Salmon Shelter Life

A day in the life of an animal at the Salmon Animal Shelter

One of the things I often hear people say is that they can’t volunteer at the shelter because they feel sorry for all the animals there. This is most often uttered by people who have either never been to our shelter, or who have only visited briefly and not spent much time there. Truth be told, our animals are in some ways better off than a lot of animals that are in homes. Let me tell you a little about how our animals are treated and then you’ll understand why I say this.

Dogs that are officially ours (they are either surrendered by their owner or have spent more than three days with us after being brought in as a stray) are wormed and vaccinated against the typical five diseases that dogs carry (DHLPP – distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza). Soon thereafter, they are spayed or neutered, at which point in time they are also vaccinated against rabies.

New dogs are kenneled separately from any other dogs for their first few days at the shelter.

Isolation Dog Kennels

Isolation Dog Kennels

If all is well, and the dog doesn’t appear to have any diseases or skin problems that could be transmitted to other dogs, then the dog becomes part of our general population.

At night, our dogs are placed in individual kennels. Depending on the weather, they are either housed inside in our heated kennels, or outside in our covered kennels. Even in winter some dogs prefer to stay outside, in which case they have an Igloo with a heater and blankets to snuggle in, along with a heated water bowl.

Heated Dog Igloos

Heated Dog Igloos

During the day dogs are typically grouped with one or two others in a common area. We have six common areas at our shelter, each one with toys, hidey holes, and dog houses and shade structures where animals can get away from each other and out of both the heat and the cold. In the fall we line all of the dog houses and hidey holes with straw so dogs can get cozy during the coldest of days.

Straw for Warmth

Straw for Warmth

Heated Igloos with Blankets

Heated Igloos with Blankets

Small Bark Park

Small Bark Park

In winter dogs are allowed outside only if the temperature is above 10 ºF. Below this temperature we allow them out for potty breaks and for short play times, and then bring them back inside.

When we do put dogs out in the winter time the short haired ones are either left out briefly, or they are given dog coats to wear. This occurs when the temperature is anywhere near or below freezing.

Fashionable Coat

Fashionable Coat

In terms of exercise, our dogs are taken for either a leash walk or an off leash run – a seriously fun adventure – most every day, all year long. They typically go with their buddies that they hang out with. Whenever possible we take them off the shelter grounds, with them riding in either a van or pickup. We like taking our dogs off site as it gives them experience riding in a vehicle and gives them a break from the shelter environment.

Happy Bandit!

Happy Bandit!

Sometimes they ride in the open, sometimes in a crate. Sometimes the dog will ride in the back seat of a pickup truck, sometimes in the passenger seat of a van or truck, and sometimes in the bed of a truck with a shell. In the end, the dog learns to be comfortable in most every form of transport – and they take every opportunity to stick their head out a window just like any other happy dog.

Ready for a Ride Anyone?

Ready for a Ride Anyone?

Crate Training

Crate Training

Some dogs love to play catch, so occasionally we just take them out back of the shelter and throw a ball or Frisbee for them.

Frisbee Star Bandit

Frisbee Star Bandit

Some dogs like to sniff the ground a lot, so we take them where there are interesting smells – like around sage brush and old piles of logs. Some dogs don’t like much exercise at all, so we take them on short walks around the hockey rink where they often are petted by kids.

Ball Playing Tex

Ball Playing Tex

The life of a dog at the Salmon Animal Shelter is pretty good, wouldn’t you say?

TOO Much Fun  :(

TOO Much Fun :(

Lots of Room!

Lots of Room!

Our cats live in four contiguous rooms, each with a window and thick wire mesh so the windows can be opened during warm weather. All the rooms are outfitted with cat houses, cat trees and catwalks high up on the walls.

Open Cat Room

Open Cat Room

The cats have plenty of places in which to hide, take a nap, or play hide-and-seek with their buddies. One of our favorite pieces of furniture in the cat rooms is the cat wheel . It’s kind of like a giant hamster wheel for cats. The thing is perfectly balanced so that even the smallest kitten can get on it and make it spin. Some cats will spend hours playing on the kitty-go-round.

Middle Open Cat Room

Middle Open Cat Room

We typically have up to 30 cats at a time in our rooms, with our average being 14. At one point last fall, in addition to 13 adult cats, we had 42 kittens! Most of them were from feral mothers. This presented an incredible challenge in both housing and health care.

Many Places to Lounge

Many Places to Lounge

When cats first enter our shelter they are isolated from the general cat population and kept in individual stainless steel cages.

Isolation Cat Cage

Isolation Cat Cage

They are vaccinated and wormed, and their health is monitored for 10 days. Once we have determined that the cat is disease free we will place the cat into the general population.  We also have them spayed or neutered as soon as possible once we determine that they are healthy.

