Monday, February 1, 2010

Moving Day

Hello loyal blog followers.
My blog has moved to the Times Union's website. Please continue reading here:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Animals in Haiti

One of our areas of focus at the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society is to educate people about the needs of animals in a disaster. We distribute materials about how to prepare for disaster with your pets in mind and we are active in both the Rensselaer and Albany County Animal Response Teams. Those teams are comprised of various people who have been trained to respond to disasters and assist, rescue and house pets for the duration of the event.

But what happens when the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere experiences a major earthquake just a year after being wracked by hurricanes? Haiti is a country where good people struggle under normal circumstances to take care of themselves and some reach out to help animals in need. There are not animal shelters or veterinary schools in Haiti so they have little infrastructure to help animals. Currently there are unknown thousands of people who have been left homeless, injured or dead because of this tragic event. When people are affected by disaster, it is inevitable that there will be animals in need as well.

If you are concerned about the animals of Haiti, you can help. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has been active in the region for many years and they need help.
You can see their website here which includes updates on events in Haiti...

Thank you for your help and concern.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stephen Hunek

I was very sad to learn this week that artist Stephen Huneck passed away. If you are not familiar with Mr. Huneck's work, it can be seen on the website for his dog mountain studio

I suppose his style would be classified as folk art, but I am not an expert on art or an art critic. I just know that Mr. Huneck understood the connection that we have to animals. Every piece is a simple expression of feelings like 'devotion' (the title of the piece on the coffee mug I use every day). Mr. Huneck's art is whimsical and at the same time touches deeply held feelings we have for our pets. He seemed to constantly be amused by watching his dog interact with the world and in a way that few other artists have been able to, he shared his observations and love for animals in his work.

Two years ago, Mr Huneck generously donated one of his pieces to our Art Saves Animals event. That piece (pictured here) raised over$2,000 at auction. He also allowed us to use the image in all of the promotional materials for the event, bringing more people than ever to support the Society. The piece he chose to donate provides a simple and true expression of our relationship to animals; love them and you will receive their unconditional love.

He was a caring and generous person who helped us all express our love for animals and reached out to help animals in need.

He will be missed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

...But Cats are America's #1 Pet

A recent associated poll found that respondents has a strong preference for cats over dogs.

The poll found:

  • 3 out of 4 adults (74%) said they like dogs a lot
  • 2 out of 5 respondents (41%) said they like cats a lot
  • 4 percent of adults said they dislike dogs "a little" or "a lot"
  • more than 1-in-4 (26%) said they dislike cats "a little" or "a lot."

Of all the groups that answered, married men were the most likely to say they dislike cats.

Why such a stark difference between our top two most loved family pets? Other recent studies show that cats are actually the most popular pet in the country. While there are more dog owning households, it is more likely that a household with cats will have multiple cats.

Many people who have never lived with cats, or had a close relationship with them may believe that cats are aloof and don't desire or require human attention. My cats would beg to differ. While cats interact differently than dogs, they desire human companionship and love as much as any other companion animal and depend on humans for care.

The difference in society's perceptions of cats is reflected in our animal shelter. Over 65% of the animals brought into the Humane Society are cats and our local experience reflects a national trend. Even cat lovers seem to perceive their pets differently than dogs. Cats visit the veterinarians office about half as much as dogs resulting in cats missing out on their annual preventative health screenings. Surprisingly, while cat ownership has been rising over the past several years, the number of cats visiting veterinary offices has declined.

Don't loose hope cat lovers, there are many out there just like you. Animal Shelters and other groups have recognized the feline's image problem and have come together to work on it. Out of this effort the CATalyst council was created. Their website can be found at

The goal of this group is to educate the public about the true nature of cats, their need for human companionship and care, and the wonderful companions they can be. At the Humane Society, we have promoted the importance of cats in our lives with our annual Feline Fest. Every year we celebrate the importance of cats in our lives and try to find new homes for homeless cats.

What is your experience with cats and how do you feel about the poll?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The coldest day of winter

I have a wireless thermometer at my house that tells me the temperature outside from the comfort of my living room. This time of year I always take a look at it before I go out to walk my dog, Buster. This morning the digital readout said '12'. Yes, only 12 degrees, not the number that I was hoping for, but to be expected this time of year.
Buster and I bundled up and got ready for the morning cold and wind of the capital region. Of course one of the first things that Buster did was roll around on the snow while I just hoped he would keep moving on our regular morning walk.
While we walked on a path near my home Buster romped in the snow and seemed happy to be out even in the cold weather, but it made me think about the dogs, that don't get to spend most of their day on a warm couch by the radiator as Buster spends his. There are far too many dogs outside in this weather with little shelter or warmth. So i just wanted to give everyone a reminder to keep your pets safe this year...
Keep your dogs and cats away from anti-freeze : In the winter, car owners break out the anti-freeze to ensure that their vehicles start. Cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of anti-freeze, but it is deadly, even in small amounts. Keep a close eye on dogs and cats when they are outside and never permit them to lick anything off the street or driveway. An animal poisoned by anti-freeze may appear to be intoxicated, having trouble with balance and coordination. If you suspect your pet has ingested anti-freeze, don’t watch and wait. Take it to the vet or animal hospital immediately. Kidney failure can set in within 24 hours.

2.Limit Exposure to Cold: Dogs and cats build up winter coats over time. If your pet spends most of the time indoors, it may not have had a chance to develop a thicker coat. Let your pet develop a tolerance to the cold slowly by limiting outdoor time at the beginning of the season.

3. Streets and Sidewalks Can Irritate Paws: Once the snow begins to fall, city streets and sidewalks are often coated in salt and sand that can irritate dogs’ paws. After walks, wipe paws clean with warm water to prevent dogs from licking and ingesting salt and chemicals.

4. Your Dog May Need a Winter Coat: Small dogs and dogs with short hair can develop hypothermia in extremely cold weather. When outside for extended periods of time, make sure your dog wears a coat or protective covering. If you live in a city, you’ll know that dog coats come in all shapes, sizes and styles to express your dog’s unique personality.

5. That Goes for Boots, Too: If your dog lifts its paws and whines during walks, the pavement may be making its paws uncomfortably cold. Many companies sell dog boots in various sizes and styles. Outfitting your dog with boots will also prevent paw irritation from salt and sand.

6.Keep Cats Inside: If possible, keep cats indoors during winter months. Cats can be frostbitten on their paws and ears in very cold weather. They may also crawl under the hoods of cars for warmth, a potentially deadly situation. Given the additional risk of anti-freeze poisoning, it’s best to keep them indoors until warmer months.

7. Be Careful About Foods and Decoration: Many traditions can pose a risk to pets. Even if they beg, don’t give them bones. They can splinter in the digestive tract. Chocolate is never appropriate to give to a pet; it can be poisonous, especially to small animals. Common winter plants such as mistletoe and holly berries are dangerous if ingested and can lead to gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems.

8.Keep Dogs on the Leash: Don’t let dogs off the leash during snowstorms. They may want to play, but can easily lose their scent and become lost in the snow. This is one of the reasons why more dogs are lost in the winter than any other time. Make sure dogs are wearing ID tags before you take them out in the snow. Getting a microchip for your pet is another great way to get them back if lost. You can get your pet chipped at the Humane Society for only $25..

9. Never Leave Pets Alone in a Car: Pets can freeze to death in very cold weather. The enclosed space of a car will not maintain sufficient heat to protect them from the cold. Leave them at home or bring them with you on your errands.

10.Move Beds and Dishes Away from Drafts: Notice whether your home has drafty areas and move pet beds and dishes away from them. The floor can be very cold, even in a warm house. If your pet does not share your bed, make sure it has a bed or cushion to sleep on to protect it from the cold.

So enjoy the holiday season and the beauty that snowy weather brings, but just use a little caution with your furry friends.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Going Home for the Holidays

This is a time of year when millions of people are going home to spend time with their families and we are hoping that the homeless animals at the Humane Society will all have a home to go to by the end of the year.
Our special Cats-giving adoption promotion led to 46 cats finding new homes, but there are hundreds more who still want to be with new families for the holiday season. That's why the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society is holding our countdown to 2010.

Every day in December there will be a different adoption promotion with the goal of all animals having a home before the new year. Our countdown starts December 1st with free microchips for every animal adopted today! Keep an eye on our facebook group and twitter feed for the daily special and check the adoption section of our website for animals in need of families.

Friday, November 20, 2009


The Humane Society currently has over 250 cats in our care. Some of those cats are in foster care waiting for space to open up in the shelter. This time of year many people are focused on holiday shopping and preparing for family to come visit. What better time to add a new family member for everyone to meet?
The Society is celebrating Cats-giving by reducing all cat adoption fees by half until Thanksgiving day.
Give homeless cats something to be thankful for this year and come adopt a new pet for the holidays.