by Dr. Heather Lineaweaver

People brush, floss and receive regular dental cleanings to maintain healthy teeth and gums and to prevent tooth loss. Preventative dental care is just as important for our pets. Without appropriate care, plaque and bacteria will build up on the teeth and above the gum line. Over time, this plaque will harden into calculus (tartar). As the calculus becomes thicker, it will start to cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), and they will start to recede and pull away from the teeth. This allows bacteria and debris to move further above the gum line.

As periodontal disease progresses, the teeth can loosen and abscesses can develop. Chronic disease can even lead to weakening of the surrounding bone, making the jaw more prone to fractures. Periodontal disease is painful for pets and can interfere with eating, but the associated bacteria can also cause problems. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream and affect internal organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. Taking care of our pets’ teeth will help them live longer, healthier, happier lives.

So Fresh & So Clean

Regular brushing is the best way to maintain a healthy mouth. Daily brushing is ideal, but even doing it a few times a week is better than nothing. With dogs and cats, only the outer surfaces of the teeth need to be brushed, which makes it a little easier.

There are multiple types of brushes available, including one that slips over the finger. Only toothpaste specifically formulated for pets should be used. When first starting out, using only your finger to rub along the teeth and gums can help your pet get used to the feeling of have their teeth brushed. Starting when your pet is young also helps. There are treats designed to help prevent plaque build-up, but they should be used as a supplement to brushing rather than replacing it. Bones and hard chew toys for dogs should be avoided, as they can cause tooth fractures.

Regular Check Ups

A yearly physical exam is also very important to assess your pet’s dental and overall health. Your veterinarian will check the teeth, discuss any issues, and determine whether your pet will need a professional cleaning under anesthesia.

Some pets may need a cleaning every year or two, others only once or twice in their lifetime. Genetics play a role in dental health, so even with appropriate care, some pets will need more frequent professional cleanings.

It is never too late to get started with a dental hygiene regimen for your pet. Our veterinarians are happy to provide you with insights and additional guidance. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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by Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations, Humane Pennsylvania

It’s finally spring! To some people this might mean that all the snow melted and they now have lots of poop scooping to catch up on in the yard, but it also means nicer weather for more walks with your dog. Going on walks regularly with your dog provides many physical and mental health benefits that help to keep you and your dog loving and living the good life. Below are helpful pet safety tips we recommend to keep you and your dog safe on those beautiful spring strolls.

Collars, Harnesses, and Leashes

Make sure your dog is wearing an appropriate fitted collar or harness. You don’t want to find out the hard way that the collar was too big and your beloved pet slipped out while trying to chase a bicycle or squirrel.

  • Use the “two finger” rule by sliding two fingers between your dog’s neck and collar to make sure the collar is not fitted too snug or too loose.

You should not be able to pull the collar up and over the dog’s head. Remember that dogs grow, lose weight, and gain weight just like people do, so it is important to frequently check how your dog’s collar fits and also that it is in good condition.

Harnesses are also great options for smaller breeds and brachycephalic breeds (short nose dogs like pugs and bulldogs) with delicate windpipes. Harnesses can discourage pulling, provide better control, and prevent injury to the neck area. There are MANY different kinds of harnesses, so do your research or work with a professional trainer to identify which harness is best for you and your dog.

Retractable leashes are generally not safe and are not recommended. Retractable style leashes provide little control and often extend very far, which can be dangerous if you’re near roads or other animals who are not pet friendly. The cord on these leashes are not durable and can snap or easily tangle around the walker or dog and cause serious injury. Talk to your veterinarian or trainer before making the decision to purchase a retractable leash.

Head collars can be a good option for certain dogs who are having difficulty pulling on leash, but if you are looking into this option it is recommended to work with a trainer or veterinary professional to help you acclimate your dog to this style of head harness. Dogs tend to either respond really well or face challenges adjusting to the “funny thing” on their face.

Keep Your Dog on Leash

Most places have laws stating your dog needs to be on leash, and for your dog’s safety it is very important to follow this rule. Even if you have your dog well trained you never know what could scare or spark your dog’s interest and cause them to take off, which puts them at risk of getting hit by a car, in a fight with another animal, or lost. Use designated dog parks that are fenced in for off leash play.