When cats are sick they are completely removed from the main cat rooms and taken to a separate building with a sick bay built specifically for cats. This has helped us cut way down on the number of upper respiratory and other disease outbreaks that are typical in shelter cat populations.

Covered Parking/ISO Building

Covered Parking/ISO Building

Isolation Room

Isolation Room

Quarantine Cages

Quarantine Cages

Our cats are provided with plenty of good food, good health care, and as much attention as we can give them.  So you can see that the life of a cat at the Salmon Animal Shelter is also above par.

The mission of the Lemhi County Humane Society is to provide high quality sheltering for homeless companion animals from Lemhi County. I believe we do this to the best of our ability each and every day at the Salmon Animal Shelter.

Please come visit us and see for yourself that our shelter animals are happy and healthy as they await their new homes.

Happy Cats

Happy Cats

Happy Dogs

Happy Dogs

 

 

 

Cindy Phelps, Lemhi County Humane Society Board President, and shelter volunteer

TransportCindy

MARLEY IS HOME FOR NOW

MARLEY IS HOME FOR NOW

Van/Iso

One of the things that the Humane Society has tried to accomplish over the past 5 years is to improve our shelter’s infrastructure so that we can better house animals while they are guests there.

 
Our first recent improvement was to enlarge the interior space, which meant having enough room so that cats can run free over a large area, and making it so that there is sufficient office space separate from any animal areas.  Prior to this the office had been partially occupied by cats held in stainless steel caging, and the cats rarely had a chance to roam.  With the completion of the addition in 2011 cats now have 3 rooms for roaming, and a separate area where those that are entering the shelter for the first time can be quarantined prior to joining the cats in the free roam area.

 
While this greatly improved conditions for both shelter staff and cats, we were still lacking in a good space in which to isolate any sick cats from the rest of the population. We did have a small, interior room with an exterior vent. But the problem was that the sink for the entire cat area was in the sick room and it was impossible to keep sick cats from interacting with well ones.
What to do, what to do?

 
In the summer of 2012 the Lemhi County Humane Society won a Toyota Sienna van in the Toyota 100 Cars For Good contest.  We received the van in the fall, and because we wanted to protect it from the elements, decided to build a parking structure in which to house the van.

Covered Parking

Covered Parking

At the back end of the structure was an enclosed area meant for a storage room.  What we did instead was insulate it, put in electricity, and make it into a totally separate cat isolation room. So, now we can remove sick cats completely from the shelter environment and house them in an outside facility.  Because upper respiratory infections are so common in cats, and because they spread so easily, the sick bay for cats has proved to be a real boon to our efforts to keep cats healthy while in our shelter.

Isolation Room

Isolation Room

 

lchswebblogcat in iso roomThe entire parking structure/cat isolation room was paid for by a generous donation from the estate of Harry and Marietta Shively. These are the parents of current board president, Cindy Phelps.  Both of her parents were avid animal lovers; her mother’s nick name when she was young was ‘Poochie’, because she was always saving some wayward dog.  It was a moniker that continued to describe Marietta her entire lifetime.

Active Dog Jinx Dishong

PETFINDER AD:  Very Active Dog Needs Very Active Owner

I am sooooo happy!

I am sooooo happy!

Lucy left the Shelter in 2010 as a cute cuddly puppy with lots of love to give.  She came back to the Shelter in 2012 as a 70 pound big dog with lots of love to give. 

You had to be able to brace yourself for the love.  Lucy expressed her love and enthusiasm for life by JUMPING!  Lucy was a recycle dog.  Sadly the recycle rate at the Salmon Animal Shelter runs at 30%.

Lucy’s picture was posted on PetFinder.  Her description:  a very active dog.  She would do best in a household where she receives plenty of EXERCISE and attention.

Into the picture comes Lynne – a very active woman who dotes on her animals.  She had recently lost a dog and she needed a companion dog for her 3-year old Rhodesian Ridgeback.  Drifter, was turning into an old dog without a play companion because he did not know how to play alone.  Lynne remembered seeing Lucy’s picture as a pup but at the time she did not need another dog.  But she did now.

Lynne called the Shelter and yes Lucy was still available.  (Please come and get her – just kidding.)  When Lynne arrived Lucy had just finished counter surfing and had eaten Mike’s (Shelter employee) piece of flaky crusted peach pie.  Eaten – well more like inhaled.  Mike still talks about how he was salivating for that piece of pie.

Yet Lynne willingly took her home on a trial basis to see how she fit in.

Bark Bark Bark

Bark Bark Bark

  All the way home the exuberant dog barked and barked.  Then she barked some more.

lchswebblog_jailedjinx

Jailbird

When Rick and Lynne returned Lucy to the Shelter, Shelter employee Mike’s face fell. 

The “name” Lucy had to go.  Rick and Lynne had come to complete the adoption paperwork for Jinx!  Lynne and Rick saw potential in this goofball of a dog.

dog_adopt_2012_jinx

Adoption Day

She is still a high energy dog but she and Drifter are known to wear each other out – either by racing in their 3-acre yard or on their mega-hikes.  She still barks and barks in the vehicle.  Some things just don’t change.

I'm Waiting...

I’m Waiting…

  However, her weight did.  She is now a whopping 90-pound dog which is her “healthy” weight.

Another change – Jinx is no longer underfoot when she hikes.  She has lost her fear of abandonment!

A silly girl on the hunt!

A goofball on the hunt

Hurry Up

Hurry Up

Sitting Pretty!

Sitting Pretty!

Drifter and Jinx are the best of pals.  It is expected they will watch many more sunsets together now that Jinx is in her “forever home.”

Best Forever Friends

Best of Pals

2013 LCHS Christmas Party

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

 

The Lemhi County Humane Society (LCHS) held its annual Christmas party on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at the Rose House.  Board member Mary Ann Torbett and her husband George own the beautifully restored home on the Bar Hill and graciously opened their doors for a fun filled festive evening.

Festive Evening

Festive Evening

Approximately 40 people attended.  The youngest person in attendance was 4 weeks old.   The LCHS starts their volunteers at a very YOUNG age!

A large turkey and large prime rib were served.  Ken Hill, Board Member, and Kelly Phelps, Volunteer,  were the meat carvers.The Carving DuoThe Carving Duo

There were many salads, a variety of potatoes dishes, fresh dinner rolls, deviled eggs, wild rice and too many other yummy things to remember.

Kitchen Elves

Kitchen Elves

Several comments were overhead that larger plates were needed next year!

Are you full????

Are you full????

Let’s not forget the buffet table covered with scrumptious desserts.  The doggie cake was TOO cute to be cut.  Doggone it!

Too Cute to Cut!

Too Cute to Cut!

What brings 40 plus people together from all walks of life together on a very cold night in December – the love for animals!

Why we do it!

p.s.  There are many more who support the LCHS who could not attend the party.  Their (your) contributions are equally important.  Thanks to all!

Shelter Cats/Kittens & Holiday Toys

Sometimes it is fun to pick up the Lemhi County Humane Society (LCHS) mail.  One never knows what may be in the post office box.  Donation checks are exciting to open.  Last week was a holiday experience – literally.  A visit to the office window with the yellow card in hand was exchanged for a large and bulky padded envelope.Bulky Padded Envelope

Crocheted Cat Toys

Crocheted Cat Toys

The contents:  a note plus two gallon size plastic bags full of cat toys!  The toys are made primarily out of yarn and are very colorful and festive looking.  How very thoughtful (and creative) of Denise in Missoula, Montana.

 

Some background:  In October, 2013, twelve of our Salmon Animal Shelter dogs were transported to an adoptathon in Missoula, MT.  (As a WONDERFUL side note, 100% of our dogs were adopted.)   Mike, one of the transporters, noticed every cat at the Humane Society of Western Montana facility had a handmade toy hanging on their cage.  He was told a “cat” lady made and donated a toy for every single cat that came into and was adopted out of the Missoula shelter.

Shortly, thereafter, the first bag of yarn toys arrived for our Salmon Animal Shelter cats and kittens.  They were a hit!

Pictures speak louder than words –

Winnie, 2 years old, was formerly a feral cat.  He started life in a cat colony next door to the old Beam Plant.  He was brought to the Shelter starving with respiratory issues, ear mites and runny eyes.  He was brought back to health by the Shelter staff.  He has his forever home and refuses to go outside.  Instead he chooses to adorn the piano when it is not being played.

A Toy - for me?

A Toy – for me?

 

Toy_1

A purrfect Winnie approved toy.

 

 

 

 

The two 6-month old orange boys (EllisU and Sooner) are outside barn cats who also spend time on the deck and in the house.  One is a former Shelter kitten and the other was a rescued feral kitten who is as tame and loving as can be today.

Check it!

Check it out!

 

This is very interesting.

This is very interesting.

 

 

 

And then there is Peg Leg.

He is still at the Shelter and is temporarily caged.  While in the free roaming cat room he had too much fun playing in the spinning wheel and broke his leg.   He is now out of his cast and no worse for the wear.

TOO Much Fun  :(

TOO Much Fun :(

 

More fun at the Shelter!

Peg Leg would LOVE to find his forever family.  If you adopt him he’ll even let you play with HIS toys.

WOW!!!

WOW!!

 

 

 

 

Just yesterday a Salmon “cat” lady, Judith, donated a large box of yarn.  Thank you, Judith!  Yep we know whose hands we want this yarn to fall into.

Someone named Denise who makes beautiful and very much appreciated yarn cat toys.  Thank you, Denise!