How to Support the Animals on Change A Pet’s Life Day (January 24th)

January 16th, 2023 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Adopt A Shelter Cat | Adopt A Shelter Pet | Animal Welfare | Cat Lovers | Healthy Pets | Humane Pennsylvania | Humane Veterinary Hospitals | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on How to Support the Animals on Change A Pet’s Life Day (January 24th))
Written By: Humane Pennsylvania Media Specialist, Maggie McDevitt

Every year on January 24th, animal lovers and advocates everywhere celebrate Change A Pet’s Life Day, which is a special day for encouraging people to adopt shelter pets and raise awareness in the community about vulnerable animals in need. In fact, Humane PA is hosting a four-day fee-waived adoption event in celebration of Change A Pet’s Life Day, generously sponsored by Fleetwood Bank and Summit Advisory Investment Banking.

There are many ways to celebrate and change a shelter pet’s life for the better. Although adoptions are encouraged, and many shelters including Humane Pennsylvania do reduce adoption fees to celebrate, you don’t necessarily have to adopt a new pet every year to make a positive impact on Change A Pet’s Life Day.

Here are seven ways you can support Humane PA and improve a shelter pet’s life on Change A Pet’s Life Day.

Adopt, Of Course!

Many shelters and adoption centers, including Humane PA, have reduced or waived adoption fees for Change A Pet’s Life Day, so it’s an excellent time to look into adopting! Check out our Adoptable Pets page, or visit your closest Humane PA adoption center to see what dogs, cats, and critters we have available for adoption.

Foster a Shelter Pet

Fostering a shelter pet is a great way to make an impact on an animal’s life. Adopting is a big commitment, so it’s natural to feel unprepared. If you aren’t in the right position to adopt just yet, you can foster a Humane PA shelter pet instead. Foster families provide a life-saving second chance to animals in need. Foster animals can range from puppies and kittens too young to be put up for adoption, those recovering from surgery, animals who find it difficult to adjust to the shelter, etc.

As a foster volunteer, you are not financially responsible for the animal. All vet care and supplies are provided by Humane PA and there is always a staff member available to help with questions. Fosters also help other animals by freeing up shelter space and resources, so new intakes can get the care they need and have a better chance at finding a forever home.

More information about fostering a shelter pet, including our foster application, can be found on the Foster Care page of the Humane PA website.

Make a One-Time or Monthly Donation

When running a shelter, costs tend to add up quickly. As a non-profit, we rely on donations from animal lovers everywhere so we can take care of as many animals as possible. By donating to Humane PA for Change A Pet’s Life Day, you are ensuring that animals in need receive food, medical care, vaccines, microchips, and everything else they require to live a happy and healthy life in their new home.

A bonus? Most donations to the shelter can be written off on your taxes!

Volunteer Your Time

Our Berks and Lancaster shelter campuses are always in need of volunteers to help walk dogs, clean kennels and attend to the animals while they wait for their forever homes. Volunteering your time helps the shelter care for all the animals they look after, and it benefits the animal to get some much-needed socialization, which helps the animal become a better candidate for adoption. Volunteering makes an immense difference in the lives of animals waiting to find their new families.

You can learn more about becoming a Humane PA Volunteer and other available volunteer opportunities here!

Raise Awareness

Help Humane PA spread the word about Change A Pet’s Life Day, and our fee-waived adoption event happening from January 21st to January 24th at both HPA adoption centers in Berks County and Lancaster County.

Spread the word to all your friends, and make our upcoming adoption event a fun way to touch base with the people you care about for a good cause. The animals will appreciate it, and you’ll get even more people involved.

Share Your Story

A simple way to encourage others to make a difference in an animal’s life is to share your own story. Where did you meet your animal? Were they adopted from HPA? Was it love at first sight? What were the hardest obstacles? How has your pet changed your life for the better and vice versa?

Showing the positive impact your pet has brought into your life is a great way to show others the benefits of having a pet. You’ll be helping to encourage adoptions, and it’s an easy opportunity to brag about your pet, which is something we pet lovers are always obliged to.

Change Your Pet’s Routine

You may have already adopted a pet of your own, and that’s always the first step in changing an animal’s life for the better. However, you can always make changes to your pet’s lifestyle and ways to improve your own bond with your pet.

Try teaching your pet some new tricks, or get into a new exercise routine, while utilizing the Humane PA Danielle Ruiz-Murphy Dog Park. Find ways to connect with your pet on a deeper level. Time for a check-up? Bring your pet to one of our Humane Veterinary Hospitals, Affordable Walk-In Clinics, Pay-What-You-Can Clinics, or Affordable Spay/Neuter Clinics to make sure your pet is happy and healthy, as part of our Healthy Pets Initiative.

Making positive changes to your pet’s routine will also have you double-checking your own wellness.

