Hearts United for Animals is a national no-kill shelter, sanctuary and animal welfare organization dedicated to the relief of suffering. Our major areas of effort are to end overpopulation of domestic animals and the suffering of dogs in large breeding establishments. We specialize in long distance adoptions and special needs rescue across the nation. Tia’s Place is our refuge for pets of families fleeing homes of domestic violence. HUA is a 501(c)(3) organization that exists solely on your donations. We receive no governmental funding. The administrative staff is all-volunteer. Our gratitude to the thousands and thousands of people across the continent and around the globe who support our efforts and goals is heartfelt. Together we are a powerful symbol of kindness, love and mercy.
HUA may be contacted at: P.O. Box 286 • Auburn, NE 68305 www.hua.org • firstname.lastname@example.org Cover photo ©2012 David C. Rathbun • www.imsomaha.com
Cover Story-Rocky’s Big Fight Poor little Rocky had one of the roughest starts in life we have ever heard of. When he was rescued by a friend and brought to HUA, we were completely horrified. Both of his eyes were badly damaged. He was so tiny that he fit in the palm of our hands. He was half the size he should have been at five weeks of age. He still had the strength to cry out in pain and hunger, begging us for help. He was rushed immediately to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Omaha. They said he was one of the worst cases of starvation and dehydration they had ever seen. They fed him his first solid meal of canned food ever, and he gobbled it up so fast that he got the hiccups. They immediately put him on warmed IV bags as makeshift hot water bottles and started him on small amounts of morphine for the pain. Soon he was passed out, sleeping like the tiny, precious little baby that he is, with a full tummy and relief from the pain he had been experiencing since he was only two weeks old. On Monday morning, after spending the weekend at the Animal Emergency Clinic, he was transferred to Mobile Animal Clinic in Omaha where he would spend the week receiving further tests and care. They found that he had giardia, was full of worms and had only half of the red blood cells and blood proteins that he should have. He also made a trip that Monday to Veterinary Eye Specialists of Nebraska. Dr. McIlnay said that after approximately a month he could have his badly damaged eyes removed, assuming he had regained his health enough to do so. He was much too small and weak to undergo any operations. With each passing day, Rocky has gained strength and spunk. During the first two weeks, Dr. Jensen at Mobile Animal Clinic said that he was not thriving, but he was not failing either. Rocky decided he would turn that assessment around with the help of his new foster mom Marilynn. After three weeks in her care, Rocky doubled in size, up to 2.1 pounds. She fed him warmed canned food every hour and made sure he received his antibiotic eye drops nine times a day. After his three-week visit Dr. Jensen was so very happy to see that Rocky was walking well, was acting playful, had good blood test results and although he will never have sight, his eyes looked drastically better. Rocky’s favorite thing since the moment he arrived was to be held and cuddled by the humans. The constant love and care that Marilynn has shown him, along with his medicines and food, helped Rocky turn a corner. To everyone’s amazement, on his next visit to the eye doctor it was decided that he would not need to have his eyes removed. They had healed better than anyone thought they would. Rocky is blind but he does very well. He will need to keep fighting and will need to have eye drops twice a day for life. The best news of all came when a wonderful couple who had previously adopted special needs Dachshunds from HUA said they would like to adopt Rocky when he is well enough to travel. We can not wait to hear of the adventures of Rocky when he arrives at his new home in Atlanta. Rocky’s breeder will go on to sell his littermates without much of a thought of the money that should have been spent on Rocky’s care. We know that. We see it all the time. But this particular case really punched us in the gut. It drives home how reckless and disgusting the dog breeding business can be, whether a full-fledged puppy mill or a poor, uneducated, unkind backyard breeder as in this case. We received word that this happened when Rocky was only two weeks old, and that it was an injury from his mother or littermates. We find it difficult to believe that was the means of injury, and so do the veterinarians who attended to Rocky. This steels our resolve to educate the public never to buy puppies from pet stores, puppy mills or backyard breeders. Without demand, breeders like this would have no reason to produce the supply of sick, neglected puppies they churn out. We would like to extend many heartfelt thanks to the wonderful veterinary clinics who always come to the rescue at a moment’s notice, to Rocky’s wonderful foster mom, Marilynn, and to all of our supporters who rooted for Rocky and donated for his emergency and extended care. Because of you, Rocky came from behind and won his fight to survive and thrive.
