Animals

MEET MR. SMITHERS!

This week’s shelter pet is Mr. Smithers, an extremely friendly and affectionate senior cat currently up for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter. 

At 10 years old, Mr. Smithers is certainly not the shy or quiet type. This little chatterbox will let you know when he is in need of some more TLC or attention. If the occasional meow doesn’t do the trick, this dapper gentleman will cuddle up to you with a nudge to ask for more attention. He has a hyperthyroid condition that requires a little extra care, but this is easily managed with daily medications. Mr. Smithers would make a wonderful addition to any family!

If you are interested in meeting Mr. Smithers, please fill out an adoption application online at www.townofsmithtownanimalshelter.com.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. For more information, call 631-360-7575.

Cookie

MEET COOKIE!

This week’s shelter pet is Cookie, an eight-year-old female Terrier mix from the Smithtown Animal Shelter who is destined to bring love and happiness to one lucky family. 

With a puppy-like demeanor, a lapdog mentality and fantastic manners, Cookie is a great fit for families with kids over 12, or for the empty nester looking for the world’s best door greeter! She loves to play in the dog park and give out sloppy kisses to everyone she meets.

Cookie lived most of her life in a happy and loving home. Sadly, her former owner passed away. Her new family couldn’t provide her the safety she required and surrendered Cookie to the shelter where she now lives, waiting for that special person to come in and give her a happily ever after.

If you are interested in meeting Cookie, please fill out an adoption application online at www.townofsmithtownanimalshelter.com.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. For more information, call 631-360-7575.

METRO photo

By Matthew Kearns, DVM

COVID is terrible and let’s face it: sheltering in place, and social distancing stinks!!! One silver lining is I have seen a large number of new puppies at my clinic and new puppies need potty training. 

Understanding the physiology of elimination in puppies is crucial. Puppies have a smaller anatomy and, because their bladder and bowels are physically smaller, they fill quicker. Some trainers recommend going outside with the puppy every hour in the beginning. However, a good rule of thumb is, take the number of months old the puppy is plus one hour. For example, if a puppy is two months old, he or she can last two plus one, or three hours total (puppies can usually last longer at night). 

Also, the act of drinking and eating stimulates their bladder and bowels, so try to take them out both before and after meals.   

The old saying, “you get more bees with honey than vinegar” is true. Positive reinforcement goes much farther than negative. Either go outside with the puppy or be present when they go in their designated spot. I personally feel it is okay to train a puppy outdoors at a very young age if one is careful. If you take your puppy outside, make sure he or she is only allowed in an area that is clean and free of anything potentially toxic, material that could cause a choking episode or potential intestinal obstruction, and free of ticks or excrement from stray or wild animals. 

We can also use commands such as “make a pee” or “make a poo” and when the puppy goes give lots of praise, a treat, or both. You may sound a little mentally unbalanced to your neighbors in the beginning, but it pays off in the long run. 

If your puppy has an accident and you do not catch him or her in the act, do not scold, but rather just clean it up (even if you only leave the room for thirty seconds). The puppy will not remember that they did it, but will remember a screaming owner. This will cause the puppy to be afraid of you and look for a more discrete place to go. 

If you do catch your puppy in the act it is okay to say “NO” or clap your hands to get their attention, but never spank them. Rather, quickly pick your puppy up, carry them outside to finish, and give them lots of praise if they do. When you do clean up use something to neutralize the odor like an enzymatic cleaner.   

I hope this information helps. My next article will be on crate training, an excellent tool to teach the puppy to hold their bladder and bowels.

Dr. Kearns practices veterinary medicine from his Port Jefferson office and is pictured with his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine. Have a question for the vet? Email it to [email protected] and see his answer in an upcoming column.

Clam Chowder

MEET CLAM CHOWDER AND MINESTRONE!

This week’s shelter pets are Clam Chowder and Minestrone (right),  a pair of 11-month-old domestic shorthair brothers who would love to be adopted together. 

Minestrone

Both kitties were originally adopted from the Smithtown Animal Shelter this past December, however they sadly were brought back after experiencing some issues with the dog in the house. These little guys are hoping for another chance at finding a furever home with a loving family. 

Both Clam Chowder and Minestrone are quiet and full of love. They would do well in a calm home, and they get along well with other cats and with children. 

If you are interested in meeting this pair, please fill out an adoption application online at www.townofsmithtownanimalshelter.com.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. For more information, call 631-360-7575.