In what ways will you be making a difference for Change A Pet’s Life Day? Do you have a life-changing adoption story to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Humane Pennsylvania’s 2022 Year in Review (and 2023 Preview)

January 3rd, 2023 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Health | Animal Rescue | Animal Welfare | Healthy Pets | Healthy Pets Initiative | Humane Pennsylvania | Humane Veterinary Hospitals - (Comments Off on Humane Pennsylvania’s 2022 Year in Review (and 2023 Preview))

Written by: Humane Pennsylvania CEO & President, Karel Minor

“Without people, you’re nothing.”  This quote by the late, great Joe Strummer hangs on the wall of Humane PA’s conference room along with our Mission Statement. It’s a reminder that while Humane Pennsylvania exists to help animals in need, we can only do that through people’s assistance, partnership, and support. It’s also a reason for concern on the horizon and why this year’s review will look back a little further than usual.

Not too long ago, the universal sentiment- and it’s still all too common today- is that people were the primary problem facing animals. Animal welfare was suspicious, barrier erecting, and often openly hostile toward the public. Adopters were mercilessly grilled, those asking for help were judged by inconsistent and arbitrary standards, and facts and data had no place in a world that ran on feelings and personal opinions. It was a good place for people to engage, but it certainly wasn’t a good place for animals.

Thankfully, this has started to change to benefit animals and those who want to help them. Humane PA has been a leader in promoting a model of services that views people as the solution to the problems facing animals. While that doesn’t seem radical now, this approach was highly controversial and actively opposed in the recent past. The most vitriolic opposition came from the animal welfare community itself.

When Humane PA created Ani-Meals on Wheels (now Spike’s Pet Pantry), one of the nation’s first pet food support programs, we received hate mail from other animal shelters for giving away food to people whom they felt shouldn’t have pets because they couldn’t afford them. Today, pet food pantries are ubiquitous and serve millions of people in need trying to provide for their pets during challenging economic times.

When Humane PA created PetNet, our emergency foster program that provided temporary housing for those fleeing domestic violence or facing medical or other personal crises, we had pushback from within our own staff. They questioned why we would take space from “real” homeless pets for people who should work out their issues or give up their pets. Today, relinquishment prevention foster programs are standard practice in animal welfare.

When Humane PA created the “Free to a Great Home” fee-waived adoption program, the very first formal, public program of its kind in the country, it was widely derided…again, especially within the animal welfare community, as being dangerous for animals. Wouldn’t people who didn’t pay for them mistreat or neglect them? Spoiler alert: No. The data never supported that belief. In fact, the most dangerous place in America for an animal to be was an animal shelter. Fee-waived adoptions saved lives, reduced euthanasia, and had successful placement rates as good or better than fee-based adoptions. Fee-waived adoption events are also now ubiquitous and standard practice within animal welfare.

When Humane PA opened the first full-service non-profit veterinary practice in Pennsylvania (back when you could count all such practices in the nation on two hands and two feet), we were threatened with lawsuits and legislation by the organizations representing the veterinary community. Fortunately, they came to see the error- and pointlessness- in these anti-competitive and anti-pet caretaker ways, and we’ve mended fences. We are now one of the largest veterinary practices in the region, we are nationally accredited, and the number of non-profit veterinary practices is exploding nationwide.

I’m taking this time to look backward, not just to brag about how Humane PA has been a leader in all these areas. OK, maybe a little. But these are reminders that time and again, Humane PA has chosen paths that were only sometimes easy or popular because they were the best choices to help animals. While we may have recognized that these were the right roads to take, we could only walk them because we had people’s steadfast support. A board of directors empowering staff to break new ground, donors willing to support the work financially, and volunteers standing shoulder to shoulder with staff to do the job. Without these people, these efforts could have amounted to nothing. With their help, scrappy little Humane PA (once scrappy little Humane Society of Berks County) became a national leader in animal welfare and helped redefine how organizations nationwide help animals.

I know that’s a bold claim, but a real one, particularly in non-profit veterinary services. When we started our practice nearly twenty years ago, it was a unicorn. No longer. In October, Humane Pennsylvania staff was asked to present and moderate three workshops and panels at the first national Access to Veterinary Care (AVC) Conference. Hosted by the University of Minneapolis Veterinary School and ASPCA, hundreds of attendees represented hundreds of existing non-profit vet practices of every shape and size and came together to share and learn. HPA was recognized as one of the oldest and most comprehensive veterinary programs and is still on the cutting edge of program development.

I was incredibly proud of the animal welfare community that has come around to seeing that access to vet care is one of the most effective ways to improve the lives of animals. I was also very proud of our staff for leading the way to help define and create this new approach. Before HSUS’ Pets For Life existed or big national foundations and organizations provided a penny of funding for access to vet care efforts, before there was enough critical mass to inspire a national conference on AVC work, Humane PA was doing the work, promoting the approach, and giving AVC workshops at any conference or meeting that would have us.

These efforts, particularly in combination with spay/neuter efforts and the change in expectations commonly summed up as the “no-kill” philosophy, have resulted in 90% fewer animals euthanized in shelters than in 1970. The outcomes are even better in some areas of the US and Berks and Lancaster Counties. Since 2005, shelter euthanasia at our Berks and Lancaster shelters has declined by 98%- 10,000 animals a year. During the same period, HPA shelters had an 82% decrease in intake, thanks to improved relinquishment prevention services, access to pre-emptive services, and changes in the community’s expectations.

Shelters in our region and across the country now face routine periods of having too few animals available for adoption to meet the need! Humane Pennsylvania and many other organizations are focusing more resources on access to veterinary care and social service supports than on shelter programs. Some organizations are even considering divesting themselves of their shelter divisions entirely to focus on more cost-effective and broadly impactful programs like veterinary services.

And this is where I finally bring it back to my concern and how it informs our work in the new year. All these great programs and services have profoundly impacted positive incomes for animals and do so more affordably and sustainably for animal welfare organizations. Humane Pennsylvania has been redirecting our resources to address the increasing needs of pet caretakers asking for something other than a shelter to surrender an animal. Giving up a pet to an animal shelter should never have been the first, only, and easiest option for a caretaker in need. And that’s precisely what it was- what animal shelters made it– for nearly 100 years. However, there will always be a need for a safe haven for temporarily or permanently homeless pets. There will be a need for a place where people can bring a pet when they are genuinely at the end of the capacity or ability to keep it. We cannot throw shelters on the scrap heap of other harmful and counterproductive programs or beliefs (remember when you couldn’t adopt black cats at Halloween because…Satanists?) just because it’s less fun, more expensive, and has a more negligible impact than all our new-fangled access to vet care work.

However, sheltering needs to be put in the proper context of need, resources, and effectiveness, combined with supportive programs. Our goal should be to keep every pet at home, using every tool in the kit, but access to a shelter when all else fails has to be an option.

That’s why two years ago, we opened a two million dollar investment in sheltering, the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving, which featured dramatically improved animal and adoption space. But it also houses expanded veterinary services for sheltered animals and is

the first non-profit walk-in animal clinic in the region. The Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic, which opened in May of 2022, provides vital vaccination and wellness care at 40% off standard veterinary costs, making it more accessible to those with limited economic resources. It recently treated its 1,000th client.

Last year HPA expanded its Healthy Pets Initiative Pay-What-You-Can vaccine and microchip clinics to the veterinary desert of Lancaster City. Although it required a significant scaling back of our general practice hours at the HVH Lancaster hospital due to the ongoing national veterinary shortage, we knew it was the right way to get the most needed help to the most pets cared for by the population with the highest need. Also, if you are a veterinarian looking to work someplace that is changing the world, call me!

Next year, we will be doing even more. In 2023, Humane PA will open a Community Resource Center in Lancaster to mirror the work done by our Reading Community Resource Center. Pet food pantry, affordable spay/neuter, pay-what-you-can vaccines, caretaker support services, and emergency response will be coming to Lancaster to neighborhoods and pets who need it the most and have the least access. And both CRCs may even be getting small cat adoption centers to help us get more pets into great homes. It’s a very different approach to animal welfare. We will be sharing more details very soon.

This will be a significant investment for us and is a long-term commitment to the communities we serve. It’s also a statement: Animal welfare works best when shelter, support, and veterinary programs work together.

Like many of our initiatives, this effort is the culmination of time, thought, and work. And, like all our initiatives, we can only do it with help. The help of our staff, volunteers, and donors. People like you. Cats can’t adopt themselves. Dogs can’t give themselves

vaccinations. Guinea pigs can’t help us pay for our work. All those things require people. And without people, we’re nothing.

All of us at Humane Pennsylvania share our gratitude and appreciation. We hope you have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year. And we hope you’ll continue to be here for us and with us as we begin a new chapter for HPA and animal welfare.

 

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World Rabies Day Is September 28th – Protect Yourself AND Your Pets!

September 28th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on World Rabies Day Is September 28th – Protect Yourself AND Your Pets!)
By: Alexandra Young: Community Outreach Programs Manager

Rabies has been found in ancient literary works dating back as far as 300 B.C., including a paper by Aristotle.[1] Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system, which leads to horrific symptoms and causing great fear worldwide. Even in very early days, it was clear that the virus was carried via saliva (and brain tissue), and humans were susceptible to catching it through animal bites. Bats and skunks are mentioned most often in history, but dogs have also been noted as an ever-present species that carries the virus.

Early symptoms in humans may be flu-like. But later, more unique symptoms include[2]:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear brought on by attempts to drink fluids because of difficulty swallowing water
  • Fear brought on by air blown on the face
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Partial paralysis

The Rabies Vaccine and Treatment

The origin of the word rabies is debatable. It could come from the Sanskrit word “rabhas” (to do violence) or the Latin word “rabere” (to rage). The ancient Greeks called rabies “lyssa” (violence), in reference to the symptoms.

The French chemist Louis Pasteur created the first rabies vaccine for humans in the 1880s after conducting several experiments with chicken, cattle, dogs, and rabbits. His animal studies showed promise, but he wanted more time to purify his vaccine before trying it on himself. When a 9-year-old boy named Joseph Meister was bitten at least 14 times by a rabid dog on July 6, 1885, a local doctor told the family that Pasteur was their only hope.

After consulting with several doctors who said the child was a “dead boy walking,” Pasteur agreed to treat him. Joseph received 13 inoculations in 11 days and made a complete recovery. The word leaked out and patients came streaming in the world over. At the time of Pasteur’s death nine years later, more than 20,000 people had been given his post-exposure prophylactic (PEP) vaccine.[3]

Even with the news of Pasteur’s treatment spreading like wildfire through word of mouth, pets were not routinely vaccinated against rabies until the 1920s, when vaccinations were developed for a variety of domesticated animals.

Why Vaccinate Your Pets Against Rabies?

Today in the United States, most of our pets are vaccinated against this contagious and deadly virus. Usually, people don’t think too much about it anymore and it gets downplayed, which can be dangerous to us and the animals we love. Currently, cases of rabid cats outnumber those of dogs, and wild animal cases involve mostly raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. One must be extremely careful with bats since they rarely look sick, but they can squeeze through very tiny openings in our homes and expose us and our pets to this deadly disease.

How Rabies Is Diagnosed

The only way to definitively diagnose rabies is through a direct fluorescence antibody (dFA) test.[5] Samples of brain tissue are processed in a very specific way (including being refrigerated during shipment), and the test must be performed by a state-approved laboratory. Therefore, this test can only be done on animals after they have died or been humanely euthanized.

A veterinarian may be able to make a clinical diagnosis on a living animal, based on history, symptoms (drooling, agitation, loss of motor functions, confusion), environmental conditions, and lifestyle/risk factors. But early stages of rabies can be confused with other medical conditions that have similar symptoms.

PREVENTION is the key to avoiding heart-breaking situations. Furthermore, those not working in the animal welfare industry may not realize that there is no way to test an animal (wild or pet) for rabies unless it is deceased.

 

Don’t take this unnecessary risk with your family and beloved pets. Contact Humane Pennsylvania (humanepa.org) or our Humane Veterinary Hospitals (hvhospitals.org) today to discuss the different ways you can access affordable basic veterinary care.

[1] https://www.news-medical.net/health/Rabies-History.aspx

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rabies/symptoms-causes/syc-20351821

[3] https://www.tuckahoevet.com/post/a-history-of-rabies

[4] https://www.tuckahoevet.com/post/a-history-of-rabies

[5] https://www.smalldoorvet.com/learning-center/medical/rabies-in-dogs

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Love Your Pet by Making Your Plans this Make-A-Will Month

August 25th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Love Your Pet by Making Your Plans this Make-A-Will Month)

One meaningful way to show up for the people and animals you love is to make a plan for them in your will. August is National Make-A-Will Month, and you can start the month off on the right paw by creating a plan for the future.

Humane Pennsylvania is proud to help make this important task more accessible to our caring community and all those who need to write a plan. Make-A-Will Month offers a moment to take stock of the people and causes we love and make sure their futures are provided for when we are no longer able to care for them.

Write my will today

Creating a legal will is an opportunity to craft intentional plans that protect your loved ones and eternalize the values that have guided your life, like compassion and caring for animals in need. Legacy support is an easy way to be a part of the solution for years to come.

And, contrary to popular belief, writing your will doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or scary. This free online tool from our friends at FreeWill makes the process quick and easy, allowing you to complete your will in just 20 minutes from the comfort of your home.

If you don’t have an up-to-date will, we invite you to use FreeWill to create your plan this month, and to consider including a legacy gift for Humane Pennsylvania. It’s an easy way to make your mark — in a good way!

If you have already created a lasting legacy with Humane Pennsylvania, please fill out our online form to let us know about your gift! We would love to thank you for supporting area animals in such a powerful way.

Take Control of Your Legacy

 Why should you make a will?

No matter your circumstances, every person who is 18 or older needs a legal will in place to plan for the future and make a lasting commitment to the people and causes that matter most to them. Writing a will is a vital part of protecting your loved ones — including your animal companions — and making a plan for how your assets are to be distributed.

Why use this free estate planning tool?

Making a will doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but many people avoid the task because they assume it will be. Our friends at FreeWill make the process easy, intuitive, and free. In less than 20 minutes your will can be completed and ready for your signature. You don’t have to submit any sensitive personal information, and you’ll finish with a PDF of your will that is valid in all 50 states.

Why should you begin your legacy with Humane Pennsylvania?

Creating a legacy with Humane Pennsylvania is a powerful way to transform the lives of animals and their caretakers, for generations to come. It represents your lasting commitment to saving animal lives and being part of the solution — today, tomorrow, and forever.

If an immediate cash gift isn’t right for you, or if you want to make a profound long-term investment in the welfare of area animals, we encourage you to consider including a gift to Humane Pennsylvania in your will. Your support would mean so much!

Get started creating your free will today.

If you have questions about FreeWill or planned giving at Humane Pennsylvania, please contact Lauren Henderson Pignetti at 610-750-6100 ext. 211 or [email protected]

 

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July Is Pet Hydration Awareness Month

July 18th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on July Is Pet Hydration Awareness Month)

July Is Pet Hydration Awareness Month!

It’s the middle of summer. The sun and humidity are high, the sweat is pouring, and those wavy mirage lines are floating above road surfaces. We’re bombarded by heat warnings reminding us that if we don’t drink enough water we can become dehydrated, develop heat stroke, or even end up in the hospital. And the same goes for our pets.

How can you tell if your dog or cat is dehydrated? How can you make sure your pet gets enough water every day? What are the signs of a pet drinking too much water?

The general rule for water consumption for dogs and cats is one ounce per pound of body weight per day. If this need isn’t met — or too much is lost due to the heat — dehydration occurs.

Some signs of dehydration in dogs and cats include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Panting
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Dry nose
  • Vomiting
  • Skin stays up when you gently pinch and pull up on it (tenting)

There are several ways to make sure your dog or cat is getting enough water every day. 

Feeding them canned food, which is about 70% water, can make a big difference.

The water bowl is also an important factor when it comes to water consumption. Stainless steel bowls are best, as they delay the growth of bacteria, and they should be cleaned daily to make sure there is no build-up of bacteria. 

Make sure the bowl isn’t near your cat’s litterbox and that it’s out of direct sunlight. If your cat likes to drink out of the faucet or has trouble drinking out of a traditional water bowl, consider a water fountain.

For dogs that spend time outside, a sprinkler system may be beneficial (just let the hose run for a bit first, to flush out the hot water that sits in the tubing). 

Don’t offer your dog ice cubes or ice water, especially after playing outside. They can shock the stomach and cause a life-threatening condition called bloat. Instead, you can offer them chilled, pet-safe fruits and veggies for a moisture-filled treat.

Some pets can’t get enough of the pool, garden hose, or river water — which can provide lots of entertainment, but also some serious health problems.

Water intoxication can cause a deficiency of sodium, which can lead to neurological issues like seizures or incoordination, or gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, vomiting, excessive drooling, or even troubled breathing.

When should you seek veterinary care for dehydration or heat stroke? If you notice any of the signs listed above, get your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. You can apply lukewarm or cool water to their paw pads. Soaking a wet towel in lukewarm or cool water — not icy! — and draping it over the body can also help bring down their temperature.

If your pet isn’t back to its usual self after 30 minutes, call your vet. If your pet is dizzy, disoriented, struggling to breathe, vomiting, or having diarrhea with blood, call your vet or go to a veterinarian ER!

Just remember — if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them! Be safe, be well, and stay hydrated this summer.

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By Humane Pennsylvania Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Alicia Simoneau, DVM

Last month, something big started for pets and their caretakers in our community. Did you hear? Humane Pennsylvania’s Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic opened its doors at the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving at 1801 N. 11th Street in Reading!

Humane Pennsylvania (HPA) staff had been planning the venture for quite some time, and the pandemic delayed the greatly anticipated opening of the Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic for far too long.

The concept of the Walk-In Clinic grew out of HPA’s pioneering Healthy Pets Initiative, which provides meaningful access to veterinary care for all in need. This clinic was made possible through the visionary generosity of the Giorgi Family Foundation and Jay Rosenson, in memory of Eileen Rosenson. Their leadership is helping HPA build the best communities anywhere to be an animal or animal caretaker.

The new Freedom Center, which opened July 1, 2021, included space for the Walk-In Clinic, but it took nearly a year to come to fruition. The Walk-In Clinic features two exam rooms and a comfortable lobby at the entrance at 11th and Bern Streets.

The Walk-In Clinic adds to the continuum of access to veterinary care for Berks County and surrounding communities. Access to affordable veterinary care for every community member is central to Humane Pennsylvania’s mission. HPA has many different ways for animal caretakers to access vet care, depending on their needs: Humane Veterinary Hospitals in Reading and Lancaster, Neighborhood Pay-What-You-Can Vaccine and Microchip Clinics, and now the Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic.

The HPA Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic offers comprehensive preventative vaccinations, care, and advice, without an appointment — and it’s designed to serve more community members at an affordable price point of only 60% of normal veterinary hospital rates.

Humane PA’s Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic will be open every Wednesday and Friday, from 9 am to 1 pm. The clinic is first come, first served.

