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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

This Saturday (9/30/17) is our 8th Annual Adopt-A-Rama and we are so excited to see adoptable pets find new homes! This event has grown so much over the years and we now have over 20 shelters and rescue that will be attending to educate you on adoption and meet their dogs and cats.

If you already have a pet at home and you want to another, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to go about picking out and introducing a new pet into your home.  Here is a quick checklist of things to look for:

  • Consider the personalities of your existing pet(s), look for a new addition with specific traits. Adopting an older pet has a big advantage – most older pets have already been exposed to other species in their past, which can really streamline the socialization process.
  • If your dog tends to aggressively chase, pin, or otherwise “manhandle” cats, it’s probably best to consider getting another dog instead. And, a cat who constantly growls and bats, or hides from dogs would probably prefer the company of another cat.
  • If you have a pup who loves chasing things, consider avoiding a fearful or shy new addition. This can sometimes trigger a dog to chase.
  • Ignore the old wives’ tail – Bringing a highly energetic, rough-playing pet home could bring “new life” to your existing elderly pet companion. This pairing could actually terrorize or even hurt your older furry friend. Look for an upbeat, but calmer new addition. The extra company can still do wonders for an older animal.
  • Pick a neutral location to introduce your existing pet and the prospective new pet. Pick a somewhat airy, open area that neither pet considers “home turf.”
  • After bringing you new furry friend home, periodically rotate which pet has freedom to roam and which one is more confined for the first few days. This allows each animal plenty of space to investigate the other one’s scent.
  • Never leave two newly-acquainted pets alone together and unsupervised. This should be managed very gradually over about 3-6 weeks.
  • In the case of dogs and cats, the cat will often “claim” higher territory and let the dog “have” the floor spaces. Try adding a few high up perching features (shelves or pieces of furniture) to your living area to help both animals feel comfortable.
  • Don’t hesitate to work with a qualified animal behaviorist who can often suggest very specific and effective strategies for helping new furry family members get comfortable with each other.

If you have other questions about introducing or training a new pet, Allie Bender, owner of Pet Harmony will be on hand at Adopt-A-Rama this weekend to talk to you and answer your questions! We look forward to seeing you on Saturday at Two Bostons, Springbrook from Noon-3:00 pm.

 

julieguestblogHi all, hope you are enjoying the Fall and its beautiful colors!  Since it’s November, National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, I have another local shelter to recommend:

Naperville Area Humane Society, www.napervilleareahumanesociety.org

Almost a year after I lost my first dog, it was time to adopt a new one.  I found one at NAHS who looked promising based on profile and an initial visit with just grown-ups. However, when I brought my daughter (then 5) to meet the dog, he went after her like she was made out of ham!  So obviously that was not the dog for us; I was pretty disappointed.

img_0808The NAHS volunteer supervising our visit then asked us a questions: “Have you met Stanley?” No, we had not, I said. So, a few minutes later, the most gorgeous pit bull terrier I’ve ever seen was being led into the meeting room. This was Stanley. He interacted calmly and sweetly with all of us, and I went home unable to stop thinking about this dog.  I went back to NAHS a few days later to see him again , and he was at the vet being treat for a UTI.  The letdown I felt when I wasn’t able to see Stanley that day was the biggest indicator that I wanted to adopt him.  When he was back at the shelter, we made one more trip there and did just that.

Now I realize this story is not remarkable. It sounds like a pretty standard adoption story, right? But what makes it noteworthy is the volunteer who asked the initial key question “Have you met Stanley?” She was being an advocate for a dog who probably had been overlooked a lot because of his breed. She saw that he was sweet with kids, active enough to keep me busy, and in many other ways a good fit for our household.  I was grateful that the thoughtful recommendation she made turned into the relationship with Stanley.

img_1002I think that’s what makes adopting a pet such a fulfilling thing to do, you are giving a second chance to an animal that likely ended up at a shelter through no fault of their own. Shelter volunteers know that, and give all the pets a chance to demonstrate what makes them special, and then try their best to match them up with the right owners. I’ve had 3 dogs as an adult, all adopted, all beloved, and all photographed to a ridiculous degree.

