A Bit On Twitter Etiquette

I love Twitter. I think it is the most amazing phenomenon of our generation. It crosses states and oceans and boundaries in ways that phones, letters, and instant messaging cannot do. It is a real time discussion between thousands of people and it connects us to each other through endless networks. I think a lot of people take Twitter for granted, and therefore don’t understand or realize that there really is such a thing as Twitter Etiquette. While I’m not a Social Network guru (though I have been called it before), I do use Twitter (and Facebook) a lot to talk with clients about design and web work and share articles and thoughts related to my work.

We also use it to a HUGE extent for helping animals. I Love Rescue Animals was originally started on Facebook, but it really became what is now due largely to Twitter and our many followers (recently we hit 1700!) – we wouldn’t have gotten so big without you. Because we have been using it to such a great extent, I have realized that there is a pretty big difference between my followers on my design/web account and those that follow @RescueAnimals. One – my web-related followers seem to have a deeper understanding of what Twitter was made for and know what social networking can do, and two – they also tend to better understand what is now called “Twitter Etiquette.”

Twitter Etiquette

One of the greatest things about Twitter is that it works in Real Time. Real Time is exactly what it sounds – everything that happens on twitter is up to the second. It’s like a search engine that is constantly updated. This means that someone can “tweet” something urgent and in the span of however many minutes, that “tweet” can be found by tons of people and they can @reply that person and try to help. It’s downright amazing if you think about it, and it is this function that makes Twitter such an incredible and important tool to those working and helping animals.

So how does a rescue worker utilize Twitter? Twitter is all about communication. We can @reply each other, but we can also “Retweet” those tweets we find interesting, urgent, or helpful.

Retweeting with Urgency

Retweeting is the most valuable part of Twitter to a rescuer. With the click of a button, a tweet from someone else can be posted to your account with a RT @Name: in front of it so people know who the source is, and who to contact if they want more information. Likewise, because one Twitter post is only 140 characters total, if a Retweet needs to be changed or modified to fit, the Retweeter will often times place the source’s name at the end of a tweet (with a via @Name). Some rescuers will also do this because they feel that the Urgent message should be the first thing seen, not the name.

Unfortunately, there are some rescuers on Twitter who see Retweeting as a way of copying or stealing, and if their name is not the first thing they see, they consider the Retweeter a thief. And in some even worse occurrences, their paranoia leads them to making their Twitter account protected. In many cases outside the group of Animal Advocate Twitterers, this isn’t that big of a deal. One person’s protected twitters usually means it’s all personal and therefore not as important to the outside world. I’m not saying it isn’t important AT ALL, but for Animal Advocate Twitterers, a protected account can mean life or death to an animal. Personally, I think a protected account for an Animal Advocate is slightly pointless if the urgent tweets don’t get out into the open. If you know of a Rescue Animal Twitterer with protected accounts, let them know why it would be better to have an open account. It’s worth it to the animals.

Twitter has become a huge part of saving the lives of stray animals housed in high-kill shelters. With Twitter, our network has found a way to get in touch with transporters, coordinators, and rescues fast – it’s an easy to use tool that allows us to reach out and touch the larger public with stories about animal advocacy, rescue stories, and the happy endings that can happen by adopting a homeless dog or cat.

You can find ILRA on Twitter @RescueAnimals and @LastChancePets. Are you on Twitter? Add us, let us know what you can do to help, and let’s spread the word together. We can do it!

Yay Healthy Rescues!

