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By Jackie Alessio
Anybody who owns a dog or a cat understands the special bond that forms between a pet and their person. Of course they also know that animals have a mind of their own. It is the rewarding and amusing nature of this kind of relationship that inspires Pets On Wheels of Connecticut volunteers to do what they do. We want others to share in the joy of pet ownership; the good, the great, and sometimes the ugly!
I experienced the more messy side of pet ownership to the fullest extent when my dog Guinness was a puppy. I had taken him with me to a party that was being held at the local fairgrounds. As soon as I let him off the leash to run around he stumbled with his big puppy paws over to the woods. I glanced away for what felt like just a moment, but when I looked back towards Guinness I saw him lumbering back towards me, proudly carrying something in his mouth. I ran towards him and quickly realized he had discovered a dirty diaper in the woods, and as he got closer, I was horrified to see and smell that he had rolled around on it before deciding to show it off. My friends thought it was hysterical, but Guinness didn’t think it was very funny when party time turned into bath time.
Sue Torres, a member of Pets On Wheels of Connecticut’s placement team, and her boyfriend, Matt also know what it’s like to have their dog keep them on their toes. Shortly after he was adopted from the Humane Society it became apparent that Cam, their Plott Hound from North Carolina, had some severe separation anxiety. He would find a way to break out of his crate as well as destroy woodwork, furniture, and even an air conditioner! Cam’s separation anxiety and instinctive desire to track any scent he picks up on has made him quite the escape artist. His impulsive behavior got him into some serious trouble one day while Matt was at work. Sue explains, “I received a call from Matt to get over to his house immediately. He lives on the second floor of a two family house. Apparently, Cam had unlocked a window, kicked out the screen and was hanging out the second story window barking. Cam has a very loud bark and could be heard all over the neighborhood. The Fire Department had been called to come with the ladder truck to get him back inside!”
Jennifer Holt, Pets on Wheels of Connecticut’s Director of Operations, is constantly amazed at her dog’s stealth in hiding people food. “Squib is like a ninja when I bring in groceries from the car. While I’m making several trips back and forth, she’ll steal food out of the bags I’ve already brought in. It’s not until hours or even days later that I’ll walk by her crate and discover an unopened box of mac n’ cheese or discover a loaf of bread stuffed between the couch cushions. But if I give her a rawhide bone, she’ll try digging a hole in the blankets on the bed and bury it beneath me! Then she’ll look at me like, You saw nothing.” Nowadays, Squib faces a new challenge: to keep her treats and toys away from Jennifer’s new kitten, Pow, who knows no fear!
Whether they’re making a mess or playing the role of damsel in distress, pets make for moments that are anything but dull. But they also make life better with their constant companionship and loyalty.
My name is Bethanie, and this is River. I adopted him when he was four years old. He is six years old now. He is adorable and affectionate, and follows me everywhere, including the bathroom, where the flushing of the toilet seems to be a source of fascination to him. He loves to play, especially with pompoms and mousies (who each have their own name). He is an avid sports fan, and enjoys watching baseball and hockey on TV. He is a very verbal cat, and we have many philosophical conversations. I love River immeasurably. He tells me he feels the same way about me.
Gigi’s search for the perfect dog took a little time, but it was love at first sight for her and Poppy Petal. Poppy is an affectionate little terrier mix who is eager to learn all there is about being a proper little lady. One of our volunteers drove Gigi to meet and adopt Poppy, and they stopped at the store on the way home for new food and supplies. As soon as Gigi got out of the car to walk into the store, Poppy–not even with her new mom for an hour yet–was instantly on the lookout for her return. These two new friends are going to make beautiful music together.
by Christine Spidell
When a person adopts a shelter dog or cat, it is often referred to as rescuing the animal. But many pet owners believe that their pets have actually rescued them. Pets have an amazing power of healing and comfort, and are able to provide their owners with a unique form of encouragement and support.
Dr. Edward Creagan, a Medical Oncologist at the Mayo Clinic, has experienced this firsthand. In a speech titled The Health Benefits of Pets, Dr. Creagan shares the story of a cancer patient who was determined to get well in order to get home to his dog. Rather than a family member or close friend, it was thoughts of his dog, Max, that created an extra form of motivation for him to keep pushing and get well.
“We can no longer ignore the medical significance of the bond people have with their pets,” says Dr. Creagan. He now writes down the names of all of his cancer patients’ pets and talks to them about their pets regularly. He sees an immediate change in attitude when the patients begin sharing stories about their pets. He says the atmosphere becomes one of “healing, peace, serenity.”
A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that when a human, regardless of age or gender, strokes a dog, there are profound psychological changes that act to reduce stress. The blood pressure and heart rate of the human reduce, and there is an overall sense of well-being.
For pet owners with social or emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression, having a pet can provide a special way of coping, and a sense of being needed. Pets can enhance their will to live, and give them an extra purpose and responsibility. They have a reason to get up each day, and develop a daily routine with their pet.
JoAnn Turnbull from the Delta Society has seen these positive effects on patients firsthand. “Within five or ten minutes, we can see patients get healthier just from having contact with a therapy animal,” says Turnbull. “People with chronic illnesses or who suffer from depression become engaged when they visit with a dog or cat, and they’ll engage with other people through the animal. The animals are the bridge to communication.” The Delta Society, also referred to as Pet Partners, is a nationwide non-profit organization specializing in Animal-Assisted Interactions.
Whether the owner has a special circumstance, or just enjoys the company of a furry companion, the benefits of owning a pet are significant and special. If you or someone you know is ready to adopt but could use some help, you can apply online right now. If you’d like to make a contribution to help even more people in need, please donate today.
