Heidi Kyser

Journalist, writer

Posts Tagged ‘Organizations

Tomatis assignment ends with a question

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Recently, I had one of those assignments that piqued my curiosity so keenly, I wished I had more time to work on it.

I was profiling a local business, Brain Solutions, for Desert Companion and learned that it offered treatment – mainly for kids with learning disabilities – called the Tomatis Method. As I dug into the background on the method, I discovered that I could easily spend weeks or months just on that, before ever getting to a single interview. Then, the interviews themselves complicated matters even more.

The conviction of Tomatis Method practitioners and beneficiaries that it works miracles is almost as compelling as the lack of unbiased, scientifically sound research to back that claim up. Some audiologists swear by it; others are skeptical. I was left wishing I had a few more weeks to read Tomatis’ books and go through the program myself to see what it was like. To locate more people who’d done it with mixed results. I was left with questions.

Does the Tomatis Method really work? Even with more time, I probably wouldn’t be able to say for sure, but hopefully someone is working on a randomized clinical trial that will answer that question for the people to whom it really matters.

Who’s Your Best Friend?

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Cat gassed down/masked down with anesthesia fo...

Image via Wikipedia

A flyer in the lobby of Warm Springs Animal Hospital, where I took my dog Aja to see her vet this morning, reminded me of the recent feature I wrote on Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for Desert Companion.

The flyer wasn’t about Best Friends, though. It was about The Animal Foundation, which was also mentioned in my story. I recalled the 2007 disease outbreak at Lied Animal Shelter, which the foundation operates, as part of the backdrop against which Best Friends began reducing its mobile adoptions from its Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, to Las Vegas. I also cited Clark County Animal Control statistics on animals impounded and euthanized at Lied as evidence that Best Friends’ help is clearly needed in our area.

The flyer I picked up this morning was a stark reminder of how dire the pet overpopulation problem in the Las Vegas Valley has become. The flyer gives the following data (which is not sourced, but presumably comes from The Animal Foundation itself):

  • The foundation receives 50,000-plus animals each year.
  • In 2009, it took in 2,000 more dogs and cats than Animal Care and Control of New York City.
  • It takes in 136 animals daily, on average.
  • Only 13 percent of animals placed in Las Vegas homes come from shelters or rescues; 9 percent come from the foundation.
  • The foundation performs 8,000 spay or neuter procedures annually.

According to the flyer, the number of spay and neuter operations will rise by 4,000 annually starting this year, due to the opening of a new public spay and neuter clinic.

Although the animal welfare world is divided on the best cure for pet overpopulation, at least one person I interviewed for the story thinks spay and neuter laws are the answer. Holly Stoberski, who was on Clark County’s Animal Advisory Committee through 2010 and is on the board of local Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, told me that she believes ordinances such as Las Vegas’ Code 7.14, adopted in 2009, will help reduce the number of unwanted pets in the valley.

As with so many well-intentioned laws and services, the success of 7.14 and Lied’s clinic will depend on enforcement and marketing, respectively. If my neighborhood is any indication of citywide norms, Las Vegans think it’s perfectly acceptable to let their unaltered dogs roam the streets with no identification. Placing flyers in veterinary clinics is preaching to the choir; let’s hope The Animal Foundation is doing much more to get its message to those who are filling its intake rooms with 136 animals per day.

Written by Heidi Kyser

May 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

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