by Tara M. Clapper, Contributing Writer
Chihuahuas are popular breeds and are considered adoptable at many shelters. However, Chihuahuas are a very popular breed among pet hoarders. When authorities and animal advocates discover someone hoarding Chihuahuas in filthy conditions, local shelters may overflow with the rescued animals.
If you've determined that owning a Chihuahua is the right step for you and your family, consider a shelter adoption. Here are some things to note about Chihuahua behavior if you've decided to welcome a Chihuahua into your home:
General dog demeanor. How does the Chihuahua behave when you approach her? Is she frightened, yappy or confident? Spending some time with your potential new best friend will let you know whether you're a good match.
Family dog? If you have a family, it's best to bring your family with you when considering adoption. Even though kids might want to adopt every possible dog (and that can be a nuisance!) it's important to make pet adoption a family decision. Chihuahuas are often one-person animals, meaning they cling to the person that feeds and cares for them. It's important that they interact pleasantly with all family members. If you're in a serious relationship and are considering children in the future, it might help to bring a young child (such as a nephew) with you while you're evaluating a dog.
Dog history. Ask the shelter about the history of the dog. Shelters understand that it's important to be honest about a dog's past and its history. Some Chihuahuas end up in shelters because an elderly owner has passed away and no one will take the dog. Others are there because of a hoarder situation and will require more care and training. Speak with the shelter representatives about the dog's past--has he been abused? Has he received his shots? What was his previous owner like?
If you aren't sure about your compatibility with a specific Chihuahua, you are always welcome to visit the shelter again. Bringing a friend or family member may help you more objectively evaluate the situation. Compatible pets and owners make for lifetime friends--so adopt with compassion.

This post was originally published on as Chihuahua Examiner. Republished with permission of the author.
Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
Did you know that October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog month? In celebration, the Aurora Animal Shelter in Colorado has a special adoption promotion running. Whether you need one or two more furry family members in your home, during this special is the perfect time to consider adoption.

Dogs and Puppies are only $50 until October 31, 2015.
Cats one year and older are only $5 until October 31, 2015.

The animal adoption fee includes spay or neuter, rabies vaccine, other age-appropriate vaccinations, microchip identification, and (for residents of Aurora) a free one year dog or cat license.

Hurry in to the Aurora Animal Shelter and see if your furry loved one is waiting for you!
By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Contributing Writer
PictureImage © Crystal Kauffman; All Rights Reserved
Are you a dog or cat parent, who lives in Jacksonville, FL.? If so, take a look at the special programs, which First Coast No More Homeless Pets will offer you. Your beloved pets need veterinarian care, as well as other services like: spaying and neutering, city licenses, and shots. This program has been around for many years, but I learned about it and I wanted to share what I found out with you. This animal hospital wants you to be able to keep your pets, so they have slashed their prices to help you.

Additionally, if you do not live in my town, you may be able to find services that are similar to what this animal hospital is offering local families. The veterinarian center is offering low cost services, as well as spaying and neutering your pet for free. However, you must buy any pain medicine for your pet, but the pain medication is only $8.00 for each animal. In addition, they have a pet food bank that will give you food for each of your cats or dogs.

Unfortunately, you must visit their website to learn what you must bring with you to qualify for the low cost care and free food. For more information or to see if you qualify, visit First Coast No More Homeless Pets website to learn more about each program that they offer. If you are able, the facility also takes donations that are accepted and distributed throughout the Jacksonville, FL. area. However, call 904-520-7900 or email them first at, in order to see what exactly that they may need.

Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
If you have small animals, like hamsters, guinea pigs, or rats, don't forget they can get hot and dehydrated too. Just because some are less likely to be outdoors doesn't mean they're safe from the summer sun. Small animals need to keep cool and require special care during the summer. The methods we use for ours may surprise you as can some of the methods we do not recommend.

A small, thin build means more vulnerability to heat and dehydration. Hamsters, rats, and other small animals have very thin skin. They also have fur. While they are not likely to get as hot as we are, the effects of the heat can be very detrimental. Since small animals have such a thin frame, their bodies often react to overheating very rapidly, which can be extremely dangerous when it comes to heat exhaustion. The effects of dehydration can also come on quickly in such a small animal.

Can I spray my small animals with a mister? No. Many small animals can become ill or even die of they get wet. This is because they can get too cold and get the chills. While it may at first seem like a great way to quickly cool them off, it can become deadly very quickly. Instead, buy your small animal some unscented chinchilla sand to roll around in or a chinchilla granite slab to lounge on and cool off.

Cage location is key. Absolutely do not keep a small animal's cage near the window, especially not in the summer months. The sunlight can heat up the cage quickly. Animals in glass aquariums may feel like they are in a constant sauna. We like to keep our hamsters and guinea pig in a basement area where there are no windows. Because this area is also our family room, the animals still get plenty of attention. But they are much less vulnerable to the heat.

