Friday, September 30, 2011

National Adopt a Dog Month

October:  Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
In celebration of National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month in October, St. Tammany Humane Society is asking those who are thinking of adopting a new furry member of the family to remember the advantages of adopting from your local animal shelter.  For the month of October, the no-kill shelter has a goal to adopt out 50 pups to new, loving homes!  That's not all.  The St. Tammany Humane Society will be giving away 2 Rescue Dog Baskets consisting of:  dog bed, leash and collar, flea and tick preventative, gift certificate to STHS, and many other goodies to either welcome a new pup or treat an old friend. 

How can you win one of these baskets?

For each dog adoption throughout the month of October, each adopter will receive a raffle ticket.  At the end of the month, the winner ticket will be drawn!
Secondly, we are having a “My Rescue Dog” contest throughout October.  Simply email your heartwarming story of adopting your rescue dog with a photo attached to  The STHS staff will vote on best story at the end of October and winner will receive a Rescue Dog Basket.  All stories and photos will be posted on Happy Tails on our website (

Thoughts on Adoption

It is true, those searching for that perfect new pet do have the option of purchasing from a dog breeder, but as with all else, it is worth your while to weigh the pros and cons of such an important decision. Should logic and reason enter the blissful world of ‘puppy love?’  I say, “Yes.”

In this day and age, we seem to be a culture and society burgeoning with those who seek immediate gratification and give little thought to the consequences of their actions.  Even those who would agree with this, and make the feeble attempt to avoid it are nonetheless victims in countless ways.  Pet adoption is no exception.  From adopting a puppy when you are not prepared to purchasing from a disreputable breeder, dog or puppy adoption should be something that is weighed heavily before being acted upon.

In reading other articles written about the spirit of Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, I came across many which enumerated solid reasons for adopting a shelter dog.  Those of us who are animal lovers and dip into animal welfare literature from time to time can probably list these reasons verbatim, for they are ubiquitous and are certainly touted in most articles or essays on the advantages of adopting a rescue dog.  However, many of these reasons certainly hold true for adopting from breeders or puppy mills as well.  Of course we all know that a dog, no matter how it came to enter this world, is certainly deserving of a wonderful, loving, and responsible home.  And it is difficult, when you are looking for a new puppy, to resist those cute faces that we see in shopping mall parking lots or listings in the newspaper or Craigslist.  But let us take a macro-view of dog adoption for a moment.
Working in a shelter setting, I certainly know and have come across folks who have purchased puppies from breeders and are breeders (in some case hoarders) themselves.  Are these ‘bad’ people?  No, of course not.  And as this is not an article for Psychology Today, we will fast forward over the root cause and diagnosis of those who animal hoard or run puppy mills and focus on what WE can do (as potential pet adopters) to stem the number of dogs that are being bred irresponsibly and therefore euthanized unnecessarily. 
Currently, thousands of dogs are euthanized each year in St. Tammany Parish.  

The St. Tammany Humane Society works in many ways in conjunction with Animal Services in ensuring that we can save as many dogs as possible, but the pet overpopulation is staggering in its proportions.  A surprising percentage of the dogs that are being euthanized are pure bred dogs that came from the above mentioned situations.  How do we stem the number of homeless dogs that almost seems to grow exponentially each year in our community?  The first step, as most would respond automatically, is spaying or neutering your pets.  The second step?  Stop supporting disreputable breeders or puppy mills by taking or purchasing dogs from them.  Every puppy bought from a breeder or hoarder is an incentive to continue breeding, which results in thousands of needless deaths each year.  You have the power to stop the cycle. 

And so, in conclusion……if you are thinking of adopting a puppy or adult dog for yourself or your family, WHY should you adopt from a shelter during Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month???
1.      By adopting from a shelter or rescue group, you are helping to save the lives of two animals: the dog you adopt and a homeless pup somewhere who can be rescued because of the space you have freed up.
2.      The St. Tammany Humane Society is simply brimming with happy, healthy pups just waiting for the perfect family to take them home.  It is a common misconception that shelters are full of dogs who have ended up there because they’ve been abused or something is ‘wrong’ with them.  Most dogs end up here because of ‘people’ problems or rescues from hoarding situations.
3.      You will save time and money.  The St. Tammany Humane Society’s adoption fee includes vaccinations, spay/neuter, micro-chip, and six months of heartworm preventative.  If you were to pay for those services yourself, you’d be paying much more.
4.      Who can argue with receiving unconditional love?  Ask anyone who’s adopted a rescue dog:  these dogs seem to know that they have been saved and return that favor a thousand-fold in love and affection!
5.      You will not be supporting cruelty.  Each dog adopted rather than purchased means less of a market for unhealthy, inbred puppies bred under cruel conditions in puppy mill operations throughout this country.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Growing Pains

As the St. Tammany Humane Society expands both virtually and literally, we are now faced with the necessity of accommodating our growing number of fans….I mean, clients and potential adopters by adding more parking area to our small shelter (a good problem to have, if you’re going to have one). Over the last 3 years St. Tammany Humane Society, as I alluded to previously, has grown exponentially in terms of community outreach, new programs, vet clinic growth, and a huge increase in adoptions. Most of these positive changes can be attributed to innovative and dynamic leadership, and a hardworking caring staff.

However, another factor that has been instrumental to our recent growth and success is the help and support of Ian Somerhalder, star of the TV series Vampire Diaries. Ian is a St. Tammany native, and his relationship with the St. Tammany Humane Society began about 2 years ago, shortly after the devastating oil spill in the Gulf. Ian reached out, using his resources in aiding his hometown and local community in a cause that is close to his heart: animal welfare and rescue. His PSA urged people to not only be aware, but actively assist in any way they were able in helping to stem the loss and devastation to the environment and state wildlife as a result of the oil spill (special emphasis on the Louisiana Brown Pelican).

Ian’s work for those who have no voice did not stop there. After visiting STHS directly following the tragic oil spill, he became actively involved with our no-kill shelter. His role as chairperson of our annual Fall fundraiser “Unleashed” brought fans (who are now some of our most generous donors and supporters) from around the world. “Unleashed 2010: Bash on the Bayou” was our largest event to date, bringing in much needed proceeds which were used to make improvements and additions to our 50 year old shelter. Among Ian’s myriad contributions to STHS include spotlighting some of our hard to adopt pups, donating proceeds from his autographed picture to the shelter, publicly supporting our no-kill shelter and mission whenever he can, and joining with us in spreading awareness in many facets of animal welfare. Ian’s newly formed non-profit organization, the IS Foundation, touts the mission statement, “The IS FOUNDATION aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.” Animal welfare is a main focus of the IS Foundation, and his active role in this arena has not gone unnoticed by many animal advocates around the globe.

So, in returning to our humble St. Tammany Humane Society…….and our parking lot in progress. In addition to the necessities and pragmatics involved in the construction of our new parking area, we thought that a little touch of ancillary aesthetics for your viewing pleasure would be in order: a beautiful flower garden adorning the perimeter of the parking area. This would serve a dual purpose. Not only would you have a visual sensory overload when you pulled into STHS (which can be quite pleasant), but also a gorgeous background to showcase all of our adoptables on the website. The garden’s beauty will demand that it have a name… The name, in honor of our supporter that has made it possible in the first place: The Garden of Ian.

For more information and how you can help build the Garden of Ian, please CLICK HERE
Vaughn Maurice
Executive Director
St. Tammany Humane Society

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lucky Dog Rescue Blog: The Truth About Fostering

Lucky Dog Rescue Blog: The Truth About Fostering: "Every day, people make the decision to have children… knowing that their kids will one day grow up and leave them for families of their own...."