Category Archives: dog adoption

How many hounds needing a home?

Izzy of The Balanced Dog

All of the dogs I have had in my life have been adopted.

Our first family dog came from a no-kill shelter; our second from a supermarket notice board.  A local re-homing group, Dogwatch, facilitated my first adoption as an owner; my second dog, Daisy, came in a private adoption through word-of-mouth, and in 2014 Izzy, a greyhound adopted through the national adoption group Greyhounds as Pets, arrived on the scene.

Worldwide, there are more dogs that need homes than there are adoptive homes to care for them and this situation is no different for the greyhounds of New Zealand’s racing industry.

As of 2018, New Zealand is one of only eight territories in the world with a commercial greyhound racing industry.  The others in alphabetical order are Australia, Ireland, Macau, Mexico, United Kingdom, the United States (five states only), and Vietnam.

But many New Zealanders are unaware of the findings of  The Hansen Report, which was publicly released in the busy pre-Christmas period of December 2017.  Formally titled A Report to the NZ Racing Board on Welfare Issues Affecting Greyhound Racing New Zealand, the report was written by the Hon Rodney Hansen, QC.

I won’t go into all of the findings in this blog post (the report is 93 pages).  But the statistical analysis of the racing industry’s own data show that despite the efforts of all of the re-homing groups in the country combined, re-homing can’t deal with the influx of greyhounds leaving the industry.  The report deems this a ‘current structural imbalance’ and recommends that ‘re-homing alone cannot solve the problems created by excessive numbers of greyhounds entering the industry each year.’

The bottom line?  There’s still a lot to be done to look after the welfare of the greyhounds in the NZ racing industry.  In the four-year period between 2013/14 and 2016/17, the whereabouts of 1,271 dogs could not even be determined and another 1,447 hounds were officially euthanised.

Upon the report’s release, Racing Minister Winston Peters described the findings as both disturbing and disappointing.  While the racing industry has said it intends to act on all findings, those actions will take time.

And that is why I volunteer with Greyhounds as Pets and also offer my fundraising support.  Because there are so many hounds in need of an adoptive home.

As with children, dogs don’t ask to be born.  But it is our responsibility as a society to care for them once they are brought into the world.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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The Pet Effect

The Pet Effect is an educational campaign to raise awareness of the health benefits of pets and to encourage veterinary and other pet professionals to understand their role in promoting the benefits of the human-animal bond.

Needless to say, this is an issue very near and dear to my heart.

I am a passionate supporter of “Adopt, Don’t Shop” and, because of my work with dogs and owners as a canine massage therapist, I have the honored position of working with dogs and their owners as a team.  We often focus on quality of life for the dog.  In many cases, the quality of the dog’s life is a direct consequence of what is happening in their human family and vice-versa.

I really like the Pet Effect’s latest video – Adopt a Human – because it puts a different perspective on adoption.


Did your dog rescue you?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Willa – Our Sweet Girl

Willa is a special dog.

An American Pit Bull x Boxer, Willa has breast cancer which has likely spread. She’s on medication, but with time being precious, it’s important to focus on quality of life.   Willa is a popular sleepover dog at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – every precious sleepover adds to Willa’s quality of life and enrichment.  She really enjoys getting out of kennels, getting cuddles and having a good, deep sleep.

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Willa loves rides in the car

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A special tag for a special girl

I really enjoyed staying with Willa and seeing her sweet nature in person.  Let’s hope she gets a home soon.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Hank’s in-room massage

I love having sleepover dogs from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  When Hank (a Mastiff cross) stayed with me, I gave him an in-room relaxation massage.

At first he wasn’t sure what to expect, but he soon got into it.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Great Global Greyhound Walk

The Great Global Greyhound Walk has become an annual event since 2014 to raise the profile of adoptable greyhounds.  (The event was started in 2010 as the Great British Greyhound Walk but interest soon went global.)

Groups from around the globe organize walks with their hounds to show them off to the public and to raise funds for greyhound adoption.

This year, the date is this Sunday – 11th June.  gggw-logo  If you follow the Walk’s website, there’s a searchable database to find the walk closest to you.

Check out the map while you are there – this event is truly global.

As Izzy is a greyhound and we volunteer for Greyhounds as Pets, you can guarantee that we will participate in our local walk in central Christchurch.

Interested in knowing more about bringing a greyhound into your life?  Why not come out on Sunday and meet lots of hounds and their owners.  Owners love to talk about their dogs and their enthusiasm is infectious.  Bring your spare change and make a donation, too, so more hounds can find a forever home.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

When a rescue champion retires…

I have just finished writing a column for NZ Dog World magazine about the issue of demographic change in the veterinary medicine sector.

And then in my Linkedin newsfeed pops up this article about a rescue group in Utah that is winding up.  It’s founder and stalwart is retiring after 13 years…

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Santa Clara City Councilwoman Mary Jo Hafen presents Linda Elwell with a bouquet of flowers in appreciation of her work with Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter, Santa Clara, Utah, May 31, 2017 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

…and the rescue group is ceasing its operations as a result.

Something that ‘experts’ warned for quite a few years is upon us – demographic change.  In the next 10 years, many Baby Boomers will be retiring.  They’ve done their bit and it’s time to slow down and enjoy life.

The problem is – the Gen X and Millennials that are living their lives have different pressures and priorities.  Gen X are dealing with aging parents, educating their children, and retaining full-time employment to pay for their own retirement.  Millennials have different priorities too.  They may have aspirations to buy a home in a rising housing market; they are integrally connected to technologies of all types, and they don’t ‘volunteer’ the way previous generations did.

Rescue groups and those involved in re-homing need to take heed.

Succession planning is important if your rescue group is to survive.  This means an honest look at business processes and how they relate to the current generations with disposal income and the ability to support your efforts.

Digital presence is a must; as is content curation – the provision of new and regular content.

It’s a real shame to see groups winding up; but there will probably be more who don’t survive the rapid change in their memberships.

Need help?  I’m an experienced not-for-profit and public sector manager as well as a canine massage therapist and entrepreneur.  I’d be happy to work with your group to facilitate the development of action plans for your future.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Mutual Rescue™

Mutual Rescue™ is a trademarked initiative of the Humane Society Silicon Valley.  Aimed at changing the way people think of animal welfare and adoption, each year the Society asks for submissions from people to share their story about a special connection they have made with an animal.

These stories of inspiration and transformation have come about because a person walked into an animal shelter and adopted a pet.

Four new videos will be released in early 2017 after over 400 stories were submitted for consideration.

Below is the first Mutual Rescue™ video released last year – the story of Eric & Peety.  I particularly love the way the drawings have been introduced to the film.

Please also note that Eric’s naturopathic doctor recommended a dog as a key part of his treatment for obesity…

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand