Karel Minor’s 20 Year Work Anniversary!

July 15th, 2024 | Posted by Maggie McDevitt in Animal Welfare | Feel Good Story | Healthy Pets | Humane Pennsylvania - (Comments Off on Karel Minor’s 20 Year Work Anniversary!)

After spending over 30 years in the animal welfare world, Humane Pennsylvania (HPA) President & CEO Karel Minor knows a thing or two about helping animals and their caretakers who love them. As the second longest-tenured leader in animal sheltering in Pennsylvania, he is looking back at the progress made and strides taken over his 20 years as CEO of Humane PA.

What do you love most about working for Humane Pennsylvania?

What I love most about working at Humane PA is our culture of asking, “What needs to be done and how can we do it?” HPA isn’t bogged down in dogma (no pun intended!) about how we’ve done things or how things “must” be done.  If it works, we continue doing it and try to improve. If it doesn’t work, we try new things until it does. That may seem like an obvious approach but it’s still all too rare in animal welfare.

How has the organization changed/evolved since you started working for HPA? And what keeps you motivated to do the great work you’ve been doing for the past 20 years?

Over twenty years ago, I left animal welfare because the industry as a whole seemed like it was fixated on explaining why things couldn’t be done, usually with no real data to back it up, just opinion and gut feeling.  Animal welfare felt hopeless and fatalistic and if you suggested we could save animals’ lives and help people try new things, our peers looked at us like we were stupid.  If you suggested adopting cats at Halloween, waiving adoption fees, or adopting at Christmas, people thought you were insane. Twenty years ago, when I started at HPA, which was known as Berks Humane Society at that time, I met a core of staff, board, volunteers, and donors who were willing to be open-minded. They saw that what we had been doing wasn’t working- at least not for the 4,000 animals being euthanized each year- and they took the risk with me to try new and even taboo approaches. It worked, we kept it up, and we helped spread that attitude around the country.

Are you a dog, cat, or critter person?

I don’t have to choose so I don’t!  My family is currently supervised by four cats (Susu, Monkey, Thud, and Winnie), a baby turtle rescued from death in a parking lot (Ulysses S. Grant Wood Turtle), and three Costa Rican dart frogs. We are dogless after losing Treetop, the world’s best Labrador, to old age a few years ago.

Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?

My greatest influence in animal welfare is Dr. Michael Moyer, who hired me at my first shelter 32 years ago.  Back then, he was the extremely rare executive director who happened to be a veterinarian.  He approached animal welfare like a scientist, used data, and encouraged me to do the same.  However, my biggest professional influence is my wife, Dr. Kim Minor, who was one of the extremely rare educators who is a genuine genius, uses data and genuinely cares about doing what’s best for kids, even when it’s hard or personally risky.  There is a bizarre similarity to how the education system writes off a lot of kids just like many animal shelters do with animals.  Her example of doing what is right for each individual child and how that improves the well-being of children as a population has always motivated me to do the same for animals and the families they are attached to.

What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?

The thing I think I’ve had to grapple with in the last few years is that no amount of planning, willpower, or even unlimited resources can make some things work. When there are numerically too few vets for the number of open positions, a pandemic shuts down construction projects, or bad laws get passed all you can do is make the best of things.  HPA has accomplished so many things exactly the way we planned that it can be a rude awakening when sometimes all you can do is make things better, but better is still better.

What do you see as your biggest accomplishment since your start with Humane Pennsylvania?

I think “my” biggest accomplishment is creating a team responsible for “our” accomplishments.  We have talented, dedicated staff who have been with HPA ranging from just one year to nearly twenty years.  One person can’t succeed alone and we have built a group who take their work seriously and know they can make a concrete positive difference for the animals and people in our community.

What’s one of your favorite Humane Pennsylvania memories from the past year?

We recently dismantled a closed Rite Aid store to get $100,000 worth of gondola shelving for our new warehouse store-style pet food pantry and upcoming thrift shop. It was a stupid amount of work for three days but we saved $96,000 and it was a reminder that when we need to we can buckle down and get the work done ourselves!

What three words would your coworkers use to describe you?

I shudder to think!  It probably depends on who you ask, but I think one word few would argue with is, “intense.”

What’s one fun fact about you that we might not already know?

I love art. I love making it, seeing it, and learning about it. I agree with Nietzsche: “We have art so that we shall not die of reality.” That doesn’t sound fun, does it?  Like I said, intense describes me, I guess.

Thank you, Karel, for all you have done and continue to do for Humane Pennsylvania and the animals in our care!

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Written By: Humane Pennsylvania Animal Care Technician, Linne Ortiz

Working at HPA for the past 6 years, I have come across many cats – young, old, sick, or disabled. I’ve always had this thing for senior cats or “crunchy cats” as I like to call them. Having two of my crunchy cats pass away this year at 19 and 20 years old, I decided to adopt a few new additions to join my fur family – all being disabled, needing hospice, or having specific medical needs.

Back in February, I came across a kitten with severe CH or the wobbly cat syndrome. She was brought in due to her health. She came in spicy! She was very scared and swatted at anyone who got near her. She couldn’t walk. She could only crawl. I immediately fell in love with her so I took her home. Admittedly, I was a bit worried about how she would adapt at home. How will she get around? How will she use the litter box? How will she get to her food and water? It’s been exactly one year and she is the happiest cat ever. We named her Wasabi, the spicy kitten.

In July I was introduced to Willie, an 8-year-old munchkin with chronic constipation and a chronic respiratory infection among other things. After her vet check, it was recommended to adopt her out as hospice care. I decided to adopt her knowing I might not have her for long. Sadly, she passed away four months later, but I made sure she spent the last few months of her life happy and loved.

One September morning a cat was abandoned at the shelter. We scanned the cat and found out she was adopted from our organization 15 years ago. She was frail and extremely underweight. Her name was Rapunzel but I called her Princess Thumbs because she was a polydactyl cat.  After getting her blood work done it turned out that she had hyperthyroidism and needed to be on medication and a special diet. After doing some research about the disease, I adopted her. I was not sure of the outcome since she was so thin and I had no idea how long she was in this condition but I was determined to try. Unfortunately, her illness was too far gone, but she did give me two wonderful weeks. She was truly an amazing cat. I miss you, my crunchy princess.

In October I got a message from one of the staff members at the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving that a 15-year-old tripod cat was surrendered for meowing too much. Her name was Marigold. She was super sweet and did indeed “talk” a lot, which made me love her even more. After getting blood work done for her, results showed that she had hyperthyroidism. I was a little nervous because I was worried I would lose her too. I still decided to adopt her and give her a chance. Well, she is now a happy cat that “talks too much” if her bowl is empty. She will hop after you like a rabbit making sure you hear her loud and clear.

During our annual 12 Days of Adoptions event during the holidays, the majority of the cats at the shelter were finding homes. There was one cat I was hoping would find her furever home since she had been overlooked for 8 months. Her name was Karma, an adorable Orange and white cat with the cutest “RBF” squishy face. Karma had a few medical issues. She was FIV+, had an old ankle injury that made her limp, and experienced bladder issues which  would require a special diet and medication for life. When Christmas Eve and the last day of the adoption special arrived, I told Karma “It’s time to go home”. It’s been two months since she came home and I’m so happy I made that decision. Her health has since improved and she couldn’t be happier in her new home.

Choosing to welcome a specially-abled cat into your home is a rewarding, yet challenging decision. It is a huge commitment that will take up a lot of your free time. It can be costly and will test your emotions. Some will require extra attention, medication, special diets, and more. However, although it does take extra effort, they too deserve a second chance to live a happy and fulfilling life.

 

 

 

 

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Happy National Pet Appreciation Week!

June 9th, 2023 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Welfare | Feel Good Story | Healthy Pets | Healthy Pets Initiative | Humane Pennsylvania | Microchipping - (Comments Off on Happy National Pet Appreciation Week!)

Written by Maggie McDevitt, Humane Pennsylvania Media Specialist

It’s National Pet Appreciation Week! Pet Appreciation Week was started by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1981 to raise awareness of the benefits of pets in our daily lives. To celebrate, we’d like to highlight a few simple ways you can show your pet how much you appreciate them this week and support Humane Pennsylvania.

  1. Plan a Day at the Dog Park

There’s nothing more exciting to a pup than heading to the wide-open spaces of Humane Pennsylvania’s Danielle Ruiz-Murphy Dog Park, located at 503 S. Center Road (Rte. 82), Birdsboro, PA 19508. Our dog park is equipped with two large play areas; one for active dogs and one for our pups who are a little on the shy side! There is plenty of room for zoomies, and your dog will sleep soundly after a day full of play!

  1. Schedule a Check-Up

We can show our pets that we appreciate them by going the extra mile to keep them healthy and up-to-date on all of their wellness needs. You can either schedule an appointment at our full-service, nationally-accredited Humane Veterinary Hospitals or you can bring your pet to a Healthy Pets Walk-In Clinic or Pay-What-You-Can Neighborhood Clinic to get them updated on their vaccines. With a variety of services, ways and times to access them, and variable pricing, HPA is here to help keep your pets happy and healthy at home with you. During these visits, you may also opt to microchip your pet, which helps increase your pet’s chance of coming home to you, if they ever get lost.

