PAWS Gears Up for a Busy July
July 6, 2022
Along with the temperatures in this transition to summer, things are heating up at PAWS of Chinook. PAWS Shelter Director, Alissa Hewitt announced that anyone interested in either scheduling a spay/neuter procedure or signing up for their dog training event in July should act now as spaces are limited for both events.
In partnership with Spay Montana, PAWS of Chinook is hosting a free spay/neuter clinic in Harlem. Scheduled for Saturday, July 16 at 8:00 a.m. and ending on Sunday, July 17 at 2:00 p.m. The 2022 Harlem Spay/Neuter Clinic will take place at the Harlem High School Shop at 610 1st Avenue East in Harlem. Individuals seeking a procedure for spaying or neutering a pet can sign up online at pawsofchinook.org or call 406-357-3316 to schedule an appointment.
In addition, walk-up vaccines-for both annual vaccination purposes and rabies-as well as microchips will be available from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on both days of the clinic. The cost is $15 per vaccine, or both can be purchased for $20. Microchips will be available for $15. Appointments are not needed for these services.
"It is our hope that we will begin to see a decline in the pet overpopulation problem with the help of the spay/neuter clinics we host every year. On the other side of that, we hope that families who are having issues with their dogs will look to training as an alternative to surrender during a time when the shelter has been over capacity and is unable to accept new intakes for the foreseeable future," Hewitt reported.
Regarding the option to seek training as an alternative to surrendering a pet, PAWS of Chinook will host a Dog Training event that spans four days later this month. On Thursday, July 21 at noon until Sunday, July 24 at 2:00 p.m., the Blaine County Fairgrounds will play host to Scott Jackson and Kailey Passon. Jackson represents the Loose Leash Dog Canine Academy and Passon owns Hi-Line Canine, LLC.
Jackson has been to the Blaine County area multiple times in recent years for training purposes. This year, he will be donating net proceeds to the shelter. What started as a needed service for the community is turning into a fundraiser during a time when donations are down and intakes are up.
During the four-day training event, classes will be available for all dogs. Passon will hold sessions for dogs in the 4-12 month age category. These will focus on socialization, basics, clicker training, and general confidence building. A 2020 graduate of Carroll College in Helena, Passon earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthrozoology.
According to Passon, anthrozoology is much more than animal training. It blends that training with how animals think. "Whenever I'm working with a dog, I'm not just dog training but human training. Both are adapting to one another's lifestyles and learning to communicate with each other."
With a focus on setting the dog up for success, Passon's style revolves around reward based training and methods for making the training fun. "If an animal is losing focus, we will want to introduce toys, treats, or rewards. We always want to end a session with the animal wanting more. If it's not fun for both human and dog, such sessions will not be repeated." After all, from repetition, learning happens.
Jackson's experience in canine training spans over three decades. He led the canine unit for the sheriff's department in Central California for nearly 20 years. When he retired from law enforcement, he went on to train military, narcotics, and other high profile units. In recent years, he has also been employed with the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a kennel inspector. He works in many states, ensuring that breeding and other facilities are up to AKC standards.
"That kind of experience is not something we take lightly," Hewitt stated. "If you have an opportunity to work with Scott, I suggest you take it. As a shelter director, working with Scott has given me so much knowledge and confidence to understand and work with any dog that comes to our facility. In my position, it's not just about training a dog to sit. The shelter can be a high stress environment. Where there is stress, there can be accidents. This year, Scott has set aside a three-hour period devoted solely to shelter staff and volunteers. We have seen for ourselves that a fun afternoon in the run can turn dangerous. I want my team to not only know how to respond to these events but how to prevent them. I have full faith in Scott. There is not a case he hasn't seen; there is not a behavior he hasn't worked with. Working with him has been an honor, and our community is better for it," Hewitt said.
Private sessions with Jackson are tailored to meet the pet owner's needs. They are held in the owner's home and are being offered in both Havre and Chinook. Additional classes are available at the Blaine County Fairgrounds.
To sign up for training, interested pet owners should visit calendly.com/pawsofchinook or call Hewitt at 406-357-3316.