Current services offered for dogs: Exam with a veterinarian ($32, required with any other service), Vaccinations ($14-15), flea and tick preventatives ($9), deworming (starting at $9), Microchip (Free, including registration, with every exam).

Current services offered for cats: Exam with a veterinarian ($32, required with any other service), Vaccinations ($14-15), flea and ear mite preventatives ($9), deworming (starting at $9), Microchip (Free, including registration, with every exam).

At this time, no sick or injured care is provided at the Healthy Pets Wilk-In Clinic. Please contact Humane Veterinary Hospitals in Reading or Lancaster or another veterinary hospital to make an appointment for sick or injured care for your pet.

Visit humanepa.org for additional hours and to see what services will be provided in the coming months.

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Celebrating National Garfield The Cat Day

June 16th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Adopt A Shelter Cat | Adopt A Shelter Pet | Adoption Story | Cat Lovers | Feel Good Story | Garfield The Cat Day | Humane Pennsylvania - (Comments Off on Celebrating National Garfield The Cat Day)
By Humane Pennsylvania Donor Relations Manager, Chelsea Cappellano

Most of us know and have come to love Garfield the Cat. While he has many distinctive characteristics, he is best known for being lazy, loving lasagna (and just about every other food), and hating Mondays. National Garfield the Cat Day celebrates this beloved cartoon character each year on June 19. The holiday was first celebrated in 1998 on the 20th anniversary of the comic strip and, perhaps coincidentally, Garfield’s birthday.

There are many ways to celebrate this lovable tabby, especially in a world full of cat (and animal!) lovers. For me, an owner of three orange tabby cats, this fun holiday is very relatable. While my orange kitties don’t necessarily have a strong love of lasagna or coffee, they have wonderful, silly personalities and love to lay in the sun, much like Garfield.

Paw Newman is an 8-year-old orange tabby I adopted after fostering in April 2016. He was my first official adoption while working for Humane Pennsylvania (HPA). He is a BIG cat with a heart of gold. He loves long cat naps and bird watching, and he has always had a go-with-the-flow attitude. After all, he made himself at home in a stranger’s garage, where he was first found as a stray.

Next came Reuben, an 8-year-old orange tabby I adopted through HPA in March 2017. Reuben is extremely outgoing and greets everyone as soon as they walk in the door. He will also “talk” to you and chirp the answers to any questions you ask him. He loves to be petted and will cuddle right up any lap or bed pillow (at night) that’s available.

I didn’t purposely set out to bring home a second orange cat. But once I had two of them, I understood why people fall in love with them so easily.

Then came Bronson, the last member of my orange tabby clowder*. Bronson is also 8 years old, and I adopted him through HPA as well, in April 2019. At this point, I knew my love for orange tabby cats was strong. So as soon as I saw him in his cage, rolling around and reaching for me on the other side of the glass, it was game over. He fits in with his brothers very well, and he has such a charming personality. He purrs loudly, loves hard, and craves human affection.

If you’re lucky enough to welcome a feline into your home, my highest (and admittedly biased) recommendation is to consider an orange tabby.

In my head, the sky is blue, the grass is green, and cats are orange.” – Jim Davis (creator of Garfield).

View our adoptable cats, check out our website, or visit one of our campuses in Lancaster or Berks County. More information can be found at https://humanepa.org/adoption/cats/.

*Clowder means a group of three or more.

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June is Adopt-a-Cat Month!

June 9th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Adopt A Shelter Cat | Adopt A Shelter Pet | Animal Welfare | Cat Lovers - (Comments Off on June is Adopt-a-Cat Month!)
By: Humane Pennsylvania Community Outreach Programs Manager, Alexandra Young

June is Adopt-a-Cat Month! Our Community Outreach Programs, Alexandra Young, loves cats so much, she wanted to tell you all about why cats make pawsome pets!

“Many people eagerly await the spring showers and flowers in April, as well as the pleasant warmth of summer temperatures in June. But for people who work and volunteer in animal welfare and cat rescue, spring marks the start of kitten season as free-roaming, outdoor cats start giving birth to litters of up to seven kittens.

Forty-five years ago, this inevitable tidal wave of kittens was the impetus behind American Humane’s first Adopt-a-Cat Month campaign to urge the public to adopt cats and kittens from local animal shelters rather than buying them from breeders. The organization has existed for over 100 years, creating public service campaigns and performing animal rescue during wars, 9/11, and weather disasters.

I have been a pet owner since childhood, caring for a variety of creatures, including lizards, fish, birds, rodents, cats, and dogs. Each species presents certain challenges, but if you’re looking for a warm-blooded, soft, fuzzy friend, it’s wise to consider adopting a shelter cat or kitten.

