2009-04-22 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

 
"Wellness" is the word. Although not as slick as the "grease" Olivia Newton-John has been singing about all these years, "wellness" is the word, and the tie that connects these Town of Babylon happenings, all planned to help pets. You need not be a Babylon resident to participate. Take a gander at the list of wellness projects:

#1 Basic Animal Emergency Services Training- provided by American Humane on May 15-16 at Babylon Town Hall Annex at Phelps Lane, N. Babylon. This 2 day workshop develops skills to respond to, care for and shelter animals during times of disaster, whether at the local or national level. The seminar is open to anyone interested in the welfare of animals following a disaster, professionals already trained in disaster response, Emergency Services personnel, firefighters, animal shelter staff, veterinarians and vet techs, and animal handlers/trainers. Upon completion of the 2 days, attendees will be certified to assist in disasters throughout the country. The first day is an explanation of procedures and the second is role playing during a mock emergency. Tuition including course materials is $125 per person ($106 for members of American Humane). Register by calling Shelby at (303) 925-9461 or email shelbyd@americanhumane.org or visit: www.AmericanHumane.org . For more info from the Town, call 631-957-3009. The American Humane training is part of the Town of Babylon's organization of comprehensive Animal Response Team for a pet emergency readiness, but looking at the "big picture", citizens need to remember that owners are expected to formulate evacuation and sheltering plans for each of their pets. We must be prepared in advance to leave with our furry and feathered friends. (See "Beacon" "Pets" archived online 7/19/07 for an overview of hurricane pet preparedness.) Obtaining a NYS license is one more way to expedite your dog's recovery, if heaven forbid, you are separated during an emergency.

 Poster Pets of the Week At left, Oliver, declawed longhaired cat
We live on an island with one way out. Right now there is one slated county pet emergency shelter in Yaphank. Babylon is the most densely populated town in Suffolk. There is no pet census. A NYS Dept of Agriculture and Marketing formula estimates 44,000 dogs in the town, and many more cats. The Town Shelter is usually full to capacity with homeless animals that will not be "evicted" to make space for fleeing residents' pets.

#2 First Annual Pet Fair hosted by BAARC (Babylon Animal Adoption and Rescue Center) and Buddy Cares on Sunday May 17 from 1 to 4 pm, rain or shine, at Tanner Park Copiague, near the new dog run. BAARC is the town shelter. (I rarely refer to it by the newer name because I hesitate to confuse readers.) Everyone is invited to the fair to learn about the shelter and "Buddy Cares", a non-profit organization set up to promote the wellness and grooming of all needy shelter animals. More about "Buddy Cares" in a moment. The fun-filled fair will feature shelter pets for adoption; other rescue groups; demos by Suffolk Co. Police K-9s and Doggie U agility; entertainment for the kids including "Dinosaur Lightning" a music program and a pet puppet and plaster paw print craft. Pet related vendors will be on hand too. Tables for vendors cost $20- call 631-893-1053.

#3 "Buddy Cares", a non-profit 501 (c) (3), was inspired by Buddy, a very matted stray Shihtzu who surfaced at Babylon Town Shelter in July 2007. Shelter dogs are like real estate. They need curb appeal, or should I say "cage" appeal. Just as a landscaping and coat of paint sell a house; a well-groomed dog helps sell himself to potential adopters. Equally important, matting can aggravate skin, parasite, and health problems. Animals often come into the shelter after months, sometimes years of neglect, requiring a make-over for humane reasons. Years prior, depending on the shelter rules, animals with terribly neglected coats were sometimes sent out (which was tricky because of rabies shot and liability issues) to pet salons; sometimes done in-house by volunteers, staff and, once in a while, pro bono groomers. These cases are much worse than anything groomers see in their shops. At times animals need light sedation or several sessions to withstand the clipping. Shortly before the arrival of shelter supervisor Chris Elton and many simultaneous improvements at Babylon, Lauren Van Kirk, Town director of services for the disabled, and now Buddy's forever Mom, noticed Buddy's deplorable state and made arrangements for him to be transported to a groomer. This sweet pup gave Lauren the idea to start "Buddy Cares" to help fund grooming/ health services and supplies that would enhance the comfort, well-being and adoptability of shelter animals. "Buddy Cares" is a wellness fund. Meanwhile the Town has also hired two part timers- a vet tech and a groomer, and purchased a nice hydraulic table, a lot better than my old metal arm. Therefore, now donations to "Buddy Cares" can be used for a variety of veterinary and cosmetic purposes as diverse as fleacontrol products, an updated tub, and possibly cherry eye surgeries.

At right, Lily, is a young Shepherd/Shiba
#4 Your Pet could be a STAR in the "Buddy Cares" Calendar Pet Photo Contest. In 2010 when "Buddy Cares" produces its 2nd glossy calendar, your pet may just win a spot. For a $ 5 donation each, enter as many Jpeg, Tiff, or Tiff shots as you'd like by Oct.1. Mail to: Buddy Cares, PO Box 204, Lindenhurst, NY 11757. See more rules at www.buddycares.org. Just be forewarned that your pet will be competing against the Anderson Afghans.

For Adoption at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677-5784) Miller Pl. Syosset: The dogs and cats at Oyster Bay Shelter are clamoring for equal time. "Oliver" #200 is a handsome, declawed longhaired cat, given up when his owners moved while "Lily" #224 is a young Shepherd/Shiba. She's smart and attentive but needs to be placed in a home without cats. "Rusty" #223 is a happy, senior Cocker Spaniel who needs a special home. More cats: "Josie"- muted calico; "Delilah"- white & gray"- both declawed; "Moose" & "Powder"- both polydactyl (extra toes).

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