Editor's note: This week's edition was written by guest columnist Samantha Albert.
For a shelter dog, being adopted is like a taking a giant sigh of relief -- "ahhhhh."
As wonderful as shelter staff is, as comfortable as the animals are made, as dedicated and loving as the volunteers are, a shelter is still a shelter. When dogs finally find their forever homes, they often need a refresher course on how to be dogs. Inviting a dog walker into your new family member's routine is an ideal solution to help reintroduce your dog into the world.
Newly adopted dogs can find everyday life a bit overwhelming and scary. There is countless novel stimuli to take in, such as new sights, smells, people and other animals. In severe cases, if not introduced to these things in a slow, supportive and positive way, dogs could learn to make negative, fear-based associations.
When new dogs join a walking group, they are exposed to new things, places, people and dogs in a safe and comfortable environment. They learn impulse control, hone their recalls, sits and stays, learn how to socialize with their canine cohorts and build tons of positive associations and experiences.
Hiring a dog walker is not only beneficial to your dog. It allows pet owners to go to work, on vacation, and live their lives guilt-free, because they know their four-legged friends are being cared for and given the exercise necessary to keep them happy, healthy, and mentally stimulated. Daily walks and playtime give dogs the chance to exercise and keep their minds sharp. Instead of possibly being destructive when left home to their own devices, regular outings give the dogs something to do that will leave them tuckered out and ready for snuggles with their people at the end of the day.
Pet Of The Week: TUXEDO GIRL is a 1½-year-old spayed female tuxedo shorthair. She suffers from a condition called stomatitis, and the best course of action was to have most of her teeth pulled. Thanks to our Angel Fund, we were able to have her dental work done and she has blossomed into a sweet snuggly girl. She is feeling better and ready for a home and family.
Dog Alley: There are 11 available dogs at the Alameda Animal Shelter. SHANE is a stunning all-black German shepherd that is great on leash. He's about 2 years old. WILLOW is a super-sweet Staffordshire that is about 4 years old. She loves laps!
Cat Lair: There are 12 available cats at the shelter. SWEET PEA is a very pretty (and sweet) 6-month-old kitten. MISTY is a gray-and-white 8-year-old lovebug.
RABBIT ROW: MARTIN is a neutered Agouti, and SPECKLES is a neutered English spot. SMUDGE is a handsome pink-eyed Himalayan. Dulce is a neutered black New Zealander. CUBBY is a handsome brown rabbit.
Samantha Albert is a dog training intern volunteering for FAAS. To learn more about her dog walking business, contact her at Samantha@pawsitopia.com. You can also read more about Samantha at pawsitopia.com. Mim Carlson is executive director of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter. Visit the shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street, call 510-337-8565 or visit www.alamedaanimalshelter.org to view the animals.