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Common Misconceptions Pet Owners Have About Microchips

Colonel is a Schnauzer mix who is waiting for a new home at HCWS.

Colonel is a Schnauzer mix who is waiting for a new home at HCWS.

By Amber Mahrou

Does your pet have a microchip? If your furry buddy is from Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, the answer to that question is—yes!  Heaven Can Wait microchips all of the cats and dogs that find new homes through our adoption program, but many pet parents don’t receive the full benefit that a microchip provides because of these common misconceptions.

Micro-Myth 1: There is no need to do anything with your pet’s microchip; it is already set up for use.

Actually, although the microchip is always functional, you must register the microchip with your own name and address in order for it to be helpful in reuniting you and your pet in the case that Fido or Fluffy gets lost. Don’t forget to update the contact information you have registered if you change your phone number or address! Think of the microchip as an emergency ID tag which your pet can never lose; you wouldn’t want the wrong number or address hanging around your pet’s neck in case of accidental separation, would you?  Registering your pet is done by contacting the company that provided the microchip.  The two top companies are Avid or Home Again.  Information should be provided in your adoption packet. That said—

Micro-Myth 2: Microchips replace ID tags.

Although microchips contain the same information, or more, as an ID tag, you need special equipment to scan and read it. Veterinarians and animal shelter staff can check for microchips on lost pets, but your average Good Samaritan will not be able to see that information in order to return your pet to you. An easy to read ID tag attached to your pet’s collar is a must have item. Of course, Heaven Can Wait encourages everyone who finds a lost pet to take them to a veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip. You never know when a small act like this will help reunite an adventurous pet with their original owner!

Micro-Myth 3: Microchips can act as small GPS units, allowing owners to pinpoint the location of lost pets.

Since they are essentially small, un-lose-able ID tags, microchips only provide the details that would be necessary for a pet’s recovery—the owner’s name, address, and phone number, as well as your pet’s name. There are devices for sale on the market that DO act as a small GPS unit when placed on your pet’s collar, but microchips are not such devices!

Not sure whether your pet has a microchip? You can find out by having them scanned at your veterinarian’s office.  If they do not have a chip already, you may get one for your pet as an added security measure. The chip itself is about the size of a grain of rice, which is injected under a pet’s skin around the neck. It does not hurt any more than a routine vaccination, and most pets don’t even notice when they are being given one. Microchips may not be ID replacements or GPS units, but they still reunite thousands of pets with their owners every month; register yours, and your furry friend has a better chance of being one of those lucky pets if you ever become separated!  It’s the responsible thing to do.

Heaven Can Wait pet adoptions are held every Thursday – Sunday for cats and each Saturday for dogs.  For details check our website: www.hcws.org


A Happy Ending For BFF’s Tiger Lily and Tucker

HCWS knew they could find a home for Tucker, but were unsure about his BFF Tiger Lily who is 9 years-old.

HCWS knew they could find a home for Tucker, but were unsure about his BFF Tiger Lily who is 9 years-old.

By Charlene Proto

‘If dogs don’t go to heaven, when I die I want to go wherever they went.” — Attributed to Will Rogers

Every dog owner who has ever lost a beloved companion will agree with Will Rogers’ sentiment in this much quoted aphorism.  Life is wonderful filled with exuberant joy, playfulness and boundless love when our dog is young.  Middle age brings little change to these seemingly ageless happy go lucky very best friends of ours.  However as with humans, old age brings some subtle and some not so subtle changes that owners cannot ignore.  Some dogs leap and kiss and frolic right up to their last days.  Others unfortunately mimic the human condition and become frail, weak and subject to age related illness.  And just like with humans this is when they most need our love, affection and care.  And tragically this is when many owners decide to abandon their aging pet, renege on that commitment that is made when we take a pet into our family – the life time commitment to love and care for them for all of their lives.

Fortunately the King family believes very strongly in the commitment that when an animal comes into our lives it is a lifelong contract that they would never dream of breaking.  Samantha King (Sam) loves animals and particularly loves Boxers.  There were two very special Boxers in her family for many years – Kane and Maverick.  Both were getting to be senior dogs and when Kane died last year she felt she should find another companion for Maverick.  He seemed depressed, listless and lonely without his constant friend.  Sam and her husband too grieved for Kane and felt a piece missing in their hearts.  Sam likened it to the “empty nest” syndrome, but felt it much more difficult to bear with a pet.  Another dog was needed to assuage the sorrow for both Maverick and the Kings.

Sam’s boss told her about Heaven Can Wait Animal Society and the search began.  The dog adoption coordinator (DAC) sent pictures providing options for possible adoptees.  Sam was seriously considering one Boxer but finally decided he was too much for her old guy Maverick to handle.  Over the months the DAC and Samantha got to know and understand each other.

Tiger Lily and Tucker had been shuffled to several homes before coming to Heaven Can Wait.

Tiger Lily and Tucker had been shuffled to several homes before coming to Heaven Can Wait.

Then two Boxers named Tiger Lily and Tucker were turned into Heaven Can Wait.  These two best buddy Boxers had been together most of their lives.  Unfortunately they had also been shuffled about among different owners a lot in their lives.  When HCWS called a Vet’s office for records they were alarmed to hear, “Oh, no the Doctor will be so upset to hear they have been returned again.”  These were two very good dogs.  Tucker the young handsome guy would probably have no problem being adopted but his 9 year-old “BFF” Tiger Lily was another story.  Many people looking to adopt are only interested in the “Tuckers”.

When HCWS approached Sam about the pair they were so pleased to find that the Kings were interested.  They not only understood how difficult finding a home for an older dog was, but were eager to accept the challenge.

As so often happens at Heaven Can Wait a miracle occurs and a match is made – two good dogs with two good people with big hearts and “good souls.”

The dogs were all gradually introduced in the yard and then into Maverick’s domain of the Kings’ home.  They feared Tucker might be too rambunctious for their senior but as time went by the dogs all became friends and fit nicely into the King family which included their cat.  Sam’s husband would often take the dogs to their property in Pahrump for a weekend romp in the “country”!

Sadly both Maverick and the family cat recently died.   The Kings however have two good buddies to help them work through their grief.  There is of course no substitute for a loved pet who provided many years of companionship, but a pair of wagging tails and happy doggie smiles can lift even the saddest heart for a little while.

Heaven Can Wait is ready with lots of awesome cats and dogs that need new homes.  Adoptions are Thursday – Sunday for cats at Petsmart in the Arroyo Crossing Center and dogs are adopted on Saturday inside Bone Appetit on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache.  Click Here to see the pets available.

Related Storues and Programs:

Second Chance For Happiness

Pawsitively Seniors


World Spay Day


By Colette Hayes

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are 6 to 8 million homeless animals in the U.S. These include puppies, dogs, cats and kittens. Each year these animals enter shelters where around half are adopted and the other half are euthanized. The large number of homeless animals is not just a problem in this country; it’s felt across the globe as well. February 26 was World Spay Day, a day dedicated to supporting efforts in our community and around the world to reduce the large pet overpopulation. This day serves to educate people about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets.

While adopting a pet is a wonderful way to help a homeless animal, there are simply not enough homes for all the animals. Another way to help is to spay and neuter your pet.  Not only does spaying or neutering help reduce the pet population, it also has health benefits for your furry friend.  Petmd.com says that neutering your dog will reduce the likelihood that he will spray or mark his territory.  Behavior problems, such as aggression and wandering off to seek a mate, may be reduced or eliminated. Spaying a female will eliminate the heat cycle which may attract unwanted male animal attention to your home. Behaviors associated with the heat cycle in cats, such as nervous behavior and excessive meowing are eliminated. In female dogs this heat cycle may include restless behavior, bleeding or frequent urination, with spaying these behaviors are no longer a problem.

Long term benefits of spaying or neutering can include reducing the possibility of prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and completely eliminating testicular cancer.  Overall your beloved pet can live a happier, healthier life when spayed or neutered and you can avoid potential medical problems and the cost associated with those medical problems.

In honor of Spay Day, Heaven Can Wait in conjunction with the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society and Community Cat Coalition of Clark County will hold a special feral cat clinic on March 9.  The program is being sponsored by Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Heaven Can Wait is hoping to spay and neuter up to 200 feral cats on this day.

Flashpoint is one of the more than 80,000 pets spayed and neutered by Heaven Can Wait.  All this loveable cat needs now is a family to love him forever.

Flashpoint is one of the more than 80,000 pets spayed and neutered by Heaven Can Wait. All this loveable cat needs now is a family to love him forever.

Once the cats have been spayed or neutered they will be tagged and returned to their colony where they were trapped.  In addition to the feral cat clinic on March 9, Heaven Can Wait holds a monthly feral cat clinic to spay and neuter cats in targeted zones around the valley. Heaven Can Wait also offers a low–cost spay and neuter program open to anyone.  By spaying and neutering your dog or cat, you are helping to reduce the pet overpopulation problem and giving our furry friends a chance for a healthy and long life.

Eliminating the senseless euthanasia of healthy animals in Las Vegas area shelters is the number one goal of Heaven Can Wait Animal Society.  To date we have sterilized more than 80,000 cats and dogs.  The majority of the spays and neuters are funded through public donations.  HCWS is pleased to report the latest statistics show our efforts are paying off and saving lives.  The past two years Las Vegas shelters have seen a significant decline in the number of homeless pets euthanized.  We will not give up the fight until NO healthy, adoptable cat or dog loses its life because of overpopulation.

Doggie Door Leads To New Home For Connor And Maximus

A doggie door gave Connor (left) and Maximus (right) the opportunity for a new home.

A doggie door gave Connor (left) and Maximus (right) the opportunity for a new home.

Life has changed dramatically over the past five months for Brooke and Ryner Grubmueller.  Before September 2012, the couple, who have been married for 10 years, had never owned a pet.  First they talked about it, but came to the conclusion they weren’t ready for the responsibility and later the home they rented would not allow pets, so life carried on for a decade without a furry buddy in their household.

Last year Brooke and Ryner bought a home of their own.  It included a small doggie door neatly installed by the previous owners.  Facing the doggie door every day brought the subject of adopting a pet back into their lives.  The couple felt they were ready to be pet parents, so Brooke began searching online.  Her research led her to the Heaven Can Wait website.

Brooke said she had been looking for a dog for about 6 months when little Connor’s picture appeared on the HCWS website.  Connor, a Chihuahua-mix, was rescued after he was found running loose down a busy street.

Brooke said she was immediately attracted to Connor because he met the requirements she had for adopting a dog:

Connor was the right size to fit through the doggie door and she liked his name.  Actually Brooke knew exactly what she wanted in a dog’s temperament, so she was impressed when she read the profile about Connor’s personality.  It said he was slightly shy, didn’t chew on household items and he was perfect for the person who Did Not like to hike.

Connor's easygoing personality won over is guardians, who had never before owned a pet.

Connor’s easygoing personality won over his guardians, who had never before owned a pet.

Soon Connor was home with Brooke and Ryner living up to all their expectations.  And after one incident of separation anxiety and carpeting that was pulled apart, the family settled into a happy routine.

Then Brooke’s sister had a baby and began bringing the infant for visits at the Grubmueller house.  The newcomer took Connor by surprise and he wasn’t pleased.  At times Connor would jump on Brooke’s lap and push the baby away or he would pick up the diaper bag with his teeth and drag it the door.

“My husband and I want to have kids of our own some day, so I knew I had to break Connor of being jealous,” said Brooke.

Next Maximus was added to the family.  His owners like the idea of adopting a mature dog.

Next Maximus was added to the family. His owners like the idea of adopting a mature dog.

The family decided the best way to help Connor was to adopt a second dog.  Brooke went back to the HCWS website and found Maximus, a 7-8 year-old Pomeranian.   The couple did not hesitate to adopt and older dog.  In fact Max’s mature nature helped him get along with Connor.