Provide shaded shelter. Our hamsters and guinea pig each have a special hiding spot in their cages. Whether you use a grass hut or another type of small animal house, be sure your pets have something to hide underneath. The shade will help keep them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. We prefer the miniature grass huts as the small animals seem to enjoy those the most. The hay may be providing a cooling effect.

Make cool, fresh water readily available. Ice is too cold. Never, ever give your small animals ice cubes. Just like being too hot is bad, so is being too cold. Many small animals, like hamsters, are prone to getting the chills. Therefore, ice is a very bad idea. Instead, change the water supply often and make sure the water is clean and cool.

Air conditioning or a cool mist humidifier is essential. Fans are a no-no. Never ever face a fan toward a small animal. Since they are so tiny, they are more vulnerable to inhaling small particles of dust and other contaminants. It's much safer to keep their room cool with a cool mist humidifier that is across the room or with an air conditioning system. Proper ventilation and filtration is also a must for the same reason you don't want a fan blowing around. Too much dust is very bad for small animals.

*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network

Oh no! You adopted a hamster and thought everything would be fine. But now your child is neglecting the hamster. What should you do? Is this an automatic reason to return the hamster or is there hope? Is there a deeper reason behind the neglect of the hamster or is this normal childhood boredom? These are questions you should be asking yourself.

Why is my child neglecting the hamster? There are many reasons that could be at the root of your child's behavior. Perhaps your child just isn't ready for a pet or perhaps never will be. Not all people should have pets. Your child also may be reflecting their own feelings of sadness, pain, and neglect onto the family pet. This behavior is one to watch for as many who commit crimes against other humans start off doing so with animals, often during childhood. Not every case of a child neglecting a hamster will mean a child is dangerous to others or the hamster. It's always best to consult a professional for help.

Encourage kids to pay attention to the hamster. If a qualified health professional has determined that your child does not pose a threat, interest in the hamster may be all that's needed. To encourage the bond between hamster and child, I find that engaging the hamster in an activity can be helpful. Choose an activity the hamster enjoys, such as running through an obstacle course or using an exercise ball. Blend the hamster's enjoyment with an element that is also interesting to kids. When they see you playing with the hamster and the fun to be had, they may be encouraged to join right in.

What if nothing is working? This is when you need to be honest with yourself. Should your child really be a pet parent? If the answer is no, the hamster is now your responsibility, as the parent. Perhaps another child in the family is willing to care for the animal. If no one can provide adequate care and keep the hamster safe, then you need to find a new, loving home for the hamster. Throughout the process of determining what to do, you should have the hamster's best interest at heart.

Is our home the right place for the hamster? Is your child showing signs of caring for the hamster properly after working with a licensed professional? If the answer is no, then your home may not be right for the hamster unless there is someone else in the home who can care for the animal. Is the neglect more than just neglect? If anyone may be a danger risk to the hamster, it's best to place the hamster in another home. Rescue organizations and shelters can help you find a new home for the hamster. If your child does indeed show signs of improvement, all may not be lost. As the responsible party, you need to make sure things go correctly. However, your home may still be a good place for the hamster with more effort on everyone's part.

*Always contact a licensed veterinarian for the health of your animals. The information above is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified professional and is derived solely from the author's own personal experiences.

More on Animal Neglect and Abuse:

Facts About Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence
When Children Abuse Animals

More Hamster Articles From Lyn:

Does My Child's Hamster Need a Bath?
Can Kids Care for a Hamster With Special Needs?
Kids With Hamsters Need to Care For Them

Parents, Please Educate Your Kids Before Adopting a Pet: Lessons From Buddy the Hamster, Rescued From Neglect

Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
A healthy dog is a happy one and if you are a pet parent, their happiness is top on your list. Health is essential at all stages. But as a dog ages, it becomes even more important. There are simple everyday actions you can take to ensure your dog stays healthy as he grows older.

Regular visits to the vet are essential. A specialist in animal health care can detect issues that an untrained eye cannot. Just like people, dogs need to see doctors regularly for routine checkups and procedures. There are also care and maintenance tips unique to each dog that a vet can provide based on analysis. Keep up with vet visits to ensure your dog stays healthy.

Dental hygiene helps keep your dog healthy for several reasons. Dogs use their teeth for eating and for play. Both are essential to life in various ways. When the teeth are not healthy, a dog cannot chew his food properly, which can lead to poor digestion and other health issues. Dental diseases can also infect other areas of the body. Dogs with poor dental health also may not be able to defend themselves properly, due to weak teeth.

Your dog needs exercise every day. Take your dog outside to play. This could be a walk to the park, around the neighborhood, playing a game of discus or fetch in the backyard, or even a physical therapy regimen, if he needs it. Staying active helps your dog live a longer and happier life. Exercise keeps him in shape, as well as helps keep him from getting pent up energy and frustration. If your dog is lying around too much, that can do unseen damage.

Keep a proper and consistent diet for your pet. Talk to your vet to find out which foods are appropriate for your dog and stick to that diet consistently. It's important that your dog get essential nutrition every day. Any treats should also be counted in this plan to ensure your dog does not get too much or too little of the recommended vitamins and nutrients. Overfeeding and underfeeding can both cause serious damage or even death. As your dog ages, to keep him healthy, be sure to reevaluate his nutritional needs as often as recommended by the vet.

Mental well-being is just as important as the physical. Giving your dog a large dose of love and care is good for his mental state. It's also a big part of being a pet parent. Show your dog you love him by playing with him, holding him, talking to him, and being attentive to his wants and needs. Also make he sure he gets plenty of sunlight and is regularly exposed to other people and animals. Remember that depression can lead to other health issues, so it is important to keep your dog's overall mentality in mind when considering his health.

*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network

Rat wondering why he isn;t being picked up
When some people think about kids having rats as pets, they shudder. Many people are afraid of rats to begin with. So when they think of their kids playing with them, it gives them chills. As someone who has been around rats and even owned one, I can tell you honestly how silly these misconceptions are. Sure you don't want your kids playing with wild rats. But domesticated rats are some of the absolute best pets for kids. I recently wrote an article about why rats make good pets for kids. I was honestly surprised at all the misinformation from both public and private respondents regarding that particular article.

Aren't rats dirty?

If you are talking about rats who live in the sewers and elsewhere in the wild, you may be quite right. However, domesticated rats that become pets are actually some of the cleanest animals you can come across. They spend a good portion of the day grooming, have a shiny coat, and have a natural scent to them that is almost like a perfume.

Kids catch diseases from rats, right?

While rats can and do spread disease, typically any diseases that spread from rats to humans would occur in wild rats. There can be exceptions, but in most cases, domesticated rats are not as likely to spread disease to humans as is often thought. Because of the disease spread by wild rats, domesticated rats get a bad reputation they don't often deserve. It is in the best interest of your pet rat and your family to ensure your furry rodent family member gets regular check-ups. But your vet will probably tell you the chances of catching anything serious from your pet rat are fairly low.

Rats cannot give affection, like dogs, can they?

Because rats are so small, one might think they can't be very affectionate. Can a rat curl up in your arms and fall asleep? Can a rat snuggle? Do rats learn their names and come when you call them? Yes as the answer to all of the above and more. When one of my kids adopted a rat, the very first day, he learned his name and even snuggled with both of us. By the next day (and from then on), each time we went to his cage he was already at the top waiting before we had even finished opening the door. As soon as the door was opened, he'd hop right out, ready for some fun. Jack Frost (the rat) spent more time out of the cage than in and was very loving. He really enjoyed interacting with humans and played an active role in the family.

Rats are creepy and might bite my kids, right?

The creepiness of a rat is usually based on years of misconceptions passed from generation to generation. There is also a great deal of negativity about rats in television and movies. Most likely, your rat is not going to multiply into thousands by himself and attack your kids in the middle of the night. Rats are also very docile and generally only bite when threatened or when they smell food on someone's hands. Washing hands before handling the rats and being gentle with them will help prevent biting. Our rat never bit anyone once or even attempted to. He was very affectionate and had not an ounce of aggression in him.

Won't a rat stink up my kid's room?

Another big misconception about having rats around kids is that they stink. Just like any other caged animal, provided you or your child is cleaning the cage, a rat is not going to stink up the room. As previously mentioned, rats are unique in that their natural scent is often described as perfume-like. It is a very pleasant odor to many. You or your child should be cleaning the rat's cage at least twice per week or as often as needed. Soiled bedding areas can be scooped out and replaced with fresh bedding in between thorough cleanings.

*This article is based on the author's personal experiences and is not meant to serve as medical advice nor replace the advice of a licensed professional. Always consult your licensed pediatrician for your child's healthcare and your licensed veterinarian for matters pertaining to the health of your animals.

Your little girl comes to you with big puppy dog eyes and excitement in her face. It's unmistakable! You know what she wants - a pet. Whether your family is looking to adopt a cat, dog, rabbit, or other animal, there are many things you will need to consider. Is a pet right for your family? What type? Where can you adopt a pet in Englewood, CO?

What is Your Family Routine?

First and foremost, you need to see if proper pet care will fit into your family's daily routine. Is there time to walk a dog? Would said dog be included in trips to Englewood parks with the kids? Time to amuse a cat with a string of yarn? Time to brush and groom? Would a pet have plenty of time with family members for love and care or would they just be an afterthought or another cool object your child will later ditch for something else? If it's the latter two, you can scratch getting a pet off your list.

What are Your Reasons for Wanting to Adopt a Pet?