Victory for the Dogs! After years of protests, anti-pet store and puppy mill billboards, and negative news exposure sponsored by Hearts United for Animals, Petland in Omaha went bankrupt in January of this year. This was close on the heels of the Pet World in Omaha closing in the summer of 2011. A Petland in Ohio also closed the same month as the Omaha store. Dulcea, a Nebraska puppy mill survivor, had been at the forefront of the Omaha protests staged by HUA. She was there for each protest happily educating people on the horrors that the mothers of pet store puppies endure. Dulcea is an HUA Sanctuary Sweetheart. She fought for her life for many weeks and had to have both of her eyes removed because they had been so badly damaged at the puppy mill. Dulcea now lives in Omaha as a permanent foster dog of one of our dearest volunteers, retired UNO professor Jean Bressler. Jean and Dulcea visit many special events and protests and go to schools to educate children about the puppy mill/pet store connection. They have taught thousands of people what it really means to buy a pet store puppy. When people meet Dulcea, they come to truly understand what they sentence the breeding dogs to endure when they make that purchase, and most of them will never purchase from a pet store again. Pecan is another prime example of this dirty business. Pecan was rescued along with scores of other Chihuahuas from a Nebraska puppy mill earlier this year. Pecan was at first too fearful to move. When she did start to move, we noticed that she dragged herself using only her front legs. She could manage to stand on her back legs for only a few seconds. She had such an awful genetic deformity of the back legs that she could not walk. Pecan was only three years old, but she could have had as many as six litters by that age, all with the same defect. While under the care of HUA, Pecan had surgery performed on both back legs at Mobile Animal Clinic in Omaha by specialist Dr. Merkley. She has regained 90% use of her back legs. She is now pain-free, is able to run up and down stairs, is going on walks with her new family and enjoying the many fun adventures that go with being a beloved family member. We will never know what happened to all of her puppies, but we suspect that unless they were purchased by very good families who had thousands of dollars to spend to give them comfortable lives, they did not fare well. The puppy mill/pet store connection is a triple tragedy. Besides the ghastly living conditions of the breeder dogs and the production of many puppies with genetic defects, there is also the issue of inhumane transport. Many puppies die en route. These are puppies who were too young to be taken from their mothers, puppies who may be ill from being exposed to diseases before they were old enough for their vaccines to have taken effect, puppies who may be dealing with genetic defects, shipped en masse in semi trucks with poor temperature control. This is a sick business. With each victory of a pet store closing and each arrival of yet one more group of ailing, forlorn puppy mill dogs, we are encouraged to continue the fight to educate. The numbers of people who understand the puppy mill/pet store connection are growing, and we are winning for the dogs. Thank you for joining us in continuing to fight for the poor sick puppies and their mothers and fathers who languish year after year stuffed in small boxes 24/7 with no attention, love or medical care.
Gabe-The Underbelly of Dog Breeding Gabe is probably the most gorgeous Shih Tzu who ever came to the HUA shelter. Along with that, he is a charming little one who dances and plays, loves people, waits politely for his attention. He is so adorable that it is heartwrenching to look at him knowing that he has a troublesome genetic problem. We were told that Gabe is the product of a show breeder. He was sold as a young puppy and returned to the breeder for a refund. Consequently, he was given away to the person who brought him to us. Gabe is missing the end of his spinal cord. He has no tail, and he is completely incontinent for both bowels and bladder. He is one of the culls. We are very familiar with the culls—the puppies with liver shunts, faulty heart valves, water on the brain, micro eyes, patellas so misformed that their back legs are in a permanent squat. Modern veterinary science can repair some of these puppies. Others have bodily systems so defunct that their lives must end when they are only months old. They are all the genetic nightmares of the breeding world, the accidents that happen when breeding is manipulated through inbreeding and line breeding for desired traits. Gabe may stay here for life and never be adopted, which is sad because he is very young. Purposeful or careless breeding that causes a pup like him to be born should never happen. Here Gabe only adds to the continuous cleaning, and his presence is worth far more than that. He is the darling, playful, happy, funny beloved of all his caregivers.
Let Everyone Know You Support HUA…Buy a T-Shirt! New t-shirts are available online now at www.hua.org. Proceeds go directly to help the dogs and cats at HUA. There are great colors to choose from and new items will be introduced seasonally. Locally t-shirts are available at our t-shirt vendor, YMBK, an Omaha company specializing in assisting socially conscious non-profit organizations. They are also available at Soggy Paws in Omaha and The Canine Scrub and Cause for Paws in Lincoln. Sizes are unisex, so don’t forget the men in the family! Call YMBK at 402-339-9279 to order children’s size and specialty items with the HUA logo.
YMBK 4085 S 84th St Omaha, NE
Soggy Paws 1401 Jackson St Omaha, NE
The Canine Scrub 2774 South Street Lincoln, NE
Cause for Paws 5700 Old Cheney Rd Lincoln, NE
Kids Have Compassion The outpouring of support from young people is always especially heartwarming. They are so genuinely compassionate when they hear of animals in need, and they work diligently on the projects that they have chosen trying to help. Their creativity and spirit of giving are truly amazing. They make the future of animal welfare very bright. Three young girls in New York City—Samantha Relles, Jamie Blankman, and Hannah Kaufman-- decided to have a bake sale which they named “Sweets for Sweeties.” They had only recesses during which to do their planning. They used an email system to obtain recipes and created t-shirts to draw attention to the event. Customers heard such appealing speeches that they contributed more than the cost of the goods, and this three-woman project turned into a smashing success. In 1999, Derek Depew traveled with his family from Neodosha, Kansas, to Auburn, Nebraska, to adopt an American Eskimo named Ralphie. Years later when Derek needed a hundred hours of charitable work for a senior project, he thought of Ralphie, the dog so loved by him and his brother David, and the HUA shelter where Ralphie was rescued. He made and sent a huge box of lovely snuggle blankets saying that he wished to give comfort to the HUA shelter dogs. Girl Scout Troops #4323 and #3845 in Omaha, Nebraska, invested in Doggie Banks which they distributed to Omaha businesses along with a picture of the troops stating that money would go to help animals in need. The girls tend the banks frequently to collect the funds given. True budding entrepreneurs that they are, they reserved some funds as capital to purchase more banks and expand their business. They have sent generous checks for the HUA dogs. When Mac, the Auburn volunteer who helps with new dogs twice every week, was asked to host a Girl Scout tour of the shelter, he gladly agreed. On a warm day this spring, the youngsters visited with Mac and met every dog and cat on the place. It was amazing how much these second and third-graders already knew because they are frequent visitors of the HUA website, and the tour was a heartwarming event.
Tribute to First Ladies of Puppy Mill Reform On May 6, 2002, Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers lost a little white Poodle to post-operative complications. The Poodle who was named Mollie Rae actually belonged to Cindy Grandberry, the senator’s aide, but as he said he had been granted joint custody of her, which resulted in her spending the bulk of time with him. When some people said that he spoiled the little dog, the senator replied that he called it giving appropriate care and consideration to one who deserved it. When Mollie Rae died, he wrote a six-page eulogy to her entitled “Anguished, Personal Remembrance of Mollie Rae”-a manuscript so beautifully eloquent and heartbreaking to read. The senator vowed that he would never again have another dog because the pain of losing them is almost impossible to bear. In August of 2002, Senator Chambers introduced an amendment to a bill in the Nebraska Senate that would restore $26,000 to the dog and cat breeder inspection program. The funds were part of budget cuts that would have effectively closed the newly instated program, a one-man inspection operation at that time. The budget cut proposal carried with it some intent language, intent that future collection of cash fees would start the program over again. But as the senator said, intent does not get the job done and how much easier it is to keep a program going than to restart it. The amendment passed with a large majority vote. In May of 2003, Cindy Grandberry adopted a little white Poodle from Hearts United for Animals. The Poodle named Nicole went to work with Cindy in the senator’s office at the state capitol building. Nicole was a puppy mill dog, age five at that time and so shy that she spent most of her time hiding in corners of the office. But before long, she learned a lot about Senator Chambers. Dogs read our hearts. She was often seen out on the capitol grounds for a leash walk with him, and he carried her in the crook of his arm attending events. She went home to live with him at times, and he often took her to her grooming appointments. He once said to observers, “I am her valet.” In March of 2006, Nicole accompanied Senator Chambers to a session of the Nebraska Senate. Dogs are never allowed in the senate chambers. She went as the silent spokeswoman for puppy mill mothers whose tiny, fragile puppies were being sold at far too young an age. The bill being debated made it illegal to sell puppies prior to the age of eight weeks. It passed into law. About three years after the adoption of Nicole, Cindy Grandberry saved a little waif named Gizmo from being homeless. He was the dog of a relative who had passed away. Gizmo, who was said to be a mixture of Shih Tzu and Dachshund, was entirely different from Nicole. He was not afraid of anything and tried to comfort Nicole and protect her from all that she feared. When Gizmo lost his eyesight, Nicole helped him navigate stairs or do anything else that presented difficulty. The love story between the two dogs was as charming as all their antics. Gizmo died from old age on February 20, 2012, and Nicole passed away from heart failure two months later to the day on April 20, 2012. Ernie Chambers is running for office this year in the Nebraska Unicameral. He previously served for 38 years and sat out a session because of term limits. He is often called a man of conscience and determination. We would add to that compassion.
Agility at HUA Just as soon as the snow has melted, classes and practice begin for the HUA dogs. Many dogs attend tryouts to see how receptive to training they might become. All the shelter dogs love the huge agility park where they run for hours, sit in the shade of a big oak tree, or splash in a wading pool. Some of them are noted for speed and a special interest in what the caregivers are saying. These dogs begin training with our instructor, Tammy Gigstad of Nebraska City, and practice sessions with trainers. Eartha is the all-time agility star. She has attended meets for four years, and the displays of her awards and ribbons cover most of the main entrance hall. Eartha came here in late 2005 from the hurricane in New Orleans. She lives in the shelter house with John and a number of Chihuahuas who decided that they also had to live with John because their love for him just would not extend to other humans. Eartha is a big tough girl who could be hazardous for tiny, self-important Chihuahuas, but she is so kind and good that she would be gentle with a mouse. In the past two years, Eartha has traveled to AKC agility trials. Only Eartha, the Pro, shows her skill with the weave poles. recently have mixed breed dogs been included in these trials. She has earned over a dozen placement and qualifying ribbons from AKC meets. Eartha is a mixâ€”a mix of speed, intelligence, and devotion to John, her trainer, that makes her excel at anything. John is also working with Bam, a young dog rescued from a pound. Bam looks almost identical to Eartha. He has her same incredible speed and almost flies over obstacles. Bam is extremely toy-oriented and can learn anything with a toy involved. He will need to practice many hours to Bam flies over the A-frame. catch up with Eartha, but he is showing great promise. This year some new trainers and new dogs are preparing to represent HUA in agility. Jesse and Jacob are working with Zeplin and Brutus, both dogs who went from one home to another and remained unwanted. When new dogs are brought to the park for training, it is surprising how fast they learn that they have some jobs to do and how rewarding it is to work with humans and learn new things. Zeplin has amazing speed, and the Brutus does not miss a trick. challenge for him is to slow down and concentrate on the obstacles. Brutus is something of a clown who stops and performs antics rather than being serious about his work. Both dogs, however, have learned extremely well. The bond between humans and dogs in agility is so enjoyable for The dogwalk is a snap for Zeplin. everyoneâ€”the dogs, the trainers, and the spectators.
Conrad -A Tia’s Place Story We received an urgent call that Conrad had to leave quickly before the male person in his household returned from jail. Conrad’s mom had been kicked and beaten by her husband. Conrad had been a victim of the horrific violence as well. His mom was terrified that it could spell the end for Conrad if he didn’t leave immediately. She wanted nothing more than for Conrad to find a good home and needed to make sure he was taken care of before she escaped. Conrad is doing well at HUA. He is happy, playful and fun. He is such a clown and so grateful to be rescued. He does not hold grudges, but he is still intimidated by men who look similar to his abuser. Conrad loves playing with his friends here, taking trips to the agility yard and being doted on by his caregivers. Conrad is up for adoption, and we have high hopes that this dear boy will find a loving home soon. This year we have been reminded many times over how important the Tia’s Place program is. In addition to Conrad, we have helped many other victims of domestic abuse. Some have been reunited with their owners once they escape from the abuse situation and settle into a stable lifestyle, and others have been re-homed based on the person’s wishes. Hearts United for Animals was recently invited to participate in a Verizon Wireless adoption day event in Lincoln, Nebraska. A woman approached the volunteers at our booth and said, “Is this Tia’s Place?” When the HUA volunteer said yes, the woman burst into tears and said that she came out specifically to make a donation to the program that day. She went on to tell us that many years ago she had left a very abusive home with only the clothes on her back. She had nowhere for her beloved cat and dog to go, and they subsequently died of abuse because she had to leave them there. Our volunteers wept with her as she told her story, and that day we realized we should not ever underestimate the importance of this program and what it means to people. We may serve five Tia’s Place animals a year or fifteen, but to each one of those animals and the people who got out of a violent home knowing that their animals would be fine, the numbers are not important. Knowing that their animals will be safe and not feeling they had to stay because of them or leave knowing that they would die at the hands of an abuser means the whole world. The woman who came to visit us that day said that she spreads the word about Tia’s Place whenever she can and that she will be a lifelong supporter of the program. Tia’s Place is named after a dog named Tia who came into the care of HUA after being beaten in the head with a baseball bat. The blows shattered her face, blinded her in one eye and destroyed her teeth. She was left at a farmhouse to die. Although she had every reason to fear people, she was trusting and grateful for the kindness shown to her by her rescuers. Tia had four surgeries at the University of Iowa Vet School in Ames, Iowa - first to rebuild her face to provide some comfort, then to repair her teeth that were open roots causing enormous pain, and finally to remove lumps that were determined to be cancerous. Tia lived happily at HUA for three years. She was lavished with love and care until she died of cancer. In honor of her spirit, Tia's Place was created. Tia's Place provides refuge to pets of families who are fleeing domestic violence, allowing all the abuse victims of the household to find a safe haven.
Tia after her surgeries.
Gaining Ground in the On a day in the middle of February, fifteen puppy mill dogs were brought to the HUA shelter. They were the last dogs of a much larger group being transported from a breeding place going out of business in Missouri. The breeders had said that all dogs had to be gone immediately because they were tearing down their ramshackle housing. The little group of dogs was like many others in the past year and a half. They marked the end of yet another puppy mill. The state of Missouri, known as the puppy mill capital of the nation producing 40% of all puppies sold in the U. S., now has some of the toughest dog breeding laws. On April 28, 2011, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed The Canine Cruelty Prevention Act, a bill proposed as a compromise between animal welfare people and dog breeders. One of the most significant requirements in this law is an increase in the living space for dogs. This means that facilities would need to be reconstructed or largely remodeled, a major cost item, and noncompliance is obvious, not something that can be falsified. By year end 2011, one hundred dog breeders were reported to have turned in their licenses. As it was hoped, the worst breeders would be those most likely to quit. During the controversy over Proposition B in Missouri, one astute website blogger wrote of Missouri breeders, “The good ones aren’t good, and the bad ones are criminals.” Excluding possibly a small echelon of commercial breeders who are sensitive to the needs of their animals, what the blogger said is true. Cost cutting regardless of humane considerations is the way of life in commercial dog breeding. Some years ago, a breeder in Nebraska was sending off an older Beagle with a transporter scheduled to meet another transporter at a rest stop. She wrote a note to send with the Beagle saying, “She has been a good dog for me and made me lots of money. If your connection doesn’t show up at the rest stop, just drop her off there.” Enforcement has also been stepped up many notches in Missouri. Inspections have increased by 150% and violations by 47%, according to the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. Jay Hagler, head of the Missouri Department of Agriculture appointed by Governor Nixon, and Attorney General Chris Koster have announced their intention of strictly
Ugly War on Puppy Mills enforcing laws protecting animals. State inspectors have referred 21 cases to the attorney general for prosecution. Missouri is exemplary at this time. In other states with strong agricultural economies, legislation meant to protect dogs is attacked by so many powerful special interest groups that it is watered down to the point of being almost ineffective. Strong forces are working against the rampant commercial dog breeding business. Not the least of these is the national recession that ruled out buying a puppy as a luxury item. The American public is making it increasingly known that inhumane treatment of animals is something they will not tolerate. When large pet store chains announce that their stores will no longer sell puppies, it is obvious that they recognize this change of attitude. Laws that protect these dogs should be made and enforced. A question we have been asked frequently for over twenty years is, â€œArenâ€™t puppy mills illegal?â€? It is a difficult question to answer because the people asking are typically so amazed to learn that animals can be kept in small cages for years serving as production machines until they are physical wrecks. Puppy mills have been declared one of the worst forms of animal cruelty in this country. The war against commercial breeding of puppies needs to be won on every front.
