This article was featured in WYDaily on 10/13/23.
Superstitions and myths abound whenever there is a Friday the 13th, especially in October, and The Heritage Humane Society is in pet myth-busting mode. Along with visiting commonly held myths, the shelter is spotlighting a couple of its mythical creatures up for adoption and even announces a Halloween-themed kids-only movie night (Read: date night for parents!).
Fittingly, let’s look at 13 myths on this superstitious Friday.
Spaying or neutering my pet will change their personality.  FALSE. 
Personality solely based on sex hormones. In fact, spaying or neutering a pet not only helps curb pet overpopulation, it can help reduce unwanted behaviors, such as roaming, mounting, fighting or urine spraying. For male dogs, removing their testicles does not emasculate them or make them female. In fact, it reduces the risk of some cancers and makes them less likely to show aggression towards other dogs.
Dogs have their own unique ‘fingerprint’.  TRUE. 
Only this unique print is not found on their paws – but on their nose. Their nose print is as unique as a human fingerprint, and is so distinct that it can actually be used to identify them.
Dogs can only see in black and white.  FALSE. 
While dogs cannot see the world in full technicolor like humans, dogs can see some colors. So, go on, and purchase those fun-colored toys and have a fun time playing with your furry friend.
Dog and cat hair is responsible for allergies.  FALSE.
This is a frequently reported myth that fur causes allergies in humans. These symptoms range from watery eyes to sneezing and congestion. Instead, allergens are found in the dander (skin), saliva, and urine of animals. So, the fur is not to blame.
Dogs have clean mouths.  FALSE. 
Before you let your dog plant a big, sloppy kiss on you, know that their mouths aren’t as clean as once thought. Their mouths are actually full of bacteria. Just imagine all of the gross things you have seen your pup try to eat, like poop. Not exactly enticing.
Cats only purr when they are happy.  FALSE. 
Cats do purr when they’re happy, however, they can also purr when feeling frightened or feeling sick or in pain to provide comfort to themselves. Cats can also purr to comfort their young. It’s a good idea to look for other signs of a joyful cat, such as tail-whipping and head-butting.
Rabbits have near to 360 degree vision. TRUE. 
With their eyes placed high and to the side of their skull, bunnies just have a small blind spot directly in front of their face. In the wild, this remarkable field of vision allows them to quickly detect predators approaching from almost any direction.
Having a backyard for your dog to play in is enough exercise for them.  FALSE. 
It’s great to have ample room for your Fido friend to run and play. However, daily walks and other forms of exercise are critically needed. These more active forms of exercise go a long way for your pet’s mental enrichment and getting their physical needs met. Plus, it’s a great way to get in more steps for you, too.
Dogs and cats eat grass because they are sick.  FALSE.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats don’t always eat grass because they are nauseous. Generally they like to eat grass for entertainment. Other reasons include battling internal parasites or having nutritional deficiencies in their diet.
Dogs and cats hate each other.  FALSE. 
While dogs and cats are often portrayed as enemies, if introduced carefully, they can actually get along very well.
Dogs can fall in love.  TRUE. 
There’s a reason they call it puppy love! Science reveals that a dog’s brain releases oxytocin – the love hormone – when it interacts with humans and dogs, just the same as a human brain does when we hug or kiss.
Guinea pigs are happy to live alone.  FALSE.
Generally like people, dogs and cats, and many other animals, guineas are highly social animals that live in small groups of up to 10 members in the wild. A guinea pig living alone will swiftly become lonely and depressed, even if they are given plenty of attention from their human companion. It’s best to keep guineas in pairs at least so they can keep each other company, and they’ll be even happier in groups. 
Rats aren’t good pets. FALSE.
While what defines a good pet varies by person, some people find rats make ideal pets because they are easy to care for and they are quick to train. Rats are also intelligent, take up little space and don’t require as much money for upkeep. Plus, as social animals, rats can even show affection just like many other domesticated animals. You may be surprised to find that pet rats will crawl up on your lap and chatter to show their love.


Halloween Kids Movie Night

The Heritage Humane Society is telling parents to go enjoy a date night by dropping off their children for a special Halloween Kids Movie Night. On Sat., Oct. 14, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., children ages 8 -12 years old are invited to be registered for an evening filled with the movie Monsters Inc., a pet-themed educational activity, a movie, popcorn, and pizza. Kids will also get a chance to meet some of the shelter’s adoptable pets. Halloween costumes are welcome, but not required. There is a $20 registration fee per child and 100% of the proceeds will benefit the shelter’s homeless pets.  Learn more and sign up for the Halloween Kids Movie Night

Meet these adoptable mythical creatures

Many of the shelter’s adoptable pets are looking to cast a love spell and find their forever homes. Meet two:
  • Jamie Lee Curtis.  Meet Jamie Lee Curtis, your favorite slasher film actress in cat form. This tortoiseshell scream queen wants nothing more this Halloween season than to share a blanket with you on the couch while watching her favorite movie, Halloween

  • Albus Bundledore.  Albus Bundledore wants to cast a spell on you! This powerful wizard teeming with her own kind of magic was brought to The Heritage Humane Society by a Good Samaritan who found her roaming around as a stray. She must have been out on an adventure, but now it’s time for her to find her very own Hogwarts. She knows the sound of the treat bag and can’t wait to have a magical family of her own who will spoil her with tasty veggies and treats. If you’ve been looking for a soft, lovable bunny to adopt, Albus is the wizard for you!
The Heritage Humane Society has nearly 230 dogs, cats and small pets currently in their care. Adoptable pets are available to meet during The Heritage Humane Society’s visiting and adopting hours from 12 to 4:30 p.m., Tues. through Sun. 
To learn more, visit, call 757-221-0150, or visit The Heritage Humane Society located at 430 Waller Mill Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185. 

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