So add NAHS to the list of organizations to explore the next time you’re ready to open your heart and home to a new pet! Stop by the Downtown Naperville Two Bostons and talk to me or our manager, Todd (who just adopted the most adorable girl from NAHS) about our experiences there.  Happy Adopting!!

“Hi Amber, it’s “Noel.” I am on vacation this week and was browsing the Internet and found a cute puppy’s picture at the animal shelter.  I’m going to head over there and pick her up.  I don’t know anything about this breed, can you tell me before I go?”

cute-dogFirst, I’m grateful Noel called me first.  More often than not, I get the call once things aren’t going well about a week or two after adoption or purchase.  After a few questions of Noel’s lifestyle, habits, and honest reasons for wanting this particular puppy, we decided together this dog was *not* a good fit for her.

Unfortunately, a lot of pet purchases and adoptions are made from “really cute pictures online.” Don’t get me wrong, cute dogs sell!  My Instagram page is devoted to cute dog pictures with plenty of followers!  Plus, my next dog is likely a yellow Labrador and I will check out the Internet to see who is out there.  Then make meet and greet appointments based on availability and pictures. Where this goes wrong is “what a cute face! Let’s bring this one home!” Not all breeds are created equal.

Breed research is vitally important before bringing home a dog.  It is truly necessary to match a dog’s breed to your lifestyle. Unfortunately, breed behavior can conflict with owner expectations and management. Though the dog will vary on an individual basis, you should make yourself aware of what their genetic DNA programming is.

Generally, breeds can look like this:

Herding
Job: ability to control movement of livestock
Turns into: easy arousal of movement including children and cars

Workingnational-dog-day
Job: various tasks, guarding, pulling sleds, search and rescue, police, military
Turns into: Resource guarding, protective of person or property, excessive leash pulling.

Hound
Job: Hunt using scent, sight, and speed
Turns into: distracted by smells and easily lose attention to owner, chasing.

Terrier
Job: Hunt and kill vermin
Turns into: Digging, chasing, killing rodents in yard or home such as hamsters and guinea pigs.

Sporting
Job: assist humans with hunting by pointing and retrieving.
Turns into: Carrying things in their mouths like laundry and shoes, possible destruction of items.

Amber WalkerSo, before you bring home the next “OMG that dog is so cute!!!!!,” a little breed research can make or break the happiness and compatibility success of both your family and dog!

Amber Walker is the owner of Animal Intuitions, you can contact her at (630) 53-PUPPY or amber@aitrainers.com or visit her website at www.aitrainers.com.

 

 

 

julieguestblogAs many of you know, Two Bostons recently hosted our annual adoption event, Adopt-A-Rama.  We are lucky to have hundreds of caring, reputable shelters and rescue groups in our area, but it can be hard to decide where to start looking when you want to adopt a new pet.  Read on to hear about two area shelters with which I’ve had personal experience.  I hope you will visit them when you consider adding a new pet to your family!

West Suburban Humane Society (WSHS) in Downers Grove.  www.wshs-dg.org (630) 960-9600

wshs-logo

I volunteered at WSHS for 2 years in the kennel.  At first, I thought it would be emotionally difficult to work in a shelter because I would feel sorry for the animals.  But I found the atmosphere at WSHS to be one of hope instead of despair.  WSHS does not give up on their animals. If dogs have behavioral difficulties, they are sent to a rigorous 2-week training session to address their issues and make them more adoptable.  I worked with many of these dogs, and they were the ones I was happiest to see had been adopted.

And CATS! It is SO much fun to visit adoptable cats at WSHS!  Instead of being in cages, most of the kitties are in the cattery, a wonderfully maintained room with 20 something free-range cats.  You can wander around and pet cats, see which cats come up to you, observe how cats interact with each other, and ask the volunteers questions.  It’s a low-stress way to look at potential new feline companions.  WSHS also has a dedicated “kitten room” for the youngest adoptables.