Proper Identification

Not only should you have properly fitted collars and harnesses, but your dog should also have proper identification in the chance they do get loose on your walk. Identification tags with your pets name, your phone number, and city can increase the chance of you reuniting with your pet. In addition, it is highly recommended to get your pet microchipped, which involves a very small chip being inserted under the skin and between your pet’s shoulder blades. This chip has a unique number which is detected by a microchip scanner and entered into a database.

Most shelters, veterinary hospitals, and even police officers carry microchip scanners and can scan a stray animal brought to them. Having your pet’s current rabies tag, license tag, microchip tag, and identification tag are all beneficial and increase the chance of your dog being reunited to you.

Be Prepared with Supplies

Make sure you have poop pick-up bags ready because most cities will issue a fine if you do not clean up after your pet. If you are going on a longer walk or hike it may be good to bring water and treats with you so your dog can stay hydrated and energized.

Environment

Watch the weather and lighting when you go on your walk. Dogs can easily overheat and even moderate temperatures, like 70 degrees, can cause heat stroke depending on the circumstances. Be mindful of your dog’s coat and tolerance to heat. Check with your vet if you are not certain what temperatures you should avoid for walk days. If you are walking very early or very late, make sure you are seen. Put reflective gear and clip on lights that will make you and your dog stand out to a passersby. Play it safe and stay on sidewalks.

Get Cleared by a Veterinarian

Just like when you pop in that new Jillian Michaels DVD to tone in 30 days, Jillian recommends you consult with a doctor or medical professional to ensure you are healthy enough for exercise. The same goes for your pooch. Regular vet visits can make sure that your dog is in sound condition to accompany you on walks. Regular vet visits also mean getting routine vaccinations, which can protect your dog from catching diseases.

Ask Before Approaching

This goes both ways. If you are walking your dog and see another dog walking by, ask before approaching to let the dogs meet. The other dog may be dog aggressive or be working on their confidence with other dogs, but not quite ready to meet other dogs. Don’t ever assume. Be alert for people who do not practice the “ask before approaching” rule with or without dogs.

Over the weekend I had two very different interactions when my husband and I were walking our two dogs. The first involved a young child running full speed at my 8 year old pug mix in full Frankenstein fashion with arms stretched out far in front and wide eyes. She was clearly excited and had one goal in mind, to touch the dogs. The child’s parent was nearby and not once intervened. The child approached so quickly my dog snapped at her because he was terrified by the quick approach of a stranger. Thankfully there was no injury or contact. This was not the child’s fault, but the lack of supervision or interference from the parent.

In another situation three children were riding their bicycles and asked from across the street if they could pet my dogs. My dogs are friendly dogs, with the right approach, so I said yes and the children came over slowly and crouched down and offered a hand to sniff. Both dogs were presenting bellies and giving kisses galore. They welcomed this respectful approach. Two different approaches and two different outcomes. Supervise and teach your children appropriate interactions to avoid incidents. If you don’t know confidently how your dog will react in different situations, don’t chance it by allowing strangers to approach.

Walks are a great way to bond with your dog and get some fresh air. Follow these helpful tips to make sure you are protecting yourself and your dog every time you leash up. Next time you ask your dog, “Wanna go for a W.A.L.K?” remember to keep it S.A.F.E.

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by Karel Minor, President & CEO, Humane Pennsylvania

If you haven’t yet purchased your 2019 Art for Arf’s Sake Auction tickets yet, you really should. This year will be a blast. You just know our staff and auction committee are going to manage some magical surprises with our Harry Pawter theme (that’s right, Pawter. Not only is that cute, but we don’t want to find out how litigious J.K. is). Think of our Dogwarts as Hogwarts’ less prestigious party school alternative.

We are back at the old Rajah Theater, now the Santander Performing Arts Center, which is tailor made for this theme. We will have food, drink, and entertainment, featuring the Dogwarts House Student Band. You’ll get sorted or pick your own house, and if your house bids enough, maybe you’ll take home the Dogwarts Cup.

