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

View From the Top

A VIEW FROM THE TOP

View From the Top!

View From the Top!

When I was elected to the board of the Lemhi County Humane Society, six of the seven members were new.  I sat in on the first board meeting not having a clue as to what I was supposed to do.  I watched as everyone around the table discussed the responsibilities of each office and volunteered as we went down the list.  I thought, “Wow – these people are really stepping up”. But then I realized that they had volunteered for all the offices except the Presidency, so by default, that fell to me.  I told the rest of the board that I would be happy to do it for a while, but if, after 6 months or so, I didn’t think I wanted to do it anymore that I would step down and someone else could do it.  It’s been 6 years now and I’m still growing strong.

The things that the President does includes calling meetings and setting the agenda, seeking out  and applying for grant money for various projects, and basically being the one to deal with most problems.  Because we own both a thrift store and an animal shelter this means problems of various kinds – from not having enough stainless steel food bowls at the shelter, to dealing with unhappy customers at our thrift store.

Stainless Steel Bowl

R&W Thrift Store

R&W Thrift Store

No one likes confrontation, including me, but I have learned that you try to find the middle ground with customers and you do what you can to solve problems at the shelter as quickly as they arise.  Not all problems get dealt with immediately, but eventually all are solved to the best of my ability.

I am proud of what the current board of the Lemhi County Humane Society has accomplished.  In the time that I’ve been there we have purchased the old Odd Fellows Building in downtown Salmon and turned a portion of it into our thrift store, Rags & Wags.  We have remodeled the building, including a nice facelift so that it’s the nicest looking building on Main Street.  I helped secure funds to do that as well as to do a lot of repair work so that the building was safe and usable.  Most recently I found grant funds to help replace the electrical system in the upstairs portion of the building.

Rags and Wags, Salmon Idaho, Thrift Stores,

Main Street Entrance

We also received a large donation from a local woman’s estate which we used to enlarge the animal shelter.  This provided us space for an office, where people can meet and greet their prospective adoptive pet – as well as increased living quarters for our shelter cats.catroom

 

Many Places to Lounge

Many Places to Lounge

Lots of Room!

Lots of Room!

 

 

100 Cars for Good

100 Cars for Good

Covered Parking

Covered Parking

We received another donation to purchase and build a parking structure for a new Toyota van that we won in the 100 Cars For Good contest in the fall of 2012.This structure not only provides shelter for our lovely new van, but also houses a cat isolation room separate from the shelter.

Quarantine Cages

Quarantine Cages

Isolation Room

Isolation Room

This was badly needed as cats tend to pass around upper respiratory infections like kids sharing candy. Now we can completely isolate the contagious kitties so that our entire population doesn’t fall ill at the same time.

One of the great things about the people who currently sit on our board is that each person has sought out the particular job or task that they are best at, and pursued that as their contribution to the running of both the store and the shelter. I personally prefer to spend my time at the animal shelter, where I can usually be found each day walking dogs, or helping to whatever needs to be done to keep the shelter looking good and operating smoothly.

TOPBOARDPICABO

Board Discussion

TOPBOARDBECKY

Board Meeting

 

 

 

TOPBOARD2

Mascot Board Member

 

The walking the dogs thing sounds kind of fun – but I have to tell you that it gets to be a lot of work and requires a huge commitment of time. I typically spend from 2-3 hours walking dogs each day. lchs_webblog_president

Most of these walks are made off site, so I load dogs into our shelter van – drive them to BLM land near Salmon – and let them out to go for a run.  Most often these runs last 20 -40 minutes and then we’re back at the van and headed home. From time to time dogs stray off and I have to spend the next half hour to hour searching for them.  Thankfully, we’ve never lost a dog yet when out for a run.

Walked and Loaded

Walked and Loaded

I also am heavily engaged in helping to transport our animals to other shelters and rescues. Again, this is a huge time commitment because it may involve an 11 hour round trip drive to Boise, Salt Lake City, or Coeur d’Alene. But I consider this time well spent as it gets our animals into new markets, ones that aren’t as filled up as ours.  Local adoptions are kind of rare because there are so few of us in this valley and most everyone has the pets they want.

Last but definitely not least, I help check on animal neglect and abuse cases throughout the county. When a citizen spies an animal that is being mistreated – a dog, cat, horse, goat, cow, whatever – they will call the shelter and ask if we can look into it. This means that we often must drive out to the limits of our county – remember this is a county of 4500 square miles – and find the animal in question.  The first thing we do is to try to contact the owner of the animal and ask if there’s any way we can help. We offer to get food to the animal if the owner is having trouble purchasing it, or we help get housing – such as a dog house or other type of shelter. If the person is cooperative, GREAT – we work together to keep the animal in its home.

Hot or Cold - Walking Dogs

Hot or Cold – Walking Dogs

If the person is not responding to our request for change, or our offer of food/shelter, we monitor the situation and when it appears that there will be no change we contact the police or sheriff’s department, depending on whether the animal is in the city or county. At this point in time we still offer to help the animal and, in some instances, the animal is seized from the owner. Dogs and cats are brought to our shelter where they may receive medical treatment and a living environment complete with plenty of food, water and shelter.  Horses are typically placed in a foster situation where the animal is provided any needed medical care and provided proper feed and housing.  Once the horse is well and nourished we find the animal a new home, typically free of charge to the adopter.