 

A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter in Naperville.  www.adoptpetshelter.org (630) 355-2299

adopt-logoIn 2014, ADOPT (Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment) had a very thorough profile on their website about a senior boxer mix named Maple, including a letter from her foster mom.  I visited Maple in her foster home, fell in love with her, and completed the adoption at the shelter.

shelters-blog2Just a day or two after bringing her home, I noticed a bump on her hip area (Boxers are very susceptible to tumors).  I talked to the staff at ADOPT, and they offered to take her back into their care…that impressed me. Even thought it would been challenging to find a new home for an older dog with a known history of tumors, they would have taken her back with no hesitation.  But I of course still wanted her, so they took her back overnight and removed her tumor at no cost to me.  She’s doing very well as a 9-year-old diva!
What impresses me most about shelters in the western suburbs is how well the animals are cared for.  The staff and volunteers do their best to find the RIGHT homes for the pets, not just anyone willing to fork over the adoption fees.

Check out WSHS and ADOPT, and stay tuned for another blog entry from me, about my adoption experience at the Naperville Area Humane Society!

If you are reading this chances are you already know about the hazards of purchasing a new pet from a traditional “pet store.” More and more cities are becoming intolerant of puppy mill outlets looking for nothing more than a quick profit.  The city of Chicago has put a ban on the selling of puppy mill dogs at pets stores within the city limits.  This is critical, because the Midwest is considered a key distribution hub for mill activity.

But in an unfortunate twist, rescue and shelter pups often receive an equally bad rap.  Some have the perception that these pets are more neglected and somehow “inferior” to pet store pets. This reputation has gotten much better over the past few years, but it still has a long way to go…our area shelter and rescue organizations house dozens of healthy, happy pets who have received as much quality care and nurturing as the animal-loving staff and volunteers can shower upon them.

Here are five common myths about shelter pets…

Myth #1: Shelter pets are neglected or run down.dottie-atailof4paws

I am on the board of directors at one of the area shelters and I have always been impressed by the care and attention these pets receive, and how many volunteers that WANT to help! In well-run shelters, animals receive vaccinations upon intake, and they are placed on a regular diet.  Most are already spayed/neutered and even microchipped when you adopt them.

Myth #2: I won’t properly get to know a new shelter pet before taking him/her home.

Many shelter and rescue organizations offer online pet profiles that help you see and get to know some of the adoptable animals from the start.  And most shelters or rescues will have you schedule a ‘get-acquainted’ session with your prospective pet and most refuse to conduct same-day adoptions. To learn more about a given pet, ask to speak with the foster parents or staff that work with the animal because then they can often share some great personality and training insights.  It’s also smart to formulate a list of questions you can ask the staff veterinarian and available shelter team.

tomMyth #3: I’ll never find a purebred dog at a shelter or animal rescue.

According to current statistics, more than 25% of all dogs in shelters are actually purebreds.  They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Many adoptive parents may actually overlook a beautiful darker-colored pet (even a purebred or even-tempered mix), simply because these animals don’t show up as clearly in photographs.  It’s always worth taking a second look.

Myth #4: Shelter pets are generally older.

Local shelters and rescues have pets of all ages.  And the intake mix often changes from week to week, so check back periodically.  Many older pets have already been trained and housebroken, and most are calmer than a younger animal.  This means less initial (and ongoing) work for you as a pet parent.  What these older pets really need most is a safe, secure home and someone to show them consistent love.  In return, they provide unwavering loyalty, companionship, and affection.  Their adoption fees are often lower, as well.

Myth #5: Disabled or special-needs pets just aren’t an option for me.

As vets like Miranda Brady remind us, “Blind dogs can often get around every bit as well as their sighted counterparts, because dogs are so reliant on scent.  It simply helps to keep the environment somewhat stable. Much of the time, you might actually forget the dog is blind.” In the same way, deaf dogs often get along beautifully by learning special hand signals.

You can learn a lot more about the different shelters and rescue organizations in our area at our 7th Annual Adopt-A-Rama, coming up on Saturday, October , 1, 2016 from Noon – 3:00 pm at our 75th St. store.

adopt-a-rama-photos

AnnaPayton

There are many options available for acquiring your next furry family member…so why should adoption be your first option?

  1. Variety – Millions of animals go through the shelter system every year, which means there is a wide variety of animals available for adoption including puppies, kittens, and purebred animals.  The Naperville Area Humane Society (NAHS) always has different types and ages of dogs and cats available for adoption.  Other organizations offer different species for adoption including rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards, horses, and so many more!
  2. Searchable – While the majority of animal shelters, humane societies, and rescue groups are independent from one another, there are many search engines such as Petfinder.com that help facilitate finding the perfect pet for you.  NAHS posts animals that are available for adoption on our website, Petfinder, and social media.  Most adoption agencies post their available animals through various mediums to make it as easy as possible to find the pet your are looking for.
  3. Complete Package – The animals at NAHS receive a behavior assessment, an exam by a veterinarian, medical care, microchip, and are spayed/neutered prior to going up for adoption.  Thus, all of that is included with the adoption fee.  Adoption agency policies can vary, so ask what is included prior to adopting.  In addition, to ensure a good match for the new family and the animal, staff spends time counselling and working with the adopter to help make sure the animal is a good fit for their lifestyle.
  4. Support – NAHS provides continuous support to not only our adopters but also the general public on common behavior challenges, training, and general pet care advice through our online resources and our behavior helpline.  We are always willing to lend an ear and if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who will.
  5. Become a Difference Maker – Not only are you making a difference for the animal you are adopting by giving them a second chance, you are also making space available for the shelter to take in and help another animal in need. Take pride in knowing you are making a difference when you choose to adopt!

If you have never been to an animal shelter or you are looking to add to your family, I encourage you to check out the shelters in your area.  Stop by NAHS and say, “Hi!” I would be happy to show you around.

Anna Payton is the Executive Director at the Naperville Area Humane Society.  You can find them at 1620 Diehl Rd., Naperville, 60563; call them at 630.420.8989; visit their webiste at www.napervilleareahumanesociety.org; or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @NaperHumane.

 

Sarah Stromberg, Animal Care Manager at the West Suburban Humane Society provided us with this amazing story about adopting senior dogs and how they can change your life!

“I could never adopt a senior pet.  I can’t go through loss again so soon.” “Old dogs cost more to take care of.” “There must be something wrong with that dog if her owner gave her up after 8 years.” These are common comments heard at shelters across the nation.  I’m letting you all in on a big secret: if you are lucky enough to adopt a senior shelter pet, it will change your life.

My family was not looking for a dog when Rocky entered our lives.  He was originally adopted as a 3 month oldRocky puppy and returned to the shelter at 7 years old.  When asked about return reason, Rocky’s owner said “There’s nothing wrong with him, we just don’t have time for him anymore.”  When they left, one of his kids said “Bye, Rocky, I’ll miss you.” Heartbreaking…

Oftentimes, dogs living in a home for many years have a harder time adjusting to shelter life than strays or those from other shelters.  I’ll never forget how Rocky wouldn’t lay down in his run at the shelter, and he whined pitifully and was inconsolable.  I was asked to bring him home as a foster to determine his true personality.  Little did we know how deeply this old shepherd would embed himself in our hearts.  Rocky was ours for seven years.  He was the best behaved dog we ever had. He was already housebroken, never chewed anything, did not beg at the table; not even once, and was fine with other animals (even annoying foster puppies who came and went over time).  He was my shadow; my constant companion, following me everywhere.  It was as if he was so grateful to be back in a home, he wanted us to know.  He was such a loyal, loving guy.  When Rocky left us, he took a piece of our hearts with him. He was so special and we couldn’t imagine not having had the chance to be in his life.

brutusWhen you visit a shelter, don’t overlook the seniors thinking you will be heartbroken if they die too soon. Small breed dogs can live to 20, so at 10, they are only middle-aged!  Love is love and it comes with loss at some point.  Senior dogs are an open book, what you see is what you get.  Most seniors are potty trained and have already learned their manners.  I always suggest a senior for busy families with younger children because they don’t require as much training and tend to accommodate their family instead of the family accommodating them.  The idea that senior dog care costs more is just not true…Puppies need more vaccines, more check-ups, and they get into things they shouldn’t and cost you a trip to the emergency vet.  A dog of any age can become ill or injured.

JudyRocky was not a anomaly.  Fantastic dogs of all ages and breeds are given up every day through no fault of their own.  People’s lives change.  They find they can’t afford their pet.  They may have to move to assisted living or take in a family member who is allergic.  Maybe they changed jobs and travel more.  Shelter dogs are not damaged goods.  Senior shelter dogs have such amazing hearts, they are the best kept secret in sheltering.  Next time you visit your local rescue organization, take special notice of and seriously consider a senior dog.  You will never regret it, I promise!

When you think about getting a new dog, most of the time our minds automatically go to looking at cute, fluffy puppies.  I mean, they really are just adorable…but have you thought about adopting a senior dog?  November is Senior Pet Month and next time you think about bringingMabel_terrier Chihuaua mix a new four-legged family member into your home, think about the benefits of a senior dog.

  1. What you see is what you get:  Older dogs are an open book – you know what their full-grown size is, what their eating and grooming requirements are and they will have already established their temperament and personality.  This will help ensure that this is the right dog for you and your family!
  2. They have manners: Most senior pets are already housetrained; unlike a puppy, and are usually familiar with basic commands (Come. Sit. Stay.) that will make your life easier.  If your household has young children this is especially helpful!  Old dogs are eager to please and enjoy the mental stimulation, they also have a lot of experience in reading humans which will help them quickly figure out how to do what you are asking.
  3. An older dog is past the chewing phase: Anyone who has had a puppy that has chewed furniture, shoes, rugs, and anything and everything else they can get to…you can now relax!  The chewing is a puppy behavior and you will not have to replace your favorite shoes anymore.
  4. A senior dog requires less exercise: You might be experiencing this already…as we age we all slow down a bit.  Same goes for a dog, they will be less frisky and rambunctious than a puppy, so the requirement for exercise will be far less.
  5. They are not a 24-7 Job: Dogs in their older years will not require the constant monitoring like puppies do.  You will have more freedom to do your own thing.
  6. Just Add Love: An older animal will adapt to a new family given love and time.  You might not be this dog’s first family (or even 64a5a33b-306b-4e7d-aec2-a6273a2ef100second or third), but once you adopt and shower him with love you will be his only family!
  7. Great for all ages: Senior pets have a more relaxed temperament which makes them excellent companions for the young and elderly.  More mature people benefit with an older dog companion that is aligned with their energy level and lifestyle, and children can benefit from an animal who is more tolerant and who may already be well socialized with them.
  8. They know they have been given a second chance: Talk to anyone who has adopted a mature dog and they will tell you that they are convinced their pet knows they have been saved.  Just one look in their eyes and you can see that they are saying, “Thank you for saving my life.”
  9. Be a hero: At shelters and rescues, older dogs are more than always the last to be adopted.  Taking one home will give you an emotional return on your investment, and you will feel the rewards every day you spend together!
  10. They are Cute…do you need anymore than that!

Brutus_beagle mixIf you are interested in visiting our local shelters to meet some adoptable senior pets here are some of the local shelters that we would recommend visiting first.  A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter, Hinsdale Humane Society, Naperville Area Humane Society and West Suburban Humane Society.

We are so excited that our 6th Annual Adopt-A-Rama is this coming Saturday!  This event has grown so much over the years and we will now have 24 rescues and shelters on hand along with a dozen vendors and local businesses to educate you on products and services for your pets.

Last week we told you why owning multiple pets is actually good for you!  Today I want to give you a short checklist of how to go about introducing new pets into your home.

1. Consider the personalities of your existing pets, look for a new addition with specific traits.  Adopting an older pet has a big advantage – most older pets have already been exposed to other species in their past, which can really streamline the socialization process.

3abede6d6e2ae0f0ecb262c932190bd22. If your dog tends to aggressively chase, pin, or otherwise “manhandle” cats, it’s probably best to consider getting another dog instead.  And, a cat who constantly growls and bats, or hides from dogs would probably prefer the company of another cat.

3. If you have a pup who loves chasing things, consider avoiding a fearful or shy new addition.  This can actually sometimes trigger a dog to chase.

4. Ignore the old wives tale – Bringing a highly energetic, rough-playing pet home could bring “new life” to your existing elderly pet companion.  This pairing could actually terrorize or even hurt your older furry friend.  Look for an upbeat, but calmer new addition.  The extra company can still do wonders for an older animal.

5. Pick a neutral location to introduce your existing pet and the prospective new pet.  Pick a somewhat airy, open area that neither pet considers “home turf.”

6. After bringing your new furry friend home, periodically rotate which pet has freedom to roam and which one is more confined for the first few days.  This allows each animal plenty of space to investigate the other one’s scent.

7. Never leave two newly-acquainted pets alone together and unsupervised.  This should be managed very gradually over about 3-6 weeks.

8. In the case of dogs and cats, the cat will often “claim” higher territory and let the dog “have” the floor spaces.  Try adding a few high-up perching features (shelves or pieces of furniture) to your living area to help both animals feel comfortable.

9. Don’t hesitate to work with a qualified animal behaviorist who can often suggest very specific and effective strategies for helping new furry family members get comfortable with each other.

Stop by any Two Bostons store and ask for some firsthand advice on creating a happy, healthy homecoming for your new pet!  We look forward to seeing you and your well-behaved four-legged family members this weekend.

If you are reading this, you are probably a pet lover already – so you know and are already reaping the benefits of having a furry family member!  But sometimes, one just isn’t enough…are you wanting to add another pet family member to your house?  Do you (like me!) have to do a lot of negotiating and convincing of why another pet in the house is needed and beneficial…well now you can use this! Pet companionship is proven to reduce stress; increase feeling of contentment; even lower blood pressure.  That’s a lot of advantages from one devoted family member.

It is a fact that multiple pets are good for each other too.  Dogs and cats take cues from others in their “pack,” and will entertain each other while your away.  Adding another cat or dog to a single-pet household can help the current pet with separation anxiety and a younger pet can spark new energy in the life of an older one.

cat-and-dog-snugglingMost vets agree that owning multiple pets can give us pet parents:

Greater peace of mind – When we have to work a long day or be away for an evening, it is reassuring to know that your pets can keep each other company.

A better understanding of each pet – It’s amazing how you will see so many other aspects of your pet’s personality come out around other animals!

dog-puppy1Personal insight – If we pay close attention, each animal can teach us something different about ourselves and those we care about.

A greater sense of gratitude – Watching animals romp and play reminds us how much they live for (and in) the moment – and encourages us to let go of worries about the future or guilt about the past.

If you are thinking about adding another pet to your household, consider the type and breed that would represent the best “fit” for your lifestyle.  Take your existing pet(s) along with you to meet the new pet you are considering.  Neutral, non-territorial settings can help you get a better feel for general temperament, as well as food and sharing issues.  Experienced rescue and shelter personnel can offer invaluable insights that can help you all enjoy a smooth transition!

2015-adopt-a-rama-logo-with-TBlogo

Don’t forget that we have our 6th Annual Adopt-A-Rama coming up on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from Noon – 3:00 pm at Two Bostons – Springbrook…we will have over 20 Chicagoland shelters and rescue represented for you to meet, greet and help find you your next four-legged family member!