Hey everyone! We took Snarf, Rhea & Satsuki to the vet this morning. As we were sitting in the waiting room, several other people that were in there commented on how cute he is. We told them their story and they all wished us and them luck. So, on to the most important, greatest news: the kitties are feline leukemia negative! Nikki and I practically laughed we were so happy when we found out. Anyway, Rhea, the big one, turns out to be an adult (though she’s only 6.5 pounds). She may even be Satsuki’s mom! Satsuki is 4 pounds even and probably 3-4 months old. She does have a low-grade heart murmur but the vet said it may go away as she gets older. They were both covered in fleas, as we knew, so we decided to get them a Capstar tablet each which means they should be flea free by now (we’re giving it a few hours before we bring them in just to be sure). They also had ear mites but the stuff they wanted to give us would have cost us an extra $40. We felt so horrible but told him that we couldn’t afford it. The vet was so nice that he then went around the entire vet clinic looking for 2 free samples. Isn’t that so nice? We had just been feeling low because we don’t have much money at all (especially after we took Spunky & Chunky to the vet last week) and then he went and saved us $40. We love that vet clinic. Everyone there is always so nice. Now onto Snarf! His exam went really well. The vet agrees with us that he might have Irish Wolfhound in him and thinks that he’s around 4 months old. Only 4 months and he’s 30 pounds! Man is he gonna be huge!

No one got vaccinations because we don’t have the funds for that but perhaps if we continue to get donations we can take them back. I’m going to look into the spay/neuter clinic in Cookeville (30 minutes away) for the cats. I believe that if we get them spayed they will also give them lower cost vaccinations. I’m not sure how much the overall cost would be but I’ll look into it. As for donations, Nikki and I want to thank from the bottom of our hearts those who have helped us! From 5 people we received a total of $80 which covered almost half of our expenses. You know who you are. If you’d like recognition on here, let me know and I’ll be glad to tell everyone! If any more of you can afford to help us, please make a donation using our secure paypal page.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated on their progress. Snarf is already in the house, trying to learn the rules. Rufus is none too happy about it but I think he’ll come around. Spunky’s just going the “I’m going to ignore you” route. The kitties we will bring in in a few hours when we know all their fleas are dead and will keep them in the master bathroom so they can settle in as well. Cute pictures coming soon!

Alms, Alms for the Poor

Hey everyone! I thought I’d update everyone on our three little rescues. They continue to be the sweetest animals. The puppy, which we’ve been calling Snarf after the dog in a book Nikki read recently, is super energetic and loves to run. He’s pretty clumsy but what else can you expect from a puppy with paws bigger than Spunky’s. We brushed him yesterday and he looks better. As far as I can tell he’s a hair dog, not fur, and he has no undercoat to speak of. Nikki and I still aren’t sure what breed of dog he is. Do any of you know? I’ve called both local shelters and animal control and looked in the local newspaper but no lost dog reports have been filed. You’d think that if he was lost on Saturday (or even earlier) that there would be reports already. The way this economy is going, though, who knows what the story is. I’ll keep looking but we’re going to go ahead and take him and the kittens in to the vet tomorrow. If they all check out then it’ll take a lot of stress off of us. The dogs are UTD on all their vaccinations but we still want to be better aware of Snarf’s health before we introduce him to Spunky & Rufus. The kittens seem to be doing well and are still the biggest lovey dovey little girls. We’ve named the bigger tabby girl Rhea & the smaller grey one Satsuki. They made a mess by dumping their litter this morning but you can’t even begin to get mad at them. They’ve been eating really well and enjoy the Pounce cat treats they’ve been getting. The kittens are a bigger concern because none of our cats are vaccinated against Feline Leukemia. As such we’ve had the whole household pretty much on lockdown to do our best to keep our cats safe. Nikki hasn’t had contact with the rescued kittens since the first day and I haven’t had contact with ours since then either. I’ve also been wearing disposable gloves each time I touch the kittens and then wash well with antibacterial soap when we get back upstairs. And yes, I hate the thought of throwing away so much plastic but these are my kids and I need to do everything I can to protect them. Hopefully the kittens FelV tests will come back negative tomorrow and we can relax a bit. I hate keeping everyone so locked up but right now it’s our only option. We know the kittens have fleas but there have been no baths yet because there have been constant storms here in Tennessee. If it keep up, we may ALL end up in the basement. To be clear, that would be 3 dogs, 6 cats, 2 ferrets, 3 rats, 2 fish and 2-3 people down there. Heh, yeah.