Does your family just want a particular pet just to say you have one - or do you have a genuine interest in bringing in a new family member. Cats and dogs (and any other animals) are not toys. They are living creatures with feelings. If your reasons for having them don't include providing a loving, caring home, your family shouldn't be adopting a pet. It's alright if one reason is that they are cute. But don't forget that a new pet is the same as a new family member.

How Responsible are Your Kids?

Can you trust your kids to take care of a pet properly all the time? If not, will you be doing it? Pets are a big responsibly. Yes, they are cute and cuddly and playful and fun. But, they are also a ton of work when cared for the right way. If you adopt a pet, can your family handle the responsibility? If you have any doubts, it's much better not to adopt than it is to take in a pet that may later end up in an Englewood shelter. That's not fair to the pet - and it's also not fair to your family.

Can You Handle the Expenses?

In addition to the adoption fees, there is also the constant fee of food, treats, toys, and more. Don't forget to add vet bills into your budget too. Just like your kids need to go to the doctor regularly, so do animals. If by chance, something unforeseen happens with their health, will you be able to afford medicines, surgeries, or whatever else it may take?

Just like you probably calculated expenses when you brought a new baby into the world, you need to do the same with a pet. If you are already scraping to get by now, it's best not to bring a pet into your home. Doing so would possibly be like taking food from the mouths of your kids and it's also not fair to bring a pet into a situation where each day is unsure. Love them from a distance until your financial situation (and other factors) allow better care.

Do Your Kids Know How to Treat Animals?

If your child is the one going around pulling the tails of other people's cats, he needs some instruction before you bring an animal into the home. Even if you have not seen evidence of the kids mistreating animals, it's always a good idea to have a talk about proper animal care. Many pet shelters and stores offer instruction to families looking to adopt a pet. This is to ensure that everyone knows what is good for a pet and what is not.

Where is the Best Place to Adopt a Pet in Englewood, CO?

Animal shelters are generally the best place to adopt pets. Why? You are rescuing an animal that may not otherwise survive. Most animals in shelters have been rescued from sort of unfit situation. Pet shelter animals generally come with their vaccinations and are often spayed or neutered. Some will even microchip your pet.

All of these things would cost extra time and money and they are part of what you would need to do anyway - outside of the microchip. That's obviously a personal choice. The benefit to having one is that if your pet is lost and turned into a shelter, they can scan the pet and know you are the owner. However, some people do not like to have a device implanted in their pet - and that's fine too. It's a personal choice.

Animals for Adoption in the Englewood, CO area

Animal Rescue and Adoption Society
2390 S. Delaware Street
Denver, CO 80223
Phone: (303) 744-6076

Denver Dumb Friends League
2080 South Quebec Street
Denver, CO 80231
(303) 751-5772

Colorado Animal Welfare League
PO Box 1071
Englewood, CO 80150
(720) 515-CAWL(2295)

*I originally published a version of thisvia Yahoo Contributor Network
Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
A pet store may be the very first place you think of when you want to bring home a furry friend. But as a long-time friend to animals, turned occasional rescuer, I'm here to tell you there is a better way. Each year, millions of animals are euthanized in the United States. Roughly 71% of cats and 56% of dogs that enter shelters are euthanized. Some may be euthanized due to illness. But many are simply unwanted and the shelters have to make room for more that arrive. If pet stores ceased to exist, perhaps more of these animals would be adopted in time.

What's Wrong With Pet Stores?

I take no personal issue with pet stores who properly care for the animals. My concern is more along the lines of pet overpopulation. Erasing pet stores just happens to be one way to cut down on overpopulation. With the animal shelters and city streets overrun as it is, the selling and purchasing of more and more animals compounds the problem. The more people buy from pet stores, the more animals these stores need to have around. Most pet stores buy these animals in bulk from breeders. Why buy animals this way when there are perfectly good ones sitting behind cage bars in a shelter? One of these lovable potential pets dies from euthanization every 8 seconds. One organizations, called Found Animals is about to try something that's never been done before. Rescued animals will be available for adoption in a pet-store-like venue in the mall.

But I Want a Specific Breed of Pet

Contrary to what some may believe, purebred animals enter shelter doors quite often. Pet stores and breeders are not the only place to be breed-specific. In fact, it's estimated that about 25% of all sheltered animals are purebreds. If you are set on a specific breed, call around to the animal shelters and rescue organizations in your area. Pet stores are far from the only source. Many areas have breed-specific rescues. There's also the possibility that you will go to find one animal and fall in love with another. An animal should not be chosen just based on his breed, but also by the shared connection. My kids and I visit the local animal shelter often and it's amazing to see even the breeds with the worst reputations being extremely loving and friendly. While dogs of the same breed can tend to have the same behaviors, you just can't lump every animal of that breed into the same stereotype.

But My Desired Pet Type Isn't Available at Shelters

Or so you think. There are plenty of shelters and rescue organizations with animals of all kinds that need your help. Hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, mice, dogs, lizards, snakes, and just about any animal you can have as a pet can be found in an animal shelter. My kids and I have adopted several hamsters in need. We will always do this whenever we have room. Key words: "whenever we have room". Animal hoarding is another issue that can cause shelters to become overrun and we plan to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Call around to local organizations and shelters to find out who has the type of pet you want. Sometimes there are special organizations dedicated to a specific type of animal or breed.

I Don't Care About Pet Overpopulation or Statistics. I Just Want a Pet.

Sadly, many people are not going to be wavered by statistics or population numbers. Even if you fall under that group, I still have plenty of reasons for you adopt a pet, rather than shop for one in a pet store.

  • Shelters have a health report for each animal.
  • Shelter animals come vaccinated.
  • Microchipping may be included in the adoption fee.
  • Adoption fees can be much lower than pet store fees.
  • Spay/neuter is routine and included in the adoption fee.
  •  Adopting helps prevent the loss of a life.
  • You get the joy of knowing you did a good deed.
A stray cat is meowing at your door for food. He doesn't appear to belong to anyone. Should you feed him outside, call Animal Control, or simply take him into your home? What if you have children? Should you adopt a stray animal with kids in the house? The first pet we brought into our family home years ago was a stray kitten. Is this safe for the kids? There are many points to consider.

Is the stray really a stray? Sometimes animals escape their homes. Also, some pet owners allow their animals to live outdoors. This is not generally recommended, for health reasons. But many pet owners raise their cats to be outdoor animals. Be sure that the stray animal you adore does not already have a home. You can check this by putting up 'found' posters, calling people around the neighborhood, looking through pet lost and found ads, and checking with local shelters to see if any animals have been reported as lost. Once you know the pet has no owner, look at other factors before introducing a stray animal to your kids.

Get a vet evaluation. This is the very first thing you need to do before introducing a stray animal into your home. While living on the streets, animals can pick up many diseases and conditions. They also could be intolerant of children or just people, in general. Do not allow your kids near the animal before doing this. The vet will be able to tell you if the animal needs special care, has any contagious diseases, and more. Even if the stray animal is not dangerous, he may have a disease or condition that could spread to your kids or it may be something you cannot afford to care for. While at the vet, should you decide to adopt the stray animal, be sure to get vaccinations, a spay or neuter, and anything else recommended by the vet.

Evaluate personalities. A veterinarian can give you some insight into this and in stray situations, a vet or local shelter may assist you in experimenting. Some will help set up appointments with family members to be sure the animal is friendly with everyone. Before bringing a stray animal into a house with kids, in addition to the heath evaluation, make sure she passes the friendliness test. Your kids also need to pass the friendliness test when it comes to the animal's well-being. This can help prevent future unfortunate events.

Practice animal safety. Local shelters often hold animal safety courses for people of all ages. Attend these classes with your kids before adopting the stray animal. Because strays may not always be as tame as others, it is even more vital in this instance. The classes should teach kids how to respect animals, warning signs to look for, as well as proper care, and other important tips. Education is one way to help prevent some accidents that may occur when kids and pets do not interact together properly.

Should you adopt a stray animal when there's kids in the house? The safety of your children should always come first. Stray pets can be extremely dangerous. Then again, others can be the sweetest animals you've met. Adopting stray pets is very risky and the outcome can be on both ends of the spectrum. Our adoptions of stray pets have been positive experiences, considering. However, it could just as easily have gone another way. Ultimately, an educated decision should be made with your family, as well as an animal specialist who is experienced in stray animal care. Only after careful consideration and evaluation should you adopt a stray pet into a home with kids.

*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network

When looking for your tween's first or additional pet, an animal shelter may not be the first place you think of. Should it be? Are shelter pets dangerous for kids? After reading my recent article, Teaching Kids How to Respect Animals, several readers questioned me about one aspect. I mentioned how my kids and I visit the shelters regularly and own adopted animals. Readers wondered if kids could be in danger around shelter animals. Are shelter pets safe for tweens?

Will shelter pets give my kids diseases? Most illnesses that a pet would have are not transferable to humans. However, some definitely can be. The good thing about adopting an animal from a shelter is that they have generally been checked out by a veterinarian, as well as received any necessary vaccines. Talk to shelter personnel to be sure your tween is choosing a pet that has been examined and vaccinated. While this of course won't prevent every issue, it will help. Did you know that many of the animals that come from pet stores have not had veterinary care as thorough as some in shelters?

Can't shelter animals be violent toward my tween? Before animals are ever able to be put into adoption status, they must pass both physical and behavioral tests. If an animal is aggressive upon entrance to the shelter, some shelters turn them away. Others give them training to help them overcome behavioral issues and become suitable adoption candidates. Just like any other animal, they are still animals and no method is fool-proof. However, it stands to reason that animals who are upheld to certain standards will likely be proven more safe than those who aren't.

Don't shelter animals come from the streets? Are they feral? While some shelter animals have in fact been strays, not all of them are. Also, not all stray animals are feral. Trained professionals evaluate the animals to see which ones make good candidates for adoption. Feral pets can be domesticated. But it takes extra attention. A feral animal is very highly unlikely to be adopted out to your tween as a pet. Instead, that animal may be placed into a trained foster home until ready to be placed. Some may never be placed. This is also only true if the shelter even accepts feral animals. Some do not accept animals in this condition.

What if the shelter pet came from an abusive home? Not all animals from abusive homes are going to be aggressive or otherwise difficult for a tween to care for. For instance, one of the hamsters our family has adopted came from an abusive and neglectful home. This hamster belongs to my tween. At first I was the one to handle him just be safe. But with love and care, he is as loving as (if not even more loving than) the other hamsters. Not only do my weens play with him, but the younger children do as well. An animal from an abusive home can sometimes mean double the responsibility. Safety should always come first. But an animal's previous situation doesn't necessarily have to mean they won't be a good pet for tweens.

How do I know if my tween should adopt a shelter pet? This decision is just like any other pet adoption decision. Be sure your tween is ready for the responsibility and knows how to respect animals. Talk to shelter staff to figure out which pets match your child's personality. Have your tween interact with potential pets to find one that fits in with the family. When your tween meets with the pet, it will become obvious which one is a good choice, based on that, as well as a professional evaluation. Pet adoption is similar to child adoption in that the decision is based upon both what is good for the animals as well as the potential family.

Before taking any animal into your home, always consult with a trained professional first and be sure your family has the proper resources and knowledge.

*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network

Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
Is your teenager like mine and constantly talking about animals? Perhaps your teen has even rescued a few, like mine has. Did you know that teens can volunteer to help animals in several different ways? One or all of these options may be available to your teen at a local animal rescue or shelter. Your teen can talk to the staff to find out which options are available for those under 18, as well as the qualifications.

Be a foster family. The pet adoption process can sometimes be lengthy or tricky. At times, there are an abundance of animals in the shelter and foster families help with room for the animals in need. There are other times when an animal may need specific care instructions that would best be handled in a volunteer foster home, rather than in the shelter. That's where your teen can come in. With you as the main supervisor of the teen and animal, your teen can help care for an animal in need until that animal is ready for adoption.

Give the shelter pets attention and exercise. Another volunteer option in shelters and rescues is to play with the animals. Your teen can spend time with cats, dogs, and other animals, as well as give them the exercise they need. Animals need regular exercise and affection to thrive. Volunteers work with staff to learn the proper way to do this for each animal. Being in a cage all the time is not ideal. This is why volunteers who do this for the animals are so important.

Change litter pans, bedding, and perform other cage cleaning duties. This is exactly what it sounds like. Volunteers in this position may be changing litter boxes for cats. They may also be spraying down and scrubbing cages or cleaning up after the dogs. If there are small animals being cared for by the shelter or rescue, this may also entail cleaning out their cages and placing fresh bedding. This may seem like a not-so-fun position, but every little thing helps and is a part of proper animal care.

Feed the animals. The animals in the shelter all need to eat and someone needs to be around to make that happen. Teen volunteers may take on this task once or twice per day. It generally involves cleaning dishes and water bottles and replenishing them with fresh food and water. Teens in this volunteer position may also be doing other things, like cage cleanings or exercising the pets. It depends on each shelter's needs and duty designations.

Speak out. If your teen wants to take a stand and make a difference in other ways, there are plenty of ways to help the animals' voices be heard. Your teen might talk about proper animal treatment and care at a school assembly, pass out information sheets to his friends at school, or any other number of things. You don't have to be an adult to speak out about what you believe in. Everyday kids can make a difference -- a big one at that. If your teen feels strongly about helping animals, spreading the word about those thoughts could possibly be a big help by making more people aware.

Benefits to your teen volunteering to help animals

  • These volunteer positions help a teen learn even more about animal care, which can extend to any pets at home.

  • If your family currently has no pets, a volunteer position with animals can help prepare your teen for that if it should arise in the future.

  • Volunteer positions help prepare teens for the career world.

  • If your teen is doing something productive, like volunteering, it may lessen the risk of getting into trouble out of boredom.

  • Obviously, a big benefit comes from the side of the animals in your teen's care.
Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
WEDNESDAY July 23 2014 | According to the Aurora, Colorado City Hall, it will be at least twenty days before any dogs can be taken in or adopted out at the Aurora Animal Shelter. There has been an unusually high rate of URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) and Pneumonia in some of the dogs housed at the shelter.

Due to five dogs with cases of URI or pneumonia being housed in the shelter, the public is being asked to visit another shelter for relinquishing and adopting dogs. These conditions are contagious.