The two have become best buddies, playing tug of war with their favorite rubber chickens and dashing around the house.  Connor has become less jealous and more independent since Max came into the family and Max has found a friend he can hang out with all day.

Both dogs are very lucky to have a safe and wonderful home with guardians who look out for their best interests and find practical solutions to make each pup confident and well-adjusted.  We wish the Grubmueller family many happy years with their first four-legged companions.

Connor and Max have become great buddies and have a wonderful home thanks to a doggie door.

Connor and Max have become great buddies and have a wonderful home thanks to a doggie door.

If you would like to add a furry friend to your family, Heaven Can Wait Animal Society holds adoptions each weekend.  Cats are adopted at Petsmart at 7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy each Thursday afternoon through Sunday and dogs are adopted at Bone Appetit on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache on Saturdays.  You can see the pets ready for new homes at: www.hcws.org.  Heaven Can Wait has placed 8,000 homeless pets into loving homes since 2000.  You can help us rescue more pets and support our many community programs Here.

A Second Chance For Happiness

Taylor's winning personality got her adopted quickly.  Through no fault of her own, a year later she was back with Heaven Can Wait.

Taylor’s winning personality got her adopted quickly. Through no fault of her own, a year later she was back with Heaven Can Wait.

By Patty Carmichael

Little Taylor was rescued by Heaven Can Wait Animal Society along with her brother Connor. After a brief stay in our Pups on Parole program Taylor’s winning personality won the hearts of a new family and she was adopted.  Through no fault of her own, she was returned when the family ran into problems.  The story below is about Taylor’s second chance for happiness.

Hi, my name is Taylor Russell, and this is my story. I am a Chihuahua and Toy Dachshund mix. I lived with a small family for about a year but, for some reason, they took me back to Heaven Can Wait. It was scary but the people there were really nice – even made me their Office Dog – but it was still tough. I did like the obedience school that I went to while I was there. The women at the place were really nice but I understand they are in something called a prison. One special woman taught me commands like, sit, stay, and down. They also taught me how to walk really well on a leash!  I really liked the ladies, but I knew I couldn’t stay with them. I wanted a real home, where I never had to leave again.

My mom and dad had been thinking about getting a dog for a while, since they had lost their other doggies. Daddy had been looking online, and seeing what kind of dog he wanted. When the phone call came from HCWS to tell him and mom about me, they were very excited to come meet me.

Oh course, it was love at first sight, how could they not fall in love with me. I’m black and brown with an adorable personality and so cute and lovable. And as soon as I saw them, I loved them to and I knew I would have a safe loving home for the rest of my life.

Mom and Dad are so cool; Dad takes me to the office every day where I can meet new people. Sometimes they even give me yummy treats!!! After work dad and I go on long walks with mom.  I love to get some exercise and put my nose to the ground to smell all the stuff that has been there before us.

Taylor has lots of new toys to play with.

Taylor has lots of new toys to play with.

I love my new home. I have a few toys that are my favorite. Mr. Bill and Homer Simpson are so much fun to play with, but my favorite toy is a BIG bear that is 4 times my size. I love to drag Mr. Bear around the house and pretend it is my buddy. I bark and play and run to the front door when it makes this funny music sound. Mom and dad let me sleep in their BIG bed at night, and it makes me feel so loved and secure.

Dad says there are something called cats that live in the house too. They hide under the bed a lot and I hear funny sounds when I put my nose under there. Gee, are they ever going to come out of there????

I finally got to meet the cats. They aren’t so bad, and it didn’t take long before all the hissing and barking stopped. The cats have been with Dad for a long time, so I guess it will take them a little while to get to know how great I am!!!

One day in November, that mom and dad called Thanksgiving, I got to go for a car ride. We met lots of new friends, whose house smelled like turkey. I got to wear my new coat and explore a big backyard. It was truly a day to be Thankful!!!

Don't I look pretty in my holiday sweater?

Don’t I look pretty in my holiday sweater?

I am so thankful for Heaven Can Wait who found me running the streets with my brother Connor, and picked me up and found me. Without them, I never would have found my dad James or my mom Suzanne.