One of our previous placements, Tanner continues to help his Dad Tom, a veteran, everyday in overcoming the affects of PTSD. As you can see from the photos, Tanner is quite the busy little guy and is his family’s “little baby.”
“ZL” adopted Twyla Hope just in time for the holidays. Twyla has a special ball that she likes to bat around her house and she likes to wake her “Mom” up during the night to play! She also has attempted to share ZL’s chicken dinner with her, unsuccessfully though. Her therapist said that she could not be happier for her as she has expressed a desire to have a cat for so long that she just never thought it would happen. ZL has wanted a cat for many years, and she is so happy to finally have Twyla in her life. She added Hope to her name after having her a few days as she gives her joy and Hope. ZL has someone to share Thanksgiving with this year! She wanted to extend her thanks for making this possible.
Pets on Wheels of Connecticut is proud to share our very first radio ad! Please listen below and share with your friends, family, and colleagues.
Thanks to the efforts of our wonderful volunteers and donors, and with the support of the Travelers Championship and Birdies for Charity, Pets on Wheels of Connecticut was able to raise $1,300 to help pay for veterinarian care and adoption fees for rescue animals placed with our recipients. Our volunteers worked hard to help spread the word and raise money for this annual fundraiser, and we can’t thank you enough!
Pets on Wheels of CT is blessed to have wonderful supporters who donate their money and time to helping people and pets in need. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to change so many lives!
Keep an eye out for information about the 2015 Birdies for Charity. The Travelers Championship will be June 22-28 this summer, but online pledging will open soon.
On Thursday, October 16th, Pets on Wheels of CT joined several other animal adoption organizations at Cynthia Lange Studios in West Hartford, for an evening to support shelter adoptions. “Going to the Dogs” was sponsored by POW-CT’s Sue Torres (one of our extraordinary placement team volunteers!), who was available to sign copies of her fabulous book, Loyalty Unleashed.
Attendees had a chance to sample a delicious buffet and dessert table while learning about central Connecticut shelters and POW-CT’s mission to connect people who need pets with pets who need people.
Everyone left with a gift bag full of doggy treats, toys, and information. Many thanks to Sue for organizing this event, to Christine for setting up the POW-CT table, and to Jessie for taking the lovely photographs above. You can read Sue’s blog and buy her book at loyalpitbulllove.com.
Porcia sleeps with Sandy, and there are times when they are laying down on the couch watching TV that Porcia hugs Sandy. She will put her paw around Sandy’s neck, which Sandy calls ‘spooning.’ Porcia LOVES to play fetch! Sandy will throw a ball and Porcia brings it back to her! Sandy has noticed that when she isn’t paying enough attention to Porcia, that Porcia will nip at her hand/arm or jump up on her coffee table and knock things off to get Sandy’s attention!
Sadly, River’s favorite toy, Old Man Mouse, has moved on to the great cheese in the sky. River and Beth held a funeral to say goodbye. Luckily, River has some other buddies to play with, Creamsicle and Tangerine. River will stuff the two stuffed mice under the closet door, then try to squeeze her whole body underneath to free them again. River makes friends with anybody who comes to visit Beth; although she does sometimes get shy and have to be coaxed out from under the bed with a treat or two. In the end, River and Beth are the best of friends and just to make sure everyone knows that, River will lick Beth’s forehead until she leaves a mark for all the world to see!
Jasmine sleeps in Nancy’s room, and if Jasmine gets hungry before Nancy wakes up, Jasmine will do things to make Nancy wake up to feed her! Nancy has also lined her window ledges with beds so that Jasmine can sit/lay and watch what is going on outside. They are favorite spots of Jasmine. Jasmine LOVES to be brushed… she lays on the floor and Nancy brushes her. Jasmine is not a cuddler yet, but in time, we all think she will get there! Nancy is very happy with her kitty.
We all had lots of fun on HALLOWEEN. Lots of things came to the house, and they smelled like friends. But they looked funny. Some of them kind of scared me. But I hid behind my Mom until they left. Mom put a dress on me and said I’m the cutest nurse she ever saw. What’s a nurse? Well anyway, I then walked around the neighborhood with my brother Ben and my sisters Emily and Christina. Some people gave me cookies. But at the end of a really long walk, I went home and we all went to bed. Best Halloween ever. Love Trixie.
Thanksgiving was pretty nice. I smelled food all day. And I got to eat what my Mom calls “people food.” It was turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and yams and green things I didn’t like and pumpkin pie and other stuff I forgot the name of it. But it was sooooooo yummy. Ooo and the best part, there was a new fuzzy blanket on the couch. I snuggled in it and watched TV with my eyes closed. Thanksgiving. . . .what a yummy day.
Christmas was exciting. Lots of paper bags to look in to and lots of paper rolled up and taped on hidden treasures. It was neat. Santa came! I heard him early in the morning. I thought I would meet a new friend, so I ran down the stairs. No one was here, but there were what my family called “presents” all around. I got a stocking full of whemzees and a pig ear. Yummy. Is this another yummy holiday? But there was more. Presents! I got some toys. A ball that my sister Emily kept throwing and saying, “go get it.” Why should I get it if she throws it? Shouldn’t she get it? I don’t understand this game. But anyway, I got a reindeer I like to snuggle with, and a blanket and more presents. Christmas was a fun day. Boy is it nice to have a home. Thank you Pets on Wheels of Connecticut, and I hope you all had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.
~ Love Trixie