I am proud to be a volunteer with the Lemhi County Humane Society.  I know our efforts have made a difference in the lives of many people and animals in this county.  And I know that people – and animals – can continue to count on us for a job well done.

LCHS President Cindy Phelps

LCHS President Cindy Phelps

MEANT TO BE

Meant to Be

Wally came to the Shelter in the spring of 2013.  He and his owner were living in the man’s pickup truck and it had broken down in Salmon.  A local church opened their doors to the man and the Shelter opened its doors to Wally.  The original plan was the man would be in a rehab program for a few months and return for Wally.  Sometimes plans having a way of changing.  Wally found himself available for adoption.

Available for Adoption!

Available for Adoption!

Wally was approximately 2 years old when he entered the Shelter.  He is a Shar-Pei and German Shepherd mix.  Although he is a wonderful dog he exhibits traits that made him a little more difficult to place.  He is very loyal and friendly.  BUT he doesn’t always like every person who he comes in contact with.

Wally was somewhat depressed when he no longer had a pickup truck to call home or his man.  However, he learned to accept Shelter life.  He liked the 2 squares a day.  Rarely found a dog that he didn’t buddy up to.  And he loved to go on the daily dog runs!  He was often the Star of the Shelter Facebook page!

Wally is the Leader

Wally is the Leader

In the fall of 2013 Wally was one of 12 dogs taken to the Western Montana Humane Society adoptathon event in Missoula.  All the dogs were put through a regiment of behavioral tests before they could participate.  Well, Wally was the only one who didn’t pass.

It just so happened a Shelter Employee (Mike) was a transporter.  Wally liked Mike and he liked Mike even more after spending the night on the bed with Mike!

This bed is COMFY!

This bed is COMFY!

Mike felt terrible that Wally wasn’t going to find a home that weekend.  Wally didn’t seem fazed when he returned to a familiar place – the Salmon Animal Shelter.

Perhaps Wally already knew something that no one else did?

Mike had to quit working at the Shelter in January, 2014 because of back problems.  He always asked about Wally.

The winter and spring of 2014 came and went.  Wally showed the new Shelter dogs the ropes around the Shelter.  He was an outstanding leader on the daily walks!

Wally & His Friends

Wally & His Friends

In June it became clear that one of Mike’s rescue dogs named Gary was not long for this world.  Mike didn’t know hold old Gary was but his age was showing.  Ramps were built.  Trips to the vet were made.  Pain meds were increased.  Gary finally let Mike know it was “time.”  Mike had always told everyone that when he lost a dog he would be up at the Shelter to find a new soul waiting for a home.  Mike allowed himself a grieving period.  Then he went to go adopt Wally.

Ready for a Ride Anyone?

Ready for a Ride Anyone?

During this time a couple showed an interest in Wally.  They had a fenced yard and seemed like the perfect fit.  Mike didn’t have a fenced yard.  Mike decided their home would probably be better for Wally.  The trial weekend came and went with Wally remaining at the Shelter.

No Issues!

No Issues!

When the Shelter doors opened on Monday Mike was there to see how Wally interacted with his other 2 dogs.  NO ISSUES!!

Mike adopted Wally.

My Favorite Spot

My Favorite Spot

The President of the Humane Society knew Wally would end up with a single man.  Hmmm it appears Wally knew which single man he wanted for his own.

Wally adjusted perfectly to life in a house with no behavioral issues.  Period.  His only quirk is he is very protective of his new truck.  Given he called a truck “home” for two years Mike can work around that!

MY Truck!

MY Truck!

Now the question is asked.  Who saved who?  Most everyone would say Mike saved Wally.  However Mike disagrees.

Whoever saved who –

IT WAS MEANT TO BE!!!

Life is Good

Life is Good

Parvo Puppies

PARVO & PUPPIES

The “P” Word One of the most exciting, yet worrisome, events at any shelter is the appearance of puppies as shelter residents. While our shelter loves having them, and we rarely have any problem finding homes for them, puppies are a double edged sword. This spring we received a litter of gorgeous Heeler/Aussie mix puppies. Because they were such wonderful dogs folks immediately started clamoring for a PUPPY!

ADORABLE PUPPIES!!

ADORABLE PUPPIES!!

While we wanted the pups to get adopted and go home with their new families as quickly as possible, our first concern was for the health of the pups. The person who brought them to us had said that the mother did not nurse them for very long and that she had been giving them milk replacer since about 2 weeks of age. Unfortunately, this was a red flag indicating that the pups had probably not gotten a lot of antibodies from their mom, which meant that they would be prone to disease, especially to attack by the parvo virus.