Family pets can be surrendered at the Denver Dumb Friends League (2080 S. Quebec St. in Denver, 303-751-5772). Stray pets should be taken to the
Adams County Animal Shelter, 10705 Fulton Street, Commerce City, 80022 (303-288-3294).

These recommendations apply only to dog adoption and intake. All other animals (such as cats and small animals) are still being adopted and taken in at the Aurora Animal Shelter. These animals are not currently affected by the Pneumonia and URI outbreak.

The Aurora Animal Shelter is working with
members of the Metro Denver Shelter Alliance (MDSA) regarding those with adoption or intake needs for dogs. They're also working very closely with veterinarians regarding the cause of the outbreak, as well as a solution and protection for the dogs housed in the shelter. 

If you recently adopted a dog at the Aurora Animal Shelter and believe your dog may be infected, please contact the Aurora Animal Shelter at 303-326-8282. Symptoms of an Upper Respiratory Infection include coughing, sneezing, and lethargy.

Again, all of the usual animals, besides dogs, can continue to be adopted out and taken in at the shelter.

When I wrote this, I had just finished ensuring the last of another group of pets that someone abandoned with me would have a chance at more promising homes. No matter how many times I see this play out or how many reasons I hear, I can’t help but wonder how and why people can be so heartless and careless toward animals. This poem reflects what is on my mind when I see things like this go on.

When, How, But Why?

When you walk away and transfer the load
Do you forget it’s your hand she wants to hold?
When you place them in another’s care
Do you feel the burden they bear?

When you turn around and go
Do you know you’re now their foe?
When they look into your eyes and beg
How do you have strength to even move a leg?

When you know he counted only on you
How can you entrust him to someone new?
When you’ve held them close in loving arms
How do you not find enough in their charms?

When you walk away from your pet for keeps
How do you not fall victim to the weeps?
But the landlord says no or the husband hates cats
But the cost is too high or your wife hates rats

But you’re moving today or you don’t like that he chews
But you only like kittens or there’s a show that he’ll lose
But he ate up a shoe or other normal pet habits
That you failed to research before buying rabbits.

When you know it’s alone your fault
How do you not decide to then halt?
When you know that you took her home
How do you decide to let that bond roam?

When you know he might die in a cage
How does that not put you in a rage?
When you know haven’t done what you should
How do you then not do what you could?

When you leave them with a shelter or friend
How does your heart even begin to mend?
When he was a part of your home and heart
How does leaving not tear you apart?

When you walk away that last time
Is your last thought your pet or your dime?
Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
With all the untruths out there about choosing pet adoption/rescue over shopping for pets, one of those I am most confused by is the myth that babies can't be found. Having rescued many puppies and kittens over the years, as well as visited many shelters and having been involved both directly and indirectly with rescues, I know firsthand that puppies and kittens are very common in the shelter setting. This can be especially true in the springtime when nature bestows these wonderful gifts upon the most animals.

To figure out which shelters have younger animals available, try using a service such as to seek out a specific age group. Kittens and puppies can generally be adopted out once they are 8 weeks old. Therefore, that could be a good starting point.

Not all shelters and rescues will list the younger animals, as those can tend to go faster than allows time for a website listing. Because of this, I recommend visiting in person if you are having trouble finding information on younger pets online. This could also be one of the reasons this myth gets spread.

If you are interested in tougher cases, there are often mama cats and dogs with their offspring in the backrooms of shelters and rescues because they cannot be adopted out and do not have a foster home. These animals are considered special needs and may require a temporary foster period and rehome of some or all of the babies before final adoption of the mother.

Remember that just because an animal is not listed online does not mean that animal does not exist within a shelter or rescue facility.

Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
Each day as I go to task at sharing photos on facebook of animal after animal, I know that while their lives are hanging in the balance, someone else's patience with me is doing the same. An unfriend here, a rude message there, requests to stop showing animals that need help.

Why do I continue? Why bother?

I'll tell you why. Did you know that each year, the United States euthanizes around 3 - 4 million cats and dogs? While we're sitting here enjoying our "precious" Facebook time, every 10 seconds, a precious life is lost.

Those animals I post -- they're alive when I post them, but barely. Some have been abused, some abandoned, some neglected. Sometimes they only have hours to live before they are euthanized to make more space for others in the same predicament. A simple Facebook share could make all the difference. Sometimes, it is the only chance they have as some shelters don't even show the animals on the euth lists to the public.

Does it really make a difference?

There are several cases I personally know of in which friends informed me that they or their friends adopted or otherwise rescued some of the animals I've posted. Story upon story of happy endings for these animals as a direct result of Facebook postings can be found all around the web. While 10 seconds may not be a big deal to some, it is a matter of life and death for animals in shelters across the country.

So, while you sit there complaining about these animals I am "clogging up your feed" with, I will continue to save lives. If you don't like what I post, hide my feed or unfriend me. It's my wall and I will use it as I see fit. I'm not here to judge you for what you do or don't post on your wall. But what I use my wall for is my choice too -- and I choose to turn "barely alive" into "barely escaped" for as many animals as possible.

