Beyond Family Tails
Can't get enough of DCHS' Family Tails? Below you'll find all the expanded content and continued stories from the latest issues of Family Tails!
Community Dog Day
Dane County Humane Society
October 10, 2015 1:00-4:00pm
Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, Madison, Wisconsin
Written by Sue Dottle, DCHS Volunteer Writer
People were signing in almost an hour before the Community Dog Day event started. Soon, the sidewalks and sunny green grass in front of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County were dotted with small groups of people and their dogs, patiently waiting for their turn to enter the building.
Dorian and his two young nephews were petting their two 9-month-old dogs, Chico and K-Dog, keeping them occupied as they waited. They were at the event because they had come before, and got a lot of help for their puppies. Megan, who heard about Community Dog Days from her fiancé’s mom, had brought her 3-year-old Chihuahua Kushi. She was looking forward to the many services provided. Mariah, holding 2-year-old Bella, heard about the event from a neighbor. Debbie, who was new to the area, had emailed WisCARES about where she could get shots for her 7-year-old Chihuahua Tinkerbell the day before. They called her in that morning and left her a message about today’s event, and she immediately brought Tinkerbell to the Boys and Girls Club building. She was thrilled and excited.
Samantha and Simmone were there with 9-year-old ChiChi. “She's a rescue dog. We were her third chance,” Samantha explained as her daughter held the Chihuahua. “Someone had found her but didn't want her. They gave her to a friend who couldn't keep her, so we adopted her.” They have had ChiChi for four years and appreciate DCHS coming to their neighborhood so they can get her the care she needs.
Meanwhile, inside, tables were set up and furnished with rabies and distemper vaccinations, flea and tick medicine, microchips, dog collar tag machines, neatly laid out collections of toys, collars, and dozens of other items. A truck full of large bags of dog food was parked just outside the exit. All these services and items were available at no cost. Brochures, information sheets, and coupons were available with information on DCHS services and local resources, including spaying and neutering, was also available.
Volunteers were receiving their final briefing on their tasks by Michelle Livanos, who was coordinating the event for DCHS. The 63 volunteers included DCHS staff and volunteers, community volunteers, veterinarians, and students attending the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinarian Medicine. By 1:00 everyone was ready and in their places, and the first owner and his small black dog approached the information table. Community Dog Day had begun.
One hundred and six dogs attended this Community Dog Day. “This event was our fourth year running, and the fifth Community Dog Day event to take place. It was our second time at the location. Last year, at the same location, 55 dogs showed up,” Michelle Livanos reported. “Community Dog Day events are held in Madison-area neighborhoods where we see a high intake of dogs at the shelter. We hold these events to reach out to these neighborhoods and forge new relationships. As these events are targeted, we only promote the events in the neighborhoods themselves. A group of volunteers head out before the event to hang fliers throughout the community and to talk to people about the event.
“In addition to administering vaccines for rabies and distemper, microchips, and flea and tick treatments and making dog supplies and dog food available to take home at no costs, we also share information about DCHS services and local resources,” explained Michelle. “We also hold these events to encourage spaying and neutering, as a means to decrease the homeless pet population. Seventy percent of the dogs that attended were not spayed or neutered – and out of this percentage, forty-five signed up for spay/neuter appointments. We have already booked seven appointments, and continue to work down the list.”
Sincere thanks are given to several organizations that made Community Dog Day possible through their generous support. The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County allowed the use of their building for the event. ASPCA provided funding for the vaccines, ID tags, and flea treatments. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) provided volunteer support. They funded the cost of T-shirts for the volunteers and several of their own staff members and volunteers worked at the event. Microchips were provided free of charge by 24PetWatch. And Willy Street Co-op kept the volunteers cheerful and energized with their delicious contribution of sandwiches and wraps.
Of course, Community Dog Days wouldn't be possible without the tireless efforts of the many volunteers who worked at the event. Some volunteer regularly with DCHS. Wendy O'Donnell worked at the dog supplies table, helping owners select three items from the selection of toys, beds, food and water bowls, and other items, plus a collar and leash if they needed them. Wendy has been a volunteer at DCHS for 6 years, working with dogs as an Advanced Canine Companion. She has two dogs herself, a 14-year-old yellow lab and 13-year-old border collie, both of whom were adopted from DCHS.
Erin Vitaniemi has been a DCHS volunteer for 2 years. This was the third time she's volunteered at the Community Dog Day event. The first two times she helped check people in. This year she and two other volunteers made ID tags for the dogs. She often helps at special events, likes dogs, and enjoys helping with this event. She said, “It's nice being here. I like helping the community out.”
Another volunteer was Miranda Braithwaite, who was Kennel Supervisor at DCHS for a year. She is now a full-time student at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (UWSVM), and she still volunteers 15 hours a week at DCHS, helping the leadership team with program development and new policies, and volunteering as the administrator for walk-in clinics. Miranda was providing information on services available through UWSVM’s Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education, and Social Services (WisCARES) program. She said she was “grateful DCHS comes here to share services” right in the neighborhood.
Mike Sullivan was directing people from the building out to the truck where bags of free dog food were available. He volunteers with DCHS for three events: Community Dog Days, the annual Haunted Trail, and the Yard Committee. He and his wife have had dogs for years. Their last three dogs were adopted from DCHS. The dog they have now is “Gator,” a “Heinz 57” dog. They started out fostering him, but after 2 days, Mike said to his wife, “He's not going back to the shelter.” She agreed. Mike said that “People are appreciative of Community Dog Days. It's a super thing for the shelter to do: providing shots, bedding, toys, and food. It's an awesome way to help people to get what their dogs need.”
Others volunteers were there for the first time. Art Kabelowsky was at the information table, providing flyers and handouts about services available at no or low cost in the community. Art used the services available at the last Community Dog Day, getting help with his dog Chimpy, a 13-year-old cockapoo, who was having some problems at that time. Chimpy is “the best thing going” in his life. They walk every day, and have walked just about every place there is to walk in Dane County--over 50 parks and trails! He was so appreciative of the help he got for Chimpy that he is now volunteering his time with DCHS.
Mortiz Gellner was working at the dog food distribution truck. He and his wife, who is a Canine Companion volunteer at DCHS have a 2-year-old Italian greyhound. Mortiz said that Community Dog Day was a “really cool event. A lot of people don't have a chance to go out of their neighborhood to get services and be educated about care. They get it here—DCHS brings it to them here.... They love their animals, it's just hard for them to get the care for them. This makes it easier.”
Community Dog Day was a great success. The owners were grateful to get the care their dogs needed. There were smiles all around as they left: Julie, with Bruno, a 2-year-old Papillion and Maltese mix; Maria and her husband, who recently moved to Madison with their dogs Marana and Negito; Mamie and her Shih Tzu-poodle Lucas; and Jonathan and his wife and two small boys with their 3½-month-old puppy, and many, many more. “Thanks, Dane County Humane Society!”
In Loving Memory - Mya Lynn
Mya Lynn was discovered in a pool of blood, among rocks, on the shore of Lake Kegonsa back in March of 2006. She was taken to the Emergency Clinic for Animals, and then brought to Dane County Humane Society. X-rays revealed a bullet in her spine and thankfully Dr. Newbury, staff from DCHS, and staff from the UW Vet School were able to remove it.
After recuperating in my office, I adopted her and brought her home in early May of 2006. The following year Mya Lynn was honored with the Rufus Award as the DCHS's "pet of the year."
In early August of 2015 she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and on the morning of Sunday, August 23, I made the decision that it was time for her pain and discomfort to end. Dr. Laura Purdy, from Journeys Home Pet Euthanasia, came to my home and we said good bye to Mya Lynn outdoors in the warm sunlight and gentle breeze on the patio of our home.