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Dog Days of Summer


With the “dog” days of summer right around the corner, it is important to remember that our four-legged friends rely on us to help them keep cool.

City of Weatherford Municipal/Community Services Director, Dustin Deel, said there are a number of precautions people can take that will prevent their fur babies from suffering when the temperatures rise.

“The Texas heat can be awful,” Deel said. “So you always want to make sure that you keep your pets hydrated. If you're outside, take frequent breaks while walking or just playing with them, especially if they're playing outside for a long time. It's a must that they've got to have shade to be able to get out of that sun and then I would also suggest, for dogs that have the shorter noses, like pugs, boxers, etc., they're the dogs with the highest risk for heat exhaustion and stroke. They really don't need to be out in the heat that long.”

Deel said there are a couple of other steps pet owners should take that can really make a difference.

“It never hurts to go out and kind of gauge the temperature periodically with the asphalt or cement, because it will burn their feet,” Deel said. “We see this all the time. And I will see the dogs riding in the back of the pickup trucks on a metal bed, which is not only illegal, but also can hurt them. It makes my feet hurt just thinking about it.”

Deel said there is also a common misconception among some pet owners that can prove fatal with dogs in particular. 

“People think that they can leave the windows cracked in their car whenever they go to stores with their pets,” Deel said. “Please don't do that. It is too hot to leave them in the car even for a few minutes, because it may seem like it's nice enough weather outside at 75 degrees, but it can get up to about 100 degrees in a car in a very short time. We see dogs die every summer because of it, so please don't do it.”

Barn cat program

The shelter also offers a Barn Cat program, where they spay and vaccinate cats and give them away for free so they can live out their natural lives “hunting rodents and snakes, and helping people with their barns,” Deel said. 

Shelter objective/services

The Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter’s main objectives are to reunite lost pets with their owners and to re-home animals that do not have owners.

The shelter offers a variety of other services, and one of the more touching adoption stories Deel remembers involved a woman who had been diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer who decided to make an adoption.

“It was just her and her husband and she came in and adopted two puppies from us,” Deel said. “She had no children, and those puppies basically became her children. They helped her through cancer. After she beat cancer, her husband had a tumble and hit his head and ended up passing away on the spot. Fast forward about four years and the cancer came back and this time it was terminal. She had to make the very difficult decision to surrender her two beloved pets. In that situation, she wanted the two adopted together, because they were a bonded pair.”

Deel personally took on the project and worked with her try to find the right home for her dogs. 

“It happened, but it took about a week and a half because it's always so hard to find bonded pets a new home,” Deel said. “You're looking for somebody who's going to adopt not just one, but two animals. We just so happened to find a lady who had two dogs and both had died. She waited about a year and was looking for a dog, but whenever she heard the story about the two dogs that were there she elected to adopt both of them.” 

Deel said he could tell they were going to a nice home because the owner had gotten them both their own bed and had a hole cut in her spare bedroom so the dogs could have indoor and outdoor access. 

“So I got to call the lady who had decided to surrender her pets and tell her that we found the perfect home for her dogs and how they were going to be spoiled and all that kind of stuff,”Deel said. “I'm telling you truly, it was the next day that  the lady passed away. She was holding on until those pets, it gives me chills every time I think about it, but she was holding on until those pets found a new home.”

Deel said adopting a rescue animal is a compassionate and affordable act.

“People need to surrender their pets for a variety of reasons and really adopting is giving a pet a second chance,” Deel said. “That's what it boils down to. When you adopt an animal from our shelter you're getting an animal that's already been spayed, it's already been neutered and vaccinated. It's going to have all of its core vaccinations, it's going to be micro-chipped and it's literally just really ready to be loved. That's like a $500 value compared to buying a puppy at some Walmart parking lot. 

“And so many people don't realize how much it costs to get all of those things. This free puppy you get from a neighbor or a friend is not really free. Quite frankly, a lot of times the animals that are sheltered are already potty trained, and they know some basic behavioral skills. We have a lot to offer really for a low cost. It's a great deal.”

Visit https://weatherfordtx.gov/15/Animal-Shelter for more information including upcoming events.


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