Monthly Archives: April 2015

Artist’s exhibit support animal shelter

A Santa Fe artist and animal lover will attend the opening of an exhibit of her work Friday at a popular coffee house.lynne2

A portion of the sales of artwork by Lynne Loshbaugh will benefit the Santa Fe animal shelter. Loshbaugh and her shelter dog, Chula, will be at the exhibit from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Downtown Subscription, 376 Garcia St., in Santa Fe.

The monthlong exhibit features more than 20 original paintings, some new and some old, said organizer and daughter Jenny Loshbaugh, who encouraged people to “meet the artist and come share your love for Santa Fe’s animals in need.”

Lynne Loshbaugh, whose work has been described as whimsical folk art, said when she starts painting, she lets go lynne3of the real world and wanders into one of magic and fantasy. “I’ve never really done a ‘theme show’ because that imaginary world is constantly changing in my mind.”

Many of Loshbaugh’s paintings depict animals, either interacting directly with the human subjects or off on their own adventures. Loshbaugh, in answering questions about her art, said “in a painting, you can turn emotions inside out and create whatever reality you choose, perhaps wistful, colorful, humorous, maybe in deliciously sarcastic.”

The artist said she urged people to “bring their own story into my work. And, as always, I hope they also bring a smile, and a question.”

Sponsored animals for April

All our animals are special, but sometimes we have people who want to help give homeless animals a paw tinaturnerup – so businesses and individuals sponsor the animals through their daily upkeep or their adoption fee. Meet April’s sponsored animals, whose adoption fees are waived through the month:

Smart and gorgeous, Tina Turner, who is being sponsored by our friends at Back Road Pizza, is a 3-year-old American Pit Bull mix. She found his way to the Shelter as a stray and is now looking for a new home. She is a staff favorite and loves to meet people and other dogs. She’s great with children.

Vanna, a gray-and-white beauty, is a friendly domestic long-haired feline about 6 years old. UPDATE: Vanna has Vanna 102326been adopted.

If you’re interested in learning about sponsoring an animal, call our Adoption Desk at 983-4309 ext. 610. For more information, click here.

Tales of Tails: Tank gets a massage

By Hersch Wlson

Our dog Tank gets a massage every week.Tank on his way to “La Masajista Perro!" Courtesy photo

I’m going to let you contemplate that thought for a moment.

I, by the way, don’t get a massage every week, or every year for that matter.

But I’m not bitter.

He came home from his second massage last week and I wanted to talk to him about it, but Laurie (my wife) said, “Leave him alone, he needs to nap. And you need to finish composting the garden.”

O.K., I’m a little bitter. But I understood the pecking order in our family. It’s always Laurie, then daughter No. 1 (Brynne) her fiancé (Luke), then Nellie, (Berner No. 1), then daughter No. 2, (Sully), and finally, Tank and I battle each other to stay out of last place.

With this new massage thing, Tank had clearly scored a coup and moved up.

It all began when a close friend of ours decided to get her canine Therapeutic Massage Therapist Certificate. She had completed her initial week-long course and now was required to work on three dogs as case studies prior to getting her certificate.

Because she technically wasn’t working under the supervision of a veterinarian, we will call our friend by her chosen code name, “la Masajista Perro.”

I went along to observe Tank’s third session. The first thing I noticed was how excited he got has we turned on to her road. By the time we pulled into the driveway he was whining. He sprinted out of the car to the front door and sat.

Clearly, he had already bonded with “La Masajista.”

She opened the door and we went in. After Tank explored the room for a few minutes he sat down on the living-room floor and waited expectantly.

“La Masajista” began with long strokes along Tank’s flanks and back. “I think of massage as ‘Intentional Petting.’ Any dog guardian (she prefers not to use ‘dog owner’) can do this part. It’s soothing to the dog and a few minutes a day can really help the bonding process.”

I wrote that down and then looked at Tank. Yep, his eyes were half closed, his tongue was lolling out and he was beginning to sigh with pleasure. He reminded me a lot of myself during the few times I’ve actually gotten a massage.

As Tank rolled over on his back, legs splayed to the ceiling and the massage continued, “La Masajista” talked about the various uses of massage — other than Tank being passed out on the floor in pleasure.

“Dog massage is used as a complement to other therapies, which is why it’s important to have a veterinarian involved. But the three important areas it’s used for are to help socialize puppies, to help with the weekend warrior syndrome, dogs that are basically lazy all week and then go out and play hard with their humans on the weekend.

I interrupted, “That’s what I need. A massage every Monday.”

There was a pause, “La Masajista” and Tank looked at each other. I saw a barely perceptible eye roll from Tank. Apparently — like everyone in my family — neither of them appreciated my humor.

Then she continued, “The third area is in increasing blood flow to muscles in older dogs.”

At this point, she had both her hands on Tank’s hips. “Huh,” she said, “He has really warm hips.”

“Is that good?” I asked, noting Tank was looking at me with a little swagger, as if to say, “Do you have warm hips?”

