Friday, February 28, 2014

Helping Tails Helps Operation Kindness

Meet Candy, a 7 year old Shih Tzu mix, that was rescued from the streets and transferred to Operation Kindness. As you can see in her "before" photo, she was horribly matted, filthy and frightened. Candy received medical treatment and was made available for adoption.

Candy was specially helped by the Operation Kindness' Grooming Committee. This group of volunteers is dedicated to getting the dogs bathed, groomed, and looking gorgeous so that they will be more likely to be adopted into forever homes. Once the committee took Candy to be groomed and she received her "makeover" she was very quickly adopted!

The Operation Kindness Grooming Committee is supported by Helping Tales Publishers. A portion of each sale of the books "Patches Awesome Day" and "Diamonds in the Ruff" is donated back to the Grooming Committee to help more dogs to look their best! These two fabulous children's books were actually written by an Operation Kindness volunteer, James Martinez!

In Patches’ Awesome Day, Patches the dog invites the reader to come along and share his day, reminding us of the importance of smiling, laughter, playing, and friends.

Diamonds in the Ruff is a story about the rewarding world of volunteering, helping those in need, and discovering the inner beauty that is within us all. Readers will love this story about a mom and her son volunteering at an animal shelter and their desire to make a difference. Both books are appropriate for kids of all ages!

To learn how to become an Operation Kindness volunteer or how to help support the Grooming Committee, visit our website.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Artists for Animals: Meet Maria!

Mark your calendar for the Artists for Animals Concert Fusion Experience on Friday, March 14th at 7:00PM at the Addison Conference and Theatre Center! 

The evening will include a live performance from members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra with a beautiful backdrop of amazing photos exemplifying the human/canine bond by portrait photographer Teresa Berg.

The evening includes a wine reception paired with desserts! Original art and art photography will be offered during the silent auction and artists will be in attendance to demonstrate and talk about their creative process. All proceeds from Artists for Animals will benefit the animals at Operation Kindness No-kill Animal Shelter. To purchase tickets online, visit

The beautiful dog featured in the above photo is Maria, and she is currently available for adoption at Operation Kindness! Maria came to Operation Kindness from another shelter because she is so sweet and loving we knew she needed a second chance. Our Animal Care Director walked past her cage, and Maria greeted her with a fast tail wag and kisses. It was then we knew this girl deserved a bright future! She's a 1 year old Pit Bull mix.

She first went to a foster home for 6 weeks with her day-old puppies where she was named Maria, and her puppies were named after the Von Trapp children in the Sound of Music! Her foster family learned she is potty trained, likes her crate, and is very affectionate. They said she is a huge cuddler! Maria came back to the shelter when her puppies were old enough and they were quickly adopted. It's been a few weeks and sweet Maria is still here and she is making friends fast.
There isn't a person she has ever met that she didn't absolutely love! Kids, men, teenagers... she likes, ahem, LOVES them all! Maria is a wonderful dog with people, and she is in a play group with other dogs. She sometimes does not like the company of other females so we would require a doggie intro for any potential canines siblings. This social butterfly will steal your heart if you come and meet her. We're confident that the person or family who takes this girl home will think they hit the doggie jackpot! For more information on how to adopt Maria, visit or call 972-418-PAWS.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Train that Cat!

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to train a cat! With positive reinforcement through praise and food rewards, you can teach your cat to perform behaviors and stop offering undesirable behaviors.
Here are a few easy steps to start training your cat:
  • Experiment with different types of treats and foods to find the one that your cat finds most delicious. Use this treat for training.
  • Each time your cat response to a verbal cue (ex. "here kitty"), feed your cat their favorite treat.
  • One of the easiest things to teach your cat is their own name. Every time you feed your cat, say his name as you place the food down. When playing with your cat, call him by name and then give a treat when he responds.
  • Once your cat responds to his name, teach him to come when called. Start from a short distance from your cat, and gradually increase the distance between you as he learns to respond. Call your cat and when he comes, give him a treat. If one treat is not enough of a lure, start by shaking a bag of treats to get his attention. Soon he will start coming when called even if you do not have a treat.
  • Train your cat not to scratch on furniture or other places by making sure he has a place that he IS allowed to scratch. The ideal scratching post for a cat should be 1) at least 30" tall, 2) made of soft wood or wrapped with sisal rope (not carpeting), 3) mounted in a stable, untippable base. Many cat condos or towers come with scratching posts, but you can also make your own. Place the post in a room where you spend a lot of your time, such as the living room, and near objects that the cat is naturally drawn toward scratching (like the couch). To get your cat to scratch the post, start scratching on it yourself with your nails and he will quickly imitate you. Soon, he will find the scratching post so rewarding that he will stop scratching on other surfaces.
  • Spray bottles or squirt guns may stop your cat from doing an undesirable behavior, but this negative punishment only works when you are present. Your cat will continue to do the undesirable behaviors, but just when you aren't looking! Instead, show your cat what you DO want him to do and reward him when he offers those behaviors.
  • If you would like to train your cat to enjoy grooming behaviors, such as nail trims and brushing, start slow. Trim one nail at a time and give a treat after each nail. Take breaks before trying again. Work quickly and with a business-like attitude, fussing too much over your cat during the process will make them feel more stress. Never scold or handle your cat roughly- keep the experience positive!
  • Learn to read your cat's body language. If he has a tense body, is low to the ground, flattened ears, or quickly twitching tail, he's trying to tell you that he has had enough and needs a break. Respect his space and try again when he is in a happier mood!
  • Alternatives to negative punishment are available to keep your cat from offering undesirable behaviors. For example, use a citrus air freshener to keep a cat out of a certain room, as they typically do not like the smell and will avoid it. Sticky Paws tape will keep a cat from scratching on certain items or furniture without causing pain.
  • If your cat continues to "act out" or offer undesirable behaviors, try to get to the root of the problem. Are they getting enough play time and exercise? Has a new change been introduced recently (a move, a new pet, a new baby, etc.)? Does your cat need a visit to the vet to make sure their health is in order?
  • Showing any type of hostility towards your cat or punishing with force or hitting will not train your cat and will damage your relationship with your pet. They will start avoiding you or may lash out with hostility of their own. Keep things positive and rewarding for everyone for a happy family!
  • Finally, don't underestimate your cat! Cats a very smart animals- they can be trained to run agility courses and even use the toilet instead of the litterbox!