Animal Rescue Without Borders

Here in San Diego it’s great to know that several rescue groups have been stepping up to aid with the dog overpopulation problems in Mexico.  As we all know, Mexicans are relatively unconcerned with fixing their pets, and the resulting dogs can be seen everywhere in every town in Mexico.  It’s helpful for our volunteers to learn a bit of Spanish for when they visit Mexico to either get dogs or to visit shelters down there.  We have been suggesting to rescue workers that they check out Rocket Spanish, an excellent software tool (you can check out an in-depth review here).  It’s a great way to learn what you need at home on your own time.

Dog overpopulation has been a huge problem in Mexico for a long time.  The country lacks the money, resources, and prevailing culture to neuter and spay their pets.  Mexicans as a whole do not view dogs the way that we do here in America.  The culture is just different down there and they don’t often view dogs as the family members and “people” like they do in America.

Learning a bit of Spanish to help with dog rescue could be one of the most rewarding things that you do in this lifetime.  I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a way to help – not everyone has the time to do this, of course, but if you do then you get the best of both worlds:  a new language as well as a sense of doing good in this world.

If you’re interested in a dog rescue that has been doing work in Mexico check out Animal Rescuers Without Borders.

Around The Office

Here at our offices we run into computer difficulties from time to time.  The main difficulty comes from aging Windows computers – it seems that the older the computers get the slower they get.  They just tend to run out of steam and get slower and slower.  We found that the main culprit is that they get cluttered with lots of junk files and folders.  There were a few great ways that we researched that can help fix a slower computer, or a computer that has slowed down over time.

One of the things that you can physically do to the computer that doesn’t cost a lot of money is to upgrade the RAM.  This is the physical memory of the computer and is different from hard disk space.  The memory is solid state data storage, and it determines how much the computer can do at one time.  For instance, memory will determine how many programs can be open at one time and how many functions it can do at one time.  The more memory, the faster and better your PC will run.  Thankfully memory is cheap, and you can upgrade for one or two hundred dollars.

Cleaning out the computer is another great option.  Since computers get slower the more that you add to them, cleaning them out is a great option for speeding things up.  A lot of times you won’t even realize that programs and adware has snuck onto your computer, often piggybacking in on other software you’ve downloaded and installed.  These programs will often run in the background, taking up resources and memory, and slowing things down.  The best way is to first look in the add/remove programs menu in the Control Panel.  This will enable you to manually uninstall any unnecessary software that you might not want.  Another thing you can do is to go into msconfig in the start menu and stop certain programs from loading when you boot up / start up your PC.  This will help you to make the boot process go much faster.

There are certain software programs that can help you to clean out certain parts of your computer that you might have trouble with cleaning manually.  A registry cleaner, for instance, will help you to clean up your PC.  We’ve used a few of these programs, including RegCure.  In this RegCure Pro review you can see what the program does and how it works.  Other similar programs include CCleaner and Registry Mechanic.

Another great thing to do is to ensure that you’re using a good antivirus / anti malware software program that can help you to protect your PC from unwanted software intrusions.

Therapy Dogs

The benefits to your health that come from owning a dog have long been known.  But sometimes it’s even better for the elderly.  Folks who are stuck at home, living alone, and bored could be so well served by adopting a calm, older dog.

Anne Summerfield was 75 years old and alone in the world. She spent her days napping and her nights watching television. When she was diagnosed with pernicious anemia, the visiting nurse who gave her B sub 12 injections was concerned about this solitary woman, who seemed to take little interest in anything.

But when the nurse asked about a bedside photograph of a girl and a dog, Anne brightened. That was a much, much younger self with her retriever, Lindy. Anne said she had always wanted another dog, but somehow things had just never worked out.

This time, however, the nurse worked things out. She referred Anne to an animal shelter that had a program for matching the elderly with companion animals. Many local humane societies now provide this service. Anne soon had a new dog-Lindy 11, naturally-and after only a few months, she almost seemed to be a new person as well.

Lindy was an ideal “significant other.” Unconditionally loyal and affectionate, he did wonders for Anne’s morale. He gave her a sense of purpose and helped regulate her life, reminding her about mealtimes and outings. When walking Lindy, Anne began meeting neighbors and making friends. Now that she was more active during the day, she slept soundly at night.

It’s not surprising that Anne’s new dog had therapeutic value. Recent studies show that interaction with animals lowers BP, decreases stress, and has increased the survival rate for patients with severe coronary artery disease.

In fact, the bonds between animals and humans can be so strong that “pet therapy” could be considered a legitimate part of inpatient care and discharge planning.

Animals who meet specific needs

Animals also help handicapped patients lead more independent lives. Besides guide dogs for the blind, there are now hearing ear dogs. They’re trained to alert people with severe to profound hearing loss to such sounds as a baby’s cry, doorbell, alarm clock, or smoke detector.

Other assistance animals help patients who have multiple handicaps. Someone confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, for example, may get a dog that responds to as many as 90 hand signals.

An innovative program trains capuchin monkeys to help quadriplegics. These “organ-grinder monkeys” live about 30 years and are intensely loyal to their masters. They have been taught to open and shut doors, turn lights on and off, switch TV channels or books on a reading stand, and get snacks from the refrigerator. At present, demand for the agile little creatures exceeds the supply.

Besides handling physical tasks, animals help people feel less alone. For this reason companion animals are sometimes recommended for AIDS patients, who tend to become increasingly isolated as the disease progresses. The benefits of pet ownership are usually thought to outweigh the risks of infection.

Matching the animal to the patient

When Anne Summerfield called the pet placement program, she was assigned a sponsor. The sponsor evaluated her needs, helped her select Lindy, made follow-up visits to see how the two were getting along, and urged Anne to call with questions or problems.

Companion animals for handicapped people undergo a rigorous selection and training process. All pets are, of course, completely housebroken-even the monkeys, who are trained to use a litter box in the cage, where they remain when not “on call.”

The patients get extensive instruction in working with these animals and stay in touch with the supplying organization.

~Fraser, Cira. “Sometimes the best therapy has four legs.” RN June 1989: 21+.

Do you have an older relative in your life?  Do you think they would benefit from owning a dog?  Check in with local animal shelters and organizations and see what programs are on offer for matching elderly people with dogs for adoption.