Through an unspeakable act of sorcery – or just because we have so much more room than we did at the last venue – we have cast a shrinking spell on the ticket price. It’s only $40 a person! You’d have to be crazier than a Bellatrix to think you can find a better deal for a night of food, open beer and wine bar, and the chance to see Humane Pennsylvania staff dressed up and making fools of themselves.

For just a little more, you can become a patron-us (get it?) and get a pair of VIP passes for both the art auction and the Portkey Preview Party at the home of honorary event co-chairs, John Herman and Lisa Tiger, in Wyomissing on Friday, April 12.

You will be joining local artists and luminaries in supporting the spectacular and unique work of Humane Pennsylvania. We’ve also got some better known folks, too: Betsy Lewin, Caldecott Honor winning illustrator of such books as “Click, Clack, Moo”, and legendary west coast punk icons Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters), John Doe & DJ Bonebrake (X), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), and Dave Alvin (The Blasters), have personally donated pieces in support of this year’s auction!

So I need you to do something for us. If you haven’t yet bought your tickets, do it right now! If you have bought your tickets, help us reach our goal of 100 new recruits and bring two guests with you! The success of this event directly determines our ability to deliver critical life-saving animal welfare and medical service in Berks and Lancaster Counties.

Check out our website to see some of the awesome art, items, and experiences featured at the art auction the April 27.

Now, let’s see if this works. With tap of my wand and a flourish of my hand, I command, “Imperious!” Now go buy some tickets, you are under my control. 

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by Kristi Rodriguez, Volunteer Coordinator, Humane Pennsylvania

I recently attended the 3rd Annual Technical College High School Career and Job Training Fair in Downingtown and met with students interested in a career in Animal Services.

The students participating in the career fair were seeking to further their education and obtain jobs as veterinarians or veterinary technicians. As an attendee of the career fair, I interviewed about 20 students in the program and spoke with them about the field of animal welfare. Many of the students were interested in the difference between working in a shelter environment versus a private veterinary practice.

I was pleasantly surprised that so many of the students had already decided what they wanted to do with their futures but also encouraged them to keep their options open. We discussed the benefits of volunteering at their local animal shelter as a means of gaining practical experience in the field prior to going off to college, as well as increasing their understanding of the specific area of animal services.

One particular student stood out among the others. He was a high school senior and had already been accepted into the Biology program at a school in Rhode Island. He came prepared for the interview, dressed in a suit and offered a strong hand shake. His confidence in himself showed, and he had a very personable demeanor. He spoke with passion about wanting to help animals and make a difference in the animal welfare world. We talked about the current issues many shelters face and how students like him can get involved at their local shelter. After discussing his future plans and current interests in the animal welfare field, we parted ways as he moved on to the next table and interview.

It was refreshing to meet a young person who already has such drive about their future plans and such a desire to help shelter animals.

Our shelters in Lancaster and Berks Counties are often assisted by students from local colleges and high schools in need of completing community service hours or who are missing their personal pets while they are away from home.

We are always eager to connect community members with meaningful volunteer opportunities within our organization. We welcome you to visit our website, HumanePA.org/Volunteers to learn more about ways you can get involved and make a meaningful impact on the lives of the animals in our shelters.

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by Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations, Humane Pennsylvania

“It’s time for recess!” This glorious sentence was probably one of the most exciting things you heard in early grade school. What makes recess so important for children remarkably mirrors the benefits of playgroups for dogs.

The many benefits that come from physical activity, improved social skills, and reduced stress are some of the commonalities that recess and playgroups have in common. As an adult, even if you consider yourself an introvert, think about the important relationships with the people closest to you and how those people make your life all around better. People generally feel better when they socialize with other people.

Is the same true with dogs? Research outlets state that dogs who are able to play and socialize with other dogs provides enrichment, which improves their quality of life. Playing is beneficial to the dog’s mental and physical health, and in some cases, can be lifesaving for the dog.

The longstanding concerns that surround playgroups include:

  • safety of the dogs and staff
  • disease spread
  • staff time

These concerns have prevented, and continue to prevent, many shelters from implementing playgroups.