Cats make excellent pets for many of the same reasons dogs do: unconditional love, affirmation of the human-animal bond, stress reduction, and providing you with a sense of purpose. And cats have some outstanding characteristics that may make them more suitable companions than dogs, which are higher-maintenance pets.

Independence: For busy working folks, especially ones who travel or have an unpredictable work schedule, the self-sufficient nature of cats is a big bonus. They instinctively use litter boxes as tiny kittens and, if basic maintenance guidelines are followed (and there are no health issues), they’ll reliably use them when needed. It’s simple!

With the advent of motion-activated gadgets, it’s even easier to leave your cats for a few days, as long as your pet is familiar with a routine using automatic food dispensers (set to timed meals) and litter boxes.

They should already have plenty of high shelves and cat trees near windows on which to perch and view their kingdom, which will keep them occupied and content. Battery-operated interactive toys and food puzzles abound, so a friend could come every other day and reset such items for their fun time.

Even cats that are very bonded to their people do not typically suffer from separation anxiety, so there is very low risk for property damage while you’re away, regardless of the time frame.

Intelligence: Many people know that cats inherently do not try very hard to please their owners, and their respect must be earned. But people may not realize that cats can also be taught as many tricks as a dog can!

Cats have the mental capacity and physical ability (maybe even more than dogs!) to learn the same kinds of antics and obstacle course athletics, but they respond well only to positive reinforcement and force-free training methods, such as clicker training[1].

This method is also used regularly — and successfully — on animals in zoos and aquariums to desensitize them to being handled in certain ways so they can be examined and undergo important medical procedures. If they can train a grizzly bear to safely display his teeth, you can certainly teach your kitty to give a high-five, fetch, or roll over on command.

Budget-friendly: Because of their small size, any anesthesia or medicine a cat needs will cost less than it would for a medium- or larger-size dog. Of course, cats should still be sterilized and get the same basic veterinary care annually (or more often as they get older), but they are generally more affordable to keep.

Opportunity: Lastly, but far from the least important factor, is that when you adopt a cat, you save more than just that kitty! When you adopt a shelter cat, you save that cat’s life as well as open up a space at the facility for another needy purrball. Although not all outside cats are suitable for adoption[2], if you rescue a neighborhood cat that clearly enjoys being a family house cat, you remove that cat as a breeder from the area and provide it with a healthy, safe home.

Even in areas with robust programs that humanely manage cat colonies, there are still lost pets, kittens that are born outside, and older cats that are surrendered by owners who can no longer care for them that end up in shelters and are looking for their next family.

Be a part of the solution to pet overpopulation in our country and don’t shop, but adopt your next pet. Stop in either Humane Pennsylvania’s Berks or Lancaster County animal shelters to find your next faithful, furry friend!”

[1] https://www.clickertraining.com/cat-training

2 http://blog.humanepa.org/?m=202110

 

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Pet Appreciation Week: Henry’s Story

June 1st, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Adopt A Shelter Pet | Adoption Story | Animal Rescue | Feel Good Story | Humane Pennsylvania - (Comments Off on Pet Appreciation Week: Henry’s Story)
By Laura Gibbs, Humane Pennsylvania Client Care Representative

June 5th – 11th is National Pet Appreciation Week! To celebrate this awesome holiday, our Client Care Representative, Laura Gibbs, decided to share her adoption story!

“My best friend arrived at the Humane League of Lancaster in April 2017. He was a smelly, filthy, hot mess of a cat with a laundry list of medical issues and a heartbreaking past.

Henry, as I named him, was one of six cats who had been living in a condemned home. The house was uninhabitable, and Henry and his siblings had been stuffed into a dog crate where they shared a single litter box that was never scooped. Of the six cats, three (including Henry) were blind, three (including Henry) were bald, and all had urinary issues.

The smell that came from these cats was enough to turn even the strongest stomach. Nevertheless, I immediately fell deeply in love with this goofy boy. Henry would greet me with a loud meow and his signature purr — which is the strangest, loudest sounding purr you’ve ever heard. Despite his terrible past, he is truly the happiest, most affectionate cat I’ve ever met.

Though I had my eye on him from the get-go, I couldn’t bring him home right away. I was in the middle of house hunting and moving, so I had to wait — and hope that by the time we found a place he would still be available.

It wasn’t until July that the stars finally aligned, and I made it official: Henry was mine! He fit in so easily with the rest of my crew, it was like he had been with us forever.

Today, Henry is still the most loving kitty I’ve ever met. He readily welcomes new family members and fosters with open paws, and they respond accordingly. Even timid animals gravitate toward Henry and his docile nature. Whenever a person tells me they don’t like cats, I introduce them to Henry — and they always change their mind after they receive a gentle headbonk and purr session. He’s just that good.

It’s been almost five years since I brought Henry home, and we have our routine down pat. He supervises me in the bathroom in the mornings while I get ready for my day, and he’s one of the first to greet me when I get home from work. He keeps me and my husband on a strict schedule for meals and ensures we are in bed at a decent hour.

