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December Newsletter - Amigos de Animales


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Amigos de Animales

December Newsletter

Pat Chan of Spay Panama is a Hero of Panama!

Recently the many volunteers for Amigos de Animales, the local spay/neuter clinic mounted a campaign to encourage folks to vote in the nation-wide "Heros For Panama" contest. There were 7 very worthwhile nominees. It was just announced last night that Pat Chan, founder of Spay Panama and the inspiration for the local spay/neuter clinic won this most prestigious award. Chan won with nearly 50% of the total votes cast. Chan's Spay Panama group has neutered over 145,000 animals as of last week. We are so proud of Pat Chan and her loyal volunteers who do so much for so little - an inspiration to us all. 
Spay Panama was started in the Republic of Panama in 2001.  For years, a small group of volunteers and vets worked together to make a difference and improve the welfare of less fortunate animals in the Panama City area.  The more animals that were sterilized, the more animals Pat, founder of Spay Panama, saw that needed to be done; and they were criticized by the Panamanian vet community.  In Pat's words,"It was like swimming against a strong current."   At that time, cats were kept for 4 days after surgery, placing a burden on the volunteer staff. Someone made a comment that there was an experienced, and knowlegable vet in Mississippi that had a method where sterilized animals could be released the same day.  It took some convincing for Dr. Isis Johnson-Brown to accept to come to Panama to train Spay Panama.  In 2006 she came, saw, understood; this was the beginning of a long and valued symbiotic relationship.  She became a mentor, friend, crying shoulder, and protector.
Throughout its history, Patricia Chan and Spay Panama have been champions for feral and homeless animals, and Spay Panama was the inspiration and guide for Amigos de Animales.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Pat, and value the inspiration and guidance of Spay Panama.
On a monthly basis, we care for many animals, but the cost of medications, anesthesia, supplies, etc. far outweigh the income we generate from payment for our services.  We never turn away an animal, regardless of the owner's ability to pay.  We also have several great Collectors who gather animals from Boquete, Dolega, David and beyond and bring them to our clinic for neutering or spaying.  Often, these animals are sterilized at no cost to the Collectors so we can continue to reduce the population of homeless animals throughout our community. Please help us continue to care for the health and well-being of Chiriqui's animals by making a donation of any size!

How Dogs Can Smell When You’re Leaving—and How to Make It Easier on Them

If you’ve ever left the house early on what promises to be a hot summer day, you’ve noticed a certain scent. It’s warmth and lazy days and fun all wrapped together. Or perhaps you’ve smelled the scent of cold when you open the door for your winter evening dog walk.  Seasonal and temperature differences are about as deep as our inferior human noses will allow us to delve into time. Dogs, on the other hand, measure their days in scent. And, because their lives revolve around our presence, the longer dogs are alone, the more responsibility we have to assure that they’re comfortable and busy

Alexandra Horowitz, founder of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, describes it as “stereo-olfaction”—the ability to discern completely different scents with each nostril. A dog’s nose enhances smell the way a fancy high-definition television enhances your visual experience. 

How? The canine nose has hundreds of millions more receptor cells than the human nose, including many of which the human nose simply doesn’t contain. 

This spectacular ability to smell is a primary factor in your dog’s ability to understand the passage of time. The strength of your scent on the air of your home, for example, can indicate how long ago you left the house. The weaker your smell, the longer you’ve been away.

How dogs smell time

To dogs, time quite literally smells different throughout the day. Morning has a different scent from afternoon, which smells different from night-time. The canine nose is so sensitive that dogs can determine the difference between 5pm and 6pm, the time when your partner’s car rolls into the driveway every weekday.

This sensitivity also helps explain why dogs have excelled at hunting and retrieving over the centuries, and why they benefit tremendously from scent work.

Of course, most dog guardians know their dogs love to smell! We also know that the longer we’ve been away, the more excited our dogs are to see us when we return.

Swedish researchers have done us the favor of confirming this is true. A study conducted in 2010 found dogs left alone for longer than two hours greeted their guardians more intensely and remained more attentive after their return.

How we can help a lonesome dog

These types of studies on canine behavior are a good reminder about how our behavior affects our dogs. But since most of us don’t have the luxury of quitting our jobs or keeping our dogs with us at all times, it’s our responsibility to make our absences as painless as possible for our canine loved ones. Try these solutions the next time you anticipate a long (or even a short) day away:

Ease anxiety

  • The ThunderShirt, which acts as a tightly-wrapped swaddle, can help some dogs to relax while the family is away.
  • DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) products mimic the calming scent of a nursing mother dog. DAP is available as a collar, plug-in diffuser, or room spray.
  • Classical piano music (check out Through a Dog’s Ear) can help a dog to relax while you are gone.
  • Some dogs are made anxious by external noises. White noise, whether a stand-alone device or a free app or website, can help to block those external sounds better than television or radio.

Relieve boredom

  • Puzzle toys go a long way towards engaging your dog’s brain while you are away. There are huge selections of puzzle toys out there. Check out our top picks here.
  • If your dog doesn’t suffer from isolation distress or separation anxiety, a number of new toys on the market allow you to periodically interact with your pup while you are away. For instance, by sending them a treat (the Furbo lets you see your dog as well as give them a treat; you can learn more at their site) or powering up a remote-controlled ball. If your dog does suffer from severe panic while you’re away, these products, unfortunately, are likely to make your problem worse.
  • Audio-visual experiences such as DogTV or a custom DVD show images of birds, squirrels, toys and other beloved doggy treats, and may entice some dogs into watching the boob tube while you’re away.
  • Creative enrichment involving scent and taste is enough to change your dog’s life from boring to amazing. Check out shelter enrichment for some awesome inspiration.

Get help from a dog sitter, doggy daycare provider, or dog walker

This is self-explanatory. Find a companion for your dog, and the daytime hours will pass more quickly!

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