Parvo is one of the most common serious dog disease problems encountered in any animal shelter – and the most worrisome for the owner of any new puppy. The parvo virus can live in the environment for up to a year. It causes an acute, highly contagious disease that most often occurs in puppies 6 to 20 weeks of age. The virus has a tendency to attack rapidly-reproducing cells such as those lining the gastrointestinal tract, which causes the cells of the tract to die and sluff off, producing a foul smelling diarrhea and the inability of the puppy to absorb food or water. Young pups become dehydrated very quickly.   If proper veterinary care is not immediately begun- which typically involves putting in an IV and giving the puppy fluids – puppies can die.

Starting at 6-8 weeks puppies can receive the first of three vaccinations to protect against parvo, but puppies aren’t fully protected against the disease until after they’ve received their 3rd injection, anywhere from 10-16 weeks of age. We tend to vaccinate early in the shelter environment so that the third vaccine is given when the puppies are 14 weeks of age.

This particular litter of pups DID receive their initial vaccination upon arrival at the shelter, but it proved to be too little, too late. Within the first 6 days of arrival all seven of the puppies began to show signs of the virus, meaning that these pups had been exposed prior to arrival at our shelter, since the virus must first enter the gut of a puppy and then requires an additional 3-7 days for the disease to cause symptoms. Once we observed early signs of the disease – listlessness, not drinking water – all seven of the pups were immediately started on IV fluids and other supportive treatment.

There are various strains of the parvo virus and this particular strain proved to be especially virulent. The pups would appear better and then would sink back into the throes of the disease. This continued over the course of a week, at the end of which only 3 of the pups survived.

Parvo disease is spread from dog to dog mainly through exposure to contaminated feces. It is also spread through contract with contaminated objects which can include hands, clothing, food and water dishes, toys and bedding  Insect and rodents can also provide a means for disease spread. Parvo must be treated by a veterinarian! Parvo can have a fairly high mortality rate in puppies – up to 48% – despite early or aggressive therapy. There is no specific cure, so treatment consists of providing supportive care so the body can produce enough antibodies of its own to neutralize the virus. Puppies that survive for 3-4 days generally have a good chance of making a full recovery within a week, depending on the virulence of the strain that is infecting the puppy.

Unfortunately, at shelters, animals with parvo may be adopted out while they are incubating the disease, and then become ill a few days later in their new home. New owners often don’t know what to look for and sometimes don’t get the animal to a veterinarian in a timely manner. Although the puppies in this particular litter had not gone to their new homes yet they had been adopted.  Seven puppies were sick and seven adoptors were hoping their puppies would pull through.  It was an agonizing time for all.

Berta is one of the puppies from this litter that pulled through. She was a very sick little girl who spent a week at the veterinarian struggling for her life; but the struggle paid off.

Survived Parvo!

Survived Parvo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now she is living the dream life of any shelter dog. She has a family that loves her and 2 canine and 1 feline companions.

She has a basket filled with toys.  bertaparvo1basket

So what is in Berta’s future?

Having play dates.

Play Date

Play Date

Teaching Oso that he can play!bertaparvoosoplay1 He didn’t know how to play until Berta came into his life.

Play Oso Play

Play Oso Play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nap time on a soft bed with a little big brother.

Nap Time

Nap Time

 

Living life to the fullest!!!

Adopted Chompers

IT WORKS! 

Nominating a dog at the Salmon Animal Shelter for Mascot finds them their forever home.  We are two for two.  Only dogs who have called the Salmon Animal Shelter home for a significant numbers of months qualify.  Chompers was well-qualified.  She is was us for 1 1/2 years.

Looking for a Home!

Looking for a Home!

 

 

 

In January, 2014, Chompers was nominated as the Shelter Mascot.  The weblog story featuring Chompers stated:  “The last dog that was going to be nominated for mascot (Nubis) was adopted.  Chompers – you are hereby nominated to be Shelter mascot!”  We also questioned in the story if it was the name Chompers that had kept her at the Salmon Animal Shelter for almost one year.

Chompers in Camo

Chompers in Camo

 

Silly Chompers

Silly Chompers

In April, 2014, Chompers was transported to the Montana Animal Companion Network (MTCAN) as a guest at the home of Judy.  Every Saturday the MTCAN holds an event in front of the Hamilton, MT Walgreen’s.  On April 19, 2014, Chompers, renamed Chandra, was one of the featured dogs available for adoption.

I'm in Montana now!

I’m in Montana now!

On May 4, 2014, Chandra found her forever home.  She hit the jackpot big time and she certainly deserved it.  Not many dogs can keep their good nature when they are sheltered for 1 ½ years!  A retired couple adopted her and there is no more home shuffles or abandonments at a shelter in her future!  She is with her family all the time and they even have a grandson she can play with.  Woohoo!

Aaaahhh - to be LOVED!

Aaaahhh – to be LOVED!

So was it the name Chompers which delayed her finding a forever family?  We aren’t sure because she is back to being called Chompers.  Once the couple’s grandson  learned that her original name was Chompers, he INSISTED she was not a Chandra.

We doubt Chompers cares what she is called.  She is just happy to have her forever family that adores her.