Rudolph Rudolph is one of the HUA dogs who need to live by themselves. Compatibility in a no-kill dog shelter is an issue of paramount importance. Dogs like the companionship of other dogs, but peace has to be the order of the day. Introductions are always made carefully. The numbers living together are strictly limited— four at the most in a large area and often only two. At any sign of disagreement, dogs are moved to a new area. Still there are those who find no other member of their species to be an agreeable companion. These dogs live alone in the Villas, the Condos, and the Wing off the main building, occupying indoor/outdoor apartments that could house two or possibly three animals. Rudolph was brought to the HUA shelter at the age of three years. He had lived on a chain since he was a puppy. When the chain grew into his neck, his owner had it surgically removed at a veterinary clinic and then gave him away. That family gave him to yet another family who brought him here. He was emaciated when he arrived, with dry, sparse hair falling out by the handfuls. Rudolph is convinced that other dogs are his enemies. He is so powerful that a negative response from him is something to be handled with extreme caution. He adores people and can be trusted to be gentle and loving. This magnificent animal clings to people, rolls on his back for a belly rub, and plays the most delightful games with people. Positive conditioning is being tried with Rudolph. He is taken for long runs in the agility park. Other dogs are introduced carefully kept at a distance along with a delicious treat. He is exceptionally well-mannered on a leash and learns all cues immediately. We will continue to work with Rudolph, but he must always be an only dog with an expert handler. No-kill is a choice—an easy one morally but often difficult in practice. And it is a promise—a promise to the dogs and to the people who have entrusted them to us. It is a promise that Rudolph will always be safe and loved.
Did you know that Hearts United for Animals has a Facebook page with 11,000 fans? We update the page several times a week with happy adoption stories, information and pictures of mill rescues in progress, lists of fundraisers and current needs at the shelter, happy and sad updates on dogs living at the shelter and helpful tips for pet owners including pet food and treat recalls. Our adopters post many heartwarming pictures and updates on their HUA alums. We also link to Mobile Animal Clinic’s Facebook page so that our Facebook fans can see stories about the HUA dogs in their care for extensive medical needs. Please join us. We’d love to see you there. It’s a happening place to be for up-to-the minute information on the dogs and cats at HUA! You can also follow us on Twitter at tweet4hua. Our Twitter feed is at the bottom of our www.hua.org web page.
The HUA Spay/Neuter Clinic The HUA clinic is in its ninth year of operation. The number of surgeries performed is reaching the 10,000 mark, and the number of litters prevented is astronomical based on standard reproduction tabulations. For the last two years, the clinic has operated in a new building, a gift from the dearest people who wished to help the animals of this area. The clinic building is marvelous for space and comfort for the animals and convenience of the staff and volunteers working there. The clinic operates with the highest professional standards of our veterinarian, Dr. James Gigstad of Arbor Valley Animal Clinic in Nebraska City, who has left his own busy practice each clinic day all these years to help us combat pet overpopulation. One service of the clinic that is less often described is that of giving free veterinary consultations and medical supplies for needy animals. On a given day this year, a Rottweiler was brought in for treatment by a neighbor who could no longer stand to watch the dog’s suffering. The Rottweiler was scratching incessantly with mange so advanced that areas of his skin looked like leather. A young woman arrived with two small kittens that had been injured. A staff member brought in a large lady Pit Bull for free emergency spay. This poor dog had given birth to numerous huge litters and was hemorrhaging in miscarriage. As volunteers held up her IV bag for post-operative hydration and comforted her, we were relieved to see her awaken soothed by a pain injection, and soon she was resting peacefully in a recovery pen. The clinic has an arsenal of antibiotics, wormers, flea and tick treatments, ear and eye medicines, hair and skin products. Examination by our veterinarian and supplies needed are free to anyone who asks. All that we wish is that the suffering will end, that these pitiful animals will be free from pain. Every clinic day we are again made painfully aware of how many homeless dogs and cats there are. The kindest people have taken in these animals regardless of whether they have the facilities or the funds to care for them. It is the huge numbers of overpopulation that defeat us all. Cesar Millan in the Cesar’sWay magazine has recently written on the subject of mandatory spay/neuter and breeder’s permits and how this country spends millions of taxpayers’ dollars dealing with pets unmercifully rather than enacting and enforcing legislation to prevent the problem. He speaks of how Germany has controlled pet overpopulation for years, and how there is no homeless pet problem there. The clinic has operated at a sizable annual deficit every year since its origin, of course, and it is only with the generosity of benefactors that we can do this valuable work. We thank you for caring and helping with this mission of mercy that is so dear to our hearts.
Learning to Live in a Home Every group of little puppy mill dogs that comes to the HUA shelter proves how well dogs can learn. Some of these dogs are older puppies that did not sell, but most by far have been breeder dogs who have lived their entire lives in cages. They have spent years learning fear of human contact and fear of changes in their environment. It is always good to see how fast the new arrivals learn daily routines. They know when it is time for the humans to be preparing their meals and doing the cleaning. They run around the Intake Wing and go out to their exercise yard. Freedom is a revelation to them. They all love it. If we are not moving fast enough in their opinions, we hear about it. Soon they are ready for some new adventures. The big community learning experience is a daily trip to the Sunroom where there are many people to meet and lots of playtime. At first they all have to be carried, but soon there are groups of little dogs running down the long hall from Intake to the Sunroom so fast that they almost trip us. Games are learned in the Sunroomâ€”how to play with other dogs and also with people. When they have mastered the little dog door out to a fenced yard, they are all so pleased with themselves that they love to show off this skill.
Sid, the softest little fellow, came alive when he went to a big play yard for the first time. He had the saddest look in his eyes when he arrived here with a note on his travel kennel saying that he might be a fear biter. Sid is gentle and sweet and not at all a biter. It took quite a while to coax him out to play, but now he runs for a long time every day. He takes such delight in being in motion, and he even likes to be held on a lap.
Lollipop admits that she needs to work on her people skills. She is so darling that many people would like to meet her, but she quickly discourages that. Lollipop does extremely well in the leash walking class, skipping along and showing the other little ones how it is done. She hopes to overcome her negative reaction to new people because she has learned to love her caregivers who all think she is beyond adorable.
Stuart Little found all his classes to be a breeze. We were told that Stuart is ten years old and that he had his back broken three times while in a puppy mill. There is no evidence of any problem with Stuartâ€™s back. He is an agile five-pounder who delights in all sorts of new adventures, the more active the better. Despite Stuartâ€™s background, he somehow learned to love people, and all he wants is to love and be loved.
Sprout is one of the newest students. His past must have been nothing but pain and fear because he is absolutely terrified of being touched by humans. One of Sproutâ€™s ears looks as though it was bitten off by some larger creature. All that remains is a semi-circle close to his head. When people approach, Sprout does the most charming dance prancing and play bowing, but then he struggles mightily to avoid any contact. Sprout is in a first learning stage, sitting on laps learning that new sights and sounds are interesting and that it is nice to be cuddled by people.
Gonzales came from another shelter en route from a puppy mill, and he had already had some good experiences with people. He made eye contact right away with anyone who paid attention to him and began to form a bond. He waits patiently to get to go out for activities, and he reaches up to people to be picked up. It is such a pleasure to hold his sturdy little body. Gonzales needs lots of time and security. He is a wise little one who knows better than to trust that good things are really his to keep.
Puffin has the title for looking most terrified, but she is really docile and sweet. She has the most appealing habit of backing up to people to be picked up. It took a while for us to learn that we had only to stand still, and she would come to us in reverse. Puffin is very fearful of new experiences, but we are beginning to see her eyes light up in excitement during play times in the Sunroom and yards.
Davincia is such a gorgeous little charmer. She has learned to love some of her caregivers, but she is still rigid with fear when being picked up. She has become braver in the Sunroom, running up to people for attention but staying out of reach. She adores leash walks in the grass. She may take only a few steps before sitting down to stay, but she has such a good time outdoors, and all her fear of human touch goes away when she is there.
Thousands of HUA puppy mill dogs have been adopted since the first rescue mission in 1996. They have gone to almost every state in the nation and to Canada. Adjusting to a new place and new people can be difficult for dogs who once lived in homes. Puppy mill dogs are likely to need even more time to understand that they are secure and loved. We are grateful every day for the kindest people who have given a life to a dog who was denied any happiness for years.
One Big, Happy Family Each week, we receive countless requests to take in family pets, and many of the situations involve children - the family is expecting a new little one, the pet is having a tough time with the baby, or the pets and kids are not getting along. Many of these owner surrenders might not have been necessary with the proper planning and management.You must be proactive. Pets are lifetime commitments, and it is crucial that preparations be made before introducing a new canine/feline or human family member into the household. It is equally essential that boundaries be set as the child and dog or cat are getting acquainted. No one ever said managing kids and pets would be easy, but there are many steps you can take to help make the transition easier.
Preparing Pets for Babies The best advice is to start early! Desensitize your pet to the sights, sounds, and smells of a baby. Turn on the infant swing, play the mobile above the crib, carry a blanket or doll in a baby carrier, or use baby lotion on your hands. Act as if the child is there long before he or she actually is. It is also a good time to brush up on manners with your pup such as "sit," "stay," and "drop it." Hire a dog trainer who uses positive reinforcement to help if needed. Since time can be hard to come by once the baby arrives, ensure your pet is up to date on all vaccines and routine care. It is also a good idea to stock up on food, treats, kitty litter, heartworm and flea/tick preventatives, pet meds, etc. Before you know it, life becomes even more hectic when the little one arrives. Bring home a baby blanket from the hospital for the pet to smell before meeting the child. Take the introductions very slowly, and do not ever leave the child and pet together unsupervised. Ensure your pet receives plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Invest in new toys. For dogs, include a toy that you can stuff with peanut butter, kibble, green beans, etc. Purchase things such as antlers or bully sticks for your dog, hire a dog walker, drop the dog off at doggie daycare a few times each week. Involve the pet in activities with the baby. If you take the baby for a stroller ride around the block, bring your dog along as well. Lastly, set aside time to bond with your pet. Even if it is just 15 minutes a day, your dog or cat will fully appreciate the additional one-on-one attention and love.
Preparing Kids for Pets Whether you are first introducing a new pet to your older kids or teaching a baby-turned-toddler how to interact appropriately with a pet you already had, set boundaries from the beginning. Set up a kid-free zone in the house. Perhaps a pet bed or special blanket where the pet can go to get away from the chaos that often comes with kids. Inform the child that when the pet is on that bed, the pet must be left alone. Teach children how to appropriately interact with animals early on. Just because a pet does not react to a child being rough or sitting on them does not mean it should be done. Some general rules include: nice soft touches only, no sitting or lying on the pet, no chasing the pets, do not disturb the dog or cat while they are eating or sleeping, do not take a bone or toy from the pet, and use inside voices - do not yell or shout around animals. Running around your pet may cause panic, anxiety, and stress. Teach your children to remain calm around pets. Teaching your child to always ask before touching a pet -whether your pet, a family member's pet, or one you meet out in public- may help keep your child out of potentially dangerous situations. It is important to remember that growling and hissing are ways for animals to communicate. He or she is telling you they do not like what is going on. Correcting growling/hissing behavior can lead to serious issues in the future. Next time, the dog or cat may go straight to a nip or scratch instead of giving a warning. Instead of scolding, assess the situation and what is going on.You may need to take a bone away carefully or tell the child to back away. Continue to reward your pet for good behavior. If a nip or scratch were ever to occur, it is critical to assess the situation. What was the pet doing, and what was the child doing when the incident occurred? If necessary, seek out a behaviorist to help with undesirable pet behaviors, or go back and teach your child the basic rules of how pets must be treated. Last but not least, it is important to monitor and supervise all child/pet interactions. Again, we never said this was going to be easy, but the key is to be proactive and set appropriate boundaries.You must want to make it work, and when bringing a new pet into the family, ensure you are fully committed to the animal.
James Lipton and the Eagles In December of 2011 we were honored to have James Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio on Bravo come on board to help spread the word about HUA and our important lifesaving mission to rescue puppy mill dogs. We are so grateful to Mr. Lipton for delivering this powerful message. He is an amazing talent and a kind, compassionate man. We would also like to thank Don Henley of The Eagles and co-writers Steuart Smith and Timothy Schmit for allowing us to use their song, “Do Something”. Their heartfelt words of enthusiasm for the project are so appreciated. We cannot thank them enough for donating their time and vast talent to help raise awareness about HUA and puppy mills. Another big name star of the show is Telly, a 12-year-old bald, blue, paralyzed Dachshund who was rescued by HUA from a horrible Nebraska puppy mill. Telly is in the 60-second version and is also featured in an extended version that can be found on Vimeo and YouTube. We appreciate his taking time from his busy schedule to accommodate our videographer’s request. Telly was glad to show all of his friends and fans how well he is doing with his forever family, Noelle and Bob Buscher of Elkhorn, Nebraska. If he could talk, he would say, “Who loves ya baby?” just like his namesake who is also a famous television star. Other stars still residing at HUA include Veronica, Chadee, Pip, Moses, Blossum, Jackie and Hubba Bubba. The video also featured many past HUA rescue dogs. The 30- and 60-second spots ran locally as well as in five key major markets throughout the United States during the month of December. The project was the brainchild of Riki Shaw and was funded entirely by her and her husband Jerome. After Riki visited HUA, it became her dream to inform as many people as possible about the horrors of puppy mills and to help increase funding for HUA so that we can continue our mission of mercy to save thousands more puppy mill dogs while working to end the atrocity of puppy mills forever. Riki has traveled extensively, visiting shelters and assisting with rescue efforts throughout the United States. She says that her heart remains with HUA, and she has dedicated herself to creating awareness about what an exceptional organization it is for both its facilities and its commitment to bettering animals’ lives. Our friends Matt Bross and Chad Eacker at Delinea Design in Omaha worked day and night to write the scripts and bring it all together, and our friends Kevin Hutchison and Robin Donovan at Bozell in Omaha lent their expertise in purchasing and placement as well as arranging final details. We were so excited to see this project come together to help publicize the plight of the puppy mill dogs. Many thanks to all involved! James Lipton tells the world about Telly’s awards for winning the Disabled Frankfurter Division in theWiener Races.