During the day, Henry can often be found curled up in his igloo bed, cuddling with his best friend Chester, or chasing around things that make a crinkle noise. Henry’s newest BFF is our foster-to-adopt rabbit. He loves to spend time in her room, and she gets so delighted when he visits her!

So, the moral of the story is this: Don’t judge a kitty by his putrid smell — he may just become your best friend.”

Make one of the amazing animals in our care yours forever! Visit https://humanepa.org/adoption/ today!

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National Rescue Dog Day: Gracie’s Story

May 26th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Adopt A Shelter Pet | Adoption Story | Animal Rescue | Feel Good Story | Humane Pennsylvania - (Comments Off on National Rescue Dog Day: Gracie’s Story)
By Taylor Althouse, Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving, Client Care Representative

May 20th was National Rescue Dog Day! To celebrate this special howliday, Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving Client Care Representative, Taylor Althouse, shared a heartwarming rescue story that truly changed her life.

I got the chance to care for Gracie during her temporary stay with us at the beginning of this year. While I get to meet and interact with lots of amazing animals in my position, I genuinely believe Gracie has, by far, had the greatest impact on me.

In January 2022, Humane Pennsylvania’s Berks Campus Shelter Manager Brandea Taylor re-introduced the concept of Pet-Projects. Each member of the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving team chose a specific animal to dedicate time to every day, to provide comfort and enrichment during the animal’s stay at the shelter. Our facility had just received a new group of rescued dogs from Louisiana, so I decided to choose one of the new faces that had just flown in.

That’s how I met Gracie (previously called Joni).

After I passed the other wagging tails, I got to the last kennel and saw a trembling, chocolate Lab with the prettiest golden eyes staring back at me. I decided right then that I would do everything in my power to help this special girl.

My plan was to spend all my extra time trying to make her comfortable with me and gain her trust. This started with us standing on opposite sides of the kennel — and lots of treats. She slowly became comfortable enough to eat them, but only if I was not looking directly at her.

This was progress! I took this little leap in stride and upped the ante! I sat on my side of the kennel and offered Gracie small piece of hot dog. Gracie repeatedly looked back and forth, from the hot dog to me and back again. I turned my face away, with my hand still out. And a few seconds later, I felt a small, wet nose push against my hand and take the hot dog. I could not believe it!

Over the next few weeks, Gracie became more and more comfortable with me. I began sitting on her side of the kennel with her and taking her on walks outside. She went from slinking across the ground to standing fully and sniffing around.

Soon, she became so comfortable with me that she began nudging my hand for head rubs and giving me so many kisses that I’m sure my coworkers got tired of me bragging about it. I was just so proud and happy about her progress in such a short amount of time.

Gracie was on the adoption floor for most of her time at the shelter, but everyone who asked about her was disappointed that she was not the typical one-year-old Lab. She was essentially the exact opposite, just shaking in the back of her kennel.

I was still nervous about how she would do when she got her first adoption meet. When the day came, I warned the nice couple about how nervous Gracie was and I gave them her favorite treats to help ease her nerves.

We took Gracie into the play yard, where she immediately went to the corner and hid. The couple kept giving Gracie treats and calmly talking to her to coax her out of her shell, and she eventually gave in to their kind attempts.

As we discussed her progress, Gracie started crouching toward the couple, trying to sniff them. This was a huge moment for everyone involved. Throughout her time at the shelter, she would not voluntarily get close to anyone besides me, and it took what seemed like forever for us to get to that point.

The couple visiting Gracie had brought their dog Leo to meet her. Leo instantly wanted to be her friend, but Gracie sat frozen behind me. Although she was frightened, there were no signs of aggression from either of the dogs. And with the counsel of our Animal Care Coordinator, Katie Litz, the adopters decided to go through with the adoption!

I took the time I had left with Gracie to sit with her and tell her how awesome her new life was going to be. Her true personality was just locked up inside, and I was confident that her new family would help her be her authentic self.

Since Gracie’s adoption in February, we have received the most precious pictures and updates on her progress.

“When we got Gracie, she was incredibly shut down and would run away from us and hide any chance she got. She no longer hides and is often found roaming around, exploring the house while wagging her tail. Even more frequently, she can be found sitting on top of anyone who is willing to give her her favorite neck rubs. She has started giving us face kisses and smiles when she gets to run around outside. She’s such a good dog, and I’m so glad that you all believed in her and in us.” – Bryan and Alicia (Gracie’s adopters)

Stories like Gracie’s are why we do what we do. These animals leave an unforgettable impact on the people who experience them, and they provide all the motivation we need to continue to provide the care they deserve.

Being able to change a life by giving pets in our care the support they need and helping them find their perfect match is what our jobs (and mission) are all about, and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to help Gracie.

To rescue an animal like Gracie, please visit https://humanepa.org/adoption/.

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