She went on, “It could mean that he has sore hips. You should probably ask his veterinarian next time he has a check up. The other really good thing about massaging your dog is that you really get to know their bodies. Then, when something is wrong you’ll notice it quickly.”

At this point, Tank got up, stretched and walked to the door.

“La Masajista” laughed and said, “That’s the thing about dogs. They’ll let you know when they’re done.”

We left “La Masajista Perro” standing by her door. Tank immediately sprinted into our house when we got home and got to nap.

I wasn’t jealous . . .

If you’re interested in therapeutic massage for your dog, my recommendation is to see veterinarian Sue McKelvey, at Bounce Back Integrative Veterinarian Rehabilitation in Santa Fe.

If you’re interested in massage for yourself, you’re on your own . . . just don’t tell your dog.

For more writings by Hersch Wilson on dogs, firefighters and life go to herschwilson.com. Contact him at hersch.wilson@mac.com.

 

Reduced adoption fees on black dogs and cats

The Santa Fe animal shelter is teaming up with Best Friends Animal Society to help find good homes for homeless harley Samaripets through its special Back in Black adoption promotion through April.

The shelter is waiving the adoption fee on all-black adult animals and offering half-price adoptions on adult dogs and cats with some black in their fur. The adoption fee is waived on all senior dogs, 5 years and older, and senior cats, 9 years and older, with any black in their fur.

The promotion aims to highlight black-furred dogs and cats, many of whom are overlooked simply because of the color of their fur. The shelter is among 160 shelters and rescue groups throughout the nation participating in the promotion. Last year, more than 3,400 black dogs and cats were adopted during the promotion.

To view adoptable dogs and cats, visit the shelter’s website at www.sfhumanesociety.org or call the shelter’s adoption desk at 983-4309, ext. 610, for more information.

The Problem with ‘The Starfish Story’

You’ve probably heard The Starfish Story. There are several different versions. The one I first remember hearing went something like this:

A man is walking along a beach and comes along a stretch on which hundreds of starfish have washed up. In thebillmary distance, he sees a little girl picking up the starfish one by one, taking them to the water’s edge, and throwing them back into the ocean. As he approaches her, he sees that she has only managed to throw a few back, and asks her, “Why are you doing this? There are so many starfish; how can you possibly make a difference throwing them back one at a time? How could your efforts even matter?” The little girl looks at the man and says, “It matters to the ones I throw back.”

It’s a great story, right? It hits all the right buttons, inspires us, and makes us feel like we can carry on when things feel impossible.

But I’m starting to feel like it’s also a dangerous story, especially when it comes to animal overpopulation.

Every shelter that has made positive inroads toward curbing animal overpopulation in their communities has also received calls from animal lovers in other communities that have not been so fortunate. Those calls are frequently accompanied by pleas for intervention. Thanks to an incredibly supportive community, the Santa Fe animal shelter is no different. We get those calls, and they are heartbreaking.

These calls are difficult for us because they largely come from areas where the community leaders have done little or nothing to address overpopulation. I believe taking those animals and propping up those communities without asking for evidence of that community’s plan to solve the problem is worse than not taking them at all. That’s where the problem with The Starfish Story shows up. Let me explain.

The main problem with the “it matters to the ones I throw back” approach is that it also matters to the ones we don’t throw back, and in some ways, it matters more to them because their suffering continues. It gives us a chance to feel like our efforts, while incomplete, mean something. The starfish story doesn’t make the community of starfish feel better at all.

If we save a few — those who may be the easiest to rescue — it means turning our backs on the neediest.

Our task in animal welfare usually feels endless. But it is only in our effort to do something impossible that we have the chance to do something remarkable.

The mandate of many communities is to deal with animals as cheaply as possible. If there’s no compelling reason to spend more money, do more training, or make animal welfare a higher priority, then most community leaders won’t. Meanwhile, that community is still collecting tax dollars from its citizens, those leaders are still getting re-elected, and other communities still have to step in. But if we all come to your beach, who throws the starfish back on ours?

In our metaphor, the starfish didn’t show up on the beach by accident. The animals in our communities who need our help are usually there through some combination of ignorance, malice and apathy. Those are the real enemies, and dealing with them is the first step in saving the masses of starfish. It is tiring work to change the heart and mind of a community.

We must recognize that it isn’t someone else’s responsibility to save starfish. The responsibility belongs to each and every one of us each and every day. It matters to all of them, not just the ones we help.

The Starfish Story means something different to me now than it used to, and Santa Fe has a lot to do with it. Today, The Starfish Story isn’t a comfort; it’s a call to action. It should not make us feel better. Because the simple truth is that it’s not enough. The Starfish Story should motivate us to get every person in that imaginary seaside town down on that beach and start throwing back starfish by the dozens and by the hundreds. If we want to make not just a difference but a change, we have to mobilize groups – our friends and neighbors, our communities and our leaders – to work collectively not just for a few starfish today, but for all the starfish still to come.

Bill Hutchison, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter’s former communications director, is currently working on a doctorate in English at the University of Chicago, specializing in animal studies. Mary Martin is executive director of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and a licensed veterinary technician.