Parvo Awareness Week by Amy
April 27, 2009, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Executive Director | Tags: , , , , ,

Today is the first official day of Parvo Awareness Week in Austin, and it’s coming just in time.  This spring, we have already seen far more Parvo cases in puppies than we usually see, and our friends at Animal Trustees of Austin and Town Lake Animal Center are saying the same thing.  On Saturday, I was out at the City’s free Rabies Clinic at Walter E. Long Lake, and we provided about 50 Parvo shots to puppies from 8 weeks to 6 months old, most of whom had never had a single vaccination.  Unfortunately, a few were already showing signs of Parvo, and it was devestating to talk to these devoted pet owners who had never heard of this deadly disease.

Parvo is a highly contagious disease that affects a dog’s intestinal tract, immune system, and sometimes heart muscle.  It can be treated, but the treatment is costly, and is not always effective if started too late.  As a very fast-acting disease, a puppy can become sick incredibly fast, and can die within a few days.  Parvo is transmitted through fecal matter and because it can live in the soil for months, puppies contract it easily just by playing in an area where an infected dog was six months ago.  The way to ensure puppies don’t get this deadly disease is to vaccinate them every 3-4 weeks from the time they are 6 weeks old until they are four months old, and to follow up with yearly boosters after that.

To help raise awareness about this deadly, but preventable disease, EMANCIPE+ and ATA are offering 50% off all parvo vaccinations (it is actually a combined vaccine – DHPP – that protects against Parvo, Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parainfluenza) at our clinics this week.  At EMANCIPE+, that means our regular price of $11 is down to $6.60, and we don’t charge an exam fee.  No appointment is needed for these services – you can just walk in from 10 am until 3 pm to our stationary clinic to get your puppy vaccinated.  Please help us protect Austin’s puppies by spreading the word!


New Subaru by Amy
April 24, 2009, 2:19 am
Filed under: Executive Director | Tags: , ,

Last Saturday, Subaru and the ASPCA gave EMANCIPE+ the gift of a brand new Subaru Forrester to assist with our outreach events and community awareness.  We are thrilled and can’t wait to see the reactions we get driving down the highway with this!  Honk if you see us!  Here’s the video of the award ceremony. 

Animals on the Lege by Amy

This legislative session is shaping up to be an exciting one for Texas animals.  Just a quick glance at the animal-related bills being considered (puppy mill licensing, mandatory spay/neuter, etc) shows that our lawmakers are carefully considering ways to improve the lives of animals in Texas.  It’s definitely encouraging, but it can be challenging to stay up to date on all the humane legislation being considered in Texas.  To stay informed about developments at the Capitol, I go to two online sources and I thought they might be useful to you.

I prefer to start by going straight to the source and reading the full text of a bill without commentary.  If you like to do the same, you should visit the web site for Texas Legislature Online and set up a “My TLO.”  This is a free, personalized service that allows you to search for bills by keywords or subject areas and set up alerts that can be sent to you via e-mail or even your cell phone when an action is taken on bills in your lists.  I really appreciate getting an e-mail when a bill I am watching goes to committee or gets a hearing date.  I also get an alert if any new bills are introduced that might be of interest to me.  From the e-mail alert, I can easily click through and track progress on the bill as well as read it in it’s full format to help me get objective, detailed information.

After I’ve done that, I like to get a more subjective take on the bill from a source like the the Texas Humane Legislation Network for background information and analysis, and to get their take on the potential impact of the bill.  THLN is a non-profit that advocates for the enactment and enforcement of laws that ensure the humane treatment of Texas’ animals.  They maintain an action alert list of current bills that will have an impact on animals, and you can sign up for an e-mail alert system here as well.  You won’t get full text or the more technical information you can get directly from the TLO, but you can get very valuable information that will help you form an opinion about a bill, as well as directing you to take specific actions to help when needed.

I hope you find both of these sources as helpful as I have, and I encourage you to get informed about bills that might impact companion animals and thier owners in Texas. At the very least, it is exciting to get regular e-mails that reflect our great state’s progress towards becoming a more humane place for animals and the people who love them.

Pet Wellness Fair Video by Amy

Check out our video of last weekend’s 2009 Pet Wellness Fair, which I wrote about in March.  The event was this last Saturday and was a project of EMANCIPE+, Meals on Wheels and More, Blue Dog Rescue, and Town Lake Animal Center.  We had a great turnout and were able to spay, neuter, and/or provide veterinary care for almost 130 dogs and cats in need.  These pets were all owned by Meals on Wheels and More clients who could not afford or access full service veterinary care.  It was a wonderful day thanks to the hard work and collaboaration of the organizing groups and the many TLAC, Blue Dog, and MOWAM volunteers who stepped forward to help these people and pets in need.

Jargon Jockeys by Amy
April 4, 2009, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Executive Director | Tags: , ,

This week, the Austin Chronicle ran Patricia Ruland’s thorough pieces about the City of Austin’s municipal animal shelter and the community’s animal welfare efforts: How Many Cats Did Austin Save Last Year?, How They’re Doing It, and Austin’s Animal Partnership Model: Get Engaged.  While it is not the main thesis of any of the pieces, one point she makes quite well is about the confusing jargon we have a tendency to use in this field.

We use jargon, terms like “adoptable,” “treatable,” “no-kill” “limited intake,” even “euthanasia” as a sort of shorthand to facilitate program and policy design and measure results.  However, sometimes our jargon is so confusing that it obfuscates the intended impact of our work.  This is risky because if the people we rely on to help us save animals – our volunteers, donors, clients, staff, and supporters – don’t understand where we want to go, how will we get there?  We need a clear, shared vision of what success “looks like” so we can design the fastest way to get there, and maybe more importantly, so we will actually recognize it when we see it.

What does success in Austin look like to me?  It’s pretty straightforward: success = no unnecessary killing at TLAC.  To clarify our position a little more, we support shelter veterinarians’ decisions to humanely euthanize animals that are suffering from an illness or injury.  We support shelter staff’s decisions to humanely euthanize animals that are legitimate threats to the safety of people, children, or other animals because of their aggressive and dangerous behavior.  And that’s it.  If we are killing Austin’s homeless animals for any other reason, we have not yet reached our goal.

We aren’t there yet.  We are still needlessly killing homeless animals in Austin, and that is exactly why all of us are working so hard to think strategically and build and enhance the programs that will get us to our goal most efficiently and effectively.  I know for a fact that we will reach this goal, and I don’t think it is that far away.  In the meantime, I’m making a pledge to try to keep jargon to a minimum, and speak as plainly as I can about what we really want for Austin’s animals.  I will be a jargon jockey no more!