How Stress Affects the Body A Personal Story by Crystal Thompson, dog trainer, mother of puppy mill rescue dog Maisy, and author of www.reactivechampion.blogspot.com A note from HUA: When we read this story, it affected us deeply. We thought it was a perfect illustration of how puppy mill dogs must feel during the shock and trauma they experience for so many years, and during the sometimes long recovery period after they are rescued. It reminded us of dear Tamsin whom we rescued from a barn where he was kept for many years with scores of other dogs. They had no windows, and the place was soaked in urine and piled with feces. The breeder made it clear as she threw Tamsin to us that he was her only Dachshund and she hated him, never could stand Dachshunds. Tamsin hid under his bed at HUA for three years, terrified of everyone and everything. He often shook and had significant fur loss from the weight of the world on his shoulders. One day a light bulb went off for Tamsin, and his stress melted away. He began to dance, smile, and jump into peopleâ€™s laps for attention and love. Tamsin was recently adopted by a supporter who flew across the country to visit HUA for a week and fell in love with him. Because he was afforded the time he needed to recover from his terrifying ordeal, he was able to meet his new mom, the love of his life, and fly away to a wonderful brand new existence filled with peace and love. Let me preface today's post by saying that everyone is okay. On Sunday night, I went to bed like I normally do. I fed the cats, gave Maisy her medication, and set my alarm. Around 2am, I woke up to a loud banging noise. Initially, I thought the cats knocked something over, but the banging noise didn't stop. A quick investigation revealed that someone was pounding on my door, which made me worry that perhaps one of my neighbors needed help. It wasn't a neighbor. Instead, I found a strange man trying to break into my house. He was young- late teens or early twenties, maybe- screaming hysterically, and hitting and kicking my front door so hard that it left indentations. He banged on the windows, though thankfully they didn't break. His hands were covered in blood (which was probably the result of shattering our front porch light), and he wanted in. It was terrifying. I called 911. Just before the police could get here, the stranger disappeared around the side of the house. We couldn't see where he'd gone, which was actually scarier than when he was right in front of us. We didn't know if he was trying to get in another way, or if was going to escape entirely, free to terrorize us another day. We later found out that he'd gone to our neighbor's house, broke a window, and crawled into their 8-year-old son's bed. I still can't decide which is worse: being a child and waking up with a blood-covered crazy person in your bed, or being a parent and waking up to discover a blood-covered crazy person in your kid's bed. After the man was safely contained, the police told us that he was just really, really high, to the point that he was having hallucinations. He thought someone was after him and he was just trying to hide from them. Like I said, everyone was physically fine, although we were all a bit shaken up. Needless to say, it's incredibly unsettling to have an experience like that, and I think it was possibly the scariest night of my life. Even though I was exhausted it took me over two hours before I could even think about sleeping again. When I finally tried
laying down, my body felt tense, and it was another hour before I finally dozed off. I slept lightly, and jerked awake over every little sound. The next day- Monday- was terrible. My stomach hurt something awful, and I couldn't eat. I went to work, but had trouble concentrating all day. I felt preoccupied and easily distracted. I'm not sure I got much done. That night was even harder. I had a hard time getting to sleep, and I woke up in the middle of the night, desperately thirsty, but afraid to get out of bed. I know it wasn't logical, but I was worried that if I got up, it might cause a crazy guy to start pounding on my door. I went back to sleep without a drink. I woke up on Tuesday morning absolutely exhausted. I think I was actually more tired that day than the day before. While it was easier for me to focus on my work, I noticed that I was incredibly irritable. I'm normally quite patient with my most mentally ill and Tamsin and his mom high-maintenance client, but I found it hard to deal with him all day long. That evening, I had to teach a dog training class. My brain was fried, and my co-instructor had to do all the work. By the time I got home, I was on the verge of tears. That night was a little easier. I wasn't afraid to move around my house during the night, although it was really hard to open the back door so Maisy could go potty at bed time. Wednesday- three days after the initial event- was better, but I still wasn't myself. I was tired and withdrawn, mildly irritable, and a bit teary eyed. I didn't have much trouble sleeping, and I definitely didn't feel as fearful as the previous two nights. Still, I didn't feel completely normal until Thursday afternoon, which was about 84 hours after I was woken up by the banging on my front door. Before this week, I thought I knew about stress. I've talked about how stress affects the body. I've told training students how it takes an average of 72 hours for the stress hormones to leave their dogs' bodies after they go over threshold. I've written about how I allow Maisy a week of downtime after a stressful event. But I never really understood what it's like. Maisy and Crystal Well let me tell you what it's like: it's awful. Even though I was never in any real danger (remember, the stranger was scared himself and was trying to hide), I didn't know that at the time. But even after I knew I was safe, I didn't feel much better. In a way, I was being held hostage by stress hormones. How much worse must it be for our dogs? They don't know that whatever is scaring them and causing them to react isn't actually dangerous. Everything in their bodies is telling them that death is imminent. What's more, they don't have the language needed for us to be able to tell them that they're okay now. They can only trust that we will keep them safe. I have a new level of empathy for Maisy and the dogs that I work with now. How awful must it be to live in a world where Sunday night happens multiple times a week? Where the people they must depend on continually thrust them into terrifying situations? And where they are constantly experiencing the restlessness, stomach upset, difficulty concentrating, and irritability that comes along with stress? One week was bad enough. I can't imagine living life like that.
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In Celebration of Moses Early in 2010, we were asked by a city pound in central Nebraska to take an elderly Shih Tzu who had come to them from a puppy mill. Moses was thought to be fourteen or fifteen years old then. He had suffered so much in his life as a breeder dog that everyone wished to give him comfort in his last days or months. Two years later Rachel, his favorite caregiver, had an anniversary party for Moses with a trip to a play yard to enjoy the beautiful weather. Moses loves sunshine, and although he is blind, he loves to meander around a yard examining every blade of grass. Moses lives in the large central care room of the Homeward Bound building where he is most often seen snoozing on a soft bed. He loves meal times, treats, being cuddled by people, and spa day with sudsy warm water and wonderful massages. He has only three teeth and no bottom jaw. One of his ears was destroyed, and his tongue was mutililated by cage aggression. He is blind from years of untreated eye infections. When he arrived here, he weighed fifteen pounds. Now he weighs twenty-five. We are privileged to give Moses everything that he enjoys, and every day with him is treasured. His life is precious as it always should have been.
Published on Sep 11, 2012
Rescue and educational stories from Hearts United for Animals national no-kill shelter, sanctuary and animal welfare organization. Meet the...