Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

Soft Paws: Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month


By Charlene Marchand

For Capital Region Independent Media

Lila is a 11-year-old Catahoula Leopard Dog mix, pictured with CGHS/SPCA Adoption Counselor Alysha Thornton. She was surrendered to us due to landlord issues. She’s the sweetest old gal who loves to be spoiled with her squeaky toys and cookies! She unfortunately cannot live with any other pets, but she has plenty enough love to give to the people who bring her to her perfect home. Contributed photo

Our CGHS/SPCA is anticipating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with a blessing of all animals at the shelter on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 10:30 a.m. We are so grateful that the Rev. Gary Paul Gelfenbein will do our blessing! We encourage the public to bring your companion animals. Dogs must be leashed, cats and all other small animals must be in carriers.

October is designated as Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. We should certainly extend this designation into the month of November! Some of our fine canine residents have been with us far too long, a sentiment which is repeated daily within our hallowed shelter walls!

A number of these long-term dogs are medium/large, energetic, bright, affectionate and motivated. Though some have walked through our doors with “baggage” in hand, they are very placeable. Their “issues” are far from insurmountable, given the right living environment and proper and correct home management.

For those that have high prey/hunting drive, a good safe fence to keep them at home and leash walks in situations where appropriate, are all the doctor ordered. If our highly motivated Marvin has a predatory drive for anything crossing “his” yard, an invisible fence will not suffice. We need pack leaders, responsible ones, who either know or are willing to learn about and understand the mentality of our companion/pack family members. We then must set up an appropriate management system for that individual.

All dogs are not created by cookie cutters. Their personalities, like ours, are unique and individual. Though my training clients often try to convince me that their dogs are just like children, I am trigger-fast to dispel that myth – WRONG! Our canines are pack animals, instinctual creatures with drives designated by Mother Nature, i.e. pack, prey and defense. All behaviors can be categorized or analyzed, if you will, by references to these tenets of dog behavior.

Despite our murmurings, our canine kids do not make decisions to disobey or frustrate or spite us. We do that! All their actions/reactions are rooted in predisposed genetic behaviors, imprints of early positive and/or negative or fearful experiences, their survival drives, and finally the imprint (or lack of) a pack leader. We will address more of these myths in future columns.

My recording is always on “instant replay” when I remind my families that “the guy on the street probably loves dogs and is well-intentioned, but the free advice given to owners of ‘difficult’ (I don’t think so) dogs is almost always wrong.”

Bearing in mind the defense-drive of our canines, please remember to keep them far away from any trick-or-treat activity over Halloween weekend this coming October. Those costumes look plenty real to our home guardians on alert!

Our food bank NEEDS dry food and biscuits. Come down any day, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., to donate!

Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or visit our website at Our food bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $86 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available every Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at the shelter for a donation of $10 for cats and $15 for dogs (currently prepaid only).

Charlene Marchand is the chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. She may be contacted at

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