Anyway, we have tried our best to find a way to get these animals vet checked for a discount since they’re rescues but it’s been to no avail. The vet doesn’t offer discounts and the local rescue won’t help and told me to just take them to the shelter. I realize they are full but I just wanted to try and find some cheaper tests. I’d love to get them their shots but we certainly can’t afford that right now. So as it is our vet has told us that they can see all 3 of them for $160. That would include their health checks & feline leukemia tests for both kittens. I’m not sure if it would cover a heartworm test for Snarf. We can’t keep putting this off, even if Snarf’s family is looking for him because it’s not fair to him to have to be locked up so much. So we have a vet appointment for them at 11:00 tomorrow morning. Now is the part where I swallow my pride and ask if any of you can spare any amount of money to help us pay for this. I feel bad since I know there are so many shelter animals out there that need help but these are rescues too and we are going to take care of them to the best of our abilities. I feel like they came to me for a reason and we can’t just turn them away. If you could donate anything to us we would be unbelievably grateful. We plan on getting it all done tomorrow and we’re scrounging to come up with at least $160 – if we end up with more than that from your generous donations, that extra money will be used to get the kittens vaccinated as well.

That link to donate will take you to a secure PayPal transaction page, so no worries about your information leaking out – everything is safe here. Just click on the button if you have a bit of change that you could donate to help us with the vet bills for the puppy and kittens. We all really appreciate it. I know the animals are grateful too.

Also, if you’re a business, another way to help us out is by buying advertising space on our homepage. $15 will get you a 125×125 ad for a month. That’s a pretty great deal and the money goes to helping us run this site. And, of course, 5% of whatever we get from it will go towards helping animals in need. Because who can say no to a puppy who just wants to be adopted?

Our New Friends

Guess what’s currently in our basement? That’s right, a black puppy & two little kittens! I was driving to the library to pick up Nikki and a black dog ran in front of me. I pulled over, got out of the car and whistled for him and he ran right over to me. He is incredibly sweet and gave me lots of kisses. He has a collar and a chewed through leash on him but no ID tags. As I was looking him over a woman from across the street out asked if I could call animal control or take him to the shelter because he’s been running around for awhile and she was worried he’d either get hit or knock over one of the other older people that lives around there. So into the car he went because I didn’t have the numbers for any of those places. At the same time these two little kittens came running over to me. That’s apparently what the puppy had run over to see. They both crawled under the car and milled around my legs and were panting really badly. It’s a bad sign when cats pant. I looked around and saw that there was food dumped on the ground and a litter box outside of the salon they were at but I couldn’t leave them there in the heat. So into the car they went with the puppy who I had already seen was gentle with them. I called my mom and asked her to look up the Wags n’ Whiskers number for me then went and picked up Nikki. We then drove down to the Depot Days because they’d had booths there earlier. I got there as they were taking everything down and asked if they could help. They couldn’t (even though I watched them adopt out a dog) and told me to take them to the shelter. They gave me water for them after I asked and we tried to give it to them when I got back to the car but they didn’t want much. I was tweeting the whole time and someone told us to put water on their paws & tummies so we did that and they started to cool off. Momma helped us find the shelter and we went there but no one was in the lobby. So I went back outside and called. The woman said that we were going to have to pay a $25 surrender fee for EACH of them. Obviously we didn’t have it so I called my mom back and actually started to cry because I was so shocked that no one would help. My mom said to just bring them home but I was worried since our cats aren’t vaccinated against feline leukemia so I didn’t want them to be in contact with them. Nikki was smart and suggested the basement. So that’s where they are. The puppy is in his own cage and both cats are in another one together. We gave them food and water and they all seem to be doing just fine. The cats are so close with one another and the puppy is just the absolute sweetest boy ever. Even Momma fell in love with him right away! He seems to be under 6 months because he still has his baby teeth. He has the most massive paws though! I’ve been looking around for lost dog reports but haven’t found any in the Chronicle and can’t ask the shelter until Monday or the city animal control until tomorrow morning. The cats I’m pretty sure were strays that those people had just taken pity on but I might go back and leave a note. Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know and send you pictures of how adorable they are. Like I said before, never a dull moment around here!

I’d like to thank @sweetbaboo1979 @lenimandell @MicheleStClair @emilyivey @DebAckerman @sarahnidy @gafunnyfarm @TheArtOfKaren @teal64 @fupster @BarkRadio and @pitbull_fan76 for all of their help with all my questions. You guys are great!

Isn't He Handsome?

Isn't He So Handsome?

Stray Kittens

Beautiful Little Girls

Never A Dull Moment

Ah the joys of being the mom of, well, a zoo. Having all the kids around us is always so nice. There’s always someone right there for you to pet, kiss, scratch or tell your secrets to. Unfortunately, as we all know, with the happiness also comes some not-so-nice moments. Our loss of Brody is probably the most poignant example I have right now. Well, that and every other furbaby I’ve lost over the years. Some are tougher than others – not that you necessarily love some more than others – but if you can see it coming then it’s a little easier to digest. Anyway, this post is not about Brody. There will be one coming soon. I need to write more about my grieving/healing process because I think it will help others who read it. I also need to write his real memorial about all the good memories we have with him. That will come with the introduction of our Brody Fund, which will be a used to help rescue animals in need. But like I said, this is not about him.

This is about the scares we’re having with all of our other animals. When it rains, it pours, you know?I know a lot of you have noticed my recent tweets about Spunky and so many of you have told me that you’re thinking of us and hoping everything’s okay. I can’t tell you how much that means to me, to us. To recap, last night Spunky acted strange and uninterested in his food. If you knew Spunky, you’d know how incredibly strange that is for him. Spunky is one of those dogs that is obsessed with food and no matter what I’ve tried we can’t stop him from gulping his food. So right away I wondered what was wrong. Then Nikki noticed that Spunky had eaten a whole lot of cauliflower soup sometime earlier. Then I remembered that there were almonds in it and got nervous because I thought they weren’t good for dogs. So we rushed off and googled and found out that the biggest worry is with bitter almonds, not sweet almonds. Still, it was a big reminder of everything I DIDN’T know about poisonous foods (for instance, until recently I didn’t know the dangers of onions & garlic). So we started to calm down some but were still worried because Spunky’s stomach was very big and hard. Of course my mind jumped to bloat but since I’ve never seen it personally your mind can just run wild with all the different symptoms of it you can find online. There were lots of people trying to offer advice or make me feel better on twitter. I’d like to thank @winecountrydog, @RubyTheJRT, @WebVet_com, @LindaJosey & @GreenSpotOn for caring enough to comment! Anyway, we called an emergency vet in Knoxville since there aren’t any here and she said the only time we really needed to start worrying was if he tried to vomit but couldn’t. It should have calmed us but I was a nervous wreck last night. We stayed up with Spunky until 4 in the morning, checking his tummy for rumblings (apparently a sign it’s not bloat) and seeing if the swelling went down. After a few hours he seemed to feel better – his tummy wasn’t hard anymore and he was back to acting like his usual self. So we went to sleep but I still set my alarm to wake us up every hour to check on him again. Yeah, not much sleep last night. This morning we noticed that ever since the soup he has been urinating frequently in huge quantities and it’s been completely clear. Back to worrying…

So I’m sure some of you have also noticed that I’ve been tweeting about how our rat Chunky has been sniffling and sneezing and gurgling. We tried treating it ourselves with vitamin drops in his water and steam treatments (keeping him in a room with a humidifier and showers). Anyway, he’s been up and down, up and down. I really thought he was better for about a week but then he relapsed. I finally decided over the weekend that I was going to bring him to the vet today. So this morning I called up and made us an appointment. I had already decided that I wanted to do a Baytril suspension that I could give to him orally (wanted to avoid sub-cutaneous if possible). We decided to bring the girls (Morgan & Meetu) along too since they’ve been sniffly and I’d like to nip their problem before it gets any worse. Well we’re bringing 3 animals already, so why not add the dog?  We were thinking we might get bloodwork done on him to check his kidneys & also have his teeth looked at since we want to get his broken tooth fixed soon.

So skip past the part about us always being late & running around like chickens with our heads cut off and we’re sitting there in the end room at the vet’s. Now don’t get me wrong, I really like the people at our vet. We’ve seen both vets and they’re both wonderful. They also don’t talk down to me – they can tell that I know what I’m talking about so don’t try to dumb anything down for me. The vet techs are nice too and one even remembered us from the last time we were there over 3 months ago. But I hate being at vet offices if it’s not for a regular check-up and vaccines. And our rats were the first ones they’d ever treated there. That makes me nervous. I went in asking for Baytril & he looked it up and has supposedly done all the calculation but I’m still a bit uncertain. I know they’re not idiots but rats are different than cats & dogs so… Also, they couldn’t give us a suspension so we’re supposed to make our own. Not quite sure how that works. If any of you have suggestions, please let me know. Also, if any of you are vets knowledgable with rats, is this the right dosage? We were given 22mg Baytril tablets that were quartered and told that that is the right amount per dose (2x daily) to give Chunky who weighs roughly 1 pound. The girls weigh about half a pound (9 grams) so we’re supposed to give them 1/8th of a pill. I am not trying to be disrespectful of my vet at all! I just want to be responsible.

Now on to Spunky. The vet checked him out and everything was good until he felt his abdomen. He said it was still swollen (though we know it’s better than last night) and Spunky whined a bit. He said that with pain in the abdomen the first thing he’d do would be a urinalysis. We debated over whether we should try to do a free catch or if they should use the ultrasound & use a needle to go directly into his bladder to get a sample. We were worried, of course, but decided that a sterile sample would be better than a potentially contaminated sample. Spunky wagged his tail as they took him into the back & he was back within minutes, reaking like rubbing alcohol. The pup even made himself sneeze over his stank! Anyway, then came the big wait. The waiting is the worst part. At this point I was feeling good. Then the vet came back in and said that we were right and his urine wasn’t concentrated at all and that that was a problem with his kidneys. He went to do another test. More waiting. That’s the point where I wished that I could just burst into tears. What was wrong with our son? When he finally came back in the vet didn’t have much more information. He doesn’t know why Spunky’s kidneys aren’t concentrating his urine but they aren’t. I started to panic some more but he reassured me that if he had kidney failure, we’d know it. It takes a 70-75% drop in kidney function before the diluted urine would occur, apparently, and at that point Spunky would be sick as a, well, dog. (Why is that a saying anyway?) He told us that there were some very rare conditions that could lead to this (some type of special diabetes & a few others) but that they’re hard to diagnose. So here’s our plan for now. We’re taking Spunky home and watching his… urinating habits. Then on Thursday we’ll collect a sample and take it to them for another uranalysis. If his concentration is back to normal then we can breathe a sigh of relief. It it’s not, then we’ll take him in for bloodwork on Friday and then go from there. So it’s a wait and see, which I hate, but at the moment I’m hopeful. Perhaps he got way too much salt and that has messed him up temporarily. When we got back from the vet, Spunky’s pee was already more yellow. Possibly TMI but you’re all animal people so I’m sure you can handle it.

Oh! I would also like to thank @godlikescoke, @tinka_bell, @lovingpaws, @rachellereese, @SwissFamily, @MrsDazzle, @angelicinsights & @TheArtOfKaren for sending us good thoughts when I was freaking out at the vet.

Also, when we go in on Thursday I’m going to pick up enough dewormer for Spunky, the 3 cats & possibly the ferrets. Then the cats will be all caught up on everything except their feline leukemia shots. Yes, it scares me, but we can’t afford to get them all tested and vaccinated. It’s $40 per test per cat – not including the vaccines. The ferrets are good except that I’m pretty sure Drake & Nate both are in the beginning stages of adrenal gland disease. I hate not having enough money to do everything perfectly right but we are doing our best. Sometimes it’s just not possible to fix everything. Nikki and I need jobs but it’s hard right now for anyone to find one. So if any of you know anyone who wants to hire an animal psychologygrad or a fantastic web designer? I’m serious here. We’re willing to relocate! Heh, twitter is helping to save animals, maybe it can help save us too! ^_^