  1. Bring Them to Baseballtown!

Did you know that Humane Pennsylvania is a proud sponsor of the Reading Fightin Phils’ Bark in the Park Nights? On select Sundays during the Summer, you and your pup can enjoy America’s favorite pastime together! The best part? We have complimentary tickets available for pickup! If you are interested in attending a Bark in the Park game, check the Fightins schedule and contact our Events & Interim Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected] or 610-750-6100, ext. 232 to reserve your tickets! All ticket requests must be made at least 48 hours before the desired game date. Tickets are first-come, first-serve. Please be sure to include your pups in your ticket count.

  1. Stock Up on Treats and Toys

What better way to show your pet that you appreciate them than showering them with new gifts that they are sure to love? Shop for some new goodies for your pet on Amazon. You can also buy some treats and toys for our shelter pets, using our Humane Pennsylvania Amazon wish list, and have your donations shipped directly to us!

  1. Have a Day Date at a mini Pints for Pups

Now through October, we have several mini Pints for Pups dates scheduled at local breweries and wineries around Berks and Lancaster Counties! These events are dog-friendly, and each event directly benefits the animals in our care! You can find a full list of 2023 mini Pints for Pups tour stops at HumanePA.org.

 

  1. Get Your Pet a Friend!

The more the merrier! Show your pet you love them by browsing our adoptable pets and bring home a new furry friend from one of our adoption centers. They’ll be so excited to have a new companion to play and snuggle with and you’ll have another pet to love and appreciate! What could be more paw-fect?

  1. Make an Honorary Donation

The perfect way to show that you appreciate your pet is by making an honorary donation to Humane Pennsylvania. Your donation will provide lifesaving services and help us find loving, forever homes for the animals in our care. You’ll be paying it forward while honoring your furry best friend in a meaningful way that helps other animals.

While every day is our chance to show how much our pets truly mean to us, Pet Appreciation Week is special because we can formally express how important our pets are, and how happy they make us. It is our chance, as humans, to repay them for being our furry best friends and for loving us unconditionally.

 

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National Rescue Dog Day: Bubba Lou’s Story

May 19th, 2023 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Adopt A Shelter Pet | Adoption Story | Animal Rescue | Animal Welfare | Feel Good Story | Humane Pennsylvania - (Comments Off on National Rescue Dog Day: Bubba Lou’s Story)

Written by Katie Litz, Humane Pennsylvania Animal Care Coordinator

In celebration of National Rescue Dog Day on May 20, we are highlighting one of the many rescue dogs that have come into our shelter with a rough start, but a very happy ending.

Bubba Lou, a 6-year-old neutered male American Pit Bull Terrier, was surrendered to the Lancaster Center for Animal Life-Saving on February 1, 2023, as his previous caretaker could no longer continue to care for him. Bubba’s previous caretaker informed our Animal Care Technicians that Bubba Lou was used as a bait dog when he was younger, so in turn, he was very scared of other dogs.

The technicians knew that Bubba was going to be a special adoption case, due to this past history. Overall, Bubba Lou was a pretty laid-back dog that would frequently roll over for belly scratches or would cry when technicians would leave the room. He quickly became a staff favorite, and was winning hearts left and right!

Bubba was adopted on March 16, 2023, but was unfortunately returned to the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving four days later, due to the new caretaker’s allergies. He then spent almost two months waiting for his forever home. He was featured multiple times on HPA social media, and he saw hundreds of animals get adopted before him. Through it all, Bubba Lou never faltered, and continued being his amazing, friendly, belly-scratch-loving dog!

On May 7, 2023 after 82 days, Bubba Lou was adopted and walked out the shelter doors for the last time to finally go home with his forever family!

Bubba Lou is one of the thousands of dogs, cats, and critters Humane Pennsylvania helps throughout the year. Please consider visiting the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving or the Lancaster Center for Animal Life-Saving and learn more about adopting a new friend, fostering an animal that is struggling in the shelter, volunteering your time, or donating to HPA. Your support is vital to our mission! Thank you for helping us save lives.

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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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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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10-pound Rescue Pup Buoys Navy Veteran During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 3rd, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Adopt A Shelter Pet | Adoption Story | Feel Good Story - (Comments Off on 10-pound Rescue Pup Buoys Navy Veteran During COVID-19 Pandemic)

We wanted to share this heartwarming story with you all! Thank you, Pets for Patriots, for continuously bringing military veterans and shelter pets together!

Lizzy had a long journey from a Louisiana shelter to an animal welfare organization in Pennsylvania. But the 10-pound rescue pup would prove a worthy companion to a Navy veteran and his wife coping with isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic.

VIETNAM WAR ‘DAMBUSTERS’

Lloyd served as an aviation jet mechanic during the Vietnam war. These highly skilled professionals may serve at sea or on land. They are tasked with maintaining the integrity of internal and external aircraft systems and supporting all flight operations.

“I spent one-and-a-half years on a carrier with a fighter squadron of A-1H Skyraiders, VA-195,” Lloyd recalls. “We went up and down the coast of north and south Vietnam.”

Strike fighter squadron 195, or VA-195, was used extensively in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. In 1951 the squadron earned the nickname ‘Dambusters’ when they destroyed the strategic Hwachon Reservoir dam in North Korea.

The Vietnam war was deeply unpopular at home. However, that did not diminish the danger to our forces nor the sacrifices they made in service to our nation.

Lloyd is humble about the real perils he and his fellow sailors faced every day.

“We were also fired on by a sampan in the Gulf of Tonkin,” he shares. “No one was hurt, and a destroyer blew it to pieces.”

Sampans are small, flat-bottomed boats typically used by fishermen. But during the war, they were repurposed by the North Vietnamese to help transport weapons and combatants in their fight against Americans.

Lloyd’s tour of duty up and down the Vietnam coast “was the only dramatic thing” that transpired over the course of his Navy career.

In 1966, after more than three years of service, Lloyd separated from the Navy with an Honorable discharge to begin the rest of his life.

FROM LOUISIANA, WITH LOVE

Lloyd is currently retired and lives in Hamburg, Pennsylvania with his wife, Karen. The pair share their home – and love – with family of the four-legged variety.

“My wife and I have the two dogs,” he says. “Lizzy that’s three years old and Milo that is six years.”

Lizzy is a 10-pound rescue pup who trekked from a shelter in Tangipahou Parish in Louisiana to a Pennsylvania shelter. Her journey was not unusual.

Animal welfare organizations around the country have embraced interstate transport as a way to save millions of animals each year.

In October 2021 Lizzy arrived at Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving. The organization is part of Humane Pennsylvania, a cooperative of animal welfare organizations and nonprofit veterinarians.

Humane Pennsylvania has partnered with Pets for Patriots since 2019. Its shelters offer fee-waived adoptions to veterans in our program and 10 percent off fees at their full-service, affordable veterinary clinics.

Thankfully Lizzy’s long journey was not in vain. The petite pup was on the verge of going from homeless to home.

“…I COULD NOT RESIST HER”

Isolation caused by the seemingly endless COVID-19 pandemic inspired Lloyd and Karen to adopt another companion pet. The couple visited Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving with the hopes of saving a four-legged soul in need of a loving home.

Shelter staff told the couple how our program works. Our mission to make pet guardianship more affordable for military veterans struck a chord with Lloyd.

“I was told about you at the humane society in Reading,” he says, “and I wanted to get the benefits that you offered.”

It is often said that our pets choose us as much as we choose them. This was definitely the case with Lizzy and Lloyd. The then three-year-old Dachshund-Beagle mix set her sights on the Navy veteran and won his heart in an instant.

“I love small dogs and Lizzy came right to me,” he says, “and I could not resist her.”

LITTLE LIZZY

No one knows for sure how Lizzy wound up in a Louisiana shelter. Or why she was among those chosen to be on a transport to Pennsylvania. But she is making up for her sad start to life by bringing joy to Lloyd, Karen, and her new dog sister Milo.

Fortunately, Lloyd has more than enough love in his heart for both of his four-legged family members. Together the dogs are doing wonders for his emotional health, especially during periods of long isolation brought on by COVID-19.

“I look forward to having and playing with both dogs every day. It puts me in a great mood.”

As for Lizzy, since her adoption, the 10-pound rescue pup has upped the energy in the household. She and Milo have bonded and do nearly everything together.

“They are the best pets and they keep us great company,” Lloyd says. “They both love to play and they have their own toys, just like little kids.”

While the pandemic inspired Lloyd to adopt another pet, do not mistake Lizzy for a short-term pandemic pup. Sadly, many pets adopted during the pandemic are being surrendered to shelters as their guardians return to work outside the home.

The Vietnam veteran, however, believes that when you adopt a pet, you adopt for that animal’s life.

Milo – and now Lizzy – seem to understand that they are in their permanent home. They feel confident that neither Lloyd nor Karen will give up on them. And they show their appreciation in ways big and small as pets do in their own special ways.

“When we go places and then come home they are there at the door to greet us both,” Lloyd shares. “In this time of the pandemic, we are so glad to have them both.”

Learn more about Pets for Patriots at petsforpatriots.org.

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