I even have a Facebook page where dad and mom put pictures of me up so all my friends can see me. I love my new life and wish every dog and cat could find someone to love them as much as my parents do.

"I'm so happy I got a second chance for happiness."

“I’m so happy I got a second chance for happiness.”

Dogs (and cats) like Taylor are ready for adoption at Heaven Can Wait every week.  Dog adoptions are held each Saturday at Bone Appetit on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache and cats are adopted inside Petsmart at 7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy, Thursday afternoon through Sunday.  You can see all of the pets on our website: www.hcws.org.

Woman’s Dedication Wins Trust Of Special Needs Dog

Thor was given a second chance even as a special needs pup.

Thor was given a second chance even as a special needs pup.

By Amber Mahrou

With Valentine’s Day just behind us, love is in the air—especially for Sandra Holton and her loving, devoted companion, Thor. Although the two are inseparable now, their relationship was not always so heartwarming.  In fact, the story of Sandra and Thor is one of perseverance and uncommon dedication, and proves that love, while not always easy, is always worth the challenge.

It was more than a year ago when Sandra was introduced to Thor. Her roommate Joey, who is the proud pet parent of a Heaven Can Wait boxer, met Thor at an adoption event. Joey thought Sandra and Thor would be a great match, and when she saw how cute he was online, Sandra decided to meet the dog. Thor was well-mannered and just as handsome as his pictures suggested.  He seemed to know his commands well, so it was settled; he was going home with Sandra, joining her roommate Joey and their other boxer, Tye.

Of course, there is always a period of adjustment when you bring a new dog into your home, and when that dog happens to be a 100lb boxer who’s still almost a puppy, well, that does complicate matters, even if you don’t happen to be a petite woman like Sandra. Thor also had a few bad habits when Sandra took him in; he was a chewer who would demolish anything he could get his jaws around.  He’s such a big boy it meant that anything from countertops to all but the highest bookshelves was fair game.

But the biggest challenge with Thor had nothing to do with his love of chewing un-chaperoned objects around the house. Sandra’s biggest challenge with Thor was communicating with him.

Thor received training to help his owner communicate with him.

Thor received training to help his owner communicate with him.

You see, Thor is deaf.  Sandra knew he was deaf when she adopted him, but she wasn’t quite prepared for some of the more surprising challenges that came along. The first shock was Thor’s aggression. Having no way to communicate with him as you would a hearing dog, Sandra had a hard time convincing Thor that he was not her equal in the pecking order, and as a result his pushiness could be downright scary. He would jump on her, and at his size, one jump was enough to knock her down. He would mouth her hard enough to leave bruises and try to intimidate her into giving him treats by barking and growling. Concerned and not knowing how to get through to Thor, Sandra found herself putting him in his crate and appeasing him with treats for her own safety.

At times like this, Sandra wondered what she had gotten herself into. Had she made the right choice in adopting Thor? She read everything she could find about deaf dogs, and some of the things she read were disturbing. She read that deaf dogs could be aggressive, like Thor was, and that at one point deaf dogs were put down as a matter of course because it was thought that they could not be trained. But Thor was not always aggressive, and when Sandra saw how sweet and lovable he could be when he was not acting up, she knew there had to be a way.  Ultimately Sandra’s research led her to Deaf Dog Training.

Thor during his training session with Sandra.

Thor during his training session with Sandra.

Her internet search brought her to the website of “Sit Means Sit,” a large, well-known dog training organization with locations around the country. She gave them a call and was directed to David Heck, a local trainer who could help her with Thor. David at first came to do lessons in Sandra’s home, and his method employed the use of an electronic collar—on a very low setting, of course.

This is what allows Sandra to get Thor’s attention, since he can’t hear verbal commands. Using hand signals, David and Sandra were able to finally begin communicating with Thor and he turned out to be a much better student than they could have ever anticipated. In fact, it wasn’t long before Thor was able to join in Sit Means Sit group classes and he’s now not only is he participating in advanced classes which are essentially agility courses, he is also a better student than most of the other dogs in the class—and all of them can hear!