We were one of those shelters until recently. Why risk the chance of a fight breaking out? Why risk the possibility of anything from happening when there are enough daily concerns to be dealt with in the shelter?

Because of dogs like Teddy, that’s why.

Teddy is a 2 year old Rottweiler/Doberman Pinscher/Labrador Retriever mix who was surrendered with a history stating that he was an outdoor dog who never lived with other animals and had a list of other behavioral issues. Teddy presented as an adolescent dog with minimal training and lots of energy, but was shy and scared in his kennel. Teddy was introduced to playgroups and immediately proved to be a playgroup rock star by getting along with dogs of all shapes, sizes, and energy levels.

Over the course of a few weeks and handful of playgroups we were able to identify that Teddy not only did well with dogs, which we didn’t know beforehand, but came out of his shell and presented completely different from the scared, shy dog people saw when he was in his kennel. Playgroups gave Teddy the ability to show his fun, silly, and dog-loving side which brought him attention and allowed our staff to better match him, which led to his adoption mid-February of this year.

Playgroups are not only physically beneficial to dogs in the shelter, but there are many mental benefits as well. Allowing dogs to participate in playgroups helps them to learn better social skills with other dogs, burn off energy, and reduce stress. All of these benefits assist in increasing adoptions by enabling the dogs to be more relaxed in their kennels and present better during meets with potential families.

Staff also gain useful information about each dog that can be shared with adopters and potentially help make more appropriate matches. Dogs can act completely different outside of the shelter environment, so to be able to see them in a more natural environment, like playing with other dogs, we are obtaining critical information we may have not received otherwise.

After attending a wonderful seminar explaining how to perform playgroups in shelters, presented by Dogs Playing for Life, which was founded by Aimee Sadler, we are embarking on something new for Humane Pennsylvania.

We started working on playgroups about a month ago and we already see the benefits these play groups hold and are excited to continue training staff and volunteers to allow even more play and socialization for the dogs in the shelter.

Let’s play!

With your help we can continue to make playgroups better and safer. We have a wish list of items used during playgroups and will need fence work done at both of our play yards in Berks and Lancaster Counties to ensure we are facilitating the best playgroups.

Your support will help save lives.

To discuss how you can further support playgroups by sponsorship please contact Lauren Henderson, Director of Events and Corporate Relations, at lhenderson@humanepa.org or 610-750-6100 ext. 211.

Come on, let’s go play!

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by Karel Minor, President & CEO, Humane Pennsylvania

Occasionally you get a compliment you just know you’re going to remind people of. A lot. Humane Pennsylvania just received a doozy. In a recent article about veterinary services being increasingly offered accessibly to the poor, The Philadelphia Inquirer singled out Humane Pennsylvania for recognition with a headline referring to our programs and services as the “gold standard.”

I tell people that all the time, but to have it stated in an article that highlighted the work of nearly a dozen animal welfare organizations across the region and nation is pretty awesome. In this case, it’s also pretty true. Humane Pennsylvania’s at risk pet programs, now consolidated under the Healthy Pets, Healthy Communities umbrella are, quite simply, the best. They were also among the first in the nation to take this approach.

Nearly fifteen years ago tiny little Humane Society of Berks County (before we joined forces with Humane League of Lancaster County to become Humane Pennsylvania), converted its former grooming room into our first public clinic. We didn’t know that 120 square feet of community veterinary space would transform our mission and community, and inspire other organizations around the nation to follow our lead.

Our staff quickly figured out that what was missing from the community wasn’t merely access to a veterinarian. For many, what was missing was access to veterinary care with dignity. A place where you were treated with dignity. A place where you could foster in yourself and in your family a sense of dignity because you are providing your family pet with the care it needs. We provided an accessible and affordable service, to be sure, but a service delivered with respect and dignity, regardless of your ability to pay, the language you spoke, where you lived, or the color of your skin.