 

Many dogs, puppies, cats and kittens available for adoption

Friday,  June 5, was a big day for Kent Animal Shelter. The no-kill haven for homeless, abused and abandoned animals in Calverton reopened its doors to the public for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced a temporary shutdown. 

“That being said, the shelter never really closed as it is an essential service. However, operations continued at a snail’s pace compared to its pre-COVID-19 normal,” said Pam Green, Executive Director of the shelter. 

The spay/neuter clinic was closed for two months and adoptions were limited. Rescues were few and far between. The staff remained to take care of the animals that were on hand of course, but adoptions slowed down.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to allow the public to enter the buildings to visit the animals and that is undoubtedly an impediment to adoption. However, the shelter was able to find forever homes for some long time pets which is probably the best news that came out of the pandemic,” said Green.

Pre-COVID-19, rescue transports were received every 10 days as the shelter’s van traveled to locations with high-kill shelters. Other rescue groups ceased transports to Kent Animal Shelter because of the pandemic. “We had to figure out how to best proceed in the days of the pandemic since this virus is not going away any time soon,” explained Green. 

So the shelter reopened with certain guidelines. Interactions with pets and adoptions are mainly done by appointment. Visitors are permitted to enter the buildings with masks or face coverings and for a limited amount of time. Pets for adoption can be seen online and the public can complete their adoption applications via the website at www.kentanimalshelter.com. Rescue transports have resumed with 22 animals being saved from a terrible fate just this past week. 

The clinic is now open three days a week to continue spay/neuter operations by appointment only and pet owners must wear a mask and are asked to wait a short time in their vehicles until the technicians come outside to receive the pets. Feral cats are also being sterilized and the shelter was able to secure a grant to cover the surgical fees. Information and appointments can be made by calling the clinic at 727-5731 ext. 2. 

Of course, donations have plummeted as many supporters have lost their jobs. Individuals that are able to donate can do so via the shelter’s website or by calling the office. “The animals in crisis situations can’t wait, they need help now. It is the mission of the shelter to provide a lifeline and we must continue to do so with urgency,” said Green.

Sonic

MEET SONIC!

This week’s shelter pet is Sonic,  a 2-year-old female domestic shorthair waiting at the Smithtown Animal Shelter for her PURR-fect soulmate.

Sonic was found as a stray scavenging for scraps of food at a local Sonic restaurant. She can be very shy, but she also has a very sweet personality and is not aggressive at all. It will take some time and patience in order to get Sonic to open up, but it’ll be very worth it when she purrs for you as her stamp of approval! She would prefer to live in a quiet and calm household with a lot of love to give. 

 All of the felines at the shelter are current on vaccines and have received a full workup (blood work, Feline HIV & Leukemia tested, physical exam etc) by a board certified veterinarian. 

If you are interested in meeting Sonic please fill out an adoption application online at www.townofsmithtownanimalshelter.com.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. For more information, call 631-360-7575.

Luna Moths are among the largest moth species in North America.

By John L. Turner

With a 65th birthday looming on the horizon for later this summer, I recently found myself, not surprisingly, thinking about “Bucket Lists” — lists comprising places to visit or things to do before “kicking the bucket.” It’s a concept made popular from the movie “The Bucket List,” starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson as two terminally ill older men living out their last desires, and the impending birth date — signaling a lifetime spanning two-thirds of a century — motivated me to develop “bucket list” priorities for the time I have left.

So I began to think about different types of bucket lists. Travel destinations with my family; bird trips; visits to major league baseball stadiums (been to about half of them) and, of course, the ultimate global nature bucket list — snorkeling with Whale Sharks in the coastal waters off Belize, witnessing the Wildebeest migration in the African Serengeti, sitting quietly near any one of our closest relatives — Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos, or Orangutans in the tropical forests of African and Asian countries — or walking in reverence amidst tens of millions of Monarch Butterflies at their winter roost in the highland fir forests of Mexico.

But there will be no exotic far-flung places for this article; this bucket list is more modest in scope, relating to natural phenomena that I long to see on Long Island. For a few of these, I’ve witnessed them many years ago but for others I await the first experience.

Here goes:

Seeing a Smooth Green Snake 

 Of the nearly dozen native snake species found on Long Island, undoubtedly the most beautiful is the Smooth Green Snake. It is a tropical lime green color on top and lemon yellow on its belly with a golden-colored eye. They are a bit wider than a pencil with adults reaching about two feet in length. You’d think such a brightly colored snake would stand out but laying motionless in grass they can disappear. I have never seen one on Long Island or anywhere else and would love to!

While on the subject of snakes I’d also love to see a Hognose Snake again and especially one performing its famous ‘death feign’ act. I’ve seen this behavior twice in my life, once on Long Island, but both experiences were decades ago. If disturbed the snake often but not always feigns its death by writhing spasmodically and rolling onto its back and abruptly “dies”. Adding to the convincing nature of the act the Hognose can even spill blood from its mouth by rupturing capillaries that line it. Of course, it’s all a ruse to stop a potential predator from attacking.

Finding an Ovenbird nest 

 In larger woodlands the Ovenbird sings out with its ringing teacher! teacher! song filling the spaces between and under the trees. With a little bit of luck you might find this songbird perched on a branch in the sub-canopy as it sings, its little warbler body shaking as song spills forth loudly. Despite years of searching on many a forest floor I’ve never found their “Dutch oven”-shaped nest which gives the bird its name. 

Twice in the Pine Barrens, once in Shoreham, the other in Riverhead, I’ve made a concerted effort to look for their nests, after observing nearby adults with food in their mouths. On my knees I very slowly and carefully inspected the forest floor starting where I thought, based on the bird’s behavior, the nest might be. Methodically, I spiraled outward in my search but, alas, despite half an hour of on-my-knees-searching came up empty.

Spotting a Giant Silk Moth 

Buck Moth

If you want to familiarize yourself with a remarkable, stunning, spectacular (fill in your own adjective here once you’ve seen what they look like) group of insects native to Long Island, check out photos of the following moth species: Luna, Cecropia, Polyphemus, Promethea, and Buck Moths. These are among the largest flying insects we have with wingspans as large as six inches. 

At one time they were common but no more. The host trees they depend upon as caterpillars are still relatively common to abundant on Long Island so its not a loss of food that explains their decline; widespread spraying of poisonous pesticides is the suspected cause for their significant drop.

The last of three live Luna Moths I’ve seen on Long Island was a decade ago. I’ve never seen a live Promethea or Cecropia and the last Polyphemus was six years ago — a ragged individual so beat up from bird strikes it was weakly fluttering along the asphalt in a shopping center parking lot. I scooped it out of harm’s way but it died later that day. 

Fortunately, the beautiful black, orange, and white Buck Moth, one of the iconic species of the Pine Barrens, is still common. Spared from spraying in its vast Pine Barrens forests, the Buck Moth can be observed during the day flying around the dwarf pines of Westhampton in the autumn as male moths seek out females to create the next generation.

Seeing a River Otter 

One of the bits of good news relating to Long Island wildlife is the sustained natural reintroduction of river otters, presumably from wandering individuals emigrating from Westchester and western Connecticut and island hopping to the North Fork via the island archipelago of Plum, Little Gull, Great Gull, and Fisher’s Islands. However the prospecting animals did it, they’re here now. And while I’ve seen wild otters in locations off Long Island and seen otter signs on Long Island, in the form of otter runs and scat (fishy poop) as close by as Frank Melville Memorial Park in Setauket, I’ve not seen one of these charismatic creatures here.

Observing a Mola mola  

Mola mola

This strange looking enormous fish (in fact it really doesn’t look like a fish) is often seen by fisherman and whale watchers afloat in the Atlantic Ocean in the summer. Also known as the ocean sunfish, they are world’s largest bony fish weighing in at more than one thousand pounds. They can dive deeply and after returning from cold ocean depth, they warm up by turning on their side to bask in the sun, showing off a flattened profile, a view that many (except me!) have enjoyed.

Do you have a nature-themed bucket list?

A resident of Setauket, John Turner is conservation chair of the Four Harbors Audubon Society, author of “Exploring the Other Island: A Seasonal Nature Guide to Long Island” and president of Alula Birding & Natural History Tours.

A piping plover at West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook on May 26. Photo by Jay Gao
Mother Nature’s Wrath

   By Ellen Mason, Stony Brook

Mother Nature is angry

And she’s showing her wrath. 

We’ve destroyed her best efforts,

Walking down this wrong path. 

 

Our health is at stake,

And the health of our earth. 

But we’ve not done enough 

To make up for this dearth. 

 

Water pollution,

Severe climate change,

Endangered species,

There’s a whole range

 

Of needed improvements

For what we have wrought.  

We’ve squandered our riches,

And look what we’ve bought!

 

Yes we’ll get through this,

She’s stern but not cruel. 

But we must pay attention

And live by new rules.