Sandra and even the trainer David are amazed with Thor’s progress. Once a destructive, pushy, disobedient dog, Thor is now confident and calm and learning more every day. He lives to please Sandra and will do anything she asks of him, from running up a narrow set of playground steps just to come to her to jumping onto a three foot tall cylinder at her command. The two of them are now so in sync that Sandra can communicate with Thor with just her eyes; he’s learned to read her expressions and her lips, and can understand some of her spoken commands now just by watching her. Thor is a happy, well-adjusted dog, and he’s learning so fast that Sandra and David are having a hard time trying to come up with a new challenge for him—it seems like he’s conquered them all!

Thor resting peacefully in his new "forever" home.

Thor resting peacefully in his new “forever” home.

There were certainly times when Sandra wondered whether she could handle Thor, but these days she says, “He’s so worth it.” Sandra is really glad she stuck it out with him, because he’s her pride and joy, and she doesn’t think he’d be in such a good place if she hadn’t held onto him. Her bond with Thor is so close and their communication is so natural, she even forgets he’s deaf sometimes. Thanks to Sandra’s dedication and unwillingness to give up on her companion, this is one love story that will last a lifetime.

Thor was rescued by Heaven Can Wait along with his two brothers.  Each was enrolled into our Pups on Parole program where they received the first steps of their rehabilitation and training.  All three dogs now have new adopted homes.  We congratulate Sandra on her persistence with a special needs dog.

Heaven Can Wait dog adoptions are held every Saturday at the Bone Appetit store on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache.  You can see all of the available dogs ready for adoption on our website: http://ww.hcws.org

Thor and Tye hanging out together.

Thor and Tye hanging out together.

Sweet As Sugar


By Colette Hayes

Nearly a year ago, this sweet dog Charlotte, was homeless. Charlotte, a Cockapoo lived on the streets, helping a homeless man with his daily can collecting. Having nowhere else to go, Charlotte stuck by this man on his daily routine.

With her coat overgrown into long dreadlocks, the little dog proudly carried an old chicken bone in her mouth as a self-styled security blanket and makeshift toy.

One day as the duo passed by a veterinary office, one of the Heaven Can Wait dog coordinators called out to the man that he should get Charlotte groomed.  He told the coordinator that Charlotte was not his dog and she only joined him during the day to collect cans.   The coordinator coaxed the little dog inside the vet’s office to see if her owner could be identified through a micro-chip.

It was there that Charlotte began her journey to her forever home. She was given medical attention and a bath that lasted two full days to shave off all of her knotted fur. Then she entered the Pups on Parole program. During her time in the program, this darling Cockapoo impressed those she met with her independence, energy and beautiful personality.

The Berenzweig family was looking for a new dog to add to their family. Bruce Berenzweig, says they knew they wanted a new dog, but did not relish the idea of heading to an animal shelter and viewing dozens of animals in cages. They contacted Heaven Can Wait and spoke to the Dog Coordinator about adopting a dog.

Several days later a call came that the perfect dog was available for adoption.  Lucky Charlotte became that wonderful new companion to the family. Charlotte, who the family thinks is about two-years-old, is a well behaved, loveable, energetic girl.

Bruce says that Charlotte “fits into our life seamlessly.”  When the family comes home, Charlotte is so excited to see them that she will jump in the air and roll on her back.   Charlotte loves sitting on laps in her new home and soaking up attention.  Blanche Berenzweig, Charlotte’s new mom says that she is “sweet as sugar” and has become almost inseparable with their older dog, Gordie.   Blanche says that Charlotte enjoys her daily walks and is very well trained, “She is a wonderful addition to our family. Heaven Can Wait did such a good job with her.”

Heaven Can Wait has lots of cats and dogs ready for adoption each weekend.  You can see them on our website at: www.hcws.org and arrange then arrange to meet them in person.  Cats are adopted at Petsmart in the Arroyo Crossing Center (off I-215 and S. Rainbow) Thursday afternoon – Sunday and dogs are adopted Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. at Bone Appetit on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache.