Hurricane Season is Upon Us
Like many Americans, FBRN volunteers and adopters have watched with alarm over the past years as climate change has meant worsening hurricane seasons for our coastal states and our territories. We've learned that while some states are now allowing pets in some shelters, many people are being turned away with their beloved animals. Nearly fifty per cent of people who choose to stay home in mandatory evacuation areas cite refusal to leave their pets behind as the reason.
Many of us at FBRN can relate to the refusal to leave a pet behind. During Harvey, watching the HSUS, ASPCA, Austin Pets Alive! and other organizations frantically work to clear shelters so animals could be absorbed into Texas and Louisiana animal shelter systems was both uplifting and horrifying. The statistics on lost and dead animals following Harvey were heart-breaking and are still not complete, but we know that Katrina left more than 600,000 pets dead. Support for animals displaced during Harvey and Irma is ongoing. Florence is now upon us.
Thankfully, Florence has been downgraded from a Category 4 storm, but enormous amounts of rain and subsequent flooding are expected. Deaths are likely. Many people will be displaced, with their pets, for many months, as we saw following Sandy.
Florence won't be the last storm this year. We wish all our supporters, adopters, and volunteers a safe hurricane season, and we want to suggest that those in the path of tropical storms or hurricanes take an hour or two to set up a plan for evacuation. Where would you go? Call your local shelters and confirm that they will take your pets. If not, will a hotel take them? What are the rules and fees? Sadly, some hotels and motels are gouging hurricane refugees. Be sure you know where you can go.
Additionally, keep a go-bag for your pets. Poop bags or kitty litter with a 9x13 cake pan or aluminum roasting pan. Put a Sharpie marker in it for writing your phone number on the dog's tummy. Be sure to have your vet's phone number, or even better a thumb drive with your pet's vet records. Print some photos of your dog with family members as well as the ones you keep on your phone, in case you get separated. Keep a toy or two, some towels, a leash and collar with tags, and other proof of ownership. You may want to get a health certificate for your pet if you are going to travel. Keep at least 5 days' worth of canned dog or cat food (kibble can get wet and may get moldy, but a ziplock bag might keep kibble dry) and bottled water, as well as dog bowls. Does your dog take daily meds or supplements? Keep 10 days' worth in the go-bag. It can be so easy in a moment of tension and upset to forget important items, especially if you are packing for yourself and other family members, so a pre-packed backpack or bag is very helpful.
If your dog is smaller, be sure to have a carrying case for them. Buy a small fan to attach to the side of your Frenchie's crate to keep her cool. Keep your cat in a carrying case. You might want to break down a plastic crate for a larger dog if you are able to find a shelter or a hotel that will take you and your dogs--tape the screws and hardware to the sides of the crate so you don't lose them.
As we saw during Harvey, many hotels and Air BnB's opened their doors to hurricane refugees. During Irma, some airlines made special accommodations for people wanting to evacuate with their pets. Churches and community groups opened their doors, and individuals offered rooms, RVs, and motor homes for the use of those seeking safety. We wish our friends the comfort of a loving reception where ever they may find themselves, be it among neighbors, friends, or strangers. Safe travels to you all.
Electronic Fences—A Bad Idea
Spring has sprung, and our little canine friends, nostrils aquiver, are venturing forth into the great outdoors. How can we keep them safe? Some people consider installing an "invisible" fence - an underground, electrically-charged wire that, in conjunction with a special collar worn around a dog's neck, delivers an electric shock when the dog steps across it. These electronic fences are easy to install, relatively inexpensive, and they don't obstruct one's view. Unfortunately, however, one could argue that the risks of electronic fences greatly outweigh their benefits, especially for French Bulldogs.
Electronic fences rely on punishment as a training method.
French Bulldogs can be naturally stubborn and challenging to train, but they are also surprisingly sensitive. Physical punishment (in this case in the form of a painful electric shock) is not a viable training tool for any dog, and certainly not for a Frenchie.
Electronic fences can cause severe behavior problems, including aggression and fearfulness.
French Bulldogs tend to be social little creatures. Look up "aloof" in the dictionary, and you are not likely to see a picture of a Frenchie. Say your Frenchie sees a nice lady walking with her toddler. She waddles over to greet them, and is zapped when she gets close. In her pain and confusion, she might believe that the nice lady and/or the toddler were the source of the pain, and respond with fear or aggression. Some dogs won’t leave their yards on leash for fear of a shock. Some become afraid to go outside at all.
Dogs go through electronic fences.
Make no mistake about it, French Bulldogs are bulldogs through and through. They can be willful. A Frenchie might be perfectly willing to take a shock in order to get to that squirrel, dog, or (insert high-value item here), or to get away from something frightening like thunder. Once outside the perimeter, she will be shocked when she tries to return, so she will instead wander off, completely vulnerable.
Electronic fences do not stop other animals from entering the yard.
Coyotes, wolves, bears, mountain lions... any one of these wild animals would love to feast on a scrumptious little Frenchie whose only crime is looking remarkably like a pot roast. Loose dogs could attack, and if she tried to escape, she would be shocked by the electronic fence. Some Frenchies have a high prey drive, and will chase wild, potentially disease-bearing animals that wander into the yard, not to mention your neighbor's cat. We'll leave the whole skunk scenario to your imagination.
Electronic fences do not deter people from entering the yard.
We invite you to conduct an experiment. Take a French Bulldog to any place where people congregate -- a kindergarten class, a shopping mall, a Hell's Angels clubhouse -- place it on the floor and step away. Observe what happens. You will see that the majority of your subjects will immediately drop their crayons, blouses or socket wrenches, and lumber toward the grinning Frenchie like zombies. They are people magnets. The sight of a Frenchie sitting alone in the middle of a lawn, surrounded by nothing but air screams "Pet me", and in the case of more larcenous passers-by, "Take me".
If you are considering installing a fence to contain your Frenchie, please keep in mind that a sturdy, visible, conventional fence is the safest, most humane option. If this is not a possibility due to constraints placed upon you by a neighborhood association, frequent leashed walks are your best bet.
Isla in VA
Are you a devotee of drowsing? A supporter of snoozing? Do you suffer from fear of missing out…on adequate rest? If so, then you and Isla might be the perfect match. This sweet girl is looking for a full-time snuggle-buddy, who will make sure that she gets off the couch once in a while for some exercise and physical therapy. Isla has weak hindquarters and must wear a diaper to prevent accidents, but she’s worth that bit of extra work. So have a stretch, grab some coffee, and apply for her today!
These Outward Hound canine lifejackets are a Frenchie water safety MUST-have! The French bulldog is a top heavy breed. Due to their uneven weight distribution, French bulldogs should not be allowed to swim without a lifejacket, even under supervision. They sink, and sadly can drown in a matter of seconds. Check them out HERE!
Gold Paw Sun Shield Tee
We’ve been fielding requests for a summer-weight popover for years and we’ve finally found the right fabric – a lightweight stretch jersey with a UPF50 rating that blocks 98% of the sun’s UV rays. Super comfortable indoors and out and perfect for all sorts of applications beyond sun protection too: skin conditions, wound care, topical medications, and as an anti-anxiety calming aid that can be worn all day. Check them out HERE!
FBRN's mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home French Bulldogs in need from commercial breeding kennels, import brokers, public shelters, private rescue groups, owners or Good Samaritans. Our organization is comprised solely of volunteers who nurture and foster these dogs as well as provide education and training. Our goal is to place healthy and happy French Bulldogs into forever homes.
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