Monday, February 26, 2007

Dealing with Pet Loss

It's been a sad day. Today, the cat that I was fostering and had recently adopted was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia and had to be euthanized. Facing illness when it comes to the animals we love is a difficult thing and many of us feel as if we are alone. While I feel an extreme sense of loss and pain, I know it's important to reach out to others and express this loss. When dealing with the loss of a companion animal, please remember the following:

  1. You did the best you could! Guilt is a huge issue and while we all feel this when grieving, know that you did everything you possibly could!

  2. Allow yourself to grieve. It's o.k. to feel sadness and loss. Reach out to friends and families and have a small memorial for your companion animal as you would any cherished friend.

  3. Make a donation in the name of your companion animal to your local shelter or no-kill facility. Honoring your animal in this way is a wonderful way to express love.

  4. Don't force yourself to get another pet right away. Everyone has different time frames when they feel comfortable with this. Give yourself time to heal and trust your instincts when it comes time to adopting again.

  5. Start a support group. Start a phone chain or set up a blog...anything where you can vent and discuss your feelings. Writing in a journal is also helpful.
To all the animals lost to illness, may they all rest in peace and know that they were loved.

Written by: Shanon Chalmers

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Educational Links

We know that many of you have questions regarding animal care, how to help in the community and some questions are very specific to situations in your own towns and cities, along with personal experiences. Please visit our 'educational links' tab on the Denkai site. We are adding to it all the time, in the hope that resources will be provided to anyone that has a question about an animal care related issue. If you have any suggestions or know a great site that can be listed, please contact us. We know that this is an effective way to reach out to all of you who have supported the sanctuary through volunteerism, sponsorship, adoption, and by donating.
Connecting with all of you by providing you with resources is a wonderful way that we can all reach out to help the animals in our respective communities. There are some wonderful articles and experiences that people have shared on many of the provided sites. Information is given on such issues as feral cat care, horse rehabilitation and advocacy, and tips on how to get your children and students involved in advocating for animals. Check them out when you have the opportunity!

-Shanon Chalmers

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Homeopathic Treatments

I think it's great if we can use natural products to help to heal cuts, scrapes, and any other medical issues that may arise with any of the animals that we are caring for. Overall, it's much safer for the animal in many ways, if we are able to find products that can help with certain ailments. My dog has definitely enjoyed bouncing and digging in the snow. However, she's been suffering from dry, cracked paw pads over the past few weeks. If anyone else is dealing with this issue, you know it may be difficult to care for. I've found a great product that many people use to care for consistently cracked or dry paws in dogs and outdoor cats: Vermont's Original Bag Balm. Originally used for chapped cow udders, this product has become much more and I would recommend it for dry paws. Remember, though, don't use it on cuts or deep wounds, just to heal excessive chapping and prevent it from getting to the point where it becomes deeply cut. Burt's Bees Hand Salve has also worked amazingly well on chapped paws. Contact us if you would like more tips on caring for your animals using homeopathic remedies, essential oils, etc. We are always willing to answer your questions. Remember that while it's fun to hike and play with our animals in the snow, it's important that we watch for signs of injury to the paws and to the legs. Animals can sprain legs and ankles very quickly from jumping through deep snow drifts. Have a safe winter and try these products if your animal is suffering from cracked paw pads.

-Shanon Chalmers

Monday, February 12, 2007

Can't Adopt or Foster? Think about Sponsoring!

There are so many of us that want to adopt another animal, or just adopt one and simply can't, simply due to where we are at in our own lives. For those who can't presently adopt, but would also like to have the experience of caring for an animal, consider being a sponsor. The sanctuary currently has many goats, dogs, horses, and others who need a sponsor to support them. Sponsorship is also a great way to educate children and young adults about the actual cost involved in caring for an animal. What a great way to slowly introduce the adoption process? We are always willing to answer any question that you may have about sponsorship. It costs a different amount of money to sponsor various animals (prices listed on website), due to the size and food consumption of the animal, level of grooming, etc. If you are interested in sponsoring a certain animal, let us know and we will work with you on an individual basis based on your interests. Some sponsors simply want to pay for food and health care, which is wonderful! Others choose to become more involved and may want to visit the animal on a regular basis. The choice is yours! Sponsors with children, feel free to incorporate the visiting and working with your animal as an educational opportunity just waiting to blossom. If you need some ideas about how to develop a lesson based on the animal, it's habitat, features, care, contact Shanon at Young adults sponsoring an animal may choose to work with the animal and create a report or presentation based on their positive interactions with the animal. As you can see, sponsorship means many things and can be individualized to meet your needs. Contact us at the sanctuary if you are interested. There are many animals that need loving sponsors and advocates right now! They are listed on our site currently.

Feral Cat Reflections

What a couple of weeks it's been! After realizing the large amount of stray and feral cats living in the community, I decided to start trapping. It's important to realize differences between stray and feral cats. Feral cats do not want to be captured and act much like the typical wild animal. Strays and or semi-feral cats have lived with humans and will most likely be able to be rehabilitated and adopted. It's often hard to decipher, but after trapping, you will be able to tell the difference. If a cat is willing to allow you to touch it and scruff it, it has known human affection and you will not have to trap this animal in the normal fashion. All of them are waiting for us to reach out to them in any way that we can ~ through advocacy, trapping, adoption, and or foster care. It can seem overwhelming and while it may be, take it one step at a time. That's what I'm learning to do with these all of the cats that enter my life in one way or another.

Trapping should not be gone about lightly. Experience is needed and you should have a plan of action once the animals is trapped. Where will the animal go? Plans will need to be made to contact us or the local shelter in your area. Make sure that a plan is in place and that you're able to reach out to people experienced in this area. Trap, Neuter, Release is a great option if you are able to simultaneously set up feeding areas, shelters for winter time and volunteers are able to commit to feeding. It's a lengthy process, but it can be done. We, at the sanctuary, have recently received a grant to begin a program where we can trap, neuter, and release ferals who simply are not able to live inside with humans. We will update everyone via e-mail when we begin to recruit for this program and hope that all of you will reach out to us with concerns regarding the welfare of cats in your own communties. All of the ferals that we trap will be spayed, neutered and vaccinated. It's a great program that we are excited to start.

If trapping independently, make sure that the animal that you are trapping does not belong to someone. This will take inquiry and you will need to contact shelters to list any cats found. It's important to do this because many persons simply allow their animals to roam. Others have lost cats many weeks, months, or years ago. Reaching out and communicating that you have found a cat in need is therefore very important. I was able to successfully trap six cats this week and while some were feral, others definitely were not and will hopefully be adoptable in the near future.

On a personal note, I decided to foster/adopt one of the cats that I rescued a few weeks back. Noone has claimed her through the local shelter, so I felt it was a good idea togive her a chance. She is timid and wary of my intentions, but I believe that she will eventually feel comfortable in her new surroundings. She doesn't know me very well yet, but with love and time, she will be a wonderful family addition.

I am still working through many of the issues of trapping and working with cats, but I am excited that the sanctuary will be taking a huge and positive step towards helping these animals. We are very thrilled! If anyone needs assistance with trapping or has any questions, or would just like some support, please contact Shanon at I am learning a lot through my immediate frequent experiences and can offer support to anyone dealing with the same issues and concerns in his or her own community. We will keep all of you updated on the program as it develops and thank all of those who offer continued support!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fibi Is Missing her Home!

This beautiful older dog just entered the Sanctuary today, she is in need of her owners. Has anybody lost this dog recently? Word is out with the Humane Societies just in case her owner might call....