From that humble room and single veterinarian providing a couple hundred client visits a year, we have grown to have two 7,000 square foot, full service, nationally accredited, community veterinary hospitals in Reading and Lancaster, with seven veterinarians serving our neighbors (and we are hiring, in case any vets are reading this!). These hospitals now provide a combined 20,000 client visits annually. Humane Veterinary Hospitals (HVH) Reading and Lancaster are only among two dozen accredited non-profit practices in the entire nation.

They were the first and third to be accredited in Pennsylvania, and they both led the way and assisted in getting our peer non-profits accredited. This burgeoning non-profit practice wave is transforming the face of veterinary services and will be a create a sea change in the next decade, as more and more communities open practices which answer to a mission motive, not a profit motive. That’s good for animals, communities, and for veterinarians, who got into their work because they love animals, not to follow some corporate practice treatment checklist intended to maximize shareholder profits.

Our Humane Veterinary Hospitals are fully integrated into Humane Pennsylvania’s Healthy Pets, Healthy Communities program. This program, supported by our donors large and small, delivers key services critical to maintaining the health, safety, and welfare of our community pets living in economically challenged circumstances. Key among these are sterilization services, preventative vaccinations, microchip identification, food supports, and emergency shelters in times of crisis and disaster.

These key services are backed up by comprehensive services delivered by our state-of-the-art veterinary hospitals because our goal is to transition clients in acute need into long term, regular recipients of veterinary services. The same regular care that folks with money and resources have access to. And delivered with the same respect and dignity.

Before the big national groups discovered that poor people had pets and needed vet care too, we had already begun providing large scale programs to deliver these services. Before the big national groups stopped judgmentally telling poor people they shouldn’t share the joy of a pet with their children because they were too poor began reminding everyone that access to vet care is about human dignity as much as it’s about animal health, we were already there.

We were already doing it, we were already promoting it, and we were presenting it nationwide at national, regional, and state conferences. We planted the flag and welcomed everyone to join us in this new humane world.

As an aside, one of the big national groups reported serving 60,000 animals a year through a well know nationwide program that focuses on the poor. Last year we served 20,000, just in Berks and Lancaster Counties. Their budget is about two hundred million, our budget was just about four million. It turns out we are also a pretty good return on investment.

Healthy Pets, Healthy Communities is the “gold standard” for good reason. The quality is excellent, the cost is low, and the return is high. But fundamentally, it’s because we started early and from a unique place that recognizes that pets come with people. If we are not helping, respecting, and dignifying, those people, we won’t be effective at helping animals. Since our pets are woven into the fabric of our communities, healthy communities literally require healthy pets.

 

 

In case I forgot to mention it – our hospitals are also open to everyone, including you and your pet. If you are going to spend your hard earned dollars someplace, why not do it someplace where your dollars go directly to helping the community?

Why not spend your dollars someplace that will be there for you and your family should you ever face hard times and need a little help? With respect and dignity.

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by Chelsea Cappellano, Donor Relations Coordinator, Humane Pennsylvania

It was on April 8, 2017 that Marshall, an emaciated American Pitbull Terrier, was brought into the Humane Society of Berks County. I can remember it was a typical day at the shelter – a few adoptions, a few surrenders – nothing out of the ordinary. Later that afternoon, a gentleman came into the shelter and stated that he had found a dog. The dog was in his car and he needed help getting him inside, since the dog did not have a leash or collar on to safely bring him into the lobby.

The team and I, quickly responded grabbing a few pieces of hot dogs (to earn trust and make friends with the dog), and a slip lead. I followed the man out to his car. As the car door opened, my jaw dropped. The dog was extremely skinny and was covered in ticks from head to toe. Due to the dog’s condition, he quickly took the pieces of food and I escorted him on the leash inside.

Marshall upon arrival, 2017

I remember taking the dog to a quiet room to keep an eye on him until our animal care technicians could take him for evaluation. As I began to process this situation, I knew he deserved a name immediately. Marshall was the first name that came to mind since he was found at Blue Marsh Lake. As one of our lead technicians came around the corner, we both looked at each other and began sobbing. Never in my life have I seen a dog in such poor condition. While we were all sad and frustrated by Marshall’s situation, we used it as motivation to begin providing him with the care he so desperately needed.

Marshall was put on a strict health recovery plan by the veterinarians at the Humane Veterinary Hospital – Reading. The staff provided Marshall with everything they could to ensure his best chance at a full recovery. This included removing all of the ticks, multiple baths, fluids, medications, and a nutrition regimen. Multiple times throughout the day, the team would hand feed him, and of course give him endless affection. Despite the lack of care Marshall received prior to being brought into the shelter, he did not let that hinder his love for people. He loved to give kisses, be pet and play – especially with tennis balls!

On May 5, 2017 Marshall was deemed healthy enough to be neutered and placed for adoption. Because this was not your typical adoption case, potential adopters filled out an application and interviews were conducted to ensure that Marshall found the best home possible. One day on the radio, Ashley and her husband heard about Marshall. They quickly inquired about him and sat down with our Director of Shelter Operations, Leann, for an interview. After learning more about him and having him meet with the whole family, we knew this family was a perfect match for Marshall.

It has now been over a year since Ashley and her family adopted Marshall. Ashley recently shared…

“Marshall is the most amazing, loving, loyal, gentle 70lb lap dog ever! He is the absolutely sweetest with both our young children. He has been such a pleasure to have and is especially playful with other dogs, he also loves to play with Div (when she lets him).

He listens so well and followed commands almost instantly after he joined our family. He loves to give kisses and loves to snuggle. We LOVE him and I just could not imagine our life without him.”

Our deepest gratitude to Ashley and her family for opening up their hearts and home to Marshall. It is tough cases like Marshalls’ that encourage the Humane Pennsylvania team to work hard each and every day for the animals in our shelters.

Marshall with his family, 2018

Marshall would not have made a full recovery without receiving critical care that was provided through the financial support of community members like you and the Miracle Maisy’s Medical Fund. This fund supports all life-saving services and emergency medical care for abandoned, abused and neglected animals in need.

To help animals like Marshall receive life-saving care, please donate to the Miracle Maisy’s Medical Fund.

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Bunny Basics: Pet Care Tips

February 25th, 2019 | Posted by marketing in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

by Dr. Misha Neumann, Humane Veterinary Hospitals Lancaster

Rabbits are growing in popularity as pets due to their compact size and social natures. While they may seem to be the perfect pet for an apartment or tight city living, rabbits can need some big time care. Here are some basic dos and don’ts when considering taking a bunny into your home.

Room to Roam

Pet stores will sell rabbits as an all in one package including a cage, water bottle and food. While this is a good starting point, rabbits do best with some space to roam around in. This can be easily done by buying or building an exercise pen. You can also litter train your bunny, so they can have free access to roam.

If you are doing this, however, be sure to go through your living space very carefully to make sure there are no exposed wires, foreign objects to chew on, or places to get stuck in. If you are going to stick with a cage, make sure it has a solid surface as grated cages can cause damage to a bunny’s feet. Also, please keep your rabbit indoors as they are not suited to the extreme temperature changes.

Healthy Habits

In terms of diet, rabbits are strict herbivores with constantly growing teeth. Their diet should consist of primarily hay (Timothy or Orchard Grass are best, NOT Alfalfa). Hay is THE BEST food to wear down constantly growing teeth. Next, your rabbit should be fed a wide assortment of fresh veggies and dark leafy greens. Lastly, they can get a small amount of pellets per day (usually no more than 1/8 of a cup).

When choosing pellets, stay away from the party mixes that have brightly colored treats in them. These are just junk food!

Rabbits are relatively clean creatures and do not need bathing. They can often benefit from regular nail trims and occasional brushing to remove excess fur, especially during season changes. If you notice soft stools in the cage or stuck to your bunny’s bottom, call your veterinarian as this may be a sign of a potentially life threatening condition!

Hopefully, this has provided you with some basic information on rabbits. If you would like to continue your research, www.rabbit.org is a good place to start, as well as contacting your veterinarian.

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The Power of an Invisible Cape

February 18th, 2019 | Posted by marketing in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

by Leann Quire, Director of Shelter Operations, Humane Pennsylvania

“I don’t know how you do it.” “How do you not take them all home?” “I couldn’t work there, it would make me too sad.” These are common comments shelter staff hear when a family, friend, or even stranger finds out where they work. There are so many people who want to work with animals in shelters, but surprisingly a few actually know what it is like to work in an animal shelter.

Every shelter is different, but at Humane Pennsylvania if you are an Animal Care Technician or Adoption Counselor then you are working directly with the public to facilitate adoptions and assist with the intake of surrender and stray animals. The Adoption Counselors provide wonderful care to the clients and perform a plethora of administrative work to ensure paperwork is in order and our clients are getting the best experience. Our Animal Care Technicians consist of…

  • Kennel Technicians
  • Adoption Technicians
  • Clinic Technicians

Everyone works to provide the best possible care to each animal that comes through our door seven days a week, 365 days a year. Through blizzards, floods, and blistering heat.

Each morning brings lots of cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. Our kennel technicians are busy throughout the day making sure the animals have a clean kennel to stay in, fresh food and water, and that surrounding areas are also clean to prevent spread of disease and make sure our public has a nice space to meet their future furry loves. Our Adoption Counselors are busy in the morning making sure our lobby is clean and ready for a new day of what we hope brings lots of adoptions. This, you probably knew though.

But, did you know our staff also assists our veterinarians to catch sicknesses and medical issues with the animals? How about actually medicating them? Maybe you thought that was our wonderful vet staff, but the day to day medical care of the shelter animals is usually performed by our shelter staff employees. A typical day for a clinic technician may involve entering veterinary exams, assisting with veterinary exams, administering medications, fluids and treatments, and counseling the public on what medications their new family member needs in order to go home.

The adoption technicians perform vaccinations at intake to prevent spread of disease and they also are in charge of reviewing intake notes and using their experience and training to identify any potential behavior or medical concerns. They are working with the animals to observe behavior information that will hopefully aid in better matchmaking.

Unfortunately euthanasia can also be a part of a shelter workers day. Our staff provide end of life services for the animals of owners who made the difficult decision that it is time. They also provide euthanasia for animals who are surrendered to the shelter and are sick and suffering or exhibiting dangerous behaviors. The staff goes through training to become compassionate and experienced euthanasia technicians so they can be a kind and calm presence. This skill, along with all of the other daily stresses the staff face can bring emotional and physical fatigue. It is an everyday reality that shelter staff burn out because, despite devoting their lives to helping animals, they sometimes cannot handle the secondary traumatic stress they are exposed to when frequently caring for animals who were abandoned, neglected, or need to be euthanized.

Our staff do it all.

  • They are therapists who listen to the client who just had their 16 year old dog pass away and is heartbroken and unsure if they are ready to open their home again and need some advice.
  • They are counselors and matchmakers working to pair the wonderful families in our communities with deserving animals looking for their forever home.
  • They are nurses who have helped thousands of animals who were seriously ill to make a complete transformation and go to their new home, happy and healthy.
  • They are dog trainers who teach the jumpy dog on the adoption floor how to “sit” so the potential adopter is impressed and invites Fido to come home with them.
  • They are some of the strongest people I know because they work in an environment that pushes them to their emotional and physical limits and encourages them to develop the mental strength and health to continue working in the field.

I could go on, and on, and on. Basically, shelter workers are ever day rock stars. They work hard to give the animals who come through our door the love and care they deserve. Next time you wonder how a shelter staff member works where they do, know that it is because they wear an invisible cape and are driven from their internal passion to help the animals in your community, and I am sure they would love to hear, “I am SO glad you do what you do.” To learn more about the work and passion of our team, visit HumanePA.org.

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Cold Weather Pet Care Tips

February 11th, 2019 | Posted by marketing in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

by Lindsay High, Director of Marketing, Humane Pennsylvania

Winter weather can bring about increased risks for your pets. When the temperatures drop pets are at a higher risk of experiencing hypothermia and/or freezing if left outside without adequate shelter for an extended period of time. These useful tips will help keep your pets, warm, happy, and safe during the winter months.

Provide Adequate Shelter

  • Like humans, pets like to be warm and cozy during the winter. If you have pets that primarily live outdoors during other seasons, they should be brought indoors when sub-freezing temperatures arrive.
    For community cats and other outdoor pets, provide adequate shelter that faces away from the wind with a covered doorway. The shelter should be insulated, dry, and draft-free. The shelter should also be large enough to allow them to move about comfortably, and small enough to maintain their body heat.
  • Be sure to keep outdoor pets hydrated and well-fed. Ensure these pets are provided with fresh, unfrozen, water that is changed frequently. Warm bedding should also be provided. Hay or straw, as well as cozy pet beds, warm blankets, and pillows are recommended.
    Outdoor pets burn more calories and need more food as keeping warm depletes energy. During the winter months, use plastic food and water bowls as a pet’s tongue can get stuck to metal.
  • Pennsylvania state law governs that companion animals must have access to sanitary shelter which preserves body heat and keeps the pet dry. If a dog is tethered outdoors, which refers to the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object or stake, usually in the owner’s backyard, as a means of keeping the animal under control. These terms do not refer to the periods when an animal is walked on a leash.
    If a dog is tethered outdoors, the law states that the dog should not be tethered for more than 9 cumulative hours within a 24 hour period. The tether is secured to a well-fitting collar with a swivel and by a tether of no less than 10 feet or three times the length of the dog. The dog has access to water and an area of shade. The dog is not tethered for longer than 30 minutes when the temperature is over 90 degrees or under 32 degrees.
    These standards must be met in order for the assumption to be made that the dog has not been neglected. If the dog is not tethered in a manner that satisfies these requirements, a law enforcement officer may file neglect charges. – Act 10 of 2017 Limits the Continuous Tethering of Dogs in Pennsylvania

Check Your Vehicle

  • Cats and other wildlife may seek shelter from the cold winter weather by crawling in to the wheel well or under the hood of your vehicle. Your vehicle provides a warm place for the animal, however, this can be a very dangerous location for them.
    – Bang on your hood and honk your horn before starting the engine in order to awaken any animals and give them the opportunity to escape the vehicle before for you pull away.

Keep their Skin Clean

  • Salt and chemicals from ice melt can irritate your pet’s skin and paws. Following your winter stroll, thoroughly wash and dry any exposed areas of skin with clean water to remove any potential irritants from the belly, paw pads, and between the toes.
    – Monitor exposed skin, such as the nose, ears, paws, and belly for and belly for signs of irritation and prolonged redness, lasting longer than 24 hours. You can also protect your pet’s sensitive skin with a warm pet jacket or sweater. Prior to taking your dog for a walk, apply a layer of petroleum jelly to your dog’s paw pads. This will act as a barrier and help protect their pads from salt and other irritants. Dog booties are also a great option to protect their pads from winter irritants.

Protect Against Poisons

  • Many common household products are poisonous to your pets. Spills and leaks from vehicle can be especially dangerous. Coolant and antifreeze, for example, have a sweet taste that can attract your pet. However, these products can be deadly if ingested.
    – Effectively clean up all vehicle spills to ensure your pets does not come in contact with these toxic materials.

Keep ID Current

  • During the winter months, snow and ice can mask familiar scents that would help a lost pet find their way home. Be sure your pet is always wearing a collar with accurate contact information and keep them on a leash during walks.
    – Have your pet microchipped to increase the likelihood that they will be returned to you safely if a separation were to occur.

Watch the Temperature Gauge

  • Limit your pet’s exposure to the outdoors, for example, reduce duration of walks and leave your pets outside for quick bathroom breaks and for short burst of exercise.
  • Also, senior pets may have a particularly hard time keeping warm in cold temperatures and may not be able to manage cold weather hazards, such as ice, with the same agility as a younger pets.

See Something, Say Something

  • Speak out if you see an unsheltered or inadequately sheltered pet. Dropping temperatures can be deadly.
    – Contact your local police or animal control agency if you see an animal that needs help.
    In Berks County Contact: To report suspected Animal Cruelty call, the Animal Rescue League at 610-373-8830
    In Lancaster County Contact: To report suspected Animal Cruelty, call the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office at 717-917-6979

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