"When will people wake up and realize this life is not just about them? It's about all of us -- and that includes ALL creatures, not just the upright walking ones." ~ Lyn Lomasi

Lyn on Facebook: Lyn Lomasi

Our rescue efforts on Facebook: WWM Animal Advocacy
Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
At least a million, possibly more, bully breed dogs are euthanized in American shelters every year. Many of those affected did nothing to get that death sentence. They were simply born as the "wrong" breed. A large portion of these dogs are loving dogs and some were stripped from their families -- from good, loving homes.

Why? Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL).

BSL in simple terms is any piece of legislation that has rules geared toward a specific dog breed or type. Often, the bully breeds, such as pit bulls, are victims of this legislation. These laws are generally created to protect people from dangerous situations. However, research shows that these laws do not work and often have very harsh unintended consequences.

While usually created with good intention, these laws are often misguided. Pit bulls may be the most bred dog type in the United States. But they are also the least likely to attack people. In fact, they are specifically bred to be very loving toward people. Any dog, regardless of breed, can attack when handled improperly.

Because of a small portion of people who misuse, mistreat, and abuse these dogs by teaching and breeding them to fight, pit bulls have gotten a bad reputation.

Yes, there are vicious pit bulls and other bully breeds out there and yes, there have been some attacks on humans. However, when you do the math, the number of pit bulls that have not attacked is astoundingly higher than the number who have. In fact, according to one source, only .00125 % are likely to ever fatally attack a human. That's an extremely low percentage, as compared to how many of them we humans are fatally attacking by sentencing them to be euthanized simply for being born.

Not only are these laws unfair to the dogs, who by the way did not ask to be here, but they are unfair to families as well. Unfortunately, our family experienced this travesty firsthand when a dog we hand-rescued was ripped from our home due to these brutal laws. Look at that sweet face in the picture above cuddling with a human and a baby kitten who she treated as her own baby and you tell me how vicious she is. That's Lulu, the pit bull someone dumped on the streets to die.

You can read Lulu's story here, but be sure to grab a box of tissue first. We never knew Lulu was a pit bull. We only found out in the moments when we were forced to give her up. That dog loved us more than life itself but because of a law based on fear, rather than fact, she was torn from the first people to ever care about her -- possibly the first people she was ever able to trust.

Read Lulu's story and share it if you feel compelled. Read the facts posted at the other source links and you tell me who deserves to be punished -- the humans or the dogs?

More from Lyn:

Why I Call BSL Laws the BS Laws: Lulu's Story

Parents, Please Educate Your Kids Before Adopting a Pet

Help! My Child is Neglecting the Hamster!

Image © Lyn Lomasi; All Rights Reserved
Heart 'N Mind Paw Rescue started as a family who took in unwanted or unsellable pets and is growing larger. Some of you may be familiar with Lulu, a stray who entered our homes and hearts and has since been placed in her new furever home. Her story is one of the huge inspirations driving us to continue this plan. Now, instead of opening up just our own home and hearts, we want to team up with other caring individuals. Help us open our doors and the doors of many, as we all work together to love and support homeless pets.

What is our plan?
Heart 'N Mind Paw Rescue will focus on finding foster and forever homes for pets on euthanization lists, as well as others in need of homes, such as abused and neglected animals, strays, and other surrenders. Instead of housing pets in a shelter-like environment, we plan to mostly place them with fosters until adoption.

Will we have a shelter?
Yes and no. Most pets rescued through or organization will go straight to an approved foster or adoptive family. However, in the event that one is not available, we may temporarily house some animals in an approved and licensed residential location.

What are some ways to help?
If you'd like to help us get started, you can do one or more of the following: donate funds via the PayPal donation button the right sidebar or share this link to spread the word.

Where are we located?
Currently, we are located in Aurora, Colorado but network animals from around the United States. We are working on moving to another location, where we will open our animal rescue facility when we can save (and raise) enough funds. If that changes, we will post an update.

When are we opening?
We will open when we have raised enough funds via donations as well as our own efforts -- and when we are properly licensed in the location of operation.

What are the funds for?
The funds will be used for transportation to rescue animals, vet bills, food, pet supplies, animal housing fees, and the multitude of other supplies and resources necessary for the proper care and rescue of animals.

What types of animals will we save?
Once we are closer to the opening date and we have been appropriately licensed, we will know the exact types of animals we can work with. The goal is to help dogs, cats, small mammals, birds, fish, small reptiles, and more. We may increase or decrease that list, depending on many factors and will know more at a later date.

What happens to the funds if we never open?
We fully plan on following through with our plans. However, in the unfortunate event that we are unable to open this organization, all funds raised will be donated to other rescues and organizations who help homeless pets and we will update this blog and site with information on those rescues and organizations.