather was perfect, the LCAC Chilis event was successful and adoptions were once again in double digits!! Thank you to everyone who came out to Chilis to show your support, and also to those who paid a visit to the shelter and didn’t leave empty-handed.  There are no words to express the appreciation, but what better way to show it than a Festival. 

To celebrate our furfriends and the ones who love them, LCAC is hosting their annual Pet Fest this Saturday from 9-4 at the Lake County Fairgrounds in the Industrial Arts Building.  Come join us and bring the furry ones, you will not be disappointed.  Plenty of food will be grillin’ and vendors will be on hand to answer your pet questions, along with a few four-legged friends who would just looove to come home with you!!

Don’t be shy, get out and enjoy the holiday weekend with the ones you love (yes, that includes ALL the kids J)! We would love to see you!

 As always, If you can’t make it this weekend and you’d like to check out our furry crew, stop on by Lake County Animal Shelter, 3011 W. 93rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN  46307; 219/769-7016; lakecountyanimalcontrol@hotmail.com or check out the adoptable pets here: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN218.htm

Out and About this Weekend?! Let Chilis Feed You Lunch!!

If you can’t decide what to eat while you’re enjoying your day off, let me make a suggestion…this Saturday, August 27th from 11-2 Lake County Animal Control & Adoption will be at Chilis in Hobart (by Westfield Mall) and we’re bringing our furfriends!! 

That’s right, we are going to set up under the tent on Saturday in hopes of raising LCAC awareness and adopting out a few of our friends to join your family.  Plus, as an extra bonus, Chilis is generously donating 10% of the meal proceeds (if you have the attached voucher- LCAC Chilis[1] ) back to LCAC.  Don’t worry, if you can’t pick up or print a voucher, we will have plenty on hand.  Thank you Chilis!!

Whether you’re relaxing or running errands, enjoy your weekend even more with great food and a chance to give back to those who need it, but just can’t say it!!  Stop on by for lunch, a cool drink, or a visit, we would love to meet you, and we would love for you to meet the darlings joining us for the afternoon!!

If you can’t make it this weekend or if you’d like to check out our furry crew, stop on by Lake County Animal Shelter, 3011 W. 93rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN  46307; 219/769-7016; lakecountyanimalcontrol@hotmail.com or check out the adoptable pets here: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN218.htm

As a side note, we do want to thank EVERYONE who has shown their support in a huge way in the last few weeks, the adoption rates are up and we couldn’t be more excited…Keep It Up!!

HUH? Don’t Be Fooled, They ARE Paying Attention!!

As a parent, like every parent, we all want what’s best for our kids.  We feed them healthy (well, most of the time), take them to the dentist (with bribery), teach them respect and show them love.  We guide them the whole way hoping that one day they can and will do it all by themselves.  It’s every parents dream for their children to achieve more than we did, going down life’s path respecting and loving themselves, their family and those close to them. Even though sometimes we falter because nobody is perfect, we sometimes get it right.  We know the books, lectures, flash cards, timeouts and manners after continuous repetition will sink in, and one day, we can look back and pat ourselves on the back because we will have molded our children into exactly what we thought they needed to be (hint of sarcasm)… 😉

As parents, we also know we can’t mold, change or make our children exactly who we want them to be.  We can try, but it will ultimately fail.  They are who they were born to be, and all we can do is guide them in the right direction, give them an open door, cross our fingers and toes, and pray everything we taught them does eventually sink in.  However, what we sometimes forget, which can be one of our biggest challenges, is that even after all the books, all the lectures, all the teachings, they are watching our every move.  P-r-e-t-t-y scary sometimes, but then again, sometimes it’s really pretty awesome.

Like many of us, there are moments I forget how super smart (and big hearted) my kids are, but luckily they remind me ALL the time.  After I get through these moments of senility and realize what sponges they are when it comes to EVERYTHING, I could not be more proud. 

I began volunteering at the animal shelter for what I guess I would call selfish reasons.  I love those furry, four-legged and spending time with them, knowing their stories, is like therapy for me.  However, I may now need therapy for my therapy, cause it’s a straight up addiction.  At first, I would go on my own, but after a few times I did start to bring my kids along.  Unsure how they would like it (especially my son), at first I had accepted the fact that it may be a short trip but, turned out, they loved it.  Spending time with the dogs, holding the cats and watching as some of their new friends went to their forever homes, was exciting to them.  It also allowed me to spend time and connect with my kids while we did something we all enjoyed.  I knew it effected them, I could see it in their faces, and the way they were with our own dogs when we were home, but I had no idea how much, until this weekend.

When I have my kids for the weekend I try my hardest to spend as much time as I can with them, but sometimes there are things that just need to get done.  This Sunday was one of those “need to get stuff done” days and I left it up to my kids to entertain themselves.  Guess what they played for hours and hours straight with no TV or video games, and NO fighting (a HUGE feat)?…

Animal Shelter!!  Complete with signs (which pictures I have posted), beds for each animal and pee pads for the ones who make mistakes.  They also provided cheap vet care and fundraised for money donations along with toy donations.  My son was the field officer “runner/helper/(youngest)” collecting the animals, changing beds and adopting, and my daughter was the manager/director/vet who coordinated adoptions, took care of the animals medical needs, calculated a budget, gross and net proceeds and managed donations (I swear she did)!  Although it was Deal or No Deal money and we donated approximately 5 million dollars, it was worth every cent to witness my children using their imagination and “playing” something that means so much to our family. 

When I first brought them along with me to the shelter I had no idea the impact it would have on their little lives, if any.  Once again, I underestimated their sponge-like quality and the big hearts they carry with them.  I can only hope that they keep these small but huge lessons with them always! 

 So, if you’re in the area, a wonderful opportunity is waiting at the Animal Shelter. Spend some time with those who need it desperately at the same time send an incredible message to your children—Your Time Can Change a Life (even if it’s a furry one).  Believe me, you may not notice at first but it is one of those “somethings” that WILL sink in.

Every moment can be a lesson, and if they learn to love young, they love always.

WRITE, CALL OR STOP ON BY!! Your new friends are waiting for you!! (Lake County Animal Shelter, 3011 W. 93rd Avenue, Crown Point, IN  46307; 219/769-7016; lakecountyanimalcontrol@hotmail.com or check out the adoptable pets here: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN218.html

%d bloggers like this: