EMANCIPE+ Blog


What Pets Mean to Us by Amy
February 11, 2011, 8:30 am
Filed under: Executive Director | Tags: , , , , ,

In my preparation for a recent presentation on the relationship between people and their pets, I came across some studies that have really gotten people talking.  Since it’s all about love and relationships and sacrifice, I thought Valentine’s Day would be a fun excuse to share some of this data with you. So, here’s what I learned:

Pet owners love their pets and are afraid of losing them.  Not surprising, but… 79% of pet owners felt losing their pet would be more traumatic than getting into a car accident, and 61% said it would be more traumatic than losing their jobs.  Some people were surprised when I shared this last one.  But, this tracks with my experiences in the clinic at Emancipet.  Honestly not a day goes by that we don’t hear a story of a client who has lost his or her job and who is thankful for the love and joy they receive from their pets.

Most pet owners are willing to sacrifice for their pets’ happiness and safety, and an overwhelming 93% of pet owners said they’d be likely to risk their lives for their pets.  Again, it may seem shocking at first, but people do brave and risky things for their pets all the time.  Think back to Hurricane Katrina, and how many people chose to stay behind and risk their lives for no other reason than their pets were not allowed to evacuate with them.  Recent data indicates 62% of pet owners would defy a forced evacuation order if they could not evacuate with their pets.

So there you have it.  We love our pets.  Here’s what I want to know:  Have you ever risked your life (or even limb) for your pet, or any animal in need?  Tell us about it!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your furry companions!



Welcoming a New Chief Animal Services Officer by Amy
January 28, 2011, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Executive Director | Tags: , , , ,

After a long, nationwide search, the City of Austin has selected Abigail Smith to become Austin’s new Chief Animal Services Officer, a job with duties that include overseeing the municipal animal shelter and animal control.  Even though we are a separate non-profit, Emancipet partners closely with the City on many of our programs, including Free Days and Spay Street, our door-to-door outreach program; and our clinic is located on the land where the new shelter is under construction (and looking incredible, by the way).  Needless to say, we’ve been eager to find out who the new leader would be.  I’m happy to say that from what I’ve heard, we should be very excited about this selection.

Abigail has a reputation for a fierce commitment to saving the lives of animals in her current shelter, which appears to be matched by an understanding and commitment to preventing them from becoming homeless in the first place.  We don’t know Abigail personally yet, but we’re looking forward to getting to know her, and working alongside her to serve all the animals in our community, and we are optimistic about her potential to continue our City’s wonderful progress on animal issues.

Abigail has a lot of support here, starting with a committed staff at the shelter, and the board and staff at Emancipet.  And it’s a good thing – her’s is one of the toughest jobs in our community, and she’ll need the support and participation of the entire community to reach our ambitious and important goals for a humane community.

I hope you’ll join us in welcoming her, and in giving her the support she’ll need.



More Than Just Pets by Asha
January 7, 2011, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Outreach

I find that it is so easy with work, as with most things in life, to just go through the day completing tasks.  Marking something off of a task list has always been one of my very favorite feelings.  But sometimes in doing that, I forget the bigger, warmer, fuzzier picture. I forget that each day people who love their pets as much as I love mine turn to us to provide the very best care for their furry family members.  Today, we received the most excellent reminder of what this work is really about and I just had to share it with you.  Below is a poem written by a client by the name of Beth about her dog, Strawberry.

Strawberry”s Story

Strawberry was a feral wolf dog, an outcast from her home.

A babe in the woods she wandered, soon to have pups of her own.

Some good folks took her in at last. The pups were born and grew up fast

These folks had love, but they had no vet.  Who’d save the day???

EMANCIPET!!!

Now Strawberry and her family will never be alone,

Together for a life-time in their forever home.

Their future will be bright, I bet, thanks to the folks at Emancipet.

God bless the staff, the volunteers and vet, and all the folks who support

EMANCIPET!!!

Beth, like most of our clients, knew that Strawberry and her pups needed her help and she wanted to provide them with the very best. Her poem was a reminder that what we do is about more than “just pets.” It’s about the families who open their hearts and their lives up to pets who need them – and if you ask Beth, everybody wins!

 

 



Lesson From San Antonio by Amy
August 12, 2010, 6:10 pm
Filed under: Executive Director | Tags: , , , , , ,

I just read this interesting, but not entirely surprising article from our neighbors down in San Antonio.  SA has had a mighty struggle with animal issues (formerly the highest per capita euthanasia rates in the nation).  Recently the SA City Council, area foundations and animal welfare groups have come together to try to transform SA into a no kill community.  They have started investing seriously in programs to increase live outcomes for their homeless pets.

But they quickly realized an inescapable truth – their efforts have not been as successful as they hoped because there are far too many homeless pets to begin with.  They have learned that without significantly bolstering their prevention efforts, they cannot end the killing of homeless pets.  Specifically, they cited the need for more spay/neuter.

It’s a lesson that many communities have to learn the hard way.  The road towards ending euthanasia often starts with a focus on increasing adoptions, and then dead-ends with a realization of the need for a whole more spay/neuter.  Though a balanced approach (between prevention and management of the homeless pet population) is critical, failing to adequately prioritize prevention efforts can be a death knell for humane efforts, and the animals they are supposed to save.

Thankfully, it sounds like SA is getting on the right track and is ready to fully invest in prevention efforts.  Good luck, SA – everyone is rooting for you!



Picture Worth a Thousand Words by Asha
July 19, 2010, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Outreach | Tags: , , , , ,

I saw both litters of puppies in the video below in the lobby this morning as I was heading to the clinic for my daily dose of cute. I asked the human parents how they came across such sweet little ones – their stories are the kind we hear all too often.  The first Good Samaritan told me that she woke up to find a box of Labrador puppies on her doorstep. The other said that she found the box of Schnauzer/Pit Bull puppies in her neighbor’s yard, without food or water. They were relinquished with no argument from the uninterested owner.

While I reap the benefits of hugs, kisses, and puppy breath – these little lives are an all-too-cute example of dogs that were not wanted or planned for by a family committed to caring for a new pet.

Not wanting to put additional burned on our already crowded shelter system, both foster parents have decided that they will care for the little ones until they can place them in loving permanent homes. They are committed to getting all of the dogs spayed/neutered, knowing that is the only way to end the cycle of unwanted litters in our community.



Pet of the Week by Asha
July 7, 2010, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Outreach | Tags: , , , , , ,

There is so much cuteness at Emancipet that I feel bad keeping it all to myself, so I’m sharing it with you! The debate over what makes the cutest pet is a heated one that happens almost daily inside the walls of Emancipet. Since I have the password to the blog, I win this time with a sweet puppy that visited yesterday named, Princess Charlie.

When I tell people what I do, they always say, “Oh, I couldn’t work there.  I would want to take all of them home.”  Well, the vast majority of our patients only visit us for the day for services, and go back to their loving families at night, which makes taking them home with me a real no-no. Princess Charlie was here visiting Amber, our wellness technician extraordinaire, for her first round of puppy shots and will be back soon to be spayed.



Is TLAC now “No Kill?” by Amy

The other day I was at Town Lake Animal Center for a meeting, and a sweet family came up to the front desk with a tiny kitten they found in their garage.  When they handed her over to a staff person, they said, “Congratulations on being no kill now.  We knew this little kitty would be safer with you guys since there’s no euthanasia anymore.”

The moment really took me aback.  This family had heard on the news that in March, our City Council voted to ban euthanasia at the shelter as long as cages were available, and like many other hopeful animal lovers, they had assumed that meant TLAC was now “No Kill.”  If only it were that easy.

Sadly, the moratorium passed in March has not ended euthanasia at the shelter.  Every day, more animals come in, and with every cage already full, euthanasia continues every day.  In short, our community is still producing far too many unwanted pets.

As you already know, ending unnecessary euthanasia will require reducing the number of animals entering the shelter, and increasing the number that leave alive.  Austin has been making steady progress towards both of these goals for the last few years.  Frustratingly, since the news of the moratorium started to spread, we’ve been losing ground on our race to reduce shelter intake.

Perhaps due in part to the misunderstanding caused by media coverage and mistaken beliefs about the shelter’s no kill status, shelter intake is actually up since the moratorium passed.  Since March, about 800 more animals ended up at the shelter than in the same time period last year – mostly cats abandoned by their owners. (Click here for access to the data)

Thank goodness for the hardworking staff at TLAC and the dedicated rescue groups working to get animals out of the shelter alive.  Remarkably, adoptions and transfers are actually up a little, which has meant that euthanasia has so far not increased with the uptick in intake.  But that can’t and won’t last long if intake keeps rising.

At Emancipet, we are working hard to combat this new trend by advocating for spay/neuter and offering free spay/neuter as often as we can afford to.  As owner surrender rates rise, we can’t afford for even one unwanted litter to end up at the shelter, competing for scant resources with the dogs and cats abandoned by their owners, many of which are adults and harder to adopt out.

Want to help?  Here’s two easy things you can do right now that will make a difference:

  1. Tell 3 friends about Emancipet’s free and low-cost spay/neuter clinics and walk-in wellness clinics.  Or, better yet – donate $50 so we can offer another family a free spay/neuter surgery.
  2. E-mail Sarah Hammond (sarah.hammond@ci.austin.tx.us) at TLAC to volunteer to foster kittens or other animals in need.



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