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Humane Society of GB Update
Humane Society volunteer reflects on her annual summer visit
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 09:00

HSGB friend and guest columnist Stephanie Winus of Long Island, NYBy HSGB friend and guest columnist Stephanie Winus of Long Island, NY

Reflecting on my recent trip to Freeport, I couldn’t help but realize that my friends no longer ask me IF I am going to the Bahamas, but rather WHEN I plan on going. Since July of 2009, I have been spending a week each summer helping out at the shelter that was the previous home of my two Potcakes.

When I return each year, I am anxious to see what is new at the Humane Society. There is always something different. This year there was the new store inside the front office; it sells various pet foods as well as supplies such as collars, leashes, and toys. Speaking with the shelter director, I found out that a new feeding system had been instituted which is healthier for the dogs as well as more cost effective for the shelter. A more organized kennel card system has also been established.

All of these are good things. However, I also found myself thinking that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It may be a cliché that is sometimes overused, but unfortunately, in regard to the Humane Society of Grand Bahama, it is sadly true.

What I am referring to is the sheer number of dogs that are housed inside the shelter; the number of dogs and puppies, cats, kittens and other species that are surrendered on a daily basis. The resistance on the part of some dog owners to spay and neuter their dogs.

The do's and don'ts of rabbits and pocket pets
Submitted by Tip Burrows, Executive Director, HSGB   
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 10:05

It's inevitable. Every new pet "fad" is going to result in more pets ending up at animal shelters. It seems there is at least one rabbit breeder on the island now, and a couple of pet supply stores that are also selling rabbits and other pocket pets like hamsters and guinea pigs.

In the last week our shelter has taken in two hamsters and one rabbit (our fourth rabbit for the year). That may not sound like a lot but when a shelter is not set up to take care of a particular kind of pet, it does entail significantly more time and expense. We do not have any rabbit or hamster cages, never mind quiet areas to house them. Luckily the hamsters were surrendered with their cage - although it was far too small for two hamsters, and very cheaply made - and some food and bedding (shavings). And very luckily we only had them two nights before they were adopted by an experienced hamster lover so we know they're now in a good home.

Ivan and Simon Hamster were surrendered because "the kids weren't taking care of them." Our article last week covered the reasons why expecting children to take complete responsibility for pets is unrealistic, and moreover, unfair to the animals.

Poor little Geo the bunny was surrendered late last week with a badly broken leg. The owner said that visiting relatives' kids had swung him around by his back legs. She said all the kids got a "beating". While we are not happy about the injury to this bunny, it's arguable that violence against kids does not solve discipline problems and can beget more violence against animals and other humans, and perhaps was not the best punishment.

Kids and pets
Submitted by Tip Burrows, Executive Director, HSGB   
Thursday, 30 July 2015 06:51

"The kids are not taking care of the dog." Or cat, or hamster, or bunny. We hear this fairly often as a reason to surrender a family pet to our shelter. There are so many benefits for kids to grow up with pets that is makes us sad when the parents make such drastic decisions.

Did you know that some studies have been done that show that children growing up with pets in the home are healthier the first year of their life than children without pets? And that growing up with pets seems to reduce the likelihood of kids developing common allergies and asthma by as much as 30%?

Children with pets generally have higher self esteem, make friends easier, and develop important values such as empathy and compassion. Children with reading challenges are often helped greatly by simply reading to their pets. Up to the age of about seven, many children genuinely believe their pets are comprehending what they're hearing - and who knows, perhaps they are!

Children with pets, particularly dogs, spend more time outdoors, and in this electronic age where it seems every kid over the age of two has an electronic device or two, anything that encourages them to get outdoors for fresh air and exercise has to be a good thing.

Kids with pets also learn more about nurturing and responsibility. There is nothing wrong with making some pet chores part of a child's expected household help but to expect a child to be solely responsible for all aspects of care for the pet is simply not realistic.

Sweeting's Cay potcake puppy captures the heart of West Palm Beach visitor
Submitted by Tip Burrows, Executive Director, HSGB   
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 11:06

Sweeting's Cay kids with Shadow, one of our first customers of the day, who will be neutered, treated for a venereal tumor and returned to his owner. And more news from a busy week at the Humane Society of Grand Bahama

A nice lady from West Palm Beach was with family and friends on their boat at Sweeting's Cay two weeks ago and found (and fell in love with) a malnourished, mangy tick infested puppy.

With it being a weekend she didn't know how to make arrangements for the puppy but she contacted us after she got back home to ask if we could help, saying she would like to adopt this puppy if we could rescue him.

She also made a generous donation to defray our costs for the trip.

After much scrambling and organizing, we put as many crates and traps in our little Ford Explorer as it would hold and set off last Wednesday morning.

Sweeting's Cay mama dog and her baby, we were able to catch baby, will return for mama asapOur Colorado State MBA students/volunteers met Lucille and Tip in McLeans Town to assist.

Mr. Tate was our awesome boat captain and also kindly drove us up and down the cay in his truck collecting dogs and puppies.

We located and secured the lucky pup in question first and then filled up our crates.

All too quickly the space was taken up.

We collected a total of five new puppy residents for the shelter and three adult dogs for spay/neuter/return. When we return the spay/neuter patients we will collect as many more animals as we can.

Humane Society of Grand Bahama: Our week in review
Submitted by Tip Burrows, Executive Director, HSGB   
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 09:43

What a busy week! Thanks to our amazing MBA student volunteers from Colorado, we launched our new pet supplies shop, and numerous other initiatives are in the works as well.

We are very pleased to announce the addition of some unique and special artwork to our shop - hand painted one of a kind conch shells by Grand Bahama's own Nikki Kelly. We so appreciate Nikki's support. For every shell sold through our shop, our shelter animals receive a wonderful commission.

We also, as usual, rescued a number of animals.

"Fergie" (our name not the dog's real name) was found wandering on Coral Road last week. She has some serious eye issues. Her owner has come forward and we are working with her, hoping she is serious about treating this sweet little dog's medical problems. She has had several litters of puppies and the owner is willing to get her spayed, finally, which is great, but the eyes are a real worry.

We would just remind everyone that dogs are meant to be pets and companions, not businesses. Too many people acquire these toy breeds (and larger dogs, too!) for the wrong reasons, and often times serious medical concerns are ignored as long as the dog can produce puppies.

Tiny Mighty Mouse was found Tuesday morning wandering around the huge tank farm at Borco. Nobody knows how he got there, but he had to be de-oiled with Dawn dishwashing detergent, and hopefully will make a full recovery from his encounter with petroleum products, thanks to his quick rescue.

He is very scared but also very willing to give us scary humans a chance. He would really benefit from a loving foster home for at least a couple of weeks if anyone is able.

Big thanks to Borco staffer (and HSGB supporter) Letitia Parker for rescuing him and bringing him to us! (Before and after de-oiling photos).

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Retail space at the Humane Society boosts local economy
Submitted by Tip Burrows, Executive Director, HSGB   
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 09:28

... and a great puppy rescue by visitors to Grand Bahama

When President of the Humane Society of Grand Bahama Board Brian Botham stopped by the facility last week he was astonished at the re-model of the retail area. “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Brian. “The colours made the space pop with brightness and the layout was inviting with a variety of diverse products.”

The Humane Society of Grand Bahama is debuting a new retail space now open to the public.

“Before, I would just come to drop my dog off for baths or shots, now I can buy food, medicine, toys, treats and everything else I need in one location - it’s fantastic,” said another customer, a proud owner of an adopted HSGB dog.

The response to the new pet supply offerings has been overwhelming and will help the Humane Society to increase their efforts of controlling animal overpopulation and keeping Freeport a beautiful city that tourists will continue to want to visit.

With the help of four Master of Business Administration students from Colorado State University, the Humane Society of Grand Bahama is getting an overhaul.

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